"PERHAPS WE ARE RUSHING TOWARDS ANNIHILATION. IN THAT CASE THERE WILL BE NO ARCHITECTURE AT ALL. FOR ME THAT IS THE MOST SATISFACTORY SOLUTION."
BETJEMAN, John. Ghastly Good Taste, or, a Depressing Story of the Rise and Fall of English Architecture. London: Anthony Blond, (1970). Small quarto, original half black calf, original slipcase. $350.
Signed limited second edition of Betjeman's first book on architecture, number 37 of only 200 copies signed by Betjeman with a nine-foot long folding plate at the rear.
"For the second edition of this book, in an introduction entitled 'An Aesthete's Apologia," Betjeman offered a lengthy account of the circumstances behind the writing and publication of Ghastly Good Taste. He explained that 'wrote the book thirty-eight years ago. I was twenty-six, in love, and about to be married… I am appalled by its sententiousness, arrogance and the sweeping generalisations in which it abounds. The best things about it are the fancy cover, which I designed myself from display types found in the capacious nineteenth-century premises of Stevens, Shanks & Sons… The real point of the book was the Street of Taste, or the March of English Art down the Ages, specially drawn by Peter Fleetwood-Hesketh, with traffic to match. The pull-out was also an old-fashioned thing to do, and the style of architectural caricature was deliberately based on Pugin's caricatures in his book Contrasts (1836). This pull-out is what caused people to buy the book, and looking back at it, I regard it as far less modish and much more balanced than that'" (Peterson A2). Peterson A2.c.
A fine copy.