ADAM, Robert (1728-1792). Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia. [London]: for the author, 1764.
2° (510 x 365mm). Engraved frontispiece by F. Bartolozzi, 60 engraved numbered plates on 53 leaves (numbered I-LXI including frontis), including 8 double-page, 6 folding, the majority of plates by Bartolozzi or Zucchi, the rest by F. Patton, P. Santini, E. Rooker, A. Walker, D. Cunego, P. Mazell or J. Basire, on thick paper. (Occasional light marginal spotting, several plates trimmed to plate mark or edge of image, including 2 plates with loss of imprint or number, minor marginal repair to plate LX.) Half red morocco gilt by J. Wright, with marbled boards, gilt edges.
FIRST EDITION OF ADAM'S GRAND ARCHITECTURAL WORK. Adam headed the expedition to survey the previously unexplored site of the Emperor Diocletian's palace. The views, plans and finely-detailed drawings of architectural ornament were engraved in Venice between 1757 and 1760 under the direction of Adam's drawing master, C.-L. Clérisseau (1721-1820). The response of Adam and Clérisseau to the antique is fittingly described by Eileen Harris as '"pseudo-archaeological" in that it treated the physical remains of antiquity as touchstones for the imaginative and scenic, as opposed to deductive and architectonic, recreation of ancient buildings...'. More of an artistic and picturesque survey, the work also offers an 18th-century understanding of architecture in William Robertson's introduction. 'Lavishly praised' in the Critical Review of October 1794, Adam's work includes a long and distinguised list of subscribers headed by the royal family. Fowler 2; Berlin Katalog 1893; Cicognara 3567; Millard British, II, 1.