17 November 2004
The Property of William Worsley Esq., removed from Hovingham Hall
PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista (1720-1778). Antichità romane de' tempi della repubblica, e de' primi imperatori [i.e. Alcune vedute di archi trionfali]. Rome: G.B. Piranesi, [c. 1748].
2 parts bound in one volume, oblong broadsheets (357 x 512mm). 2 etched part-titles [W.-E. 103 and 119], dedication leaf [W.-E. 104], leaf of inscriptions [W.-E. 105], leaf of inscriptions and index [W.-E. 106], and 25 plates [including that of the 'Arco di Galieno'] by G.B. Piranesi after G.B. Piranesi  and Israel Sylvestre  [W.-E. 108-118 and 120-133]. (Occasional light marginal marking, some light spotting, heavier on first title, dedication, leaves of inscriptions and final plate.) Late 18th-/early 19th-century half mottled calf (extremities rubbed and chipped, short splits on joints, boards a little marked and scuffed), red-speckled edges. Provenance: 20th-century pressmarks 'V.27' on spine and upper board.
FIRST EDITION. 'THESE EXQUISITE PLATES ... MAY BE CONSIDERED AMONG THE ARTIST'S GRAPHIC MASTERPIECES. They possess a unity of and range of experiment lacking in the Varie vedute and even in the early plates of the larger Vedute di Roma, which probably overlap this series in time. [The etchings] show strong evidence of Tiepolo's decisive influence on Piranesi during the latter's return visit to Venice in the mid-1740s, together with the first signs of certain compositional ideas which were to be transferred to the larger Vedute in the next decade' (Wilton-Ely, p.144). This series of views is based upon Piranesi's sketches made during travels in both Rome and Italy between c.1743 and c.1747; the first part depicts ruins within Rome, and the second ruins without. After 1761, Antichità romane de' tempi della repubblica was re-titled Alcune vedute di archi trionfali ed altri monumenti inalzati da romani parte de quali se veggono in roma e parte per l'Italia -- presumably to avoid confusion with Piranesi's Le antichità romane of 1756--and this edition was augmented with two further plates: 'Veduta dell'arco fabbricato in onore d'Augusto vicino città di Aosta' (by Piranesi after Sir Roger Newdigate's drawing of 1775) and 'Tempio di Minerva Medici' (by Francesco Piranesi). This copy includes the 'Arco di Galieno' plate (which is unnumbered and not called for by the index), bound following that of the 'Arco di Settimio Severo'. Hind pp. 75-6; Wilton-Ely C.III.
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