London: R. Ackermann and Co., 1830. Item #03256
A Fine Selection of Hand-Colored Aquatint Plates
From Ackermann's Repository of Arts
In a Beautiful 'Regency' Binding
ACKERMANN, Rudolph, publisher. [A collection of two hundred and thirty plates from Ackermann's Repository of Arts]. London: R. Ackermann and Co., [1809-1826].
Royal octavo (9 x 5 7/8 inches; 230 x 150 mm.).
Containing 98 hand colored aquatint plates of the Views of the Country Seats of the Royal Family, Nobility and Gentry of England, plus 55 duplicate plates. In addition there are 75 hand colored and 2 plain aquatint 'furniture' plates including curtains, flower stands, tables, chairs, book cases, library tables and chairs, sideboards, etc. and two plain plates, making a grand total of 230 plates, one plate detached. A few of the Country Seats have their names corrected in ink and dated 1824.
Contemporary full 'Late Regency' red straight-grain morocco, covers elaborately bordered in gilt surrounding a diamond-shaped central panel with a large and elaborate gilt design in the center, this in turn is surrounded on the four corners by equally gilt decorated green morocco onlays. Spine richly decorated and lettered in gilt, two elaborately gilt decorated labels, decorative gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt, pink paper endpapers. Joints and corners a little rubbed, binding at some time restored by the Abrams Bindery, Wellington, Somerset with their small ticket on rear paste-down.
We have been unable to identify the binder but this is a very flamboyant and beautiful binding by one of the very best finishers of the early nineteenth century.
"No record of Regency society is more vivid than Rudolph Ackermann's celebrated journal ... it devoted space to all things fashionable and every month for almost 25 years included hand-colored plates of furniture, drapery and interiors, providing an unrivalled visual record of Regency taste and design. Ackermann was an astute populariser, identifying what was fashionable at the time and presenting it to the public. It is therefore possible to follow the decorative ideas of the Regency period from year to year. Early issues of the Repository enthusiastically promoted the Grecian style, which had come from France and was introduced to London particularly by Henry Holland and Thomas Hope; later issues reflect the arrival of the French Empire style, with its Roman allusions, developed by the designers Percier and Fontaine. Sometimes Ackermann's plates represent the particularly English taste for the picturesque. The revived Gothic style is depicted most notably in the remarkable series of plates by the elder Pugin, and the Egyptian style also figures prominently.
Furniture for dining rooms, drawing rooms, studios and boudoirs, cabinets, bookcases, bureaux, plant stands, chaises longues - indeed, every facet of Regency furniture from window drapes to mechanical chairs is accurately portrayed and described.
Rudolph Ackermann was apprenticed at the age of 17 to a carriage designer at Hueningen, near Basel, under whom he worked for three years. In 1783, now a qualified designer, he took the first decisive step of his career and travelled to Paris, where he entered the employment of the fashionable carriage maker Antoine Carassi ... When sometime before 1786, Ackermann moved to London, he therefore brought with him not only expertise in the design and fitting of Haute Carrosserie but also familiarity with the latest developments in fine arts in Europe ... In 1795, he opened an establishment at 96 The Strand that was at once publishing house, print shop, art supplier and drawing school ... By 1797, the business was so successful that Ackermann moved to 101 The Strand, closer to the Royal Academy's premises in Somerset House. The emphasis on fine art was now increased, with a larger drawing class and a picture gallery. Ackermann's confidence in his new status was marked in 1798 by the naming of 101 The Strand as "The Repository of the Arts." (Stephen ]ones).
Abbey, Life, 212. Tooley, 13. Hardie, pp. 110-112.