Wyatt, Matthew Digby

Specimens of the geometrical mosaic of the Middle Ages with a brief historical notice of the art founded on papers read before the Royal Institute of British Architects The Royal Society of Arts and the Archæological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.

London, for the proprietor nd (1848).

Reference: 11597
Price: £1 [convert currency]

Full Description

Large folio. Chromolitho title leaf, printed dedication leaf, 26pp, (20) chromolitho plates (numbered 2-21, plate 1 being the title leaf). Original printed boards (binding designed by Wyatt), neatly rebacked with morocco spine (the boards rather marked and stained). Title leaf repaired for small tear at blank lower margin and some faint damp marks in lower margins, but nonetheless a good copy internally. Author’s presentation copy to his brother, the architect Thomas Henry Wyatt (1807-1880), President of the Royal Institute of British Architects 1870-3, with author’s ink presentation inscription and Thomas Henry Wyatt’s armorial bookplate.

First edition of Matthew Digby Wyatt’s first publication, and a presentation copy from him to his elder brother, Thomas Henry Wyatt, already in 1848 one of the rising stars of British architecture. The book is also an excellent example of mid-nineteenth century chromolithography. In it Wyatt provides a brief but authoritative history of mosaics (based on lectures he had given to various institutions), ending with an account of the success of modern techniques and of the achievements of the Minton firm in particular, and he points out the benefits to architects of using mosaic decoration. The colour plates depict mosaic pavements in churches at Rome, Venice and Palermo, the printing done by Day & Son, “lithographers to the Queen”, from Wyatt’s own drawings, made while he was on an European tour in 1844-6. The book proved influential among contemporary designers.

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