Illustrated books acquired for Melbourne by 1861:
Fergusson Rock Cut Temples of India 1845 {by 1861} SLV [IB]
* Fergusson Ancient Architecture in Hindostan 1848 {by 1861} Loc? [IB]

An amateur architectural historian of independent means, Fergusson spent a formative decade in India from 1829 to 1839. His passion for the subject of ancient Indian architecture led to the publication of the significant illustrated volumes listed above, both acquired for the Melbourne Public Library by 1861, with lithographs by T.C.Dibdin after Fergusson’s own drawings.

Other books by Fergusson (not, however, with significant illustrations) were also acquired for the MPL during the late 1850s and 1860s. Particularly important was his Account of the Styles of Architecture prevailing in all Ages and Countries (1855), followed by another volume, on modern architecture (1862). They were subsequently reworked and published as A History of Architecture in all Countries from the Earliest Times to the Present Day (1865-67), described as the first serious attempt at a global survey of the topic (Watkin 1990).


For a good general survey of Fergusson’s achievements, see, citing David Watkin, The Rise of Architectural History, London, 1990, p.82 (as noted above). For the significance of his studies of India, see Peter Kohane, “From Scotland to India: the Sources of James Fergusson’s Theory of Architecture’s “True Styles””, ABE Journal [Online], 14-15 | 2019: cited accessed 13 Feb.2021)