The name of the book, “Cours d’architecture, ou Traité de la décoration, distribution &construction des bâtiments”, indicates that it gives lessons about the ornamentality, proportion, and construction of buildings. It can be used as a textbook or reference book for students or architects around year 1771. The table of content is followed by a very long preface. Every volume of the book has their own table of content, which is sometimes followed by a long foreword. On the other hand, the volumes which include all the illustrations and graphics does not have any table of content, because they are always referred by the theory part.
The book is very well illustrated. It even has two separate bands containing only graphics. For example, we can find illustrations about ornament and proportion of different columns, collection of facades and their analysis, plans and sections of different buildings and gardens, ornamental elements in detail, construction methods and tools as well as design of staircases and doors. Some pictures are huge, some are small, and they covered nearly the whole spectrum of the building branch, from arts, design to civil engineering and construction.
In contrast to the large topic is every book relatively small and light. However, the set consists of many volumes, which indicates that it is easier to be used by several people at the same time. For instance, in the architecture school at that time, a group of students can share a set of books in the library.
The book was written by French architect Blondel, Jacques-François, who was more well-known for his encyclopedic work than designs. As a conservative educator, he wanted to describe classic architecture by using simple terms and graphics. I think he was not satisfied with the increasingly complex ornamentality and irrational interpretation of roman architecture at that time. Therefore, he wrote the book in order to spread the classic principles.
Sining Xu, 21-945-480