Desgodetz, Anthony

, a very eminent French architect, was born at Paris in 1653, and in 1674 was commissioned by Colbert to go to Home with some other academicians, but in the voyage they had the misfortune to be taken by a pirate and carried into Algiers, where they remained for sixteen months, until redeemed by the king of France’s orders. He then went with his companions ta Rome, where he applied with singular assiduity to the survey of the ancient buildings of that metropolis. He informs us, that when he undertook to measure the antiquities of Rome, his chief intention was, to learn which of the authors jn most esteem ought to be followed, as having given the most accurate measures; but he soon found reason to be convinced that they were all extremely defective in point of precision. This fault, however, he candidly imputes not to those authors themselves, but to the workmen who had been employed in their service. To prevent his being led into the same errors, he took the measures of all the ancient structures exactly, with his own hands, and repeated the whole several times, that be might arrive at an absolute certainty; ^causing such of the buildings as | were under ground to be cleared, and erecting 'adders and other machines to get at those which were elevated. When, he returned to Paris he communicated his drawings to the members of the royal academy of architecture, and Colbert recommended them to the king, who caused them to be published at his own expence, in a splendid folio volume, 1682, and allotted all the profits to the author. The plates of this work remained in the family of a connoisseur until 1779, when they were purchased of his heirs for a new edition; but before this, in 1771, Mr. Marshal published a splendid edition at London, with the descriptions in French and English. In 1776 “Le Lois des Batimens” was printed from his manuscripts. In 1680 Colbert promoted him to the office of comptroller of the royal buildings at Chamber, but in 1694 he was recalled to hold the same office at Paris. In 1699 he was made king’s architect, with a pension of 2000 livres. In 1719 he succeeded M. de la Hire as professor of architecture, and commenced a course of lectures in June of that year, which he continued with great applause and success until his death, May 20, 1728. He was a man of an amiable and estimable character in private life. 1


Aloreri, —Dict. Hist.