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PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista (1720--1778)
[Opere varie. Another issue c. 1795]
Opere varie di architettura prospettive grotteschi antichita sul gusto degli antichi Romani inventate, ed incise da Gio. Batista Piranesi architetto Veneziano
Roma: si vendono presso l'autore nel palazzo del Signor Conte Tomati su la strada Felice alla Trinità de' Monti, 1750 [i.e. c. 1795].
Bound in one vol. ; 53.5 cm. (1°)

This is a later issue printed in Rome between 1790 and 1798. Plates 17-18, 20-27 are now numbered in the bottom right corner. This copy is not recorded by Andrew Robison but it matches his description of the Bibliothèque Nationale copy Hb.30. (see A. Robison, Piranesi early architectural fantasies: a catalogue raisonné of the etchings, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, 1986. p. 214). Although it is still dated 1750 this second version of the Opere varie letterpress title-page was printed in 1761 (see Robison 28, p. 135, fig. 63) and remained in use until the late 1790s. It was eventually replaced by a third version dated 'Il Primo Giorno Dell' Anno VII. Repubblicano' printed sometime before 22 September 1798 (Robison 28, p. 136, fig. 64; ibid., p. 214). As with the earlier version (q.v.), it is worded sufficiently vaguely to allow for a variety of discrete elements to be included in copies of the Opere varie over a long period, depending on availability and (to some degree at least) individual customer requirements. However it is striking, given this potential for variation between copies, that despite the twenty years or so between them both Soane copies with the second version of the Opere varie title-page contain virtually the same elements bound in almost the same order. This would appear to support Robison's view that, despite the many variations between copies, these are not merely random but constitute evidence of a hidden sequence of distinct editions and issues. Hind, Piranesi, pp. 79-80; cf. Robison, op. cit., p. 214; BAL Early printed books, no. 2562 (re-constructed copy).

The various series combined in the Opere varie are catalogued in more detail under their respective titles. The Soane copy of this mid-1790s issue is arranged as follows:

Opere varie letterpress title-page reading as above, printed in red and black, with etched vignette of Roman ruins signed 'Piranesi fecit.' [see R28, fig. 63]

[1] Prima parte di architetture, e prospettive ... (q.v.): t-pl., [16] pl. numbered 1--15 (pl. [16] un-numbered). [R1: state IV; R2--12, 15--19: state III].

[2] Ten small views (printed on 5 plates numbered 17--18, 20--21). Five of these views are reworkings of plates that had appeared in Piranesi's Lettere di giustificazione, 1757 [i.e. 1758]. See Hind, p. 80.

'Piante di ampio magnifico Collegio ...': 1 double-page plate numbered 22. [R25: state V].

'Parte di ampio magnifico Porto ...': 1 double-page plate, numbered 23. [R26: state VII]. [3] ['Grotteschi'] (q.v.): 4 double-page plates, numbered 24--27. [R21--24: states IV, IV, V and III respectively].

[4] Trofei di Ottaviano Avgvsto ... [later edition, c. 1795] (q.v.): [15] etch. pl. (incl. t.-pl.). Hind, p. 83.

[5] Carceri d'invenzione ... (q.v.): 16 etch. pl. (numbered I--XVI, incl. t.-pl.). R29--44: title-pl. is state VI, the remainder state III. Second edition, third issue. Plates II and V were first added to the second issue of the second edition, and included in all later issues.

[6] Alcune vedute di archi trionfali ... (q.v.): pt 1: [16] etch pl. (incl. t.-pl., dedic.); pt 2: [16] etch pl. (incl. t.-pl.). Hind, p. 76.

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting pl. 4 ('Gruppo di Colonne') of the Prima parte; in its place is a duplicate of pl. 15 (i.e. the 'Tempio antico') in an un-numbered state (R19: state II). Plate 23 ('Parte di ampio magnifico Porto') lacks the caption printed from a separate copperplate. Plates [16] and [19] of (and following) the Prima parte are numbered by hand in ink.

Binding C19th calf, gilt-ruled borders, gilt-ruled spine, red spine-label gilt-lettered 'Piranesi / Opere / Varie'. Part of a 12-volume set re-bound by Hood and McCullock, to whom Soane paid £24 on 3 July 1826. (Archive 16/12/38).

Reference Number 6400


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