A practical treatise on architectural jurisprudence; in which the constitutions, canons, laws and customs relating to the art of building, are collected from the best authorities: for the use of architects, surveyors, landlords, tenants, incumbents, churchwardens and ecclesiastical persons in general.
London, W. Benning 1827.
8vo. xv+(1)+279+(1)pp. Original quarter cloth, spine repaired. Formerly the Birmingham Law Society’s copy, with their bookplate.
First and only edition of Elmes’s guide to the law relating to architecture and building , intended for use by architects, surveyors and so on. The book was intended both for ready reference (the second part, starting at p.67, is arranged alphabetically by topic, from abate to writs of waste, citing any relevant case law) and for a wider understanding of the history, origin and functionality of English building law. Elmes stresses its roots in Roman civil law, and also quotes relevant passages from France’s Code Napoléon, implicitly criticising the current state of building law in his own country, as he had in his earlier Practical Treatise on the Law of Dilapidations, 1823. The book is scarce today, and has particular resonance for the Hugh Pagan firm, in that Hugh Pagan himself is a direct descendant of its publisher, the Fleet Street law bookseller William Benning. The history of Benning’s operations as bookseller and publisher has still to be written, but the British Library on-line catalogue lists over 200 books with the Benning firm’s imprint, and of these the present book seems to be the only one with an architectural theme. BAL Cat 976.