A Sammelband of Major Architectural Works & Related Engravings

ARCHITECTURE. Vredeman de Vries, Jan (1527- ca. 1607); Dietterlin, Wendel (ca. 1550-1599); Floris de Vriendt, Cornelius II (before 1514-1575), et al.

A magnificent, profusely illustrated sammelband, consisting mainly of (more than 300) large engraved and etched plates, comprising several major architectural treatises - including the masterpiece of the mannerist architecture Wendel Dietterlin and three important suites by Vredeman de Vries- augmented with an additional three rare series of plates of architectural elements and ornaments.

Antwerp, Nuremberg, and elsewhere: Various printers, 1557-1604


Bound in 17th c. stiff vellum (boards soiled, small defects to the corners and hinges.) The contents are in overall excellent condition with only minor flaws (a few damp-stains -mainly mild and almost always outside of the plate-, occ. light soiling, a handful of plates with light wash to give the impression of diaphanous clothing over nude female figures; plate 122 in the third work with a small portion neatly excised. The central portion of the German title page (see below) in the first work was neatly excised at an early date and replaced, in manuscript, with a title in French. The four divisional titles in the third work have the same kind of alteration. Provenance: Charles Alexandre de Croÿ (1574–1624), whose armorial bookplate has been pasted to the verso of first title page.

This is a rare survival of a popular form of bespoke composite album, the contents selected by and intended for use by (as the title of Vredeman’s “Architectura” states) working architects, masons, stonecutters, carpenters, other artisans, and amateurs (“Personne qui cultive un art, une science pour son plaisir, sans en faire profession”). These types of composite albums, although widely used, eventually became extremely rare – quite likely because they were so widely used; for they did not go into libraries, but into the workshops of architects and decorators, where they were copied and recopied, worn out and in the end discarded. 

This album, a fortunate survivor, was assembled for Charles Alexandre de Croÿ (1574–1624), Marquis of Havré, Count of Fontenoy, Knight of the Golden Fleece, from the Habsburg Netherlands. Murdered in 1624. Charles Alexandre had a distinguished military and diplomatic career. He fought in the Siege of Amiens (1597), led an elite cavalry in the Siege of Ostend (1602), and in the 1620s, at the outbreak of the Thirty Years War, served with the Imperial army in the Battle of White Mountain. Shortly after his retirement in 1624 he was shot dead through a window of his house in Brussels. Charles Alexandre, whose interest in contemporary architecture is attested by his extensive renovation and expansion of Havré castle (Château d'Havré) in Mons, Belgium, where he welcomed Rubens in 1622.

1. Vredeman de Vries, Jan (1527- ca. 1607)

 Architectura [Ou art de bastir des Antiques, tiré de Vitruve: qui sont cincq ordres de colonnes, don’t l’on peut tirer toutes sortes de bastimens, selon l’usance et coustume de chascun pays: utile à tous Architects, Massons, Tailleurs de pierre, Menuisiers, et à tous amateurs de l’Architecture. Mis en Lumiere par Iean Vredeman dict Vriese.]

Antwerp: [Andreas Bacx for Cornelis de Jode], 1597

Large folio: 40 x 31.3 cm. Etched title page, 5 unsigned lvs. of text in French, 23 etched plates (in their first and only state) numbered in Roman in the plate. Without the dedication text leaf (not found in all copies.)

THE RARE SECOND FRENCH EDITION of this suite of architectural plates etched by the brothers Jan (act. 1551-1606) and Lucas van Doetecum (1510?-1570) after drawings by Jan Vredeman de Vries. This edition was published by Andreas Bacx for Cornelis de Jode, successor to Gerard de Jode, who produced the first French edition in 1577. The original publisher and date appear on the etched title; the 1597 imprint appears on the fifth text leaf. This copy lacks the dedication leaf, present in a minority of copies (lacking, for example in the V&A and BM Lyon copies.) While the text of this edition is in French, the etched title page that was used was that of the 1581 German edition (See Holstein). The text of the divisional title pages of the Dietterlin (see 4. below) have also been replaced by manuscript French versions by the owner or compiler of this sammelband.

The plates represent the five orders: Tuscan (5 plates, numbered 1-5), Doric (7 plates, numbered 6-12), Ionic (4 plates, numbered 13-16), Corinthian (6 plates, numbered 17-22), and Composite (1 plate, numbered 23.) The accompanying text (one leaf describing each order) was translated from the first German (1577) by Theodore Kemp of Antwerp. Before (and during) the time that Vredeman produced work for Hieronymus Cock, he also worked with the publisher of this work, Gerard to Jode, with whom he began his association in 1555.

Each chapter deals with a different order. In each section there are five plates showing columns with various decorative embellishments, followed by examples of building façades. 

“Foremost among sixteenth-century Netherlandish author-artists was Vredeman de Vries—an engraver, architect, and painter of prodigious imagination and talent. Born in the Friesland town of Leeuwarden, he first studied painting with Reijer Griesten before assisting Coecke van Aelst on the decoration of triumphal arches built for the entry of the future emperor Philip II into Antwerp in 1549. Work on these designs laid the foundation for Vredeman's classical development, as it brought him into contact with the publisher of various editions of Vitruvius and Serlio and with a circle of artists that included the architect Floris…

“Through his contact with this Antwerp circle, Vredeman began to study seriously the writings of Vitruvius and Serlio and expand his classical horizons. Political instability, however, continually interrupted his career. After marrying he moved to Antwerp in 1561, but was forced to flee the city for reasons of religious persecution. His life then became unsettled. He lived in Aachen, Liege, and Antwerp once again, before moving to Wolfenbüttel in 1585. He next settled in Hamburg, worked as a painter in Gdansk (Danzig) for the Polish court, and later in Prague for Emperor Rudolf II. In the last decade of his life he returned to the Netherlands and lived in Amsterdam and The Hague. Throughout his wanderings and work as a decorative painter, he continued to publish his increasingly famous engravings. Over thirty-three years, between 1555 and 1587, he produced twenty-seven volumes consisting of 483 etched engravings. He remained active, in fact, until his death around 1606. His work in this field altogether eclipsed his paintings and few architectural commissions.

“The themes of Vredeman were extremely varied, as well as always being elaborate and complex in character. In his ‘Architectura oder Bauung der Antiquen aus dem Vitruvius’ Vredeman came close to producing what might be called a column book. He acknowledged his architectural masters to be Vitruvius, Serlio, and the French theorist Jacques Androuet du Cerceau. Vredeman, however, was not content simply to adopt the classical orders as presented by other European masters, but rather he sought to adapt them to the different national and climatic conditions of the North, indeed to invest them with northern European ornamentation of his own creation.”(Millard III, Northern European Books)

Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish, XLVIII, 408-431

[Bound with:]

Vredeman de Vries’ First Two Architectural Publications – Published by Volcxken Diericx, Hieronymus Cock’s Widow

2. Vredeman de Vries, Jan (1527- ca. 1607)

[Das Erst Buch, Gemacht Auff de Zvvey Colommen Dorica und Ionica, sampt iren podien, bases, cornicen, capitelen, architraben, phrisen und coro- namenten, eyn jede inn drey manieren gezieret und getailet, zu mehrer zierd und schone, Gezogen auss dem berumpten Architecten Vitruuio, Sampt noch anderen zierden dazu dienlich, den Malern, Bildhavvern, Stainmetzern, Schreinern, Glazmaler, und sunst allen liebhabern den selben zu guten]

[Antwerp: Volcxken Diericx, ca. 1578-1581]


3. [Das ander Buech, Gemacht auff die zvvay Colonnen, Corinthia und Composita sampt jren podien, basen, cornicen, capitellen, architraben, phrisen und coronamenten: Iede inn vier manieren ghezieret und getailet, zu mehrer zierd und schoene. Gezogen auß den berumpten Architecten Vitruuio, Sampt noch anderen zierden dar zu dienlich, den Malern, Bildhavvern, Stainmet- zen, Schreinren, Glaesern, und sunst allen Liebhabren zu gutem.]

[Antwerp: Volcxken Diericx, ca. 1578-1581] 

Folio: 40 etched plates: 18 in the first volume (in 3 sequences of 6) and 22 in the second. Without title pages (see below). All plates in both series in first state.

Two complete suites of plates, without letterpress title-pages (The titles above are taken from the first editions of 1565.) The two editions of “Das Erst Buch” published by Cock’s widow, Volcxken Diericx, in 1578 and 1581 were issued without title pages. And although her editions of “Das ander Buech” did have title pages, these are often absent in extant copies where both works are found together. There is the possibility that these plates are from Cock’s earlier editions, but less likely.

The plates in the first volume are marked A through S; some are signed in the plate by Cock. They depict architectural details (floral elements, grotesques, etc.) of columns (Doric and Ionic in the first set, Composite and Corinthian in the second), bases, and entablatures. These series mark the elevation of Vredeman (the draftsman) to the prominence heretofore enjoyed by his publishers (Cock and Jode) in his print projects.

Two books by Jan Vredeman de Vries, containing a great many etchings of columns and their details, but without explanatory text, preceded the 1577 book on architecture.  In 1565, ‘Den Eersten Boeck’, dealing with the Doric and Ionic orders, came out at Hieronymus Cock's publishing house in Antwerp.  ‘Das ander Buech’ on the Corinthian and composite orders came out the same year.”(Lombaerde) 

Volcxken Diericx (ca. 1525-1600)

In 1556 Hieronymus Cock and his wife Volcxken Diericx had established what was to become one of the most successful printing houses of the 16th century, Aux Quatre Vents. Between 1557 and 1565, the firm published Vredeman’s series exclusively, and continued to print editions of his works to the end of the century. After Cock’s death in 1570, Volcxken Diericx ran the Quatre Vents for thirty more years, far longer than her husband, and it is to her that we owe the preservation of 1,604 of the plates. That she was a central figure is revealed in the firm’s slogan: “Let the rooster [“Cock”] cook what the people [“volcx”) want.”

“Diericx jointly ran the business from the outset. Although she is a remarkable figure in the 16th-century cultural history of the Low Countries, she has tended to be overshadowed by her husband. Her precise duties are unclear, but are likely to have included working in the shop and selling prints, as shown in an engraving from 1560. After Cock’s death on 3 October 1570, she firmly guided the publishing house for some thirty years through the most turbulent period in Antwerp’s history, including the sack of the city by Spanish troops in 1576.”(Jan Van der Stock in Hieronymus Cock: The Renaissance in Print (2013))

Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish, XLVII, 183-200 & 201-222. 

[Bound with:]

Architectural Fantasy

4. Dietterlin, Wendel (ca. 1550-1599)

Architectura de constitutione symetria, ac proportione quinuqe columnarum. 

Nuremberg: Balthasar Caymox, 1598

Folio: 209 lvs. (of 210, lacking the colophon leaf), comprising 5 engraved title pages, 5 lvs. of text (re-margined, presumably at the time of binding), and 199 etched plates, including divisional titles. Plate 6 is repeated. The engraved folio numbers that go up to 209 include the letterpress leaves, main title, portrait, and divisional titles. The verso of the general title (re-margined at an early date) has an engraved portrait of the author, which is usually printed on a separate sheet.

ENLARGED SECOND EDITION of both parts. The first part appeared at Stuttgart in 1593, the second at Strasbourg in 1594. The text of this copy is in Latin and French. A German edition appeared in the same year. 

A complete set these beautiful (and fantastic) plates by the painter, draftsman, and architectural theorist Wendel Dietterlin, whose achievements include the famed (now destroyed) ceiling for the upper room of the Lusthaus at Stuttgart.

“The book is organized around the five orders of architecture, primarily expressed in the columns of a building, and the entablature (architrave, frieze, cornice) which rests upon them. But these orders are also the basis for all other decorative elements of the building, and complex sets of rules have been developed around them.

“It must be emphasized that Dietterlin’s orders have only a blurred resemblance to the classical orders based on Vitruvius, developed in the Renaissance by Vignola, Serlio, Palladio, and others, and propagated in Germany by the Swiss, Hans Blum. For Dietterlin the five orders are merely a take-off point, or framework, for his ungovernable imaginative flights. The weirdest and richest forms are invented, the most varied effects of light, shade, and perspective are introduced; animal and plant ornaments proliferate over the basic architectural elements. Only occasional touches remind the viewer that these are meant to be, let us say, Doric or Ionic. They are decorations no artisan could ever have realized. They turn into an overwhelming, confusing, and enchanting  play of fantasy. Included are chimneys, door frames, portals, fountains, tombs, and monuments. The German High Baroque is forcefully anticipated; the magic of the late Gothic style is still conjured up in several plates; some designs are derived from the late Italian Renaissance; some are purely personal phantasies. Some seems as if they were meant for stage designs, although of course they are not. A ‘Doric’ kitchen interior turns into a glutton’s nightmare; a ‘Tuscan’ stove into an elephant; and the door in the concluding plate leads to the triumph of death – the symbolic Finis for the work of a genius who, in the words of his dedication, considered life miserable and dreary, but art as a source of pleasure and grace”(Plazek)

Millard III, Northern European Books, 29; Avery’s Choice 47; See Fowler 105 for a copy (also lacking the colophon) of the 1598 German edition.

[Bound with]

Fantastic Grotesques

5. Floris de Vriendt, Cornelius II (before 1514-1575)

Veelderley niewe inventien van antycksche sepultueren: Diemen nou zeere ghebruvkonde is met noch zeer fraeye grotissen en compertimenten zeer beqwame voer beeltsniders antycksniders, schilders en alle constenaers ; libro secundo

[Manuscript title in French: Diverses figures et pourtraicts de grottesques, Compartimens, et Sepultures antiques, usitees au temps present: fort utiles por tous Tailleurs d’images, Peinctres, etc. Inventees pr C. Floris. Impremees par Jéromme Cock] 

[Antwerp: Hieronymus Cock, 1557]

Folio: Title (with central section pasted over with a piece of paper on which is written a French title and imprint) and 15 unnumbered etched plates showing fantastic decorations and funerary monuments. Published by Cock and etched by Jan and Lucas van Doetecum. The book is styled “Libro Secundo” due to the publication, a year prior, of another set of plates on similar themes.

FIRST EDITION of Cornelis Floris’ suite of extraordinary grotesque decorations and designs for tombs. Very fine, with just a few light stains. A few of the nude figures have been adorned with delicate, diaphanous blouses and floral arrangements in ink.

In the 16th century, The Netherlands developed its own version of the grotesque, characterized by heavy, three-dimensional forms. Cornelis Floris pioneered the style in Antwerp, inspired by a visit to Rome in 1538. An architect as well as a sculptor, Floris populated this superstructure with satyrs, caryatids, terms, and masks. Some of his favorite devices are also visible--string, birds with string, holes, and figures enclosed by straps. In the upper cavity, smoke trails from Vulcan's forge.

“Etched by the brothers Jan (act. 1551-1606) and Lucas van Doetecum (1510?-1570) after Floris’ designs, these plates demonstrate the power of the Doetecums’ distinctive technique, which produced “a smooth gradation of tone, varying the weight of lines by both variable biting and the use of échoppe. [T]heir technique chiefly consists in the subjection of etched lines to a rigid system and the supplementing of etching with a larger or smaller amount of burin work. It is very likely that Hieronymus Cock himself had instructed the Van Doetecum brothers, because he was the only Netherlandish etcher at the time to make extensive use of variable biting. But the Doetecums’ use of the method to produce variation in the weight of a single line is unprecedented. Their technique was especially successful at landscape prints and maps. Their even, tightly controlled line also suited their other works, such as architectural and ornamental prints.”(New Hollstein)

Cornelis Floris II or Floris de Vriendt was born in Antwerp, and made his name as a designer and sculptor of funerary monuments, notably those of King Christian III (reigned 1535–59) of Denmark in Roskilde Cathedral (c. 1568–75), that commissioned (c.1549) by Duke Albrecht I of Prussia (reigned 1525–68) for his wife, Dorothea, with additions for his second wife, Anna Maria (c.1570), and that for the Duke himself (1569–73—destroyed) (the last in the Domkirche, Königsberg (now Kaliningrad). After a visit to Rome he became the most influential designer of Renaissance and Mannerist ornament in Flanders. Floris designed and made the Rood-screen in Tournai Cathedral (1573–4), and the stone tabernacle in the St Leonarduskerk, Zoutleeuw (1550–2), both in Belgium. His decorative style was much disseminated by de Vries, influenced designers in the northern Netherlands, and his monuments were made familiar by the engravings published (1557) by Hieronymus Cock (c. 1510–70). His work was typical of Antwerp Mannerism.”

New Hollstein, Van Doetecum, Part I, The Antwerp Years, 35-50; See Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish, VI, p. 250.

[Bound with:]

Gates, Portals, Furniture

6. Vredeman de Vries, Jan (1527- ca. 1607); Galle, Philippe (1537-1612)

Differents pourtraicts de menuiserie asçauoir Portaux, Bancs, Escabelles, Tables, buffets, friezes, ou corniches, licts-de camp, ornaments a pendre l'essuoir a mains, fontaines a lauer les mainsPropre aux Menuiziers et autres amateurs de telle science. De l'inuention de Jehan Vredeman dict de Vriese, et mis en lumiere par Philippe Galle.

[Antwerp: ca. 1583]

Etched title and 16 etched plates of ornate gates, portals, furniture. Plate 4 in first state (of three), all others in first (and sole) state. These plates were engraved and presumably published by the important publisher, designer, and engraver Philippe Galle.

Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish, (Vredeman de Vries) XLVIII, 491-507

[Bound with:] 

A Rare Series of Engraved Pilasters

7. Munting (also Muntinck) Heinrich; Munting (also Muntinck), Adriaen (active 1570-1617)

Etliche zierliche und underscheidliche Termen ... gar dientlich vor Schreinwerkren, Bilthawren, Stainmetzen, Glesern und allen Liebhebren der Architecture

[Manuscript title in French: Divers beaus termes dresses sur l'ordre des 5. Colonnes… Inventez par Henry Munting. Taillez et Imprimez par Adrian Munting. 1604.]

[Amsterdam: Adriaen Munting, [?1604]

11 plates including title, numbered 1-11, all mounted on larger sheets. Title (plate 1) within an engraved border signed  the printed portion excised and replaced in manuscript. Plates 2-11 show various ornate engaged pilasters with capitals based on the architectural orders. Unlike the Rijksmuseum copy and the set recorded in Hollstein (which have 9 plates each), this copy has 11 plates, the last two of which have human heads or helmets in place of traditional column capitals. Also, while the Rijksmuseum copy has “Clement de Jong Excudit” on the first plate, ours has “Michiel Colyn Excudit”. This is an extremely rare set of prints. The engraver and Goldsmith Adriaen Munting of Groningen was active in Amsterdam between 1570 and 1617.

Ornament prints in the Rijksmuseum II: the 17th century, 9564-9574; See Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish, XIV, p. 118 (suite of 9 plates 'Columns').