About the Text Collection

Adam, Robert. Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia (1764)
Adam, Robert. Works in Architecture (1900-1902, orig. 1778, 1779, 1822)

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Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia (1764) is the first publication of Robert Adam, the celebrated eighteenth century architect and designer. Adam, an influential proponent of Neoclassicism, was inspired by works of classical architecture during his 1754-7 Grand Tour. His travels included a 5-week sojourn in Spalatro (now Split in Croatia) where he visited and studied the palace of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, built around AD 300. By publishing this volume documenting the palace, Adam demonstrated to the public his knowledge of antique monuments and his consequent preparedness to design commissions in the classical style. This book is an impressively large folio volume. It contains a short text explanation and 61 numbered and additional unnumbered engraved plates, some of which are two or three joined pages. For our online facsimile we did not scan blank pages; feel free to contact us for pagination information if needed. The 1764 original edition from which this digitization was made (UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, WIR AD12 Cutter Flat) is lacking four illustration plates. Plates III, VI, VII, and XXVII are made available through the courtesy of the University of Delaware Library, Newark, Delaware. Digital images of these four plates were taken from their copy of the same title and edition.

Robert Adam (1728-1792) became one of the most successful and influential British architects of the 18th century. In partnership with his younger brother James (1732-1794), the two executed over 200 commissions of building, renovation, and interior design. Approximately 9,000 drawings related to their designs exist today. During their lifetimes, the Adam brothers published two volumes of designs under the title Works in Architecture, issued in installments between 1773 and 79. A third volume appeared after their deaths, in 1822. The volumes have been reprinted several times, including a 1900-1902 edition by E. Thezard Fils (Dourdan), which is digitized here. That edition provides facsimiles of the 105 plates and text in English and French of originals dated 1778, 1779, and 1822. The copy scanned is from the collection of the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, NA997 A4 A38 Flat. Blank pages were not scanned.

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Arrowsmith, H. W. and A. The House Decorator and Painter’s Guide; containing a series of designs for decorating apartments, suited to the various styles of architecture (1840)


H. W. and A. Arrowsmith’s The House Decorator and Painter’s Guide; containing a series of designs for decorating apartments, suited to the various styles of architecture (1840) provides 61 illustrations of wall decoration along with a lengthy essay chronicling the history of domestic decorative styles from classical antiquity to modern France. The plates, some in color, show full room or wall views, as well as large-scale details. Plates have accompanying commentary. The text of the historical essay is distributed between the illustration sections, sometimes merging (rather confusingly) with the plate descriptions. Nonetheless, both portions of this volume by Henry William and Aaron Arrowsmith, “decorators to Her Majesty,” are valuable for those studying decorative arts and material culture of the early 19th century. The patterns provide design evidence, and the essay gives insight into the historical understanding of styles and revival usage. This book is part of the collection of the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, WSH AR6 Cutter.

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Avery, Clara Louise.  American Silver of the XVII & XVIII Centuries: a study based on the Clearwater collection  (1920)

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In 1920, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and C. Louise Avery of its Department of Decorative Arts published American Silver of the XVII & XVIII Centuries: a study based on the Clearwater collection. After a groundbreaking 1906 exhibition of Early American silver mounted by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Alphonso Trumpbour Clearwater (1848-1933), a judge from Kingston, New York, began to amass his own collection of Colonial silver. His aim was to demonstrate through his collection both the high standard of workmanship of the early craftsmen as well as the level of aesthetic appreciation shown by the early patrons who supported the craft. This 1920 treatise and catalog produced by Avery and the Metropolitan Museum highlight the Clearwater collection and draw on objects from other collections when needed to advance understanding of this expanding area of interest in early American material culture. R. T. H. Halsey, who authored the 1906 exhibition catalog at the Boston Museum, includes a preface in this 1920 work.

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Barber, Edwin Atlee.  Anglo-American Pottery (1899)
Barber, Edwin Atlee.  American Glassware (1900)
Barber, Edwin Atlee.  Tulip-ware of the Pennsylvania-German Potters (1903)
Barber, Edwin Atlee.  Marks of American Potters (1904)
Barber, Edwin Atlee.  Artificial Soft Paste Porcelain, France, Italy, Spain and England (1907)

Barber, Edwin Atlee.  Lead Glazed Pottery (1907)
Barber, Edwin Atlee.  Salt Glazed Stoneware, Germany, Flanders, England and the United States (1907)
Barber, Edwin Atlee.  Tin Enamelled Pottery (1907)
Barber, Edwin Atlee.  Pottery and Porcelain of the United States (1909)

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Edwin Atlee Barber (1851-1916) was Curator and later Director of the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, with a research interest in ceramics.  He catalogued ceramics collections for such institutions as the Pennsylvania Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Wadsworth Athenaeum, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Hispanic Museum, N.Y.  Although born in Baltimore, Barber traveled as a young man to the ancient ruin districts of Colorado, Utah and Arizona with the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey.  He developed an interest in the pottery of that region and published several studies of it.  He also published on the ceramics and glassware of other regions of America and Europe. Nine titles are included here.  The volumes digitized are from the University of Wisconsin, Madison libraries.

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Belcher, John. Later Renaissance Architecture in England (1901)

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Later renaissance architecture in England; a series of examples of the domestic buildings erected subsequent to the Elizabethan period (1901) provides a visual tour of British architecture for the period 1640 to 1800. This lavish, large-format, two-volume publication presents the classical style buildings in photographic illustrations and measured drawings and plans embedded in the descriptive text. Author/editor John Belcher (1841-1913) was a practicing architect, president of the Royal Institute of British Architects (1904), and member of the Royal Academy (1909). He was also a founding member of the Art Workers’ Guild (1884) promoting the ideal of uniting architecture with the decorative arts. Belcher’s co-editor was architect and writer, Sir Mervyn E. Macartney (1853-1932), Fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects. This book is part of the collection of the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, NA540 B4 (Flat). In this online edition, blank pages at the reverse of the illustration plates were not reproduced.

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Benjamin, Asher. The American Builder’s Companion (1808)


Asher Benjamin’s The American Builder’s Companion… (Boston, 1806) is the second book by this New England architect and was written in collaboration with Daniel Raynerd, a stuccoist. Benjamin’s earlier 1797 publication, The Country Builder’s Assistant, has been called the first original American architectural pattern book. In this second, better organized and illustrated 1806 pattern book, he continues his attempt to encourage a distinctive American architecture suited to the materials and labor available locally. Benjamin’s volumes provide an American counterpoint to British publications popular at the time, including those by William Pain. The volume digitized here is housed at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, NA2610 B4 1806.

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Bigelow, Jacob. American Medical Botany (1817-20)

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Jacob Bigelow (1786-1879) was a Harvard professor of materia medica, the forerunner discipline to pharmacy, when he compiled American Medical Botany. This work in six parts, later bound into three volumes, appeared in 1817-1820. Within it, 60 colored illustration plates and their associated text depict and describe native American plants of interest to medical practitioners. As, debatably, the first American botanical book (in a close tie with William Barton’s Vegetable Materia Medica), this title is of interest to historians of science. It is also of interest in the decorative arts and material culture since the work represents the state of Early American book illustration. It not only provides color illustrations of the specimens to aid in plant identification, it is innovative as the first book containing illustrations printed in color. Prior books were customarily hand-colored after printing in a secondary process. As a “first” on many levels, this online book should be of value to researchers across multiple disciplines. The original text for this electronic facsimile is available at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson T 286-288.

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Bishop, J. Leander. A History of American Manufactures (1868)


Dr. J(ohn) Leander Bishop (1820-1868) was a surgeon in the 7th Pennsylvania Reserves during the American Civil War and a division head in the Bureau of Statistics at the time of his death.  His 3-volume work, A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860: exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution; and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census (1868, third edition) is digitized here from volumes held by the Wisconsin Historical Society Library.  Together the volumes provide a detailed, comprehensive summary of the American production industry as seen from the mid-19th century vantage point.  Volume 1 addresses the survey topically, by type of manufacture.  Volume 2 provides annals of manufactures chronologically by decade.  Volume 3, credited to the work of Edwin T. Freedley and, for the statistical portion, to Edward Young, gives accounts of the noteworthy manufacturing establishments of the United States grouped by city or region.  The volumes provide supporting statistical information compiled by the U.S. Census and other organizations.

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Bonaparte, Charles-Lucian. American Ornithology, or, The Natural History of Birds Inhabiting the United States… (1825-33)

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Charles-Lucien Bonaparte (1803-1857) was nephew to Napoleon I and the eldest son of Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino (Italy) and known as a collector of paintings and antiquities. The young Bonaparte shared his family heritage of involvement with politics and art, but he also pursued an active career as a zoologist. In the United States from 1822 to 1828, Charles-Lucien Bonaparte contributed a 4-volume addendum to Alexander Wilson’s compilation list of American birds. Bonaparte’s American ornithology, or, The natural history of birds inhabiting the United States, not given by Wilson: with figures drawn, engraved, and coloured, from nature was published initially in Philadelphia, 1825-33. Two copies of this important early work are available on the UW-Madison campus. The volumes digitized are from the UW-Madison, Biology Library Rare Book Collection, PE B64 Cutter.

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The Book of Trades (c. 1829)


The Book of Trades; or, Familiar descriptions of the most useful trades, manufactures, and arts, practiced in England: and the manner in which the Workmen perform their various Employments (undated, copy inscribed 1829) provides the reader with concise descriptions of fifty-four trades. Originally intended for young people, this volume reflects the education of children regarding craft professions, as well as providing clear descriptions of the historical work processes for the contemporary reader. This small volume (less than 4 x 6 inches in size) also contains 18 illustrations. The volume is held at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, HD2346 G7 B63. See another book of this type titled “Artificiana, or, a key to the principal trades…” (1819) also at Special Collections, Thordarson T 129.

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Bowles, Carrington. Bowles’s Florist: Containing Sixty Plates of Beautiful Flowers… (1777)

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Carrington Bowles (1724-1793) belonged to a prominent dynasty of London print and map dealers whose publications ranged from artist instruction manuals to coach fare guidebooks, with illustrations ranging from maps and topographic engravings to portraits and political cartoons. A botanical-themed book was published under Bowles’ auspices in 1777. The full title conveys its scope and purpose: Bowles’s Florist: Containing Sixty Plates of Beautiful Flowers, Regularly disposed in their Succession of Blowing, To Which Is Added, An accurate Description of their Colours, With Instructions For Drawing and Painting them according to Nature. Being A New Work Intended for the Use and Amusement of Gentlemen and Ladies Delighting in that Art. This small volume, hand-colored and ornately bound with gilt edges, intended for the “amusement of gentlemen and ladies,” exemplifies the refined taste of 1777 London. The original text digitized here is available at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson T 346.

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Brookshaw, George. A New Treatise on Flower Painting (1818)
Brookshaw, George. Groups of Fruit: accurately drawn and coloured after nature… (1817)
Brookshaw, George. Groups of Flowers: drawn and accurately coloured after nature… (1817)
Brookshaw, George. Six Birds, accurately drawn and coloured after nature… (1817)

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George Brookshaw (c. 1751-1823), also known as G. Brown, was once thought to be two separate people. His early career was spent as a London cabinet-maker specializing in painted furniture, often with floral decorations. His commissions in the 1780’s included furniture for the Prince of Wales and other British nobility. After a later decade in which he taught the art of flower painting under an assumed name, Brookshaw resumed his own identity in 1804 and became known for his painting instruction manuals and illustrated natural history publications. A New Treatise on Flower Painting, Or Every Lady Her Own Drawing Master, was originally published anonymously in 1797 and reissued after 1816 under the name Brookshaw. Digitized here is the 1818 London edition belonging to the Chipstone Foundation. (A similar copy is held locally at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson T 422.) Brookshaw also published supplementary drawing manuals on fruit, flowers, and birds. Digitized here is a single volume containing three Brookshaw manuals bound together, all dating from 1817. Titles include: Groups of flowers: drawn and accurately coloured after nature, with full directions for the young artist: designed as a companion to the treatise on flower painting ; as well as Groups of fruit : accurately drawn and coloured after nature…; and Six birds, accurately drawn and coloured after nature…. The source text for this electronic facsimile is available at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson T 418.

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Catesby, Mark. The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1754)


Mark Catesby’s The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, Volumes I and II, were the first texts to be added to this digital collection. This 1754 edition contains both volumes of flora and fauna as well as a map and appended account of the region. Catesby’s text represents eighteenth century interest in exploration and scientific discovery; and the books, beautiful as well as informative, were valued possessions. Originally sold on subscription, the work was possibly the first accurate (or at least, not fantastic) depiction of the flora and fauna of the British Colonies in North America. Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands is one of the natural history books in the Chester Thordarson Collection in the UW Madison, Memorial Library Department of Special Collections. Thordarson had a special interest in ornithology, well represented in Catesby’s works. For more information about the Thordarson Collection or the history of science holdings in Special Collections, please visit Special Collections’ website. Because the text in these volumes was printed in a font difficult for optical character recognition software to read accurately, no keyword searching of the full text is provided. However, section titles are searchable; and all pages of all volumes are viewable online.

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Caylus, Anne Claude Philippe. Recueil d’antiquities Egyptiennes, Etrusques, Greques et Romaines (1752-67)


Caylus’ Recueil d’antiquities Egyptiennes, Etrusques, Grecques et Romaines (Collection of Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek and Roman Antiquities) was published in Paris, in seven volumes, between 1752 and 1767. Anne Claude Philippe, Comte de Caylus, amateur engraver, antiquarian, patron and writer, traveled to Italy and Turkey to view for himself the ancient sites few Europeans visited. In Recueil, he published the illustrated catalog of his own collection of coins and artifacts. The volumes digitized here are the property of the Chipstone Foundation. They are of special historical interest in that they were formerly owned by Josiah Wedgwood and contain annotations and drawings which may be related to the Wedgwood studio. (See Tome I, plate LVII or Tome II, plate X or plate LXXXI for examples of annotations.) Because the text in these volumes was printed in a font difficult for optical character recognition software to read accurately, no keyword searching of the full text is provided. However, section titles are searchable; and all pages of all volumes are viewable online.

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Chambers, Sir William. Desseins des edifices, meubles, habits, machines, et ustenciles des Chinois (1757)


Sir William Chambers (1723-1796) was born in Stockholm to Scottish parents.  He traveled widely before settling in England and establishing his architectural practice.  He became one of the leading architects of his day and was a founding member of the Royal Academy of Arts.  His 1757 publication, Desseins des edifices, meubles, habits, machines, et ustenciles des Chinois, was based on first-hand observation during his travels in Canton. The 21 plates of illustrations depict architecture, ornamental details, furniture, costume and more. Although the taste for chinoiserie was already well established in England by the 1750’s, Chambers’ book became an influential source for Chinese design in France and Germany. Thomas Jefferson’s library also contained this title. The copy digitized here is held at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, NA1540 C5; and a microfilm copy of the English edition is available at Memorial Library Microforms Media Center.

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Chandler, Joseph Everett. The Colonial Architecture of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (1900)

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Joseph Everett Chandler (1864-1945) was a Boston preservation architect and proponent of Colonial Revival style building. Two of his major publications are: The Colonial Architecture of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia (1892, 1900 edition digitized here), in which he documents existing historical structures in 50 photographic plates; and The Colonial House (1916), which advises on new construction in the revival style and historical restoration. Chandler’s restoration projects include the Paul Revere House in Boston, MA, the “House of Seven Gables” in Salem, MA, the Warren House in Portsmouth, NH, and other significant 17th and 18th century buildings.

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Chapman, J. G. The American Drawing-Book (1870)


J. G. Chapman’s The American Drawing-book: a manual for the amateur, and basis of study for the professional artist: especially adapted to the use of public and private schools, as well as home instruction became a standard manual for self-study and drawing instruction in nineteenth-century America. Chapman (1808-1898) studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, was elected a member of the National Academy in 1836, and was commissioned to paint “The Baptism of Pocahontas” for the Rotunda of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. His drawing instruction book was originally published in 1847. The electronic facsimile included here was taken from the 1870 new edition, revised and corrected by the author. The volume is held at the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, WM C46 Cutter.

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Chippendale, Thomas. The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (1754)


Thomas Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director was the most widely-owned furniture design book in America during the eighteenth century. The first edition (published in London in 1754) contains 160 engraved plates of designs for household furniture “in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste.” A second edition with no substantive changes was published in 1755; and an enlarged third edition with new plates was published in 1762. For electronic facsimile, we chose the first edition volume acquired by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 in celebration of the library’s acquisition of its six millionth book. The volume is now housed in the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, CA 15463.

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Collett, John. Designs Both Serious and Comic (1770?)

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John Collet or Collett (c. 1725-1780) was a British painter of landscapes and humorous genre scenes. His work has been compared to that of his contemporary, William Hogarth, but lacks Hogarth’s moral tone. Nevertheless, Collett’s amusing and sometimes vulgar views of the social behavior of both upper and lower classes were popular in their time, and several publishers issued engravings based on Collett’s paintings and drawings. The title page of the volume digitized here notes that the engravings were done by Messrs. Rooker, Grignion, Mason and various others and printed for Robert Sayer and John Smith, according to the Act December 15, 1770. The 36 plates include scenes of rural and village life, single figure studies both clothed and nude, as well as a lion and tiger. The volume digitized is held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, at call number NC1115 C6 A2.

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Cornelius, Charles Over.  Furniture Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe (1922)

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The research interests of Charles Over Cornelius (1890-1937) lay in the architecture and decorative arts of the American colonial and pre-Civil War era. As an architect he worked on restoration of early properties. For the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he served as assistant curator in the Department of Decorative Art (1918-1924) and later associate curator of American Art (1925-1931). His publications include: Furniture Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe (1922), The American Wing (with R. T. H. Halsey, 1924), and Early American Furniture (1926). The Furniture Masterpieces of Duncan Phyfe is digitized here. The author notes that Duncan Phyfe is the only early American cabinet-maker whose work can be attributed based on documentary evidence. The aim of the catalog is to present all the major types of furniture from Phyfe’s best period, with selected variations. Measured detail drawings are provided by Stanley J. Rowland.

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Corner, James M.; Soderholtz, E. E. (Eric Ellis).  Examples of Domestic Colonial Architecture in New England (1901)

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James M. Corner (1862-1919) was a Boston architect who later relocated to Seattle and partnered with architect William E. Boone to design buildings in that area.  E. E. Soderholtz (1867-1959), born in Sweden, resident of Massachusetts and Maine, was an architectural photographer with a later career as an artist creating large-scale garden pottery and concrete forms.  Soderholtz’s photographic work appeared in magazines such as “Architectural Record,” “Country Life,” and “House Beautiful.”  He collaborated with partners to document Early American architecture in a series of books praised for their fine reproductions and well-selected content details.  With James M. Corner, he published Examples of Domestic Colonial Architecture in New England and Examples of Domestic Colonial Architecture in Maryland and Virginia, the first of which is digitized here.  With Edward A. Crane, he published Examples of Colonial Architecture in South Carolina and Georgia, also digitized here.

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The Craftsman (1901-1916)


In 1901, Gustav Stickley, a premier proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement in North America, along with United Crafts of Eastwood N.Y. published the first issue of The Craftsman. The monthly journal was dedicated to the products, ideals and philosophy of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Craftsman espoused the ideal of simple, functional design and the “necessity of producing good art as a means to improve public morals and further public happiness” (Foreword from v.2, no.3, 1902). Topics include furniture making, domestic architecture, interior design, landscape design, decorative arts, textiles, industry and social commentary. There are also numerous articles by and about major artisans and proponents of the Arts and Crafts Movement, such as William Morris, John Ruskin, Charles Binns, Irene Sargent, Frederick Law Olmsted and Harvey Ellis. Full of illustrations and photographs, The Craftsman provides a multifaceted and detailed look into the movement and its beginnings in North America. The journal ceased publication in 1916.

Presented here is a full-text digital facsimile of The Craftsman (1901-1916), made from the holdings of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Steenbock Library and Kohler Art Library. The libraries’ issues are not archivally intact; covers and concluding sections of advertising pages are missing in some cases. However, article content in numbered page sequences is complete. The full text is keyword searchable within the limits of optical character recognition software. The contents for each issue can also be browsed; and thumbnail images of pages in sequence can be displayed using “gallery view.” Indexing of The Craftsman in commercial sources is available via “Readers’ Guide Retrospective” online by the H. W. Wilson Co., and the print volume: “The New Craftsman Index,” by Marilyn Fish (Lambertville, NJ: Arts and Crafts Quarterly Press, 1997).

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Crane, Edward A.; Soderholtz, E. E. (Eric Ellis).  Examples of Colonial Architecture in South Carolina and Georgia (1899?)

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Edward A. Crane (1867-1935) graduated with his Certificate of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1888.  Thereafter he remained in active architectural practice in various professional partnerships, for governmental agencies, or independently, for his entire career.  For the U.S. Treasure Department he contributed to the design of a number of government buildings.  He served as City Architect of Philadelphia (1913-1914) and served as superintendent for the Independence Hall restoration in 1912.  With E. E. (Eric Ellis) Soderholtz, architectural photographer, he published Examples of Colonial Architecture in South Carolina and Georgia (1899?).

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Cunningham, Harry Francis; Younger, Joseph Arthur; Smith, J. Wilmer.  Measured Drawings of Georgian Architecture in the District of Columbia, 1750-1820 (1914)

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In 1914, three young Washington D.C. architects, Harry Francis Cunningham (1888-1959), Joseph Arthur Younger (1892-1932) and J. Wilmer Smith (1893-1979), collaborated on a project to create:  Measured drawings of Georgian architecture in the District of Columbia, 1750-1820, published by the Architectural Book Company.  Sixty-six sheets of drawings document important Georgian structures and details.  Cunningham went on to practice as an architect in both private and governmental service, as well as serving as a U.S. Army officer during both WWI and WWII.  Aside from work in Washington, D.C., he designed structures in Florida, Nebraska and abroad; he also taught at the University of Nebraska as professor of architecture.

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de Wolfe, Elsie. The House in Good Taste (1914)


Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950) is credited as the first American woman to make a professional career in interior decoration. After a background in theater and set design, she began to take commissions for home decoration from wealthy clients. Her series of articles in “Good Housekeeping” and “The Delineator” formed the basis for The House in Good Taste, (1914) digitized here. Elsie de Wolfe’s design principles of simplicity and light (light colors, daylight, reflective mirrors) countered the prevailing Victorian style and shaped the taste of the early twentieth century. Several copies of this title are available on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, including a 1913 edition in the Cairns Collection of American Women Writers.

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Desgodets, Antoine. Les edifices antiques de Rome: dessinés et mesurés très exactement (1682)
Desgodets, Antoine. Les edifices antiques de Rome (1771)

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Antoine Desgodets [also Desgodetz], 1653-1728, was a French architect and theorist, known for his meticulous documentation of classical architecture in and around Rome. Les edifices antiques de Rome, first published in 1682, provided precisely measured drawings of ancient buildings for those interested in the exact proportions of the structures. Eighteenth century Neoclassical architects relied on the text and engravings as a sourcebook. Thomas Jefferson acquired Desgodets’ treatise while serving as American ambassador in Paris during the 1780s, and architectural features of his home at Monticello can be traced to this book.

Two editions of Les edifices antiques de Rome have been digitized here, both taken from the collections of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, libraries. The original 1682 edition, published in France, gained Desgodets the commendation of the French Academy, as well as a reward of 2,000 livres. Its engravings document groundplans, elevations and details of 25 antique structures. After Desgodets’ death, a larger-format 2-volume edition was published in London in 1771, with text in both French and English on facing pages. In order to provide the English text as eighteenth century readers would have experienced it, Volume One of the London edition is also presented here. Volume One covers the first 12 chapters and buildings from the first edition.

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Donaldson, Thomas Leverton. A Collection of the Most Approved Examples of Doorways From Ancient Buildings in Greece and Italy, Expressly Measured and Delineated for This Work… (1833)

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Thomas Leverton Donaldson (1795-1885) was a British architect and professor of architecture, active as a founder of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 1834. As a young man he spent five years traveling in Italy, Greece, and Asia Minor, studying important ancient buildings. His publications reflect his interest in historical architecture. Digitized here is A Collection of the Most Approved Examples of Doorways From Ancient Buildings in Greece and Italy, Expressly Measured and Delineated for This Work… (1833). Along with the 25 illustrated doorway examples, Donaldson provides an overview of ancient customs related to doorways and a side-by-side translation from the Latin of excerpts from Vitruvius’ writings on doorways. The volume digitized here is from the collection of the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, WF D71 Cutter.

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Dyer, Walter A.  The Lure of the Antique (1910)
Dyer, Walter A.  Early American Craftsmen (1915)
Dyer, Walter A.  Creators of Decorative Styles (1917)

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Walter A. Dyer (1878-1943) was an American author and journalist.  He served as managing editor of “Country Life in America” from 1906 to 1914.  Along with stories and essays, Dyer wrote several books on the decorative arts, including:  The Lure of the Antique (1910); Early American Craftsmen (1915); Creators of Decorative Styles (1917); and Handbook of Furniture Styles (1918).  The first three are digitized here from volumes held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison libraries.  Handbook of Furniture Styles is available online through the Internet Archive.

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Edwards, George. A Natural History of Birds; Gleanings of Natural History (1743-64)

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English naturalist George Edwards (1694-1773), like his contemporary Mark Catesby, made a major contribution to the eighteenth century’s understanding of world flora and fauna via his illustrated publications. Edwards, a fellow of the Royal Society and Librarian to the Royal College of Physicians, spent over 20 years compiling the seven volumes presented in digital format here. He began A Natural History of Birds with volume 1 issued in 1743. Three subsequent volumes appeared in 1747, 1750, and 1751. Under the new title of Gleanings of Natural History, three additional volumes were issued in 1758, 1760, and 1764. Illustration plates, 362 in all, present nearly 600 subjects in natural history. The volumes digitized here are the property of the Chipstone Foundation of Fox Point, Wisconsin.

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Edwards, John. A Select Collection of One Hundred Plates: consisting of the most beautiful, exotic and British flowers which blow in our English gardens (1775)

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John Edwards (1742?-1815?) was a British botanical artist whose career flourished during the period 1763-1812. A member of the Free Society of Artists, he exhibited at the Society of Artists as well as the Royal Academy. Aside from his “fine art” endeavors, Edwards was also active in the decorative arts through his designs for textile printers. His book publications began in 1769/1770 with a work issued in monthly parts called Edward’s British Herbal.  The 1775 publication presented here has the more extensive title:  A Select Collection of One Hundred Plates: consisting of the most beautiful, exotic and British flowers which blow in our English gardens: accurately drawn and coloured from nature, with their botanic characters, and a short account of their cultivation, their uses in medicine, with the Latin and English names. The book’s intent is at once aesthetic, educational, and practical. Our copy bears a 1785 inscription from a grandmother to her grandchildren, suggesting that such herbals could be used for the enjoyment and teaching of children. Alternatively, suggestive of a more scholarly audience, Joseph Banks, an eminent figure in British natural history, mentions Edwards’ British Herbal in his 1797 “Bibliography of Natural History” [Catalogus Bibliothecae Historico-naturalis Josephi Banks]. Note that the book’s page arrangement is slightly complex. Two illustration plates are followed by several pages of descriptive text, then more descriptive text pages precede the relevant illustrations. For your convenience, our online Contents subdivides the book into sections of two plates and associated text. The volume from which this online facsimile was made is held at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson T945.

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Elwell, Newton W.  Colonial Furniture and Interiors [1896]
Elwell, Newton W.  Colonial Silverware of the 17th and 18th Centuries, Comprising Solid Sets, Small Wares, Candelabras, Communion Service, etc. [ca. 1899]

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Newton W. Elwell was a photographer active in Massachusetts during the late 19th century.  He excelled at the technically demanding specialty of interior photography.  Aside from the two titles digitized here, drawn from the collection of the University of Wisconsin, Madison libraries, he also published photographs of the then-new main branch of the Boston Public Library in 1896 and a study of eighteenth century interiors of Maryland and Virginia in 1897.  In Colonial Furniture and Interiors, he presents 66 pages of photographs of objects and interiors of Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Colonial Silverware provides 40 pages of photographic images.

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Gleadall, Eliza Eve. The Beauties of Flora (1834)

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In The Beauties of Flora (1834), Eliza Eve Gleadall combines poetry, prose and illustration to convey the sentimental/emblematic as well as scientific and aesthetic aspects of flowers. The author was an instructor of young ladies at a Yorkshire school offering tutelage in English grammar, history, reading, “fashionable works,” French, Italian, music, drawing, dancing, writing, geography, and astronomy. The book is intended as a “chaste recreation” for such suitably educated youth. The 1834 volume contains 20 lithographed plates and was privately published by the author at Heath Hall near Wakefield. A second volume, not available in our collection, followed in 1836. The digital facsimile provided here was made from the 1834 volume held at the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, at Thordarson T 1722. It is featured in a local exhibition entitled “Women and Nature.”

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Grigsby, Leslie B. (Leslie Brown). The Longridge Collection of English Slipware and Delftware (2000)

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The Longridge Collection, one of the finest private collections of British delft and slipware in the world, is documented in a detailed two-volume catalogue written by Leslie B. Grigsby with contributions by Michael Archer, Margaret Macfarlane, and Jonathan Horne. With permission of the copyright holder, the UW-Madison libraries are happy to provide an online facsimile of this catalogue, The Longridge Collection of English Slipware and Delftware (London: Jonathan Horne, 2000), and make the scholarly information it contains available to researchers. The text is fully searchable to the limits of optical character recognition software. The volumes scanned are held in the collection of the UW-Madison’s Kohler Art Library, at NK3740 L66 G75 2000. [In addition to the digitized full text, photographs of the Longridge ceramics are accessible in the searchable image collection of the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts.]

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Halfpenny, William. Useful Architecture (1760)
Halfpenny, William and John. Rural Architecture in the Gothic Taste (1752)
Halfpenny, William and John. The Country Gentleman’s Pocket Companion (1756)


William Halfpenny’s Useful Architecture…in Twenty-five New Designs, with…Instructions…for Erecting Parsonage-Houses, Farm-Houses, and Inns (London, 1760) provides designs “at the most moderate expence.” This builder’s pattern book includes 21 plates, 20 of which provide plan and elevation views for houses and related farm buildings and one which provides designs for trussed bridges. Comparative cost estimates for brick or stone construction are also given. William Halfpenny was the pseudonym for Michael Hoare, a prolific architectural writer. Twelve titles by this author are recorded as being available in the American colonies before 1776. The electronic facsimile was created from the volume housed in the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, WF45 H13 A Cutter.

William and John Halfpenny’s Rural Architecture in the Gothick Taste (1752) and The Country Gentleman’s Pocket Companion (1756) are bound together in a single volume in our local holdings copy. The two titles provide similar content: designs for ornamental garden architecture, such as summerhouses and lodges, enclosed seats and water floats. While the first book emphasizes decorative spires, pinnacles and pointed arches of the Gothic style, the second expands the ornamental repertory to include Chinese and Indian motifs. The illustration plates commonly provide both plan and elevation views. Each design has brief associated text giving building hints such as dimensions, estimated cost, or site suggestions. This digital facsimile was created from the volume housed in the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson T 3194.

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Hepplewhite, George. The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide (1794, 1897 facsimile)


George Hepplewhite, the London furniture designer, died in 1786. No documented furniture from his workshop is known today. Two years later, his widow Alice Hepplewhite published The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide, containing designs for chairs, sofas, beds, tables, and a wide variety of case furniture reflecting the then-prevailing Adam style. Revised editions appeared in 1789 and 1794. A century later, when this furniture style was enjoying a revival, the 1794 edition was re-printed and published in 1897. The 1897 facsimile reprint is digitized here, consisting of a short text introduction and 128 leaves of plates showing nearly 300 designs. The book is located at the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, NK2542 H5 1794a.

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Hogarth, William. The Analysis of Beauty: Written With a View of Fixing the Fluctuating Ideas of Taste (1753)

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William Hogarth (1697-1764), English painter and engraver, authored the book that provided theoretical justification for the serpentine line so popular in Rococo ornament. In The Analysis of Beauty (1753), he elaborated on the scrolling S-curve “Line of Beauty” as the basis for grace in nature and art. Originally published in London, the text also appeared in two German editions and an Italian edition within a decade. The volume digitized here is a copy of the 1753 English edition, held at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections. A 1754 German edition is available for perusal there as well.

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The Housekeeper’s Book… (1837)

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The housekeeper’s book: comprising advice on the conduct of household affairs…prepared for the use of American housekeepers… (1837) is a compendium of useful information on housecleaning, servants, cooking techniques and recipes, flowers, laundry and more. Although the volume’s author is cited merely as “a Lady,” this book has been attributed to Frances H. McDougall (i.e., Frances H. Green). A 10-page contents section provides detailed access to the extensive collection of recipes and hints. This detailed level of household information is useful for the historical study of material culture and everyday life. Since the book was published in Philadelphia in 1837, it thus gives important insight into the material culture of the early United States. The original of this volume is located in the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, at TX715 H832 1837, as part of the Cairns Collection of American Women Writers.

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Isham, Norman.  Early Rhode Island Houses (1895)
Isham, Norman.  Early Connecticut Houses (1900)

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Norman Isham (1864-1943) was an American architect, educator and author, noted for his scholarly and practical work on architectural preservation.  He restored many important Colonial era buildings in Rhode Island and Connecticut.  His Early Rhode Island Houses (1895) was one of the earliest scholarly works on American vernacular architecture and is still respected today for its field methodology.  Isham carried on an active correspondence with the founder of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, advised the Metropolitan Museum on the installation of their American Colonial period rooms, and influenced the succeeding generation of architects and architectural historians as head of the Department of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design (1912-1933).  Digitized here are Early Rhode Island Houses (1895) and Early Connecticut Houses (1900), both co-authored with Providence architect Albert F. Brown (1862-1909?).

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Le Japon Artistique (1888-1891)

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Le Japon Artistique (1888-1891) was a journal published in French, German and English editions for Europeans interested in the arts of Japan, a country that had only recently opened to trade with the West in 1854. The publisher Siegfried (sometimes Samuel) Bing was an influential German-born Parisian art dealer and businessman who imported and promoted Japanese art, both antique and contemporary. Born into a family owning manufacturies in ceramics and glass, Bing was committed to revitalizing Western decorative arts and became a strong supporter of design reform. The Art Nouveau movement, taking inspiration from Japanese style, is said to have acquired its name from Bing’s Parisian gallery called “L’Art Nouveau.” Just as Western decorative arts were influenced by China in the 18th century (see Jan Nieuhof’s “An Embassy from the East-India Company…” for an early illustrated text communicating that aesthetic), so Japan impacted art and design in the late 19th century. The original journal volumes digitized here are available at the University of Wisconsin’s Kohler Art Library at (Cage) N7350 B4. Each of the six bound volumes contains six monthly issues. The individual issues, No. 1-36 (May, 1888-April, 1891), contain a signed article and a number of illustration plates. In each bound volume, issue covers and a comprehensive table of contents are found at the end.

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Johnson, Thomas. One Hundred and Fifty New Designs (1761)


One Hundred and Fifty New Designs, by Thomas Johnson, Carver, contains 53 plates of carving designs useful for ornamentation of mirror and picture frames, tables, stands, chimneypieces and ceilings in the Rococo style. Originally published in London in 1758 in an untitled folio, the titled second edition (London, 1761) is reproduced in electronic facsimile here. The volume is held in the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson 3431.

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Jones, Inigo.  The Designs of Inigo Jones, consisting of plans and elevations for publick and private buildings. Published by William Kent, with some additional designs (1770) 

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Inigo Jones (1573-1652) was instrumental in introducing into England a style of design and architecture based on his study of ancient buildings of Rome and the later Italian classical architecture of Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). Jones’ plans and ideas had widespread and lasting impact thanks in part to their continued promotion through architectural pattern books. These books of engraved illustrations provided visual models in the approved taste for “gentlemen of means” to recreate on their estates. Jones’ British Palladian style could be viewed in books dating from the 1720’s when a notable collection of his designs was published under the auspices of Lord Burlington and William Kent. Early editions of Jones pattern books existed at a number of locations in the American colonies before the Revolution. The 1770 London edition of The Designs of Inigo Jones, consisting of plans and elevations for publick and private buildings. Published by William Kent, with some additional designs was known to exist at the Library Company of Philadelphia by 1793. The 1770 edition digitized here is held by the UW-Madison Memorial Library Special Collections at call number CA 619.

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Jones, Inigo; Charleton, Walter; and Webb, John. The most notable antiquity of Great Britain, vulgarly called Stone-Heng… (1725)

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Stonehenge, the monumental stone circle located in southern England, has provoked wonder and curiosity for centuries, perhaps millennia. A portion of 17th century speculation is reflected in a 1725 compilation of earlier publications by Inigo Jones, Walter Charleton and John Webb, with a lengthy descriptive title: The most notable antiquity of Great Britain, vulgarly called Stone-Heng, on Salisbury Plain, restored, by Inigo Jones … To which are added, the Chorea gigantum, or Stone-Heng restored to the Danes, by Doctor Charleton; and Mr. Webb’s Vindication of Stone-Heng restored, in answer to Dr. Charleton’s reflections; with observations upon the orders and rules of architecture in use among the ancient Romans. Before the whole are prefixed, certain memoirs relating to the life of Inigo Jones; with his effigies, engrav’d by Hollar; as also Dr. Charleton’s, by P. Lombart; and four new views of Stone-Heng, in its present situation: with above twenty other copper-plates, and a compleat index to the entire collection (London, 1725). In 1620, King James I commissioned a measured survey of the monument and charged court surveyor and architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652) to investigate its history. After Jones’ death, his executor and colleague in architecture, John Webb, compiled and published Jones’ observations in 1655. Jones considered the design and execution of Stonehenge too sophisticated for the native Britons and concluded it was of Roman construction. Walter Charleton rebutted that theory in 1663, crediting construction to the Danes; and John Webb defended the Roman temple theory two years later. During the 18th century, with interest in classical architecture and antiquities at the forefront (consider the publications of Desgodets, Caylus and Robert Adams also digitized here), the Stonehenge arguments were reprinted in a single volume, supplemented with engraved illustration plates and a biography of Inigo Jones. The original volume digitized here is held at UW-Madison Memorial Library Special Collections: Thordarson T 2035.

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Jones, Owen. The Grammar of Ornament (1856, 1910 reprint)
Jones, Owen. Examples of Chinese Ornament Selected from Objects in the South Kensington Museum and other Collections (1867)

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Owen Jones (1809-1874), English designer and architect, began a Grand Tour in 1832 that exposed him not only to the classical architecture of Greece but also Islamic design influences in Turkey, Egypt and Spain. Jones’ first publication was a study of the Spanish Alhambra, and his own early architectural work relied heavily on Islamic sources. In the early 1850s, Jones began to lecture on the underlying theoretical principles of ornament as well as their historical forms. His thirty-seven axioms of design were expounded in his influential book, The Grammar of Ornament (London, 1856), which includes over 100 color illustrations of historical styles of ornament. Jones’ later publication, Examples of Chinese Ornament Selected from Objects in the South Kensington Museum and Other Collections (London, 1867), provides an additional 100 color plates based on objects from the London museum we know today as the Victoria and Albert. For digitization we have chosen a 1910 reprint of Grammar, housed in the UW-Madison Kohler Art Library at NK1510 J7, where two editions from the 1860s are also available. The 1867 edition of Examples (plate V. missing) is available as Kohler Art Library NK1483 J7.

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Journal of Design and Manufactures (1849-1852)

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The Journal of Design and Manufactures (1849-1852) was published in London, edited by Henry Cole and Richard Redgrave. Focusing on decorative and applied arts, the journal aimed to improve British industrial design and educate public taste. Actual samples of fabric and wallpaper were included in the issues, and designs analyzed. Attention was also devoted to critiques of contemporary pottery, glass and metals. Other contents include news items, book reviews, and original papers on topics ranging from copyright to the importance of botany study to design. The 1851 Great Exhibition is heavily discussed. Illustrations are scattered throughout. Editors Cole and Redgrave were significant figures in British design education reform. Redgrave (1804-88) was an artist, teacher, and administrator. Sir Henry Cole (1808-1882) was active in education and arts administration, organized the Great Exhibition of 1851, and helped form the applied arts collections that grew into the South Kensington Museum, later the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he served as the first museum director. The six compilation volumes presented here constitute the full run (36 monthly issues) of this short-lived journal. Each volume includes six issues with a contents index. Original volumes are held at the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, call number W 7J821 Cutter.

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Kerfoot, John Barrett.  American Pewter (1924)

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John Barrett Kerfoot (1865-1927), was an American author and editor of magazines including “Life” (literary editor, 1900-18) and “Camera Work” (associate editor, 1905). He developed a collecting interest in early American glassware and other decorative arts. After 1910 his interest extended to American pewter. He undertook its collection during a time when interest and scholarship on the topic were just beginning to emerge. Kerfoot’s personal collection and his research are documented in American Pewter: With Illustrations from Photographs by the Author of Specimens in his own Collection (1924). In it the author aims to unite information taken from documentary sources with evidence drawn from the original objects in order to create a fuller understanding of pewter in America.

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Krafft, J.C. (Jean-Charles or Johann Karl). Plans des plus beaux jardins pittoresque…/Plans of the Most Beautiful Picturesque Gardens… (1809)
Krafft, J.C. (Jean-Charles or Johann Karl). Recueil d’architecture civile… (1812)

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J. C. (Jean-Charles or Johann Karl) Krafft (1764-1833) was a naturalized French architect and designer, originally born in Germany. His illustrated works on gardens and their architectural elements disseminated then-modern design for the edification of his contemporary audience. Today, these works provide continued documentation on gardens and ornamental features that may no longer exist. The 1809 first volume of Plans des plus beaux jardins pittoresque…/Plans of the Most Beautiful Picturesque Gardens… is presented in digital facsimile here. The volume contains text in French, English and German and presents 96 engraved illustrations of gardens and garden buildings. A second companion volume, not digitized here, was published in 1810, including an additional 96 illustrations. The 1809 volume is held on the UW-Madison campus at the Kohler Art Library, SB471 K82.

A second publication by Krafft, entitled Recueil d’architecture civile… (1812), provides 121 leaves of engravings depicting ground plans, elevations and ornamental details of buildings and estates near Paris. Although the short descriptive text in this volume is entirely in French, the illustrations would have interested those Americans with an interest in France and French design. Thomas Jefferson owned a similar title in his library, described in the inventory as “Plans de Maisons de Paris, par Krafft et Ransonette, fol.” The volume digitized here is held at UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, NA 1041 K8.

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Langley, Batty. The City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of Designs (1756)


Batty Langley and his brother Thomas, combining the skills of architect, gardener, drawing master, and engraver, collaborated to produce a popular compendium of architectural and furniture designs, some of which were copied from other pattern books of the time. The City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of Designs (London, 1740, 1745, 1750, 1756, 1770) was advertised for sale by booksellers in eighteenth century Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. Copies were owned by William Buckland, John Mercer, and Robert Carter of Virginia and by Peter Harrison of Newport. The volume’s 200 engraved plates illustrate designs for columns, windows, even decorative fences, as well as furniture. The 1756 edition digitized here is held in the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson T 3496.

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Lear, Edward. Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots: the greater part of them species hitherto unfigured, containing forty-two lithographic plates, drawn from life, and on stone (1832)

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Edward Lear (1812-1888) began his art career while still a teenager. Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots (1832), containing 42 large-format ornithological illustrations, was published before he was 20 years old. The volume is remarkable for its folio size and for content focused on a single family of birds. Under the patronage of Lord Stanley, Earl of Derby, Lear was able to travel abroad and develop his talents as a landscape painter. He traveled extensively for the remainder of his life, making drawings and sketches of the places he visited. Between 1841 and 1860 he published seven books illustrating his travels. During the 1850’s his oil paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy and the British Institution in London. Aside from his career as a topographical painter, Lear was also famous for his wit and wordplay. He authored a number of popular books of limericks and nonsense rhymes, often with humorous illustrations, including “The Owl and the Pussycat.” The original volume scanned for our online facsimile is held at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, at Thordarson T 3524.

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LeRouge, George Louis. Detail des nouveaux jardins a la mode (1777)

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Georges-Louis Le Rouge (Parisian cartographer and map dealer, active 1775-1788) published a series of portfolios on garden designs under the general titles of Jardins anglo-chinois ou details des nouveaux jardins a la mode. Having a wide distribution, these portfolios were influential in disseminating information about new styles of gardening to an international audience. The entire collation consists of 496 illustration plates issued in 21 parts over a span of a dozen years. Complete sets are very rare. Cahier VI (30 plates) is presented in digital facsimile here although blank reverse sides of the illustration plates were not scanned. Cahier VI includes gardens of Windsor, Kew, Renelagh, Darmstadt, St. Cloud, Marley, Trianon and others. Illustrations depict garden plans and views, including structures such as bridges, fountains and garden buildings.The original publication (Cahier VI only) is housed at the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, SB465 L45 1777.

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Lyon, Irving Whitall. The Colonial Furniture of New England (1891)

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Dr. Irving Whitall Lyon (1840-1896) was a New England physician and antiquarian who collected and studied Pilgrim century furniture in and around Hartford, Connecticut. His book, The Colonial Furniture of New England; a study of the domestic furniture in use in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was originally published in 1891. Lyon’s approach to analyzing objects included close examination of individual specimens, comparison with similar known pieces, and deep investigation into primary source documents such as inventories of household furniture, old newspapers, account books, diaries and probates. His methodology makes him a forefather to an approach favored by material culture researchers today. Lyon’s respected book appeared in a limited edition in 1891, with several subsequent reissues and reprints. The 1891 edition digitized here was borrowed from the collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and Archives.

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The Masterpieces of the Centennial International Exhibition Illustrated, 1876 (1876-78)


The Masterpieces of the Centennial International Exhibition Illustrated (1876) is a 3-volume catalog presenting highlights of the fine art (vol. I.), the industrial art (vol. II.), and the history, mechanics and science (vol. III.) on display in Philadelphia at this major international exposition celebrating the U.S. Centennial. The second volume, by Walter Smith, is of particular interest for students of decorative arts. To locate specific illustrations, use the section entitled Contents of Volume II: Illustrations of Industrial Art, at pages v through x, to identify page numbers for illustrations. Then use the “Go to Page” navigational function to specify the page number you select. Illustrations in other volumes are similarly indexed. Note that the third volume contains an essay on the history of the exhibition. Three copies of this catalog series are available on the UW-Madison campus, along with many additional publications associated with the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition.

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McHugh, Joseph P. Designs for Mission Furniture (1904?)

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Joseph P. McHugh (1854-1916), New York interior decorator and retailer, claimed with some justification to have originated the Mission-style of furniture. Whether McHugh, Gustav Stickley or George Clingman is ultimately awarded that title, McHugh can take credit for mass producing Mission-style furniture at affordable prices and fueling the popularity of the style. With his designer Walter J. H. Dudley (1862-1947), McHugh produced a broad range of furniture forms for every room of the house. The catalog Designs for Mission Furniture, believed to date to 1904, provides many line drawings of furniture items and three pages illustrating room interiors. The fragile copy digitized here (note chipped pages) is in the collection of the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, WW M18 Cutter.

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Mercer, Henry C.  The Bible in iron ; or, The pictured stoves and stove plates of the Pennsylvania Germans (1914)

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Multi-talented Pennsylvania native Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930) led an active life as a scholar, collector, writer, and designer. Early contributions were to the fields of archaeology and ethnology. He produced a steady flow of scholarly papers, served as curatorial staff in the University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Department of Archaeology and Paleontology, and was elected to the American Philosophical Society. However, his interests began to expand from prehistoric objects to the implements and artifacts of Colonial American settlers. He collected, cataloged, and analyzed these everyday objects using methodologies similar to those used for prehistoric artifacts. Thus Mercer became one of the earliest scholars to examine history through the material culture lens. His interests broadening further, after studying Pennsylvania-German pottery traditions, he began to work in clay himself. He established the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works and his designs made him a major figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Turning to architecture, he innovated in designs using exposed reinforced concrete. In 1916 he presented to the Bucks County Historical Society a museum of his own design. Mercer Museum and Fonthill Castle still operate today, displaying Mercer’s extensive collection of 30,000 tools and everyday objects of America life before the Industrial Revolution. Among over 170 articles, reports and other publications, Mercer published ten books, including The Bible in Iron (1914), The Origin of Log Houses in the United States (1926), and Ancient Carpenter’s Tools (1929). The Bible in Iron is digitized here from the copy owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society Library.

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Millar, DonaldMeasured Drawings of Some Colonial and Georgian Houses (1916)

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The Reverend Donald Millar, active in New England, was known as a leading authority on 17th century American houses during the 1910s and 1920s. As an architectural historian and draftsman, he completed surveys and measured drawings documenting many examples of significant Colonial architecture. Such carefully collected and recorded data was invaluable to the early historical preservation movement in America. In his Measured Drawings of Some Colonial and Georgian Houses (3 volumes in 2; begun in 1916), Millar provided plans, elevations and details taken from 26 structures dating from the 17th to early 19th centuries, and illustrated in a total of 121 plates. The copy digitized here is held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison libraries. Millar also authored several articles on architectural history and a book of measured drawings of Colonial furniture.

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The Mirror of the Graces… (1811)

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The mirror of the graces; or, The English lady’s costume: …with useful advice on female accomplishments, politeness, and manners…. by a Lady of Distinction… (1811) is a readable and informative “conduct book” directed to young women of the early 19th century. It covers dress, deportment, and dancing, as well as providing recipes for making creams, soaps and cosmetics. There are four colored plates depicting women’s costume for morning, evening, promenade, and the opera. This detailed level of information on behavior and personal adornment is useful for the historical study of material culture and everyday life. The original of this volume is available at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, at Thordarson T2194.

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Murphy, James Cavanah. The Arabian Antiquities of Spain (1815)

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Irish-born architect, James Cavanah Murphy (1760-1814), lived for a number of years on the Iberian Peninsula where he studied and documented historical architecture. His 1795 publication on Gothic architecture at Batalha in Portugal provided stimulation for the Gothic Revival style in England. A later diplomatic post in Spain (1802-1809) allowed him opportunity to research Moorish architecture and decoration in the region. Returning to England, Murphy spent the remaining years of his life preparing his notes and drawings for publication. The resulting book, The Arabian Antiquities of Spain, was only partially published at his death in 1814. Thomas Hartwell Horne added text descriptions to Murphy’s measured drawings, and the whole was reprinted in 1815. Murphy’s careful documentation of the Great Mosque of Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada are appreciative acknowledgements of the Moors’ artistic achievements. The large format illustrations in the book conveyed details of Islamic-influenced ornament to help fuel the Romantic fascination with non-Western cultures. Moorish Revival style became popular in both Europe and America throughout the 19th century. Murphy’s 1815 volume, digitized here, belongs to the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library.

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The New Path (1863-1865)


The New Path (May, 1863-December, 1865) was a short-lived but significant journal published in New York by the Society for the Advancement of Truth in Art. The society and its journal espoused the aesthetic principles of John Ruskin and the English Pre-Raphaelite movement. The journal is of interest for its content and provides an example of one of the earlier art journals published in the United States. The full text is searchable here, relying on optical character recognition software to analyze the scanned pages. This journal is also among those indexed by the UW-Madison licensed resource, Index to Nineteenth-Century American Art Periodicals. The original text volume is available at the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, AP N532 P297.

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Nieuhof, Jan. An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, Emperor of China… (1673)

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Jan Nieuhof (Dutch, 1618-1672) visited China in 1655 on a trade mission to the court of the Chinese Emperor. His account of the trip and description of China were initially published in Amsterdam in 1665, accompanied by illustrations based on first-hand observations. Nieuhof’s Dutch account was thereafter translated into French, German, English, and Latin; and the illustrations were replicated at variable skill levels, sometimes in mirrored images. An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, Emperor of China… (1673), the second English edition, has been digitized here. This edition was translated by John Ogilby and published in London. The volume includes Nieuhof’s text, an additional narrative account by Father John Adams, an extensive appendix taken from Athanasius Kircher’s Antiquities of China, as well as over one hundred illustrations. These early images of China helped fuel a European fascination with Chinoiserie that continued into the next century, and Nieuhof served as a design source for ceramics, furniture veneers, metalwork and more. Nieuhof’s accurate representations of pagoda architecture are especially notable. In the 1760s, a pagoda was erected in London’s Kew Gardens, and Philadelphia’s Pagoda and Labyrinth Garden was created in 1828. UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections holds several 17th century editions of Nieuhof, in Latin, German, English, and Dutch. The digitized volume is at call number G66 N55 1673.

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Nutting, Wallace.  Furniture of the Pilgrim Century (1921)
Nutting, Wallace.  A Windsor Handbook  (c. 1917)

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Wallace Nutting (1861-1941) was an American antiquarian, photographer, and entrepreneur.  After an early career as a minister, he turned to a variety of educational and commercial enterprises promoting the aesthetic character and traditional values he saw embodied in Colonial American material culture.  He sold prolific quantities of hand-tinted photographs depicting American scenic views and historical vignettes; he created a chain of for-profit historical house museums; and he opened factories for the manufacture high-quality reproductions of Early American furniture and ironwork using modern methods.  As a scholar and historian, he lectured and wrote extensively on American furniture.  The Wallace Nutting Collection of American Furniture was ultimately sold to J. P. Morgan and installed in exhibits at the Wadsworth Atheneum.  Digitized here are the 1921 edition of Nutting’s Furniture of the Pilgrim Century and his A Windsor Handbook.

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Pain, William. The Practical House Carpenter (1792)
Pain, William. Pain’s British Palladio (1788)


Two architectural pattern books by William Pain are provided in the Digital Library for Decorative Arts. The Practical House Carpenter helped popularize the Adam Style in Great Britain and America during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The work went through many editions and was published in London and later in Boston. For the electronic facsimile, we used the 1792 fourth edition from the Chipstone Foundation collection. Pain’s British Palladio: or the Builder’s General Assistant was published in London in 1788. For the electronic facsimile we used the copy held in the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, call number NA 251 P2. Both it and the Practical House Carpenter contain tables showing prices for labor and materials.

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Papworth, John Buonarotti. Hints on Ornamental Gardening (1823)

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John Buonarotti Papworth (1775-1847) was one of the leading British architects of his time, as well as a landscape gardener, artist, and designer of furniture and decorative objects for an international clientele. His Hints on Ornamental Gardening: Consisting of a series of designs for garden buildings, useful and decorative gates, fences, railings, &c. (1823) contains 28 hand-colored aquatint plates with the “General Plan” in Plate I showing “before and after ” design versions. The copy digitized here is held in the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, Thordarson T3911. Our online facsimile presents scans of the complete volume, including blank pages. This volume was produced by Rudolph Ackermann (1764-1834), the respected London art print and book publisher.

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Percier, Charles. Recueil de décorations intérieures… (1801)


Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine’s Recueil de décorations intérieures… (1801), was published during the year the two men were appointed France’s architects du gouvernement by Napoleon and while they were overseeing the decoration of his home Malmaison at the request of Josephine Bonaparte. These French architects and designers are credited with the development of the Neoclassical Empire style. Our electronic facsimile presents the first three portfolios of a set of twelve in a deluxe hand-colored edition. Each portfolio contains six single-sheet colored engravings within a paper folder. The first portfolio (Cahier I) also contains a single-sheet title page and a four-page text describing plates I to XVII. The portfolio set is available in the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library at NK2135 P4 1801a, Flat Shelving. The complete collection of Percier and Fontaine’s 72 designs is available on campus in later uncolored editions and on microform. Also notable is the fact that the Ryerson and Burnham Archives at the Art Institute of Chicago contain a collection of original architectural drawings, prints, and a manuscript, purchased as part of Fontaine’s library in 1927.

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Plaw, John. Sketches for Country Houses, Villas, and Rural Dwellings… (1800)


John Plaw (1745-1820) was an English, later Canadian, architect who pioneered in designing cottages and farm buildings in the age of agricultural improvement. His Sketches for country houses, villas, and rural dwellings; calculated for persons of moderate income, and for comfortable retirement (1800) was published in London but was also advertised for sale in America immediately after publication. The book opens with comments on terrain and choosing building sites (with one plate illustration), and then provides brief text descriptions and 41 aquatint plates showing ground plans and views of architectural designs. Among the more unusual designs are circular-plan cottages at Plate 4 and Plate 12 and a triangular-plan structure at Plate 32. The aquatint plates, although reproduced here in black and white, are printed in sepia ink in the original. The volume digitized is held at UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, NA7562 P6.

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Ramberg, Johann Heinrich. Anweisung zum Zeichnen der menschlichen Gestalt (c. 1825)

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This short pictorial guide for drawing the human figure was published in the 1820s by Johann Heinrich Ramberg (1763-1840), one of the most popular illustrators in Germany. Trained in England under the patronage of George III, Ramberg worked in a variety of media but his strength was in linework. This compendium of variously-dated plates, including studies of heads, limbs, and bodies in multiple views, carries the lengthy title of Anweisung zum Zeichnen der menschlichen Gestalt besonders für Dilettanten brauchbar, welche sich eine practische Kenntniß der Zeichnenkunst zu verschaffen wünschen. The copy digitized here is in the collections of the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library.

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A Representation of the Manufacturing of Earthenware (1827)

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A Representation of the Manufacturing of Earthenware: with twenty-one highly finished copperplate engravings, and a short explanation of each, shewing the whole process of the pottery is the title of a small, ornately-bound illustrated book depicting the production of Staffordshire pottery as of 1827. Authorship is attributed to Enoch Wood, a well-known manufacturer of earthenware of this period. Wood’s business provided a variety of wares for export to America. This volume is held in UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collection, Duveen D1372.

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Repton, Humphry. Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening (1794)
Repton, Humphry. Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1803)
Repton, Humphry. Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening (1816)

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Sir Humphry Repton (1752-1818) was a celebrated landscape designer for the English landed gentry. His three major publications are digitized here. Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening was published in 1794; Observations on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening appeared in 1803; and Fragments on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, co-authored with his son J. A. (John Adey) Repton, appeared in 1816. During his career, Repton developed an innovative method for conveying his landscaping ideas to prospective clients. He presented them with individualized red-bound volumes outlining suggested improvements to their estates and illustrating the ideas in watercolors. Via tabbed overlays and hinged flaps, the illustrations showed landscape views both before and after proposed modifications. Late in his career, Repton estimated he had produced over 400 unique “Red Books” and reports for clients during his lifetime. In order to disseminate his ideas and theories to a wider audience, Repton published the three books digitized here. These drew on material originally contained in the Red Books and replicate the before-and-after views with hand-colored aquatint illustration plates. In our online facsimiles, illustrations with moveable flaps are shown in both states. In some cases, the tab mechanisms are visible from the reverse side of the illustration pages. See the original Repton books in the UW-Madison Memorial Library Special Collections at call numbers Thordarson T 4083, Thordarson T 4080, and Thordarson T 4078.

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Rothschild, Lionel Walter. Extinct Birds (1907)

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Lionel Walter Rothschild (1868-1937), second Baron Rothschild, was a British zoologist and lifelong collector of insects, birds, and mammals. He founded the Rothschild Natural History Museum in London; and his collection of bird specimens was sold in 1932 to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. After reading a paper on extinct and vanishing birds before the 1905 IVth International Ornithological Congress, Rothschild was persuaded to compile a more comprehensively illustrated volume on the topic. The result, Extinct birds. An attempt to unite in one volume a short account of those birds which have become extinct in historical times…, was published in 1907 in a limited edition of 300 copies. The digital facsimile provided here was made from copy No. 23, held at the UW-Madison, Memorial Library Special Collections, at Thordarson T 1496. Among the volume’s 49 plates are a number of theoretical illustrations reconstructing the possible appearance of birds known only from verbal accounts and skeletal remains.

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Sims, Joseph Patterson; Willing, Charles.  Old Philadelphia Colonial Details (1914)

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Joseph Patterson Sims (1890-1953) and Charles Willing (1884-1963), were architects trained at the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1914, when Old Philadelphia Colonial Details was published, both were employed by the Philadelphia firm of Furness, Evans & Co.  Several years later, the two formed their own architectural partnership specializing in residential design, which later expanded with the addition of James Talbutt into the firm of Willing, Sims & Talbutt.  Sims was interested in colonial revival architecture, especially Pennsylvania farmhouses.  Willing’s complementary skills in landscape architecture made the firm popular as designers of suburban residences in the Philadelphia area.  Old Philadelphia Colonial Details, digitized here from a copy held by the University of Wisconsin, Madison libraries, contains 55 plates of drawings taken of 14 Pennsylvania structures dating to the 18th century.

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Singleton, Esther.  The Furniture of Our Forefathers (1901)

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Esther Singleton (1865-1930), born in Baltimore, resident of New York, was a prolific author, art and music critic, and editor. She had over fifty books to her credit on topics of art and antiques, historic buildings and cities, music, opera, gardens, history, and more. During the 1920s, she edited and contributed heavily to “The Antiquarian: a monthly magazine for the collector of antiques, works of art and rarities.” Her articles in early 1924 ranged from American colonial glass, through old almanacs, to the India shawl. Singleton’s books on furniture include: The Furniture of Our Forefathers (2 vols., 1901) digitized here; as well as French and English Furniture (1903), Dutch and Flemish Furniture (1907), and Furniture (1911). The Furniture of Our Forefathers is a detailed overview of American furniture from early European settlement to the beginning of the 19th century. Singleton’s study provides evidence drawn from a wide variety of historical documentary sources such as inventories, diaries, and legal proceedings. Highly illustrated with photographs and drawings, the book’s illustration plates have critical descriptions contributed by Russell Sturgis, a leading contemporary authority on the history of architecture and art.

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Sloan, Samuel. Sloan’s Homestead Architecture (1861)


Samuel Sloan’s Sloan’s Homestead Architecture, containing forty designs for villas, cottages, and farm houses… (1861) is one of five architectural pattern books created by this prolific Philadelphia designer at the height of his career. Known for innovative hospital and school designs, as well as residential buildings, Sloan was a joint editor of America’s first architectural periodical, “Sloan’s Architectural Review and Builders’ Journal” (1868-9), and was made a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Although his reputation suffered in political scandals following the Civil War, Sloan took second prize in the competition for Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition of 1876 and continued to practice architecture in North Carolina until his death. The volume digitized here is held at UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library (Locked Stacks), WIM S63S Cutter.

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Smith, G. The Laboratory; or, School of arts: containing a large collection of valuable secrets, experiments, and manual operations in arts and manufactures, highly useful to gilders, jewellers, enamellers, goldsmiths, dyers, cutlers, pewterers, joiners, japanners, book-binders, plasterers, artists, and to the workers in metals in general; and in plaster of paris, wood, ivory, bone, horn, and other materials (1799)

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The Laboratory; or, School of arts… (6th edition, 1799) is part of a genre of “books of secrets” that spanned several centuries. These books of practical chemistry assisted artisans and housekeepers with the technology necessary to, for example, combine metals to make brass, distill spirits, compound dyes and paints, concoct medicines, perfumes and cosmetics, and more. Laboratory was initially published in 1738, and many subsequent editions followed through 1810. Author/compiler(s) Godfrey and/or George Smith translated the first London edition from a German book of secrets, Der curieusen kunst- und werck-schul, published in Nuremberg, which also went through multiple editions dating from 1696 through 1782. Although these books kept constant the goal of transmitting technological information and recipes to the layperson, specific contents and explanations could vary from edition to edition. Both needs and processes could change over time. That fact makes the long sequence of editions useful for comparative analysis. Digitized here is the 1799 London edition of Laboratory, in two volumes. Although available elsewhere online, it is included here to facilitate cross-searching with other texts in the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture. Local scholars can also consult editions of 1738, 1739, 1740, 1750, 1770, and 1799 in print originals at UW-Madison Special Collections and online via licensed “Eighteenth Century Collections Online.” That database also includes 1755 and 1756 editions. The 1810 edition is available here on microform. UW-Madison also owns a 1696 print edition of Der curieusen kunst- und werck-schul. Off-campus scholars can see the Internet Archive’s Open Library project for the 1770 (fifth edition) of Laboratory.

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Speltz, Alexander. Styles of Ornament (1906)


In 1904, Alexander Speltz’s encyclopedic collection of ornamental designs was published in Germany. The second German edition (1906), translated into English by David O’Conor, is presented in electronic facsimile here with the complete title of: Styles of Ornament: exhibited in designs, and arranged in historical order, with descriptive text. A handbook for architects, designers, painters, sculptors, wood-carvers, chasers, modellers, cabinet-makers and artistic locksmiths as well as also for technical schools, libraries and private study. Containing 400 plates of illustrations, the volume presents a survey of ornamental motifs from prehistory to the early nineteenth century. A copy of the edition chosen for digitization is held at the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, NK 1530 S7 1906.

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Stickley, Gustav. Craftsman Homes (1909)


Osceola, WI-born Gustav Stickley (1858-1942) became one of the most important leaders of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the United States. His activities included furniture manufacture and home construction based on his designs, as well as publication of the influential journal, “The Craftsman” (1901-16). The 1909 text digitized here, Craftsman Homes, presents a selection of home designs originally published in the journal. Views and ground plans for the houses, as well as illustrations of interior spaces, are presented. Additional chapters elaborate on the “craftsman idea” as applied to landscaping, room functions and decoration, and also include sections on furniture, metal work, and fabric. The volume chosen for this e-facsimile is held at UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, NA7110 S75.

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Studer, Jacob. Birds of North America (1888, 1903 reprint)

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Jacob H. Studer’s Birds of North America (1903, original copyright 1888) contains 119 color lithographed illustrations depicting over 700 species of birds, as well as descriptive text providing a popularized account of the birds’ habits and characteristics, a table arranging the birds according to the classification adopted by the American Ornithologists’ Union, and an index. At once scholarly and popular, scientific and artistic, this edition was published under the auspices of the Natural Science Association of America and sold by subscription in 1903 for the impressive sum of $40.00. The original drawings were made from nature by Theodore Jasper and revised by John Graham Bell. The volume chosen for digitization is held in the UW-Madison, Biology Library Rare Books Collection, PE ST9 Cutter. Our efacsimile presentation of Studer’s late nineteenth century work on ornithology enables scholarly comparisons of illustrations, organization and content with the Catesby and Edwards volumes of the mid-eighteenth century and the Wilson edition from the earlier nineteenth century also presented here.

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Thornton, Robert John. Temple of Flora (1812)


Temple of Flora: or Garden of the Botanist, Poet, Painter and Philosopher is the third and final part of Robert John Thornton’s New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus van Linnaeus. This project was envisioned to consist of 90 prints, compiled with explanations by Thornton. Thornton, a physician who received a considerable inheritance upon the death of his parents, bankrupted himself in the process and could not finish the work. This 1812 quarto edition from the Chipstone Collection was originally published to raise funds for the completion of the project. It was printed in color using a variety of techniques – aquatint, mezzotint, stipple and line engraving – and finished by hand. The original paintings for the edition were produced by several artists, including Peter Henderson, Philip Reinagle, Abraham Pether and Sydenham Edwards. The illustration of roses was painted by Thornton. More interesting for its artistic rather than scientific merit, the Temple of Flora is a landmark of romantic idealism.

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Tod, George. Plans, Elevations and Sections, of Hot-houses, Green-houses, an Aquarium, Conservatories… (1823)

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George Tod, a British surveyor and hot-house builder, provides color illustrations and descriptions of 26 “glass houses,” chiefly of his own design, in the 1823 publication: Plans, elevations and sections, of hot-houses, green-houses, an aquarium, conservatories, &c., recently built in different parts of England, for various noblemen and gentlemen: including a hot-house and green-house in Her late Majesty’s gardens at Frogmore. Technological improvements in sheet glass production in the eighteenth century made glass architecture more easily possible; and interest in hothouses was strong on both sides of the Atlantic for agricultural, scientific and aesthetic reasons. Greenhouses extended fruit and flower growing seasons and/or allowed cultivation and study of exotic species of non-native plants. “Winter gardens” could also be social spaces for entertaining guests in human-created Edens. In the American colonies, orangeries were built at Mount Clare and Mount Airy in Richmond County, Virginia, as early as the 1760s. George Washington’s preliminary plans and construction notes for an orangery at Mount Vernon still exist. Advertisements in early New York City newspapers suggest that greenhouses were also popular there, allowing urban residents the benefits of nature and the countryside. The electronic facsimile of Tod’s designs was created from the 1823 volume in the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, WIM T56 Cutter.

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Valuable secrets concerning arts and trades… (1795)

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Thomas Hubbard (1758-1808) of Norwich, Connecticut, was a printer and proprietor of the local newspaper.  His press also helped disseminate one of the popular European “books of secrets” on American soil.  In 1795, Hubbard published Valuable secrets concerning arts and trades…, revealing processes for compounding paints, dyes and cements, as well as vinegars and confectionary. This text is based on a British version, Valuable secrets in arts and trades… (London: 1758 and subsequent editions), which was itself a translation of the earlier French Secrets concernant les arts et metiers, (Paris, 1716 and subsequent editions). In the same year the Connecticut edition was published, a Philadelphia printer issued a similarly-derived book entitled One Thousand Valuable Secrets…. (For more information on this genre of books, see the entry on this page describing G. Smith’s Laboratory, or school of arts.)  The 1795 Norwich edition is held at the UW-Madison Memorial Library Special Collections at call number LRX V24 Cutter.

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Wharton, Edith. The Decoration of Houses (1898)


The Decoration of Houses (1897), by Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman, Jr., has been called the first book on interior design ever written. It stands as a classic text for the field today. Initial chapters are devoted to aspects of house interiors such as walls, windows, and stairs, followed by chapters devoted to functional spaces such as dining rooms and bedrooms. Primarily a written text, this edition is illustrated with 56 photographs and contains a bibliography of books consulted. The 1898 edition (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons) chosen for this electronic facsimile is housed at the UW-Madison, Kohler Art Library, NK 2110 W5.

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Widdifield, John.  Notebook (c.1704-1720)  


John Widdifield (1673-1720) was a British joiner who migrated to the American colonies and settled in Philadelphia circa 1705.  In his handwritten notebook, with earliest dated entry of 1704, he records helpful information pertinent to his craft.  The book is divided into three sections, with an added fourth section in other handwriting serving as a family register for the period 1673-1783.  Section one gives measurements and prices for a range of furniture forms available to customers.  Items include clock cases, tables, chairs, chests of drawers, even coffins.  Illustrative sketches appear on three pages.  Sections two and three provide recipes: the former section for stains and varnishes, the latter for home medical cures.  Blank pages were left available for Widdifield to add additional notes and instructions.  Three leaves (pages 33-34, 53-54, and 95-96) appear to have been torn out.  The book is handwritten using 18th century conventions of spelling and penmanship.  To make the text searchable we created an underlying transcript giving both actual and contemporary spellings.  Photography of the notebook was done by Gavin Ashworth; and the online facsimile is made publicly available through the courtesy of a private collector.  Additional descriptive information can be found online for Lot 173, Sale 2391, Swann Auction Galleries.  Also see “The Notebook of Philadelphia Joiner John Widdifield” by Luke Beckerdite in American Furniture (2015).

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Wilson, Alexander. American Ornithology (1828-29)

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American Ornithology is the outcome of Alexander Wilson’s ambition to create a comprehensive illustrated book on North American birds. Wilson (1766-1813), an immigrant to the USA from Scotland, developed an interest in ornithology and bird illustration late in his short life. His preparation for this publication included study of other illustrated natural history books, such as those by Mark Catesby and George Edwards, sketching from mounted bird specimens available in Charles Wilson Peale’s natural history museum in Philadelphia, and extensive travel and field work done in search of new birds. The original edition of American Ornithology (1808-1814) was sold by subscription, and volumes 8 and 9 were finished from Wilson’s notes after his death. The 1828-1829 edition presented here is in four volumes. It marries three text volumes, owned by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries, with a plate volume owned by the Chipstone Foundation that contains the 76 hand-colored engravings of birds referenced in the text. The digitized edition also contains an essay on the life of Alexander Wilson, who has come to be known as the “Father of American Ornithology.”

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