White Rose University Consortium logo
University of Leeds logo University of Sheffield logo York University logo

Colen Campbell and the Preparatory Drawings for Vitruvius Britannicus

O'Hara, Joanne E (2010) Colen Campbell and the Preparatory Drawings for Vitruvius Britannicus. PhD thesis, University of York.

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales.

Download (112Mb)


Colen Campbell (c.1676-1729) is remembered for his contribution to English architecture in the early eighteenth century, and most notably for his authorship of three volumes of the architectural book Vitruvius Britannicus. In recent interpretations, Campbell's part in this venture has been called into question, assigning him the role of a mere draughtsman, only promoted to author due to circumstantial pressures. This thesis aims to contribute to the existing scholarly work by taking into consideration the drawings for the production of Vitruvius Britannicus, which have hitherto remained understudied. These drawings will be used as the basis for my investigation of the production of Vitruvius Britannicus. I also supply the first catalogue raisonné of these drawings. Across five chapters, I trace the production of Vitruvius Britannicus in the order in which it occurred. This chronology is reflected in the structure of my thesis. Chapter I sets out the provenance of the Campbell drawings and investigates their purpose and technique, both in the categories of drawing for building and drawing for engraving. Chapter II presents the origins of the designs included by Campbell in Vitruvius Britannicus. Chapter III investigates possible origins of the book in Scotland, by looking at three disparate individuals who may have provided Campbell with graphic material or skills needed for the production. In addition, visual material Campbell certainly utilised when in London is analysed. Chapter IV considers the accuracy of the source material which Campbell adopted, drawing on specific remaining examples. Chapter V deals with the final stage of production, the transformation of the drawings to engravings. The engraver for Vitruvius Britannicus, Henry Hulsbergh, is investigated, as is another, unidentified, engraver who assisted in the production of volume I. I present a challenge to the recent interpretations of Vitruvius Britannicus, and add to the existing understanding of the role which Campbell played in the production. I develop a hitherto unexplored interpretation of the genesis of the book, emphasising Campbell's own Scottish origins, and promote the view that he was instrumental in the conceptualisation of its production from the earliest stages.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Colen Campbell, Vitruvius Britannicus, Architectural History, eighteenth century, drawings analysis
Academic Units: The University of York > History of Art (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.538648
Depositing User: Miss Joanne E O'Hara
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2012 09:55
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 12:20
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1572

Actions (repository staff only: login required)