This is one of the two or three largest and most authoritative architectural encyclopedias of the 19th century. The principal credit for its publication belongs to the British architect Wyatt Papworth (1822-1894), who was the leading figure in the Architectural Publication Society from its foundation in May 1848 until the completion of the Dictionary in April 1892. The Dictionary is now particularly useful to architectural historians engaged in assessing 19th-century British attitudes toward various building types and toward architecture in general, and for information on the construction technology of the period.
A collection of engravings of 16th and 17th-century altars and church interiors in Rome designed by such important architects as Bernini, Pietro da Cortona, and Carlo Fontana, this book is not only useful as a near-contemporary record of the architecture, but also as an example of early 18th-century art book publishing. Several generations of the de Rossis participated in the family publishing firm, which was one of the first to develop a mass market for art materials.
From 1814 to 1878 the sketchbooks of the Japanese artist Hokusai (1760-1849) were published in the form of wood engravings. 3,190 drawings were represented on 1300 cherry wood blocks. (The Stanford University Libraries' Department of Special Collections has a few of these prints from the original edition.) This reprint edition, made with the original blocks and on special handmade paper, is an excellent facsimile of the 19th-century set.
Vignola (1507-1573), a painter and architect in the service of the Farnese family, presented in the original Italian edition (1562) of the book he called Regola delli cinque ordini his method for calculating the correct proportions of the Orders of classical architecture, e.g. Ionic, Doric. The book and its illustrations, enormously useful to practicing architects, and especially influential in France, was translated into several French pocket editions, like this one, that could easily be carried around from site to site by working architects.
Vitruvius (fl. 1st century BC) was a Roman architectural theoretician whose book, De architectura, has been a source of information and a strong influence on many later architects working in styles that borrow classical elements. It was known in manuscript form during the Middle Ages but did not become a major force until after it was first printed in the late 15th century. In 1674 the text was translated into French by Claude Perrault and rearranged to read more easily and logically. The Perrault version was very widespread; its English translation is the text of the present edition. As a simplified version of Vitruvius, it was very popular in England, particularly among architects without much formal training, and its influence was widespread in the early 18th century.
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