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CHAMBERS, Sir William (1723--1796)
Designs of Chinese buildings, furniture, dresses, machines and utensils. Engraved by the best hands, from the originals drawn in China by Mr. Chambers, architect, ... To which is annexed, a description of their temples, houses, gardens, &c.
London: published for the author, and sold by him: also by Mess. Dodsley; Mess. Wilson and Durham; Mr. A. Millar, and Mr. R. Willock, 1757.
[10], 19, [1] p., XXI pl. ; 54.5 cm. (2°)

Chambers' first book based on sketches he made in 1745 and 1748 on his voyages to Canton in the service of the Swedish East India Company, before turning to architecture as a career. The engravings are by P Fourdrinier, J Fougeron, C Grignion, E Rooker and P. Sandby; only twelve depict architectural subjects, the remaining nine being of furniture, tableware, boats, farming and machinery, and costumes. Chambers had some reputation as a scholar of China, and this was the first serious British book dedicated to Chinese architecture as opposed to rococo chinoiseries. Its reception was mostly favourable despite the author's concern that his descriptions of Chinese architecture might be taken as promoting it over Greek and Roman architecture, and it had a considerable influence on the Continent. See Harris and Savage, pp. 155--157. ESTC t31726; Harris and Savage 113; Millard II, 12; BAL, Early printed books, no. 595.

Copy Notes One copy was purchased at Christie's Revett sale, 26--27 June, 1804 (q.v.) for 12s., lot 77 with the third edition of Chambers's A treatise on the decorative part of civil architecture, 1791 (q.v.).
Copy 1: With unnumbered duplicate proof impressions, hand-coloured, of the three plates of costumes (pl. XIX--XXI). Inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper John Soane. and in pencil 1.7.0. Inscribed in pencil on rear pastedown 14/ and bookseller's codes.
Copy 2: 53.7 cm. Pencil inscriptions on plates I, V and VIII giving legends etc. from text in Soane's hand.
Copy 3: 55.6 cm.

Binding One copy bound in 'Cf Ld' [i.e. calf, lettered] by J. Wingrave for £1 1s., 28 August 1804. (Archive 7/3/23).
Copy 1: C18th sprinkled calf, gilt-tooled spine compartments, red morocco spine-label.
Copy 2: Late C18th/early C19th tree calf, gilt double-ruled borders, gilt-tooled ornaments on spine, direct-lettered in gilt.
Copy 3: C18th quarter vellum, marbled-paper boards.

Reference Number 1873


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