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Rutter, John

Delineations of Fonthill and its abbey.

Shaftesbury,the author 1823.

Reference: 13415
Price: £1,650.00 [convert currency]

Full Description

Large 4to. xxiv + 112 + (2)pp, large folding printed sheet carrying three genealogical tables, 13 +(1) plates (of which plate 1 is a large folding litho plan of the Fonthill estate, bound after p.96 ; plates 2-13 are engraved (3 hand-coloured) ; and the remaining plate, not called for, is an engraved view of the house from the south-west, bound after p.70), also woodcut vignette ills in text. Publisher’s pictorial boards, rather marked and soiled, rebacked with recent morocco spine and corners. The three hand-coloured plates in good condition, as usual, the remaining engraved plates very slightly browned at their blank outer margins, again as usual, and the text pages in good, clean condition throughout. Nineteenth century armorial bookplate of William Henry Wills (later 1st Baron Winterstoke, tobacco magnate and politician).

A large paper copy of the first and only edition of what is the best contemporary publication on William Beckford’s extravagantly Gothic house at Fonthill, built for him by James Wyatt between 1796 and 1812. Rutter began the book when the house still belonged to Beckford, but completed it after Beckford had sold the house to John Farquhar, and in its finished form it is a remarkably vivid memorial to the house in the closing days of Beckford’s period of ownership. Rutter’s text is eloquent on the opulence of the interior and of its furnishings, and his plates convey the grandeur of the central tower (soon to collapse) and the appearance of the principal rooms. Our copy contains, as is customary, an extra-unnumbered engraved view of the house from the south-west, not called for in the “Descriptions of the Embellishments”. Abbey, Scenery 418 (as this copy) ; BAL Cat 2881 (the better of the two BAL copies is a copy of the earlier ordinary paper issue, differently paginated and incorporating a lengthy list of subscribers).