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The Palladian Ideal

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By Joseph Rykwert. Photographs by Roberto Schezen. Rizzoli, 2000. 228pp. £55

Seeing Rykwert's name on the cover, one might think that this was more than an expensive picture book, but the paucity of text proves otherwise.

Seven of Palladio's villas and 13 subsequent buildings, supposedly in a direct Palladian tradition, are featured; the latter ranging from Ledoux's Salt Works at Arc et Senans (see right) to Soane's Pitshanger Manor in Ealing. Frustratingly, the brief commentaries seldom explore the question of influence versus originality and though Schezen's photographs are often fine, they're not invariably so, while some are ineptly positioned on their double-page spreads. Pictured left is Colen Campbell's Mereworth Castle, 1720.

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