Fréart de Chambray, Roland de
Evelyn, John
Alberti, Leon Battista

Title A parallel of the antient architecture with the modern...
Imprint London, J. Place, 1664
Subject Orders
Consult in image mode
Transcribed version of the text


     We owe the first English edition of Roland Fréart de Chambray’s Parallèle to John Evelyn, who would translate the Idée de la perfection de la peinture, also by Fréart de Chambray, four years later. It differs very little from the 1650 Parisian edition (Fowler 128 ; Riba 1133). In its dedication to Charles II and the Surveyor of the King’s Works Sir John Denham, it attests to Evelyn’s interest in the development of the arts in England. Moreover he added to the translation of the Parallèle an essay he wrote called “An account of architects and architecture in an historical and etymological explanation of certain tearms particularly affected by architects” as well as the translation of the Della statua by Alberti.
It seems that the book, a very expensive folio due to its plates – Hugh May had procured for his friend Evelyn some fine copies of original plates (an engraved title page, head-pieces, tail-pieces,) – did not have the expected commercial success. It was nonetheless reissued in 1680.

Frédérique Lemerle (Centre national de la recherche scientifique,
Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance – 2011

Critical bibliography

R. Fréart de Chambray, Parallèle de l’architecture antique avec la moderne (Paris, 1650), Critical edition established by F. Lemerle, followed by l’Idée de la perfection de la peinture, edition established by M. Stanic, Paris, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, 2005.

F. Lemerle, "Une querelle des Anciens et des Modernes en architecture : Fréart de Chambray", Travaux de Littérature, 12, 1999, pp. 37-47.

F. Lemerle, "Fréart de Chambray et Alberti", Albertiana, 3, 2000, pp. 261-273.

F. Lemerle, "L’Accademia di architettura e il trattato di Palladio (1673-1674)", Annali di architettura, 12, 2000, pp. 117-122.

F. Lemerle, "À l’origine du palladianisme européen : Pierre Le Muet et Roland Fréart de Chambray", Revue de l'art, 178, 2012-4, pp. 43-47.

A. Palladio, Les quatre livres de l’architecture d’Andrea Palladio, Translated by R. Fréart de Chambray, Introduction by F. Lemerle, Paris, Flammarion, 2002 (1rst ed.: Paris, Flammarion, 1997).