Collecting Palladio

Collecting Palladio

Palazzo Valmarana, Vicenza: sketches of statues and capitals

Inigo Jones
Copyright: RIBA Library Drawings Collection

Palladio’s drawings unlock the very secrets of his design process and give direct access to the man. They reveal his grasp of the minutiae of classical architectural sculpture, his rigorous attempts to plan with proportion and his constant striving to combine function and beauty. It is through the drawings that his ideas came to be understood by generations of architects.

Remarkably, Britain possesses the largest collection of drawings by Palladio in the world, the majority cherished by the RIBA British Architectural Library.

Immensely varied, there are over 330 in the RIBA collections. How did they come to be here, who collected them, when and why? And, more importantly, to what extent did they educate architects and patrons? Were these drawings instrumental in creating Palladian Britain?

Why not follow the history of the ownership of these precious drawings, one of Britain’s greatest Italian legacies, from the sixteenth century to the present day.