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VISCONTI, Giambattista (1722--1784)
Il Museo Pio-Clementino descritto da Giambattista Visconti Prefetto delle Antichita di Roma ...
In Roma da Ludovico Mirri, mercante di quadri, 1782--96.
6 vols ; 61.2 cm. (1º)
I (1782): X, 102 p., engr. t.-pl., engr. port., fold. plan, [54] pl.
II (1784): X, 112 p., engr. t.-pl., engr. port., [55] pl.
III (1790): X, 83, [1] p., engr. t.-pl., engr. port., [54] pl.
IV (1788): XII, 107, [1] p., engr. t.-pl., engr. port., [48] pl.
V (1796): VIII, 90 p., engr. t.-pl., engr. port., [48] pl.
VI (1792): XIV, 94 p., engr. t.-pl., engr. port., [63] pl., [1] table

The first letterpress leaf in each volume is a half-title, indicating subjects i.e. 'Statue ... ' (vols I--III), 'Bassirilievi ... ' (vols IV--V) or 'Busti ... ' (vol. VI). A seventh volume of 'Miscellanea', published after considerable delay in 1807 and dedicated to Pius VII, is not included in either of Soane's sets. The general titles are engraved. After vol. I, Giambattista Visconti's name is replaced by that of his son, Ennio Quirino Visconti, at first without title (vol. II) and then '... Presidente ...' (vol. IV) or '... Direttore Del Museo Capitolino ...' (vols. III, V--VI). The imprint line also changes, naming Luigi and Giuseppe Mirri (vol. IV) or Luigi Mirri only (vols. III, V--VI). The engraved portraits are of the dedicatee, Pius VI. There are two versions. The earlier is signed 'Con Priuil. Pontif. Marco Carloni Romano disegnó, e incise A.MDCCLXXVIII', with, in a later state, the privilege and date erased (cf. vols. I--II, IV). The other version is signed 'Alexan. Mochetti scul. Romæ M DCCXC' (vols. III, V--VI). Excluding titles and portraits, plates are numbered as follows: vol. I: I--LII, A--B plus one unnumbered plan (pl. [34] also unnumbered); vol. II: I--LII, A--B plus one unnumbered (pl. XIX, XXXII, XXXVI and XLVII misnumbered IX, XXXI, XXXV and III respectively); vol. III: I--L, A--C plus one unnumbered; vol. IV: I--XLV, A--B plus two unnumbered (pl. XII-XIII and XXVI-XXVII paired on one plate; pl. XL misnumbered XI; with an additional pl.'*XXIX'); vol. V: I--XLV, A--C; vol. VI: I--LXI, A--B. Brunet calls in error for only 32 plates in vol. II.

Copy Notes Copy 1: Imperfect; vol. V wanting the portrait of Pius VI and the folding engraved plan. This copy includes three unnumbered plates engraved by Luigi Cunego, providing additional views of 'Venere Trovata nella Tenuta di Salone' (cf. vol. I, pl. X), 'Apollo Detto di Belvedere ...' (cf. vol. I, pl. XV) and 'Meleagro Gia nel Palazzo Pighini' (cf. vol. II, pl. XXXIV). These plates are described by Brunet as part of vol. IV, but they are nowhere called for. They were probably engraved some time after the publication of the first volume, intended for insertion as either replacement or (as here) supplementary views. Many of the plate numbers in vol. I are scratched out and replaced by contemporary ink arabic numerals. Vol. III pl. XLI misnumbered XL (corrected in MS.) and pp. 11--12 (f. C2) transposed. -- Purchased for £37 16s. from Josiah Taylor, 13 February 1807. (Spiers Box). Price inscribed in pencil on front pastedown to vol. I 6 vol 37-16-0. Volumes I--IV with MS. notes by an unidentified hand (some in pencil, copied out in ink) at the margins of many of the plates. Most of these notes attempt to discriminate between the authentic and the restored parts of each statue, and a brief criticism is sometimes added. Volume IV stamped on verso of engraved title 'Mvsevm/ Britan/ Nicvm/ Duplicate/ 1804'.
Copy 2: Vols. I--IV only. 60.6 cm. With an undated note to Soane from the bookseller John Williams (10, Charles Street, Soho Square), tipped in at front of vol. I: J Williams begs very respectfully/ to enclose for Sir/ John Soane's Inspection/ a Copy of the Museo/ Clementino - forming/ part of that Work in/ 4 Volumes and he begs/ respectf[ully] to observe that/ it is probably the most/ extraordinary Copy in/ the World, having been in/ the Library of Pope Pius/ 6th it is also singularly/ fine in its condition. This claim is unconfirmed, although some Vatican treasures certainly passed into French hands after Napoleon's invasion of Italy in 1796 and his imprisonment of Pius VI two years later.

Binding Copy 1: C18th half sheep, buff paper boards, gilt-tooled spine with black leather title label above volume designation. One set of tools is used for vols. I--II and IV; another for vol. III; and a third for vols V--VI.
Copy 2: C18th mottled calf, elaborately tooled in gilt in a roccoco corner-and-centrepiece style, with (inter alia) Greek key and floral rolls, and large leaf and feather spray tools, the design repeated on upper and lower covers of each volume. Gilt spines with reddish morocco title-labels.

Reference Number 2849


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