L’ Art de batir des maisons de campagne ou l’on traite de leur distribution, de leur construction, & de leur decoration …

Paris, chez Prault pere, a l’entree du quay de Gevres, au paradis …, 1743


FIRST EDITION. Two vols. 4to. 1) pp. xvi, 162: [a]-b4, A-V4. 2) pp. xii, 195, [i]: [-]2, a4, A-2A4, 2B. Engraved frontispiece and, 260 engraved plates, many double page folding. Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut initials, fine woodcut head and tail-pieces, bookplate of Jacques Laget on pastedown, early ms shelf mark on fly. Very rare marginal mark. A fine copy, fresh, with very good margins, the plates in excellent impression, in contemporary tree calf, spines with raised bands richly gilt in compartments, red and tan morocco labels gilt, edges gilt rolled, marbled end papers, a.e.r. head band of vol two a little chipped, with fine cracks in upper joints of both vols, corners slightly worn.

A fine copy of the first edition of this important and influential work on the construction of country houses in France, beautifully illustrated with 260 finely engraved plates, by Moreau, Mutel, de la Marquade and Babel after Briseux’s drawings, the first section containing a series of extremely detailed plans, with front and rear facades, side cuts and ground plans, beginning with smaller country houses rising to large chateaux. This is followed by a 96 detailed plates of interior and exterior ornaments including pediments, vases, window frames, carved paneling, doors, and bed niches, living room panelling and parts for locksmiths. “Not much is known about the buildings created by this architect.. His treatises unmistakably reflect the changing views of building during the 18th century.. unlike the illustrious buildings commissioned by the nobility in the 17th century, buildings were now constructed for a large number of people with taste, and consequently architects and workmen had to receive precise instructions. Briseux’ work on country house and châteaux, ‘l’Art du Batir’ .. published in 1742 had a similar thrust. The general aim was to prioritise comfort in house building, admittedly a comfort that in each case had to comply with the social appropriateness and the stability of the architecture. Several suggestions are presented and described, for example how a single winged building with side pavilions of abbreviated wings could be constructed in various sizes. The ground floor was always meant to house the main rooms, with a separate kitchen located elsewhere in an annex. The staircases are frequently very modest as in the smaller country houses they were merely a means of communication with those rooms in the upper storey not used as reception rooms. The main room, the ‘salle de l’Assemblé’ in the smaller types of house and the salon in the summer residences, both defined the size proportion and layout of the other rooms. Furthermore the width of every room determined the height appropriate for it. The position of the building was aligned with the position of the sun, so that those rooms leading to the garden face north or east, preventing it becoming unpleasantly hot in the summer. Gradually Briseux developed these model types into genuine chateaux with more complicated ground plans. … This treatise, which even today is most instructive for an understanding of neo-classical French architecture, is rounded off by instructions for laying foundations, and several examples of panelling for walls and doors as well as for the balustrades of balconies and staircases. Taking into account Briseax’ strictly Classical note, their exquisite asymmetrical rocailles seem a little surprising, yet these are in line with a certain tolerant breadth in the appreciation of architecture which was possible in France up to that time.” Bernd Evers ‘Architectural Theory: From the Renaissance to the Present : 89 Essays.’

A fine, fresh copy.

Fowler 68. Berlin Kat. 2401. Millard, I, 41. Brunet 1 1261.


Print This Item Print This Item