WARE, Isaac.

WARE, Isaac The Plans, Elevations, and Sections […] of Houghton in Norfolk

London, I. Ware, 1735.


FIRST EDITION. Large folio. [4], 29 engraved plates of elevations, sections of chimneys and sections, and plans of Houghton Hall (9 double and 20 single) in excellent impression, mostly by P. Foudrinier, roman and italic letter. T-p with engraved plumed helmet set amongst coiling snakes and a symmetrical architectural façade, flanked by two octagons containing snakes coiling around a central flower. Contemporary autograph ‘Orrery 1745’ of the 5th Earl of Orrery on ffep. and shelf mark. Occasionally strengthened, age yellowing, some browning to edges and plates 5 and 34. Clean, well-margined copy on thick paper in contemporary mottled calf with gilt corner pieces with vases, crowns and stars, a little rubbed, rebacked, repairs to corners and one foredge, spine gilt, original morocco label, early shelf marks to front pastedown.

A wonderful collection of designs of Houghton Hall in Suffolk, one of the finest examples of a Palladian style stately home.  It was built in the 1720s for Britain’s first Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, complete with stable and grounds. Completed in 1735, it was inherited by the writer Horace Walpole in 1791. ‘Ware’s volume was not only a trophy of the completion of a great house, but also a monograph on a British country house’ (BAL). The exterior is credited to Colen Campbell (1676-1729), while James Gibbs (1682-1754) added its four cupolas, and William Kent (1685-1748) was responsible for the interior. The architectural design is mainly attributed to Thomas Ripley (1682-1758), who took on Ware as his apprentice, executing and revising the original designs by Campbell. He had been appointed surveyor when construction began in 1722; meanwhile Kent’s name can be found on all plates depicting interior details, consisting of ceilings and chimney pieces.

The architecture boasts typical Palladian features including a rusticated basement and colonnades, as well as classical elements adhering to the principles of symmetry and proportion. The building consists of three centrally planned rectilinear structures linked by two smaller triangular wings, each fronted with a curving colonnade. Arcades, temple facades, pediments and columns are to be found across all viewpoints, inside and out. We are presented with the east and west elevations of the main structure of the residence and stables, in addition to a general floorplan. The plates showing the sections of the building reveal the interior layout across all three stories including features such as chimney pieces and ceiling mouldings, seen in situ before appearing as individual plates. In addition, the interior elevations reveal decorative statues set in niches, sculptural busts and paintings, showing off the classical influence over the building’s exterior facades, and its decorative furnishings. The ceiling patterns feature squares, rectangles, ovals, circles and octagons, along with decorative vegetal friezes and figural scenes. This theme continues in the design of the chimney pieces, which are also composed of small-scale classical elements such as the triangular pediment, caryatids and dentilled cornices.

This copy was in the library of John Boyle (1707-62), 5th Earl of Orrery, who acquired it in 1745. He was an author, acquaintance of Alexander Pope, Jonathan Swift (on whose works he published a book) and Samuel Johnson.

ESTC: T042439, Harris 911, not in Fowler.
Stock Number: L4199 Categories: ,