Select views of London; with historical and descriptive sketches of some of the most interesting of its public buildings.

London, Rudolf Ackermann, 1816.

4to, pp. [8], 159, [1], with 76 full-page hand-coloured aquatint plates, small section replaced at foot of title-page, a little foxing to endleaves, occasional light-offsetting, small stain in blank upper margin of a few leaves at start; else a very good copy in later full crimson morocco gilt by Bayntun Riviere, spine gilt in six compartments, board edges and turn ins gilt, all edges gilt, with a matching slipcase of half morocco over cloth boards.


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First edition of this guide to the finest historical buildings and house interiors of London, compiling Papworth’s contributions to Ackermann’s monthly periodical, ‘The Repository of the Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics,’ for the first time.  Each of the 76 plates is accompanied by a brief history of the locality. Beginning with St. James’s Palace, Papworth perambulates around the squares of West London, taking in the Inns of Court, galleries, museums and gentlemen’s clubs before heading east to the City churches, the Bank of England, and Newgate prison.

John Papworth was a noted architect, championing the transitional style between the late Georgian and early Victorian periods. He was a long-standing associate of Ackermann, both contributing to his publications and designing his premises. Famous for structural innovations such as the use of cast iron as roof support, Papworth was also the first to promote the now ubiquitous single pane plate-glass windows for shop displays. The present work is one of his finest and most famous.

Abbey, Scenery, 217; Adams, London Illustrated, 1604-1851, 117; Ford, Ackermann, p.227; Hardie, English Coloured Books, p.112; Tooley, English Books with Coloured Plates, 1790 to 1860, p.188.

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