Les edifices antiques de Rome dessinés et mesurés très exactement ...

Paris, Jean-Baptiste Coignard, 1682.

Folio, pp. [12], 323, [1 blank], with engraved title-page, 137 engraved plates, engraved head-piece and initial; a very good copy in contemporary full calf, rebacked with new endpapers, two spine labels, corners repaired; armorial Chippendale bookplate of Sir John Hynde Cotton to verso of front free endpaper.


US $11229€10631

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First edition of this spectacular folio production, based on the most accurate measurements of Roman architecture of the time. Sent to Rome by Colbert in 1674, Desgodets spent sixteen months measuring the most important buildings with greater accuracy than ever before. The resulting drawings of 25 monuments, having been presented to the Académie Royale d’Architecture, were engraved by the King’s engravers, at the King’s expense, and published with Colbert’s financial backing in this luxurious edition. The monuments illustrated include the Pantheon, Temple of Bacchus, Temple of Faunus, Temple of Vesta, Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, Temple of Fortuna Virilis, Temple of Peace, Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina, Temple of Concord, Temple of Jupiter Stator, Temple of Jupiter Tonans, and the Temple of Mars Ultor.

Desgodets ‘incorporated in his drawings as many details as possible, delineating them with a degree of accuracy inspired by his almost mystical reverence for exactitude of proportion. Such accuracy was unprecedented, and not to be superseded for a long time’ (British Architectural Library 858). Desgodets’s text recorded and challenged the written architectural documents which were at odds with his measurements: the very documents on which the French Academy had based its principles.

Provenance: Sir John Hynde Cotton, fourth Baronet (1717–1795) of Madingley Hall, Cambridgeshire.

Millard (French) 62; Fowler 102; Cat. Berlin 1863.