The Triumph of Julius Caesar
the complete set of nine chiaroscuro woodcuts and the rare frontispiece, circa 1598, on heavy laid paper without watermarks, fine to good impressions, printed from four blocks, seven plates and the frontispiece printed in black or dark brown, two shades of grey and mushroom, and two plates (B. 2 & 6) printed in black, grey and two shades of ochre, B. 3 with half of the separately printed pilaster at left, most plates printing sharply and with considerable gaufrage, generally trimmed to or just outside the borderlines, some plates with backed tears or smaller defects, B. 2 & 6 laid down, generally in good condition, each framed
Block & Sheet 370 x 370 mm. (and similar)
Sold by Thomas Philipe, London (with his presumed number 220/10 in red crayon on the mounts verso), in 1808 (to Roscoe).
William Roscoe (1753-1831), Liverpool (see Lugt 2645); his sale, Winstanley, Liverpool, 9-20 September 1816, lot 1288 (£ 2.14.0 to Hesketh).
Charles Robert Blundell (d. 1837), Ince Blundell, Lancashire.
Bequeathed to Thomas Weld, then by descent to Colonel Sir Joseph Weld, O.B.E, T.D., Lulworth, Dorset; Christie's, London, 30 June 1976, lot 151.

Bartsch 11. 1-9; Gnann 209-218

Brought to you by

Tim Schmelcher
Tim Schmelcher International Specialist

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Lot Essay

All but one of the present plates are still on William Roscoe's old mounts. The red crayon numbers on the reverse of the mounts seem to point to Philipe's sale in 1808, where Roscoe appears to have bought the prints. Blundell in turn probably acquired the prints through Hesketh in Roscoe's sale at Winstanley's in Liverpool, following his bankruptcy in 1816.

Andrea Andreani began to work on this series upon his return to Mantua in the mid-nineties of the16th century, after having spent eight years in Siena. As a model, he made use of drawings after Mantegna's Triumphs, by Bernardo Malpizzi, Mantuan painter, whose dedication to Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga had itself been cut and printed by Andreani in the rare title-page of the series, adorned with a design of Mantegna's bust from the funeral chapel in church of Sant'Andrea.
Each sheet, printed from four or five blocks, shows a work of remarkable accuracy. One of the nine sheets still preserves a portion of one of the pilasters, printed from a supplementary block, meant to be used to join the sheets, in order to display the prints in a frieze-like way.
This series of chiaroscuro woodcuts, published in 1599, remained for centuries the main source of knowledge of Mantegna's monumental masterpiece, which left the Gonzaga court in 1628, acquired by the agent Daniel Nys on behalf of Charles I of England.


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