Webb, John

A vindication of Stone-Heng restored : in which the orders and rules of architecture observed by the ancient Romans are discussed. Together with the customs and manners of several nations of the world in matters of building of greatest antiquity. As also an historical narration of the most memorable actions of the Danes in England.

London, “printed by R.Davenport for Tho.Basssett, and are to be sold in his shop under St.dunstan’s church in Fleet-street” 1665.

Reference: 15322
Price: £1 [convert currency]

Full Description

Folio. (8) (including title leaf printed in red and black) + (228)pp (numbered 1-232, skipping 93-96 with some other minor misnumbering), 11 engraved text illustrations. Contemporary full panelled calf, neatly rebacked and repaired at outer corners. Mid seventeenth century ink ownership inscription of “Ri: Sackville” on blank recto of first leaf, probably that of Hon.Richard Sackville (1649-1712), a younger brother of Charles Sackville, 6th Earl of Dorset (1643-1706) (Lord Dorset was a prominent figure at the court of Charles II and the earliest patron of the poet Matthew Prior). Bookplate dated 1920 of Salisbury Museum Library, from which this copy would appear to have been discarded at some point in the relatively distant past (the copy has no other library markings). Old ink stains in centre of p.14, a little fraying at outer blank margins of first few leaves, and slightly dusty at top and outer edges of these and of some later leaves, but generally in fresh, unpressed condition.

First edition of this substantial and powerful response by John Webb, Inigo Jones’s distant kinsman and professional successor, to criticisms of the earlier book on Stonehenge that Webb had issued in 1655 on the basis of Inigo Jones’s notes. Webb’s main objective was to refute the theory recently propounded by Dr Walter Charleton, in his Chorea Gigantum, 1663, that Stonehenge had been built by the Danes, rather than by the Romans as Jones had believed, but in the process of replying to Charleton Webb sets out much of what he believed about the architecture of ancient Rome and the origins of the orders of architecture, and Webb’s text is of interest as much for the light it sheds on his and Jones’s professional knowledge and attitudes as for what it has to say on Stonehenge itself. It is also a little more informative than the book of 1655 on Inigo Jones’s own architectural work and career, and the prominence assigned by Webb to such commissions of Jones’s as that for the new classical portico for Old St.Paul’s Cathedral shows how highly they were regarded at the time. A contemporary ownership inscription indicates that the volume belonged in the mid seventeenth century to Richard Sackville, most probably Hon.Richard Sackville (1649-1712), an Inner Temple barrister who was a younger brother of the 6th Earl of Dorset, and it would be interesting to know if and where other books with Richard Sackville’s signature survive, whether at Knole, the Sackville family’s magnificent country house in Kent, or in other older libraries. Although the present copy carries a Salisbury Museum library bookplate (see below), Mr Adrian Green, the present Director of Salisbury Museum, has kindly informed us that the museum’s library currently holds another copy of this edition of Webb’s book, and that the present copy is likely to have been discarded as a duplicate at some unrecorded date in the past. Rather strangely, no copy of this edition is held in the British Architectural Library, although copies are held in a range of other libraries, both in the United Kingdom and in the USA. Harris/Savage 913; Fowler Cat 440.