JOHN PIPER’S COPY
Modern Finishings for Rooms: A Series of Designs.London, for M. Taylor, 1837.
Royal 4to. pp. vi, -23,  + 86 leaves of plates, 4pp. bookseller’s catalogue tipped-in at rear. 86 full-page etchings of room sections, finishings and decorations. Light age browning, largely marginal foxing and slight staining, few edges untrimmed. A perfectly acceptable copy in modern half calf over cloth boards, bookplate of John & Myfanwy Piper to front pastedown.
Third edition of this popular work of interior design, lavishly illustrated with 86 etchings of room sections, finishings and decorations. W.F. Pocock (1779-1849) was among the earliest members of the Institute of British Architects. His first work was a collection of architectural designs for rural buildings; his book of designs for churches and chapels was criticized by believers resistant to modernizing ecclesiastical architecture. First published in 1811, ‘Modern Finishings’ focused on interior design, seeking to evolve from the traditional pattern book for craftsmen, and providing measurements and designs illustrating finishings according to their ‘proper scale’ in relation to each specific room. ‘What marks the book out is the precision which Pocock felt was necessary to transmit his designs. Langley or Halfpenny relied on single rather small engravings, leaving the details to the judgement of the craftsman. Pocock left nothing to chance. Every possible profile moulding was carefully drawn out in designs which specify everything from the general arrangement of the room to the hang of the curtains. […] Pocock’s designs mark that interesting moment when the austere refinement of Sir John Soane began to be overlaid with the coarser […] detail that characterises late Regency decoration’ (Worsley). The elegant etchings include ornamental designs for staircases, entrance halls, porticoes (with sundry types of columns), libraries and drawing-rooms; appended, as an afterthought, are plans and elevations for cottages and small villas, following from his previous successful work on architectural designs for rural buildings.
John Piper (1903-92) was a British painter and designer of stained-glass window, theatre settings, ceramics and tapestry. His works are preserved in several UK and overseas museums. His wife, Myfanwy (1911-97) was an art critic and opera librettist.BAL 2586 (1811 ed.); Archer 263.4. G. Worsley, ‘Introduction’, in W.F. Pocock, Modern Finishings for Rooms, ed. G. Worsley (1995).