RICHARDSON, George. - A New Collection of Chimney Pieces, ornamented in the style of the Etruscan, Greek and Roman Architecture; containing thirty six designs, suitable to the most elegant range of apartments … Nouveau recueil de cheminées … avec les...
Estimate: £5,000 - £8,000
ca. US$9,907 - US$15,852
Price realised: £4,800
A New Collection of Chimney Pieces, ornamented in the style of the Etruscan, Greek and Roman Architecture; containing thirty six designs, suitable to the most elegant range of apartments … Nouveau recueil de cheminées … avec les descriptions des planches en anglois & en françois.
London: printed for the Author, 1781. Folio (498 x 327 mm). Parallel title and text in French and English. 36 aquatint plates. Expertly bound to style in 18th-century russia-backed marbled paper-covered boards, spine gilt in seven compartments with raised bands, red morocco lettering-piece in the second, the others with repeat neo-classical decoration. a rare and important work both in the history of architecture, and also as a fine early example of the successful use of aquatint in book illustration . No copies of this work are listed as having sold at auction in the past thirty years. The beautiful plates make ingenious use of the flexibility that the aquatint process offered: 'each plate illustrates a chimneypiece design in two alternative finishes. The etched lines of the design are constant, but the plate is printed first with one aquatint treatment, then subjected to further aquatinting to produce a second, darker finish. Thus the variety of optional finishes to the chimneypieces … is imitated by flat or mottled aquatint shading' (Millard). Richardson served his apprenticeship with the Adam brothers in Edinburgh, he then accompanied James Adam as a draftsman on the latter's Grand Tour of Italy, before working for the Adam brothers in their London office. By the late 1760s or early 1770s Richardson had left and set up on his own. He published A Book of Ceilings in 1776, and the present work followed in 1781. In this work 'Richardson distances himself from the string of practical pocket-books that had appeared on the subject … both by the scale and artistry of his production and by the scholarship that he is at pains to display. He acknowledges not only his former masters the Adam brothers, but also Vitruvius, Pliny, Chambers, and finally Piranesi, author of Diversi Maniere d'Adornare i Cammini in 1769.' (Millard). Berlin Kat. 3830; ESTC t90836; Harris and Savage 740; Millard English 67.
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