Sims Reed Rare Books×

A Complete Body of Architecture. Adorned with Plans and Elevations, from Original Designs

Ware, Isaac

London. Printed for T. Osborne and J. Shipton ... &c. 1756
The first edition of Isaac Ware's practical and comprehensive manual of architecture.

Isaac Ware (1704 - 1766), the associate of Lord Burlington, member of the St. Martin's Lane Academy and member of the 'Board of Works' was already associated with a number of important architecture books ('The Designs of Inigo Jones ... &c.' of 1731, the 'Plans ... of Houghton' of 1735, 'The Four Books of Architecture of Andrea Palladio' of 1738 and the translation of Sirigatti of 1756) before he issued this, his massive magnum opus. A follower, but not a slavish one, of Palladio and Vitruvius, Ware offers the two as the pinnacles and authorities for all of architecture but cautions against blind acceptance. Of major importance to English Palladianism, Ware's Georgian legacy is also relevant and his 'Complete Body' was of such interest to his contemporaries that a second edition was published a short time after his death in 1766.

'Like Vitruvius and Alberti before him, Ware arranged hi streatise in ten books. Having defined the most commonly used architectural terms, he devotes the rest of book one to a discussion of materials. Book two is divided into five sections: the first on location; the second on the functional parts of a building and the third, fourth, and fifth, on the orders. Book three begins the practical advice on house construction. Books four, five, and six deal with doors, windows, and interior ornament, book seven with exterior ornament and garden buildings, book eight with bridges. Book nine consists of an interesting return to what Ware calls 'the construction of elevations upon the true principles of architecture' ... It is in the nature of an appendix to the whole, and allows Ware to write cuttingly of modern practices. Book ten is a brief introduction to mathematics and mensuration ... '. (Millard).

'There was a copy of either the 1756 or 1767 edition in Jefferson's private library at the time of his death ... The copy Jefferson ordered for the University in the section on 'Architecture' of the want list can be identified as either of these two editions from the title, but there is no record of the library's ever having received it.' (Jefferson's Fine Arts Library, pg. 374).

[Park 84; Fowler 436; Millard 87; Jefferson's Fine Arts Library 126a].
pp. (xviii), 748 (758 with the unnumbered text leaves), (iv). 2 vols. Folio. (412 x 258 mm). Engraved frontispiece, printed title in red and black with engraved vignette, preface, list of plates, contents and Ware's text in ten books illustrated with 114 engraved plates (14 folding) with irregular numbering in first state (with the numbers within the platemark and plate 70 / 71 titled 'Warwick Shire'), final eaves with index. Contemporary mottled calf.

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