Bodoni’s finest illustrated book

Paciaudi, Paolo Maria (1710-1785).

Descrizione delle Feste celebrate in Parma l’anno MDCCLXIX per le auguste Nozze di Sua Altezza Reale l’Infante Don Ferdinando colla Reale Arciduchessa Maria Amalia. Parma, nella Stamperia Reale, [1769].

Paciaudi, Paolo Maria (1710-1785) Descrizione delle Feste celebrate in Parma l’anno MDCCLXIX per le auguste Nozze di Sua Altezza Reale l’Infante Don Ferdinando colla Reale Arciduchessa Maria Amalia. nella Stamperia Reale, [1769].

Imperial folio (552x406 mm). [8], 76 pages. Parallel text in Italian and French. Engraved title-page within architectural border, the typographical title-page follows. Thirty-six engraved plates, thirty of which are full-page and six are double-page. Engraved head- and tailpieces. Contemporary mottled calf, with the gilt arms of Duke Ferdinand I of Bourbon-Parma on the covers. Spine with seven raised bands, title in gold on red morocco lettering-piece in the second compartment; the other compartments richly decorated with gilt tools showing the symbols of the Bourbon-Parma coat of arms: the towers, the rampant lion and the fleur-de-lis. Joints restored, a few repairs to covers, gilt arms on front panel worn and rubbed. A good copy, light marginal staining to a few leaves, ink spots on the half-title and last plate. Tears repaired in the margin of some plates.

A magnificent festival book printed by Bodoni just a year after his appointment as head of the ducal typography, on the occasion of the marriage of Ferdinand, Duke of Parma to the Archduchess of Austria Maria Amalia of Habsburg-Lothringen, Imperial Princess and daughter of Francis I and Maria Theresa. The wedding was formally celebrated at Colorno on 27 July 1769, but the splendid festival organised in celebration of the union took place in Parma. “On 19 July 1769, Maria Amalia left Mantua for her solemn state entry into the duchy of Parma [...] Finally, on 24 August, Ferdinando and Maria Amalia made their way in a huge procession from Colorno to the cathedral of Parma [...] Planning these events required all Du Tillot's formidable organizational skill, and he insisted on recording the results in the most beautiful way possible. To this end, he gathered Bodoni, [the chief architect of the ducal court Ennemond] Petitot, and Benigno Bossi, the renowned engraver, and exhorted them to produce albums that would astonish everyone with their magnificence. The first and most important of these was Descrizione delle Feste celebrate in Parma” (V. Lester, Giambattista Bodoni, pp. 79-80).

The publication is one of the finest illustrated volumes issued from the Stamperia Reale, “Forse il più attraente di tutti i libri di Bodoni per la bellezza delle figure” (Brooks). It was realised by Bodoni in close collaboration with Ennemond Alexandre Petitot (1727-1801), the latter having been responsible for designing the sumptuous apparati, fabulous scenography, and lavish costuming prepared for those festivities. The bilingual text in Italian and French was composed by the court librarian Paolo Maria Paciaudi and describes the various celebratory performances: tournaments, costume balls, processions, fireworks, a pastoral play in the Boschetto d'Arcadia, and a Chinese fair, all of which are depicted in the marvellous plates, engraved by, among others, Benigno Bossi, Domenico Muzzi, and Giuseppe Patrini, and executed after the designs of such leading artists as G. Volpato, G. Zuliani, Paolo Maria Bossi, and above all the aforementioned Petitot.

The edition, presented here in its first issue, was printed in 1,002 copies, which are housed in different bindings. This copy is one of 144 bound in bazzana, i.e., mottled calf; some of these also bear the Bourbon-Parma coat of arms in gilt, as with the present example.

Brooks 6; De Lama II, 4; Giani, pp. 1-3; Berlin Katalog 3080; Watanabe-O'Kelly & Simon 1141; V. Lester, Giambattista Bodoni: His Life and His World, Boston 2015, pp. 79-80; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 243.

$ 15.000
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