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Sixteen years after the death of Juan de Villanueva (1739-1811), Spain’s most celebrated neoclassical architect, the manuscript on the art of masonry on which the present rare volume is based was presented for publication by one of Villanueva’s former pupils, Pedro Zengotica Vengoa (or Bengoa) (1785-1840). It appears that Zengotica Vengoa’s original intention had been to have the manuscript published as if he, rather than Villanueva, was its author, but he quickly backed down, and the title leaf duly credits it to Villanueva, who must indeed have been its author since the volume incorporates a short address to the reader (”prologo”) specifically identified on the title leaf as having been written by him. Villanueva’s treatise, intended for student use, offers clear explanations of the various terms and techniques involved, with some helpful accompanying illustrations, and it may well be that the efficient way in which it is organised reflects the efficiency with which Villanueva had managed his own architectural practice. The paucity of other Spanish architectural books by architects active before the 1820s adds to the volume’s interest. Bonet Correa 704 ; not in BAL Cat.
Madrid, Francesco Martinez Davila 1827.