We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

Due to government restrictions, you may only visit with members of your household, not as a mixed group. If you need to rebook your visits, please contact us at 020 7300 8090 or tickets@royalacademy.org.uk, 10am – 5pm

Essay And Treatises On The Practice And Architecture Of Bridges. By William Hosking, F.S.A., Architect and Civil Engineer, Professor Of The Principles And Practice Of Architecture, And Of Engineering Constructions, In King's College, London; Author Of Treatises In The Encyclopædia Britannica On Architecture And Building.

William Hosking

RA Collection: Book

Record number




(London:: John Weale, Architectural Library, 59, High Holborn,, 1842.)

Physical Description

[4], 248 p., [3] pl. (one fold.): illus.;254 mm. (Octavo.)

General Note

The plates carry the numbers 88, 19, 39. A Note on p.[4] states, 'The following Essay and Treatises having been written and printed to form part of an extensively illustrated work on the 'Theory, Practice, And Architecture Of Bridges', many references will be found to illustrations not here included; whilst the special illustrations which are included bear the number appropriated to the Plates respectively in the complete work published by Mr. Weale.'


[T.p.] - Preface - Corrections; Note - Preliminary Essay [with 2 pl.] - Practical Treatise - Architectural Treatise [with 1 fold. pl.].

Responsibility Note

'Plate 88' is signed as engraved by S. Porter; 'Plate 19', as engraved by T. Milne; 'Plate 39', as drawn by William Hosking and engraved by J.W. Lowry.

Each carries the publisher's imprint of John Weale, Architectural Library, 59, High Holborn - Plate 39 with the date 'London ... 1842'.


J.M. Crook, 'Architecture and history', in Architectural History, 27 (1984), p.555-78.

J. Sweetman, The artist and the bridge 1700-1920 (1999); D.J. Brown, Bridges: three thousand years of defying nature (1993); Ted Ruddock, Arch bridges and their builders, 1735-1785 (1979); J. Gies, Bridges and men (1963).

Summary Note

No publication-date is printed on the title-page, but the Preface carries the date 'October, 1842', and Plate 39 carries the date 1842. The title-page is inscribed in ink, '1843'. A Note on p.[4] states that this book was printed to form part of a larger work (see our note on collation); and several pages carry the words 'Vol. II.' at the foot. The 'Preliminary Essay' had been first published privately in 1841; and the complete work was published in 1843 as 'The Theory, Practice and Architecture of Bridges'.

The first plate (Plate 88) is captioned, 'Perronet's Design For The Bridge Over The Seine At Melun'; the second (Plate 19), 'Longitudinal Section under the Central Archway of Old London Bridge, shewing the sunk weir, recommended by Mr. Smeaton ... 1763'; the third (Plate 39), 'Plan, Elevation & Sections, Of The Central Arch Of London Bridge'.


The title-page is inscribed in ink, 'For the Library of the Royal Academy - (from the Author)'.

Copy Note

The title-page is inscribed in ink, '(Twenty-five separate copies for private distribution - See note.) 1843'.

Binding Note

19th-century green cloth-covered boards, upper and lower covers decorated in blind; spine lettered 'Hosking On Bridges.'


Bridges - Engineering - Masonry - Arches - Vaults (structural elements) - Great Britain - London - History - 19th century
Plans - Elevations - Sections - Great Britain - 19th century


William Hosking, draughtsman, previous owner, donor
John Weale, publisher
Samuel Porter, engraver
T. Milne, engraver
Joseph Wilson Lowry, engraver
Architectural Library (London)