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BRAYLEY, Edward Wedlake.
Author 2
Daniel Havell.
Historical and Descriptive Accounts of the Theatres of London.
London: Printed for J. Taylor, Architectural Library, High Holborn. 1826
FIRST EDITION, THE ORIGINAL COLOURED ISSUE. 4to, pp. vi, [4], 92, 4; 14 hand coloured aquatint plates and 2 plans; final leaf with marginal tear, minor spotting in places; half-morocco over marbled boards of the second half of the 19th century; a little worn. Gilt to spine; With plates and descriptive, anecdotal and historical text on all of the most famous London theatres of the day. A series of very delicately aquatinted plates with full accompanying text. Daniel Havell was the most gifted of this family of aquatint engravers and responsible for several fine colour-plate books. A copy of this coloured issue was sold for £2. 2s. ‘The names of one or other of the joint authors of the London volumes of The Beauties of England and Wales recur on title-pages of books concerned with London architecture or topography over the better part of half a century. While John Britton was editing Illustrations of the Public Buildings for Josiah Taylor of the Architectural Library, Edward Brayley was writing for the same publisher an account of the theatres of London to accompany a set of aquatinted plates by Daniel Havell. Six of the buildings illustrated are described in both works, for which reason the publisher attached to the Theatres check-list the following note: ‘Sectional Representations, Ground Plans, and Views exterior and interior of the Theatres marked above with an asterisk are given in the first volume of “Illustrations of the Public Buildings of London” ‘ . Items thus marked were plates 1-5 and 8. ‘The aquatints, having a more general appeal than the steel-engraved measured drawings and being printed in a much shorter run, have made Brayley’s the scarcer and more sought-after of the two books - the more so as minor theatres have tended to be overlooked by topographical editors and artists; the first attempt to depict them systematically having been made ten years earlier in 'Londina Illustrata'. (Adams)

Coloured plates in order:

1. Frontispiece. Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
2. Theatre Royal Covent Garden.
3. The Opera House.
4. New Theatre Royal Haymarket.
5. Box Entrance to the English Opera House.
6. The Pantheon.
7. Sadler's Wells.
8. Astley's Theatre.
9. Surry Theatre.
10. East London Theatre.
11. Regency Theatre.
12. The Sans Pareil Theatre.
13. The Olympic Theatre.
14. Royal Cobourg Theatre.
Abbey, Scenery, 227; Adams 148; Bobins II 620.
Hand coloured plates
Architecture/Mansions, London, Theatre
Stock ID