30 April 2008
CAMPBELL, Colin (fl. 1715-1729). Vitruvius Britannicus or The British Architect. London: sold by the author, John Nicholson, Andrew Bell, W. Taylor, Henry Clements and Jos. Smith, 1715-1717.
Volumes I-II only, 2° (441 x 272mm). Engraved titles, engraved dedication in vol. I, 158 etched and engraved architectural plates, 27 double-page, numbered 1-100 in each volume. (Vol. I: worming affecting blank corner of title and gradually diminishing up to pl. 10, browning to three folding plates, one plate also torn along fold, a few plates cropped close, one or two marginal tears. Vol. II: A2 with minor paper fault, variable browning to the majority of plates.) Contemporary blind-panelled calf with gilt borders and spine ornament (rubbed and scuffed, joints cracked, corners bumped). Provenance: Francis Ferrand Foljambe (stamp on both titles).
FIRST EDITION. The success of the first two volumes of this work, 'arguably the most influential and original British architectural book ever published' (RIBA), was partly owing to the conscious decision to exclude the pretty views to be found in prospect books such as Kip's Britannia illustrata, and rely on the effectiveness of purely scientific representations. In volume I 40 plates are signed as drawn by Campbell, though none of the architectural plates are signed by an engraver. In volume II the elevations and sections are nearly all signed as drawn by Campbell and engraved by Henry Hulsbergh. Fowler 76; Harrison 97; RIBA Early Printed Books 3544. (2)
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