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Ghastly Good Taste.

Or, a Depressing Story of the Rise and Fall of English Architecture.

London: Chapman & Hall Ltd, 1933 Stock Code: 123746
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Ernö Goldfinger's copy

First edition, first state, the Hungarian-born architect Ernö Goldfinger's copy, with his ownership signature to the front free endpaper. Having immigrated to England during the 1930s, Goldfinger became a prominent member of the London-based Modern Architectural Research Group (known as MARS), of which Betjeman was also a member. "The force of Goldfinger's personality, charming at times, explosive at others, was at the root of his achievement, and during his lifetime was almost better known than his architecture. His late work can now be seen, however, as the only major expression in Britain of the mature modern architecture of the 1950s and 1960s, deriving directly from the radical architectural thought of continental Europe in the period of the First World War" (ODNB). He threatened to sue Fleming over the use of his name for Bond's eponymous villain, a dispute which was eventually settled out of court.

Playing an unusually active role in the production of this first edition, Betjeman designed the mixed modern type layout used for the front board of Ghastly Good Taste himself.

Confused? Read our glossary


Octavo. Original blue cloth-backed pink paper boards, titles to front board and spine label in black, with spare label tipped in to front pastedown.


1 folding illustration to rear (107 x 18.2 cm) by Peter Fleetwood-Hesketh.


Pencil annotation correcting "Nash" to "Smirke" on p. 103, a mistake corrected in the errata slip, tipped in before p. 1. Spine faded and rubbed, some loss to spine label, boards soiled with a few areas of light dampstain to rear board, text block partly split after front free endpaper, contents foxed, overall a very good copy.


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