Entwurff Einer Historischen Architectur In Abbildung unterschiedener berühmten Gebäude, des Alterthums, und fremder Völcker, Umb aus den Geschicht-büchern, Gedächtnüss-müntzen, Ruinen, und eingeholten wahrhafften Abrissen, vor Augen zu stellen. In dem ersten Büche, Die von der Zeit vergrabene Bau-arten der alten Jüden, Egÿptier, Sÿrer, Perser, und Griechen. In dem Andren, Alte unbekante Römische. In dem Dritten, Einige fremde in-und ausser-Europäische, als der Araber, und Türcken, etc. auch neue Persianische, Siamitische, Sinesische, und Japonesische Gebäude. In dem Vierten, Einige Gebäude von des Autoris Erfindung und Zeichnung. Alles mit grosser Mühe gezeichnet, und auf eigene Unkosten herausgegeben, von Ser. Kaiser: Maj: Uber-Bau Inspectorn, Johann Bernhard Fischers, von Erlachen. Auch kürtzen Teutschen und Frantzösischen Beschreibungen.

Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Divers Vases Antiques
Essai D'Une Architecture Historique



Physical Description

[88] p., 5, XX, [1], XV (1 fold.), [1], XV, [1], XXI (1 fold.), [1], 13 pl.; 428×615 mm. (Oblong folio).

General Note

There is a total of 93 plates (though the privilege is for 95). Plates numbered 1-5 comprise: 1. engr. t.-pl. of the whole work; 2. engr. dedic.; 3. engr. t.-pl. of Book I; 4. added engr. t.-pl. in French; 5. map. The four unnumbered plates are all engraved title-plates of their respective Books (2-5). Plate XVI of Book I lacks an engraved number.


[T.pl., engr. dedic.] - Kayserliches Privilegium - Vorrede / Preface - [T.pl. 'Erstes Buch', add. engr. t.pl., map] - [Pl. 1-20, with text] - [T.pl. 'Andres Buch'] - [Pl. 1-15, with text] - [T.pl. 'Drittes Buch'] - [Pl. 1-15, with text] - [T.pl. 'Viertes Buch'] - [Pl. 1-21, with one leaf of text] - [T.pl. 'Divers Vases ... Lib: V'] - [Pl. 1-13].

Responsibility Note

Most plates are signed as designed and/or drawn by J.B. Fischer von Erlach and engraved by J.A. Delsenbach, and carry an imperial privilege. Two are signed as engraved by J.U. Kraus, one as engraved by C. de la Haye, and one as engraved by C. Engelbrecht and J.A. Pfeffel. This last (Book IV, pl. VI) is also signed as designed by J.B. Fischer von Erlach but drawn by his son J.E. Fischer von Erlach.

The work is dedicated by the author to Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor.


National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard, III (1998), 31; Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961), no. 121, p.104-5.

H. Sedlmayr, Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach architetto (1996) [based on German 1976 ed.]; A. Aurenhammer, J. B. Fischer von Erlach (1973); G. Kunoth, Die Historische Architektur Fischers von Erlach (1956).

Summary Note

Besides the four books mentioned in the title, the publication includes a fifth book, which has the title, 'Divers Vases Antiques, Ægyptiens, Grecs, Romains, & Modernes: avec quelques uns de l'invention de l'Auteur'. A publication-date of 1685 is carried by the third plate in the fifth book.

Texts and captions are printed in both French and German; the bulk of the text is in the first book.

This essay on the history of architecture may be seen as part of a wave of interest in non-European civilisations that arose in Europe in the latter part of the seventeenth century, and as part of the speculation as to whether they might have a common origin, perhaps in the Mosaic traditions of the Hebrew Bible. The author begins with Solomon's temple at Jerusalem and includes not only ancient Greek and Roman, but also ancient British, Romanesque, Arab, Turkish, Persian, Chinese, Japanese and Siamese structures (notably omitting Gothic and Indian architecture).

Only 160 copies were printed of this first edition, according to the Mercure de France of May 1724. The second edition appeared in 1725 - which was translated into English in 1730 by T. Lediard under the title, A plan of civil and historical architecture.

Although the scope of Fischer's essay was wide, his plates retain a spectacular and exotic character. A taste for exotic structures became widespread in Europe during the eighteenth century. In Britain Chambers's buildings at Kew are perhaps the best-known examples, but these may have been stimulated more by his own visits to China than by Fischer's designs. It has been suggested that James Wyatt's Pantheon in London may have owed something to the plan of the cathedral of St. Sophia printed in Fischer's book.


The title-plate verso carries the 18th-century armorial book-plate of Sr Clement Cottrell Kt. Master of the Ceremonyes (i.e. Sir Clement Cottrell Dormer, 1686-1758). Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

20th-century half morocco, brown paper-covered boards; spine lettered, 'Architecture Historique. R.A. 1721'.


Architecture - Vases - Europe - Asia - Egypt - History - Comparative studies
Treatises - Art history - Austria - 18th century
Pictorial works - Austria - 18th century


Images from this book

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