SERLIO, Sebastiano (1475-1554). The First [-Fift] Booke of Architecture ... translated out of Italian into Dutch, and out of Dutch into English. London: [Simon Stafford and Thomas Snodham] for Robert Peake, 1611.
2° (361 x 248mm). Titles to books I and II with Serlian scrollwork borders, repeated in titles to books IV and V respectively, book III title in a cartouche supported by putti above a landscape of ruins, 403 woodcut diagrams and illustrations, many full-page. Books I-IV printed in black letter. (Bk. I soiled at margins, repair to title affecting border, next three leaves likewise repaired on verso, ff.5 and 6 misbound; ff. 29 in Bk III torn with loss recto and verso and repaired at gutter, ff. 30 similarly repaired, ff. 45 with closed tear; ff. 3 of Bk. IV slightly stained, ff. 5 with tear into illustration on verso. Occasional waterstaining to all five books.) Contemporary reversed calf (rebacked, front cover subsequently detached, one corner repaired, others worn).
FIRST EDITION OF 'BY FAR THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL ENGLISH ARCHITECTURAL BOOK OF ITS DAY' (RIBA). Its two precedents, Shute's First and Chief Groundes of Architecture (1563), and a translation of Blum's Quinque columnarum exacta descriptio (1601), both derived from Serlio. The only full English edition until recent times, it was financed by the elder Robert Peake (1551?-1619), Sergeant-Painter to Prince Henry from 1607, who signs the dedication to the Prince, and whose name appears in the imprints and colophons; whether Peake himself was the translator is uncertain. It is noticeable that the woodblocks are quite heavily inked to conceal their wear. They had been last used in a German language edition published by Ludwig Königs in Basel, 1609-09, but first appeared in the Antwerp editions of Pieter Coecke van Aelst and his widow between 1539 and 1553. The same blocks were used for the 1606 Amsterdam edition of all five books, published by Cornelis Claesz. The text for this edition was the one used for the English translation, while itself deriving from Coecke's Flemish and French editions of 1539-1553. RARE ON THE MARKET. BAL/RIBA 2976; Fowler 331; Harris 817; Millard II, 74; STC 22235.