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A Complete Body Of Architecture. Adorned With Plans and Elevations, From Original Designs. By Isaac Ware, Esq. Of His Majesty's Board of Works. In which are interspersed Some Designs of Inigo Jones, never before published.

Isaac Ware

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed for T. Osborne and J. Shipton, in Gray's-Inn; J. Hodges, near London-Bridge; L. Davis, in Fleetstreet; J. Ward, in Cornhill; And R. Baldwin, in Pater-Noster-Row., MDCCLVI.

Physical Description

[18], 748 [i.e. 754], [4] p., frontis., 113 [i.e. 104], [10] pl. (13 dble., 1 fold.); 415 mm. (Folio.)

General Note

There are two unnumbered pages between pp. 92 and 93, between pp.116 and 117 and between pp.120 and 121. In some copies one of the ten last unnumbered plates is bound in before plate 113 - giving a total of 105 plates up to that point and only 9 unnumbered plates afterwards. The 104 numbered plates are irregularly numbered as follows: [1], 2-30, '29-30', 32-37, 37 (bis), 37 (ter), 39, 39 (bis), 40, [41], 42, 45, '48.47.', 48, 49, 49 (bis), 50-53, '55.54', '57.56', '59.58', 60-69, '70.71', '72.73', 74-77, '78.79', 80, '81.82', 82, '82.83', 83, 84-96, 98, 99, 101-107, '110.111', [112], [112](bis), 113. The thirteen double plates are nos. '29-30', '48.47', '55.54', '57.56', '59.58', '70.71', '72.73', '78.79', '81.82', 82, '82.83', 83, '110.111'; the folded plate is the first of the last ten unnumbered plates (but in some copies this is placed before pl. numbered 113).


[T.p.] - Preface - Table of Plates ...; Errata - Contents - [Text and plates] - Index.

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece is signed as drawn by S.Wale and engraved by H. Roberts. A few numbered plates are signed 'I.W.' (pl. 32, 35, 39 bis, '55.54', 62, 63), indicating that they are drawn or drawn and engraved by Isaac Ware. No other plates are signed by a draughtsman. Most are signed by their engravers - H. Roberts, Boyce, Edw(d)s et Darly, J. (or I) Couse, I. Ware (pl. 20), P. Fourdrinier, R. Benning, W. Proud, B. Cole, (B.)Clowse (or Clowes), J. Noual, F. Patton, J. Mynde, Grignion. Of the last ten unnumbered plates some are signed as engraved by W. Proud and one as engraved by J. Couse.

The title-page vignette and the headpiece are signed as engraved by H. Roberts.


ESTC, T31029
Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 4 (2001), no. 3581, p.2355-9.
National Gallery of Art (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, 2 (1998), no.87, p.326-9
E. Harris and N. Savage, British Architectural Books and Writers (1990), no. 906, p.468-476.
Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961, repr.1991), no.436, p.339-40.
R. White, 'Isaac Ware and Chesterfield House', in The rococo in England, ed. C. Hind (1986), p.175-92
R. Wittkower, 'Pseudo-Palladian Elements in English Neo-Classical Architecture', in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 6 (1943), p.156-163.

Summary Note

The publication-date of 1756 is carried by the title page; but the work was published serially between 29 November 1755 and 3 September 1757.

It formed part of a new series of publications being brought out by Osborne and Shipton (who had earlier published Ware's translation of Sirigatti's Pratica di prospettiva). Their Complete Body of Husbandry was already in publication and would be followed by their A Complete Body of Gardening. Ware takes the scope of the project to embrace not only architectural design but also the practicalities of engineering - including, for example, a double plate to illustrate the drainage of a house (pl. '30.31'). As was usual in his time, he tends to combine Palladian exteriors (though, he says, neither Vitruvius nor Palladio should be taken as an infallible guide) with more decorative, rococo interiors.

The text is divided into ten books: 1. on terms and materials; 2. on location, functional parts of a building, the orders; 3. house construction; 4. doors; 5. windows; 6. interior ornament; 7. exterior ornament and garden buildings; 8. bridges; 9. the construction of elevations on true principles (with some criticism of modern practice); 10. mathematics and mensuration.

The plates include some of Ware's own designs - rococo interiors of Chesterfield House (demolished in 1937)(pl. 60-61, 81-83, 85, 88); Amisfield House (pl.39, 45), Clifton Hill (pl. 40), Oxford Town Hall (pl.48-9), Wrotham Park (pl. 52-53), Eythrop House (pl. 104-105, 107), and several chimneypieces. The frontispiece shows Minerva directing an architect and builders. The title-page vignette shows the Pantheon, Rome, and the headpiece of the first page of the text shows an aqueduct. A few plates are captioned as showing work of Inigo Jones; but these are not now thought to be by him.


Presented by E. P. W. Cooper from the library of Sir Edwin Cooper, R.A., November 1961 (see RA Library Accessions Register, 3 November 1961).

Copy Note

Imperfect: lacks the two unnumbered pages between pp.92 and 93; lacks the frontispiece and pl. 2, 4, 18, 21, 22, 28, 64, 65, 74, 75, 85, 88 and the last of the ten unnumbered plates; has pl. 13 inserted in the place of pl. 18, 39 bis after pl. 40, 42 before pl. 45, pl. 49 before pl. '48.47', 49 bis before pl. 48, '82.83' after pl. 83, 99 before pl. 98.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; retaining earlier red morocco spine-label lettered 'Ware's Architecture'.


Architecture - Design - Architecture detail - Houses - Great Britain - History - 18th century - Palladian - Rococo
Manuals - Treatises - Plans - Elevations - Sections - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Thomas Osborne, publisher
J. Shipton, publisher
James Hodges, publisher
Lockyer John Davis, publisher
John Ward, publisher
Robert Baldwin, publisher
Samuel Wale RA, draughtsman
Henry Roberts, engraver
Isaac Ware, draughtsman, engraver
Samuel Boyce, engraver
George Edwards, engraver
Matthias Darly, engraver
John Couse, engraver
Paul Fourdrinier, engraver
Robert Benning, engraver
William Proud, engraver
Benjamin Cole, engraver
Butler Clowes, engraver
James Noval, engraver
Francis Patton, engraver
James Mynde, engraver
Charles Grignion, engraver