Description

    Langley's Most Important Contribution on the Subject of Gardening

    Batty Langley. New Principles of Gardening: Or, The Laying out and Planting Parterres, Groves, Wildernesses, Labyrinths, Avenues, Parks, &c. After a more Grand and Rural Manner, than has been done before; With Experimental Directions For raising the several Kinds of Fruit-Trees, Forest-Trees, Ever-Greens and Flowering-Shrubs with which Gardens are adorn'd. To which is added, The various Names, Descriptions, Temperatures, Medicinal Virtues, Uses and Cultivations of several Roots, Pulse, Herbs, &c. of the Kitchen and Physick Gardens, that are absolutely necessary for the Service of Families in general. Illustrated with great Variety of Grand Designs, curiously engraved on twenty eight Folio Plates, by the best Hands. London: Printed for A. Bettesworth and J. Batley, J. Pemberton, T. Bowles, J. Clarke, and J. Bowles, 1728.

    First edition. Quarto (9.9375 x 7.75 inches; 252 x 197 mm.). [2, title], [2, dedication], iii-xvi, [7, contents], [1, "A Catalogue of Herbs to be dry'd, for use in Winter" and "Errata"], 207, [1, blank], 191, [1, advertisements] pages. Twenty-eight folding plates drawn by Batty and Thomas Langley and engraved by Thomas Bowles and David Lockley, numbered I-XXII and I-VI. Title printed in red and black. Decorative woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials.

    Contemporary sprinkled panelled calf, neatly rebacked to style. Spine decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with six raised bands, black morocco label ruled and lettered in gilt, and date in gilt at the foot. Endpapers renewed. Slight abrasion to some areas of the top edge. A few leaves show faint yellowing from having been damp. Occasional mostly marginal soiling or staining. Several plates have expertly repaired tears or have been strengthened on the verso.

    Part VII ("Of the Kitchen Garden") has typography similar to that of preceding sections, but opens with a special introduction and new ornaments, and uses new paper and new pagination" (Hunt).

    "Batty Langley [1696-1751] was an architect and garden designer who was particularly noted for his labyrinths and his rebellion against the stiff layouts of London and Wise. The plates in this volume show many mazes. He states his view in the introduction, p. [iv]: 'Nor is there any Thing more shocking than a stiff regular Garden; where after we have seen one quarter thereof, the very same is repeated in all the remaining Parts, so that we are tired, instead of being further entertain'd with something new as expected.'" (Hunt).

    "The New Principles is [Langley's] most important contribution on the subject of gardening. It is the culmination of both his work at Twickenham Park for Thomas Vernon, and his brief directions for 'arti-natural' design published in Practical Geometry (1726). As such it places him among the earliest exponents of the new style of irregular gardening...If the text of New Principles is derivative...its plates are the opposite. Inventiveness runs rampant in his designs for serpentines; he 'confounds, surprises, varies, and conceals the bounds' beyond Pope's wildest dreams. His writhing walks-guaranteed to prevent the ambulatory from every [sic] knowing where he is or whether he has been there before-provide relief from the boredom and expense of long, straight avenues and rigid, radiating arms...The garden is not the only arena for Batty's wanton, 'arti-natural' lines. He recommends them as 'exceeding beautiful in building, as in ceilings, parquetting, painting, paving, &c.'. This, in 1726 [sic], is well in advance of Hogarth's Line of Beauty and must be regarded as a first step towards the rococo style in England, a style to which Langley had a natural and lasting affinity...The New Principles with its twenty-eight plates was the earliest pattern-book for arti-naturalists" (Harris and Savage, British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785, pages 262-263).

    Hunt 472.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
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