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Traité De La Perspective Pratique, Avec Des Remarques Sur L'Architecture, Suivies de quelques Edifices considerables mis en Perspective, & de l'invention de l'Auteur. Ouvrage très-utile aux Amateurs de l'Architecture & de la Peinture. Par le Sieur Courtonne, Architecte. Dédié à Monseigneur Le Duc D'Antin.

Jean Courtonne

RA Collection: Book

Record number




A Paris,: Chez Jacques Vincent, rue & vis-à-vis l'Eglise de S. Severin, à l'Ange., M. DCC. XXV. Avec Approbation & Privilege du Roy.

Physical Description

[16], 88, 87-94, 97-116, [2] p., frontis., 6, 8, 5, [14] pl. (all dble. and fold. except the first unnumbered pl.): illus.; 363 mm. (Folio).

General Note

The first three sequences of plates are numbered 'Premiere Planche de la 1er. partie' etc. The unnumbered plates are found numbered in later reissues.


[Half-title, frontis., t.-p., dedic.] - Preface - Table Des Titres - Errata; Avis Au Relieur - [Text, with pl.] - Approbation; Privilege Du Roy.

Responsibility Note

The frontispiece is signed as designed by J. Courtonne and engraved by Lucas. All numbered plates are unsigned. All unnumbered plates are signed as designed by J. Courtonne - and as engraved by A. Aveline, apart from the second, which is signed as engraved by G.I.B. Scotin major, and the last four, which are signed as engraved by Lucas. The dedication headpiece is signed as made by Lucas; the headpiece of the first page of the Traité is signed as designed and made by 'p le s'.

The work is dedicated by Courtonne to the Duc d'Antin.


RIBA, Early printed books, 1 (1994), 729; National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, I (1993), no. 56, p.126-7; Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961), 94 [on reissue by Jombert].

Summary Note

Courtonne's treatise is an illustrated manual of perspective for architects, and includes remarks on his contemporaries, Lassurance, Boffrand and Cotte.

The fourteen unnumbered plates show Courtonne's own hôtels of Matignon and Noirmoutiers, and a pyramidal monument to Louis XIV.

In his dedication Courtonne remarks that 'perspective ... has all but vanished from the sacred hierarchy of the fine arts' - yet the example of Jean Restout and Claude Joseph Vernet shows that not all French painters of the eighteenth century were neglectful of the art; and Pierre Henri Valencienne became sufficiently interested to write his own Eléments de perspective pratique (1800).


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf, green cloth-covered boards; spine lettered 'R.A.', red morocco spine-label lettered 'Traité De La Perspective'.


Perspective - Architecture
Architecture, French - Houses - France - Paris - Hôtel de Matigny (Paris) - Hôtel de Noirmoutiers (Paris) - History - 18th century
Manuals - Instructional materials - France - 18th century
Pictorial works - France - 18th century