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PETITOT, Ennemond Alexandre (1727--1801)
Mascarade a la grecqve dediee a Monsievr le Marqvis de Felino Premier Ministre de S.A.R. par son tres hvmble servitevr Benigno Bossi.
Parme [Begnino Bossi] 1771.
[2], 10 pl. ; 34.1 cm. (4°)

Engraved throughout, comprising three preliminary plates including an engraved title-plate (numbered 1), and nine plates (numbered 2--10) of architectural masquerade costumes etched by Benigno Bossi (1727--1792) from drawings by E.A. Petitot, architect to the court of the Duke of Parma. The preliminary plates consist of an etched title/dedication plate reading as above, the title proper being inscribed in the die of a roundel flanked by smoking lamps and truncated Doric columns (this plate is signed 'Chevr. E.A. Petitot inv. Gravé par Begnini Bossi.'); an unnumbered leaf of engraved text with caption title reading 'Mascarade à la Grecque D'apres les deseins origineaux tirès du Cabinet de Monsieur le Marquis de Felino Premier Ministre de S.A.R. &c.'; and an unnumbered engraved 5-line 'Avis' signed at the end 'Benigno Bossi'. Petitot's humorous designs, parodying the bizarre manifestations of the so-called goût grec that had been prevalent in Paris in the early 1760s, belonged to the Duke of Parma's chief minister, Guillaume du Tillot, marquis de Felino. The timing of Bossi's publication of them in October 1771 was not happy however, for within a month Du Tillot had fallen from power and his protégé Petitot dismissed from his post. It is possible that what had started out as a private joke may have backfired when publicly circulated in the form of Bossi's etchings. The last plate of the suite is a mock self-portrait of the architect himself, dressed 'à la Grecque', leaning nonchalantly on a copy of a monumental tome clearly intended to represent the Descrizione of the elaborate 'Feste' that he had designed for the Duke's wedding barely two years before (q.v.). For an analysis of Petitot's designs and their satiric content see Eileen Harris's article 'Unexpected humour at the Soane', World of Interiors, January 2006, pp. 96--99. Hooked on Books 1.3

Copy Notes It is not known when or from whom Soane acquired this rare series. An interest in and possible acquaintance with Petitot probably arose as a result of Soane's honorary election in 1780 to the Accademia di Belle Arti at Parma, of which Petitot was a founding member and where he remained active despite the loss of his position at court in 1771.

Binding Mid C19th half grey cloth, grey paper boards. Bound in 1853 by George Richmond for 2s. (Curatorial papers/Bailey/parcel 1).

Reference Number 3008


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