Selected plates

  • Entire book
A Book of Ceilings, in the Style of the Antique Grotesque...
London: Printed for the Author, 1776.
FIRST EDITION. large folio, [6], ii, [2], ii, 11, [1]pp., title page in English and French with imprint taken from English part, with subtitle dated 1774, engraved dedication, list of subscribers and 'To the Public' leaf, parallel English and French texts, 48 etched plates of ceiling designs, plates 1 to 6 hand-coloured, measurements in manuscript, plates 7 to 12 with measurements in manuscript and signed by hand: 'G. Richardson Ft.' plate 40 double-page, some light foxing, expertly rebound in a cont. style half calf, spine in gilt compartments, red morocco title label, marbled boards, an attractive copy. Richardson had worked as a draughtsman in the office of Robert and James Adam before setting up on his own. Richardson published the present work, originally issued in parts from 1774, to illustrate his skills as an architectural draughtsman and was strongly influenced by the Adam style. The list of subscribers include Duke of Buccleugh, Earl of Bute, Earl of Kerry, Duke of Northumberland, John Adam, William Chambers, William Ince, James Paine and James Wyatt. There can be little doubt however that it was Adam's folio of executed designs described in French and English that prompted Richardson to start publishing his own works in a similar format in 1774. By then, according to his account, 'many of the nobility and Persons of Distinction and the most eminent Architects [had] already patronised [his ceiling designs]. and warmly recommended their publication'. (Harris)

Coloured plates in order:

1. Plate 1. Anti Room. Nymphs preparing a sacrifice.
2. Plate 2. Dressing Room. Hercules and Omphale - this ceiling is executed for the Rt. Hon, the Lord de Montalt in Dublin, by Mr Edward Robbins.
3. Plate 3. Drawing Room. The story of Vertumnus and Pomona. The boys in the smaller circles are allegorical representations of the seasons.
4. Plate 4. Bed Chamber. mars and Venus attended by Cupid.
5. Plate 5. Library. Nymphs adorning a vase supposed to contain the ashes of a deceased companion. The boys and griffins in bas-relief, are emblems of Love and Immortality.
6. Plate 6. Dining Room. The picture in the centre represents the Judgement of Paris; those in the end compartments, are various Bacchanalian boys at play, in imitation of antique bas-reliefs.
Abbey, Life. 56; Archer 428.2; Harris 735; Berlin Kat. 3995.
Hand coloured plates
18th Century & earlier, Architecture/Mansions, British Isles
Stock ID