An Unpublished, Illustrated 17th c. Italian Architectural Manuscript - With Images of Saint Peter’s and the Villa Pamphili and its gardens


Untitled manuscript in Italian on paper in brown ink, with illustrations in ink and was over pencil underdrawings.

Italy: possibly Rome, late 17th c., ca. 1693


Quarto: 22.5 x 16.4 cm. 2 unn. lvs., 8 lvs. foliated 1-8, pp. 9-180, 183-185, 188-189, 200-205, 208-233, 224-231, [1], 231-267 pp., followed by 68 unn. lvs., blank aside from leaf 61 and 65. Apparently lacking one leaf between pages 180 and 183. The rest of the pagination irregularities are just numbering errors.

Bound in contemporary vellum, soiled and with restored losses to the corners. The manuscript itself is in excellent condition with just a few defective leaves (f. 6 with loss of text, pp. 225-40 with outer margin and lower outer corner irregularly snipped away, minimally affecting the edges of a few drawings.)

A fine, unpublished architectural manuscript with sections on mathematics, perspective, ballistics. Several prominent buildings are described and illustrated, including Rome’s Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Palazzo dei Conservatori and Palazzo dei Senatori on the Campidoglio, Sant’Agnese, and the Villa Pamphili. The text is profusely illustrated with very precise architectural drawings in ink and wash.

The author draws from the central authorities of Renaissance and Baroque architecture: Serlio, Vignola, Scamozzi, Andrea del Pozzo and some of his drawings are closely related to or derive from those authors’ published works, as well as the vedute of Falda. The architectural treatise is followed, in a different but apparently contemporary hand, by a treatise on harmonic proportions. (p. 245-268).

Contents: Comparative table of different units of measure used in various parts of Italy as well as England, France, etc. (unsigned 1st leaf, recto). 
Lessons in geometry, including the use of the compass, increasing in complexity from two-dimensional to three-dimensional figures. (unsigned 1st leaf, verso -p. 8)
Proportions of the five orders (beginning on p. 9)
Proportions of ornamenti: column bases, pedestals, entablatures (cornices, friezes, architraves, etc.). The illustrations include a capital by Michelangelo used on the Campidoglio (p.22).
Columns as components of arches, porches, colonnades; and in relation to other elements such as portals, niches, windows, pediments.
P. 56, the use of columns on the Theater of Marcellus and the Colosseum.
The orders according to Vignola (p. 58-65)
The orders according to Serlio (p. 66-68)
Serlio on arches, walls, portals; with niches, windows, etc. (p. 69-70)
Illustrating details of the orders as used on the Theater of Marcellus, Colosseum, amphitheater at Verona, and the Arena de Pola (Croatia) (p. 70-71)
Saint Peter’s illustrations: plan, section, cupola (p. 74-76)
Santa Maria Assunta, Genoa showing section, elevation, plan, and cupola (p. 78-79)
Rendering Ionic capitals (p. 83-84)
Sant’Agnese, Rome: elevation (p. 91)
Examples of uses of the five orders based on Serlio, Vignola, and Scamozzi. (p. 92-95)
A formal treatise on designing buildings begins on p. 96 and concludes with 15 pages dedicated to the Villa Pamphili, illustrated with 3 double-page and eight single-page images of the villa and its gardens. (p. 96-157). The papal tiara above the main gate of the gardens shows include the arms of Cardinal Giambattista Pamphili, elected to the Papacy as Pope Innocent X.
A treatise on rendering forms using mathematical perspective (p. 160-215)
Artillery (p. 221-21)
Surveying and surveying instruments (p. 224-229)
Designs for chapels (p. 231-240) and a balustrade (p. 243)
At the end of the volume are two leaves with drawings of helmets and a cuirass.