SMEATON, JOHN. - A Narrative of the Building and a Description of the Construction of the Edystone Lighthouse With Stone: ... an appendix, giving some account of the lighthouse on the Spurn Point, built upon a sand.
London, printed for the author 1791. Imperial folio, uncut in 19th century cloth (spine top repaired, a bit knocked about but solid and worthy); xiv,198pp; engraving on the title and 23 plates. At the end of the dedication is pasted a printed notice pointing out one correction that should now be made - new information since printing began - and one correction added at the end of the preface should be expunged: the original was correct. Title temperately browned or dusty, a bit of browning and some spots here and there. A pleasing copy with architect A.E. Richardson's bookplate and pencil note that he bought this in Plymouth in 1922. ¶ First and best edition, there may be a grander lighthouse book but I can't think what it is. Smeaton privately published this in a small edition using the best paper, designing and constructing it as carefully as his ingenious dovetailed stone building. The book took longer - one plate was engraved in 1762 and the rest were done over some years - and while it was possibly less adventurous and dangerous to make than the lighthouse Smeaton found the writing of it much harder. He apologises for the size of the book and fineness of the paper; he detests the spoiling of fine prints by folding them into a book and blames Whatman for the fineness of the paper: he ordered coarse but Mr Whatman insisted on providing "paper of the best fabric" at the same price as coarse. But still, he remarks, even if the whole of the "small edition in point of number" is sold it won't cover his costs. Smeaton, rightly, was proved wrong with his doubts about public interest after taking so long to produce his book; the second edition appeared two years later and a third in 1813 but he didn't live to benefit from either.AUD 3750.00 [Appr.: EURO 2575 US$ 2818.24 | £UK 2195.75 | JP¥ 313822] Book number 9230
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