Les Regles du dessein et du lavis.Paris, Jombert, 1722
FIRST EDITION. 8vo. Pp. (x) 130 (vi). Roman letter. Woodcut to tp with allegorical figures and instruments. Ornamental head and tail pieces and initials. 14 attractive engraved fold out plates. Early ms to tp, inked over, some show through. Slight age yellowing, a few marginal ink spots, plates in good condition on thick paper, fep and eps a little soiled. A good clean copy in contemp. speckled calf, spine gilt, red morocco label, marbled pastedowns, aer.
Handsome first edition of this handbook of military architecture by Nicolas Buchotte, ‘ingénieur ordinaire du roi’, Louis XV. The work contains fourteen exquisitely engraved plates, mainly large and fold out, that helped to establish graphic standards (rules and maxims) for France’s military architects, surveyors and engineers. The work provided a guide to those stationed in colonies and isolated conflict zones to apply practically, clear and basic scientific principles. The plates are demonstrative of contemporary frontier-building that was occurring in France’s newly acquired territories. Plate V portrays a floorplan and façade of a barrack structure with an officers’ pavilion. It also established a framework, taken up by Henri Gautier de Nîmes and Louis Charles Dupain de Montesson, showing the standardised materials, techniques and colours to be used for maps and plans as well as their spatial organisation. “The implementation of military drawing in France was not only uniquely envisaged as a means of communication and exchange between engineers but also as a tool for valorisation given the rising importance of the professions supported by the founding of the royal academies, including the royal painters, sculptors and architects.” (Emilie d’Orgeix, “The Engineer, the Royal Academies, and the Drawing of Maps and Plans in the Earl Modern Period”, 2016).
The work was originally intended as a manual for Buchotte’s two sons. The plates contain a variety of architectural plans, maps of the countryside, abstract portrayals of the correct ground upon which to build military fortifications and guides as to standardised cartographical symbols. He insists on building in harmony with the natural environment, using neutral colours and keeping in tune with surrounding geography. The work was an enormous success and experienced widespread readership and use across Europe well into the nineteenth century.
“Serve specialmente per gli ombreggiatori, e acquerellatori di mappe, piante e alzati d’ogni genere, e per tutto ciò che riguarda la Topografia, e l’Architettura”. (Cicognara)Cicognara 301; This ed. Not in Fowler, not in Brunet.