On the first page de Neufforge writes that in his book he has many studies about the orders of architecture. So, my first thought was to search for orders with the conversation topic architecture. I set Alice’s brain to the Xenotheka. Against my expectation I also found a lot of books about modern architecture that discuss the orders. Many of them were written way after de Neufforge’s study. I noticed that they treat the subject way different than Jean-François. In their books they use a lot of text and just a few illustrations while de Neufforge explains his matter almost only with his engravings. In the book “Recueil élémentaire d’architecture” there is an extremely wide range to show the different orders.
I stumbled across the book of Rem Koolhaas with the title elements of architecture. I was really impressed with the broad range of elements he provides in his book. Although his way of treating the topic is way different than the one of de Neufforges. He has a paragraph of text for each image. I would say it is similar to “Recueil élémentaire d’architecture” because it also serves as a lexicon for architecture. But instead of the different orders it shows different elements like the floor, corridor, wall or elevator in different variations. While in de Neufforge’s book only contains engravings, Rem Koolhaas’ book contains pictures and illustrations.
After reaching a few dead ends I choose to switch Alice’s body from Xenotheka to Library of Shakespeare’s friends. As topic of conversation I choose illustration, because de Neufforge’s book mainly consists of illustrations. I searched for architecture and like that I found a few books that have similarities to “Recueil élémentaire d’architecture”. The treatise written by Serlio, called Sebastian Serlio on Architecture was one of those. It consists of five volumes. Especially volume four where he treats the different orders of the columns has a lot of similarities to de Neufforge’s book. It also contains a lot of illustrations. But in contrast to de Neufforge’s book it also has text written to the illustrations.
All in all, I think de Neufforge’s book is unique, he shows the orders without any text added. That makes it easier for a broad range of people to understand it. Also exceptional is that all engravings in his treatise are done by himself. That shows one more time that his work is very special.