BOOKS ON ARCHITECTURE
|| Mauclerc, Julien
|| Le premier livre d’architecture...
|| [La Rochelle, J. Haultin], 1599
|| Vicenza, CISA A. Palladio, MOR E XVI 1
livre d'architecture by Julien Mauclerc had hardly attracted the
attention of historians of architecture before David Thompson pulled
it out of oblivion in 1980 and pointed out its exceptional interest.
Information is scarce on the Sieur du Ligneron-Mauclerc. According to
the dedication ("Au Roy") in the 1600 edition, he served Henri
de Navarre, probably as a military architect during the 1570s. It was
perhaps then that his taste for architecture and machines had its beginnings.
In 1596 he said he was fifty-three, which would make 1542 or 1543 the
year of his birth. Very proud of his complete title which appears several
times in his treatise (his fiefs were located in the present-day department
of Vendée, between Challans and La Roche-sur-Yon), he was, like
many of his fellow noblemen, a personality of multiple talents. In Apremont
he opened an earthenware factory ("bouteillage de terre blanche")
after obtaining a royal privilege in 1560. He was also a sufficiently
well-informed collector to have been the first person to whom the Bouquet
printanier was dedicated. It was published in 1600 by the apothecary
and great collector from Poitiers, Paul Contant (later Sully took Mauclerc's
place in the dedication).
David Thompson was not aware of a copy of Le premier livre d'architecture
dated 1599, which belonged to the architect Jean-Charles Moreux (1889-1956),
and which was bequeathed to the Centro internazionale di studi di architettura
Andrea Palladio at Vicenza. This publication without name of author
or place is quite obviously the work of Jérôme Haultin,
a Protestant printer set up in La Rochelle. He took the responsibility
for producing the 1600 edition. The same woodcuts were used for the
text and the same plates. The 1599 edition differs essentially from
that of 1600 in the title page and the absence of dedication ("Au
Roy"). Moreover the study alone of the ornamented capital letters,
the border decorations and the flowerets would suffice to attribute
the work to Haultin. In 1600 the title page was different; it was recomposed
to bear the address of the printer and his mark of the "Religion
chrestienne". The copy of the CISA A. Palladio is the only one
known to this day.
issue probably falls within the province of a type of 16th century publishing
called "édition à l'essai", according to the
very expression used by contemporaries, intended for a close circle
of friends. These works were printed in small numbers, paid for by their
authors, at the instigation of the printers themselves, who could at
the same time give work to their presses without risk and could "sonder
les réactions d’un marché éventuel au travers
de lecteurs avertis, véritables consultants avant l’heure"
(Simonin 2004, p. 735). These limited editions also allowed the printers
to perfect the second editions which would come out in many copies.
Haultin's two editions are certainly surprising. If it was quite logical
that Mauclerc, a Protestant nobleman, would turn to the active member
of an eminent dynasty of printers located in the capital of the Protestants,
it is more surprising that Jérôme Haultin would accept
to publish a book on architecture. Indeed, the Haultin dynasty- Pierre
I left Lyon to set up in La Rochelle in 1571- is basically know for
publishing religious works (Bibles, etc...) and political work favorable
to the Reform. The publication of a treatise on architecture seems incongruous
even if the Haultins were undeniably competent in certain artistic domains
like musical literature, since Pierre I had been a pioneer in that area.
In addition the illustrations in their works are generally poor. Here
the plates on the orders were done by René Boyvin, one of the
great engravers of the Renaissance, and marked with his monogram RB.
The frontispiece dated 1596 (and not 1576 as some have thought), less
fine in technique, is attributed to an anonymous engraver (IB). Boyvin,
about whose life we know little, accomplished a large series a few years
before his death, situated between 1580 and 1598. Mauclerc must have come into contact with the artist, who had perhaps
found refuge in La Rochelle, not far from his native Anjou; Boyvin (born
in Angers towards 1525) had been imprisoned in 1569 after having joined
the Huguenot movement. Protestant sympathies probably brought the three
protagonists closer together.
condition of the CISA copy (title page ripped and repaired, leaves mutilated
[2-3], leaves recut, whimsical setting up of the plates, absence of
sonnets by M. Prévost and of two engravings of composite capitals
IV and VII, the later insertion of a plate representing the naval
battle opposing the English and Dutch fleets against the French fleet
off the southern Portuguese and African coasts on June 28, 1693...)
gives only an imperfect idea of this trial edition. Nevertheless it
is a perfect illustration of one stage of the editorial process that
Michel Simonin brilliantly brought to light concerning the great French
Renaissance authors. Paul Contant, who dedicated his Bouquet printanier
to Mauclerc in 1600, held a copy of it. For in his poem he repeated
almost word for word certain passages of the title page of the Poitiers
nobleman's treatise (Marrache-Gouraud
2004, p. 233).
study of the treatise on architecture, we refer to the presentation
of the 1600 edition.
Frédérique Lemerle (Centre national de
la recherche scientifique,
Centre d'études supérieures
de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2008
L. Châtenay, La vie intellectuelle en Aunis et Saintonge de
1540 à 1610, La Rochelle, Éditions du Quartier Latin, 1959.
L. Desgraves, L’imprimerie à La Rochelle, Les Haultin
(1571-1623), Travaux d’Humanisme et Renaissance, 34-2, Geneva,
G. M. Fara & D. Tovo (ed.), I libri dell’architetto Jean-Charles
Moreux al Centro internazionale di studi di architettura Andrea Pallaldio,
Florence, Olschki, 2008, pp. 70-72.
J. Levron, René Boyvin, graveur angevin du XVIe siècle,
Angers, Petit, 1941.
M. Marrache-Gouraud, "Cabinets et curieux du Poitou, aux XVIe
et XVIIe siècles", P. Martin & D. Moncond'huy (ed.), Curiosité et cabinets de curiosités,
Neuilly, Atlande, 2004, pp. 93-108.
M. Marrache-Gouraud & P. Martin, Le Jardin, et Cabinet poétique,
Introduction and notes, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, Collection
Textes rares, 2004.
Y. Pauwels, "Hans Blum et les Français, 1550-1650", Scholion. Meitteilungsblatt der Stiftung Bibliothek Werner Oechslin,
6, 2010, pp. 77-88.
M. Simonin, "Poétiques des éditions ‘à
l’essai’ au XVIe siècle", L’encre
et la lumière, Quarante-sept articles (1976-2000), Travaux
d’Humanisme et Renaissance, 391, Geneva, Droz, 2004, pp. 727-745.
D. Thomson, "Architecture et humanisme au XVIe siècle.
Le Premier Livre d’Architecture de Julien Mauclerc",
Bulletin monumental, 158, 1980, pp. 7-40.
D. Thomson, "Le Premier Livre d’Architecture de
Mauclerc, à La Rochelle, chez Jérôme Haultin en
1600", S. Deswarte-Rosa (ed.), Sebastiano Serlio à Lyon.
Architecture et imprimerie, Lyon, Mémoire active, 2004,