New York, 1866. 36pp. plus five color lithographs, four with facing explanatory plans. Large quarto. Original salmon cloth, gilt titles on front cover. Moderate staining to rear cover, minor edge wear, spine ends chipped. Small half-moon faint dampstain to bottom edge. A good plus copy. A rare illustrated color plate book illustrating proposed entrances to New York City's Central Park by renowned American architect Richard Morris Hunt. Hunt was the first American to train at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and became an influential teacher of architecture in America, as well as a practicing architect. In addition to public buildings such as the Lenox Library, the Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, he designed several mansions for notable families on Fifth Avenue, and also "The Breakers" in Newport, Rhode Island for Cornelius Vanderbilt and "Biltmore" for George Vanderbilt in Asheville, North Carolina. A memorial to Hunt stands in Central Park today at the perimeter wall at Fifth Avenue and 70th Street. The attractive color lithographed plates show various proposed entrances to the southern end of Central Park. The most striking plate, the frontispiece, shows Hunt's design for a terrace at Fifth Avenue and Fifty-Ninth Street, an elaborate echo of the Bethesda Terrace designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, but with a small fountain on each side of each of the fifteen steps on each side of the design, leading down to a larger fountain at the base of the stairs. All of the plates and plans are executed by master lithographer, Julius Bien. In the end, none of Hunt's entrances appear to have been built, possibly due to a feud between Hunt and Olmsted over a proposed gate at 60th Street and Fifth Avenue. The disagreement caused both Olmsted and Vaux to resign their positions with the Central Park project, though they eventually rejoined the effort. An especially rare work in the marketplace, and one that imagines what part of Central Park could have looked like if one of the leading contemporary architects of the day had been included in the design. HITCHCOCK 618. SABIN 33888. GOODSPEED 227:758. (Inventory #: WRCAM52156)
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