Author(s) Jousse, Mathurin
La Hire, Gabriel-Philippe de
Title L’art de charpenterie..., corrigé & augmenté...
Imprint Paris, T. Moette, 1702
Localisation Tours, Cesr, SR/52a (I.H.A. 615)
Subject Bridges, Carpentry, Mills, Orders
Transcribed version of the text


     Le theatre de l’art de charpentier (1627) was undeniably the most successful treatise among the three by Mathurin Jousse ; it was published in 1650, 1659 and again in 1664. Again in the 18th century, it remained unequalled, as Thomas Moette asserted in the “Forward” to his edition of 1702 (“there was only Jousse who gave written rules for it where one could have perfect knowledge of it and study it in particular ; we looked for his book eagerly”). The Parisian edition was corrected and enlarged by Gabriel-Philippe de La Hire, the astronomer and mathematician, son of Philippe de La Hire. In 1699 Moette bought the privilege granted on July 1, 1692 to Françoise Griveau for fifteen years, from her daughters (her heirs). The plates were apparently included in the sale (“all the plates which have been kept in good condition having fallen into my hands”). Moette resumed the complete book with the “Abrégé des cinq ordres des colonnes”. He published it in its entirety with the additions by La Hire under the more encyclopedic title L’art de charpenterie.
At the beginning of the treatise by Jousse, G.-P. de La Hire inserted five copper-plate engravings between pages 4 and 5 of the copy on line. The first three, illustrating carpenters’ tools and machines (pp. 2-4), were taken from engravings published by André Félibien in his Principes de l’architecture (1676, I, 14, pp. 135, 137, 139, 141, 143). For the fourth plate, the mathematician borrowed from the Cours d’architecture by François Blondel (1683, Cinquième partie, I, 7, p. 645) the bridge (Scamozzi’s bridge), represented in the upper part. The façade, with the section of a house with timber framing comes again from Félibien (p. 131). All the engravings are explained at the end of the volume (p. 190). In the fifth plate devoted to the garret, he combines a plate from Félibien (p. 133) with two detailed drawings of attics in the Mansart style taken from a plate in Augustin-Charles d’Aviler’s Cours d’architecture entitled “Diverses especes de combles avec leurs assemblages et couvertures” (1691, “Explication de la Charpenterie”). Taking advantage of the large folio format of Jousse’s treatise, de La Hire combined elements of several plates coming from books with a smaller format, or even from different sources. As often happens, the engravings are inverted in comparison with the originals. La Hire, close to the milieu of the Académies (in 1718 he succeeded his father in the Académie des Sciences), was naturally inspired by Blondel, Félibien and d’Aviler, whose successful books had been reissued several times soon after their initial appearance.
After Jousse’s treatise and the brief treatise on columns which traditionally follows it, de La Hire added “the descriptions and drawings of all the elements entering in the construction of timber framing, with the method of making a mansard roof… and some particular bridges”. The book ends on windmills and water mills ; the mathematician adds two plates he drew himself.

Frédérique Lemerle (Centre national de la recherche scientifique,
Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2007

Critical bibliography

F. Le Boeuf, "Mathurin Jousse, maître serrurier à La Flèche et théoricien d’architecture (vers 1575-1645)", In situ, 1, 2001.

P. Le Boeuf, "La Bibliothèque de Mathurin Jousse : une tentative de reconstitution", In situ, 1, 2001.

E. Pasquier & V. Dauphin, Imprimeurs et libraires de l’Anjou, Angers, Société anonyme des éditions de l’Ouest, 1932, pp. 311-326.

É.-C. Pecquet, "Mathurin Jousse, architecte et ingénieur de la ville de La Flèche au XVIIe siècle", Cahiers Fléchois, 6, 1984, pp. 28-41.

J.-M. Pérouse de Montclos, L’architecture à la française, XVIe, XVIIe, XVIIIe siècles, Paris, Picard, 1982, pp. 96-98.

R.-A. Weigert, Inventaire du Fonds Français. Graveurs du XVIIe siècle..., Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, 5, 1968, "Jousse (Mathurin)", pp. 615-617.