SEROUX D'AGINCOURT, Jean Baptiste Louis Georges (1730-1814). Histoire de l'Art par les Monumens, depuis sa décadence au IVe siècle jusqu'a son renouvellement au XVIe. Paris: Treuttel et Würtz, -1823.
6 volumes, 2° (503 x 322mm). 325 etched and engraved plates by T. Piroli, G. Machiavelli, B. Mori, and D. Pronti after Machiavelli, A. Canova, D.P.G. Humbert de Superville, W.Y. Ottley, and others. (Lacks n1-2 in vol. III and final leaf of text in vol. VI, final leaf in vol. I misbound before p. 137, infrequent and generallly light marginal spotting to text and plates.) Contemporary russia with geometric and floral borders in gilt and blind enclosing a diced centre panel, ornate gilt spines, marbled endpapers and edges.
TALL, FINELY-BOUND COPY OF OF SEROUX'S FUNDAMENTAL WORK, intended to complement Winckelmann's Geschichte der Kunst des Altertums (1764). Today its three volumes of plates on architecture (73 pl), sculpture (48 pl), and painting (204 pl) 'still constitutes the largest number of late antique and medieval artefacts to be illustrated within the pages of a single book' (Francis Haskell, in Daedalus, vol. 105, 1976, p. 221). Having settled in Rome in 1781, Seroux spent the next eight years gathering illustrative material. The loss of his family fortune during the French Revolution meant that he could no longer subsidise the project himself, and while his research continued it was another twenty years before publication began. The 24 parts appeared over twelve years, and at the author's death on 24 September 1814 only eight parts had actually been published. Most of the preparatory drawings were by Giacomo Macchiavelli from an extraordinary corpus of materials (manuscripts and drawings) collected by the author (bequeathed by him to the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, where now Mss Lat. 9839-9849, 13479-13480). Bilderlust und Lesefrüchte: Das illustrierte Kunstbuch von 1750 bis 1920, catalogue of an exhibition, Gutenberg-Museum Mainz, 4 March-29 May 2005 (Leipzig 2005), pp. 87-91 no. 4; Christopher Lloyd, Art and its Images: An exhibition of printed books containing engraved illustrations after Italian painting, Bodleian Library, April-June 1975 (Oxford 1975), pp. 35-39, no. 7; Brunet V, 311: 'ouvrage d'un grand mérite'; Monglond VIII, 1243-1244; RIBA 2978; Vinet 1227.