The Perspective of Architecture. A Work Entirely New; Deduced From The Principles Of Dr. Brook Taylor; And Performed by Two Rules only of Universal Application. Begun By Command of His Present Majesty, When Prince Of Wales. By Joshua Kirby, Designer in Perspective to His Majesty.

Joshua Kirby

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed For The Author, By R. Francklin, in Russel-Street, Covent-Garden; And Sold by T. Payne, at the Mews-Gate; Messrs. Knapton and Horsefield, in Ludgate-Street; Messrs. Dodsley, in Pall-Mall; T. Longman, in Pater-Noster-Row; T. Davies, in Russel-Street, Covent-Garden; and J. Gretton, in Bond-Street,, 1761.

Physical Description

[6], ii, 60, [2] p., frontis., engr. dedic., 73 pl.: illus.; 531 mm. (Broadsheet).

General Note

In the Academy's first copy pl. LXIV is misnumbered LXIII and has been corrected by hand to LXIIII.


[Frontis., t.-p., engr. dedic.] - Preface - Introduction - [Text] - Index; Errata - [Plates].

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece is signed as by Wm. Hogarth and engraved by Wm. Woollett. The engraved dedication is signed as engraved by John Ryland. Most plates are not signed by a draughtsman but pl. 55 is signed as designed and drawn by Kirby, and 62 is signed as by Inigo Jones Architect. Most have no engraver's signature, but some are signed as engraved by Boyce, A. Walker, F. Patton, J. Fougeron, P. Mazell, Kirby Jun., I. Ryland or James Basire.

Many plates have the publisher's imprint of Joshua Kirby and are dated 1761.

The original drawing for plate 64 was by King George, and is now in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. The headpiece of the text is signed as designed by S. Wale and engraved by C. Grignion; the tailpiece, as designed by S. Wale and engraved by T. Chambers.

The work is dedicated by the author to the King (George III).


RIBA, Early printed books, 2 (1995), no. 1675; E. Harris and N. Savage, British Architectural Books (1990), no. 399; J. Archer, Literature of British domestic architecture (1985), no. 168.1.

Summary Note

This work was also issued in two volumes in 1761 as 'The perspective of architecture. In two parts ...' (ESTC T133638) - in which Part I consists of Kirby's 'Description and use of a new instrument called the architectonic sector'.

The book is one of a group of works in which Kirby expounds the geometric and perspectival theories of Brook Taylor. It includes studies of shadows in perspective and demonstrations of shadows in niches. The headpiece of Kirby's text, showing putti studying geometry, was drawn by Samuel Wale, who in 1768 became the Royal Academy's first Professor of Perspective.


A microfilm was made by World Microfilm 1975-1977 (RIBA rare books collection; reel 3 no.9); another by the British Library in 2002 (Neg. PB.Mic.44220).


[Copy 2]: Presented to the Academy by Josiah Taylor, the architectural bookseller, and acknowledged 20 March 1802 (RA Council Minutes, III, 134).

Binding Note

[Copy 1:] 20th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; red morocco spine-label lettered 'Kirby's Perspective Of Architecture'.

[Copy 2:] 18th-century half calf, marbled-papered boards; red morocco spine-label lettered 'Kirby's Perspective Of Architecture'. Bound with publisher's catalogue of Josiah Taylor.

Name as Subject


Perspective - Architecture - History
Manuals - Instructional Materials - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Great Britain - 18th century


Brook Taylor
William Hogarth, draughtsman
William Woollett, engraver
John Ryland, engraver
Inigo Jones, source artist
Samuel Boyce, engraver
Anthony Walker, engraver
Francis Patton, engraver
Ignace Fougeron, engraver
Peter Mazell, engraver
William Kirby, engraver
James Basire the elder, engraver
Richard Francklin, printer
Thomas Payne, bookseller
John Knapton, bookseller
George III King of Great Britain, dedicatee, draughtsman
Robert Horsfield, bookseller
Robert Dodsley, bookseller
James Dodsley, bookseller
Thomas Longman, bookseller
Thomas Davies, bookseller
John Gretton, bookseller
Samuel Wale RA, 1721-1786, draughtsman
Charles Grignion, engraver
Thomas Chambers ARA, engraver
Joshua Kirby, publisher
Josiah Taylor, previous owner, donor