Rawlins, Thomas

Familiar architecture ; consisting of original designs for gentlemen and tradesmen, parsonages and summer-retreats ; with back-fronts, sections, &. Together with banqueting-rooms, churches, and chimney-pieces. To which is added, the masonry of the semicircular and elliptical arches, with practical remarks.

(No place of publication but evidently Norwich), “printed for the author” 1768.

Reference: 13542
Price: £2,395 [convert currency]

Full Description

Folio. (2) + 30pp, printed leaf with list of subscribers, and a printed leaf following plate LX, headed “References to the Apparatus”, (60) engraved plates numbered I-LX. Quarter calf, contemporary marbled boards. Signed in ink by author at foot of title leaf as called for (”N.B. No copy of this work is authentic that has not my name in my own handwriting affixed to it in the title page”). Traces of removed bookplate on front pastedown endpaper. A good, large, clean copy.

First edition of this volume of designs for small houses, some of these town residences for gentlemen or wealthy tradesmen, others country villas. The volume also offers designs for centrally planned churches or chapels, and designs for chimneypieces. What distinguishes the volume from others of this date is that its author, Thomas Rawlins (c.1727-1789), had built up a flourishing business as a monumental mason, operating from premises in Norwich, Norfolk – Gunnis praises his “monuments in coloured marbles” for their “delightful and delicately carved details” – and that both in his introductory text and in his explanatory remarks about the designs themselves he writes from his experience as a stone mason, concentrating on practical aspects of architecture and disagreeing with more eminent members of the architectural profession. Although his documented or attributed architectural commissions, mainly in Norwich itself, are not numerous (see Colvin), Rawlins states that architecture had “been from infancy my constant amusement” and “the entertainment of my leisure hours”, and the list of subscribers to the present volume includes Sir William Chambers and James Adam, as well as many Norfolk landowners. Subsequent editions appeared in 1789 and 1795, but both of these omit the designs for chimneypieces, and this edition, signed by Rawlins himself on its title leaf and scarce outside older libraries, is certainly the one to have. BAL Cat 2716.