Watkin on Milizia: Frontispiece to The Lives of the Celebrated Architects, Ancient and Modern

David Watkin

Frontispiece to Francesco Milizia’s The Lives of the Celebrated Architects, Ancient and Modern, 1768. Engraving. RIBA Collections.

The illustration on the title page to the Vite is striking and can be seen as a preparation for that of Pugin’s Contrasts (Sailsbury 1836). Milizia depicts a crowded scene in which, on the left hand side, a Corinthian portico and Laugier’s primitive hut, fashioned from trees and branches, represent Antiquity and Nature. Pallas, standing in the centre, points approvingly at these, her judgment being confirmed by a tablet beneath them which bears the injunction, Hoc Amet. Behind her to the right appear a small Gothic edifice and a much larger building with an undulating Baroque facade inspired by Borromini: these are condemned by the words, Hoc Spernat, inscribed on a tablet beneath them.

Excepted from The Rise of Architectural History (London: Architectural Press, 1980), 31.