2 The leading French fortification manual before Vauban, 106


Description: The leading French fortification manual before Vauban

VILLE, Antoine de.
Les fortifications ... contenans la maniere de fortifier toutes sorte de places ...
Lyon, Philippe Borde, 1640 (engraved title-page 1641). With an engraved title-page, engraved portrait of the author, 53 numbered engravings (10 double-page. Later 17th-century gold-tooled calf, each board with the French royal arms, gold-tooled spine. Rebacked, with the original backstrip laid down.
€ 3,000
Second Lyons edition of the most comprehensive and most important French fortification manual before Vauban, especially noteworthy for the 53 engravings (plus the engraved title-page), here printed from the plates of the first edition, which were not only drawn but also executed by the author himself. Besides the fortification plans, profiles, perspective views, etc., and often as background to them, De Ville includes many scenes with buildings, landscapes and people, giving his manual a pictorial richness unmatched by the other great fortification manuals of the 17th century. The three main parts of the manual cover the fortifications themselves (both regular and irregular), offense, and defence. Antoine de Ville (1596-1656) first published his manual at Lyon in 1628, when the Dutch were the leading innovators in the art of fortification. It contained little that was new, but gave a more comprehensive account of traditional fortification than any manual of its time. When Vauban usurped the Dutch as the most important proponent of the art of fortification, he was strongly influenced by De Ville's conservative approach.
With the owner's inscription of Luciani Bellou on the title-page, referring to a 1766 catalogue. With the engraved title-page frayed around the edges and 4 double-page plates very slightly shaved at right and or left, and an occasional minor marginal tear, water stain, crease or slightly browned patch, but generally in good condition. The binding has been rebacked as noted, with the sides rubbed and the backstrip damaged, but the binding structure is now sound.
  • Number: 1011783
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum

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