The nucleus of this weighty and ambitious book is an English translation of the Italian text of the Opus Architectonicum, a precious folio volume on the design and construction of the Oratorio dei Filippini, the oratory and conventual house of the Congregation of St. Philip Neri. This precocious “architectural monograph” was published in Rome in 1725 by Sebastiano Giannini, working from a manuscript (1644–47) composed by the Oratorian father Virgilio Spada in collaboration with his friend Borromini, who had been the architect of the Congregation for thirteen years (1637–50). A concise overview of the building’s history and importance, and a critical appreciation of Downes’s edition have been given recently by Joseph Connors.1...

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