This large and unique compendium of ornament and architectural design by
one of the greatest of rococo designers, Cuvilliés the elder, and his son, both
architects at the Bavarian court, has been fully analyzed by Herbert Mitchell in
The Avery Library Selected Acquisitions 1960-80: An Exhibition in Honor
of Adolf K. Placzek (1980). It comprises 337 engravings on 307 leaves
and includes the celebrated Morceaux de caprice à divers usages,
characteristically inventive and wonderfully bizarre.
The volume came to Columbia in 1962 as part of the John Jay Ide (1892-1962)
bequest, one of the most substantial gifts of books to Avery Library after the
initial donation of Henry Ogden Avery's collection. Ide was a great-great
grandson of John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States and one of
Columbia's most famous graduates. He had a distinguished career as an
aeronautics expert but actually first studied architecture at Columbia, where,
no doubt, Avery Library inspired his love of books.