Cyclopædia: Or, An Universal Dictionary Of Arts And Sciences. Containing An Explanation of the Terms, and an Account Of The Several Subjects, In The Liberal And Mechanical Arts, And The Sciences, Human and Divine. Intended as a Course of Ancient and Modern Learning. By E. Chambers, F.R.S. ... With The Supplement, And Modern Improvements, Incorporated in one Alphabet. By Abraham Rees, D.D. In Four Volumes. Volume The First. (Fifth.)

Ephraim Chambers

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Universal Dictionary Of Arts And Sciences


London,: Printed for J. F. and C. Rivington, A. Hamilton, T. Payne and Son, W. Owen, B. White, T. Longman, B. Law, C. Rivington, C. Dilly, H. Baldwin, H.S. Woodfall, J. Robson, J. Knox, W. Domville, G.G.J. and J. Robinson, T. Cadell, A. Hamilton, jun. R. Baldwin, W. Otridge, N. Conant, J. Murray, A. Strahan, W. Fox, S. Hayes, E. Johnson, J. Bent, D. Ogilvy, G. and T. Wilkie, and W. Collins., MDCCLXXXVI.

Physical Description

5 vols.; 430 mm. (Folio).

General Note

Vol. I: [2], ii, iv, [2], xxvii, [1104] p., frontis. - Vol. II: [1228] p. - Vol. III: [1204] p. - Vol. IV: [1384] p. - Vol. V: [104] p., [143] pl. (3 dble. and fold.). The last leaf of text is inserted before the plates on the Ship. The plates are numbered in groups subordinately to their subject headings, e.g. two numbered plates on Agriculture [I-]II, Mechanics [I-]VII, Surveying [I-]III. Among the plates on Astronomy there is a bis plate II. Among those on Botany plates XI and XII are numbered III and IV. The three double and folding plates are those on Anatomy, Architecture and Crustaceous animals.


Vol. I: [Frontis., t.p., dedic.] - Preface To The New Edition - [Dedic.] - Preface - [Text, A-C]. - Vol. II: [T.p.] - [Text, D-I]. - Vol. III: [T.p.] - [Text, K-P]. - Vol. IV: [T.p.] - [Text, Q-Z]. - Vol. V: [T.p.] - Corrigenda Et Addenda - A Scientifical Index - Arrangement and Analysis of the Plates ... - [Plates].

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece of Volume I is signed as drawn by Dodd and engraved by T. Cook. One plate carries the name of its draughtsman - W. Blackburn. Most plates are signed as engraved by Isaac Taylor; one, as engraved by E. Rooker; one, as engraved by J. Mynde.

The first dedication (1786) is from Abraham Rees to the King (George III); the second is a reprint of Ephraim Chambers's dedication (1727 October 15) to the King (George II).


J. Archer, Literature of British domestic architecture (1985), 37.13.

R. Collison, Encyclopaedias: their history (1966).
ESTC, T136234

Summary Note

The frontispiece of Volume I is reproduced from the edition begun in 1778 (the first revised by Abraham Rees), and is dated 'Jany. 3d. 1778'.

Rees's revision of Chambers's Cyclopaedia owes something to the standards set by Diderot's Encyclopédie (1751-72). Its articles include considerable coverage of the visual arts, and are much expanded from Chambers's first edition (1728). The articles on architecture, for example, now have cross-references to the orders, building, ceilings, doors, foundations, roofs, walls, windows, carpentry, fortification, brick etc. Volume III includes an article on a 'Perspective machine'.

The plates (Volume V) include demonstrations of perspective. The frontispiece shows scholars engaged in scientific demonstrations in front of a library or learned institution.


Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

18th-century tree calf; rebacked in 1996, spine gilt-decorated in 18th-century manner, brown and green morocco spine-labels lettered 'Chambers' Cyclopædia Vol. I. A.-CZE. (-V. Plates)'.


Encyclopedias and dictionaries, English - Reference books - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Abraham Rees
George III King of Great Britain, dedicatee
Ralph Dodd, draughtsman
Thomas Cook, engraver
Charles Rivington, publisher
John Rivington, publisher
Archibald Hamilton, publisher
William Owen, publisher
Benjamin White, publisher
Thomas Longman, publisher
Bedwell Law, publisher
Charles Dilly, publisher
Henry Baldwin, publisher
Henry Sampson Woodfall senior, publisher
James Robson, publisher
John Knox, publisher
Thomas Cadell the elder, publisher
Robert Baldwin, publisher
William Otridge, publisher
Nathaniel Conant, publisher
John Murray, publisher
Andrew Strahan, publisher
William Fox, publisher
Samuel Hayes, publisher
E. Johnson, publisher
J. Bent, publisher
David Ogilvy, publisher
Thomas Wilkie, publisher
George Wilkie, publisher
William Collins, publisher
William Blackburn, draughtsman
Isaac Taylor the elder, engraver
Edward Rooker, engraver
James Mynde, engraver
Sir William Domville, publisher