George]. Hepplewhite, Alice. The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s
Guide; or, Repository of Designs for Every Article of Household
Furniture, in the Newest and Most Approved Taste: Displaying a Great
Variety of Patterns… in the Plainest and most Enriched Styles; with a
Scale to each, and an Explanation in Letter Press. Also the Plan of a
Room, Shewing the Proper Distribution of the Furniture. The whole
exhibiting near Three Hundred different Designs, engraved on One Hundred
Twenty-Six Plates. London: I. And J. Taylor, 1788. Folio, late
nineteenth-century red crushed morocco gilt, elaborately gilt-decorated
spine, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. $17,000.
Extremely rare first edition, complete
with 126 plates, of one of the most important works in furniture design.
style and reputation rest on his Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide
(1788), which contained nearly 300 designs for furniture and other
furnishings… Simplicity, elegance, and utility characterize the
designs in the Guide. Many pieces were intended to be made in inlaid
satinwood, others in mahogany or with japanned decoration. Chairs with
straight tapered legs have shield-, heart-, and oval-shaped backs,
incorporating urns, festoons, cornhusk chains, and other typical
Neoclassical motifs. Upholstered settees of serpentine form, window
seats with scrolled arms, and small square- and circular-topped inlaid
tables and bookcases with delicate tracery in the glass doors also
characterize the graceful Hepplewhite style” (Britannica).
As no piece of furniture designed by Hepplewhite’s firm has survived,
the Guide is the sole accurate source of information about his style.
Published by George Hepplewhite’s wife, Alice, after his death, the
Guide was published in an exceedingly small edition in 1788. Its
popularity was immediate, with a second edition published in 1789 and a
third edition in 1794. Today, the 1788 first edition is remarkably rare.
The OCLC cites only five copies in worldwide institutions and there are
no records of copies being offered to the public since 1988. Since the
Guide was a practical book used by carpenters and designers, it is often
found in a well-worn state. The 125 plates (including one double-page
plate) in the present copy are in beautiful condition with only a few
minor closed tears and repairs to the final (folding) plate. The title
page, as is often the case, has been remargined with some loss to the
edges (not affecting text). In beautiful crushed morocco binding. A very
handsome copy of a most rare and influential first edition.
click images to enlarge:
examples of Antique American furniture, in the Hepplewhite style, please