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Digitized Rare Books

This is a tool to look at the digitized rare books held in the Ryan Rare Book Room.

Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian -- Robert Adam

Robert Adam led the expedition to document the royal palace of the Emperor Diocletian in 1757 accompanied by the French architect Charles-Louis Clérisseau and two draftsmen. Adam's "Grand Tour" publication was instrumental in launching his career in Great Britain. The publication contains an engraved frontispiece and 60 plates including detailed plans, sections, elevations and views primarily based on drawings by Clérisseau. 

Antiquities of Ionia --Richard Chandler, Nicholas Revett, William Pars, and William Wilkins

Ionian Antiquities was the first publication sponsored by the Society of the Dilettanti. Chandler, Pars, and Revett traveled to Greece in 1764, with instructions to keep detailed journal records in addition to their drawings, and were to deliver them directly to the Society of the Dilettanti. While their original plan was to set up a base in Smyrna, on the Aegean coast, and make excursions to interesting sites, they were forced to change their plans due to an outbreak of the Plague. Their new base was Athens, and for the next ten months, Chandler, Pars, and Revett explored the important sites in Attica, building off of the work that Stuart and Revett had started a decade earlier. 

Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture -- James Gibbs

Rules for Drawing is Gibbs' attempt at a practical handbook for architects and craftsmen. While on the surface this book appears to be another book on the five orders, what is notable about Gibbs' text is a method he proposes that allows one to determine the correct proportion for any order provided their is a particular height. Gibbs' method was recognized immediately and used by subsequent authors, including Batty Langley. 

The Mirror of Architecture -- Vicenzo Scamozzi

The fifth English edition to claim a relationship to Scamozzi is more of a guidebook to architecture than an interpretation of Scamozzi's treatise of 1615. It contains several images based on Scamozzi's original publication but is primarily original to this text. This particular publication contains two additional books on the "joynt-rule," by mathematical instrument maker John Brown, and the Art of Building by printer and publisher William Leyburn.

The Antiquities of Athens -- James Stuart and Nicholas Revett

In 1748 Stuart and Revett were in Rome studying painting when they decided to visit Athens in order to draw the antiquities to publish. After gathering materials for the first volume, the pair went back to England to start working on the engraved plates to begin circulating, as a means to drum up enough financial support to complete the remaining volumes. Their attention to detail displayed in their volumes reveal the numerous mistakes in the depictions from Palladio and Serlio, not to mention that Stuart, in his text, was quick to point out all of the faults in Le Roy's drawings in Les Ruines des Plus Beaux Monuments de la Grece, published a few years prior in 1758. 

The British Architect -- Abraham Swan

Abraham Swan, c.1720-c.1765, was a carpenter and joiner who published The British Architect, along with A Collection of Designs in Architecture and Designs for Chimnies at his own expense. The British Architect promotes the architecture of Christopher Wren, at the expense of Italian architects, notably Scamozzi, Vignola, and most especially Palladio. Of all of Swan's self-published volumes, The British Architect was the most beautiful and successful, due to its large scale details and its emphasis on interior fitting, such as mouldings, staircases, and fireplaces. A tribute to its popularity is the fact that a later edition of this volume became the very first printed book of architecture in the United States, published in Philadelphia in 1775, with engraving by John Norman. 

The Architectural Antiquities of Rome -- George Taylor and Edward Cresy

Taylor and Cresy's impressive collection of over 100 engraved plates depicting the Roman Forum is a crucial text for understanding the historical monuments of Rome as depicted in the nineteenth century. The carefully measured drawings and detailed views offer important insight into the current Roman Forum. Due to the condition of this particular publication it is only availabel electronically.