In 1950, the Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University acquired a copy of Vitruvius's treatise on architecture in the French translation of Jean Martin, published by Jêrome de Marnef and Guillaume Cavellat in Paris in 1572. This copy features copious editorial and marginal annotations in at least two early hands, as well as a contemporary, eight-page (four-leaf) manuscript bound in at the back, also copiously annotated. The annotations show that this copy was used as the basis for a later edition of the Martin Vitruvius, published by the firm of Jean de Tournes (Geneva, 1618). The bound-in manuscript proves to be a French translation of Guillaume Philander's "Digressio Utilissimo" on the classical orders, from his Annotationes to Vitruvius (first edition, Rome 1544). This unrecorded manuscript translation of Philander's important commentary on the orders furnished the text that de Tournes incorporated in the 1618 edition of Vitruvius. Avery's copy of the Martin Vitruvius of 1572, in addition to offering rare firsthand evidence of editorial and printing practices in the early seventeenth century, further provides concrete and exhaustive evidence of the editorial strategies employed by a publisher of architectural books intent upon filling the perceived market for an illustrated, scholarly-yet accessible-edition of Vitruvius in the vernacular.
- Copyright 1996 The Society of Architectural Historians