STUART, James (1713-1788) and Nicholas REVETT (1720-1804). The Antiquities of Athens. Measured and delineated. Volume II edited by William Newton (1735-1790), volume III by Willey Reveley (1760-1799), volume IV by Joseph Woods (1776-1864). London: John Haberkorn [volumes II-III: John Nichols, volume IV: T. Bensley for J. Taylor], 1762-1816.
4 volumes, 2° (525 x 350mm). Engraved portrait of Revett in volume IV, 317 engraved plates, plans and maps by J. Basire, C. Grignion, J. Newton, W. Skelton and others after Stuart, Revett, W. Pars, W. Reveley and others, numbered according to chapters, including hand-coloured folding map of Greece in volume III, a few other plates and maps double-page or folding. Etched title vignettes, head- and tailpieces. A few engraved illustrations. (Volume I without the subscribers' list and with a few text leaves lightly wormed at margins, vol. II without the portrait of Stuart, preliminaries in vol. IV browned.) Uniform early 19th-century brown morocco, roll-tool borders of linked circles and Grecian palmettes divided by multiple fillets with rosettes at corners and Botfield arms at centre, gilt-panelled spines, gilt edges.
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ENGLISH SURVEY OF ATHENIAN MONUMENTS. Eileen Harris notes that some copies of volume I were published without the list of subscribers. Plate 29 in volume II was not published. Basire engraved 42 of the plates in volume I, and was also responsible for most of the head- and tailpieces. When Revett wrote excitedly to his father from Rome on 6 January 1749, he spoke of a 3-volume work which would contain 191 plates, engraved by himself and Stuart, and estimated that the entire project, including a year in Greece, would take only 4 years to complete. In fact, the two artists arrived in Athens on 18 March 1751 and, beset by considerable difficulties, did not return to England until 27 October 1754. As Harris records (pp. 439-448), before even the appearance of volume I in January 1763, Revett, who provided the measured drawings, had sold out his interest to Stuart who, besides painting the views in gouache, had taken on responsibility for the text. Dilatory by nature, Stuart was also distracted by his rivalry with Le Roy, and when he died on 2 February 1788, volume II was unfinished, even though a title-page dated 1787 had been printed. Thanks to the continued support of the Society of Dilettanti, volume III appeared in 1794, bringing to completion in nearly 50 years a project that was originally intended to make both artists a rapid fortune. Volume IV, a purely commercial venture by Josiah Taylor who had acquired all of Stuart's papers, was made popular by the large number of plates of the Parthenon sculptures, sold to the nation in 1816, the year of publication. A further supplement (not present in this copy) was issued in 1830. Blackmer 1017; Brunet V, 570; Cicognara 2713; Fowler 340; Harris 857; Millard, British, 81. (4)