gazebo (antedating 1749)

Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 20 15:15:35 UTC 2011

OED (1989) has a first citation for gazebo in 1752. World Wide Words
has an entry about the word that says: "This word is surrounded by
more mystery than an earnest etymologist would like." Michael Quinion
highlights a1752 cite by architect William Halfpenny.

There exists an earlier architectural treatise by William Halfpenny
dated 1749 that contains the term "gazebo room".

Title: A new and compleat system of architecture delineated in a
variety of plans and elevations of designs for convenient and
decorated houses ...
Author: William Halfpenny
Publisher: Printed for John Brindley, 1749

The plan and elevation of a design for a house 48 feet 6 inches front
and 33 feet deep, 2 stories high, with vaulted cellars under ½ the
building, and garrets in the roof over; over which is a gazebo room 10
feet square, whose floor is level with the dotted line S T; …

Google Books has another volume containing "gazebo" that is dated
incorrectly by GB as 1701. WorldCat assigns the date 1750 to multiple
instances of the work and that is compatible with the date "Nov 6,
1749" that appears in a note from the Physico-Historical Society that
provided approbation. Also, 1750 is the last date given in a list of
"Names of the late Collectors of this port since K. James" within the

Title: The antient and present state of the county and city of Cork:
in four books.
Author: Charles Smith
Publisher: Printed by A. Reilly for the author, and sold by J. Exshaw

… on a rising ground near the house is a gazebo, which commands a
prospect of the harbour of Cork, the ocean, and a vast tract of sea

Wikipedia has an entry for "gazebo" that claims there is a 1750 work
by William Halfpenny that uses the word gazebo. Here is an excerpt
from Wikipedia:

The word gazebo was used by British architects John and William
Halfpenny in their book Rural Architecture in the Chinese Taste
(1750). Plate 55 of the book “Elevation of a Chinese Gazebo” shows “a
Chinese Tower or Gazebo, situated on a Rock, and raised to a
considerable Height, and a Gallery round it to render the Prospect
more complete”.

Google Books has a Third edition of "Rural architecture in the Chinese
taste" with a date of 1755:


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