The Mark J.Millard architectural collection. Volume 1. French books sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. Introduction and catalogue Dora Wiebenson. Bibliographic description Claire Baines.
Washington, National Gallery of Art 1993.
Folio. xxv + (1) + 511 + (1)pp, 172 ills. Pub cloth.
The first of four projected volumes devoted to the fine collection of architectural books formed by the New York banker Mark Millard (1908-1985). Professor Wiebenson’s notes on the significance of each book in the history of architecture, coupled with the detailed collations provided by Claire Baines, will make this a reference book of permanent value, and there can be no doubt that the completed Millard catalogue will be essential for collectors, librarians and booksellers alike. It is an added pleasure that the volume is particularly well printed and has plenty of intelligently selected illustrations, and it can be warmly recommended to would-be purchasers. That said, there are further volumes of the catalogue to come, and there is some merit in taking this opportunity to observe that the present volume would have been better if the editorial role exercised by Judith Rice Millon had been rather more interventionist ; that would no doubt have caught one or two surprising remarks by Professor Wiebenson in areas where Wiebenson would not herself claim expertise (any student of the printed book will realise that Freart de Chambray cannot have found the “original plates” (sic) of Palladio’s Quattro Libri, as Palladio’s book was printed not from copper plates but from wood-blocks). Likewise, the volume’s index, although extensive and carefully compiled, does not seem to have been the work of individuals with a specialist knowledge of the names and identities of architects, engravers, publishers, or book collectors, and it would have been a tangible service to users of this volume if, for example, it could have been made somewhat clearer by the editor that the six entries in the index for persons called Simmoneau and the two for persons called Simonneau do not relate to eight different persons !