London: Printed for Francis Clay and Daniel Browne, 1728. 8vo. [x], xxii, 274 pp. FIRST EDITION. Illustrated with a folding engraved plate by Peter Toms showing lengths of a tree. Later half-morocco and marbled boards, new endpapers; small tear in title page repaired, otherwise a very nice, very clean copy. Item #17420
First edition, first issue with the irregularly-paginated Introduction. Langley’s book on trees documents the best methods and soils for growing nearly thirty different species while also addressing the shortage of timber in Britain at the time. Of particular interest is the appendix which discusses the measurement of timber and the ways in which a grower might be deceived by timber merchants.
Langley (1696-1751) is today remembered for his numerous published works, especially his architectural pattern books. He started as a gardener before moving into landscape design and then into architecture. He created the designs for a number of gothic-type structures with classical lines and proportions, which influenced designers and builders as far away as America (Mt. Vernon, for example, relied on Langley’s drawings for a good part of its design). Langley also ran his own academy of architectural drawing. He opposed too much formality in garden design and favored what he termed “regular irregularities” which essentially called for planting in what appeared a rural manner “as if they receiv’d their situation from nature itself'.” He further advocated views that were extensive as possible and encouraged meandering paths.