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The New Vitruvius Britannicus; Consisting Of Plans And Elevations Of Modern Buildings, Public And Private, Erected In Great Britain By The` Most Celebrated Architects. Engraved On LXXII (LXX) Plates, From Original Drawings. (Volume II.) By George Richardson, Architect. Le Nouveau Vitruve Britannique; Qui Comprend Les Plans Et Élévations De Bâtimens Modernes, Tant Publics Que Particuliers, Érigés dans la Grande Bretagne Par Les Plus Célèbres Architectes. Contenant LXXII (LXX) Planches, Gravées D'Après Des Desseins Origineaux. (Tome Seconde.)

George Richardson

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Nouveau Vitruve Britannique


London:: Printed By W. Bulmer And Co. Cleveland-Row ([Vol. II:] By T. Bensley, Bolt Court Fleet Street), For The Author; And Sold By J. Taylor, At The Architectural Library, High Holborn., MDCCCII. (-MDCCCVIII.)

Physical Description

2 vols.; 545 mm. (Folio).

General Note

Vol. I: [ii], iv, 20 p., 72 [i.e. 62] pl. There are 10 dble.pl., each of which is assigned two numbers, viz. pl. 41/42, 43/44, 45/46, 47/48, 49/50, 52/53, 55/56, 65/66, 69/70, 71/72. - Vol. II: [4], 10 p., 70 [i.e. 53] pl. There are 17 dble. pl., each of which is assigned two numbers, viz. pl. 1/2, 3/4, 7/8, 11/12, 19/20, 21/22, 27/28, 34/35, 39/40, 41/42, 47/48, 49/50, 53/54, 55/56, 65/66, 67/68, 69/70.


Vol. I: [T.p.] - A List Of The Subscribers - Introduction - Explanation Of The Plates - [Plates]. - Vol. II: [T.p.] - Contents Of The First Volume - Contents Of The Second Volume - Explanation Of The Plates - [Plates].

Responsibility Note

Plates 1-7 of Volume I are signed as engraved and published by G. Richardson and Son (i.e. William Richardson); all other plates are signed as engraved and published by George Richardson. No draughtsman is named, but the captions of the plates usually name the architect of the building shown, and in the introduction Richardson thanks the 'professional gentlemen who have kindly furnished me with their original drawings, for this publication'.


RIBA, Early printed books, 3 (1999), no. 2757, p.1642-6; National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard, II (1998), 70; J. Archer, Literature of British domestic architecture (1985), 285.1; Life in England in aquatint ... library of J.R. Abbey (1953; R 1972, 1991), no. 60, p.44.

On the printer, Bulmer, see P. Isaac, William Bulmer The Fine Printer in Context 1757-1830 (1993).
ESTC, T150889

Summary Note

Like most of Richardson's publications, this was issued serially - Volume I in ten parts (1796-1801); Volume II in five parts (1802-1807).

The title pages, introduction and explanation of the plates are in English and French.

Though Richardson mentions earlier volumes of Vitruvius Britannicus (1-3 by Campbell, 1715-25; 4 -5 by Woolfe and Gandon, 1767-71), he refers to his own books not as sixth and seventh volumes but as a 'New Vitruvius Britannicus'. Campbell had intended to show and to encourage a British style of building, based on ancient examples, that would emulate the achievements of other nations; Woolfe and Gandon had concentrated on British country houses and estates. Richardson reaffirms Campbell's aim, in publishing examples 'as well for our own use, as for the advantage of ingenious foreigners', but like Woolfe and Gandon concentrates on country houses. In Volume I only two of 26 subjects show other types of structure(Glasgow Assembly Rooms, Middlesex County Session House), and in Volume II only six of 18 subjects.

The plates show plans and elevations of houses designed since 1771 - most in Neoclassical style, two in neo-Gothic - by James Wyatt (Bowden Park, Trinity House, Castle Coole in Fermanagh), R. Mylne (Tusmore, Addington Lodge), H. Holland (Brighton Pavilion), R. and J. Adam (Glasgow Assembly Rooms, Gosford House), J. Soane (Sydney Lodge, Pitshanger), S.P. Cockerell (Gore Court, Middleton Hall in Caermarthen), J. Carr (Basildon, Thornes House, Denton, York basilica, Newark Town Hall), J. Bonomi (Longford, Eastwell, Roseneath), J.T. Groves (Broomfield), W. Porden (Yillas at Roehampton and Putney), W. Reveley (seat of W.H. Pigou), T. Leverton (Watton Wood, Grocers' Hall, House for Dr Synge in Cork), J. Nash (Southgate Grove), T. Rogers (Middlesex Session House), G. Steuart (Stoke Park), S. Wyatt (Doddington, Commissioner's House at Portsmouth), L. Brown and H. Holland (Claremont), T. Bradley (Crownest House), S. Saxon (Courteen, Buckminster), J. Harvey (Stafford Courts of Justice), G. Byfield (Hurlingham, Attingham), W. Wilkins (Donnington, Oxberton), Jeffry Wyatt (Woolley Park), J. Sanders (Royal Military Asylum at Chelsea), J. Foster (Liverpool Athenaeum) and Archd. Elliot (Loudon Castle). Only plans and elevations are shown (no sections or interior details); but the descriptive text addresses site, building history, dimensions, interiors and other aspects of the designs.

The plates were executed in aquatint.

The list of subscribers includes not only the Library of the Royal Academy but also individual Academicians and Associates - Joseph Bonomi, George Dance, Edward Edwards, William Hamilton, Biagio Rebecca, Paul Sandby, John Soane and James Wyatt. Expressing the hope, in his Introduction, that by studying these models 'the student may gain many hints and precepts which must be useful to him in his future studies and beneficial to his employer', Richardson was perhaps thinking not only of students employed by architects but also of those enrolled at the Royal Academy, which at the time was the only public institution in Britain concerned with the education of architects.

He himself never applied to become an Academician or an Associate, but he was well thought of in the Academy, and from 1807 to 1813 he received support from the Academy's Charitable Fund. This enabled him to continue to own the copyright in his own publications and to retain his independence as an artist.


Republished as microfilm (British Library Neg. PB.Mic.14893); as microfiche in 1994 (Cambridge: Chadwyck-Healey). A reduced facsimile was published in 1970 (New York: Blom).


The Royal Academy is listed among the subscribers to this work.

12 August 1797: 'Resolved, ... that the Academy do subscribe for his [i.e. Richardson's] new Work in Architecture' [i.e. The new Vitruvius Britannicus, 1802-08] (RA Council Minutes II, 329).

'Richardson paid £5.12.6 for books.' (RA Treasurer's Account Book, Midsummer Quarter, 1798).

Copy Note

Imperfect; Volume II lacks pages [1-4](containing t.-p., 'Contents Of The First Volume' and 'Contents Of The Second Volume'), and pages 9-10 (describing plates 57-70).

Binding Note

Vol. I: 20th-century half brown morocco, brown cloth-covered boards, spine lettered 'New Vitruvius Britannicus R.A. 1802'. Vol. II: 19th-century mottled calf; rebacked in 20th century, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Richardsons Vitruvius Britannicus'.


Architecture, British - Country houses, British - Great Britain - History - 18th century - Neoclassical
Plans - Elevations - Pattern books - Great Britain - 18th century - 19th century
Pictorial works - Aquatints - Great Britain - 18th century - 19th century


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