HALFPENNY, William (d.1755)
Six New Designs for Convenient Farm-Houses, with their Proper Offices, etc. [Parts I-III] ... [Bound with:] Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste, being Designs Entirely New for the Decoration of Gardens, Parks, Forrests, Insides of Houses, &c. ... The 2d. Addition [Parts I-IV]
London: Robert Sayer, [1751-52]; 1752. Two works (in three and four parts, respectively) in one volume, 8vo. (8 x 5 inches). [Farm Houses:] , 22; , 25-46; , 47-79, [1, blank]pp. 20 engraved folding plates. [Chinese Taste:] 8; 8; 8; , 2pp. Engraved title and 59 engraved plates (11 folding).
Contemporary calf backed marbled paper covered boards.
Provenance: Lord Cadogan (armorial bookplate); James Pain (19th century signature)
Two important pattern books by Halfpenny, epitomizing mid-18th century English country architecture.
Halfpenny's three part work on farm houses provided a series of designs for small houses in the southern counties, with the third part providing designs suitable for western and northern England, as well as Wales and Scotland. "Following Robert Morris, who in 1750 recommended greater attention to cottages and small villas, Halfpenny suggested in the Preface that in small buildings there was greater potential for aesthetic perfection than in large ones ... Here, in effect, he inverted the Renaissance hierarchy of architectural genres, suggesting that smaller buldings, rather than cathedrals or palaces, epitomized architectural details. The text consists of keys for the plans, specifications and cost estimates ... In several plans and elevations there is an attractive clarity to the design, achieved through use of simple geometric forms such as squares, rectangles, and triangles ..." (Archer).
The present volume includes a second work bound in: Halfpenny's important four part work of Chinoiserie designs. By the mid-18th century "interest in the romantic possibilities of Chinese architecture had been piqued by accounts of recent voyages to the East and by a growing taste for the exotic in fashion. William Halfpenny's New Designs for Chinese Temples, issued in 1750, was the first collection of Chinese architectural designs to be published. His work apparently sold well, for over the next two years, he and his son John issued three additional collections of designs, brought together under a new title in 1752 as Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste ... The plates include designs for garden seats, alcoves, temples, and the many other subjects specified on the title pages" (Archer).
Halfpenny's "eminently affordable pattern books, complete with dimensions and estimates, were expressly intended to enable 'workmen at a distance from the Metropolis' ... to erect all manner of rural buildings in a wide variety of materials and in all the latest fashions at little cost. Though often bordering on the ridiculous, his pattern books for chinoiserie in the form of garden furniture, temples, bridges, and other follies were the first of their kind and were enormously successful" (ODNB).
Archer 137.1 & 134.2; ESTC N23353 & T79274; Harris 312 & 301.