I got in touch with the book „Rural architecture in the chinese taste…“ by William and John Halfpenny in the reading room of the ETH Central Library.
General subject of the book:
The book is a is a beautifully illustrated 18th century instruction or pattern book, designed to assist the people creating and building Chinese structures in regional areas. In its preface Halfpenny describes the purpose of the book as: “The art of designing architecture is not confined to any particular Taste or Country, more than justly observing a graceful Symmetry, and an exact Proportion thorough the whole. And the Chinese Manner of Building being introduced here with Success, the few following Essays are an Attempt to rescue those agreeable Decorations from the many bad consequences usually attending such slight structures, when unskilfully erected: Which must often unavoidably happen at a Distance from this Metropolis, without such Helps as, I flatter myself, the Workmen will here find laid down…”
Organisation of the book:
The book is split up into 4 parts. The first, “Of rural buildings in the Chinese taste for temples, triumphal arches, garden seats and palings”, includes illustrations, the second part continues in this theme, with a further illustrations, many of these on large folding pages. The third part depicts and talks about, “New designs for Chinese doors, windows, piers, pilasters, garden seats, green-houses, summer-houses.” Part four consists of illustrations that depict gates, palisades, staircases, chimney-pieces, chairs and ceilings. Also there are “full instructions to the workmen”, “a near estimate of their charge” and “hints where, with most advantage, to be erected.” inside the book.
Size of the book:
traditional standard format: Crown octavo
Total number of pages and illustrations:
With all pages of the four parts combined the book has 142 pages. If you take all the empty pages into account the book consists of approx. 160 pages.
Total number of illustration is 64.