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LAUGIER, Marc-Antoine (1713--1769)
[Essai sur l'architecture. English. 1755]
An essay on architecture; in which its true principles are explained, and invariable rules proposed, for directing the judgment and forming the taste of the gentleman and the architect, with regard to the different kinds of buildings, the embellishment of cities, and the planning of gardens. Adorned with a frontispiece, designed by Mr. Wale, and curiously engraven.
London: printed for T. Osborne and Shipton, 1755.
xvi, [2], 272, [8] p., engr. frontis. ; 17.6 cm. (8º)

Anonymous. By Abbé Marc-Antoine Laugier, named in the title-page of the second French edition, 1755. 'A wretched translation of an ingenious book' is how The Monthly Review of October 1755 described this hastily produced English edition of Laugier's Essai (Paris 1753, q.v.), which, to avoid stirring up anti-Gallic feeling among English artists associated with Hogarth and the St. Martin's Lane Academy, attempted to pass itself off as an original, home-grown work. For an account of how Laugier's book was used (and its message distorted) by a St Martin's Lane splinter group in support of a proposed new public academy, see Harris and Savage 477 (pp. 281--284); for further bibliographical details see also BAL, Early Printed Books, no. 1775. ESTC t61538; Hooked on Books 2.4.

Copy Notes Soane bought copy 3 of Laugier's Essay in English at the sale of the late architect and antiquary James Cavanah Murphy (1716--1814) for 2s. on 18 December 1814 with other books and prints to the value of £27, paid by draft dated 19 December. (Spiers Box, Miscellaneous booksellers). Another copy was bought from William Boone for 3s. 6d. on 13 February 1822, lot 569. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.4.8).
Copy 1
: Inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper John Soane. Inscribed in ink on front pastedown 4/. With the 'Table Of the Chapters' ([2] pp.) misbound after the text.
Copy 2: 17.5 cm. Inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper Hen: Uthwat. 5/ / 1755, probably Henry Uthwatt of Great Linford, Bucks. With underlinings in ink on p.iv.
Copy 3
: 17.4 cm. Inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper 2 / John Soane. With marginal marks of emphasis in pencil on pp. 120--1, 166, 168, 227.
Copy 4: 17.3 cm.
Copy 5: 17.9 cm. With Soane's early bookplate pasted to the verso of the frontispiece and his later one on the front paste-down.

Binding Copy 1: C18th sprinkled calf, gilt-tooled spine, maroon spine-label.
Copy 2
: C18th sprinkled calf, gilt double-ruled borders and spine, paper spine-label lettered in ink 'Essay Architect:'.
Copy 3
: C18th sprinkled calf, gilt double-ruled borders, red spine-label.
Copy 4
: C18th sprinkled calf, gilt double-rule spine, red spine label.
Copy 5: C19th half olive calf, red-brown paper boards, blind triple-rule borders, thin-thick-thin gilt-ruled spine, maroon spine-label.

Reference Number 2600


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