Sims Reed Rare Books×

The British Architect: Or, The Builder's Treasury of Stair-Cases

Swan, Abraham

London. Printed for the Author. 1750
A good, unsophisticated copy of the second edition of Swan's building manual with the explanation of the 'Orders'.

Swan's comprehensive work includes the following: 'The work contains: 'I. An easier, more intelligible, and expeditious Method of drawing the Five Orders, than has been hitherto been published, by a Scale of Twelve equal Parts, free from those troublesome Divisions call'd Aliqu(o)t Parts. Shewing also how to glue up their Columns and Capitals.
II. Likewise Stair-Cases, (those most useful, ornamental, and necessary Parts of a Building, though never before sufficiently described in any Book, Ancient or Modern); shewing their most convenient Situation, and the Form of their Ascending in the most grand Manner: With a great Variety of curious Ornaments, whereby any Gentleman may fix on what will suit him best, there being Examples of all Kinds; and necessary Directions for such Persons as are unacquainted with the Branch.
III. Designs of Arches, Doors, and Windows.
IV. A great Variety of New and Curious Chimney-Pieces, in the most elegant and modern Taste.
V. Corbels, Shields, and other beautiful Decorations.
VI. Several useful and necessary Rules of Carpentry; with the Manner of Truss'd Roofs, and the Nature of a splay'd circular Soffit, both in a streight and circular Wall, never published before. Together with Raking Cornices, Groins, and Angle Brackets, described.' (From the title-page).

'This is one of the books that had great influence on the builders and architects of eighteenth-century America.' (Fowler).

[Park 79 (first edition, 1745, but citing other eds. including the present); Fowler 341 (second American edition, 1794);
pp. viii, 20. Folio. (414 x 270 mm). Printed title, 3 leaves with Swan's introduction, 10 leaves with text and 60 engraved plates, all printed recto only and numbered I - LX, the five plates depicting the 'Orders' printed half-page vertically at right with explanatory text at left. Full reverse calf, front and rear boards ruled in blind and with pattern decoration in blind, banded spine in seven compartments. (Binding worn and rubbed, corners bumped, joints cracking, head and foot of spine worn).

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