Cape Town

Ronald Cohen, architect and artist, was born in South Africa and later moved to London where he succeeded as an interior designer. On holidays, he traveled and painted widely in Europe, South America, the Middle East, and Africa, always drawn to different varieties of architecture.  “But then I discovered Cape Town,” he wrote, “and there I found absolutely everything to delight my senses—the wonderful clarity of the light, the expansive golden beaches, the granite rocks and the sparkling sea . . .

Manuale di Varj Ornamenti Componenti la Serie de' Vasi Antichi

This early and only edition consists of an illustrated three volume study of Roman vessels drawn and engraved by Italian artist and editor Carlo Antonin (born circa 1740). Volume one features vessels in the Pio-Clementine and Chiaramonti Museum at the Vatican; volume 2 shows items in the Capitoline Museum and the galleries of Rome; and volume 3 has images of other antique “Rome district” vases. This book includes more than 195 full-page images illustrating variant forms and decoration on Roman vases and vessels.

De Romanorum Magnificentia et Architectura

Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) created detailed and elaborate etchings illustrating the antiquities of Rome as well as a fictitious and atmospheric series entitled Carceri d'invenzione (Imaginary Prisons). The Smithsonian Libraries is fortunate to own several first-editions of Piranesi’s publications, including his book on fireplaces and mantels entitled Diversi Maniere d'Adornare i Cammini and “vedute” or views of Rome, an example of which is this 1761 folio.

Bostwick Gate Company Collection, 1900-1905

A rare collection of items related to the Bostwick Gate and Shutter Company, this assortment of ephemera includes the patent for Alfred Clark’s Collapsible Gates, his identification card for his entry into the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle Internattionale, and a miniature brass sample of the known “Bostwick Gates.” Highly regarded for his ingenious folding gate design, this trade catalogue directly connects Cooper Hewitt’s existing World’s Fair collection with affordable practicality in industrial design.

Floriated Ornament

This is a first edition of an important pattern book containing 31 chromolithographics designed by Augustus Welby Pugin (1812-1852) and inspired by design forms found in nature. Pugin, best known as the designer of the interiors of Houses of Parliament (1836-1868) in collaboration with Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860), was a proponent of Neo-Gothic as a national style for England.

Metal-Work and Its Artistic Design

Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt (1820-1877) was a British architect and art historian who championed the role of the designer in the manufacturing process. He was most famous for his two volume work, The Industrial Arts of the Nineteenth Century, which he composed as Secretary of the Great Exhibition of 1851.

If You Want to Build a House

A book that accompanied the 1946 exhibit "If You Want To Build A House" exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art. The book highlights mid-century modern architects such as Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, and Richard Neutra as well as Prairie School architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The book describes the concepts of modern architecture from the prospective of a potential home builder.

Working With Mr. Wright

As a former apprentice at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship program, Curtis Besinger provides a lively account of daily life in this community of architects established by Wright in Wisconsin and Arizona. While an apprenticeship with the Fellowship was unlike standard architectural training, it did entail some architectural tasks, such as drafting, designing, and overseeing projects, including the actual building of Taliesin West.


Constructions: buildings in Arizona is the accompanying catalogue to the one and only exhibition of Alfred Newman Beadle V’s architectural work, mounted by Arizona State University in 1993. Interestingly, due to persistent demand, Gnosis, Ltd. has published a second edition, generously illustrated with 31 black-and-white photos and 25 drawings that includes a new foreword by ASU Professor Emeritus and architectural historian Bernard Michael Boyle. The Cooper Hewitt edition is the original catalogue.


Taliesin is a relatively rare edition self-published in Scottsdale and signed by the author, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright. In this book, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, the third wife of Frank Lloyd Wright, tells beautifully illustrated accounts of The Fellowship, The Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, The Taliesin Associated Architects, and Taliesin West itself. There are many intimate color images of Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale, Arizona that was completed in 1937.

Wendingen: Vol. 8: No. 2 (1927)

This issue of the Dutch periodical Wendingen, dating from 1927, is devoted to interiors and furniture designed by Dutch architects C.J. Blaauw, W.M. Dudok, Piet Kramer, S. van Ravestyn, Schröof and G. Reitveld, A.F. Van der Wey and H.