The Stones of Venice - The Foundations, The sea-stories; The Fall. With illustrations drawn by the author. - John Ruskin [1819-1900] 1851 - Smith, London - First Editions ‘Among the many strange things that have befallen Venice, she had the good fortune to become the object of passion to a man of splendid genius’ - Henry James on John Ruskin.

Ruskin’s classic treatise on Venetian art and architecture. Complete in three volumes. Profusely illustrated with 53 plates including seven in colour, and in text drawings throughout

The book aroused considerable interest in Victorian Britain and beyond. The chapter "The Nature of Gothic" (from volume 2) was admired by William Morris, who published it separately in an edition which is in itself an example of Gothic revival. It inspired Marcel Proust; the narrator of the Recherche visits Venice with his mother in a state of enthusiasm for Ruskin
  John Ruskin released each of the three volumes of The Stones of Venice over a two-year period from 1851 to 1853. The first volume, “The Foundations,” is an architectural treatise that specifies the rules of architecture. For this reason it has been compared with Alberti’s De Re Aedificatoria of 1452 because both treatises approach architecture as a combination of both construction and decoration.[1] With the exception of the first chapter, “The Quarry,” this volume deals very little with the actual city of Venice, but rather continues Ruskin’s work in The Seven Lamps of Architecture by analyzing specific architectural details and concluding whether or not they are in accordance with the principles laid out in his previous work.

In contrast to the first volume of The Stones of Venice, the second and third volumes deal with specific structures in the city of Venice. The second volume is subtitled “The Sea Stories,” a reference to the lowest story of a Venetian building, called the sea story. This volume looks specifically at Byzantine and Gothic architecture within the city, while clearly privileging these styles above the Venetian Renaissance that he discusses in the third volume, “The Fall.” Throughout each volume, Ruskin discusses both specific buildings, such as St. Mark’s and the Ducal Palace, and the stylistic evolution of numerous architectural features, including column bases, capitals, cornices, windows, and, most notably, arches. His studies of arches provide not only an example of the types of arches found around Venice, but also a “scheme for the development of the mature Gothic style,” as his chronology of stylistic progression focused mainly on this period. -
University of Mary Washington - Venice Exhibit.

Three volumes. pp. [2] xv [1] 413 [3]; [2] vi [2] 394 [2]; [6] 362 [2]. Volume I with errata slip to rear.
  In later prize bindings of three quarter morocco.   Condition: Very good, rubbing to bindings, colour plates clean, black and white plates with damp stains affecting edges, in some places affecting illustration. Some pencil annotations.   Ref: 104066   Price: HK$ 6,800