[AMERICANA-COLOR PLATE] GUILLET, PETER. Timber Merchant's Guide. Also a Table, whereby, at one view, may be seen the solid and superficial measure of any square or unequal Hewed Logs or Plank, from one to forty-seven inches. Also, Plates representing the Figures of the principle pieces of timber, used in building a seventy-four Gun Ship of the Line, in standing trees.
Baltimore: John D. Toy for James Lovegrove, 1823. First edition. Full period American mottled calf, olive lettering-piece, all edges sprinkled red. 8 3/8 x 5 1/2 inches (21 x 13.5 cm); ). 24 pp., [89, 1] pp. of letterpress tables, last page blank; 30 hand-colored lithographic plates by Henry Stone after Guillet depicting how ship timbers of various types could be best cut, by examining standing trees. Some separation at the joints, but in all, despite light wear, the binding presents well and is fairly sturdy. The text has some scattered toning and foxing, and the plates, though generally clean, exhibit some offsetting.
A rare and desirable work on several fronts, this is the second book printed in the United States to utilize lithography in its illustration, and it is a far more interesting work than Smith's Grammar of Botany, the first use of the process. Dedicated to Captain John Rodgers of the United States Navy--an eminent American naval officer who fired the first shot of the War of 1812 aboard his flagship, the USS President)--Guillet (who writes that he is "French by birth, American by choice") argues that timber suitable for shipbuilding is a limited commodity of national importance, worthy of governmental conservation. The appealing plates are produced by Henry Stone, "one of the earliest and most elusive of all the lithographers" (Peters). He was the first lithographer to practice in Baltimore. This is a large copy of a genuinely rare little book in a period binding (perhaps of issue, c.f. Bennett), unlike the handful of other examples that have come on the market in the last thirty years, most of which have been in modern calf. Bennett U.S. Color Plate Books p. 67; McGrath p. 33; American Imprints 12738; Peters America on Stone p. 376; Rick 1636.
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