This book has a very interesting title which already says a lot about its theme but also explains to whom it is addressed and what its purpose is.
By calling itself “The City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of Designs: or, The Art of Drawing and Working the Ornamental Parts of Architecture” the title already puts the book forward as a design treasure, so when opening it one expects to find a very rich substance. On the other hand, the book is meant to be very universal and to speak to everyone, be it builders or workmans, city dwellers or country people.
Flipping through the first few pages, you realise that it is a treasure chest and that it is extremely rich in information, especially in drawings.
To begin with, a very brief introduction allows the author to explain his aim: to explain the orders. Not an easy task but he does it in a very precise way. He starts with the 5 orders and for each one explains several rules concerning the construction of multiple elements of the temple like the entablature, the column, the capital, the architrave, the cornice, etc.
In a second step he describes several ways to build different parts of the house, such as the entrance, the windows, the niches, the ceiling, etc. This time focusing more on the proposals, size, angles, etc. of all these components.
After this short text section, the book is followed by about 200 drawings that visually explain the texts at the beginning of the book. The book has something of an encyclopaedia feel to it, due to the large number of drawings. The author, Batty Langley, is indeed known to have been a very prolific writer.