The Practical Builder, or Workman’s General Assistant: shewing the most approved and easy Methods for Drawing and Working the whole or separate Part of any Building, as The Use of the Tramel for Groins, Angle-Brackets, Niches, &c. Semi-Circular Arches on Flewing Jams, the preparing and making their Soffits. Rules of Carpentry; To find the Length and Backing of Hips, strait or curved; Trusses for Roofs, Domes, &c.—Trussing of Girders, Sections of Floors, &c. The Proportion of the Five Orders, in their general and particular Parts, Gluing of Columns, Stair-Cases with their ramp and twist Rails, fixing the Carriages, Newels, &c. Frontispieces, Chimney-Pieces, Ceilings, Cornices, Architraves, &c. in the newest Taste. With Plans and Elevations of Gentlemens and Farm-Houses, Yards, Barns, &c.

83 engraved plates. 5, [1] pp., 4 leaves of explanatory text, one leaf of ads at end (an Isaac Taylor catalogue). Large 4to, cont. speckled calf (carefully rebacked by Aquarius), double gilt fillet round sides, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine. London: I. Taylor, 1774.

First edition and a fine copy, with the “Schlossbibliothek Dessau” stamp on verso of title. This was one of the most successful and influential of the 18th-century architectural pattern books and was extremely successful in popularizing the Adam style of ornamentation. This is the first of Pain’s books to express the influence of Robert Adam.

Pain “was constantly in print either with a new book — he published eleven between 1758 and 1793 — or with a revised enlarged edition of an earlier one. In America the demand for his books exceeded that of any other eighteenth-century English author…

“Intending ‘plainly and faithfully to answer the purpose of the manual artificer’, he pared his text to essential instructions and wherever possible engraved these on the plates themselves for the convenience of working users. The plates are the raison d’être of his books. They are clear, unpretentious, undeceptive outline representations of whole parts…and of details in a scale large enough to work from.”–Harris, pp. 338-39.

Fine copy. Some offsetting of plates and title browned around edges.

❧ Harris 640.

Price: $1,500.00

Item ID: 6876

See all items in Architecture, Science, Technology
See all items by