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Giovanni Battista Piranesi rare books and prints

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-78), born in Venice and raised in Rome, is best known for highly-charged, atmospheric representations of antiquity in his etchings. His work as a printmaker, whether exploring Roman architecture or displaying flights of spatial fancy in the celebrated Carceri (Prisons) series, make him probably the most collected printmaker of the eighteenth century.


His notable works include: Antichità Romane, 1756; Vedute di Roma, 1747-1778; Grotteschi, circa 1750; Carceri, circa 1745; and Delle magnificenza ed architettura de’ Romani, 1761.

 

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  1. from the Rome edition of 'Vedute di Roma', etching with engraving on thick laid paper with a fleur-de-lys in a double circle watermark, 1st and only Roman state, 465 x 625 mm., a central vertical fold with a parallel repaired tear at the head, some marginal damp-staining, spotting and surface dirt, [H.83 I; F.783; WE.216]

    £400
  2. from the Rome edition of 'Vedute di Roma', etching with engraving, on thick laid paper with a fleur-de-lys in a double circle watermark, 2nd state with the artist's address and price, 405 x 615 mm., a central vertical fold with two parallel stripes of pale oil staining, faint marginal spotting and surface dust, [H.22 II; F.737; WE.175]

    £300
  3. Four volumes folio (53 x 40.5 cm). Vol. I: pp. iv ('Prefazione' and 'Imprimatur' leaf dated '25 Gennaro 1756' with list of Piranesi's publications verso), pp.(iv) Avviso al publico. 25 Augusto 1756. pp.(ii) Milord. Febbraio 1757.pp.40, pp. xi ('Spiegazione' and 'Osservazioni'), pp.iii ('Indice, O Sia Spiegazione'), pp.iv ('Indice'), pp.iii ('Indice'), pp.(ii) ('Repertorio'). Engraved frontispiece portrait of Piranesi by Polanzani, printed title, engraved double-page dedication plate with text 'Utilitati Publicae' (second state after the removal of 'Lord Charlemont'), Piranesi's text and 44 engraved plates plus 1 map, of which 5 are double-page, 1 large folding plate on two sheets, 2 folding plates on 1 sheet and 30 single page plates with two images;
    Vol. II: engraved title, engraved double-page frontispiece and engraved list of subjects and 60 engraved plates, numbered I - LXIII (including title, frontispiece and list of subjects), of which 44 are double-page and one large double-page folding plate on 2 sheets;
    Vol. III: engraved title and engraved double-page frontispiece and 52 plates, numbered I - LIV (including title and frontispiece), of which 42 are double-page and one large double-page folding plate on 2 sheets (four plates are by Girolamo Rossi and one by an anonymous artist);
    Vol. IV: engraved title, engraved double-page frontispiece and engraved list of subjects and 57 plates.
    Sheet size (double-page): c.725 x 520 mm (or the reverse). Watermarks examined include the shiled with sword and fleur-de-lys (Robison 61), a fleur-de-lys with initials (Robison 20 / 21), a fleur-de-lys within a single circle (Robison 18 / 19) however the majority of those present appear to be the fleur-de-lys within a double circle (Robison 33 / 35).
    Full contemporary polished calf, rebacked, boards with triple-ruled borders and floral corner pieces in gilt, banded spines with gilt tooling and black leather label with gilt title in nine compartments, turn-ins tooled in gilt, marbled endpapers and edges. Repairs to edges and corners. An excellent example.

    £85,000
  4. Magnificent group of six views of Rome, all from the Rome edition of 'Vedute di Roma', etchings with engraving on laid paper, with central vertical folds. Framed and glazed, overall size: 88.5cm by 66.6cm.

    £26,000
  5. Four works in one volume, large folio (53 x 39.5 cm). Opere varie: title printed in red and black with engraved vignette (Robison's second issue), Prima Parte, second edition, second issue, engraved frontispiece, and 16 plates, complete; 10 plates on 5 sheets from the Opere Varie [Wilton-Ely 45-50]; Two single plates: Pianta di ampio magnifico Collegio: A single plate, third state (of seven). [Robison 25] & Parte di ampio magnifico Porto: A single plate, fourth state (of eight). [Robison 26]. These 2 plates are here unnumbered, for later versions of the 1761 issue these plates have numbers added. (see Hind pg. 81); Grotteschi: 4 plates. Second or third states, [Robison 21 - 24]. Carceri: Second edition, second Issue. double-page engraved title, and 15 double-page plates (numbered II-XVI). Trofei di Ottaviano Augusto. First edition. Rome: G.G. Salmoni, 1753, title printed in red and black with engraved vignette, and 8 (of 9) unnumbered plates, 4 double-page, lacking one plate (the view of the Castello), title spotted. Antichita Romane de' Tempi della Republica. First edition, (1748), 30 engraved plates (including 2 titles, dedication, and 2 plates of inscriptions), eighteenth-century half calf, marbled boards, neat repairs to joints and extremities, a very handsome collection.

    £125,000
  6. Etching, slightly browned, overall size 74cm x 55cm, mounted.

    £650
  7. Etching, overall size 74cm x 55cm, mounted.

    £850
  8. Etching. Overall sheet size: 70.5cm by 49.5cm.

    £375
 

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