Villa Rotunda, in The Architecture of A. Palladio in Four Books containing a Short Treatise on the Five Orders (L'Architecture de A. Palladio en quatre livres... / Il quattro libri dell'architettura) (Volume 1, book 2, plate 15)

Author: Andrea Palladio (Italian, Padua 1508–1580 Vicenza)

Publisher: Revised and designed and published by James [Giacomo] Leoni (British (born Italy) ca. 1686–1746 London)

Translator: Nicholas DuBois (ca. 1665–1735)

Engraver: Bernard Picart (French, Paris 1673–1733 Amsterdam)

Printer: Printed for the author by John Watts (London)

Published in: London

Date: 1715 [1716–20]

Medium: Illustrations: etching and engraving

Dimensions: Book: 17 13/16 × 11 5/8 × 2 3/16 in. (45.3 × 29.5 × 5.5 cm)
Sheet: 17 9/16 x 10 1/4 in. (44.6 x 26 cm)
Plate: 12 1/2 × 8 11/16 in. (31.8 × 22 cm)

Classifications: Books, Ornament & Architecture

Credit Line: Bequest of W. Gedney Beatty, 1941

Accession Number: 41.100.169(1.2.15)


Palladio's treatise, republished in this lavish two-volume edition by Giacomo Leoni in London (1715) as The Architecture of A. Palladio in Four Books, with refined prints by Bernard Picart and John Harris, greatly influenced the classical idiom typical for eighteenth-century Georgian building style in England. This is evidenced by the building projects and publications of the foremost architects of the period, including Richard Boyle, third earl of Burlington; his protégé the landscape designer William Kent; and the famous author Colen Campbell, whose book Vitruvius Britannicus (1715) became the model for Palladian architecture in England. A good example of the fascination for Palladio's villa designs is the Villa Rotonda, which served as an ideal model for several widely publicized English villas, such as Stourhead (ca. 1721), Mereworth (ca. 1723), and Lord Burlington's own Chiswick House (ca. 1725) near London. Each villa was carefully placed in a landscape setting that evoked the current English vision of the classical Golden Age. Villa and garden were intended to recapture the vanished grandeur of Roman villas such as those described by Pliny, reconstructed at that time by Robert Castell in his book Villas of the Ancients Illustrated (London, 1728).