Thursday, March 30, 2006

Architectura Curiosa Nova Unplugged















"Georg Andreas Böckler was a German architect, engineer and author. He was the architect of the city of Nuremberg and specialized in hydraulic architecture. Architectura Curiosa Nova was his main opus, a four-part work in one volume, published in 1664.

Illustrated with 200 engravings, the decorative plates of the first three parts show the theory and application of hydrodynamics for fountains, water-jets, spray-patterns, garden fountains and well heads; and elaborate and often fanciful designs for free-standing fountains. The fourth part includes designs for grottoes, garden pavilions and architectural designs including views of European palaces."

It was my good fortune while fossicking around in the digital cloisters of the University of Heidelburg to discover that since my last post about Böckler's Architectura Curiosa Nova, the whole work has been posted online. It would never be described as understated. Many wedding cake decoration ideas within.

The image above the engraving with the statue carrying a trident was the only plate I saw (when I remembered to look) with an engravers name, but I can't make it out even using the pdf zoom capability at the site.

Part I, II, III, IV of Architectura Curiosa Nova.
nb. Part I of Architectura Curiosa Nova has quite a few pages of text and only a couple of images of piping diagrams; Part II has images of the fountain heads for the most part; Part III has both 'wall' variety and complete fountain images and Part IV concentrates on depicting some of the great houses of Europe and mazes.

8 comments :

George said...

Thanks for posting this link to Boeckler's Architectura. He is a bit of a mystery. Unlike other authors like Besson, Ramelli, or Veranius, we really don't know much about his life. Many of the plates in his Theatrum Machinarum are direct copies of plates published in earlier works. In PK's post on the Theatrum Machinarum, we see some plates that are just flipped versions of of Ramelli's (i.e., Boeckler may have pasted the page onto a copper plate and re-engraved it!).

Even though we know little of Boeckler's life, his work seems to be have been particularly popular in England. Several members of the Royal Society--Hooke and Halley for example, owned copies of Boeckler's works. Somewhat surprisingly, Pepys's collection includes copies of both the Theatrum Machinarum and Architectura Curiosa but lacks the works of Besson, Ramelli, Errard, Zeising, Zonca, or Branca. Perhaps some friend of the Royal Society was importing Boeckler's work... Moses Pitt?

It's interesting that Boeckler published both a book on machines and a work on garden architecture and fountains. Isaac de Caus followed a very similar approach at approximately the same time with his Nouvelle invention de lever l’eau plus hault que sa source avec quelques machines mouvantes par le moyen de l’eau et un discours de la conduite d’icele. Moxon's translation of this work is perhaps the only English example of the Renaissance machine books.

Thanks for pointing us to this treasure!

pk said...

Thanks for the info George. I was hoping you would augment my meagre findings! There's very little online about him - mostly just poster sites or galleries.

xenmate said...

Beautiful stuff pk. thanks!

blahgstein said...

What a lovely site -- so beautiful, so varied. Thank you!

fatrobot said...

hot crackers these are cool!

mungo said...

Hi --

I found this through bOING bOING, beautiful stuff. I just thought I'd let you know that the plate with the statue of Neptune (the guy holding the trident) seems to be a depiction of the very famous fountain of Neptune in my home town, Bologna, Italy.

See this for a good example, and this page will yield many more views of the same fountain.

art said...

Nice illustration plates! The University of Wisconsin-Madison
libraries have some older books with high-quality engravings online.
For example:
The Digital Library for Decorative Arts
http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/DLDecArts/TextAbout.shtml
and
The History of Science Collection
http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/HistSciTech/About.shtml

e.g. parrot at
http://images.library.wisc.edu/DLDecArts/EFacs/NatHistEd/NatHistEd04/M/0025.jpg

pk said...

Thanks all.

art, Wisconsin is by far my favourite university repository but I'm thankful you passed on that first link. I can't quite believe I haven't seen it (although I'm sure I've partially viewed some of the bibliography from other pages) but I've posted something from one of the works from another site.

I try to pace myself with NYPL, Lib of Congress and Wisconsin - they are the top 3 in the world for mine and I don't want to hurry too fast through their amazing catalogue. Cheers.

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