Four “column books”, a type of pattern book intended for the man of practice – building masters, stonemasons, sculptors, cabinet makers, stained glass artists, painters of architectural backgrounds, and all “ingenious lovers of architecture”, reducing Vitruvius’s architectural theory to a more narrow description of column orders, and showing those craftsmen interested the new foreign (Italian) fashion how to choose the right columnar elements and combine them appropriately on real buildings or in decoration. Their author, the productive and multi-talented artist Jan Vredeman de Vries, has only lately been recognised as one of the most successful disseminators in countries north of the Alps of the ideas and forms of the Italian Renaissance, as the “chief motor behind the spread of the so-called Antwerp Mannerist architecture” (Krista de Jonghe), whose “paper architecture” had an impact on a variety of media not just in Europe but also in the New World.
Bound with Architectura 3e stuck. De oorden tuschana, in tvveen ghedeylt in XII. Stucken. Antwerp, Widow of Hieronymus Cock [Volcxken Diericx], 1578
Bound with Das ander Buech, Gemacht auff die zvvay Colonnen, Corinthia und Composita sampt jren podien, basen, cornicen, capitellen, architraben, phrisen und coronamenten. Antwerp, [Widow of Hieronymus Cock (Volcxken Diericx)], 1581
Bound with [Das Erst Buch, Gemacht Auff de Zvvey Colommen Dorica und Ionica, sampt iren podien, bases, cornicen, capitelen, architraben, phrisen und coronamenten]. [Antwerp, Widow of Hieronymus Cock (Volcxken Diericx), 1581]
Vredeman de Vries, Jan
Leeuwarden circa 1527 – 1609? Hamburg
Architectura, oder Bauung der Antiquen auss dem Vitruuius, woellches sein funff Collummen orden, daer auss mann alle Landts gebreuch vonn Bauuen zu accommodieren dienstlich fur alle Bawmaystren Maurrer, Stainmetzlen, Schreineren Bildtshneidren, und alle Liebhabernn der Architecturen ann dag gebracht.
Antwerp, Gerard de Jode, 1581
folio (362 × 275 mm), (29) folios, complete, comprising an etched title-page with title transcribed above and armorial insignia of the dedicatee Peter Ernst Count of Mansfeld (verso blank), five unsigned and unnumbered leaves of letterpress (headed Tuschana, printed recto and verso, inserted as folio ; Dorica, printed recto and verso, inserted as folio ; Ionica, printed recto only, inserted as folio ; Corinthia, printed recto and verso, inserted as folio ; Composita, printed recto only, inserted as folio ), and twenty-three numbered etchings in their only state (platemarks circa 345 × 255 mm), unsigned, but by Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum: plate 1 lettered Tuscana, plate 6 Dorica, plate 13 Ionica, plate 17 Corinthia, plate 23 Composita, letters (keyed to the relevant text), scale division lines, and numerals.
Architectura 3e stuck. De oorden tuschana, in tvveen ghedeylt in xii. Stucken, bequaem en nutteliick voor alle ingenieuse bouvvers, als metsers, steenhouvvers ende andere liefhebbers der antiquer Architecturen. Gheinventeert ende ghemaect naer de leeringhe Vitruuij.
Antwerp, Widow of Hieronymus Cock [Volcxken Diericx], 1578
contents (13) folios, complete, comprising a leaf of letterpress with title transcribed above (recto) and address to the reader subscribed by the author (verso), and twelve numbered etchings in only state (platemarks circa 236 × 296 mm), unsigned, but by Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum: plate 1 lettered Tuschana | 1 | Aux quatre vents, the other plates lettered Tuschana with appropriate numeral.
Das ander Buech, Gemacht auff die zvvay Colonnen, Corinthia und Composita sampt jren podien, basen, cornicen, capitellen, architraben, phrisen und coronamenten: Iede inn vier manieren ghezieret und getailet, zu mehrer zierd und schoene. Gezogen auß den berumpten Architecten Vitruuio, Sampt noch anderen zierden dar zu dienlich, den Malern, Bildhavvern, Stainmetzen, Schreinren, Glaesern, und sunst allen Liebhabren zu gutem.
Antwerp, [Widow of Hieronymus Cock (Volcxken Diericx)], 1581
contents (23) folios, complete, comprising a leaf of letterpress with title transcribed above (recto) and address to the reader subscribed by the author (verso), and twenty-two numbered etchings in only state (platemarks circa 300 × 235 mm), unsigned, but by Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum: most plates lettered Composita and/or Corinthia next to the appropriate design, plate 1 lettered additionally Vriese Inventor H. Cock Excudebat 1565, plate 13 lettered Vriese Invent, plate 15 Cock Excu, plate 16 Vriese Inventor 1565, and plate 22 Cock Excu.
[Das Erst Buch, Gemacht Auff de Zvvey Colommen Dorica und Ionica, sampt iren podien, bases, cornicen, capitelen, architraben, phrisen und coronamenten, eyn jede inn drey manieren gezieret und getailet, zu mehrer zierd und schone, Gezogen auss dem berumpten Architecten Vitruuio, Sampt noch anderen zierden dazu dienlich, den Malern, Bildhavvern, Stainmetzern, Schreinern, Glazmaler, und sunst allen liebhabern den selben zu guten].
[Antwerp, Widow of Hieronymus Cock (Volcxken Diericx), 1581]
contents (18) folios, complete (this issue without the above title, which was printed for the 1565 edition only), comprising eighteen etchings numbed a–i, k–s in first of two states (platemarks circa 234 × 300 mm), unsigned, but by Joannes and Lucas van Doetecum: most plates lettered Ionica and/or Dorica next to the appropriate design, plate d lettered additionally Vriese Inv Cock Excud 1565, plate k Hout Die Cock in Eeren, plate q Vriese Inventor Cock Excudebat.
provenance Earls of Macclesfield, Shirburn Castle, embossed stamp on three leaves, exlibris on paste down South Library dated 1860 and inscribed with shelfmark 114 G 18 — Sotheby’s, ‘The Library of the Earls of Macclesfield, Part Ten: Applied arts and science’, London, 30 October 2007, lot 3837.
Fore-edge margin of Architectura, oder Bauung der Antiquen repaired at an early date, two paper flaws in plate 9 (a round 5 mm hole in blank area; a 10 mm tear in design), but otherwise a very good copy; the three other works in fine state of preservation.
binding contemporary calf; covers decorated to panel design, a gilt roll-tooled border framing a lozenge formed of multiple blind rules and blocked centrepieces; blue paper pasted over covers in the seventeenth-century, and vellum backstrip lettered Fredeman Fr[ie]se Architectura added.
Four ‘column books’, a type of pattern book intended for the man of practice – building masters, stonemasons, sculptors, cabinet makers, stained glass artists, painters of architectural backgrounds, and all ‘ingenious lovers of architecture’, reducing Vitruvius’s architectural theory to a more narrow description of column orders, and showing those craftsmen interested the new foreign (Italian) fashion how to choose the right columnar elements and combine them appropriately on real buildings or in decoration.
Their author, the productive and multi-talented artist Jan Vredeman de Vries, has only lately been recognised as one of the most successful disseminators in countries north of the Alps of the ideas and forms of the Italian Renaissance, as the ‘chief motor behind the spread of the so-called Antwerp Mannerist architecture’,1 whose ‘paper architecture’ had an impact on a variety of media not just in Europe but also in the ‘New World’.
Jan Vredeman apprenticed at first to become a joiner, then as a painter and glass painter in Leeuwarden, before joining the workshop run by the Municipal Painter of Kampen in 1546–1547. In 1549 he took part in creating ephemeral architecture for the entry into Antwerp of the Emperor Charles v and his son, later King Philip ii of Spain. Soon afterward he is said to have become familiar with the works of Serlio and Vitruvius in the translations published by Pieter i Coecke van Aelst. Vredeman himself never set foot on Italian soil; he obtained most of his knowledge of the new formal language from books and engravings, and used the same medium to present his own contribution.
Vredeman began his career as a designer of prints with the Antwerp publisher Gerard de Jode, who brought out two series of his designs for strapwork cartouches in 1555. In the following years, Vredeman designed more series of cartouches, several series of architectural perspective views (useful especially in intarsia work), and examples of fountains, vases and tombs, most of which were etched by the brothers Joannes and Lucas Van Doetecum, and published at Antwerp by Hieronymus Cock. He continued meanwhile his collaboration with De Jode, who published his designs of grotesques, terms, and well-heads, among other works. By the mid-1560s, Vredeman’s reputation had grown to the point where he – no longer his publisher – was subscribing the dedication and introducing the designs.
The first publications to be brought out under Vredeman’s own control were two works exploring the decorative possibilities of the orders of columns: Dorica-Ionica (‘Das erst Buch’), structured as three sequences of six plates each, published by Hieronymus Cock in 1565;2 and Corinthia-Composita (‘Das ander Buech’), four unequal sequences of plates, published by Cock later the same year.3
The plates in these works – both are present in our volume (see Figs. 1 and 2) – show single architectural details, such as pedestals and capitals with entablature or gable tops; designs for entire columns are not offered, and measurement scales are not always present. It seems Vredeman did not intend his designs to be slavishly copied; he preferred that the reader be stimulated by them into devising his own designs, accommodated to a specific task, and local building practice.
The programme thus instituted in 1565 was completed in 1578 with publication by Cock’s widow of a third work Tuschana – also present in our volume (Fig. 4) – showing details of bases, columns, entablatures and façades according to the Tuscan order, which Vredeman considered particularly suited to fortifications. Although the ‘erst Buch’ was reprinted by Cock and his widow in various editions, including one as late as 1601; and the ‘ander Buech’ appeared in four editions by Cock and his widow, from 1565 until 1581; the plates comprising Tuschana appeared in just this edition.4
The work bound first in our volume, ‘The architecture of building in Antiquity according to Vitruvius’, is the only one of the author’s publications to feature explanatory text (Fig. 3).5 Despite its ambitious title, the Architectura is another ‘column book’, organised in five chapters (one for each of the five orders), each chapter containing etchings and a letterpress text commenting on the etchings.
The first plate of each chapter presents the column order itself in five different alternatives of decoration (in the proportions and in the secondary decoration); the other plates are examples of the application of the order, mostly building façades shown frontally, and deal with the problem of how to apply this knowledge on real buildings. The façades are accompanied by a small ground plan which occasionally depicts the space behind the screen of the façade and thus conveys information about the function of the building. The traditional symbolism of the column orders expressed by Vitruvius, Serlio, and Coecke van Aelst, is abandoned by Vredeman, who proposes instead that the choice of order be determined by the degree of prestige the architect wishes to give to the building.
The first edition of the Architectura was published in 1577 by Gerard de Jode with German text and reprinted later the same year with French text; another edition in German and a first edition in Dutch appeared in 1581. Apart from alterations to the title-print, the plates are identical in these editions (in some copies of the French edition there is an appendix and additional plate). The letterpress in the 1577 German edition is known in two variants, both set on seven leaves.6 Although rare copies of the 1581 German edition retain the old letterpress,7 most provide the second version of the 1577 text reprinted on five leaves.8 The work passed through at least ten editions before the end of the seventeenth century and influenced other books of the same genre.9
Like most pattern books, Vredeman’s have survived mostly in imperfect copies, and very rarely are found complete and in contemporary bindings, even in libraries of an early foundation. As Cock and De Jode were competitors, most albums logically present either Cock’s editions alone or De Jode’s editions alone. Such albums are more suggestive of the marketing practices of the two publishers than the choice or taste of the original owner. An album comparable to our own, presenting the same four works (albeit in different editions), was in the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi’s library.10 Unfortunately, the individual who formed our album has left no recognizable clue to his identity. In structure and decoration, the binding may be localized no more specifically than ‘Flemish, probably Antwerp’, modified in England during the eighteenth century (when blue paper was pasted over the leather, so that the volume harmonized with others in the Macclesfield Library shelved nearby). There are no inscriptions of ownership antedating those made by Macclesfield librarians.
references Peter Fuhring, in Hollstein’s Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings and Woodcuts, 1450–1700: Vredeman de Vries (Rotterdam 1997), xlvii, pp.164–178 nos. 183–200 (Das Erst Buch), pp.179–202 nos. 201–222 (Das ander Buech); Ibid., xlviii, pp.56–85 nos. 408–431 (Architectura, oder Bauung der Antiquen), pp.94–102 nos. 442–453 (Architectura 3e stuck Tuschana)
1. Krista de Jonghe, ‘Vredeman de Vries as a Disseminator of Architectural Novelties’ in Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Folgen, edited by Heiner Borggrefe and Vera Lüpkes (Marburg 2005), p.83. Vredeman’s art was the theme of recent exhibitions and symposia where the importance of his influence on a European scale was underlined: Tussen stadspaleizen en luchtkastelen: Hans Vredeman de Vries en de Renaissance, catalogue of an exhibition held at the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, 14 September–8 December 2002, edited by Heiner Borggrefe, Thomas Fusenig and Barbara Uppenkamp (Ghent & Amsterdam 2002); Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Renaissance im Norden, catalogue of an exhbition held at Weserrenaissance-Museum Schloss Brake, Lemgo, and Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (Munich 2002). For Vredeman’s influence on building practice, see Petra Zimmermann, ‘The Relation to practice in the publications of Hans Vredeman de Vries’ in Hans Vredeman de Vries and the Artes Mechanicae revisited, edited by Piet Lombaerde (Turnhout 2005), pp.15–32 (especially p.22).
2. Das erst Buch was first published in 1565 with letterpress title-page and preface in either Dutch or German (Petra Zimmermann, Die Architectura von Hans Vredeman de Vries: Entwicklung der Renaissancearchitektur in Mitteleuropa, Munich 2002, pp.137–138 figs. 59–60); this letterpress was suppressed in later issues. Its designs for windows and curved pediments were especially influential; see Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Renaisance im Norden, op. cit., pp.192–193 no. 16.
3. Das ander Buech was first printed in 1565 with letterpress title-page and preface in German (Zimmermann, op. cit., 2002, p.140 figs. 63–64); a reissue with the German letterpress re-set appeared in the same year, and a new edition followed in 1578. Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Renaissance im Norden, op. cit., pp.193–194 no. 18.
4. Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Renaissance im Norden, op. cit., pp.197–198 no. 21.
5. Besides Zimmermann, op. cit., 2002, see Dieter A. Nuytten, ‘Theory and example in Vredeman de Vries’s Architectura (1577): Intentions between a modern treatise and a practical model book’ in Hans Vredeman de Vries and the Artes Mechanicae revisited, op. cit., pp.33–55, with resume of recent literature. For reproductions, see Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Renaissance im Norden, op. cit., pp.196–197 no. 20 (1577 German edition); Architectural Theory from the Renaissance to the Present, edited by Bernd Evers, Christoph Thoenes, et al. (Cologne & London 2003), pp.500–509 (ten reproductions from 1577 German edition).
6. Zimmermann, op. cit., 2002, pp.82–83: ‘Vergleich der deutschen Erstausgabe mit der ersten deutschen Neuauflage (1581) und der niederländischen Ausgabe (1581)’. The German (1577) text is reproduced by Zimmermann pp.198–207: ‘Anhang i’.
7. Peter Fuhring, in Hollstein’s Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings and Woodcuts 1450–1700: Vredeman de Vries, Part ii (Rotterdam 1997), xlviii, p.57, describing an unspecified copy of the 1581 edition with text printed on six leaves (folios 2 recto and verso, 3 recto, 9 recto and verso, 17 recto, 22 recto and verso, 29 recto) and retaining the colophon of Gerard Smits dated 1577.
8. Other copies containing the same title-print (dated both 1577 and 1581) and twenty-three plates, but unknown amounts of letterpress, are described in Architectural theory and practice from Alberti to Ledoux, exhibition catalogue edited by Dora Wiebenson (Chicago & London 1983), III–A–6; Madeleine Van de Winckel, ‘Hans Vredeman de Vries’ in Les Traites d’Architecture de la renaissance, edited by André Chastel and Jean Guillaume (Paris 1988), pp.453–458 (eight reproductions); Krista De Jonge, ‘Vitruvius, Alberti and Serlio: Architectural treatises in the Low Countries, 1530–1620’ in Paper Palaces: The Rise of the Renaissance architectural treatise, edited by Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks (New Haven 1998), pp.286–288 (title-print reproduced).
9. Petra Zimmermann, ‘Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Folgen in der Architekturlehre’ in Hans Vredeman de Vries und die Folgen, op. cit., pp.91–100.
10. Scamozzi’s album contains (bound in this order) Architectura 1577, Tuschana 1578, Das Erst Buch 1578, Das Ander Buch 1565 (lacks six plates). It was acquired by Count Leopoldo Cicognara (Catalogo ragionato dei libri d’arte e d’antichità posseduti dal conte Cicognara, Pisa 1821, no. 746) and is now in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Cicognara vii 746); see Wolfgang Lipmann, ‘La biblioteca scamozziana’ in Vincenzo Scamozzi: 1548–1616, edited by Franco Barbieri and Guido Beltramini (Venice 2003), p.503.