Baltimore: Printed by John Murphy, 146 Market Street, 1840.
First edition. Lithographic title-page, 40 pp., and 43 lithographic plates with 198 figures. Clean tears (no loss) in plates 3 and 36. 1 vols. Oblong 8vo (9 x 5-3/4 inches). The First American Furniture Pattern Book. Original mottled sheep, title stamped in gilt on upper cover. An early owner’s name, Thomas Rice, appears in pencil on the penultimate rear blank flyleaf. Brown morocco backed folding box. See also Bridgeman & Drury, Encyclopedia of Victoriana, p. 59 for a note. American Imprints 40-2903 locates three copies. Item #315869
A fine copy in the original binding of an extremely rare and important book. This is well known among furniture history scholars as the first American furniture pattern book. It has most recently been studied and written about by Thomas Gordon Smith, both in his introduction to the Dover reprint of Thomas King, Neo-classical furniture designs (NY, 1995) and in the introduction to the Acanthus Press reprint, John Hall and the Grecian Style in America (NY, 1996).
The designs are what used to be known as “Empire” and are now, more correctly, being called “Grecian.” Smith states: “Although his [Hall’s] bold geometries and heavy scrolls have suffered well-intentioned misnomers such as “Pillar and Scroll”, like King and many early 19th century contemporaries, Hall called his furniture “Grecian” and further distinguished it as “the present plain style of work.” These abstract variations on classical themes are becoming recognized as the culminating expression of a half-century of exploration of archaeological form in the domestic environment. The undeniable popularity of this furniture in the mid-nineteenth century reflects the spread of culture in an increasingly self-confident and democratic society.” - (T. King reprint, p. xii). A word about the book itself; it is extremely rare; most institutional copies are defective or not in their original bindings. Aside from the inevitable scattered foxing, which is light in any case, this is a really fine copy. There was a second edition of Hall’s book in 1848.
Price: $12,500.00 Free International Delivery