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A Treatise Of The Five Orders In Architecture. To which is Annex'd, A Discourse concerning Pilasters: And of several Abuses introduced into Architecture. Written in French By Claude Perrault,Of The Royal Academy of Paris, And made English By John James of Greenwich. The Second Edition. To which is added, An Alphabetical Explanation of all the Terms in Architecture, which occur in this Work.

Claude Perrault

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Ordonnance des cinq especes de colonnes., English., 1722.]

Variant Title

Treatise of the Five Orders of Columns In Architecture
Ordonance Of the Five Kinds of Columns, After The Method of the Ancients


London:: Printed for J. Senex, and R. Gosling in Fleet-street; W. Taylor in Pater-noster-Row; W. and J. Innys in St. Paul's Church-Yard; and J. Osborn in Lombard-street., M.DCC.XXII.

Physical Description

[6], xxi, [3], 131, [1], xii p., add. engr. t.-pl., engr. dedic., 6 pl. : illus.; 346 mm. (Folio).

General Note

Plate I is counted in the pagination, as if it were pages 43, 44. In some copies the 'Explanation of such terms' is printed before the main text.


[T.-p., add. engr. t.-pl., engr. dedic. by translator, dedic. by Perrault] - The Preface - A Table of the Chapters - [Text:} The Ordonance Of the Five Kinds of Columns - An Explanation Of Such Terms in Architecture as occur in the preceding Treatise.

Responsibility Note

None of the plates nor of the many headpieces, tailpieces and decorated inititials is signed, but the title-page of the first edition ascribes them to John Sturt.

This edition retains the dedication by Perrault to Colbert, and the translator's 1708 dedication to Thomas, Earl of Pembroke.


Royal Institute Of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 3 (1999), no. 2499, p.1431-2; E. Harris and N. Savage, British Architectural Books (1990), 701.

J. Dewald, Aristocratic experience and the origin of modern culture: France 1570-1715 (1993); A. Picon, Claude Perrault 1613-1688 ou la curiosité d'un classique [1988]; F. Fichet, La théorie architecturale à l'age classique ( 1979); W. Hermann, The theory of Claude Perrault (1973); R.C. Saisselin, The rule of reason and the rules of the heart (1970).
ESTC, T135482

Summary Note

The added engraved title reads, 'A Treatise of the Five Orders of Columns In Architecture ...'. Perrault's book had originally been published in Paris in 1683, and the first edition of James's translation in 1708. Apart from the correction of errata, the principal differences between this and the 1708 edition are the addition of the Explanation of terms and of some new headpieces. The two English editions were the only editions of Perrault to have been published after the original edition and before the twentieth century.

Perrault argues in this work that Vitruvius's concept of 'optical adjustment' may be replaced by acknowledging the human mind's ability to compensate for illusions of scale, distance, angle etc.; and also that human perceptions of beauty and proportion are matters of taste rather than derived from any absolute. These assertions were strongly opposed by François Blondel, but were taken up again in the eighteenth century.


A new English translation of the Ordonnance by I.K. McEwen was published in 1993 (Sanata Monica, USA: Getty Center).


Acquired by 1802. Listed in A Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Copy Note

At the foot of Plate I are inscribed in pencil in an unknown hand the names of the five orders shown, 'Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corithian, Composite'.

Binding Note

Contemporary calf, the upper and lower covers decorated in blind in rectangular panels; rebacked in 20th century, spine lettered '1722', red morocco spine-label lettered 'Claude Perrault Five`Orders Of Architecture'.


Architecture - Architectural orders - Theory - France - History
Treatises - France - 17th century
Treatises - Translations into English - Translations from French - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Robert Gosling, publisher
John Innys, publisher
William Innys, publisher
John Osborn, publisher
John Senex, publisher
William Taylor, publisher
John Sturt
John James, translator
Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke