Author: Andrea Palladio (Andrea di Pietro della Gondola) (Italian, 1508–1580)
Engraver: Bernard Picart (French, 1673–1733)
Editor: James (Giacomo) Leoni (ca. 1686–1746); Translator: Nicholas Dubois (ca. 1665–1735)
London: Printed by John Watts for the author Giacomo Leoni, 1715
Overall: 17 3/4 x 12 3/4 x 2 3/8 in. (45.1 x 32.4 x 6 cm)
Bequest of W. Gedney Beatty, 1941 (220.127.116.11)
This beautifully illustrated English edition of Palladio's work on architecture and interior decoration greatly influenced the classical idiom that developed in early eighteenth-century England. In the Quattro libri, the grand Corinthian Hall, named for its columns in the Corinthian order, is described in some detail, stressing the importance of precise proportion (a square and two thirds), the correct placement of columns, and the decoration of walls with niches containing classical statues and ceilings with stucco in the classical manner. This design provided an ideal model for the sophisticated and highly academic classical style typical of the interior of the mid-eighteenth-century English country house. Palladio's majestic columns and pilasters, pedimented doors, and chimney pieces were carefully imitated to create the much sought after effect of ancient grandeur. This refined, rather austere Palladian classicism continued to influence the taste for interior decoration into the later eighteenth century, when it was replaced by the lighter, more playfully elegant designs of the architectinterior designer Robert Adam (17281792).