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The Architecture Of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, In Ten Books. Translated From The Latin By Joseph Gwilt, Fellow Of The Society Of Antiquaries Of London.


RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[De architectura., English., Gwilt., 1826.]


London:: Priestley And Weale., MDCCCXXVI.

Physical Description

xl, 413, [1], 10 pl.: [10] illus.; 287 mm. (Quarto.)


[Half-t., t.p.] - Contents - [Dedic.] - List Of Subscribers - Preface - Life Of Vitruvius - List Of The Several Editions And Versions Of Vitruvius - [Divisional t.p., 'The Architecture Of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio'] - List Of The Chapters - Explanation Of The Head Pieces Prefixed To The Introduction Of Each Book - [Text] - [Divisional t.p., 'Plates Illustrative Of The Architecture Of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio. By Joseph Gwilt.'] - [Plates, and explanatory letterpress] - Index; [colophon].

Responsibility Note

The plates are signed as drawn by J. Gwilt and engraved by Jas. Carter, J. Roffe, , J. Lowry, W. Woolnoth, W. Kelsall or R. Roffe. Each carries the publishers' imprint of Priestley and Weale.

Most in-text illustrations are unsigned, but two are signed as printed by Carter. Later 19th-century editions reproduce these illustrations signed as designed by J. Gwilt or J. Gandy [i.e. John Peter Gandy, R.A.].

The printer is named on the half-title verso and in the colophon: 'G. Woodfall, Angel Court, Skinner Street, London.'

The work is dedicated by Joseph Gwilt to the King [George IV].


Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 4 (2001), no. 3508, p.2290-1; John Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961, rep. 1991), no. 430, p.335.

L. Vagnetti, 'Regesto cronologico e critico delle edizione, delle traduzioni e delle ricerche ... Marco Vitruvio Pollione', in Studi e documenti di architettura, 8 (September 1978), p.11-184.

Summary Note

This is the second complete translation into English of Vitruvius's De architectura - the only ancient text on Greco-Roman architecture that has survived complete; which provides an account of Greek and early Roman architecture to around the end of the first century B.C.

A Latin text was printed between 1484 and 1487; but the versions of Barbaro (1556), Perrault (1673) and Galiani (1758) became the most widely used editions. German and Spanish translations were also made, but the first English translation was an abridgment (1692, reissue 1729) - Newton's complete translation not appearing until 1771-1791. Gwilt states that he was determined to give the English student a truer interpretation; and his remained the standard translation throughout the nineteenth century.

The ten plates show: 1. compass of winds, brickwork [adapted from Galiani plates]; 2. city fortifications [adapted from Galiani]; 3-7. plans and elevations of temples [reduced copies of Newton plates]; 8. details of orders; 9. roof-construction, doorways, Tuscan order [adapted from Newton]; 10. plans and elevations of temples [adapted from Newton].

The ten headpieces show: 1. plan of Rome; 2. rock-carving proposed for Mt Athos; 3. plan of Athens Acropolis; 4. capitals of three orders; 5. a forum; 6. Roman house-entrance with flanking shops; 7. an ancient fresco; 8. ruined aqueduct; 9. Earth and zodiac; 10. catapultists from Trajan's Column.

Twenty-five copies of the present edition were offered on large paper.


Presented to the Council of the Royal Academy on 5 December 1885 by G. Aitchison. The verso of the front loose endpaper is inscribed in pencil, 'JEH', i.e. John Evan Hodgson, librarian of the Royal Academy 1882-95.

Copy Note

The front loose endpaper is inscribed in pencil, 'Temp. Jul. Cæsar & Augustus'.

Binding Note

19th-century black cloth; rebacked in 1989 by A.Wessely, white paper spine-label lettered 'Vitruvius - Translated By J. Gwilt - 1826'.


Architecture - Theory - Architecture, Roman - Temples - Public buildings - Houses - Building materials
Architecture, Roman - Architecture, Greek - History
Treatises - Latin literature - 1st century B.C.
Translations from Latin - Translations into English - Plans - Elevations - Sections - Reconstructions - Great Britain - 19th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 19th century


Joseph Gwilt, translator, draughtsman
George IV King of Great Britain, dedicatee
Anthony Wessely, binder
George Woodfall, printer
James Carter, engraver
John Roffe, engraver
Joseph Wilson Lowry, engraver
William Woolnoth, engraver
William H. Kelsall, engraver
Richard Roffe, engraver
John Peter Gandy RA, draughtsman
George Aitchison RA, previous owner, donor
Priestley and Weale, publisher