Despite that, I like to believe that there is a sort of purity to collecting rare books on subject rather than origin. One such example of this is the subject of furniture design. None of these named authors would stand out from a crowded bookshelf, but to those who know about arts and crafts, design, architecture and material culture – these volumes would be deemed invaluable.
The first to mention would be the 1924 Dictionary of English Furniture which is itself published out of the offices of The Country Life publication, and features all main and interesting marginal elements of furniture design in the United Kingdom from the Middle Ages to the Late Georgian Period. If there was such a thing as a bible for arts and craft furniture design, then this would be it. Unsurprisingly, a true first edition Dictionary of English Furniture with its still original dozens of photographic plates would be worth nearly two thousand US dollars.
Another very fine work for those interested would be the 1974 Furniture, Clocks, and Gilt Bronzes with its many black and white illustrations as well as 49 color plates. Originally published by the Office de Livre, Switzerland, this volume is actually a catalogue of the items that fit this description in the Swiss Rothschild collection, and so provides an excellent link not only to decadent and beautiful decorative furniture design of the last few hundred years, but also an important insight into the power of the Rothschild social and cultural enterprise. If a true first edition were found in very good condition, then it would easily be worth four or five hundred US dollars. If it was found or kept still within its original slipcase, then it would be worth upwards of seven hundred dollars!
Chippendale, Thomas. The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director. J. Haberkorn, London (1755). Being a Large Collection of the Most Elegant and Useful Designs of House Furniture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste. Includes 161 engraved plates by Darly and Miller after Chippendale.
Chippendale, Thomas. The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director. Printed for the Author, London (1762). Includes 200 copper-plate engravings by Darly, Foster, Taylor, Cloues, Miller and others after designs by Chippendale.
Hepplewhite, Alice; Hepplewhite, George. The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide. I and J. Taylor, London (1789). or, Repository of Designs for every article of Household Furniture, in the newest and most approved taste. also the plan of a room shewing the proper distribution of the furniture. Includes 127 plates.
Hope, Thomas. Household Furniture and Interior Decoration. Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, London (1807). Executed from Designs By Thomas Hope; Inlcudes 60 copper-engraved plates after Hope's drawings.
Chippendale, Thomas. Chippendale's One Hundred and Thirty-Three Designs of Interior Decorations in the Old French and Antique Styles, for Carvers, Cabinet Makers, Ornamental Painters, Etc. John Weale, London (1834). Includes 64 engraved plates.
Pugin, Augustus Welby. Details of Antient Timber Houses of the 15th and 16th Century,Gothic Furniture in the Style of the 15th Century, Designs for Gold and Silversmiths, Designs for Iron and Brasswork in the Style of the XV and XVIth Centuries.. Ackerman, London (1836). Four works bound in one volume, Includes 21, 24, 27 and 25 plates respectively.
Bridgens, Richard Hicks. Furniture with Candelabra and Interior Decoration Designed By R. Bridgens. William Pickering, London (1838). Includes 59 hand coloured engraved plates mostly by Bridgens. Illustrated by Henry Shaw
Richardson, Charles James. Studies from Old English Mansions. Thomas McLean, London (1848). Their Furniture, Gold and Silver Plate etc. by An Architect; Four volumes; Include 133 plates.
Braund, J. Illustrations of Furniture, Candelabra, Musical Instruments from the Great Exhibitions of London and Paris with Examples of Similar Articles from Royal Palaces and Noble Mansions.. J. Braund, London. (1858). 48 black and white engraved plates by E. Salandri.
Waring, John Burley. Masterpieces of Industrial Art and Sculpture at the International Exhibition 1862.. Day and Son, London (1863). Three volumes; 102 Chromo-lithographic prints, after W.R. Tymms, A. Warren, and G. Macculloch with descriptive text by J. B Waring.
Baird, Henrt Carey. Cabinet Maker's Album of Furniture; Comprising a Collection of Designs for the Newest and Most Elegant Styles of Furniture. Industrial Publisher, Philadelphia (1868). 48 engraved plates.
Lockwood, Luke Vincent. The Pendleton Collection. School of Design, Rhode Island (1904). With monochrome frontispiece and 102 monochrome plates; 160 copies
Macquiod, Percy. A History of English Furniture. Lawrence and Bullen, London (1904). With Colour Plates after Shirley Slocombe. The Age of Oak; The Age of Walnut; The Age of Mahogany; The Age of Satinwood. Four volumes bound into two; 60 colour plates.
Odom, William Macdougal. A History of Italian Furniture from the Fourteenth to the Early Nineteenth Centuries.. Doubleday, Page and Company, New York (1918). 500 numbered copies; Two volumes; Volume I: Gothic and Renaissance Furniture. Volume II: Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassic and Empire; 865 illustrations.
Odom, William Macdougal. A History Of Italian Furniture From The Fourteenth Century To The Early Nineteenth Centuries. Doubleday, Page and Company, New York (1919). Limited edition of 500 copies; A total of 865 text figures, photographic plates; Two volumes.
Macquiod, Percy; Edwards, Ralph. The Dictionary of English Furniture. Country Life, London; Charles Scribner's Sons, New York (1924). From the Middle Ages to the Late Georgian Period; Three volume; With a General Introduction by H. Avray Tipping; Includes 54 colour plates.
Deshairs, Leon. Modern French Decorative Art. Architectural Press, London (1926). Collection of Examples of Modern French Decoration; Illustrated with black and white photographic plates and 14 color plates.
Hornor, William MacPherson Jr. Blue Book Philadelphia Furniture.. William Marley and Company, Philadelphia (1935). William Penn to George Washington with Specific Reference to the Philadelphia Chippendale School. 400 copies of the deluxe Benefactors Issue, signed by the author. Illustrated with 501 black and white photographs.
Macquoid, Percy. A History of English Furniture. Lawrence and Bullen, London (1938). With plates in colour after Shirley Slocombe, and numerous illustrations selected and arranged by the author. Four volumes: The History of English Furniture, The Age of Oak, The Age of Walnut, The Age of Mahogany, and The Age of Stainwood. With 15 colour plates in each volume and 215 black and white illustrations.
Symonds , R.W. Furniture Making in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century England. Connoisseur, London (1955). Limited edition of 100 signed copies; 363 black and white illustrations
McCobb, Paul. Directional Designs. Directional Furniture Showrooms Inc. (1956). Illustrated with b and w photo portrait of McCobb with facsimile signature, color frontispiece, and 92 Black and White photographs of 179 furniture designs
Montgomery, Charles F. American Furniture. Viking Press, NY (1966). The Federal Period in the Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum; Foreword by Henry Francis Dupont. Limited edition of 200 signed copies.
Bellaigue, Geoffrey De. Furniture, Clocks and Gilt Bronzes. Office du Livre (1974). The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor; Two Volumes
Hewit, Benjamin A.; Patricia E. Kane; Ward, Gerald W.R. The Work of Many Hands. Yale University Art Gallery, Connecticut (1982). Card Tables in Federal America 1790-1820; Includes eight colour plate and numberous black and white plates.
Moses, Michael. Master Craftsmen of Newport. MMI Americana Press, Tenafly (1984). The Townsends and Goddards; Includes 24 colour plates and numerous black and white plates.
James, Michael L. Drama in Design. Burchfield Art Center, New York (1994). The Life and Craft of Charles Rohlfs; With black and white and colour illustrations.