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Gibbs, James

Rules for drawing the several parts of architecture, in a more exact and easy manner than has been heretofore practised, by which all fractions, in dividing the principal members and their parts, are avoided. The second edition.

London, “printed for A.Bettesworth and C.Hitch in Paternoster-Row” (and others) 1738.

Reference: 14467

Full Description

Folio. (8) + ii + 40pp (last four pages misnumbered, but complete thus), 64 engraved plates. The Signet Library copy, bound in contemporary full calf, with the gilt stamped arms of the Society of Writers to the Signet in the centre of each cover, neatly rebacked. The binding is rather worn and scratched, but the copy is in good, clean internal condition.

The true second edition of Gibbs’s Rules for Drawing, an instruction book by the celebrated British architect James Gibbs (1682-1754), first published in 1732 and widely used during the rest of the eighteenth century in Britain and North America. It provided a new method of drawing the orders “so as to divide the principal members and their parts both as to their heights and projections, so as to avoid fractions”, thus much simplifying the calculations involved. As such, it was of notable benefit to architects and builders who no longer had to use more complicated mathematical procedures deriving from Palladio, and contemporaries must have found of almost equal value Gibbs’s plates, which provide measured outline illustrations of egg-and-dart ornament, arches, doors, windows, cornices, chimneypieces, coved and flat ceilings, mouldings, frets and balusters. Although the unsold sheets of the 1732 first edition had been reissued with a new title leaf in 1736, and had then been described as a “second edition”, the present edition, the real second edition, was published in twenty-one weekly parts between May and October 1738 by a consortium of London booksellers, and was the edition which reached the hands of members of the building trade generally. BAL Cat 1208 (calling for 42 numbered pages, but “42” is likely to be a typographical error, since the text of our copy ends with “finis” on the verso of leaf L2, and leaf L2 is the last leaf called for in the BAL copy’s detailed collation by signatures); Harris/Savage 261.