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PRIESTLEY AND WEALE
[Catalogue, 1822 or 1823]
Fine arts, architecture, &c. &c. Priestley & Weale, No. 5, High Street, Bloomsbury, booksellers ... beg to offer to the public the following important works, which are now preparing for immediate publication, and also those they have lately published; ... 10 per cent allowed to artists.
[London]: printed by J.F. Dove, St. John's Square, [1822 or 1823].
4 p. ; 27.7 cm. (4°)

Drop-head title. This catalogue is datable to late 1822 or early 1823 on the basis that it announces Cottingham's 'Henry The VII.'s Chapel, ... On Forty-Five Atlas Folio Plates, ...' i.e. the first volume of his Plans, elevations, [&c.] of the magnificent chapel of King Henry the Seventh, 1822 as 'Just published', and Elmes's biography of Wren (1823) as to be published 'in early May'. It is notable as the earliest known catalogue to be issued by Priestley and Weale following their purchase of virtually the whole of the unsold stock and original copperplates of the Adam brothers' books and prints, both published and unpublished, at Christie's sale of 9--11 July 1821 (q.v.), 2nd day, lots 90--130; Priestley and Weale evidently acquired some lots from rival bidders after the sale - see A.T. Bolton, The architecture of R. & J. Adam, II (1922), p. 336. Bolton (ibid., p. 338) reprints an edited version of some of the entries in this catalogue insofar as they relate to Adam material. 'A few Copies of early Impressions' of Spalatro, 'neatly half-bound in calf, and lettered', are offered at the 'extremely cheap' price of £3 3s.; the new edition of the Works in architecture (1822), similarly got up, is advertised as 'Just completed in 3 vols. imperial folio' at £7 17s. 6d., the third volume being available also on its own in sheets at £2 12s. 6d; while the 'lately published' Designs for vases and foliage composed from the antique (1821) could be had 'stitched, with a neat envelope, price 5s. 6d.'

Among the books 'preparing for publication' are three important works which never appeared: the 'Lives Of Robert And James Adam, Architects to the late King, with an Account of their Visit to Italy. Small Octavo, 5s.'; the 'Life Of G.B. Piranesi, Architect and Engraver, with an Account of his Works. Octavo.' to be 'published in June'; and 'Architectural Remains In Rome, Pola, And Naples, From Drawings made by Clerisseau, under the Direction of the late Robert Adam, Esq. F.R.S. F.A.S. Architect to the King.' The original MSS. and copperplates upon which these books were to be based are now lost. Some extracts from James Adam's journal of his Italian tour (1760-63) were published later (as Robert's) in the Library of the Fine Arts, II, nos. 9--10 for October-November 1831 (q.v.), pp. 165--78, 235--45, the original journal 'having fallen into the hands of the Editor' from 'Mr. Weale of High Street, Bloomsbury'. Similarly, the short 'Life of the Chevalier Giovanni Baptista Piranesi' that had appeared earlier in the same magazine (no. 7, August 1831, pp. 8--13) was based on a MS. memoir 'in the possession of the Editor', publication of which 'the spirited publishers, Messrs. Priestley & Weale, ... had announced ... some years since, [but] ... thought proper to abandon'.

Some of Priestley and Weale's supposedly unpublished material, however, had in fact already appeared in a different form. Clérisseau's fourteen views of 'Architectural Remains' had been published as a series of separately-issued furniture prints engraved by Domenico Cunego in Rome (apparently under Piranesi's supervision), and marketed at 5s. each by the printseller J. Brett in London under the collective title The architectural beauties of ancient Rome, 1766[-74?]; see T.J. McCormick, Charles-Louis Clérisseau and the genesis of Neo-classicism (Cambridge, Mass.; London: M.I.T. Press, 1990), p. 242 n. 9; see also Harris and Savage, British architectural books and writers, p. 90 n. 40). The unsold stock (amounting to 139 sets) and original copperplates of this series were described in the 1821 Adam sale catalogue as 'intended by Mr. Adam as a Work Correcting that of Desgodetz (unpublished)' and it may have been no more than this which led Priestley and Weale to propose to combine it with the thirteen genuinely unpublished plates of the Corinthian order that had indeed been intended by Adam for that purpose. No impressions are known of the latter plates and we know nothing about them apart from the fact that they were 'geometrical'. It is difficult therefore to be certain about any past relationship they may have had with Clérisseau's vedute in Adam's intended 'revision' of Desgodetz. It does seem likely, however, that Priestley and Weale's proposed splicing did not really make any sense as a book, and this was the main reason why it was abandoned and Clérisseau's views continued instead to be offered (as they had always been) as a series of individual prints.

Copy Notes Tipped in at the front of Some designs of Mr. Inigo Jones and Mr. Wm. Kent, published by John Vardy, 1744 (q.v.).

Reference Number 3083


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