RAWLINSON, R. Designs for Factory Furnace and Other Tall Chimney Shafts. London, [Weale 1858]. large folio later half morocco (nothing flash but a decent servicable binding); 8,pp and 25 plates including the illustrated title, all but three tinted lithographs, a half page tinted litho in the text. A library label inside the front cover and some very inoffensive blind stamps in the corners; some spotting, a very decent copy. $Au6,500
One of the most captivating
of 19th century architectural books and just about the only great book
on this particular aspect of modern industrial building. Rawlinson is
out to introduce aesthetics into what had been so utilitarian and graceless.
He uses as models the towers of the east, medieval and renaissance Italy,
even the castellated battlement. He insists on the beauty of the vertical
line and the use of colour - with polychromatic brickwork, terra-cotta
cornices and cast-iron roofs. These enormous industrial constructions
fit, however, without the slightest trauma into the bucolic peace of the
English countryside. They become, in his views, picturesque monuments,
a meeting place for Trollopian neighbours out for a stroll. They emit
no smoke and no sound, clearly do not disturb the local game sought by
a hunter and his hound striding by and leave lounging peasantry unruffled.
I suspect Rawlinson of being very clever about this. He is trying to attract
the attention of and persuade a gentlemanly class to take seriously buildings
which until then had been left to black-thumbed engineers working in never
seen industrial slums.