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PRICE, Francis

The British carpenter or; a treatise on carpentry. Containing the most concise and authentick rules of that art in a more useful and extensive method, than has been made publick. [With] A supplement to the British carpenter: containing Palladio’s orders of architecture, with the ornaments of doors and windows, proportion’d and adjusted by divisions on scales; together with the accurate curves of their mouldings, and their application to use.
London, printed by C. Ackers for C.Hitch and L.Hawes, 1759, 4th edition

Designs for timber bridges
Designs for timber bridges

Price's "British Carpenter" is one of the two earliest specialist English works on carpentry. Written primarily to answer the need for information on the increasing variety of complex roof forms developed over the previous half century, the book also gives many designs for floors and bridges as well as domes and spires.

Of particular interest is Price's own design for an arched bridge made up of short, overlapping voussoirs dowled together (a system reminiscent of Philibert de l'Orme) and the details of the timberwork for the dome of St Paul's cathedral.

Methods of connection (including the use of iron straps) and the trussing of long-span beams are discussed and the book includes tables of scantlings, for example of bearing posts and girders, in oak and in fir, differentiating between large and small buildings.

The work was immensely successful and was frequently referred to in later works. First published in 1733 with the title, "A treatise on carpentry", the second edition of 1735 was re-titled "The British Carpenter" and enlarged by the addition of a supplement containing Palladio's orders of architecture. The third and this fourth edition virtually reprints of the second edition.


4to. 2 parts in 1, continuously paginated. (iv) + 172pp, 44 + 16 engraved plates (lettered separately) and an engraved frontis. for the Supplement. Lacking first 2 leaves of prelims. Contemporary full calf, rebacked with old spine laid down and new label. Upper board with some early inked calculations and corners strengthened. Some early patching to lower board. Lacking both endpapers and final plate laid down on new paper. Light dampstains to the lower corners of a few plates at the end and an old inkstain on the lower corner, not affecting printed surfaces. Ownership inscriptions (2) of Isaac Clark, possibly the long-lived American carpenter, Capt. Isaac Clark (c.1666-1768) of Portland, Maine (Framingham Genealogical Register, p.506), of "James Williams His Book 1768" and of John Coxhead. Harris & Savage, No. 710.



Catalogue No: 6159