Dwyer, Charles P.
The Economic Cottage Builder: Cottages for Men of Small Means.
Seller ID: 2140L
Buffalo: Wanzer, Mc Kim & Co., 1855. First edition (pp. 127). Small folio (23 cm) in blue publisher’s cloth, gilt titles, decorations in gilt and blind; twenty-three lithograph plates showing elevations of ‘cottages’ designed after the neo-Gothic, with hints of the neo-classical, fashion; the elevations are accompanied by floor-plans, three to a page. Dwyer’s principal theme in this pattern book is that the humble cottage can become a pleasing and comfortable home (He might have said ‘hermitage’) by choosing local materials and employing simple construction methods: ‘It does not require actual mechanics to follow out these little hints. Any man with a saw, a hammer, and a chisel, with some nails, can effect wonders in this way.’ To that end, Dwyer explains the construction techniques for each of the twenty-three patterns. In his dedication, Dwyer strikes a populist note, “To the toiling millions, whose means are small, yet whose desires are great to possess a home, where industry and contentment shall be household gods, and independence be allied with happiness….’ Dwyer book was preceded by those of Andrew Downing who had earlier published several works on homestead and landscape design, also featuring the popular neo-Gothic fashion (tall, narrow churchy windows, fretted barge board, sharply angled dormers). Calvert Vaux, best known for his work on New York’s Central Park and with whom Downing was briefly associated, was just beginning his career designing stylish houses for the settled countryside. Only occasional light foxing, tips worn through; otherwise clean, bright, and sound. Very Good. A scarce book and especially attractive.
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