Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V12, Page 836 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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WILLIAM HALFPENNY, English 18th-century architectural designer—he described himself as " architect and carpenter." He was also known as Michael Hoare; but whether his real name was William Halfpenny or Michael Hoare is uncertain. His books, of which he published a score, deal almost entirely with domestic architecture, and especially with country houses in those Gothic and Chinese fashions which were so greatly in vogue in the middle of the 18th century. His most important publications, from the point of view of their effect upon taste, were New Designs for Chinese Temples, in four parts (1750=1752); Rural Architecture in the Gothic Taste (1752); Chinese and Gothic Architecture Properly Ornamented (1752); and Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste (1750-1752). These four books were produced incollaboration with John Halfpenny, who is said to have been hi8 son. New Designs for Chinese Temples is a volume of some significance in the history of furniture, since, having been published some years before the books of Thomas Chippendale and Sir Thomas Chambers, it disproves the statement so often made that those designers introduced the Chinese taste into this country. Halfpenny states distinctly that "the Chinese manner" had been " already introduced here with success." The work of the Halfpennys was by no means all contemptible. It is sometimes distinctly graceful, but is marked by little originality.

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