Scamozzi, Vincenzo

Dell’idea della architettura universale.

Venetia, Giorgio Valentino 1615 (“expensis auctoris”).

Reference: 15219
Price: £7 [convert currency]

Full Description

Folio. 2 vols in 1. Engraved title leaf, (14) + 90+ (2 blank) + (5) + pp 96-128, 125-8, 129-193 + (2) + pp 194-218 + (4) + pp 219-352 + (2 blank) + (32)pp ; engraved title leaf, (10) + 172 (pp 44-8 misnumbered 32-36, pp 114-5 misnumbered 90-1) + (4) + pp 173-232 + pp 235-266, 277-9 + (5) + pp 271-370 + (22)pp, many engraved and woodcut text ills (complete thus). Seventeenth century panelled calf, gilt (a French binding), neatly rebacked, back cover slightly scratched. Preliminary leaves to second volume slightly browned, and a little browning at outer blank margins generally, but a good, fresh, unpressed copy, unrestored internally except for the double-page inserted leaf Q3-Q4 noted above.

First edition, rare today, of this celebrated and very extensive illustrated treatise by the Venetian architect Vincenzo Scamozzi (1548-1616), the last of the great architectural treatises of the Renaissance period. Ii was particularly respected for its coverage of the orders of architecture, and also attracted attention for its author’s remarks on town planning and on the design of houses and villas. By 1615 Scamozzi had only completed six of the ten or twelve sections of his book which he had originally contemplated, but in its printed form, published at his own expense, his intended numbering was retained, with the result that his first volume contains Books I-III and his second volume Books VI-VIII, without Books IV-V which were never published (such however was the veneration in which his treatise was held that the later 1687 edition reprinted Scamozzi’s text in the same format and with virtually identical pagination). The present copy belonged in the early nineteenth century to the architect Jean Thomas Thibault (1757-1826), a pupil of Boullée, notable in his day for his redesign of the interior of the Elysée Palace for Napoleon’s sister Caroline and her husband Joachim Murat, and also a particularly skilled architectural draughtsman and landscape painter. A pencil note on a preliminary blank leaf by Thibault’s contemporary, the long-lived architect and collector of architectural books, Callet père (1755-1850), records that at the sale of Thibault’s effects and library, which took place in November 1826, Callet purchased this copy of Scamozzi, which then lacked a double-page illustration in the first volume, and supplied what was missing. Examination shows that Callet did indeed supply pp 165-8 (the double-page leaf Q3-Q4) from another copy, adding a pencil note of his own at the foot of the added leaf , “cette feuille manquait dans nature”. It is interesting that as early as 1826 an architect saw the need that a copy of Scamozzi should be entirely complete, and prospective purchasers will be pleased to know that the added leaf, which has now been in the copy for about half the copy’s existence, is entirely compatible in appearance with the leaves to either side of it. BAL Cat 2917 (with an excellent bibliographical note); Fowler Cat 292; Berlin Cat 2605; Cicognara 651; Millard, Italian and Spanish Books 123.