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The first (-fift) Booke of Architecture, made by Sebastian Serly, entreating of Geometrie. Translated out of Italian into Dutch, and out of Dutch into English.

Sebastiano Serlio

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Uniform Title

[Tutte l'opere d'architettura et prospetiva., English., 1611.]

Variant Title

Seb. Serly's Architecture


London: Printed for Robert Peake, and are to be sold at his shop neere Holborne conduit, next to the Sunne Taverne., Anno Dom. 1611.

Physical Description

iii, 13; [i], 26, [1]; [i], 73; 71, [1]; 16 ff.: woodcut illus.; 355 mm. (Folio.)

General Note

The cuts of Book 2 folio 7 verso and Book 4 folio 36 verso have been printed upside down. The cuts of Book 3 folio 2 verso and folio 3 recto have been transposed; as also have those of Book 3 folios 52 and 56 rectos.


[Dedic.], 'To the Lovers of Architecture' - 'The first Booke ... Geometrie' - 'The second Booke ... Perspective' - 'The third Booke ... Antiquities' - 'The fourth Booke. Rules for Masontry ... after the five maners or orders' - 'The fift Booke ... formes of Temples'.

Responsibility Note

The name of the translator is not given. The woodcuts are the same as those used in Pieter Coecke van Aelst's Dutch editions of 1539-1553. They had been copied, with slight alterations, from those used in Serlio's original editions of 1537-1547. The name of the printer, Simon Stafford, is given in the colophon of Book 5. The book is dedicated by the publisher, Peake, to Henry, Prince of Wales.


ESTC, S117091
Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 4 (2001), no. 2976.
National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, II (1998) no. 74.
E. Harris and N. Savage, British Architectural Books (1990), p. 414-16.
Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961), no. 331, p.265-6.
On the impact of Serlio's work see note on the 1600 Italian edition.

Summary Note

This translation of Serlio - the first English-language edition of five books - is from the Dutch version published at Amsterdam in 1606. No title page is given for the work as a whole, but each book has its own title page (except Book 3) and colophon (except Book 4). The work is illustrated with more than 300 woodcuts (some full-page blocks).


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

Copy Note

Imperfect, wanting Book I title page and leaves 5-13; Book 3 leaves 29 , 30; Book 4 leaves 34, 35, 65-[72]. In addition the title page and first leaf of Book 2 have been transposed to the beginning of the publication and inserted before the Dedication. This copy has also the following annotations: on folio 40 of Book 3 a note in graphite in Italian; on folio 12 of Book 4 a signature in ink, 'Joseph Daw Architect'; on the lower endpaper a graphite drawing incorporating architectural and armorial motifs.

Binding Note

18th-century half calf, marbled-paper boards; spine lettered, 'Seb. Serly's Architecture'.


Architecture - Architectural orders - Architecture, Italian - Italy - History - 16th century - Renaissance
Manuals - Pattern books - Italy - 16th century
Manuals - Pattern books - Translations from Italian - Translations into English - Great Britain - 17th century
Pictorial works - Woodcuts - Great Britain - 17th century