Author(s) De l’Orme, Philibert
Title Architecture…
Imprint Paris, R. II Chaudière, 1626
Localisation Paris, Ensba, Les 1652
Subject Architecture, Chimneys, Doors, Orders, Stereotomy
Transcribed version of the text


     The first edition bringing together the Premier tome of 1567 and the Nouvelles inventions of 1561, entitled Architecture de Philibert De l'Orme appeared in 1626 from the presses of Regnault II Chaudière, son-in-law and associate of Pierre Cavellat. He was the son of Guillaume Cavellat who had republished De l'Orme's two treatises in 1576 with Jérôme de Marnef. The two books on carpentry conclude the treatise, becoming books X and XI.
It was natural to bring the two books together, and De l'Orme surely imagined it while he was alive : the very conception of the Premier tome which goes from foundation to roof, naturally placed the two books devoted to framework at the end. Nevertheless, numerous parts of the original volumes were redundant. In this way Chaudière used the frame from the title page of the 1576 Nouvelles inventions at the end of the volume, at folio 318 v°, around the poem "ad Zoilum" by Antoine Mizeault, alias "Meteorizomenos" (literally "mis haut"). It was also necessary to choose among preliminary pieces : Chaudière chose the dedication to Charles IX from the 1561 Nouvelles inventions, henceforth addressed "au roi", without specifying any name. He reduced and adapted it so as to eliminate a too precise reference. Likewise, the 1561 "avis au lecteur" was copied with a few cuts. The decorative vignettes of the original edition are reprinted but with the printer's mark and the motto "Omnia cum tempore" replacing Philibert's coat of arms in the center and the motto "Ne quid nimis". Finally, the work ends with two conclusions : that of the Nouvelles inventions, then the one from the Premier tome, with the representations of the good and the bad architect.
The texts themselves are treated in various ways. The text of the Premier tome was only slightly modified, but the two books of the Nouvelles inventions underwent several important cuts. Among others, chapter 3 of book I (which became book X) was simply deleted, and Chaudière didn't take the trouble to renumber the chapters : the reader goes directly from chapter 2 to chapter 4 (ff. 281 and 281 v°) ; besides, the pagination is incorrect.
On the other hand, and here is where this new edition is very interesting, the printer added forty plates absent from the first editions, in part coming from material De l’Orme prepared for the Second tome which never saw the light of day. However, they are not all from the hand of the architect. Twenty-three were borrowed from Fra Giocondo’s (1511) and Jean Martin’s (1547) editions of Vitruve, from Serlio’s books III and IV, from Bullant’s 1568 edition of the Reigle and from other unidentified sources. In all likelihood these plates come from the material Marnef and Castellat owned. They had printed Bullant’s treatise and Martin’s and Goujon’s second edition of the Vitruve in 1572. (This latter edition, like the 1547 edition, reused numerous woodplates from Fra Giocondo and Cesariano). The other plates can certainly be attributed to Philibert, in particular a sketchbook placed between books VIII and IX, after folio 258 ; the second of these plates bears the words "Ces figures icy se mettent après le huictième livre". Beyond antique representations, there are architectural projects : rustic garden temples, baths, the chevet of the chapel at Anet, and a project for a general hospital. In addition, the sketchbook shows caryatids and atlantes taken from Jean Martin’s Vitruve.

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

Critical bibliography

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.