The Treatises of Benvenuto Cellini on Goldsmithing and Sculpture

Though C.R Ashbee began his design career as an architect, he also crafted intricate silver tableware and jewelry, so it is fitting that Benvenuto Cellini’s treatise would be among the most ornate and ambitious books to emerge from the Essex House Press. The Treatises was first published in Florence in 1568, three years before Cellini’s death, and is a record of his techniques and experimentation in metalwork. Ashbee himself completed this first English translation, attempting to stay true to what he called the “workshop vernacular” of Cellini’s original. The 7 illustrations and 11 engraved plates provide a detailed visual accompaniment to the text. The book is not simply a fine reprinting of a renaissance classic but a teaching tool in itself and one can imagine Ashbee poring over its diagrams in the workshop with his pupils and fellow craftsmen.