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CHAMBERS, Sir William (1723--1796)
[Treatise on civil architecture. 1759]
A treatise on civil architecture, in which the principles of that art are laid down, and illustrated by a great number of plates, accurately designed, and elegantly engraved by the best hands. ... By William Chambers, ...
London: printed for the author, by J. Haberkorn. To be had at the author's house in Poland-Street, near Broad-Street, Soho; likewise of A. Millar, J. Nourse, Wilson and Durham, T. Osborne, J. and R. Dodsley, R. Sayer, Piers and Webley, and J. Gretton, 1759.
[6], iv, 85, [1] p., [50] pl. ; 54.5 cm. (2°)

First edition. Includes a list of subscribers. The engravings are by Fougeron, P. Foudrinier, C. Grignion and others from designs by Chambers, Gandon and Cipriani. A second volume on 'convenience, oeconomy, and strength' was promised if the book was well received, but despite its highly favourable reception both in England and in Paris, no such volume was issued to accompany the first or second edition (1768, q.v.) and some of the material was eventually incorporated into the expanded and definitive third edition of 1791 (q.v.), one of Soane's two copies of which may have been presented to him by Chambers and demand for which was such that Joseph Gwilt republished it by subscription in 1825 (q.v.). See Harris and Savage pp. 156--161 for a detailed account of all editions. Described by Horace Walpole as the "most sensible book and the most exempt from prejudices that was ever written on that science", Chambers's Treatise drew on the analytical and impartial empirical method of J.F. Blondel (with whom he had studied in Paris) as well as from his own knowledge and experience. For Soane's debt to Chambers, see David Watkin, Sir John Soane: Enlightenment thought and the Royal Academy Lectures (Cambridge 1996), pp. 30--40. ESTC t51636; Harris and Savage 122; BAL, Early printed books, no. 598; Millard II, 13; Fowler 86.

Copy Notes Acquired for £1 16s. in 1781. (Ledger A, p. 121)

Binding C18th marbled calf, elaborate gilt-tooled border incorporating flowers, thistles, pineapples, scallops, insects, and snails, gilt-tooled spine, red morocco spine-label.

Reference Number 1878


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