22 January 2009
DESGODETS, Antoine Babuty (1653-1728). Les Edifices de Rome dessinés et mesurés tres exactement. Paris: Jean Baptiste Coignard, 1682. 2°. Engraved title in baroque border, 137 engraved plates, many double-page (some staining at upper edge and margins, first plate quite severely stained, some plates and leaves lightly browned, marginal rusthole to Qq, some mainly marginal light spotting and staining). Contemporary calf, spine gilt in compartments with red morocco lettering-piece (extremities rubbed, covers scuffed with some wear). Provenance: "R. Knight" (early signature on front free endpaper). FIRST EDITION. Brunet II, 625: "Premier ouvrage exact qui ait paru sur les anciens monuments de Rome. On recherche surtout l' edit. de 1682, qui offre les premières épreuves des planches"; Cicognara 3700; Fowler 102.
"The plates, many of them masterpieces of architectural drawing and engraving, were engraved from the drawings of Desgodets by De Chastillon, S. Le Clerc, J. and P. Le Pautre, N. Guerard and others. This work gives the first really accurate representation of ancient Roman architecture and is the beginning of that long series of measured drawings which are one of the great traditions of French architecture. It is remarkable that the drawings for this work were made when the author was about twenty-two and the book was published before he was thirty. Besides describing the plates, the text is largely devoted to exposing the many errors of Serlio, Palladio and Freart" (Fowler).
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