PAINE, James.


PAINE, James. Plans, Elevations and Sections of Noblemen and Gentlemen’s Houses.

London, Printed for the Author, 1783.


FIRST EDITION, second issue of Part 1. Large folio. 2 parts in 2 vols. I: pp. [4], iv, [5], ii, [1], 4-11, [1], 12-16, [18-21], [1] + 74 engs on 55 plates, as called for on title; II: pp. vi, 32 + 101 engs on 68 plates. A total of 123 engraved plates, 53 double-page, of plans, elevations and sections of country and town mansions. Letterpress ll. of vol.1 and title of vol.II very lightly browned, occasional minor offsetting. A very good copy in contemporary half sheep over stippled paper boards, a little scuffed, gilt morocco labels, C19 armorial bookplate of Oscar-Antoine Surmont, Baron de Volsberghe, to front pastedowns.

A very good copy of this sumptuous collection of designs of English aristocratic town and country houses, with 123 engraved plates of plans, elevations and sections, both vols in their first edition, vol.1 the rare second issue (see below). The English architect James Paine (1717-89) was especially known for his designs for private houses, including Chatsworth. The second vol. was probably put on hold after 1775. ‘From the beginning of the [American Revolutionary] war until 1783 most of Britain remained in a building depression. During this period the pace of architectural publication was modest. […] Some may have considered the Treaty of Versailles a portent of economic recovery: in 1783 […] Paine issued the second volume of “Plans”. […] But the ongoing need to finance large war debt meant funds for building were scarce’ (Archer, p.19). In his work, Paine condemned Neoclassical reliance on copying ruins of Greek architecture; that is why he did not provide the five orders in his work, as architects should first and foremost be guided by taste (Archer, pp.39, 44). The designs include elevations (purely architectural, without the surrounding vegetation), plans and sections of Chatsworth, Cowick Hall, Sandbeck and Stockeld in Yorkshire, and Gosforth House and Bellford Hall, Northumberland. ‘The purpose of issuing this first major collection of designs was twofold; on the one hand he wished to advertise his executed designs in order to gain further work, and on the other he hoped […] to discourage English patrons from looking for models outside their own shores’ (BAL).

The Flemish Oscar-Antoine Surmont (1832-77), Baron de Volsberghe, has remained obscure, though a few books are recorded with his bookplate, all remarkably illustrated. 

This copy of Part I appears to be the rare second issue of the first edition of 1767 with the cancel title dated 1783 and the only copy thus.

BAL 2375 and Archer 243.1; Berlin Kat. 2339; ESTC t135969 (vol.1, first ed.), n023469; Fowler 207; Harris 664; Lowndes III, p.1761; Millard II, p.60; Upcott, p.xxxiii.
Stock Number: L4185 Categories: , ,