Friends with an old book – “The villas of the ancients illustrated” by Robert Castell
As the titel of the book already reveals, «The villas of the ancients illustrated» by Robert Castell deals with ancient roman villas and their construction. It is devoted to different villas chapter by chapter and analyzes them, supported with plans and illustrations. Since Roman villas continued to be models for buildings in the 18th century, the book serves as an encyclopedia for the most important ancient Roman villas. Castell`s study above all concentrates on two villas : the Laurentium, on the coast near Ostia, and the Tusculum, in the Appennines. The villas remained an inspiration for architects throughout the whole century. The illustrations of the villas are accompanied by texts about the different buildings. The book also has a deeper look at the environment of the buildings, such as gardens and courtyards. The illustrations are hand drawn. They give the reader a great overview about the villas and are perfectly complemented by the texts.
The book was first published in the year 1728 in English but there are also parts that are cited in Latin. What`s special about the book is its size: The large book binding makes the book look unique and shows that it`s not a reading for the road, but a collectible for ancient libraries.
The author and illustrator Robert Castell lived in the United Kingdom in the early 18th century. There aren`t a lot of informations about him online but it seems as «The villas of the ancients illustrated » was his only book that was ever released to the public. He died approximately one year after releasing the book.