Thomas, William

Original designs in architecture.

London, for the author 1783 (but plates dated 1780 onwards).

Reference: 13433
Price: £5,800 [convert currency]

Full Description

Large folio. 12pp, 27 engraved plates (of which plate 5 is printed in sepia, and hand-coloured, and plate 14 is also hand-coloured, although not printed in sepia). Contemporary quarter calf, marbled boards, rubbed at spine and outer corners. A good, large copy.

First and only edition of this handsome volume of designs in the fashionable neo-classical style of the period by the London architect William Thomas. Nothing is known of Thomas’s career before 1780, but in that year he began to exhibit architectural drawings at the Royal Academy, from an address at 1 Portland Row, London, and designs published in the present volume show that by 1783 his actual or prospective clients included the statesman Lord Shelburne and the Pembrokeshire landowners John Campbell (later Lord Cawdor) and William Mirehouse. The volume also features the Surrey Chapel, in Southwark, built to his designs in 1782-3 for the evangelical preacher Rev.Rowland Hill. The reputation that he had achieved as a promising young architect working in the Adam manner is reflected by a long list of subscribers including the names of Robert Adam himself, Sir William Chambers, Dance, Holland, Mylne and James Stuart. Although the volume carries the date 1783 on its title leaf, the first eighteen plates are dated 1780, 1781 or 1782, and proposals for its publication in parts by subscription had in fact been issued by him as early as 5 October 1780 (see our catalogue 33, item 106). It would be interesting to discover from whom he had had his architectural training. It should be noted that the last of the plates carries designs by him for a table and wall mirrors for two named clients, William Dymock and John Harris, not mentioned in the entry on him in Colvin. BAL Cat 3307 (recording that in all copies seen by the compilers plates 5 and 14 are hand-coloured (as in the present copy), but failing to state that plate 5 is also printed in sepia) ; Harris/Savage 878 ; Berlin Cat 2294.