Bayardi, Ottavio Antonio (1695-1764).
Catalogo degli antichi monumenti dissotterrati dalla discoperta città di Ercolano... Naples, Regia Stamperia, 1755. (uniformly bound with:) Le antichità di Ercolano, esposte. Naples, Regia Stamperia, 1757 - 1792.
Nine volumes, large folio (510x390 mm). Complete, with 609 plates (the extra plate no. 610 recorded in RIBA, is usually not included in the known copies). The first six volumes of the Antichità feature a frontispiece with medallion portrait of Charles III, King of Spain and the Indies, engraved by Filippo Morghen (1730-1807) after a drawing by Camillo Paderni (this frontispiece is lacking in the seventh volume); the frontispiece of the eighth volume bears a medallion portrait of Charles III's successor, his son Ferdinand IV. Contemporary Viennese bindings executed by Georg Friedrich Krauss (fl. 1791-1824) for Duke Albrecht von Sachsen-Teschen. The fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh volumes of the Antichità bound in red gilt-tooled full-morocco, while the boards of the first, second, third, and eighth ones, and those of Bayardi's Catalogo are covered with red painted paper. All nine volumes feature uniform red morocco spines with seven raised bands, with double green morocco lettering-pieces, the other compartments decorated with gilt floral tools, and the gilt monogram 'AST'. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, inside dentelles in the volumes bound in full morocco. A very fine, wide-margined set, printed on strong paper. Minor wear to the head of the spine of the first volume.
Provenance: Herzog Albrecht Kasimir August von Sachsen-Teschen (1738-1822; armorial bindings; see no. 253); Giorgio Fanan (ex-libris on the front pastedown of the first volume).
A splendid set of large volumes containing the first edition of this monumental work devoted to archaeological discoveries at the ancient Roman town of Herculaneum, printed on thick paper and magnificently bound for the well-known bibliophile Albert of Sachsen-Teschen, founder of the eponymous Albertina in Vienna. The set is complete with the Catalogo degli antichi monumenti dissotterrati per ordine della maestà di Carlo re delle due Sicilie by the archaeologist from Parma Ottavio Antonio Bayardi or Baiardi (1695-1764). The Catalogo briefly describes more than two thousand monuments and works unearthed in the discovered town. It was printed in 1755 and is often lacking in the recorded sets.
The Antichità di Ercolano represents the most important source for the development of neo-classical art. It was printed by the Regia Stamperia, the royal publishing house founded by the Bourbons in 1750, and edited by the Royal Herculaneum Academy. The vast project involved several scholars, and the reports were supplemented with magnificent illustrations by prominent artists of the time, including Camillo Paderni, director of the Royal Herculaneum Museum at Portici, and court artists who had obtained permits to draw the objects, including Anton Raphael Mengs, Luigi Vanvitelli, and Giovanni Battista Casanova.
The frontispiece of the first six volumes of the Antichità di Ercolano features a fine engraved portrait of Charles III (1716-1788), Duke of Bourbon, with symbols of the excavations carried out while he was King of Naples: some papyrus scrolls, a bust of Epicurus, vessels and coins, a pick and a shovel. It also depicts the inscription found in the theatre, including the word 'Herculanenses', which enabled excavators to identify the town brought to light as Herculaneum. The frontispiece of the eighth volume – appeared in 1792, i.e., thirty-five years after the publication of the first volume – bears instead the medallion portrait of Charles III's successor, his son Ferdinand IV (1751-1828). It is rare to find a such numbers of engraved portraits in the volumes of the Antichità. In fact, the copies known are often found lacking many of the frontespieces.
Albrecht von Sachsen-Teschen assembled one of the most complete and finely illustrated books from the presses of leading printers. Although unsigned, the present binding can confidently be attributed to the outstanding Viennese binder Georg Friedrich Krauss (fl. 1791-1824), one of von Sachsen-Teschen's principal binders (see no. 253). “Les exemplaires sont tous d'exception, imprimés sur grand papier, les gravures soit avant la lettre, soit en différents états; mais ce qui rend la collection tout à fait unique ce sont les superbes reliures de l'époque, la pluspart avec les dos mosaïqués et ornés du chiffre du duc Albert de Saxe, d'une fraicheur et d'un état de conservation parfaits” (Catalogue de beaux livres ayant appartenu au duc Albert de Saxe-Teschen, p. VIII).
Cicognara 2645; Ebert 711; RIBA 112 and 224; Kissner 199; Blackmer 678; Catalogue de beaux livres ayant appartenu au duc Albert de Saxe-Teschen, Milan 1930; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 237.