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Les Dix Livres D'Architecture De Vitruve, Corrigez Et Traduits nouvellement en François, avec des Notes & des Figures [woodcut device]


RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[De architectura., French., Perrault., 1673.]


A Paris,: Chez Jean Baptiste Coignard, ruë Saint Jacques, à la Bible d'or., M. DC. LXXIII. Avec Privilege Du Roy.

Physical Description

[18], 237, 234-325, [17] p., add. engr. t.-pl.: illus.; 424 mm. (Folio.)

General Note

The illustrations include 65 full-page numbered prints (ten are spread across two pages). Illustration no. 39 (page 144) is printed upside-down.


[Add. engr. t.-pl., t.p., dedic.] - Sur La Version Francoise Des Livres D'Architecture De Vitruve [sonnet by Charpentier] - Preface - [Text, with illus.] - Avertissement - Additions Aux Notes - Table De Ce Qui Est Contenu Dans Le Texte Et Dans Les Notes - Fautes A Corriger - Privilege - [Colophon].

Responsibility Note

The added engraved title-plate is signed as designed by S. le Clerc and engraved by G. Scotin. The 65 numbered illustrations are not signed by a draughtsman, but most are signed by their engravers - S. Le Clerc, Iac. Grignon, Tournier, , N. Pitau, G. Edelinck, P. Vandrebanc, G. Scotin, J. Patigny, E. Gantrel. There are headpieces to the dedication and to Book I and a tailpiece to Book I, and these are signed as designed and made by Seb. Le Clerc. The many unnumbered woodcut figures in the text and the title-page device are unsigned.

The work is dedicated by Claude Perrault to the King (Louis XIV).


Royal Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 4 (2001), no. 3512; National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, I (1993), no. 168, p.477-9; Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961), no. 418, p.326-7.

Perrault's views are discussed in A. Picon, Claude Perrault (1988); I.P. McEwen, 'On Claude Perrault: modernizing Vitruvius', in Paper palaces: the rise of the Renaissance architectural treatise, ed. V. Hart (1988), p. 321-37. W. Herrmann, The theory of Claude Perrault (1973); T. Buddensieg, 'Criticism of ancient architecture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries', in Classical influences, ed. R.R. Bolgar (1975).

Summary Note

Perrault's became one of the most widely-used versions of Vitruvius. But some of his comments, particularly his advocacy of 'visual judgment' over Vitruvian 'optical adjustment', were strongly opposed by François Blondel, director of the Académie d'Architecture. Perrault developed his views in his abridgment of the translation (1674) and his Ordonnance des Cinq Especes De Colonnes (1683). He published a revised edition of his translation in 1684.

In-text illustrations show caryatids, plans, elevations, sections and views of exemplary buildings, huts, brickwork, human proportions, orders, 'systeme d'Aristoxene', baths, building in water, machines. The added engraved title-plate shows four Muses presenting to France 'Les Dix Livres D'Architecture De Vitruve', against a background which includes Perrault's Observatory, the east front of the Louvre and his model for a triumphal arch.


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; brown spine-label lettered 'Vitruvius 1673'.


Architecture - Theory - History
Architecture, Roman - Architecture, Greek - History
Treatises - Latin literature - 1st century B.C.
Translations into French - Translations from Latin - Plans - Elevations - Sections - Views - Reconstructions - France - 17th century
Pictorial works - France - 17th century


Jean Baptiste Coignard, publisher
Louis XIV King of France, dedicatee
Claude Perrault
Sebastien Le Clerc, draughtsman, engraver
Gérard Scotin, engraver
Jacques Grignon, engraver
Georges Tournier, engraver
Nicolas Pitau, engraver
Gérard Edelinck, engraver
Pieter van der Banck, engraver
Jean Patigny, engraver
Etienne Gantrel, engraver