Gothic OrnamentsCOLLING, James K.
Being a Series of Examples of Enriched Details and Accessories of the Architecture of Great Britain. Drawn from Existing Authorities.
London: Published for the proprietors by George Bell. .
Two volumes. First edition. 4to. 302x240mm. pp. Vol. 1: [ii], x, [103 leaves]. Vol. II: [ii], 28, [102 leaves]. Volume one contains 104 plates (including the illuminated title page), 19 of which are coloured, volume two has 103 plates (including the illuminated title page), 23 of which are coloured illustrating gothic design and ornament. All the examples are taken from medieval churches and cathedrals in England. Burgundy half morocco recently and expertly repaired and rebacked, marbled paper over boards. In very good condition throughout, with a little shelfwear to the bottom edges. The chromolithographic plates are excellent and, indeed, Colling is celebrated as a pioneer in the art of Victorian chromolithography. He spent much time in Norfolk which explains why so many of the best plates in this book illustrate details from that county's churches. The ownership history of these volumes is fascinating. There are inscriptions from three architects and the bookplate of one other. The bookplate is that of Christopher Turnor. There are three possible candidates: first (and most probably), the MP, landowner and amateur architect; secondly his son and thirdly his grandson (both called Christopher Hatton Turnor) who trained as an architect under Edwin Lutyens. There are also the signatures of James Brooks in whose hands, "the Gothic became Sublime in its aesthetic" and his son James Martin Brooks. The final signature is that of Raphael Brandon. Brandon's life and career were unhappy. His best known work, the vast Church of Christ the King in Gordon Square, was never fully completed and his rejected designs for the Law Courts in the Strand were heavily criticised. For a short time, Brandon employed Thomas Hardy as an assistant (Hardy, of course, trained as an architect) and the novelist used Brandon's gloomy office as the model for the chambers of the barrister Henry Knight in A Pair of Blue Eyes. A lovely book, beautifully illustrated and with a fascinating provenance.