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Liber Antiquus Early Books & Manuscripts

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Campvs Martivs Antiqvae Vrbis Romae MDCCLXII

An extremely fine copy of the first edition, bound in a fabulous contemporary Baroque binding by an unidentified Roman binder. Binding and contents in excellent condition. Binding with light wear at the hinges, contents extremely fresh with dark, rich impressions of the plates. There is a little damp-staining to the lower corner of the opening leaves (and a few other leaves further on in the book), a few instances of light marginal spotting, a stray smudge or two. There are some clean tears or splits (without loss) at some folds of the massive folding plate. The Binding: Contemporary mottled calf, richly gilt, the boards with elaborate rococo borders, tooled with flowers, scrolling foliage, and ornate shell ornaments. The binding is in excellent condition with very minor wear. For an identical binding, see The Frank H. Kessner Collection of Books on Rome, Christie, Manson & Woods, (4-5 Oct. 1990, Lot 447, p. 206-7). For a set of works by Piranesi, including the Campus Martius, bound in very similar contemporary bindings and given as a gift by the Venetian Pope Clement XIII to the Republic of Venice (and presumably his friend the Doge Marco Foscarini), see "Piranesi. Incisioni, Rami, Legature, Architetture", Alessandro Bettagno, editor (1978), p. 76-77, and (for the images), p. 427 and 428. Contents: pp. [i] blank; [ii-vii] dedication by Piranesi to Robert Adam, in Latin (on versos) and Italian (on rectos); [viii] blank; [i] approbation, dated Rome, 16 June 1761, with two imprimaturs; 2-69 text, in Latin (on versos) and Italian (on rectos), printed within a triple line border; [70] blank; i-xii key to plans of the Campus Martius on plates iii-iv, Latin and Italian in parallel columns; i-xvii index of monuments on the large map of the Campo Marzio (plates V-X), Latin and Italian in parallel columns; [xviii] blank. Ornaments: Etched headpiece on Latin dedication with view of "Sepulchrum Mariae Honorij Imp. Uxoris . . "etched headpiece on Italian dedication with view of "Labrum aegyptiacum porphyreticum . . .," signed "Piranesi F"; etched tailpiece with group of monuments captioned "Nonnulla monumenta sepulcralia . . ."(p. 68), signed "Piranesi F"; etched tailpiece showing a "Stylobata columnae" (p. 69), signed "Piranesi F"; etched initial *A" incorporating quiver, arrows set against a relief of trophies (p. 2); etched initial "D" with decorated belt and trophies (p. 3) Illustrations: Etched, engraved, and drypoint title plate with title incised on cracked stone tablet, surrounded by fragments including broken column bearing dedication to Robert Adam: "Roberto Adam Britanno Architecto Celebérrimo"; added etched title plate with bird's-eye view of reconstructed Campo Marzio with title in Italian: "II Campo Marzio Dell'Antica Roma Opera Di G.B. Piranesi Socio Delia Real Società Degli Antiqvari Di Londra"; and 52 etched, engraved, and drypoint coppers on 48 plates numbered I-XLVIII (plates XII and XLVI each with additional unnumbered plate on the sheet; plate XLVII with two additional unnumbered plates on the sheet; plates II and XXXI folding, both printed from two coppers; plate XXXII double page; remainder full page). Plates V-X are joined together to form the enormous folding map. Plates XV-XIX, XXI, XXVI-XXIX, XXXV, XLII, XLIII with captions printed on separate plates. Most plates with Piranesi's signature ("Piranesi F/'). Plate XXXI, "Scenographia Machinae" is signed by Francesco Fontana as designer and draftsman and by Arnold van Westerhout as engraver ("Aeques Fran.cus Fontana Inuen; et delin."; "Arnoldus Van Westerhout Antuerp.s. Sculpsit"), and must have been prepared before 1725, the year of van Westerhout's death."(Millard Catalogue) "The 'Campo Marzio' was published by Piranesi in 1762 with two frontispieces (in Latin and Italian) and fortyeight plates. The publication borrows from the two main interests of the author, the archaeological research and the polemical battles of the early 1760s. His historical inquiry is here