30 April 2008
PALLADIO, Andrea (1508-1580). The First Book of Andrea Palladio's Architecture. Treating of the Five Orders ... accurately engraved by I. Ware. [London?]: 1742.
8° (196 x 120mm). Etched and engraved frontispiece portrait of Palladio after William Kent, 29 etched and engraved plates numbered to 34, one engraved illustration and 3 diagrams, all by Isaac Ware. Contemporary mottled calf gilt (upper joints weak, extremities rubbed). Provenance: Francis Ferrand Foljambe (title stamp).
RARE. As Eileen Harris notes, Benjamin Cole's 'unprincipled' publication of Palladio's Four Books in 1735 was a challenge to the Lord Burlington circle to produce a complete and correct edition. Isaac Ware (bap. 1704, d. 1766), a draughtsman and engraver of proven ability, was well qualified to undertake the task, having access to Burlington's collection of drawings, and enough command of Italian to translate the text. His version of Quatro libri dell'architettura appeared in folio in 1738, dedicated to his patron, and is generally considered the best and most reliable English edition. The present pocket edition of book I with reduced versions of the plates, produced four years afterwards, may have been intended to benefit tradesmen and further promote the folio edition, advertised on the final page at a cost of two guineas bound. The absence of an imprint on the title is unusual enough to make Gerard Beasley suggest 'that Ware published it himself in a small edition, with the hope of subsequently selling the copyright to the London book trade'. Few copies survive. ESTC records only 4 in the British Isles and 2 in North America. BAL/RIBA 2413; Harris 690; Millard II, 54.
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