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Essai Sur L'Architecture. Nouvelle Edition, Revue, corrigée, & augmentée; Avec Un Dictionnaire Des Termes, Et des Planches qui en facilitent l'explication. Par le P. Laugier, de la Compagnie de Jesus.

Marc Antoine Laugier

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Autres Livres d'Architecture qui se vendent chez Duchesne, Rue St. Jacques, au Temple du Goût


A Paris,: Chez Duchesne, Libraire, rue S. Jacques, au-dessous de la Fontaine S. Benoît, au Temple du Goût., M.D.CC.LV.

Physical Description

xliv, [4], 316, [4] p., frontis., 8 pl. (fold.); 191 mm. (Octavo).


[Frontis., t.p.] - Avertissement sur cette seconde Edition - Preface - Table Des Chapitres; Approbation; Fautes à corriger - [Text] - Dictionnaire Des Termes De L'Architecture - Table Des Matieres; Approbation; Privilege - Autres Livres d'Architecture qui se vendent chez Duchesne, Rue St. Jacques, au Temple du Goût. - [Plates].

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece is signed as drawn by Ch. Eisen and engraved by J. (or A.) Cicernet? Plates 1 and 8 are signed as engraved by Fonbonne.


Royal Institute Of British Architects, Early printed books, 2 (1995), no. 1774; Backer-Sommervogel IV col. 1557-8; Schlosser p.583. W. Herrmann, Laugier and eighteenth-century French theory (1962).

Summary Note

This Essai had originally been published in 1753. In 1755 appeared an English translation (An essay on architecture), and in 1756 a German one. In 1765 Laugier published further Observations sur l'architecture. In the Essai, Laugier, following Vitruvius, derives all architecture from a primitive hut (symbolically displayed in the frontispiece to this edition). He affirms that 'in every architectural order only the column, the entablature and the pediment can form an essential part', and deprecates ornamental use of the orders. Though he conceded some merits to Gothic architecture, he chiefly admired the trabeated structures of the ancient Greeks, and thought that from them had run an authentic tradition - through the Romans , the Renaissance (Bramante, Michelangelo, Vignola) to Claude Perrault. The plates show: 1-4. details of the orders; 5. pediments; 6-8. elevations and plans of doorways and niches. Laugier's influence may be seen in Soufflot's church of Ste. Geneviève (Pantheon), Paris. In Britain he was a stimulus to Isaac Ware, George Dance the younger and John Soane (as may be seen from the latter's Royal Academy lectures). But Goethe questioned his classicism and his equating the primitive dwelling with the beginnings of Greek architecture.


Facsimiles of this edition were published in 1966 (Farnborough, UK: Gregg Press) and 1977 (ed. W. Herrmann; Los Angeles: Hennessey and Ingalls).


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

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf, gilt-decorated spine, brown morocco spine-label lettered 'Essai Sur LArch'.


Architecture - Theory
Essays - Treatises - Elevations - Plans - France - 18th century