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I quattro libri dell’architettura.
Venezia, Domenico de’ Franceschi 1570 (but facsimile reprint with engraved plates, Venezia, c.1767).
Price: 3450 GBP Reference: 13541
Folio. 4 books in 1. Engraved title leaf, (2) + 63 + (1)pp ; engraved title leaf, 76pp ; engraved title leaf, (2) + 42 + (2)pp ; engraved title leaf, 131 + (1)pp. Contemporary full green panelled morocco, gilt, all edges gilt, a few minor scratches to upper and lower covers. A small crease at lower outer corner of leaves of Book Four, and other mostly fainter creases elsewhere, but a good, clean copy generally. Nineteenth century ink ownership inscription of Edw.C.Ellery (presumably Edward Crispe Ellery, a London barrister) at head of dedication leaf of Book One, also nineteenth century armorial bookplate of Lord Monson on front pastedown endpaper.
A good copy in a contemporary English green morocco binding of this celebrated mid eighteenth century facsimile reprint of the first edition of Palladio’s Quattro Libri dell’Architettura. The idea of such an edition had emerged in discussions in the late 1750s between the architectural historian Tommaso Temanza and Joseph Smith (c.1674-1770), the long-lived British-born businessman and patron of the arts who had settled in Venice and who served as British Consul there between 1744 and 1760. By 1759 Smith appears to have commissioned a local Venetian artist, Pietro Monaco, to make accurate engraved copies of the woodcut illustrations that appeared in the original edition of 1570, while the printing and publication of the intended volume was entrusted to Smith’s close associate G.B. Pasquali. Although publication had originally been planned for the early 1760s, it was not until 1767 at the earliest that the first copies of the finished volume were available, and general distribution of the edition still had not taken place by the end of 1768. The edition is remarkable both for the accuracy with which Smith’s engraver reproduces the original woodcuts and for the care taken that the volume as a whole should closely resemble the edition of 1570, and it testifies to the veneration in which Palladio was still held two centuries after the first publication of the Quattro Libri. It should be recorded that the present copy contains a marginal note in English on p.79 of Book Four, in a late eighteenth century or early nineteenth century hand, noting the different colours of the marbles used in the internal decoration of the Pantheon. BAL Cat 2390.