VENUTI, Ridolfino (1705-1763). Accurata, e succinta descrizione topografica delle antichità di Roma. Rome: Battista Bernabò and Guiseppe Lazzarini, 1763.
2 parts in one volume, 4o (274 x 204 mm), 2 parts. Half-titles, engraved vignette to both titles, one engraved folding map and 96 full-page plates, of which 19 are signed by Piranesi, 22 by Nicolo Mogalli, 8 by Duflos, 4 by Le Geay, 2 by Bellicard, one by Barbault and others, 2 engraved headpieces and 2 vignettes. (Some dampstaining to inner margin.) BINDING: 18th-century red goatskin, covers tooled in gilt with a single fillet border, front cover with central "Figure of Libery" below a single star tool between palm and olive branch, same tools upside down on lower cover (see below), spine in five compartments, tooled with cock, palm branch, Cap of Liberty, olive branch and owl sejant, edges marbled, marbled endleaves, ink impressions of three tools on the flyleaves. BOUND BY JOHN MATTHEWMAN FOR THOMAS HOLLIS (repairs and minor chipping to upper spine end, some dampstaining). Provenance: Thomas Hollis of Lincoln's Inn (1720-1774), passionate upholder of liberty and eccentric bibliophile (binding); John Disney (1746-1816, his sale 22 April 1817, lot 1522); Richard Heber (1773-1833, his sale, part II, Sotheby's London, 2 July 1831, lot 6203); acquired from Bernard Quaritch, 1974.
FIRST EDITION of one of the most important books on the topography of Rome in the 18th century, containing 96 fine engraved plates including 19 by Giovanni Battista Piranesi. They were first published in his Varie Vedute of 1748. A complete catalogue of Venuti's works, a complete lists of the members of the Roman Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of London is given at end. BOUND IN A REPUBLICAN BINDING FOR THOMAS HOLLIS. Thomas Hollis, a keen Whig and student of political history, formed an important collection of medals and a large library. He spent hundreds of pounds a year on the production and purchase of books and medals, often donating these to various individuals and libraries, especially those of Harvard, Berne, and Zurich. His devotion to 17th-century republican literature inspired him to decorate his bindings with the various emblems associated with liberty. His books were bound for presentation by Richard Montagu until 1758, followed by John Matthewman until 1769. Hollis's simpler presentation bindings, of which this is an example, date from about 1761 until 1769 and were the work of Matthewman. The books were decorated with his own selection of nineteen symbolic tools designed for him by Cipriani (see Rothschild, pp. 750-751). According to a note by Arthur Vershbow on the front free endpaper, the binding was examined by W. Bond, who thought the upside down tooling of the lower cover represents the "decline of Rome." Berlin Kat. 1891; Cicognara 3905; Olschki, Choix 18214; Schudt 769; see Hind, Piranesi p. 78. See William Bond, Thomas Hollis of Lincoln's Inn: A Whig and his Books (Cambridge, 1990).