CASTELL, Robert (d.1728). The Villas of the Ancients illustrated. London: for the author, 1728. 2° (484 x 353mm). Text in double columns in Latin and English, 13 engraved plates on guards, including 6 double-page and 3 folding, 4 illustrations in the text, elaborate engraved head- and tail-pieces. (Occasional light dust soiling to outer margins, without illustration in the text at p.84, but with explanatory text for same.) Contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments, red speckled edges (covers worn, with some loss to corners and at edges, spine rubbed, head- and tail-caps missing). Provenance: Batsford (bookseller's ticket). FIRST EDITION. Financed by Lord Burlington, the 'architect Earl', this was 'the first attempt at the theoretical restoration of ancient buildings' (Fowler), and an influential work in the history of garden design. Published posthumously after Castell had contracted smallpox in a sponging house into which he had been released after being thrown into the Fleet for debt. Fowler p.67; Harris 108; Millard British, 11; cf. RIBA 581.