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LE CAMUS, Nicolas de Mézières (1721--1789)
Le génie de l'architecture, ou l'analogie de cet art avec nos sensations. Par M. Le Camus de Mézieres, architecte.
A Paris chez l'auteur. Benoit Moris, imprimeur-libraire, 1780.
vii [i.e. viii], 276, [4] p., [1] pl. ; 20.0 cm. (8º)

Le Camus was, by his own account, the first to have written on the analogy of the proportions of architecture with our sensations. His novel departure was influenced by the new ideas on the Picturesque garden introduced by Claude-Henri Watelet - to whom he dedicated Le genie de l'architecture - in his Essai sur jardins, 1774. The notion of creating expressive character in architecture by means of the orders, by combinations of forms and masses in interior and exterior planning and decoration, and especially by mysterious effects of light brought from concealed sources ("lumière mystérieuse") was of considerable interest to and influence upon Boullée and Soane. Indeed, in 1808 Soane began making a translation of Le Camus's book of which he completed only the first 52 pages (Soane Case 160). See D. Watkin, Sir John Soane: Enlightenment thought and the Royal Academy Lectures (Cambridge 1996), pp. 210--219; R. Middleton, Neoclassical and 19th century architecture (New York 1980), pp. 29, 143, 186, 198, 206, 408; and The genius of architecture; or, The analogie of that art with our sensations, translated by David Britt, introduction by Robin Middleton (Santa Monica: Getty Center, 1992).

Copy Notes Inscribed in ink on second front free-endpaper John Soane, and on verso of third front free-endpaper with the title of this work and Pierre Patte's Essai sur l'architecture théâtrale, 1782 (q.v.) with which it is bound (1), as well as a short list of subjects and page references: p. 66 Gothic Arch:/ p. 142 la magic de l'optique/ p. 144 Baths of the Turks.

Binding Early C19th sprinkled calf, gilt double-rule borders and spine, dark blue spine-labels. Uniform with the copy of the author's Le guide de ceux qui veulent bâtir, 2 vols, 1786 (q.v.).

Reference Number 2617

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