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Le Premier Tome de lArchitecture.

Le Premier Tome de lArchitecture.

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Le Premier Tome de lArchitecture.

by Philibert de L'Orme

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  • Fine
  • Hardcover
  • first
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About This Item


Illustrated with 205 large woodcuts, including 74 full-page and 7 double-page blocks; magnificent allegorical woodcut title border; large woodcut head-pieces and large floriated and grotesque woodcut initials; leaf I4 slightly taller than the rest of the text block, to accommodate a tall column woodcut, with about 2 cm section at top folded in. Royal Folio. 19th-century ¼-vellum over marbled boards; spine decorated and lettered in gilt; edges gilt. Paris: Fédéric Morel, 1567. First Edition. First Issue. The most influential and most lavishly illustrated handbook of French Renaissance architecture. The first and only published volume. A second volume was planned by the author but never completed.

Mortimer, Harvard College Library Cat.: French 16th-Century Books, no.355; Brunet, Supple. I, 888-9; Fowler Architect. coll. 99; Clouzot, Philibert de l'Orme, pp. 90-107; Berliner Ornamentstichkatalog 2362; Pettegree, French Vernacular Books 15434; cf. Adams L 1513 and Millard French I, 105 (citing 1568 2nd issue).

"De l'Orme's text systematically traces the process of building, from the choice to the smallest decorative details. In addition, this work is a major source for biographical information on de L'Orme. His style is as much personal, as theoretical, and his comments on relations between patron and architect or on the practical problems involved in certain structures are based on his own experience. The second volume of the Architecture proposed by de L'Orme at the end of the dedication and again at the end of the text, was never published." (Mortimer, Harvard College Libr. Cat.: French 16th-century Books, No. 355)

Describing the illustrations of this splendid volume, Mortimer writes:

"Among the buildings shown in detail are the château of Anet, built by de L'Orme for Diane de Poitiers, in his capacity as royal architect to Henri II, and de L'Orme's own house in Paris. It is characteristic of de L'Orme's approach to his subject that he should include among the illustrations three allegorical woodcuts concerned with the figure of the architect and the philosophy of a profession for which de L'Orme himself was the first French spokesman. [...] A device on leaf i3v depict[s] the architect as a learned man, relying for support on serpent-twined compasses as he moves cautiously from a cave of contemplation to a palm tree symbolizing the honor of his profession. At the end of the volume this idea is developed further in a summary of the attributes of the architect based on two full-page woodcuts on leaves Eee1r and Eee3r. The first represents the incompetent architect as a figure without hands and eyes, in a harsh landscape setting. In the second cut [...] the good architect, with three eyes and four hands, is speaking to a young apprentice in a garden, with classical buildings in the background."

Manuscript acquisition note in French by marquis Pierfrancesco Palmucci [de Pellicani], dated 1740. Palmucci was an 18th-century Italian aristocrat, jurist, and antiquarian from Macerata, who superintended the publication of an essay on medieval bronzes "Delle Tessere cavalleresche di bronzo tenute al collo" (Florence, 1760). A diminutive ex-libris to front pastedown of Count Giacomo Manzoni (1816-1889), a prominent Italian book collector and bibliographer. Manzoni's engraved bookplate is remarkable for being "one of the smallest ever regularly used as a book-plate." (Gelli, 3500 Ex Libris Italiani, pg. 240, fig. 441).

Without the blank ê6 (as usual), but including 2 unnumbered leaves at the end, which are rarely present, though second leaf trimmed close to text and laid down on the final blank (without loss). Binding rubbed with some wear to extremities. A few leaves with some early manuscript marginalia; title page with a couple of early ownership signatures inked out. Occasional light browning and some soiling (mainly marginal), a few minor ink smudges. Several minor marginal repairs not affecting text; leaf O3 with a tear slightly affecting the bottom of woodcut on verso, but without loss, repaired in blank portion of recto. In all, a nice, genuine example of this rare work, exceptionally tall with very wide margins.


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George Robert Minkoff, Inc. US (US)
Bookseller's Inventory #
Le Premier Tome de lArchitecture.
Philibert de L'Orme
Book Condition
Used - Fine
Quantity Available
First Edition. First Issue.
Fédéric Morel,
Place of Publication
Date Published
Royal Folio.
0.00 lbs
Bookseller catalogs
French & Italian; Math & Science;

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George Robert Minkoff, Inc.

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About the Seller

George Robert Minkoff, Inc.

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2018
Great Barrington, Massachusetts

About George Robert Minkoff, Inc.

Early Printing, Literature and Illustrated Books.. By appointment only.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The page bound on the left side of a book, opposite to the recto page.
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...
Text Block
Most simply the inside pages of a book. More precisely, the block of paper formed by the cut and stacked pages of a book....
Title Page
A page at the front of a book which may contain the title of the book, any subtitles, the authors, contributors, editors, the...
Especially for older books, a printer's device refers to an identifying mark, also sometimes called a printer's mark, on the...
A folio usually indicates a large book size of 15" in height or larger when used in the context of a book description. Further,...
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...
The page on the right side of a book, with the term Verso used to describe the page on the left side.
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a...
The outer portion of a book which covers the actual binding. The spine usually faces outward when a book is placed on a shelf....
First Edition
In book collecting, the first edition is the earliest published form of a book. A book may have more than one first edition in...
Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former...

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