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    Sale 7725

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts, Including Fine Plate books from an Historic Continental Library

    3 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 169

    MAZOIS, Charles François (1783-1826). Les ruines de Pompéi. Paris: Firmin Didot [vols. III-IV: Librairie de Firmin Didot Frères], [1812]-1838.

    Price Realised  


    MAZOIS, Charles François (1783-1826). Les ruines de Pompéi. Paris: Firmin Didot [vols. III-IV: Librairie de Firmin Didot Frères], [1812]-1838.

    4 volumes, broadsheet 2° (555 x 405mm). Engraved frontispiece, title vignettes, and 201 engraved plates, most after Mazois, 17 hand-coloured or partly hand-coloured, 10 double-page or folding. Vol. III with two states of plate XIV bis, and folding lithographic map. 46 engraved head- and tailpieces. (Variable spotting, particularly on tissue guards to plates.) Contemporary russia, dyed purple, by Ph. Selenka, Wiesbaden, with his tickets, covers with ruled and roll-tool border of palmettes, gilt spines and turn-ins in neoclassical style, gilt edges.

    FINELY-BOUND COPY of this thorough archaeological study by the French architect, Mazois. Compiled after three years' research, it was the intended start of a series on Paestum, Herculaneum, and Pozzuoli. The first two volumes were originally published between 1809 and 1811 at the expense of the Court of Naples and under the patronage of Queen Caroline Murat. The last two, delayed both by political changes and other archaeological work, were completed after the author's death by G.N. Gau (Age of Neoclassicism 916). The illustrations in the first three vols. were mostly drawn by Mazois and those in vol. IV by Gau, Giroux, Durand, or C. Frommel. Discoveries are placed in four disinct groups: tombs, city walls and doorways; dwellings; colonnades; theatres and temples. This copy contains a dedication leaf in vol. I addressed 'À sa Majesté La Reine des Deux-Siciles'. While also present in the RIBA copy, this leaf is lacking in the Royal Academy Library copy. As 'La Reine' is Napoleon's sister, Caroline, the dedication may well have been omitted from sets of plates distributed after 1813, when she was evicted from Naples. Borroni 7475; Furcheim, Bibliografia di Pompei pp. 58-59: 'On ne trouve que rarement des exemplaires de cet ouvrage très-estimé'; García y García, Nova bibliotheca pompeiana pp. 797-798 no. 9073; E.G. Corti, The Destruction and Resurrection of Pompeii and Herculaneum (London: 1951), p. 170; RIBA 2092.

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