Chambers, William: DESIGNS OF CHINESE BUILDINGS, FURNITURE, DRESSES, MACHINES AND UTENSILS. New York, 1968. 8, 19 pp. text plus 2 pp. b/w illustrations and drawings. 34x25 cm. Boards.
Sir William Chambers (1726-1796) made three voyages to the East in the service of the Swedish East India Company, gaining a reputation in Sweden as an accomplished sinologist.
In 1749, he returned from Canton on board the Hoppet, with material for the preparation of this volume. It was Chambers' first book, and the first attempt, according to John Harris, to present Chinese architecture as a 'subject worthy of the kind of serious study formerly reserved for western antiquity.'
Chambers' travels in China were restricted to the neighbourhood of Canton, where he believed the buildings to be representative of the national taste and practice. His book is now a quite invaluable record as so many of the buildings no longer exist, largely being ephemeral garden structures.
The publication of the book was hugely influential and gave a tremendous impetus to the chinoiserie style. The French issue of the work was an expedient move as the Chinese taste was about to take hold on the Continent, with Le Rouge pirating the plates for his work 'Jardins Anglois-Chinois et Jardins de la Mode', 1770-89. Hard-to-find faithful facsimile of the rare 1757 English edition.
Subjects: Rare Books Design
Available, as of: 12/02/2018
Was item 349 in printed List 191.
Record produced by Hanshan Tang Books, www.hanshan.com.