Etchings, Representing The Best Examples Of Ancient Ornamental Architecture; Drawn From The Originals In Rome, And Other Parts Of Italy, During The Years 1794, 1795, And 1796. By Charles Heathcote Tatham, Architect; Member Of The Academy Of Saint Luke At Rome, And Of The Institute At Bologna.

Charles Heathcote Tatham

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed For The Author, And Sold By Thomas Gardiner, Bookseller, Princes Street, Cavendish Square., MDCCXCIX.

Physical Description

12 p., [72] pl.; 476 mm. (Broadsheet).


[T.p.] - Preface - Subscribers [list] -[Plates].

Responsibility Note

All plates are signed as etched by Tatham: 'CHT aq.f.'

Each carries his imprint as publisher.

Types and ornaments appear to be those of the printer John Barfield, who printed other work for Tatham.


RIBA, Early printed books, 4 (2002), 3241; Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961), 342.

Studies of Tatham and Neoclassicism include R. Riddell, The early career and publications of C. H. Tatham [M.A. dissertation, Royal College of Art, London] (1984); C. Proudfoot and D. Watkin, 'A pioneer of English Neo-classicism' and 'The furniture of C.H. Tatham', in Country life, 151 (1972), p. 918-21, 1481-6; D. Udy, 'The Neo-classicism of Charles Heathcote Tatham', in Connoisseur, 177 (1971), p. 269-76.
ESTC, T146422 describes the issue containing also plates carrying the date of 1800 but retaining the 1799 title-page.

Summary Note

All plates carry publication-dates ranging between May 1798 and April 1799: they had been produced at the rate of six per month. In 1800 a further thirty plates would be printed - which are sometimes found bound with the first seventy-two and retaining the 1799 title-page. (A formal second edition was published in 1803, and a third in 1810 - often reprinted. In 1806 Tatham published the companion Etchings representing fragments of antique Grecian and Roman architectural ornament; and in 1826 the two works were issued together.)

In his Preface Tatham praises Le Roy, Stuart and Revett for accurate accounts of ancient Greek architecture, but says that he hopes to surpass Piranesi in the accuracy of his representations of architectural ornament. As the French revolutionaries have dispersed classical sculpture, his book may provide patterns for artists: 'The late celebrated President of our Royal Academy has most wisely inculcated, that the ideas of an artist ought first to be acquired by making himself familiar with the best productions of the greatest masters'. Tatham made his drawings at the request of the architect Henry Holland, who was then working on Carlton House, Woburn Abbey and Southill. Tatham's own severe architecture was exemplified at Castle Howard (gallery), Wilton Park, Trentham and Rookesbury and in his competition designs for the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; but his greatest influence was on the Neoclassical design of furniture and silver.

Some plates show parts of the frieze of the temple of Antoninus and Faustina, begun in 141 A.D.; but most show undated fragments, from the Vatican and Capitoline museums and various palazzi, villas and churches in Rome or near it (Castelgandolfo, Frascati, Tivoli); one shows a vase in Naples cathedral.

These outline designs, almost devoid of shadow, were contemporary with the pure outline etchings of Flaxman and of Percier and Fontaine, and were a model for Thomas Hope's Household furniture (1807).

In 1816 John Soane bought the fragments which Tatham had acquired for Holland and displayed them in his study at Lincoln's Inn Fields; where they may be seen today.


A micfofilm was made by the British Library (neg. PB.Mic.9388).


Presented by the author; acknowledged 28 December 1799 (RAA CM III, 43).

Copy Note

Imperfect; lacks the list of Subscribers.

Binding Note

18th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; rebacked and recornered in 20th century, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Tatham's Etchings'.


Architecture, Roman - Ornaments, Roman - Sculpture, Roman - Bas-reliefs, Roman - Italy - Lazio - Rome - History - Ornaments, British
Ornaments, British - 18th century - Neoclassical
Pattern books - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Thomas Gardiner, bookseller
John Barfield, printer
Charles Heathcote Tatham, previous owner, donor