Rambles in the Rhine provinces. Illustrated with chromo-lithographs, photographs and wood-engravings.
London, John Murray 1868.
4to. xiv + (2) + 156pp, 2 chromolitho, 4 woodcut and 14 photo plates (the photo plates are actual mounted photos by Cundall & Fleming, these intermittently faded, as customary with this book). Publisher’s decorative green cloth, gilt (binding presumably designed by Seddon), worn and neatly repaired at spine. Light stain at outer blank margin of frontispiece, otherwise generally clean and fresh internally. Ink presentation inscription on title leaf to “E. St. John Ouvry Xmas 1867” (sic). Roderick Gradidge’s copy (book label).
Seddon (1827-1906), architect of numerous Gothic Revival churches and of what is now the principal building of the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, had visited the Rhineland on an architectural tour in 1851, when young and an ardent disciple of Ruskin. When he revisited it in the late 1860s, his primary role was as a promoter of photography as an aid for architects and historians of architecture, and the photographic illustrations used for the book “were necessarily confined to those objects of which a good point of view, with a favourable light, could be obtained”. A further factor dictating his choice of subject matter, both in terms of text and in terms of illustrations was, as he explains, that in a German architectural context he much preferred Romanesque buildings to Gothic ones (“in no country can the Romanesque be found so strong or the Gothic so weak, even with the colossal cathedral of Cologne in its side of the scales”). It is to be noted that the present copy carries a presentation inscription dated “Xmas 1867”, indicating that the first copies of the book were available before 1 Jan 1868.