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POLENI, Giovanni (1683--1761)
Memorie istoriche della gran cvpola del tempio Vaticano, e de' danni di essa, e de' ristoramenti loro, divise in libri cinque. ...
In Padova nella stamperia del Seminario, 1748.
[8] p., 470 cols., [1] p., [9] fold. etch. pl. (A--H, K) : XIX etch. illus., letterpress tables ; 45.0 cm. (2°)

Poleni's Memorie istoriche were commissioned by Pope Benedict XIV in 1745 to commemorate the reconstruction of the dome of the Basilica di San Pietro in Rome after a series of structural problems which began to appear shortly after the original construction was finished, necessitating the rebuilding of the nave. Further problems arose with Bernini's addition of bell-towers to the façade, and after earthquakes in 1703 and 1730 opened up numerous cracks in the dome, the Pope appointed a commission of architects, engineers and other specialists led by Giuseppe Poleni to assess the situation. Poleni's solution of repairing the worst cracks and securing the dome with iron trusses was implemented by Luigi Vanvitelli and work was completed in 1744. The text includes a history of the dome and descriptions of the work of the commission and of the solution to the problem. The etched title-page device depicts the same image of the erection of a column with motto 'Labore Et Tempore' as that used in the woodcut vignettes of Poleni's Exercitationes Vitruvianae, 1739--41 (q.v.). The full-page etched illustrations are larger than the type-page and those leaves are usually folded, as in both Soane copies. BAL, Early printed books, no. 2588.

Copy Notes
Copy 1: Inscribed in ink on half-title John Soane. Inscribed in pencil on front paste-down 15/, and in ink 6112.
Copy 2: 44.9 cm. Inscribed in pencil on the verso of the first front free-endpaper 3-13-6 with two bookseller's codes; further code (or shelfmark?) in pencil on recto of final free-endpaper. This is the copy sold at Christie's John Sanders sale (q.v.), where it formed lot 105 on the second day, described as 'A beautiful copy, bound in French blue morocca, with broad gilt borders, and gilt leaves.'. It was bought by Soane from T. & W. Boone for £3 3s., 19 April 1826. (Spiers Box). John Sanders (1768--1826) was Soane's first pupil, entering his office in 1784 and leaving in 1790.

Binding Copy 1: C18th vellum, gilt-tooled Kiebitzpapier spine-covering, gilt-tooled, red and black morocco spine-labels.
Copy 2: C18th blue morocco (faded to brown), gilt-tooled borders of interlaced acanthus foliage with alternating strawberry-leaf and fleur-de-lys borders, floral corners, gilt-tooled spine compartments with floral and foliate ornaments, red morocco spine-label, gilt edges, marbled endpapers.

Reference Number 4240


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