Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Vasi, Candelabri, Cippi, Sarcofagi, Tripodi, Lucerne, Ed Ornamenti Antichi Disegn.
Marble altar decorated with friezes in relief and supported by chimeras at the base.
Published Rome 1778.
390 x 250 mm.
Wilton Ely 982
Piranesi had begun the etchings for the plates in this work as early as 1768. The growing trade in newly excavated classical objets d’art, particularly to aristocratic British collectors, encouraged Piranesi to establish a workshop and showroom for the restoration and sale of these antiquities. This eclectic and splendid collection of engravings depicts objects (such as the amazing vase sold to the Earl of Warwick in 1774), many excavated by Gavin Hamilton from the Pantenello area of Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli in 1769, and in 1777 during the Spanish excavations at the Villa Negroni in Rome, that passed through his workshop in the Palazzo Tomati (located conveniently close to the British quarter in the Piazza di Spagna). Many other notable and interesting pieces, from lamps to monumental vases and sarcophagi are also included. Piranesi notes on many plates that the object has been imaginatively restored, and provides detailed and useful information about the discovery and contemporary location of the objects concerned. Each plate is dedicated to a particular collector, including such luminaries as Sir William Hamilton, Charles Townley, The Marquess of Exeter, William Vyse, William Beckford &c.
A fine early impression from the collection of Carlotta Cattaneo Adorno Fasciotti Giustiniani (1923- 1989) of Palazzo Durazzo Pallavicini, Genoa.