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Architecture rare books collection (17th-20th C.)

A specialist collection of rare and valuable works on architecture, held in the Architecture Library. The collection includes c. 150 pre-1900 volumes, the earliest being a 1682 French edition on ancient buildings in Rome. The history of architecture is widely covered, with a range of British and French editions dealing with antiquities of Athens and Magna Graecia, Ancient Roman architecture, Byzantine architecture, mediaeval architecture, Gothic architecture, and Renaissance Architecture, as well as works by and on the major architects of the past, including Vitruvius Pollio, Andrea Palladio, and Leon Battista Alberti. Held in the earliest section of the collection are guides for builders and carpenters and practical works for architects, including treaties on building methods and the principles of architecture, perspective, design, and construction. Several works deal with specific subjects within the field of architecture, including, for instance, collections of designs for ornamental buildings in parks and gardens or for parsonage houses and alms houses; treatises for the warming and ventilation of buildings; and guides for the construction of prisons, colleges, and dwellings for the labouring classes. Other strengths of the earliest section of the collection are works on French architecture (including a dictionary of French architecture from the 11th-16th century), and works on ecclesiastical architecture, with descriptions of English and Welsh cathedrals and churches. A few rare periodicals are held in the collection, including the Journal of Indian Art and Industry (1886-94).

Early 20th century holdings include c. 200 volumes, dealing with a wide variety of subjects within the field of architecture, including: English and Welsh architecture; French architecture; town planning; designs for gardens and interiors; etc. Monographs on notable architects (Edwin Rickards, William Burges, Edwin Lutyens, Frank Lloyd Wright, etc.) are also held. Valuable volumes published from the mid-20th century to present day are also held in the collection. Subjects covered include: English and Welsh architecture and notable buildings; international architecture and the works of renowned architects; exhibition catalogues; and historical essays. A large number of plates, engravings, and quality illustrations run through the collection, providing iconic information on the developments in the field of architecture.

Date range: 17th-20th centuries.

Significance: Significant in the United Kingdom.

Size: c. 700 items.

Languages: English, French, Italian, and German.

Keywords: Architecture, British architecture, history, Cardiff.

Notes: Special Collections and Archives holds several architecture-related collections, including the Marburger Index (a microfiche collection of 1,5 million photographic images of arts and architecture from German and other institutions across Europe), while Bute Library holds a 20th century European Architecture Slides collection. Many works related to Welsh, British and European, and international  architecture are held in the Salisbury collection and the Cardiff Rare Books collection. Amongst its photographic holdings is a set on English gothic churches from the 19th century. The University’s central Institutional Archive holds much material on the architectural development of the University itself, from the 19th-20th century.