4 June 2008
SOLD TO BENEFIT THE CHARITABLE WORK OF THE SOCIETY OF THE COMPANY OF JESUS
PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista (1720-1778) and Francesco (1748-1810). Antichita d'Albano e di Castel Gandolfo. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1836 [but later]. [Bound with:] -- Descrizione e Disegno dell' Emissario del Lago Albano. S.l.: s.n., s.d. [And:] -- Di due spelonche ornate dagli antichi alla riva del Lago Albano. S.l.: s.n., s.d.
3 works in one volume, oblong 2° (585 x 805mm). With the gatherings of explanatory text bound-in. Antichita with engraved title, dedication, and 27 plates on 26 leaves; Descrizione with engraved title, and 10 plates; Due Spelonche with 13 plates on 10 leaves: a consecutive sequence numbered 458 to 504b in the engraving, all on thick wove paper, a very few plates with indistinct blind-stamp in the margin. (Some scattered spotting in the text, and more lightly in the first title and some margins, occasional light wear and soiling in a few margins, explanatory text of Due Spelonche possibly incomplete.) Nineteenth century maroon half-roan and sand-grained cloth, upper side with leather label ruled and titled in gilt within an embossed frame, printed endpapers (spine worn with large fragment detached but present, lacking ties, extremities rubbed, sides scuffed). Provenance: Marchioness Maria Ferrajolo (removed bookplate and inscription dated December 1943 recording the gift to:) -- Theological Library of the Jesuit Province of Rome (inventory stamp numbered 8790 and smaller ink-stamps).
A well-margined set with strong impressions. Piranesi produced the Descrizione to celebrate one of the major achievements of Roman engineering: the drainage outlet of Lake Albano. The work includes 'a number of Piranesi's most dramatic vedute, exploiting the maximum rhetoric in support of his passionate belief in Roman originality' (Wilton-Ely, p.668). Piranesi's archaeological studies in the area of Lake Albano were supported by Pope Clement XIII, whose Castel Gandolfo overlooked the lake, and who suggested the publication of Antichita. Clement XIII helped defray the considerable costs of this 'particularly handsome treatise' (Wilton-Ely, p.694). The indistinct small blind-stamp in the margins of some plates is similar to that of the Calcografia Camerale. The occasional appearance of this stamp suggests that this set consists for the most part of what was left when the Calcografia took over the stock of Firmin-Didot in 1839, supplemented by Calcografia re-impressions of those plates which were out of stock. Cf. Hind pp.85-6; Wilton-Ely 613-670.
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