Copper-plate engraving, 480 x 570mm, captioned Atrii Peckwateriensis latus australe sive bibliotheca. Very slightly shaved within platemark at foot, and with old ink and wine (?) stains on one area of right hand margin, extending a little way into the engraved area of the plate, but otherwise in good, fresh state. With central fold.
(Design for Christ Church Library, Oxford).
A very impressive and rare engraving of the final approved design for the Christ Church library building on the south side of the college's Peckwater Quadrangle. It illustrates the proposed building in front elevation and plan, the elevation being taken direct from an original drawing by William Townesend (c.1668-1739), the Oxford master builder who contracted to build the library in 1717 (the drawing itself is preserved at Christ Church, and an entry in the surviving library building accounts record under 17 Aug 1717 that Townesend was then paid for graving a coper plate & printing cutts from the same of the south side of Peckwater Quadrangle). The responsibility for the design of this fine building was however not Townesend's own, for the drawing follows in all essential features a design drawing by the Oxford academic Dr George Clarke, which was itself a revision of an earlier design by Henry Aldrich, Dean of Christ Church 1689-1714. Curiously, this engraving was not reproduced in the late Dr J.N.L.Myres's 1988 Roxburghe Club volume publishing the library building accounts, and is not specifically referred to by Dr J.F.A.Mason in his introduction to that volume, although there is divinably a copy of it in the library archives (see W.G. Hiscock, A Christ Church miscellany, 1946, pp 50-2). It is a pity that its existence should not have been publicised, for it is an exceptional example of English architectural engraving of the period and it records a building that has always been esteemed both by architectural scholars and by the public generally. Purchasers within the EU should note that this item is subject to VAT at 17.5%.