THE BRITISH ARCHITECT OR, THE BUILDERS TREASURY OF STAIR- CASES. CONTAINING. I. AN EASIER, MORE INTELLIGIBLE, AND EXPEDITIOUS METHOD OF DRAWING THE FIVE ORDERS...II. LIKEWISE STAIR CASES...WITH A GREAT VARIETY OF CURIOUS ORNAMENTS, WHEREBY ANY GENTLEMAN MAY FIX ON WHAT WILL SUIT HIM BEST...III. DESIGNS OF ARCHES, DOORS, AND WINDOWS...IV. A GREAT VARIETY OF NEW AND CURIOUS CHIMNEY- PIECES...CORBELS, SHIELDS, AND OTHER BEAUTIFUL DECORATIONS. V. SEVERAL USEFUL AND NECESSARY RULES OF CARPENTRY
by Swan, Abraham
Philadelphia: R. Bell for John Norman, 1775. 2 prospectus leaves, 4pp. "Names of the Encouragers." Sixty engraved plates (five printed on leaves with letterpress explanatory text). With 4pp. contemporary manuscript architectural drawings and plans laid in. Folio. Contemporary calf, gilt, expertly rebacked to style, spine with raised bands, morocco label. Very good. In a full black morocco box. Provenance: John Hall (early signature); Lester Hoadley Sellers (bookplate on pastedown); James Grote Vanderpoole (signature on pastedown). A great rarity of American design, this is the first architecture book published in America. This work is a reprint of the first London edition of 1745 and is extremely scarce on the open market, with no copies listed as having sold at auction in the past thirty years. It is made all the more remarkable for having been printed at the outbreak of the American Revolution. Swan, identified as an architect on the titlepage of this edition, had been called a "carpenter" in the British edition. The plates were engraved by the talented John Norman, who had recently emigrated from England and issued proposals for the work in late 1774. This American edition appeared in June 1775, published by Robert Bell, the leading printer and bookseller of Philadelphia. This work went on to have a great influence on American architectural styles, with features from the book being used in home designs all along the Atlantic seaboard. The text and plates give instructions on building in the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite orders, plans for staircases and their decorations, designs of arches, doors, and windows, as well as elaborate chimney pieces and fireplaces, and rules of carpentry and the construction of trussed roofs and soffits. The plates are beautifully engraved and rich in detail, showing not only the smallest details of the designs but also their scale ratios and dimensions. BRISTOL B4124. SHIPTON & MOONEY 42944. NAIP w038432. HITCHCOCK 1248. RINK 2471. PARK LIST 79 (note). SCHIMMELMAN 134. FOWLER COLLECTION 341.
(Inventory #: WRCAM50341)
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