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Le antichità di Ercolano esposte
Napoli, nella Regia Stamperia,, 1757--92.
8 vols ; 48 cm. (2°)
I: [8], 279 [i.e. 179], [9] p., engr. t.-pl., engr. port., engr. map, [50] pl. (1 fold.) : engr. illus.
II: [14], 339, [11] p., engr. port., [60] pl. : engr. illus.
III: [4], XVII, [1], 339, [11] p., engr. port., [60] pl. : engr. illus.
IV: [4], X, 368 [i.e. 228], [12] p., engr. port., [70] pl. : engr. illus.
V: [4], XXXVI, 280 [i.e. 122], [10], 32, [2] p., engr. port., [87] pl. (2 fold.) : engr. illus.
VI: [4], VII, [1], 423 [i.e. 225], [15] p., engr. port., [101] pl. : engr. illus.
VII: [4], X, 407 [i.e. 239], [1] p., engr. port., [84] pl. (1 fold.) : engr. illus.
VIII: XLIII, [1], 316 [i.e. 176], 319--346 [i.e. 204] p., engr. port., 93 pl. (i.e. 98) : engr. illus.

Title from general title-plate in vol. I only. Published under the auspices of the Accademia Ercolanese di Archeologia. This was the first authorised publication of the results of the excavations at Herculaneum which had been undertaken since 1738 in the strictest secrecy, with sketching on site and in the museum at Portici where the finds were stored being forbidden. So high was English interest in the subject that 500 sets were ordered to be reserved for English dilettanti, forming a new visual repertory for architects and artists. Volumes I--II were edited by O. A. Bajardi, the author of the first and only part published of the official printed catalogue in 1754 (q.v.), IV--V by P. Carcani, the secretary of the Accademia Ercolanese, established in 1755 to interpret the archaeological evidence. Volumes I--IV and VI, dated 1757, 1760, 1762, 1765 and 1779 respectively, have letterpress title-pages reading Le pitture antiche d'Ercolano e contorni incise con qualche spiegazione tomo primo (--quarto, settimo); volumes V--VI, dated 1767 and 1771, have title-pages reading De' bronzi di Ercolano e contorni incisi con qualche spiegazione tomo primo. Busti. (--secondo. Statue.); vol. VIII dated 1792 has title-page reading Le lucerne ed candelabri d'Ercolano e contorni incise con qualche spiegazione tomo unico. The first seven volumes are dedicated to Charles III, King of the Two Sicilies, with the same portrait of him in each, and the final volume to Ferdinand IV. The plates in all volumes are included in the general pagination of the text. The Soane copy has the earlier issue of vol. VIII with the main sequence of plates numbered 1--93, the pagination being completely at variance with the text; for later issues the numbering was erased and the pagination partly corrected. An intended ninth volume describing the marbles never appeared. BAL, Early printed books, no. 112.

Copy Notes Imperfect; wanting the half-titles in all volumes, and the engraved portrait in vol. V. Volume VII of the Soane copy (containing 'Tomo Quinto' of the paintings) is bound as vol. V to follow on from the first four volumes of paintings, and the two volumes of bronzes (the fifth and sixth issued) are bound as volumes VI and VII.

Binding C19th diced russia, gilt roll-tool borders, gilt roll-tooled spines, marbled end-papers.

Reference Number 3671

Additional Names Herculaneum (Extinct city); Bajardi, Ottavio Antonio (1690--1765); Carcani, Pasquale (1721--1783)

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