Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Art & Architecture > 60. François de Cuvilliés

60.  François de Cuvilliés (1695-1768).  A collection of engravings after the designs of François de Cuvilliés, the elder and his son, François the younger (1731-1777). Paris and Munich, 1738 - ca. 1772. Bound for Victor Massena, Prince d'Essling (1836-1910) Avery Library, Classics Collection

This large and unique compendium of ornament and architectural design by one of the greatest of rococo designers, Cuvilliés the elder, and his son, both architects at the Bavarian court, has been fully analyzed by Herbert Mitchell in The Avery Library Selected Acquisitions 1960-80: An Exhibition in Honor of Adolf K. Placzek (1980). It comprises 337 engravings on 307 leaves and includes the celebrated Morceaux de caprice à divers usages, characteristically inventive and wonderfully bizarre.

The volume came to Columbia in 1962 as part of the John Jay Ide (1892-1962) bequest, one of the most substantial gifts of books to Avery Library after the initial donation of Henry Ogden Avery's collection. Ide was a great-great grandson of John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States and one of Columbia's most famous graduates. He had a distinguished career as an aeronautics expert but actually first studied architecture at Columbia, where, no doubt, Avery Library inspired his love of books.

Bequest of John Jay Ide, 1962

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