De Architectura, plates XXXIII-XXXIV. Page height 410 mm View larger
De Architectura, plates XXXIII-XXXIV. Page height 410 mm
Androuet du Cerceau (Jacques), c. 1511-1585/1586

De architectura Jacobi Androuetii Du Cerceau, opus

Paris, Benoît Prévost, 1559

This is the first of three extensive books on house-building published by Androuet du Cerceau. It was issued by the same printer in the same year under the title Livre d’Architecture contenant les plans et desseings de cinquante bastiments tous différens. As often, it is found here with the author’s Second Livre d’Architecture, in which designs for chimneys, window surrounds, doors, fountains, wells, garden pavilions, and funerary monuments, are provided. The once-fine binding of our copy is characteristic French work of about 1570 decorated in gilt with centre- and corner-pieces, and a complex monogram on both covers, which we dismember into the letters A B C E M N O R S T. It could be standing either for a motto or for a name.

Bound with Androuet du Cerceau, Jacques. Le second livre d’architecture, par Iacques Androuet du Cerceau. Contenant plusieurs & diverses ordonnances de Cheminees, Lucarnes, Portes, Fonteines, Puis & Pavillons, pour enrichir tant le dedans que le dehors de tous edifices. Avec les desseins de dix Sepultures toutes differentes. Paris, André Wechel, 1561

Subjects
Architectural books - Early works to 1800
Architecture, French - Early works to 1800
Art books - Early works to 1800
Book illustration - Artists, French - Androuet du Cerceau (Jacques), c. 1511-1585/1586
Book illustration - Pattern books - Early works to 1800
Prints - Artists, French - Androuet du Cerceau (Jacques), c. 1511-1585/1586
Authors/Creators
Androuet du Cerceau, Jacques, c. 1511-1585/1586
Artists/Illustrators
Androuet du Cerceau, Jacques, c. 1511-1585/1586
Printers/Publishers
Prévost, Benoît, active 1543-1561
Wechel, André, active 1554-1573
Owners
Macclesfield, Earls of

Androuet du Cerceau, Jacques
Paris (?) circa 1511 – 1585/1586 Paris or Montargis

De architectura Jacobi Androuetii Du Cerceau, opus. Quo descriptæ sunt aedificiorum quinquaginta planè dissimilium ichnographiæ… adjunctâ usus & commoditatis in habitationibus singulis expositione, unâ cum integtra cuiusque aedificij dimensione. Hûc accedit brevis explicatio de structurarum, quibus ædificia constant dimensione per orgyiam, que Galklica est architec­torum mensura, sex long pedes.

Paris, Benoît Prévost, 1559

folio (410 × 270 mm), (16) ff. letterpress, signed A–D4 plus complete series of sixty-nine engraved plates (platemarks circa 275 × 185 mm) imposed in pairs and gathered [1]8 [2]6 [3]10 [4]8 [5]8 [6]8 [7]8 [8]8 [9]6 (last leaf a blank), the plates numbered i, i, ii–xiv, xv, xv, xvi, xvi, xvii, xvii, xviii, xviii, xix–xx, xxi, xxi, xxii–xxiv, xxv, xxv, xxvi, xxvi, xxvii, xxvii, xxviii, xxix, xxix, xxx–xxxii, xxxiii, xxxiii, xxxiv, xxxiv, xxxv–xxxvii, xxxviii, xxxviii, xxxviii, xxxviii, xxxix–xliii, xliv, xliv, xlv, xlv, xlvi, xlvi, xlvii–xlviii, xlix, xlix, l. Three large grotesque initials from Prévost’s alphabet, of which two (c, l) signed ★ (compare Mortimer no. 270).

paper watermark ‘Fleur de lis surmontée d’un quatre-feuilles; au bas, cartouche dans un encadrement en accolade et le nom j [or s?] nivelle’ in folios A1, A3, B3, B4, C1, C2, D1, D3;1 no watermark observed in plates.

Bound with

Le second livre d’architecture, par Iacques Androuet du Cerceau. Contenant plusieurs & diverses ordonnances de Cheminees, Lucarnes, Portes, Fonteines, Puis & Pavillons, pour enrichir tant le dedans que le dehors de tous edifices. Avec les desseins de dix Sepultures toutes differentes.

Paris, André Wechel, 1561

folio (410 × 270 mm), (2) ff. letterpress π2 (letter of the author to Charles ix; plan of the work), plus 64 (of 66) engraved plates (platemarks circa 270 × 185 mm), the unnumbered plates imposed in pairs and gathered [1]6 [2]6 [3]8 [4]6 [5]6 [6]8 [7]6 [8]6 [9]6 [10]6 (lacking two plates: one plate depicting a section of a chimney flue, the other six plans of fountain bases; see below).

paper watermark ‘Deux colonnes enlacées, soutenant une couronne surmontée d’une quartefeuilles; au bas, cartouche et le nom edmon denise’ (height 67 mm, a circular ornament in each column base) in folios [1]1, [1]4, [2]1, [2]3, [2]5, [3]1, [3]3, [3]4, [4]3, [4]6, [5]4, [6]2, [6]4, [6]5, [6]6, [7]2, [7]3, [7]6, [8]3, [8]6, [9]6;2 a smaller version of the this watermark (height 58 mm, with Attic column base) in folios [1]5, [3]7, [5]5, [8]2 (no comparable watermark recorded by Briquet or Le Clert); watermark ‘Chien passant à gauche ayant un collier avec anneau; au-dessus un trèfle (ou un quartefeuilles mal formé); au bas, cartouche dans un entourage à enroulements, et le nom j nivelle’ in folios [4]2, [5]1;3 no watermark observed in conjugate folios [9]2+[9]5, [9]3+[9]4, [10]2+[10]4.

provenance unidentified French owner’s monogram on binding — ink inscriptions of a late 17th or early 18th-century English bookseller on first (of three) front free-endpapers (recto:) £ 1 s 12 and (in another hand) vi .1.6 (verso:) a.b. — Earls of Macclesfield, Shirburn Castle, embossed stamp on three leaves (De architectura folios A1, A2, A3), exlibris on paste down South Library dated 1860 and inscribed with shelfmark 113 H 19 — Sotheby’s, ‘The Library of the Earls of Macclesfield, Part Ten: Applied arts and science’, London, 30 October 2007, lot 3329

The binding is dilapidated, but in entirely original state: leather in top compartment of the spine detached and lost, leather in bottom compartment partly detached; edges and corners worn; covers abraded and rubbed.

binding contemporary French calf, covers decorated in gilt by a frame of double rules, centre- and corner pieces, with owner’s monogram stamped in middle of centrepiece and at angles of the frame (see below), back divided into seven compartments by raised bands, and decorated by repeated gilt quatrefoil ornament, Architec | ture | de Du | Cerceau lettered in second compartment; gilt edges.

A collection of fifty model designs of houses presented as ground plans, elevations and sections (171 figures on sixty-nine plates), with brief explanatory texts on each project located at the start of the book. The designs, among the earliest of domestic archi­tecture published anywhere in Europe, are highly varied, including plans of townhouses for merchants, hôtels particulier, and country châteaux with and without fortifications, some of the latter fanciful large-scale buildings based on geometrical forms (circle, triangle, penta­gon) and one in the form of a capital h (project xlvi) in honour of the dedicatee, Henri ii (reigned 1547–1559).

The projects are organised according to a calculation of their size in ‘Orgyia Gallica’ (toise), the statutory unit of measurement (1.959 metres, each ‘diuiditur in pedes sex’), as the cost of building was generally reckoned on the price of the walls according to their length, height and depth. The first and cheapest house spans a site about twenty-two metres in width and has a total of 539 toises, 16 pieds; the largest scheme at the end of the book has 9110 toises.4 By a royal edict of 1557, decorative elements such as pilasters, friezes, and cornices, were specified and accounted in a separate contract with the master mason. Architectural decoration is therefore rarely suggested here, even in the large projects, while the use of the rooms – even the position of the bed5 – is firmly specified.

Although Du Cerceau employs Vitruvian terminology – Ichnographia, Orthographia, Scaenographia – he does not labour his dilettante readers with a theoretical discourse; in­stead, he makes his appeal through the language of images. All the projects are rendered legibly and without constraining the imagination of the audience. Shown without subsidiary buildings or topographical context, the plans seem to float on the page – an effect Françoise Boudon calls ‘impression d’utopie’6 – allowing the patron to freely apply his individual needs and taste. With minor alterations, such as the relocation of stables, many of the schemes are suitable equally for a château or hôtel.

This is the first of three extensive books on house-building published by Du Cerceau. It was issued by the same printer in the same year under the title Livre d’Architecture... contenant les plans et desseings de cinquante bastiments tous différens. In both editions, the inscriptions on the plates are in Latin, an indication of the social status of the readers Du Cerceau hoped to attract in the domestic French market, and of his ambition to establish his reputation – and project French taste – far beyond.

The absence of illustrations of the decorative details needed to ornament these structures is remedied in Du Cerceau’s second book on house-building, published two years later, jointly by the author and the publisher André Wechel, again in Latin and in French (the French edition is present in our volume).

Fig. 1 De Architectura (plates xxxiii–xxxiv). Page height 410 mm

The Second Livre d’Architecture is organised in seven parts, providing unnumbered designs for chimneys, window surrounds, doors, fountains, wells, garden pavilions, and funerary monuments. The variety and virtuosity of the chimney designs especially has given rise to the suspicion that the Second Livre is plagiarised from other designers (else­where Du Cerceau borrowed extensively from Serlio).7

Fig. 2 Le second livre d’architecture. Page height 410 mm

The only letterpress in the Second Livre is a bifolium with the title, an undated address ‘Au Roy’ (Charles ix, reigned 1560–1574), and a single page of text announcing the seven sec­tions of plates. The imprint on the title-page ‘De l’imprimerie de André Wechel’ (or, in some copies, ‘Imprimé pour Jacques Androuet Du Cerceau’), like the colophon of Benoît Prévost in the earlier volume, indicates only that Wechel and Prévost printed the letter­press; the plates for both books were printed by Du Cerceau himself. Examination of multi­ple copies proves that Du Cerceau ordered from his printers substantial quantities of the letterpress and printed the plates himself as demand required. The dates 1559 and 1561 on the title-pages thus can not be construed as the actual dates of issue.

A common feature of matrices produced in the Du Cerceau atelier is their swift deteriora­tion (through heavy use or by mishandling), evidenced by the opening of cracks in the cop­per, steady diminution in size, ‘clipped’ corners, and so forth. Within just a few years, some of the sixty-nine matrices in the De Architectura / Livre d’Architecture set had become unusable, and replacements engraved. In our volume, four prints are taken from substitute matrices: plate ia (in the copy, a room description is elaborated and further designations added, viz. on the ‘Secunda Ichnographia’ vestiarium replaces v.); iv (in the copy, garlands beneath the windows on the ‘Facies Posterior’ are deleted); x (in the copy, the direction of the print is reversed, so that on the ‘Facies Anterior’ the statue to right of the entry has a raised hand); xxxiv b (in the copy, seven façades lettered f–l are shown, whereas in the original, four façades of different design are shown).8

The idea of engraving a project number on each plate to facilitate reference to the prefatory letterpress did not occur immediately. A copy of the Livre d’Architecture is reported with all the plates before addition of numbers,9 while other copies are a mixture of unnumbered and numbered plates,10 with the appropriate numerals hand-stamped in type in the upper margins where necessary. Copies of De Architectura with similar mixtures of unnumbered and numbered plates also are known and the repeated claim that the Livre d’Architecture precedes De Architectura demands further testing. In our copy of the Latin edition, all the plates have numbers engraved in the matrices and paper evidence suggests a date of issue circa 1564–1571.11

Most copies of the Second Livre d’architecture contain sixty-six engraved plates, including one showing the flue inside a chimney, and another a variety of plans of fountains; neither plate is found in our copy, and there are no signs that they ever were present. Since the prefatory letterpress specifies only ‘vingt ordonances de chiminees’ (all of which are in our copy), the plate of the chimney flue may be a later addition, not part of the book as origi­nally conceived.12 The plate of fountain plans, however, is called for in this letterpress (‘six Fonteines, auec le plan racoursy de chascune d’icelles’).13

Fig. 3 Binding (lower cover). Height 420 mm

The once-fine binding of our copy is characteristic French work of about 1570 decorated in gilt with centre- and corner-pieces. A complex monogram is repeated on both covers, which we dismember into the letters a b c e m n o r s t. It could be standing either for a motto or a name.14

references Henry de Geymüller, Les Du Cerceau, leur vie et leur oeuvre (Paris 1887), p.310; Bibliothèque Nationale, Inventaire du Fonds Français: Graveurs du seizième siècle, compiled by André Linzeler (Paris 1932), i, p.70; The Fowler architectural collection of the Johns Hopkins Univer­sity, compiled by Elizabeth Baer (Baltimore 1961), nos.21–22 (De Architectura 1559 bound with Second Livre d’Architecture 1561 in ‘old limp vellum’); Philippe Renouard, Imprimeurs et Libraires Parisiens du xvie Siècle, Vol. i : Abada–Avril (Paris 1965), no. 244 (De Architectura 1559), no. 246 (Second livre d’Architecture 1561); Robert Brun, Le livre français illustré de la Renaissance: étude suivie du catalogue des principaux livres à figures du xvie siècle (Paris 1969), p.110; National Gallery of Art, The Mark J. Millard architectural collection. French books, sixteenth through nineteenth cen­turies (Washington, dc & New York 1993), no. 5 (De Architectura 1559 bound with Second livre d’Architecture 1561 in 18th-century calf); see Architectural theory: from the Renaissance to the pre­sent: 89 essays on 117 treatises with a preface by Bernd Evers and an introduction by Christof Thoenes; in cooperation with the Kunstbibliothek der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin (Cologne & Los Angeles 2003), pp.220, 222 (with reproductions from Livre d’architecture 1559)

Fig. 3 Binding (lower cover). Height 420 mm

1. Comparable to Charles-Moïse Briquet, Les filigranes. Dictionnaire historique des marques du papier dès leur apparition vers 1282 jusqu’en 1600 (Paris 1907), no. 7088; and Louis Le Clert, Papier. Recherches et notes pour servir à l’histoire du papier, principalement à Troyes et aux environs (Paris 1926), pl. li no. 232.

2. Compare Briquet, op. cit., no. 4434: n in edmon reversed; Le Clert, op. cit., pl. xxxiii no. 107: n in edmon not reversed, dated ‘Troyes 1567’.

3. Comparable to Briquet, op. cit., no. 3640; Le Clert, op. cit., pl. liii no. 260 and ii, p.416: ‘Papier de 32 × 40, écrit à Saint-Denis près Paris, 1567; Brême, 1567; Amsterdam, 1568; Bruges, 1568; Brabant, 1571’.

4. David Thomson, Renaissance Paris: Architecture and Growth 1475–1600 (Berkeley & Oxford 1985), pp.18–28, figs.6–15.

5. Monique Chatenet, ‘Cherchez le lit: the place of the bed in sixteenth-century French residences’ in Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society 43 (1999), pp.10–11, figs.2–3.

6. Françoise Boudon, ‘Les livres d’architecture de Jacques Androuet Du Cerceau’ in Les Traités d’Architecture de la Renaissance, edited by Jean Guillaume (Paris 1988), p.368.

7. David Thomson, ‘Les trois Livres d’architecture de Jacques Ier Androuet du Cerceau, à Paris en 1559, 1561, et 1582’ in Sebastiano Serlio à Lyon: architecture et imprimerie. 1. Le traité d’architecture de Sebastiano Serlio: une grande entreprise éditoriale au xvie siècle (Lyon 2004), p.450.

8. We note the original version of plate xxxiv b in two copies only: British Library (60 h. 5) and Biblio­thèque Nationale de France (FRBNF30020369; Cote NUMM-85632; see digital facsimile http://gallica.bnf.fr/; link).

9. Copy in the American Institute of Architects, cited by Elizabeth Baer in The Fowler architectural collection of the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore 1961), p.18.

10. The Philip Hofer copy in the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts, Harvard University, Typ 515 59.144 F, has three plates in unnumbered state (xiii, xxviii, xxxiv b); see Catalogue of books and manuscripts. Part I: French 16th century books, compiled by Ruth Mortimer, (Cambridge, ma 1964), pp.27–28. A copy in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (FRBNF30020369) has four plates before numbers (ii, xiii, xxv a, xxviii; see digital facsimile http://gallica.bnf.fr/; link). A copy in the University of Virginia Library, Gordon 1559 A58, has five plates before numbers (xiii, xxv a, xxv b, xxviii, xxxivb; see http://www.lib.virginia.edu/rmds/index.html; link).

11. The majority of the plates in our copy are struck on a paper displaying the ‘two columns’ watermark registered by its manufacturer, Edmond i Denise, in 1564; the version of the watermark seen in our copy is recorded in papers used between 1567 and 1571 (Le Clert, op. cit., ii, p.305).

12. The plate occurs in the Avery Library copy (530 An 233) on a leaf outside the gatherings (interpo­lated after folio 13). It occurs also in the copy in ensba (LES 1598) and is described by Yves Pauwels as ‘une planche moins aboutie, qui semble ne pas faire partie de l’ensemble (sans doute une ébauche de la pl. 6). Son filigrane est d’ailleurs différent et la page de sommaire n’annonce en outre que 20 chemi­nées et non 21’ (description accompanying a digital facsimile: http://architectura.cesr.univ-tours.fr/Traite/Notice/ENSBA_LES1598.asp?param=; link).

13. This plate is also an interpolated leaf in the Avery Library copy (inserted after folio 41).

14. Compare the eleven-letter monogram (e f h i m n o r s t v) employed at mid-century by Hieronimus Fioraventius’ French binders (Anthony Hobson and Paul Culot, Italian and French 16th-century book­bindings, Brussels 1991, no. 44); and the thirteen-letter monogram (a e g h i m n o p r s t v) appearing on Thomas Mahieu’s Parisian bindings (Howard Nixon, Sixteenth-century gold-tooled bookbindings in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York 1971, no. 20).

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