From the Renaissance to the present day, perspective has been a constant in architectural writing and illustration, linking the disciplines of art, architecture and mathematics.
Perspective drawing has been applied to the art of building for centuries and used as a tool to evoke illusory architectural spaces: a way of seeing which became a way of building. By translating three-dimensional space onto a two-dimensional surface, it has become the ultimate quest to depict realistic impressions of a complex world.
Sam Jacob Studio was invited by the RIBA to draw on the RIBA Collections for the exhibition Disappear Here. This gallery presents a range of images used as research material and inspiration for Disappear Here, as well as in the exhibition itself.
Highlights include John Smythson’s early 17th century Jacobean designs for Bolsover Castle; Hans Vredeman de Vries’ imaginary series of vistas and interiors from Perspective (1604); Étienne-Louis Boullée’s visionary design for a neo-classical cathedral and one of the many colourful perspectives from the office of R. Seifert & Partners.
NOTES: Two coal-fired power stations, Willington A and B, were built on this site by the River Trent during the 1950s. Station A closed in 1995 and B in 1999 when everything except the cooling towers was demolished.
NOTES: Launched in 1938, the RMS Queen Elizabeth was quickly requisitioned for use in World War II as a troop ship. It was only after the war, in 1946, that it was completely refitted and relaunched as the luxury passenger liner it was originally intended to be. George Grey Wornum designed the decoration of the first-class accommodation.
SOURCE: Fra Giovanni Giocondo. M. Vitruvio, De Architectura libri decem additis (Venice, 1511), Book 5, p. 47 NOTES: Vitruvius's original treatise 'De architectura' was written during the first century BC. This 1511 edition was edited and augmented by Fra Giovanni Giocondo and was the first illustrated version of the treatise.
SOURCE: Daniele Barbaro. La pratica della perspettiva di Monsignor Daniel Barbaro (Venice, 1559), p. 191 NOTES: This image is after a woodcut by Albrecht Durer entitled 'Man drawing a lute', from his 1525 treatise on perspective.
SOURCE: Sebastiano Serlio. Il Secondo libro di perspettiva (Di Architettura, book II) (Venice, 1551), fo. 19 recto NOTES: This 1551 publication formed the first collected edition of all five of Serlio's books on architecture, which had previously appeared as first editions between 1537 and 1547.
SOURCE: Sebastiano Serlio. Il Secondo libro di perspettiva (Di Architettura, book II) (Venice, 1551), fo. 19 verso NOTES: This 1551 publication formed the first collected edition of all five of Serlio's books on architecture, which had previously appeared as first editions between 1537 and 1547.
NOTES: This drawing was possibly prepared for Newton's publication 'The Architecture of M. Vitruvius Pollio', (London, 1771; 2nd edition, 1791), in which Vitruvian principles were applied to conjectural reconstructions of Classical buildings and later constructions.
NOTES: This drawing comes from a topographical sketchbook by Nicholas Hawksmoor dated between 1680 and 1683. The High Cross was erected in 1373 and dismantled and put into storage in 1733. In 1765 it was given to Henry Hoare to re-erect in his landscape gardens at Stourhead.
SOURCE: Vincenzo Scamozzi. L'Idea della architettura universale' (Venice, 1615), part 1, book 2, ch. XXVI, between p. 193 & 194 [plate 3] NOTES: In the 1590s Scamozzi had been involved in the design of the ideal fortified town of Palmanova in north-east Italy and his experience of that design was reflected in book 2 of part 1 which was devoted to military architecture.
NOTES: This is a photograph of a drawing. The Barbican Centre is located in the heart of the Barbican complex and comprises: a concert hall, two theatres, an art gallery, three cinemas, 2 exhibition halls, conference suites, the conservatory, and various restaurants and refreshment facilities. The Guildhall School of Music and the Barbican Library lie adjacent and are accessible from the centre.
NOTES: This complex of arts buildings and housing covers seven acres in the City of London. Built between 1971 and 1982, it regenerated an area which had been badly bombed during World War II. The estate has three residential towers: Cromwell Tower, completed in 1973; Shakespeare Tower, completed in 1976, and Lauderdale Tower, completed in 1974. The complex was Grade II listed in 2001. See also RIBA94809 for a Nora Glover perspective of the pyramidal conservatory.
NOTES: This design is not exactly as carried out. The existing fountain, called the Venus Fountain, must date between 1618, when Sir William Cavendish became the first Earl of Devonshire, and his death in 1626 as the fountain bears the Earl's arms.
NOTES: This drawing is by or after Giovanni Carlo Galli Bibiena and is one of eight designs for scenes for the opera 'La Clemenza di Tito' (libretto by Metastasio, music by Antonio Mazzoni) which was performed in the new opera house at Lisbon in 1755 on the birthday of Joseph I, King of Portugal. In 1752 Galli Bibiena had been summoned to Lisbon by the king to design the opera house, which adjoined the royal palace. Just seven months after its completion however, the theatre was destroyed by the devastating Lisbon earthquake of 1755. The drawing shown here relates to a set of engravings and may have been copied from the prints themselves.