Essai sur l'Architecture.

Paris, chez Duchesne, 1753.

Small 8vo, pp. xiv, [2], 293, [19], with the 4 pages of approbation and privilege, and the final leaf of errata; a fine copy in contemporary cat’s paw calf, richly gilt spine with red morocco label. Contemporary mss. ‘Ex libris [unreadable]’; title-page with late 18th century ownership stamp of entwined initials D.B.? enclosed by ‘Juge au tribunal de Semur, (cote d’or)’; and bookplate of John Harris.


US $1246€1062

Make an enquiry

First edition of Laugier’s important and influential Essai advocating a return to the use of geometrical forms in architecture rather than the embellishment of the Orders, and determining the regular layout of streets and squares in city planning, with special reference to Paris, and calling for a picturesque alternative to the traditional French formal garden. The book’s argument was deemed so revolutionary that Laugier published it anonymously. It was translated into English in 1755.

Schlosser-Magnino p.653; Berlin Kat. 2405, Cicognara 545 and RIBA, Early Printed Books, 1774 (all only have the second edition of 1755 which was no longer published anonymously).

You may also be interested in...


An Essay on Design: including Proposals for erecting a public Academy to be supported by voluntary Subscription (till a royal Foundation can be obtain’d) for educating the British Youth in Drawing, and the several Arts depending thereon ...

First edition of the first public appeal for a national academy of arts. John Gwynn’s Essay called attention to the inadequacy of art training in England. ‘Whatever thoughts about an academy were in the air at the time were set in motion by the Essay’ (Harris). It was Gwynn’s first salvo in a campaign that eventually led to the foundation of the Royal Academy (1768), of which he was a founding member. The essay’s head-piece vignette is an attractive neo-classical building engraved after a design by Gwynn (an architect by profession), depicting his vision of the Academy. Oddly enough it is not unlike the Chambers built Somerset House which became the home of the Royal Academy in 1779.

Read more

YOUNG, John.

A catalogue of the pictures at Grosvenor House, London; with etchings of the whole collection … and accompanied by historical notices …

First edition and earliest catalogue of the Grovenor picture collection finely printed by Bulmer, and with reproductive etchings of all the pictures by Young. The Grosvenor picture collection was one of the finest in London. The Earl of Grosvenor employed the King’s Keeper of Pictures as his agent in Italy, but also patronised the English School, with paintings by Gainsborough, West (‘Death of Wolfe’), Wilson and Stubbs. His son Robert added choice pictures from Madrid, the entire collection of Welbore Ellis Agar, a Rembrandt from the King of Sardinia, a couple of Rubens’ from the Convent of Loeches, a Titian from the Barberini Gallery, etc.

Read more