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The ultimate reading list on perspective

The ultimate reading list on perspective

01 October 2018

Accompanying our Disappear Here exhibition, we’ve brought together the ultimate reading list on perspective spanning 600 years, from Renaissance volumes to contemporary colouring books.

Whether you are interested in the rare books on display in the Architecture Gallery, looking for further in-depth reading on perspective, or want to introduce your children to new drawing techniques, this list is the ideal starting point.

Rare books on display in Disappear Here

From Serlio’s 16th century instructions on how to draw perspective to an 18th century pop-up book, you can see these rare volumes on display in our Disappear Here exhibition.

Sebastiano Serlio (1475–1554). Il Secondo libro di perspettiva (Di Architettura) (The second book of architecture ‘On Perspective’) (Venice, 1551). RIBA Collections

Serlio’s Il Secondo libro di perspettiva (Di Architettura) open on pages 6 and 7

Thomas Malton the Elder (1726–1801). A compleat treatise on perspective, in theory and practice; on the true principles of Dr. Brook Taylor (London, 1783). RIBA Collections

Andrea Pozzo (1642–1709). Perspectiva pictorum et architectorum (Perspective in architecture and painting) (Rome, 1700–02). RIBA Collections

Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527–1606). Perspective, part 1 (Leiden, 1604). RIBA Collections

Abraham Bosse (1604–76). Maniere universelle de Mr Desargues, pour pratiquer la perspective par petit-pied, comme le geometral (Mr. Desargues’s Universal Method of Practising Perspective) (Paris, 1647). RIBA Collections

Hieronymous Rodler (d. 1539) attributed editor; Johann II of Pfalz-Simmern (1492–1557) publisher and attributed illustrator. Eyn schön nützlich Büchlin und Underweisung der Kunst des Messens, mit dem Zirckel, richtscheidt oder linial (A nice useful booklet and instruction in the art of measurement) (Simmern, 1531). RIBA Collections

Rodler and Johann II of Pfalz-Simmern’s Eyn schön nützlich Büchlin und Underweisung der Kunst des Messens, mit dem Zirckel, richtscheidt oder linial showing plate H3

See these plus many more in the RIBA Library, open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 66 Portland Place and the RIBA Architecture Study Room at the V&A open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Further reading (for students and architects)

Drawing on Architecture: The Object of Lines, 1970-1990 by Jordan Kauffman. 2018.
An account of how architectural drawings became historical and cultural artefacts in and of themselves, and the effect this had on the understanding of architecture.

Masterworks of Architectural Drawing: From the Albertina Museum. Ed. by Christian Benedik 2017.
With an impressive array of architectural drawings from The Albertina Museum’s collection, this collection highlights a broad range of styles and documents architects’ visions of the future.

Perspective: From Basic to Creative by Robert W. Gill. 2006.
This instructional book with thorough illustrations and clear explanations of the principles of perspective, is a classic and invaluable volume for any architect or designer.

Perspective as Symbolic Form by Erwin Panofsky. 1996.
A seminal essay on the history of perspective, Panofsky studies perspective through historiographic, philosophical, optical, psychological and theological lenses.

The Complete Guide to Perspective Drawing: From One-Point to Six-Point. 1st edition. Craig Attebery. 2018.
A step-by-step guide, this book will teach you how to accurately make conceptual illustrations and draw perspective - for students of all levels

The Great Perspectivists by Gavin Stamp. 1982.
A thorough introduction to the history of English perspective drawing, illustrated with over 100 drawings and contextual information.

The Geometry of an Art: The History of the Mathematical Theory of Perspective from Alberti to Monge by Kirsti Andersen. 2007
A monograph describing how the understanding of the geometry behind perspective evolved between the years 1435 and 1800.

The Projective Cast by Robin Evans. 2000
Drawing on mathematics, engineering, art history and aesthetics, Robin Evans recasts the idea of the relationship between geometry and architecture.

A selection of books on perspective at the RIBA Bookshop at 66 Portland Place

An Introduction to drawing and perspective (for children, young people and the newly-inspired)

Archi-doodle: An Architect's Activity Book by Steve Bowkett. 2013.
A fun and interactive way for all ages to doodle, sketch and draw your own architectural masterpieces.

Archi-doodle City: An Architect's Activity Book by Steve Bowkett. 2017.
Following the success of the first Archi-doodle, this new title focuses on the city.

Steve Bowkett's popular Archi-doodle books

Just for Fun: Perspective: More than 100 fun and simple step-by-step projects for learning the art of basic perspective by Lise Herzog. 2017.
Follow the simple, step-by-step instructions, and create realistic, proportionate artwork using perspective.

Perspective and Other Optical Illusions by Phoebe Naughton. 2007.
A little book packed full with illustrations, illusions and information, chronicling the history of perspective and showing how the eye can be tricked and confused, and the brain befuddled.

Want to learn more about perspectival drawing through the ages and see our rare books on display? Visit the Disappear Here exhibition at 66 Portland Place now open until 24 November, Monday – Saturday, and drop in to the RIBA Bookshop. Students get 10% off books purchased in store with a valid Student ID.

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