LEDOUX, Claude Nicolas (1736-1806). L'Architecture considérée sous le rapport de l'art, des moeurs et de la législation. Paris: for the author, 1804.
2° (590 x 408mm). Engraved dedication to Alexander I of Russia, and 125 numbered engravings including two additional titles, by Van Maelle, Sellier and others after Ledoux. (A few short tears, some repaired, title lightly soiled, 10 leaves with repaired losses in the bottom margin, a few leaves with faint staining in the bottom margin.) Late 19th-/early 20th-century red half morocco, spine lettered in gilt, top edge sprinkled, marbled endpapers (extremities rubbed); cloth-covered box. Provenance: Charles Frédéric Mewès (architect, 1858-1914; bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. THE MEWES COPY; a tall copy with deckle edges. L'Architecture is 'the most important source for the designs of this outstanding late eighteenth-century architect', a utopian essay and a voyage pittoresque through an imaginary city (Millard). The work, issued in parts between 1803 and 1804, was many years in the making; while Ledoux was incarcerated during the Revolution, 'the treatise underwent a radical change and emerged as a strong, unique statement of a new relation of the architect to society. Ledoux now linked the architect to the Creator and considered him an active instrument in the formation of a new society' (Millard). Mewès, a noted French architect, formed a fine library; his numerous projects include the Ritz hotels in Paris, London and Madrid, and London's Royal Automobile Club. Berlin Kat. 2448; En français dans le texte ('this book is certainly a work of art in its own right'), p.209; Millard I, 91; RIBA, vol. 2, pp. 954-5 (noting another issue or variant with the first two plates unnumbered); Vinet 303.