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The title-page of Sir William Chambers’ Dissertation on Oriental Gardening – £560.

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Sold for £560 by Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) on February 13 was a volume that brought together a 1773, second edition of this treatise by the architect Sir William Chambers and a third edition of a 16pp Heroic Epistle… issued in response to the sentiments therein expressed.

The Chambers work, which also included “an explanatory discourse by Tan Chet-qua…”, views the landscape gardening of Capability Brown as dull, while the second work is a poetical celebration of Brown’s achievements and highly critical of Chambers and his Chinese notions.

Thirteen editions of the epistle (of which this was a third) appeared within a year of the 1772 first publication of Chambers’ work, but much time passed before its author’s name, William Mason, was revealed. In a skilfully rebacked but period binding of cat’s paw calf gilt, both works were spotted, especially the Mason work.