Plans, elevations, sections, and other ornaments of the mansion-house, belonging to the Corporation of Doncaster.
London, printed for the author 1751.
Folio. (6) (including title page with engraved portrait vignette) + 3 + (1)pp, (17) engraved plates (4 double-page), numbered I-XXI, the double-page plates carrying 2 numbers each. Recent quarter calf, marbled boards. A little spotting on plates and slight browning to text leaves, but nonetheless a good copy, unrestored internally.
Only edition of one of the most difficult to find of all eighteenth-century English architectural books. The Mansion House at Doncaster, built in 1745-8 to designs by the architect James Paine (1717-1789), was one of Paine’s very earliest architectural commissions, and this handsome folio publication, printed at Paine’s own expense, was intended both as a record of Paine’s design and as an advertisement for his burgeoning architectural practice. The most nearly comparable previous English architectural monograph was James Gibbs’s Bibliotheca Radcliviana, published in 1747 and recording Gibbs’s design for the Radcliffe Library in Oxford, and it is doubtless relevant that Paine had entered the architectural profession under the guidance of Thomas Jersey, Gibbs’s Clerk of the Works for the Radcliffe Library commission. A decision by Paine to place on his volume’s title leaf a vignette portrait of himself, engraved from a drawing by Francis Hayman, also echoes a precedent set by Gibbs in the second edition of Gibbs’s Rules for Drawing, 1736. The Mansion House itself, an impressive three-bay building in the classical style of the day, was commissioned by the local corporation to provide a suitable venue for official entertainments, along the lines of Lord Burlington’s York Assembly Rooms and George Dance’s Mansion House in London. It may be surprising that the leading citizens of Doncaster, generally thought of today as just a northern industrial town, should have chosen to follow the example set by their grander opposite numbers in York and London, but in the eighteenth century Doncaster’s strategic position on the Great North Road made it a natural stopping point for the nobility and gentry. It should be noted that although the Mansion House survives today, and retains Paine’s elegant banqueting room illustrated on four of the present volume’s plates, the flanking wings that feature in the present volume of designs were never built. Appropriately, the only complete copy of this title that has passed through our hands before the present one was a copy bound up with a copy of Gibbs’s Bibliotheca Radcliviana, which we sold to a private UK collector in December 2000. BAL Cat 2376.