Architectura de postium seu portalium ornatu vario is the full title of my friend the old book. Translated from latin this means as much as: the architecture of doors and portals and their various ornaments. The authors name was Wendling Dietterlin he lived from 1550-1599 around Strasbourg. He worked as a painter and construction theorist.
The book is just a bit smaller than a regular a3 format paper, has extremly thin paper sheets but a thick leather wrapping. It makes the appearance of a book that was meant to be used in studios, those of architects and planers.
After a brief foreword the rest of the book is filled with drawings of invented portals. These drawings each take the space of one page, which is always the right one on the double page. This is due to the thin paper that makes the drawings visible on the backside of the page.
The drawings are arranged in no particular order and they are not described in any way to make them more comprehensive. There is also no list of content in this book.
The book can be unterstood as a sort of inspiration-brochure for architects, stonemasons or nearly anybody working or interested in the building sector. The inspiration is transmitted through drawings rich in detail but still clearly structured, so that the proportions of the single parts are well visible. The broad range of doors and portals reaches from simple and reserved to overloaded and escalating drawings, which have more in common with an actual painting than with a built element.
One particular drawing is so huge and detailed that it consumes two pages, one of them needs to be folded out to make the whole portal visible.