New Book | A Treatise on Civil Architecture

Posted in anniversaries, books by Editor on May 6, 2023

From Rizzoli:

William Chambers, with a preface by Frank Salmon, A Treatise on Civil Architecture (Stockholm: Bokförlaget Stolpe, 2023), ISBN: 978-9189696358, $80.

book coverA gorgeous, oversize, clothbound facsimile of the classic 18th-century guide to the vocabulary of Western architecture

Sir William Chambers (1723–1796) was a Swedish British architect who designed imaginative castle buildings and luxurious interiors as well as simple and rational utilitarian architecture: some of his most famous works include the Roehampton Villa, Great Pagoda, and Somerset House (all located in London). Originally published in 1756, A Treatise on Civil Architecture is an architecture handbook in which Chambers explains the basics of the art of building, aiming “to collect into one volume what is now dispersed in a great many, and to select, from mountains of promiscuous Materials, a Series of Sound Precepts and good Designs.” The guidebook is supplemented by concise texts and beautiful illustrations of classical building types and their functions. Received with considerable acclaim upon its release, A Treatise on Civil Architecture quickly became the most popular practical work on architecture in the English language and has since been republished several times. This handsome clothbound edition is published in conjunction with the 300th anniversary of Chambers’ birth.

William Chambers (1723–1796) was an architect mainly active in and around London. Chambers was a founder member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768 and he published a number of both practical and theoretical books on architecture, gardening, and interior design.

Frank Salmon is Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in History of Art, University of Cambridge and a Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge. Since 2021 Dr. Salmon has served as the director at the Cambridge based The Ax:son Johnson Centre for the Study of Classical Architecture.


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