"THE BIBLE OF CLASSICISM"
DURAND, Jean Nicholas Louis. Recueil et Parallele des Edifices de tout genre, anciens et modernes. 1 full-page title with engraved text by Durand, surrounded by architectural lithographic vignettes by Baltard, 1 full-page Table, and illustrated with 90 full-page lithographic plates, all in the original unfolded state. Oblong elephant folio, 480 x 685 mm, bound in early twentieth century black cloth. Paris: L'Ecole Polytechnique, chez l'Auteur, 1799-1801.
First Edition, earliest issue printed by Durand himself. One of the earliest issues of Cahier 1 was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1799. This is a copy of the so-called "Le Grand Durand," meant for the use of architects, designers, decorators and painters. The importance of the "Le Grand Durand" is attested by the fact that in the 1860s, "at the École des Beaux-Arts, the younger students were forced to swear their hatred for Viollet-le-Duc on the bible of classicism -- none other than Le Grand Durand" (Sergio Villari, J.N.L. Durand, 1990).
"Durand's lasting contribution is the separation of architecture from its traditional association with nature and with style…. [he] was the first architectural theoretician to clarify architectural objects by their common formal characteristics - to establish a rational science of design through standardization of functional topology… In the Recueil Durand totally overturns the traditional relation between architecture and nature in favor of abstraction based on a scientific method of classification by type. His concept of architecture is in perfect agreement with the prevailing political philosophy and its emphasis on utility" (Millard p. 174-75).
Durand's aim was to offer clear illustrations of the most important buildings of every type constructed since classical times (Egyptian and Roman) up to the late eighteenth-century. Durand consulted over three hundred books on French and Italian architecture and travel literature in composing his work. Over 40 full-page lithographs depict ancient building types, most with ground plans and elevations; others illustrate decorative elements taken from the recently-excavated Herculaneum and Pompeii: vases, sculptures, oil lamps, etc. In his Mellon lectures, "A History of Building Types," Sir Nikolaus Pevsner paid tribute to Durand's pioneering work.
Our copy is presented here in the original form, without the accompanying text by Legrand, which was written during the publication of the Recueil and was intended as a commentary on the plates, but only appears in the later editions. The Millard copy belongs to the later edition, with "Gillé fils" as the publisher instead of "Chez l'auteur," and with a slightly different collation. Binding with some wear, a few isolated spots, otherwise, in fine condition, with all the plates in their original unfolded state.
British Architectural Library 956. Millard, French 67. Not in Berlin Katalog or Fowler.
Item nr. 150690