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PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista ( 1720--1778)
[Campus Martius.]
Ioannis Baptistae Piranesii Antiquariorum Regiae Societatis Londinensis Socii Campus Martius antiquae urbis Romae MDCCLXII
Rome: veneunt apud auctorem in ædibus Comitis Thomati via Felici prope templum SS. Trinitatis in Monte Pincio, 1762
[8], 69, [1], XII, xvii, [1] p., etch. t.-pl., etch. dedic., XLVIII etch. pl. : etch. illus. ; 54.5 cm. (2°)

This work was originally conceived in 1755 as no more than a straightforward historical map of the Campo Marzio for publication as a plate in Piranesi's 4-volume magnum opus, Le antichità Romane (1756, q.v.). Piranesi's purpose was to combine and correlate the evidence of existing visible remains with that of the marble fragments of the Severan plan of the ancient city, which it seems he had helped the cartographer G.B. Nolli to re-assembly in the Capitoline Museum in 1742--43). However by the time Piranesi's magnificent six-sheet plan of the 'Campus Martius' (pl. V--X) restored to its original splendour was finally ready for publication in May 1762, he had also produced no less than 42 ancillary plates and 70 pages of explanatory text to form in effect a entire sequel to Le antichità Romane.

Although Robert Adam was to wait seven years before benefitting publicly from the kudos of Piranesi's dedication 'Al Chiarissimo Il Sig. Roberto Adam' - by which time his London architectural practice was already well launched - it was a delay that worked nonetheless much to the Scottish architect's advantage, in that his name became internationally associated not with a mere map hidden within a book but with one of Piranesi's most spectacular re-creations of the glories of ancient Rome. See BAL Early printed books, no. 2551 for further details.

Copy Notes Copy 2: Inscribed in ink on front free-endpaper John Soane.

Binding Copy 1: C19th calf, gilt-ruled borders, gilt-ruled spine, red spine-label gilt-lettered `Piranesi / Campos / Martios'. Part of a 12-volume set bound by Hood and McCullock for £24 on 3 July 1826. (Archive 16/12/38).
Copy 2
: C18th half vellum, paper boards.

Reference Number 6417


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