Wall painting in the Triclinium of the House of the Tragic Poet, circa 1825 View larger
Wall painting in the Triclinium of the House of the Tragic Poet, circa 1825
Raoul-Rochette (Désiré), 1789-1854

Pompéi. Choix de monuments inédits. 1ère Partie, Maison du Poète Tragique, par Raoul-Rochette Antiquaire et J. Bouchet Architecte. MDCCCXXVIII [engraved frontispiece] § Pompéi. Choix d’édifices inédits. Deuxième Partie. Peintures spécialement de décors d’intérieurs [printed part-title].

Paris, Chez les Auteurs et chez C. Leconte et chez Desesserts, 1828 [-1839]; 1839 [-1843?]
The sensational discovery of the “House of the Tragic Poet” in November 1824 had independently drawn to Pompeii the newly-appointed curator of antiquities at the Bibliothèque Royale, Désiré Raoul-Rochette, and the architect Jules Frédéric Bouchet (1799-1860). On their return to France, they conceived a deluxe publication in multiple parts. The “1ère Partie, Maison du Poète Tragique” was the first work examining the architecture and painted decoration of an individual Pomepeian villa, and offers invaluable evidence of the house before its disassembly, weathering, and final rebuilding (Lyons and Reed). It appeared seriatim over eleven years and complete copies are seldom found (ours lacks the last four plates). The “Deuxième Partie. Peintures spécialement de décors d’intérieurs” commenced in 1839 and continued for four years, before publication was suspended. It is even rarer than the first part, and only two complete copies can be located (our copy lacks the final three plates).
Subjects
Archaeology, Greek & Roman
Mural painting and decoration, Greco-Roman
Authors/Creators
Raoul-Rochette, Désiré, 1789-1854
Artists/Illustrators
Bouchet, Jules-Frédéric, 1799-1860
Printers/Publishers
Bance, Jacques-Louis, 1761-1847
Desesserts, Alphonse, 1828
Leconte, Casimir, 1828

Raoul-Rochette, Désiré
Saint-Amand-Montrond 1789 – 1854 Paris

Pompéi. Choix de monuments inédits. 1ère Partie, Maison du Poète Tragique, par Raoul-Rochette Antiquaire et J. Bouchet Architecte. mdcccxxviii [engraved frontispiece].

Bound with

Pompéi. Choix d’édifices inédits. Deuxième Partie. Pein­tures spécialement de décors d’intérieurs [printed part-title].

Paris, [Chez les Auteurs et chez C. Leconte et chez Desesserts], 1828 [1839]; 1839 [1843?]

Two parts, folio (490 × 330 mm):

i: (14) ff. letterpress, signed 1–72 and paginated 1–28 (drop-titles, p.1: Pompéi. Choix d’Édifices iné­dits. Première Partie. Observations générales; p.9: Pompéi. Choix d’Édifices inédits. Maison du Poète Tragique); plus engraved frontispiece (transcribed above), and twenty-four hand-coloured engraved plates (of which nos. 1–2, 4–7, 10, 12, 14–15, 17–19 are numbered in the matrice; no. [23] signed E. Ollivier sc). lacking one (of 2) lithographed title-pages, four plates, and lithographed ‘Table des Planches’ (see discussion below).

ii: (1) f. letterpress (printed part-title, transcribed above, with imprint ‘Paris, Chez C. Leconte, Éditeur, Rue de Malte, No.37, au Marais; Et chez Desessert, Passage des Panorama, Galerie Feydeau, No.11. 1840’); plus twenty-four unnumbered, hand-coloured engraved plates. lacking three plates (see discussion below).

Tear in margin of one plate (i/9), otherwise fine impressions with vivid colouring.

preserved in a modern cloth portfolio.

The sensational discovery of the ‘House of the Tragic Poet’ in November 1824 had independently drawn to Pompeii the newly-appointed curator of antiquities at the Biblio­thèque Royale, Désiré Raoul-Rochette, and the architect Jules Frédéric Bouchet (1799–1860). On their return to France, they conceived a deluxe publication in multiple parts. It was the first work examining the architecture and painted decoration of an indi­vidual Pomepeian villa,1 and it ‘offers invaluable evidence of the house before its disassembly, weathering, and final rebuilding’.2

Wall painting in the Triclinium of the House of the Tragic Poet, circa 1825

The first part of the work was projected in five livraisons, each one to be comprised of four plates ‘gravées à l’eau forte et coloriées au pinceau’ by Bouchet of the vibrantly-hued mythological frescoes decorating the ‘Maison de Poète tragique’, together with ‘plusieurs feuil. de text’ by Raoul-Rochette. According to a prospectus, ‘La première livraison paraitra vers la fin d’avril [1828], et les autres suivront régulièrement de deux mois en deux mois’.3 By 1830, however, only sixteen pages of text and thirteen plates had been distributed to subscribers.4 Further fascicules of plates and text were issued intermittently, until 1839, when the ‘1ère Partie, Maison du Poète Tragique’ was completed (in seven fascicules).5 A lithographed ‘Table des Planches de la maison du Poëte Tragique à Pompeï… contenues dans ce volume’, printed in 1839, calls for a (lithographed) title, a frontispiece, and twenty-seven plates.6

The full complement of plates and text, however, is seldom found. Raoul-Rochette’s own copy, reportedly a ‘Très-bel exemplaire’ bound ‘en cuir de Russie à comp., fil.… avec le nom de M. Raoul Rochette sur les plats’ was imperfect: ‘il contient 22 planches’.7 The present copy contains twenty-four plates; it is lacking the last four plates (nos. 24–27),8 also the lithographed title9 and lithographed ‘Table des Planches’,10 both of which were issued upon cessation of publication in 1839 (all the descriptive letterpress is present). Complete or nearly complete copies are found in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France,11 Metropolitan Museum of Art,12 Getty Research Institute,13 Library of Congress,14 and Bayerische Staatsbibliothek;15 another was recently seen on the market.16

In the text of the first part (p.9), Raoul-Rochette announced that the ‘seconde partie de cet ouvrage’ would be a study ‘plus exacte sous tous les rapports’ of Pompeii’s public baths. This intention was not fulfilled: Raoul-Rochette wrote no further descriptive notices. The second part contains only plates by Bouchet, distributed within a wrapper titled ‘Deuxième Partie. Peintures spécialement de décors d’intérieurs’.

The ‘couverture’ (plate [1]) of the second part was printed in 1839;17 in 1840, a letterpress part-title (giving the address of the publisher Casimir Leconte) was supplied.18 The progress of the publication thereafter is imperfectly documented; it seems that eight fascicules (numbered 8–15, continuing the numeration of the part i) appeared before it too ceased, sometime after 1843.19

The ‘Deuxième Partie’ is rarely found with its full complement of twenty-seven unnumbered plates.20 The copies reported in the Département des Estampes of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France21 and in the library of the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris seem complete;22 copies else­where in Paris are incomplete,23 and only a single, incomplete copy can be traced in North American libraries.24 The present copy lacks the final three plates ([25]–[27]).

The work was distributed initially by the authors and by Jacques-Louis Bance; by 1839, Maison Bance had been supplanted by Casimir Leconte and Alphonse Desesserts. Another contemporary issue of the plates by Delaunay is known.25

After Bouchet’s death in 1860 the plates passed to the publisher Maheu, who about 1870 first published the so-called ‘second edition’. Maheu erased the date ‘mdcccxxviii’ from the frontispiece of the ‘Maison du Poète Tragique’ and added (instead of the Deuxième partie) plates from Raoul Rochette’s Choix de peintures inédites: tirées d’Herculanum et de Pompeï (originally published in seven parts, 1844–1853).26 The Maheu editions also can be recognised by their slightly larger format (page height 56/58 cm) and by the complete absence of descriptive letterpress. Maheu’s edition in turn was reissued circa 1874 by Charles Delatre.27

references Friedrich Furcheim, Bibliografia di Pompei Ercolano e Stabia (second edition, Naples 1891), p.83; Laurentino García y García, Nova bibliotheca pompeiana (Rome 1998), p.1003 no. 11.555; Vito Castiglione Minischetti, Giovanni Dotoli, and Roger Musnik, Bibliographie du voyage français en Italie du Moyen Âge à 1914 (Fasano & Paris 2002), p.200

1. Claire Lyons and Marcia Reed, ‘The Visible and the visual: Pompeii and Herculaneum in the Getty Research Institute Collections’ in Antiquity recovered: the legacy of Pompeii and Herculaneum, edited by V.C. Gardner Coates and J.L. Seydl (Los Angeles 2007), pp.147–148 and fig. 14.

2. Bettina Bergmann, ‘The Roman House as Memory Theater: The House of the Tragic Poet in Pom­peii’ in The Art Bulletin 76 (1994), pp.225–256, reproducing three of Bouchet’s plates (nos. 19, 2, 4) as figs. 7, 12, 22.

3. See the extracts from the prospectus published in the Bulletin des Sciences historiques, Antiquités, Philologie, edited by J.-J. and J.-F. Champollion-Figeac (Paris 1828), ix, pp.368–370 no. 344; and in the Journal des Savants (March 1828), pp.190–191.

4. J.C. Brunet, Nouvelles recherches bibliographiques, supplément au Manuel du libraire (Paris 1834), iii, p.143; J.-M. Quérard, La France littéraire, ou dictionnaire bibliographique (Paris 1836), viii, p.99: ‘1828–1830, in-fol. de 16 pag., avec 13 planches’. The first livraison is recorded in the Revue biblio­graphique du Royaume des Pays-Bas 7 (1828), p.349 (‘avec 5 planches’); the second livraison is recorded among works received ‘January–March 1829’ in Foreign Quarterly Review 4 (no. 7, April–August 1829), p.350 no. 167. In a review by E. de Laglandière, in Annali dell’instituto di corrispon­denza archeologica 1 (1829), pp.370–375, twelve plates are said to have been published to date.

5. Bibliographie de la France, 6 May 1839, p.164 no. 1706: ‘fin de la 1ère partie et commencement de la 2e, In-folio d’une feuille servant de couverture (plus une table lithographique)’. The completed work is recorded by Charles Louandre and Félix Bourquelot, La Littérature Française contemporaine, 1827–1844 (Paris 1846), ii, p.372: ‘1828 et ann. suiv., in-fol. de 28 pag. plus 27 planches, un titre et un frontispice’ (no ‘Table’ is mentioned).

6. Only one plate is signed (no. [23]), by Emile Edmond Ollivier (1800–1864), an engraver of architec­tural subjects and portraits, exhibiting at the Salon de Paris between 1827 and 1850.

7. ● Unlocated; see Catalogue des livres composant la bibliothèque artistique, archéologique, histori­que et littéraire de feu M. Raoul Rochette (Paris 1855), p.264 no. 2332. Other fragments ● Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Library, GF 9 K 4 (6 plates) ● Cambridge, University Library, LA.5.26 (15 plates) ● Rome, American Academy, Library, 460.8.Pom. Rao (15 plates).

8. The ‘Table des Planches’ identifies these plates as 24: ‘Calque de la figure du panneau à gauche du tablinum’; 25–26: ‘Ornemens divers calqués’; 27: ‘Peinture de la chambre marquée 20 sur le plan’.

9. Maison | du | Poëte Tragique | A Pompéi | Publiée, Avec Ses Peintures Et Ses Mosaïques, Fidelement | Reproduites Et Avec Un Texte Explicatif | par Raoul Rochette, Antiquaire, et J. Bouchet Architecte. | [view, captioned:] État actuel de la Façade de la Maison du Poëte tragique à Pompéi | Paris, Chez les Auteurs et Chez C. Leconte Editeur, Bouleyd Poissonnière, 16 | Et Chez Desesserts Passage des Pano­ramas | Galerie Feydeau Nº 13.

10. Drop-title: Table des Planches | de la maison | Du Poëte Tragique | À Pompeï | […] | Fin de la Table | des planches contenues dans ce volume.

11. ● Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, J–301 (in the BnF’s digital library NUMM–208323; see http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k208323b); judging by the reproduction, some plates in this copy may be facsimiles. Included is a printed wrapper: Pompéi. | Choix | D’Edifices Inédits. | [rule] | Première Partie. | Maison du Poète Tragique. | Par | Raoul-Rochette, Membre de l’Institut, | Et J. Bouchet, Architecte | [rule] [blank space, for inserting a number] Livraison [rule] | Paris, | Chez les Auteurs, | […] | Et Chez Bancé Ainé, Rue Saint-Denis, Nº 214 | 1828. | [beneath typographical frame:] De L’Imprimerie de Crapelet, Rue de Vaugirard, Nº 9.

12. ● New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1968, 68.684.8.

13. ● Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute, NA327.P6 R36 1828 (apparently lack­ing the lithographed ‘Table des Planches’; see local opac: ‘[4], 28 p., [27] leaves of plates’ (including ‘t.p. engraved and hand colored. Added engraved, hand-colored series t.p.’).

14. Formerly in the Library of the American Institute of Architects, transferred in November 2011 to the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

15. ● Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, 2 Arch. 219 n (local opac: ‘28 S.: 27 Ill.’).

16. Sims Reed, “Antiquarian Books”, London [n.d.], item 25, part 1 only: “Engraved title with vignette, engraved frontispiece & 27 engraved plates, the majority of which are hand-coloured… contemporary red quarter straight-grained morocco”.

17. J.M. Quérard, Revue bibliographique (Paris 1839), p.26 no. 218: ‘…7e livraison (fin de la 1re partie et commencement de la 2e)’.

18. Pompéi. | Choix | D’Édifices inédits. | [rule] | Deuxième Partie. | Peintures | spécialement de décors d’intérieurs’. | [ornament] | Paris, | Chez C. Leconte, Éditeur, | Rue de Malte, N o 37, au Marais; | et chez Dessert, | Passage des Panoramas, Galerie Feydeau, N o 11. | 1840.

19. Fascicules numbered 9–12 are registered in the Bibliographie de la France: 17 April 1841, no. 412 (livraison 9, comprising plates 7–10); 2 April 1842, no. 572 ([livrai­son 10]); 3 December 1842 no. 1750 (livraison 11); 16 September 1843 no. 1390 (livraison 12, com­prising four plates).

20. Twenty-seven plates are in ● Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, J–301 (without title, or printed wrapper; see note 11 above).

21. ● Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Estampes, Ha 119; Inventaire du fonds français après 1800, 13 (Paris 1965), p.239: ‘vingt-sept pl. coloriées’.

22. ● Paris, Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Fol Rés 356. The copy apparently is bound together with the ‘1ère Partie, Maison du Poète Tragique’, and is described in the local opac as ‘15 livraisons’ and dated 1828–1842’.

23. ● Paris, Institut de France, Bibliothèque, Fol N 93 C 1 (‘Livraison i–xi reliée en un vol. qui couvre la 1ère partie (1828) et la 2ème partie (1840)’ ● Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, J–300 (‘La 2e partie ne contient que des pl.) ● Paris, Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, 01383 A 0005 F° (‘2 parties en 1 vol. gr. in-fol.’).

24. ● Atlanta, Atlanta History Center, Harvey Smith collection, N5771. R36 1828-1840. From the Library’s opac: ‘2 v. in 1 (folio): plates (col., incl. plans); 50 cm. Table of Contents: Ptie. 1. Maison du poëte tragique a Pompéi, publié, avec ses peintures et ses mosaïques, fidelement, reproduites et avec un texte explicatif. Ptie. 2. Peintures specialément de décors d’intérieurs. Harvey Smith copy includes 2 copies of the Maison du poëte tragique: one is dated 1828, does not include the subtitle, and is 50 cm; the other is not dated, does include the subtitle, and is 54 cm. The copy that is 50 cm. has numbered plates: title, 1, 4–7, 10, 12, 14–15, 17–19. The plates in the copy that is 54 cm. are not numbered but they do not duplicate the plates from the 50 cm. copy. Harvey Smith copy also includes explanatory pages: Maison, 54 cm., pages 9–28; Peintures, dated 1840, 56 cm., pages 1–8. The Peintures plates are not numbered’. No plates of the second part seem to be present in the copies in the National Gallery of Art and Getty Research Institute.

25. The original lithographed title ‘Maison du Poëte Tragique a Pompéi publiée, avec ses peintures et ses mosaïques…’ is copied as an engraving, with imprint ‘Paris, Chez Delaunay, Libraire Rue de Seine, 39’ in ● London, National Art Library, 67.H.35 (22 plates only). Fragmen­tary watermarks in the paper: arc and - ttes (in bold, circus types).

26. Most copies of the Maheu editions are undated; one dated 1871 is described in the Inventaire du fonds français après 1800, 3 (Paris 1942), p.185 (‘Seconde édition, chez Maheu, 1871’). Copies of Maheu edition are in ● Birmingham, University Library, r port DG 183.P6 (height 58 cm) ● Liverpool, University Library, SPEC 72.032.7.B75 (local opac: ‘[1] p., [26] leaves of plates: ill., front.; 53 cm.’) ● Paris, Bibliothèque Forney, NS 441 Gr Fol (‘27 pl. et plan en noir et coloriées’) ● Paris, Bibliothè­que Nationale, Smith Lesouef R–1050 ● Washington, dc, National Gallery of Art, N44.B7545 A43 1800 (56.5 × 81.3 cm). This last copy is wrongly described in Ursus Rare Books, ‘Catalogue 262: Fine and Important Books’, New York, [n.d.], item 17, and in the Gallery’s opac, as a copy of the 1828 edition, lacking text; in fact, it is a complete copy of a Maheu edition, containing at the end (as usual) re-printed plates of Raoul-Rochettes Choix de peintures inédites.

27. Bibliographie de la France, 29 August 1874, no.1381: ‘Maison du poëte tragique à Pompéi, publiée, avec ses peintures et ses mosaïques fidèlement reproduites, par (J. Bouchet), architecte. (Titre, fron­tispice et 27 pl.) Paris, imp. (Ch. Delâtre)’.

Top