(Designs for Monuments)
Designs for monuments including grave stones compartments wall pieces and tombs on 40 plates.
London, “printed for I. & J.Taylor at the Architectural Library, No.56 Holborn” nd (but published not long before September 1791)).
4to. 40 engraved plates (of which plate 1 is decorative engraved title leaf), with 8pp publishers’ catalogue bound in at end. Contemporary marbled boards, neatly rebacked with calf spine. Early nineteenth century armorial bookplate of John Ruggles-Brise, Spains Hall, Finchingfield, Essex. Some intermittent spotting, heaviest on the title leaf and last two plates. An untrimmed copy.
One of the few pattern books issued by the Taylor firm in the late eighteenth century not to be held either in the British Library or in the British Architectural Library. The designs are mostly for sculptured wall tablets of various sizes, all in neo-classical style and usually surmounted by busts, urns or obelisks. Some of the larger ones incorporate sculptural reliefs, and the largest of all, grouped together towards the end of the volume, include three which are set in Gothic niches. There is no accompanying clue to the identity of the individual responsible for the designs, or indeed to the identity of the engraver responsible for the plates, but the designs that include reliefs (e.g. plates 20, 30 and 35) indicate a level of professional competence. The two final plates (plates 39, 40), depicting carved cherubs, are in a different style and may have been added to make the total of plates up to a round number. The book must have been published before Isaac Taylor’s retirement from the Taylor firm, and the firm’s consequent change of address from 56 Holborn to 59 Holborn, events which both seem to have taken place in late 1797 or early 1798, and it was in fact published rather earlier than that, for its existence is mentioned in a supplement to the 1786 London Catalogue of Books listing publications that had appeared prior to September 1791 (as Ed Lincoln has kindly informed us). The only other copy of it that we have traced in a major institutional library is that in the library of the Getty Research Institute. The accompanying publisher’s catalogue, entitled “A Catalogue of Modern Books on Architecture, theoretical, practical, and ornamental”, carries J(osiah) Taylor’s name only, and can be dated to 1818 by the listing in it of David Laing’s Plans … of the New Custom House as a book “just published”(cf. BAL Cat 3273, assigned there to 1818 ?, although the BAL Cat version differs from the present one). This shows that the Taylor firm must still have had copies of Designs for Monuments in its stock well into the nineteenth century, and it is surprising that the book should be so unfamiliar.