BRISEUX, CHARLES ÉTIENNE.
Architecture moderne ou l’art de bien bâtir pour toutes sorted de personnes.Paris, Claude Jombert, 1728-9
FIRST EDITION. Two vols. 4to. Pp. (x) 74 (ii); (vi) 144 engraved plates. Roman letter. Vol I full page engraved frontispiece showing rotunda, ornamental and historiated headpieces, floriated initials, engravings, some fold out, of architectural ornament. Vol II fold out frontispiece with floral and architectural ornament, 144 full page engraved plates, some foldout, showing elevations, floorplans and building ornamentation. Bookplate to pastedown of both vols of Bibliothèque de M. Demondesir. Age yellowing, light foxing, occasional rust marks. Good, clean copies in contemp. marbled calf, blind ruled, spines gilt with red morocco label, aer.
Attractive first edition in two handsome volumes of this work by French architect Charles Étienne Briseux (c. 1680-1754). Briseux was also an artist, interior designer and prolific writer working during and following the Régence. These volumes contain many attractive plates with a variety of architectural designs mainly in the Louis XV style. The style was an early predication of Rococo and involved a combination of balanced and ordered symmetrical facades with more organic and decorative curling and curvaceous ornament. Interiors possessed floriated and vegetative patterns with an emphasis on stucco, mirrors and Chinoiserie. The frontispieces and exceptional engravings reflect these tastes.
The full page engraved frontispiece of the first vol is signed by J. Courtonne and depicts a domed pavilion in rotunda form, the same as that within Courtonne’s own work ‘Perspective’ from 1725. The second volume boasts an impressive double page fold out engraved tp with a baroque border. The majority of the plates are unsigned except the last fourteen of vol II which are taken again from Courtonne’s work ‘Perspective’.
Vol I covers varying aspects of contemporary French buildings including Briseux’s rules for finding the correct height and width for beams and joints in other wooden ornamentation in proportion to their length, the construction of cellars, wells and cisterns as well as different building and decorative materials and their merits like bricks, slate and tiles. This is evidently a practical guide for the practicing architect on top of a beautifully produced volume of engravings.
“The Architecture Moderne…marks a watershed between sixteenth- and seventeenth-century publications on models for houses of all sizes and eighteenth-century rococo house publications with their emphasis on the design and construction of homes for the well-to-do.” Millard 40.Fowler 67; Millard French 40; Brunet Vol I 1261.