The grand palaces of England depicted in an outstanding series of hand-coloured plates.
Pyne had been engaged by Ackermann to write the text of the Microcosm of London in 1808 and working on that book gave him the idea of writing and publishing a similar picture-book of architectural exteriors and interiors. This set of plates could not hope to equal the popularity of Ackermann’s Microcosm, since there could only be a limited public for a series consisting chiefly of well-upholstered palace interiors peopled only by the occasional decorous gentleman or lady-in-waiting. Pyne’s solution was to publish it at twice the price of the Microcosm knowing that it would still sell to its intended market of the court circle and the wealthy bourgeoisie. Its interest today lies in its careful drawing of vanished or altered interiors and the furnishings and objects of art since dispersed, particularly in the Buckingham Palace apartments prior to Nash’s alterations of 1825 and of Carlton House before its demolition in 1827-8 (to make room for Nash’s terrace).
Although a noted artist and engraver in his own right, Pyne supplied only the text for this work.
First edition; 3 volumes, folio (350 x 290 mm); 100 hand-coloured aquatint plates engraved by T. Sutherland, W.J. Bennett, R. Reeve, D. Havell and J. Bailey after the original drawings by J. Stephanoff, R. Cattermole, W. Westall and G. Samuel, slight spotting in vol. II on text pages; contemporary half calf gilt, marbled boards, green morocco lettering pieces, some neat restoration to the joints and corners; , [iv], , 188, , 21; [vi], 88, , 28, , 88; [vi], 80, , 92, 13 pp., sub-titles; overall a very attractive copy.
Adams 132; Abbey Scenery 396; Tooley, 389; Prideaux pp. 142-3.
Stock ID: 98949