Cynthia Cary Collection

In 1981, the Redwood Library received the Cynthia Cary Collection from Guy Fairfax Cary, Jr., in memory of his mother. Collected over decades by Mr. and Mrs. Guy Fairfax Cary, Sr., devoted benefactors of Redwood who were passionately interested in 18th century English decorative arts, the Cary Collection contains nearly 200 English and related continental pattern books of furniture, decoration, and ornament from the late 15th century to the mid-19th century.  This significant collection has been exhibited at the Library, Rhode Island School of Design and Christie's New York, and has been a resource for scholars from all over the world.



Gibbs, James. A Book of Architecture, Containing Designs of Buildings and Ornaments. London, 1728. Folio, contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt.  First edition of the first book by Gibbs to consist entirely of his own designs. Gibbs worked in 1709 in London and was commissioned to build several churches, the most notable of which include St. Mary-le-Strand and St. Martin-in-the-Fields, the latter providing the inspiration for many of the churches in colonial America. His Book of Architecture had an immense sphere of influence throughout Europe and the United States, where it inspired many of the details that went into the construction of the White House. The design above provided the model for Peter Harrison's Summer House.



Furniture-Maker's Catalogue. English, late-18th/early 19th century. 8vo. late 18th century morocco gilt.  A highly unusual example of a manuscript sample catalogue of fancy chairs from an English furniture manufacturer from the late 18th-century. The fourteen examples depicted are in the oriental style, with stylized bamboo details and caned seats.  


The numeric inscription may indicate that this was part of a series sample sale catalogues, and suggest mass production at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.



Diderot, Denis and Jean le Rond d'Alembert. Encyclopedie. Paris, 1751-1780. 35 volumes, folio. Contemporary French mottled calf gilt.  First edition of one of the landmarks of Western intellectual history. With over 71,818 entries, the majority of which written by the editors Diderot and d'Alembert and Baron d'Holbach, the Encyclopedie was one of the most ambitious intellectual undertakings of the Enlighten-ment.



Jones, Inigo. Designs of Inigo Jones and Others. London, ca. 1757. Contemporary diced russia gilt. Inscription.  First edition on fine paper, in a presentation binding, of this privately printed book of architectural designs and elements, many of which were of Burlington House. This immaculate copy was presented by the Earl of Burlington to the poet Alexander Pope, and bears Pope's manuscript notation on the front free endpaper: "A. Pope./Given me by the Earl of Burlington." This is an extremely fine association copy, given by the owner of one of Great Britain's most celebrated houses to one its most celebrated poets.



Euclid. Elementa geometriae. Venice: R. Ratdolt, 1482. Folio. Modern russia gilt, edges gilt, by Bedford.  First edition of the "oldest mathematical textbook still in common use today," and one of the earliest printed books with geometrical figures. From the Campanus Latin translation. Ratdolt's edition is one of the most beautifully printed of early scientific books. His method of printing diagrams in the margins to illustrate a mathematical text and his finely printed astronomical books became the models for much subsequent scientific publishing. This is the large and fine Huth (former owner) copy of Euclid's Elements.

Notes: A2 with text heading printed in red and woodcut border on three sides, numerous woodcut diagrams in margins throughout, woodcut initials.

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