Author(s) De l’Orme, Philibert
Title Architecture...
Imprint Rouen, D. Ferrand, 1648
Localisation Besançon, Bibliothèque municipale, 11614
Subject Architecture, Chimneys, Doors, Orders, Stereotomy
Transcribed version of the text


     One year after having published a new edition of Jean Bullant's Reigle, David Ferrand, bookseller in activity in Rouen, put out the last edition of Philibert De l'Orme's treatise. This edition is fairly well known nowadays, for it came out in two facsimile versions in 1966 and 1981, which were very useful to researchers at that time. Unfortunately, Ferrand's work had led to a very questionable version of Philibert's text. As Ferrand explains in the headword of Bullant's treatise, he had salvaged a lot of material in Paris, probably from the late Regnault II Chaudière's heirs. Chaudière died in 1633, had been Pierre Cavellat's son-in-law and had at his disposal all the treasures published in the 16th century through the association of Guillaume Cavellat and Jérôme de Marnef. This meant the plates for the Vitruvius translation of 1572, including those coming from the Italian editions of Fra Giocondo and Cesariano, Bullant's and finally De l'Orme's plates from 1576- not to mention the text printed by Chaudière himself in 1626.
The Norman bookseller went back to the configuration of the 1626 version: the nine books of the Premier tome are followed by the two books of the Nouvelles inventions which become books X and XI of an Architecture which was supposed to be complete. But he considerably revised the work of Chaudière, who had himself taken some liberties in comparison with the original texts. All the decorative vignettes were redone: Philibert's "horoscope" disappeared. The fine frame of the frontispiece was kept, as well as the title page presentation. In the preliminary pieces, the 1626 dedication "Au Roy" is followed by another, signed by Ferrand, to Jean-Louis de Faucon, the first president of the Parlement de Rouen and an author of pleasant poems; then follows the word to the reader from the Nouvelles inventions. The formatting remains similar to that of 1626; the same supplementary engravings occupy the blank areas left by a tighter layout.
The text of the Chaudière edition was recomposed according to the norm, but Ferrand's interventions are not negligeable. They were probably necessary for technical reasons, economic even. If the discourse becomes less personal- many of De l'Orme's "je" disappear, particularly in the incipit of the chapters- it is very probably not to clarify the meaning, but as Jean-Marie Pérouse de Montclos suggests, because Ferrand did not have a sufficient number of decorated capital "I" letters. They also had to be used for the "Il" and the "Jaçoit" which frequently start off the texts. In fact, the modifications start only at folio 166, for chapter 29 of book V: "Pour vous montrer encore la variété des choses…" replaces "Je veux montrer encore pour la variété des choses…". At folio 232v°, Ferrand was satisfied to use a smaller initial. Then there are fewer and fewer "je" , although their lack does not become systematic: ff. 242v°, 247v°, 261v°, 270v°, 290v°, 301, 318v°, 319v° and 323v°. At folio 304, it's the "I" of "icy" which is called into question. Proof that these rearrangements did not aim at depersonalizing the text, at folio 323v°, Ferrand did not cut out the "je"; on the contrary, he preceeded it with a member which adds something to Philibert's intervention: "Gardant toujours ma méthode, je ne veux faillir…".
Another intervention bears notice. At folio 134, we read that "plusieurs ont escrit bien amplement des susdictes mesures, & de leurs diversitez (ainsi qu’a fait Bulens en son livre des Colomnes) comme l’on en use en un païs d’une sorte, & à l’autre d’une autres…". This mention of Jean Bullant may appear normal (publishing his Premier tome in 1567, De l'Orme could have been aware of the first edition of the Reigle in 1564) and at the same time exceptional : in fact Philibert never alluded explicitly to his French contemporaries. In fact this edition would be unusual, if it was original. For in all the other editions, we read a much more neutral text, the one that De l'Orme actually wrote: "Plusieurs ont escrit bien amplement des susdictes mesures, & de leurs diversitez, ainsi qu’on en use en un païs d’une sorte, & à l’autre d’une autre…". Ferrand had just published a new edition of the Reigle; thus it is not surprising to see mention in the Architecture of this "livre de colomnes" which had been revived very recently. A bit of self promotion could do no harm to the business of a sensible bookseller...

Yves Pauwels (Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours) – 2008

Critical bibliography

Y. Pauwels, "La Reigle et ses masques : le traité des ordres de Jean Bullant", M. Furno (ed.), Qui écrit ? figures de l’auteur et poids des co-élaborateurs du texte (XVe-XVIIe s.), Lyon, ENS, Collection IHL, 2009, pp. 165-174.

J.-M. Pérouse de Montclos, "Les éditions des traités de Philibert De L’Orme au XVIIe siècle", J. Guillaume (ed.), Les traités d’architecture à la Renaissance, Paris, Picard, 1988, pp. 355-365.

J.-M. Pérouse de Montclos, Introduction à Philibert De l’Orme, Traités d’architecture, Paris, Laget, 1988, pp. 15-17, 45-46.