LEONARDI, Domenico Felice. Le Delizie della villa di Castellazzo discritte in verso. Milan: Giuseppe Richino Malatesta, 1743.
2° (375 x 257mm). 24 double-page engraved plates by Marc' Antonio Dal Rè, including one portrait dedication to Giuseppe Arconati Visconti and 23 views of the gardens and rooms of the villa, all plates COLOURED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND AND HEIGHTENED WITH GOLD, on guards. (Dampstain at upper corner, usually very light, light dampstain at centrefold of one plate, shelfmark offset onto title.) BOUND FOR CARDINAL ALBANI in contemporary Roman red morocco gilt, the panelled sides with wide leafy tools and Albani arms as cardinal at centre, pink sprinkled endpapers, gilt turn-ins, edges marbled, gilt and gauffered at edges (slightly worn, leather missing from lower spine compartment). Provenance: Cardinal Alessandro or Annibale Albani (Alessandro, 1692-1779; Annibale, 1682-1751; binding, Albani library stamp on title, shelfmark).
A lavish celebration and record of a grand rococo Italian garden newly designed after the French fashion. An elaborate garden in the Italian style had been laid out at Castellazzo in 1627 under Count Galeazzo Arconati, which became fashionable with Lombardy society. In the early 17th century the Frenchman Jean Gianda was commissioned to redesign the gardens, and Giovanni Ruggeri to transform the house. The new garden became even more famous, as attested by the publication of the present work with engravings by Dal Rè. The Delizie depicts scenes both of the garden and of the new interiors, appropriately peopled with fashionable society; the actual lay-out of the garden is preserved in one plate. The garden survives today virtually intact, including its rococo zoo, making it 'the only one of its kind to have been preserved in Italy' (G. Masson, Italian Gardens, 1987, p.252).
A LARGE COPY bound for Cardinal Albani. Alessandro Albani was a keen collector and patron of the arts; his collection of Roman sculpture is preserved in the Capitoline Museums and his villa (now the Villa Torlonia), decorated with frescoes by Anton Raphael Mengs, housed further collections of sculpture, coins and epigraphs. Berlin Kat. 3495.