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FONTANA, Carlo (1634--1714)
L'anfiteatro Flavio descritto e delineato dal cavaliere Carlo Fontana.
Nell'Haia appresso Isaco Vaillant, 1725.
[4], 171, [5] p., 24 pl. ; 50.7 cm. (2°)

A description of the Colosseum, its original appearance, proportions and accommodation, the Christian martyrs (apocryphally) slain there and the design for a church in their honour. The engravings including plans, elevations, sections and historical reconstructions were made by D. Franceschini after drawings by Fontana completed by 1696. As well as the three copies of the printed work described here, the original manuscript and drawings are also at the Soane Museum, SM Vol. 116, in a volume signed and dated J.Paine Archt Rome 1774 which was sold to Soane by John Britton for £3 3s. on 13 July 1830. (Priv.Corr. XVI.E.7.25; Priv. Corr. III.B.1.64 & 107). The volume is described in Hellmut Hager, 'Carlo Fontana's project for a church in honour of the Ecclesia Triumphans in the Colosseum, Rome', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes XXXVI, 1973, pp. 319--337. BAL, Early printed books, no. 1094.

Copy Notes Copy 1: Inscribed on verso of first front free-endpaper Fine Copy 1-5-0, and in ink on recto of second front free-endpaper Danl. Robertson / 24. Janry. 1800-. The handwriting matches that of the architect Daniel Robertson (d. 1849), apparently a relation of the family of Robert and James Adam and possibly their pupil, who together with his brother Alexander was in partnership with Adam as building and timber merchants until their bankruptcy in 1817. Robertson later obtained several architectural commissions in Oxford between 1825 and 1828, including the new University Press building and the restoration of the main façade of All Souls College, and following a dispute arising from the latter project, Soane acted as arbitrator for the college. (See Priv. Corr. VIII.M). Robertson's Oxford career came to an end when he was imprisoned for debt in 1828. See Howard Colvin, A biographical dictionary of British architects 1699--1840, 4th ed. (New Haven and London 2008), pp. 873-876; Laurence Kinney, 'John Soane and property disputes: the Argyle Rooms and All Souls College, Oxford, two case studies' in Architectural History v. 41 (1998), pp. 131-144.
Copy 2: 51.1 cm. It was probably this copy that was bought with the 1779 edition of Desgodetz's Édifices antiques de Rome (q.v.), and one of Soane's four copies of Bellori's Veteres arcus Augustorum ..., 1690) from Christie's W. Reveley sale (q.v.), lot 100 for £2 12s. 6d. on 11 May 1801. Front pastedown with ink cypher ua [over] n.
Copy 3: 51.3 cm. Bought from Thomas Boone for 12s. on 21 December 1816. (Spiers Box). With Boone's price =12s= and code xhx in pencil on front free-endpaper.

Binding Copy 1: C18th sprinkled calf, gilt-tooled border incorporating flowers, thistles, pineapples, insects, snakes, and snails, gilt-tooled spine, red morocco spine-label.
Copy 2: C18th mottled calf, gilt-tooled spine, spine-label lost.
Copy 3: C18th stained calf, gilt double-ruled borders, gilt-tooled spine with eight-pointed star ornament, black morocco spine-label.

Reference Number 4125


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