Seeley, B.


A Description Of the Magnificent House and Gardens Of the Right Honourable Richard Grenville Temple, Earl Temple, Viscount and Baron Cobham ... Buckingham, Printed and Sold by B. Seeley ... 1777.
New Ed. With all the Alterations and Improvements that have been made therein, to the present Time. With the Description of the Inside of the House. Thin 8vo. 41pp. + [i] Explanation of the plans + [ii] publ. adverts. Folding frontis. plan of the house and gardens, (rebacked repaired sl. creased and with sm. split), folding plate of South and North fronts., folding plan of house, 11 plates, 7 plans of buildings in the garden. Folding plates badly folded repaired and with splits etc., pp.7 cracked along gutter hinge, marginal loss along tail of plate 2 & 5 and fore-edge of pp.9/10, plate 3 with tear silked to verso, some browning, several early scruffy inscriptions, sm. hole to head of t.p., from the Library of Sir Roy Strong, some browning, contemporary calf, some marking and wear, edges of boards tooled in gilt, intricate gilt tooled spine, with gilt lettered red title label. Scarce. Elevations and views drawn by Seeley, plans by W. Fairchild. Views and elevations signed by G.L. Smith as etcher. Dedication signed by B. Seeley. ESTC T73062. Architectural Association Collections Eleanor Gawne ‘... John Harris describes this work as ‘the first comprehensive guide to a house or garden’ of its period. This work was first published by Benton Seeley in 1744 as ‘A description of the gardens of Lord Viscount Cobham, at Stow in Buckinghamshire’ followed by several further editions. By 1777 when this edition was published, the text had to be revised and plates reworked to reflect changes in the house and garden, particularly the rebuilding of south façade. Benton Seeley was a local bookseller and engraver. His Stowe guide books did much to spread the influence of Stowe as a model for the English landscape garden; for example, Peter Hayden has shown how the guide books were a source of Catherine the Great’s Park at Tsarskoe Selo, Saint Petersburg. Stowe was considered ‘the most famous, elaborate and visited’ of the garden circuits – like many others, it had two circuits of the garden, one a short circuit designed for walking, the other a long circuit designed for riding and driving. The bulk of Seeley’s book is taken up with a description of the gardens with several views of the monuments, temples and other garden buildings (by 1760 there were over 30 different garden buildings); the last seven pages feature measured plans of them. Many guide books contained plans. This guide offered a plan of the house and garden, and another of just the house, the rooms identified by letters corresponding to accompanying descriptions. Guide books also indicated the timeframe of the visit as rooms identified alphabetically in the 1777 guide have a specific start and end.’
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