BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
Strangely, the title does not correspond to the contents of the work which includes a Livre troisiesme traitant de la fabrique des orgues. In order to understand the reasons for this omission, we must refer to the accompanying privilege. On October 17, 1614, Salomon de Caus obtained from Louis XIII a privilege to publish four books: Raisons des forces mouvantes avec plusieurs machines tant utiles que plaisantes; De la Theorie & Pratique de Musique; Constructions de quelques machines hidrauliques; Desseings de grotes Artificielles et Fontaines. The first and the last of these books are the only ones indicated in the frontispiece of the present publication. The second resulted in the Institution Harmonique, also available in 1615 in Frankfurt, at Jan Norton's shop. The Livre troisiesme traitant de la fabrique des orgues of the present publication could correspond to a part of the book indicated in the privilege, Constructions de quelques machines hidrauliques. In fact, in the dedication to Princess Elizabeth in the Institution Harmonique (September 15, 1614), Salomon de Caus refers to an unfinished treatise, "De la fabrique des machines hidrauliques, commencé soubs mon bon maistre d’heureuse memoire le Serenissime Prince de Galles, ou par lesdites Machines, il se pourra représenter avec le cours de l’eau une parfaite harmonie". This hypothesis is partially corroborated by the closing declaration: "je mettray fin pour le present a ce troisiesme livre esperant avec le temps d’en faire encore un ou seront montrees quelques machines fort rares & que je tiens fort secrettes…" and also by the fact that this third book, unlike the first two, does not include frontispiece, dedication or copperplate engravings. All this leads one to believe that the work was published in 1615 with corrections, and was probably put together hastily from previous works, perhaps in order to present all of the areas of competence that Salomon de Caus had already put into practice during his career that was still to be fruitful. There was nevertheless a wish to keep the privilege for a later publication.
Hélène Vérin (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris) – 2009
C. Maks, Salomon de Caus 1576-1626, Paris, Jouve & Cie, 1935.
L. Morgan, Nature as Model. Salomon de Caus and Early Seventeeth-century Landscape Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.
L. Châtelet-Lange, "Salomon de Caus, contestation d’un mythe", Bulletin de la Société de l’Histoire de l’Art français, 1988 (1989), pp. 25-32.