The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide;
or, Repository of Designs for every article of Household Furniture, in the newest and most approved taste... also the plan of a room shewing the proper distribution of the furniture.
Second edition of one of the great pattern books of the eighteenth-century, first published in the preceding year, this printing adding an extra plate. “In 1788 Isaac and Josiah Taylor published The cabinet-maker and upholsterer’s guide… In publishing the Hepplewhite Guide the Taylors were filling a yawning gap. The plates were issued in batches at the beginning of July, September, and October 1787. In January and February 1788 a subscription was promoted in such papers as the Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury and Williamson’s Liverpool Advertiser. The price was 2 guineas. The preface adopts a modest tone: ‘To unite elegance and utility, and blend the useful with the agreeable, has ever been considered a difficult but an honourable task.’ It stressed the Guide’s utility to ‘the mechanic’, to ‘young workmen in general, and occasionally to more experienced ones’. A successful subscription ‘enabled us to exceed the number of plates originally proposed’. The designs, covering many furniture types, are either plain and functional or in a competent but unadventurous neo-classical manner, which seems indebted to the example of James Wyatt. Given their backward character and the fact that they appeared scarcely a year after George Hepplewhite’s death, the traditional suggestion that Alice, his widow, was capitalizing on his designs seems plausible. However, the appearance in 1789 of a second edition with an extra plate, and of six plates signed ‘Hepplewhite’ or ‘Heppelwhite’ and dated October, November, and December 1792 and May 1793 in The Cabinet-Makers’ London Book of Prices edition of 1793 suggests that the firm designed after his death… The Hepplewhite Guide was influential beyond England, in America, in Denmark, where J. C. Lillie used it for designing chairs for Liselund in 1793, and in Germany, where F. G. Hoffmann pirated Hepplewhite designs in his Meubles-Magazin (1795)” (ODNB).
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Folio (358 x 230 mm). Contemporary full tree calf (joints skilfully refurbished), gilt banded spine, red morocco label. 126 plates (two plates numbered 9, one plate numbered 78*, double-page plate numbered 124-25). Pale marginal dampstaining to letterpress, slight stain to plate 1. An attractive, tall copy in a contemporary binding.