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Thirty-Six New Original and Practical Designs for Chairs,

TOMS (William).

TOMS (William).

Thirty-Six New Original and Practical Designs for Chairs, adapted for the Drawing and Dining Room, Parlour and Hall by W. Toms, Junr., Carver in General.

Lithographed throughout by Joseph Holloway, with title-page and 36 plates, each illustrating one chair. 4to. [271 x 215 x 8 mm]. Original boards with extended title printed on front and rear, cloth spine. (Rebacked with matching cloth).
Bath: W. Evans, 41 Broad-Street, [c.1832]

A fine copy of a rare book. COPAC locates copies at the British Library, Oxford and V&A, while WorldCat locates copies at Winterthur, Cleveland Public, University of California, Yale, and Virginia Historical Society. Abebooks does not even offer to print a copy on demand.

Toms attempted to show his design versatility and competent cabinet maker skills by illustrating designs for chairs with richly carved or turned decorations. The first 12 chairs are in the "French modern style", followed by a number of chairs in Louis XVI style, then neo-gothic inspired hall chairs, and finally ten chairs in late English Regency design. He engaged the services of the local lithography printer Joseph Holloway and probably issued the plates privately and distributed them to potential clients. How successful this was we do not know, but the pattern book caught the eye of the enterprising Bath printer, bookseller and stationer William Evans, "who has purchashed all the remaining copies" (as stated on the boards) and was selling them for 16 shillings each. The few copies in institutional libraries are mostly the Evans issue, variously dated between c.1825 (V&A) and "183?" (Winterthur). Only the Getty, Redwood and Historic Houses Trust (Australia) seem to be the original Toms issue.

A William Toms is listed as a "carver & gilder" at 41 Broad Street, Bath, in Pigot's Directory for Somerset in 1822 and 1830. This is probably William Toms senior as another William Toms, "carver & gilder" and born in Bath , is listed in the 1851 census at Market Lavington in Wiltshire, his age given as 45. This younger man is most likely our man, son of William Toms and his wife Mary Maxfield, baptised at St. Swithin, Walcot, Bath, in April 1804. Toms senior was born c1773 and is listed as "carver" in freemasonry records as a member of the Royal Sussex Lodge from 1818 until 1823. His death is recorded in Bath in 1839. A correspondent to the Bath Chronicle "Notes and Queries" column in December 1934 reported that the elder Toms first appeared in Bath directories as a carver and gilder in 1812 at Milsom Street before moving to 41 Broad Street, and that Toms junior was listed as a cabinet maker in 1837 at 5 Queen Street, Bath.

The lithographer, Joseph Holloway (1797-1861), announced in the Bath Chronicle of 21st April 1831 that he had moved from 36 Westgate Street, Bath to No.10 Union Street, and this is the address given at the foot of the title-page. He was still at Union Street in 1848 but no longer listed there in 1851.

William Evans, the bookseller, is listed in Pigot's Directory for 1842 at 41 Broad Street, Bath, William Toms's former address. He is still there in 1846, but by 1850 the premises were occupied by Samuel Vivian, printer, bookseller and stationer.

Stock no. ebc5633

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Price: £1500