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The Architecture Of A. Palladio; In Four Books. Containing, A short Treatise of the Five Orders, and the most necessary Observations concerning all sorts of Building, As Also The different Construction of Private and Publick Houses, High-Ways, Bridges, Market-Places, Xystes, and Temples, with their Plans, Sections, and Uprights. To which are added several Notes and Observations made by Inigo Jones, never printed before. Revis'd, Design'd, and Publish'd By Giacomo Leoni, a Venetian; Architect to his most Serene Highness, the Elector Palatine. Translated from the Italian Original.

Andrea Palladio

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Quattro libri dell'architettura., English., Du Bois., 1715.]


London:: Printed by John Watts, for the Author., MDCCXV. [-1720]

Physical Description

4 vols.; 450 mm. (Folio).

General Note

Vol. I: [14, 54, 4, xxx, [6], 33, [1] p., frontis., port., pl. 1-30, 35, 36, 38-43 [i.e. 31 pl.]: illus. numbered 1-7, 31-4, 37 [i.e. numbered continuously with the plates]. - Vol. II: [4], 37, [1], [2], xxi, [i], [2], 23, [1] p., 61 pl.


Vol. I: [Frontis., t.p. in English, dedic. in Italian] - [Port. of Palladio] - [Note on Palladio, in English]; The Translator's Preface (by Nicholas Du Bois); Advertisement - A List of those who have already Subscrib'd - The Preafce to the Reader [translated from Palladio] - [English text, with illus.] - [Plates] - [T.p. in Italian] - [Note on Palladio, in Italian] - [Italian text] - [T.p. in French] - [Note on Palladio, in French]; [French 'Preface du Traducteur'] - [French text]. - (In some copies the portrait of Palladio, the list of subscribers and the Italian dedication are differently placed.) - Vol. II: [English t.p., dedic. in Italian] - [English text] - [Plates] - [T.p. in Italian] - [Italian text] - [T.p. in French] - [French text]. - (In some copies the Italian dedic. is placed after the Italian t.p.).

Responsibility Note

The name of the translator, Nicholas Du Bois, is not given on the title page, but is printed at the end of 'The Translator's Preface'. The 'Author' referred to in the imprint is the editor and publisher, Giacomo Leoni (who describes himself in the advertisements for this work as the 'Author and Undertaker' or 'Undertaker and Publisher').

In Volume I the frontispiece is signed as designed by Sebastianus Riccius and drawn and engraved by B. Picart. The portrait of 'Andreas Palladius Vicentinus' is signed as painted by Paulus Caliary Veronensis (though it was in fact painted by Sebastiano Ricci - and is not in fact a portrait of Palladio) and drawn and engraved by B. Picart (1716). The numbered plates are not signed by a draughtsman, but all are signed as engraved by M. Vdr. Gucht except nos. 9, 11-13, 15, 35, which are unsigned by an engraver, and pl. 39, 40, which are signed as 'Gravé sous la conduite de B. Picart'. None of the numbered in-text illustrations is signed by a draughtsman, but all are signed as engraved by M. Vdr. Gucht apart from those on p.42, 52, which are unsigned by an engraver.

In Volume II no plate is signed by a draughtsman, but most are signed by their engravers, M. Vdr. Gucht, John Harris, B. Picart (or under the direction of B. Picart), J. Cole.


ESTC, T95463
Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 3 (1999), no. 2391, p.1345-9.
E. Harris and N. Savage, British Architectural Books (1990), no. 683, p.355-9.
Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961, repr. 1991), no. 223, p.182-4.
R. Wittkower, 'Giacomo Leoni's edition of Palladio's Quattro libri dell'architettura', in Arte Veneta, VIII (1954), p. 310-16.
An English translation, The four books, by R. Tavernor and R. Schofield, was published in 1997 (with full bibliography).

Summary Note

The publication-date of 1715 is given on the title-page of Volume I, but the portrait of Palladio is signed as drawn and engraved in 1716. No publication-date is given on the title-page of Volume II, but plates 4, 10, 15 are signed as engraved in 1715 and pl. 30 as engraved in 1717. Volume III appeared in 1718; Volume IV Part I in 1719, Volume IV Part II in 1720.

This was the first complete English translation of Palladio's Quattro libri - and is characterised by Harris and Savage as rather a translation and revision of Fréart's French version of 1650 than a translation of the Italian original. The annotations by Inigo Jones announced on the title page are not present in this edition: they first appeared in the third edition, of 1742.

Most plates are reverse-copies of figures in the original edition, but with measurements corrected by Leoni. The portrait in Volume I captioned as of 'Andreas Palladius Vicentinus' is in fact a portrait not of Palladio but of an unknown man. The frontispiece of Volume I is an allegory, showing Britannia shedding lustre on a bust of Palladio. In Volume II plate 44 is a free adaption of a Palladio design, and plate 61 is a copy of the additional cut of Fréart's edition of 1650.


Reproduced online in 2003 (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale). Microfilm version published in 1986 (Woodbridge: CT Research Publications Inc.).


Presented by E. Vincent Harris RA in 1965.

Binding Note

Imperfect: lacks vols. III, IV. Vols. I and II are bound as one; and the Italian and French texts of Vol. I are bound in after the Italian and French texts of Vol. II.


Architecture - Theory - History
Architecture - Italy - 16th century - Renaissance
Treatises - Plans - Elevations - Sections - Pattern books - Italy - 16th century
Treatises - Pattern books - Translations from Italian - Translations into English - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Giacomo Leoni, draughtsman, editor, publisher
Nicolas Du Bois, translator
Sebastiano Ricci, source artist
Michael van der Gucht, engraver
Bernard Picart, draughtsman, engraver
John Harris the elder, engraver
James Cole, engraver
John Watts, printer
E. Vincent Harris RA, previous owner, donor