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Palladio and Architectural Patternbooks

in Colonial America


THE INFLUENCE OF ANDREA PALLADIO reached colonial America through English translations of his own seminal publication Four Books on Architecture (Venice, 1570), but an even more influential conduit was a wave of more than 100 richly illustrated 'patternbooks' published in England in the 1700s and widely distributed in America.

James Gibbs, who wrote A Book of Architecture (London, 1728), one of the most influential of the patternbooks, explained his purpose in an introduction. The work, he said, 'would be of use to such Gentlemen as might be concerned in Building, especially in remote parts of the country, where little or no assistance for Designs can be procured.  Such may be here furnished with Draughts of useful and convenient Buildings and


proper Ornaments; which may be executed by any Workman who understands Lines, either as here Design'd, or with some Alteration, which may be easily done by a person of Judgment. . . '

Other patternbooks focused on practical issues of carpentry and measurement or on the design of interior elements such as doorframes, mantels, stairs and plaster patterns for ceilings.   Many noted examples of Palladian buildings in America can be traced to particular patternbook plates, including Drayton Hall in South Carolina, Redwood Library and the Brick Market in Rhode Island, and Battersea, Brandon and Mount Airy in Virginia.  Examples of interior features copied or derived from the books abound as well.

Selected patternbooks before 1776
with some instances of their use in America

Here is a selection of pre-Revolutionary patternbooks. Some of the entries identify one or more specific buildings from the colonial period which were influenced by the particular book.

Robert Adam and James Adam
The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam, esquires
London: 1st ed., vols. 1-2, 1773-1778
   Other eds.: London: 1786; London: Priestley and Weale, 1822 [with new vol. 3].

Colen Campbell
Vitruvius Britannicus, or, The British Architect
, 3 vols.
London: vols. 1-2, 1st ed. 1715-1717; vol. 3, 1st ed. 1725

   Other eds.: London: 1731; London: [c1751].

Somerset House, London
Somerset House, London, from Campbell,
Vitruvius Britannicus (Chap. 1, Plate 16).

Brick Market, Newport, Rhode Island,
begun 1762.

Robert Castell
The Villas of the Ancients Illustrated

London: 1st ed. [1729, sic: 1728]

William Chambers
A Treatise on Civil Architecture
London: 1st ed. 1759

   Other eds.: London: 2nd ed. 1768; London: 3rd ed. 1791; London: Priestley and Weale, 1825, London: J. Taylor, 4th ed. 1826; London: M. Taylor, 5th ed. 1836; London: Lockwood, 1862.

John Crunden
Convenient and Ornamental Architecture, Consisting of Original Designs, for Plans, Elevations and Sections: beginning with the Farmhouse, and regularly ascending to the Most Grand and Magnificent Villa

London: 1st ed. 1767
   Other eds.: London: 1770; London: I. Taylor, 1785; London: I. and J. Taylor, 1788; London: I. and J. Taylor, 1791; London: I. and J. Taylor, 1797; London: J. Taylor, 1805; London: J. Taylor, 1815.

Roland Fréart, Sieur de Chambray
A Parallel of the Antient Architecture with the Modern, in a collection of ten principal authors who have written upon the five orders, trans. by John Evelyn
London: John Place, 1st ed. 1664

   Other eds.: London: D. Brown et al., 2nd ed. 1707; London: D. Brown et al., 3rd ed. 1722; London: J. Walthoe et al., 4th ed. 1733.
    N. b.: Translated from the original French edition published in Paris, 1650.

Daniel Garret
Designs, and Estimates, of Farm Houses, &c, for the County of York, Northumberland, Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Bishoprick of Durham
London: J. Brindley, 1st ed. 1747

   Other eds.: London: Piers and Webley, 2nd ed. 1759; London: R. Sayer and I. Tayloe, 1772.

James Gibbs
A Book of Architecture, Containing Designs of Buildings and Ornaments
London: 1st ed. 1728

   Other eds.: London: W. Innys and R. Manby, 2nd ed. 1739.

Mount Airy, Richmond County, Va.
River façade, Mount Airy, Richmond County, Virginia.
Gibbes, Architecture, Pl. 58
Gibbs, A Book of Architecture . . . (Plate 58, detail).

Gibbes, Architecture, Pl. 4
Gibbs, A Book of Architecture . . . (Plate 4, detail).

Hammond-Harwood House, Annapolis, Md.
Bull's-eye window, Hammond-Harwood House, Annapolis, Maryland.

James Gibbs
Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture, in a More Exact and Easy Manner Than Has Been Heretofore Practiced
London: 1st ed. 1732
   Other eds.: London: 2nd ed. 1736; London: A. Bettesworth, et al., 2nd ed. [sic], 1738; London: W. Innys, et al., 3rd ed. 1753.

William Halfpenny
The Art of Sound Building; demonstrated in Geometrical Problems
London: 1st ed. 1725

   Other ed.: London: Sam. Birt and B. Motte, 2nd ed. 1725.

William Halfpenny [pseud. Michael Hoare]
The Builder's Pocket Companion: Shewing an Easy and Practical Method for Laying down of Lines . . .
London: T. Worrall, 1st ed. 1728

   Other eds.: London: T. Worrall, 2nd ed. 1731; London: Richard Ware, 3rd ed. 1747.

William Halfpenny and John Halfpenny
The Country Gentleman's Pocket Companion, and Builder's Assistant for Rural Decorative Architecture
London: Robert Sayer, 1st ed. 1753

   Other ed.: London: 2nd ed. 1756

William Halfpenny, John Halfpenny, Robert Morris and Thomas Lightoler
The Modern Builder's Assistant, or, A Concise Epitome of the Whole System of Architecture
London: Robert Sayer, 1st ed. 1757

   Others ed.: London: James Rivington and J. Fletcher, [1757].

William Halfpenny
A New and Complete System of Architecture Delineated, Delineated in a Variety of Plans and Elevations of Designs for Convenient and Decorated Houses
London: John Brindley, 1st ed. 1749

   Other eds.: London: R. Sayer, 2nd ed, 1759; London: Robert Sayer, [1770].

William Halfpenny
Practical Architecture, or a sure guide to the true working according to the rules of that science

London: Thomas Bowles and John Bowles, 1st ed. c. 1724

   Other eds.: London: Tho. Bowles, J. Batley and J. Bowles, 2nd ed. 1724; 5th ed. 1730 [reissued 1736]; London: Carrington Bowles, [1764].

William Halfpenny and John Halfpenny
New Designs for Chinese Temples
[later eds. retitled: Rural Architecture in the Gothick Taste]
London: Robt. Sayer, 1st ed. 1750

   Other eds.: Robert Sayer, 2nd ed. 1752; London: Robt. Sayer, 3rd ed. 1755.

William Halfpenny
Six New Designs for Convenient Farm-Houses, with proper offices, &c. [later eds. retitled Useful Architecture in twenty-one New Designs for Erecting parsonage-houses, farmhouses, and Inns
London: Robert Sayer, 1st ed. 1752

   Other eds.: London: Robert Sayer, 1752; London: Robert Sayer, 2nd ed. 1755, London: Robert Sayer, 3rd ed.

William Halfpenny [pseud. John Miller in 2nd ed.]
Andrea Palladio's First Book of Architecture, corrected from his original edition printed at Venice, 1581, . . . [later ed. retitled Andrea Palladio's Elements of Architecture, Restored to its Original Perfection . . . with a Geometrical Explanation of its True Principles of Perspective]
London: J. Brindley and R. Sayer, 1st ed. 1751

    Other ed.: London: R. Sayer, 1759.

Edward Hoppus and Benjamin Cole [Andrea Palladio]
Andrea Palladio's Architecture in Four Books
London: Benj. Cole, 1st ed. 1735

  Other ed.: London: Benj. Cole, 1736.

Redwood Library, Newport, R. I.
Redwood Library, Newport, Rhode Island.

Hoppus and Cole plate
Hoppus and Cole, Andrea Palladio's Architecture in Four Books (after William Kent, Designs of Inigo Jones).

Edward Hoppus
The Gentleman's and Builder's Repository, or Architecture Display'd
London: James Hodges and Benjamin Cole, 1st ed. 1737

   Other eds.: London: A. Bettesworth et al., 2nd ed. 1738; London: C. Hitch, J. Hodges and B. Cole, 3rd ed. 1748; London: C. Hitch, et al., 4th ed. 1760.

Inigo Jones (See William Kent; see Isaac Ware)

William Kent, editor
The Designs of Inigo Jones, consisting of plans and elevations for publick and private buildings . . . with some Additional Designs
London: William Kent, 1st ed. 1727

   Other ed.: London: Benjamin White, 1770.

Batty Langley
The Builder's Chest-book; or a Complete Key to the Five Orders of Columns in Architecture [later eds. retitled The Builder's Vade Mecum]
London: J. Wilcox, 1st ed. 1727

   Other eds.: London: S. Fuller and Scales, 1729; London: S. Fuller, 1735; London: John Wilcox and James Hodges, 2nd ed. [orig. title], 1739.

Batty Langley
The Builders Compleat Chest Book, or Library of Arts and Sciences [later eds. retitled The Builder's Compleat Assistant]
London: 1st ed. 1738

   Other eds.: London: Richard Ware, [c1738]; London: Richard Ware, 2nd ed. [c1750]; London: Catherine Ware, 3rd ed. [c1758]; London: C. and R. Ware, 4th ed. 1766; London: I. and J. Taylor, 4th ed. [sic], [c1790].

Batty Langley
The City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury of Designs, or, The Art of Drawing and Working the Ornamental Parts of Architecture

London: Thomas Langley 1st ed. 1740
   Other eds.: London: S. Harding, 1745; London: S. Harding, 1750; London: S. Harding, 4th ed. 1756; London: John and Francis Rivington, 1770.

Venetian window, Mt. Vernon, Fairfax County, Va.
Venetian window, Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia.

Langley, City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury, Pl. 51
Langley, The City and Country Builder's and Workman's Treasury of Designs (Plate 51).

Batty Langley and Thomas Langley
The Builder's Jewel, or the Youth's Instructor, and Workman's Remembrancer
London: R. Ware, 1st ed. 1741

   Other eds.: London: 1746; London: 1751; London: 1754; London: 1757; London: C. and R. Ware. 10th ed. 1763; London: James Williams, 11th ed. 1766; London: Christopher Wren, 11th ed. [sic] 1766; London: C. and R. Ware, et al., 11th ed. [sic] 1768; Dublin: James Williams, 12th ed. 1768; Edinburgh: R. Clark, 12th ed. [sic] 1768; Edinburgh: R. Clark, 1769; Edinburgh: R. Clark, 1774; London: J. F. and C. Rivington, et al., new ed. 1787; London: T. Longman, et al., new ed. 1794; London: T. Longman, et al. new ed. 1797; Charleston: Samuel Hill, 1st Amer. ed. [1800]; Haddington: G. Miller, new ed. 1805; Edinburgh: John Ruthven, 1808.

Doorframe, Mt. Vernon, Fairfax County, Va.
Doorframe, west parlor, Mount Vernon,
Fairfax County, Virginia.


Langley, Builder's Jewel, Pl. 23
Batty Langley and Thomas Langley,
The Builder's Jewel (Plate 23).


Rusticated wood siding , Mount Vernon,
Fairfax County, Virginia.

Langley, Builder's Jewel, Pl. 75
Batty Langley and Thomas Langley,
The Builder's Jewel (Plate 75).

Batty Langley
Ancient Architecture, restored, and improved [later eds. retitled The Gothic Architecture Restored and Improved]
[London]: 1st ed. [1742]

   Other ed.: London: John Millan, 1747; London: I. And. J. Taylor, c1793.

Giacomo Leoni; Nicholas Dubois, trans. [Andrea Palladio]
The Architecture of A. Palladio; in Four Books
London: trilingual 1st ed. [1716]-1720

   Oher eds.: London: 2nd ed. 1721; London: 3rd ed. with Inigo Jones marginalia, 1742.


Leoni, Four Books: Villa Cornaro
Leoni, Architecture of A. Palladio; in Four Books,
Book 2: Façade, Villa Cornaro.

Jefferson, Montecello I
Thomas Jefferson, Planning drawing for Monticello I Façade, Albemarle County, Virginia.

John Miller (See William Halfpenny)

Robert Morris
An Essay in Defense of Ancient Architecture; or a Parallel of the Ancient Buildings with the Modern, Shewing the Beauty and Harmony of the Former, and the Irregularity of the Latter

London: D. Browne, et al., 1st ed. 1728

Robert Morris
Lectures on Architecture, Consisting of Rules Founded upon Harmonick and Arithmetical Proportions in Building
London: J. Brindley, 1st ed. 1734-1736

   Other ed.: London: 2nd ed. 1759.

Robert Morris [anonymous]
An Essay upon Harmony as it relates chiefly to Situation and Building
London: T. Cooper, 1739

Robert Morris
The Architectural Remembrancer: Being a Collection of New and Useful Designs of Ornamental Buildings and Decorations [later editions retitled Architecture Improved, in a Collection of Modern, Elegant and Useful Designs]
London: 1st ed. 1751

   Other eds.: London: 1755; London: 1757.

Robert Morris
Rural Architecture: Consisting of Regular Designs of Plans and Elevations for Buildings in the Country, in Which the Purity and Simplicity of the Art of Designing Are Variously Exemplified [later eds. retitled Select Architecture, Being Regular Designs of Plans, and Elevations, Well Suited to Both Town and Country]
London: 1750

   Other eds.: London: Robert Sayer, 1755; London: 1757.

Morris, Select Architecture, Pl. 3
Robert Morris, Select Architecture, Plate 3.

Brandon, Prince George County, Va.
West fa
çade, Brandon (begun 1765), Prince George County, Virginia.

Battersea, Petersburg, Va.
East fa
çade, Battersea (begun 1768), Petersburg, Virginia.

Morris, Select Architecture, Pl. 11  Jeremiah Lee Mansion, Marblehead, Mass.
Robert Morris, Select Architecture, Plate 11                       Jeremiah Lee Mansion, Marblehead, Massachusetts

Joseph Moxon

Vignola; or the Compleat Architect [eds. from 1703 retitled The Theory and Practice of Architecture; or Vitruvius and Vignola Abridg'd
London: Moxon, 1st ed. 1655

   Other eds.: London: 2nd ed. 1665; London: 3rd ed. 1673; London: 4th ed. 1692; London: 4th ed. [sic] 1694;        London: 5th ed. 1703; London: J. Derby, 1729.

Charles Over
Ornamental Architecture in the Gothic, Chinese and Modern Taste
London: Robert Sayer, 1st ed. 1758

   Other ed.: London: Robert Sayer, [c1765].

William Pain
The Practical Builder, or Workman’s General Assistant; shewing the most approved and easy methods for drawing and working the whole or separate part of any building
London: I. Taylor, 1st ed. 1774

   Other eds: London: I. Taylor, 1776; London: I. Taylor, new ed. 1778; London: I. and J. Taylor, 4th ed. 1787; London: I. and J. Taylor, 4th ed. [sic] 1789; Boston: John Norman, 4th ed 1792; London: I. and J. Taylor, 5th ed. 1793; London: J. Taylor, 6th ed. 1799; London: J. Taylor, 7th ed. 1804.

William Pain
The Builder's Companion and Workman's General Assistant
London: 1st ed. 1758

   Other eds;: London: 1762; London: Robert Sayer, 3rd ed. 1769

William Pain
The Builder's Pocket-Treasure; or, Palladio Delineated and Explained
London: W. Owen, 1st ed. 1763

   Other eds.: London: W. Owen, 2nd ed. 1766; London: W. Owen, new ed. 1771; London: new ed. 1785; London: I. and J. Taylor, new ed. 1793; London: new ed. 1794; Boston: 1794.

Andrea Palladio; Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington
Fabbriche Antiche
London: c1735.

Francis Price
A Treatise on Carpentry [later eds. retitled The British Carpenter, or a Treatise on Carpentry]
London: 1st ed. 1733

   Other eds.: London: 2nd ed. 1735; London: C. Hitch, et al. 3rd ed. 1753; London: C. Hitch, et al., 4th ed., 1759; London: A. Millar, 5th ed. 1765; London: 6th ed. 1768; Dublin: 6th ed. [sic], 1768.

Godfrey Richard, trans. [Andrea Palladio]
The First Book of Architecture by Andrea Palladio . . . with an Appendix Touching Doors and Windows, by Pr. Le Muet, Architect to the French King
London: 1st ed. 1663

   Other ed.: London: John Macock, 2nd ed. 1668; London: N. Simmons, 3rd ed. 1376; London: T. Passenger, 4th ed. 1683; London: T. Parkhurst, 5th ed. 1693; London: T. Braddyl and E. Tracy, 6th ed. 1700; London: 7th ed. 1708; London: Eben. Tracy, 8th ed. 1716; London: H. Tracy, 9th ed. 1721; London: S. H. and H. T., 10th ed. 1724; London: Edw. Midwinter, 11th ed. 1729; London: A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch, etc., 12th ed. 1733.

William Salmon
Palladio Londinensis: or, The London Art of Building
London: Ward and Wicksteed, et al., 1st ed. 1734

   Other eds.: London: A. Ward,et al., 2nd ed. 1738 'with 15 additional plates, and sundry alterations and improvements, by E. Hoppus'; London: S. Birt, et al., 3rd ed. 1748; London: S. Birt, et al., 4th ed. 1752; London: S. Birt, et al., 5th ed. 1755 'with great alterations and improvements by E. Hoppus . . . and other eminent hands'; London: C, Hitch, et al., 1762; London: J. Rivington, et al., 7th ed. 1767 'with great alterations and improvements by E. Hoppus'; London: J. and F. Rivington, 8th ed. 1773.

Salmon, Palladio Londinensis
(Plate 27 detail).

Randolph-Peachy House, Williamsburg, Va.
Paneled room, east wing, Randolph-Peachy
House, Williamsburg, Virginia.

James Stuart and Nicholas Revett
The Antiquities of Athens, Measured and Delineated, 5 vols.
London: 1762-1816

Abraham Swan
The British Architect; or, The Builder's Treasury of Stair-cases
London: 1st ed. 1745

   Other eds.: London: 2nd ed. 1750; London: 1758; London: c1765; London: Robert Sayer, c1768; Philadelphia: John Norman, 1775; Boston: John Norman, 1794.

Swan, British Architect, Pl. 50
Swan, The British Architect  (Plate 50). With Plate 51, the basis for
(i) the fireplace and overmantel, west parlor, Mount Vernon, Fairfax County, Virginia,
and (ii) for the fireplace and ovemantel, James Brice House, Annapolis, Maryland.

Abraham Swan
A Collection of Designs in Architecture, containing New Plans and Elevations of Houses, for General Use
London: 1st ed. 1757

   Other eds.: London: 1758; London: 2nd ed. [1765]; London: Robert Sayer, c1768; Philadelphia, [vol. 1 only] 1775.

Abraham Swan
Designs in Carpentry [later eds. retitled The Carpenter's Complete Instructor in Several Hundred Designs]
London: 1st ed. 1759

   Other ed.: London: Robert Sayer, 1768.

Isaac Ware, editor
The Designs of Inigo Jones and Others
London: 1st ed. [1731]

   Other ed.: London: J. Millan, 1743.

Isaac Ware [Andrea Palladio]
The Four Books of Andrea Palladio's Architecture, 2 vols.
London: Isaac Ware, 1738

   Other ed.: London: 1755.

Isaac Ware
A Complete Body of Architecture. Adorned with Plans and Elevations, from Original Designs . . . . In which are interspersed some Designs of Inigo Jones, never before Published
London: T. Osbourne, et al., 1st ed. 1756

   Other ed.: London: J. Rivington, et al. 1767; London: 1768.

Robert Wood
The Ruins of Palmyra
London: 1st ed. 1753.


This annotated bibliography, a work in progress, was assembled from a variety of sources, including: Charles E. Brownell, Calder Loth, William M. S. Rasmussen and Richard Guy Wilson, The Making of Virginia Architecture (Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1992); Kenneth Hafertepe and James F. O'Gorman, American Architects and their Books to 1848 (University of Massachusetts Press, 2001); Eileen Harris, British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785 (Cambridge University Press, 1990); Helen Park, List of Architectural Books Available in America Before the Revolution (Hennessey & Ingalls, 1973); William H. Pierson, Jr., American Buildings and their Architects: The Colonial and Neo-Classical Styles (New York: Doubleday, 1970); John Summerson, Architecture in Britain, 1530-1830 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993); Janice G. Schimmelman, Architectural Books in America: Architectural Treatises and Building Handbooks Available in American Libraries and Bookstores through 1800 (Oak Knoll Press, 1999); Thomas Tileston Waterman, The Mansions of Virginia 1706-1776 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1945).

Additional information comes from publications of the Center for Palladian Studies in America, Inc., including the 3-volume Building by the Book series, edited by Mario di Valmarana, and Palladiana, the Journal of CPSA.


© 2009, 2010 Center for Palladian Studies in America, Inc. / C. I. G.