"Wand aus dem Hause des Diomedes zu Pompeji", lithograph by Borsch after a drawing by Zahn, printed at the Königlichen Lithographischen Institut in Berlin (I, Heft 4, pl. 39) View larger
"Wand aus dem Hause des Diomedes zu Pompeji", lithograph by Borsch after a drawing by Zahn, printed at the Königlichen Lithographischen Institut in Berlin (I, Heft 4, pl. 39)
Zahn (Wilhelm Johann Karl), 1800-1871

Die schönsten Ornamente und merkwürdigsten Gemälde aus Pompeji, Herkulanum und Stabiae, nebst einigen Grundrissen und Ansichten nach den an Ort und Stelle gemachten Originalzeichnungen [Erste Folge, parts 1-10; title in French on following leaf:] Les plus beaux ornemens et les tableaux les plus remarquables de Pompei, d’Herculanum et de Stabiae avec quelques plans, et vues, d’après les dessins originaux exécutés sur les lieux

Berlin, Georg & Dietrich Reimer, 1828-1829
A monumental work on Pompeian wall painting, the second complete book to use chromolithography for its decorative colour, and “astonishingly successful. Zahn’s printer keeps his register successfully when using as many as seven different inks, meaning seven passages through the press” (Bamber Gasgoigne). Published over a period of thirty-one years, it is seldom encountered complete or in an acceptable state of preservation. As often, our set lacks the final two fascicules of the Dritte Folge (twenty plates), but otherwise is complete. The Erste Folge was elegantly bound circa 1830 by Philipp Selenka (1803-1850) of Wiesbaden, brother of Johann Jacob Selenka (1801-1871), Hofbuchbinder in Braunschweig; the two later series are preserved as issued in modern portfolios.
Subjects
Archaeology, Greek & Roman
Mural painting and decoration, Greco-Roman
Authors/Creators
Zahn, Wilhelm Johann Karl, 1800-1871
Artists/Illustrators
Zahn, Wilhelm Johann Karl, 1800-1871
Printers/Publishers
Reimer, Georg Ernst & Dietrich, active 1828-1842
Other names
Selenka, Philipp, 1803-1850

Zahn, Wilhelm Johann Karl
Rodenburg (Hessen) 1800 – 1871 Berlin

Die schönsten Ornamente und merkwürdigsten Gemälde aus Pompeji, Herkulanum und Stabiae, nebst einigen Grundrissen und Ansichten nach den an Ort und Stelle gemachten Originalzeichnungen [Erste Folge, parts 1–10; title in French on following leaf:] Les plus beaux ornemens et les tableaux les plus remarquables de Pompei, d’Herculanum et de Stabiae avec quelques plans, et vues, d’après les dessins originaux exécutés sur les lieux.

Berlin, Georg & Dietrich Reimer, 1828–1829

Ten parts in one volume, broadsheet folio (715 × 570 mm), (10) ff. letterpress, unsigned and unpaginated; plus eleven part-titles (chomolithographs printed in red, yellow, and green) and 101 numbered plates numbered 1–50, 50a, 51–100), some etchings and engravings, some lithographs, including a number printed in colours (chromolithographs), or with added hand-colouring.

Heft i (1828): (1) f. letterpress (printed recto and verso), unsigned and unpaginated, plus two litho­graphed titles (one in German and one in French, transcribed above, both dated 1828), both printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates (nos. 1–10), of which one a folding lithographed map printed from two stones (pl. 1A–B, Grundriss von Pompei) and two printed in colours (nos. 5, 7). The leaf of text has been window-mounted; the two title-plates are mounted. Plate 7 printed on china paper and mounted on the sheet. Plate 5 is numbered in this copy.

ii (1828): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithographed title (in German) printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates (nos. 11–20), of which three printed in colours (nos. 15, 17, 19). Plate 18 is num­bered in this copy and has been folded-in by the binder.

iii (1828): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithographed title (in German) printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates (nos. 21–30), of which three printed in colours (nos. 25, 27, 29).

iv (1828): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithograph title (in German and French) printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates (nos. 31–40), of which three printed in colours (nos. 35, 37, 39). Plate 39 on china mounted on printed sheet. Plate 33 is numbered correctly.

v (1828): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithograph title (in German and French) printed in colours, and eleven lithographed plates (nos. 41–50, 50a), of which three printed in colours (nos. 45, 47, 49). Plate 49 is printed on china paper and tipped to a printed sheet; plate 50 has been folded-in by binder.

vi (1829): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithograph title (in German and French) printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates 10 plates (nos. 51–60), of which four printed in colours (nos. 51, 55, 57, 59). Plate 56 has been folded-in by the binder.

vii (1829): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithograph title (in German and French) printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates (nos. 61–70), of which four printed in colours (nos. 63, 65, 67, 69). Plates 61, 64 have been folded-in by the binder.

viii (1829): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithograph title (in German and French) printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates (nos. 71–80), of which four printed in colours (nos. 71, 75, 77, 79). Plate 73 has been folded-in by the binder.

ix (1829): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithograph title (in German and French) printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates (nos. 81–90), of which four printed in colours (nos. 81, 85, 87, 89). Plate 82 has been folded-in by the binder.

x (1829): (1) f. letterpress (printed on recto), lithograph title (in German and French) printed in colours, and ten lithographed plates (nos.91–100), of which five printed in colours (nos. 91, 93, 95, 97, 99). Plates 96, 100 have been folded-in by the binder.

Occasional browning, or spotting, with most of the tissue interleaves affected; plate 77 stained. The binding is in faultless state of preservation.

bound in russia leather, dyed purple, covers decorated in gilt, upper cover lettered Les | plus beaux ornemens | et | les tableaux les plus remarquables | de | Pompei, d’Herculanum | et de Stabiae | d’après les dessins originaux | par G. Zahn; engraved ticket on purple paper Gebunden bei Ph. Selenka, in Wiesbaden.

Offered with

Zahn, Wilhelm

Die schönsten Ornamente und merkwürdigsten Gemälde aus Pompeji, Herkulanum und Stabiae… Zweite Folge.

Berlin, Georg Reimer, 1841 [–1843]

Ten parts in one volume, broadsheet folio (725 × 605 mm), (10) ff. letterpress, unsigned and unpaginated (most printed on both recto and verso); plus chromolithograph part-title (… Zweite Folge. i–v Heft. Tafel 1–50, repeated in French), and fifty plates (numbered ii.1–50), of which twenty printed in colours (nos. 4, 5, 7, 9, 14, 15, 17, 19, 24, 25, 27, 29, 34, 35, 37, 39, 44, 45, 47, 49), another part-title (… Zweite Folge. vi–x Heft. Tafel 51–100, repeated in French), and fifty plates (numbered ii.51–100), of which twenty-two printed in colours (nos. 54, 55, 56, 57, 59, 64, 65, 67, 69, 74, 75, 79, 83, 84, 85, 87, 89, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99).

gathered in a modern cloth portfolio (loosely inserted is the part-title for the ‘ii. Heft’, printed in red on greyish paper, and dated 1841).

Offered with

Zahn, Wilhelm

Die schönsten Ornamente und merkwürdigsten Gemälde aus Pompeji, Herkulanum und Stabiae… Nach den an ort und stelle gemachten original-zeichnungen von Wilhelm Zahn. Dritte Folge [same title in French]

Berlin, Dietrich Reimer (plates printed by ‘Eduard Hænel’s Buchdruckerei in Berlin’; letterpress ‘Gedruckt bei A.W. Schade in Berlin’), [1849–1859]

Eight (of ten) parts in one volume, broadsheet folio (725 × 605 mm), (9) ff. letterpress, unsigned and unpaginated (printed recto and verso), comprising part–title (Heft i–v, transcribed above) and eight leaves of explication of the plates in German and French, and eighty plates (nos. iii.1–80) of which thirty-three printed in colours (nos. 4, 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 24, 26, 27, 29, 34, 36, 37, 39, 44, 46, 47, 49, 54, 56, 57, 59, 64, 66, 67, 69, 74, 76, 77, 79) and one a single-toned lithograph (no. iii.5).

gathered in a modern cloth portfolio (part title for the ‘Erstes Heft’ inserted (printed in black on a yellow label pasted to brown paper, dated 1849).

A monumental work on Pompeian wall painting, published over a period of thirty-one years, and seldom encountered complete or in an acceptable state of preservation. As often, our set lacks the final two fascicules of the Dritte Folge (twenty plates), but otherwise is complete.1 The Erste Folge was elegantly bound circa 1830 by Philipp Selenka (1803–1850) of Wiesbaden, brother of Johann Jacob Selenka (1801–1871), Hofbuchbinder in Braunschweig;2 the two later series are preserved as issued in modern portfolios.

‘Wand aus dem Hause des Diomedes zu Pompeji’, lithograph by Borsch after a drawing by Zahn, printed in the Königlichen Lithographischen Institut in Berlin (i, Heft 4, pl. 39)

The son of a ‘Dekorationsmaler’, Wilhelm Zahn attended the Gymnasium in Bückeburg, where Anton Wilhelm Strack was Professor für Zeichenkunst, and from 1817–1823 was enrolled in the Kunstakademie in Kassel. In a memoir written in 1830, he credits Ober­baudirektor Heinrich Christoph Jussow and the painter Sebastian Weygandt with his artistic formation.3 In 1823, Zahn travelled via Paris to Italy, arriving in Naples during the spring of 1825, and touring Herculaneum, Pompeii, and Stabiae. The newly revealed wall paint­ings had a profound effect on him, and he returned for extended visits in 1826–1827, 1830, and 1831. On these occasions he recorded (apparently with the help of the Camera Lucida)4 individual figures, borders, compositions, and whole walls, giving particular attention to the colours, which he saw deteriorating rapidly in the fresh air.5

In 1828, Zahn commenced publication of two works: Neu entdeckte Wandgemälde in Pompeji, a series of forty outline lithographs, published at Munich, Stuttgart and Tübingen by J.G. Cotta, in folio format (45 cm);6 and Die schönsten Ornamente und merkwürdigsten Gemälde aus Pompeji, a series of engravings and lithographs, some coloured by hand or colour-printed, published at Berlin by G.A. Reimer, in elephant folio (72 cm). Zahn detected in the Pompeian wall paintings ‘die rechte Quelle für die Dekorationsmalerey des Innern’7 and it seems that his main objective was the production of repertories of patterns useful to designers, not the creation of archaeological records.

‘Gemalter Candelaber aus Pompeji, jetzt im Museum zu Neapel’, drawing by Zahn lithographed by Heinrich Asmus, ‘Farbendruck v. C.G. Herwig’ (i, Heft 4, pl. 39)

During the production of these works, Zahn was in Germany, initially in Kassel, where he collaborated with the landscape painter Johann Martin von Rohden and Friedrich Müller in the decoration of the electoral place on Wilhelmsplatz,8 afterwards in Berlin, where through the intervention of the archaeologist Ernst Heinrich Toelken he was appointed in 1829 professor in the Kunstakademie. After Zahn’s return from Naples in 1831, he commenced publication at Berlin of a third work, Ornamente aller klassischen Kunstepochen nach den Originalen in ihren eigenthümlichen Farben dargestellt, utilising the corpus of drawings which he had assembled during his visits to Italy.9

In March 1828 Zahn circulated a prospectus and specimen plates of Die schönsten Orna­mente und merkwürdigsten Gemälde aus Pompeji and on 5 July the first fascicule was presented by ‘Auswärtige Mitglieder’ Zahn to the Berlin Kunstverein.10 After the tenth and last fascicule of the Erste Folge had appeared, Goethe wrote a laudatory review, promoting Zahn’s plates as good models for the acquisition of good taste.11 The Zweite Folge (Heft i–x) was published at Berlin, by Reimer, in 1841–1843;12 the concluding Dritte Folge (Heft i–x) appeared there 1849–1859.13

In the early years of the project, details on the coloured plates were often finished by hand, but by 1829 whole plates were printed in colour. It is the second complete book to use chromolithography for its decorative colour and ‘astonishingly successful. Zahn’s printer keeps his register successfully when using as many as seven different inks, meaning seven passages through the press.’14 Later subscribers were supplied with lithograph copies of some of the etched or engraved plates in the Erste Folge. Other minor variations between copies are known, such as the presence (or absence) of plate numbers.

references Ernest Vinet, Bibliographie méthodique et raisonnée des beaux-arts (Paris 1874), p.211 no. 1735; Fabia Borroni, ‘Il Cicognara’: bibliografia dell’archeologia classica e dell’arte italiana, ii/4/1 (Florence 1961), p.336 no. 5448; Berlin und die Antike: Architektur, Kunstgewerbe, Malerei, Skulptur, Theater und Wissenschaft vom 16. Jahrhundert bis heute, catalogue of an exhibition, Schloss Charlottenburg, 22 April–22 July 1979 (Berlin 1979), pp.325, 327 nos. 666–667; Early printed books 1478–1840: Catalogue of the British Architectural Library Early Imprints Collection (Munich 2001), pp.2474–2475 no. 3736 (Erste Folge only); Friedrich Furcheim, Bibliografia di Pompei Ercolano e Stabia (second edition Naples 1891), pp.97–101; Laurentino García y García, Nova bibliotheca pompeiana (Rome 1998), pp.1252–1253 no.14.486; Doris Reimer, Passion & Kalkül: der Verleger Georg Andreas Reimer (1776–1842) (Berlin 1999), pp.183–184

Binding by Philipp Selenka of Wiesbaden (Erste Folge)

Border roll employed by Philipp Selenka of Wiesbaden

1. Many copies apparently lack these two fascicules; cf. García y García, op. cit.: ‘molti esemplari mancano i due ultimi fascicoli della terza serie, divenuti molto rari’.

2. Two bindings by Philipp Selenka in the Fürstlich Waldecksche Hofbibliothek, Arolsen, are described by Rudolf-Alexander Schütte and Konrad Wiedemann, Einbandkunst vom frühmittelalter bis Jugend­stil aus den Bibliotheken in Kassel und Arolsen, Universitätsbibliothek Kassel (Kassel 2002), p.54 no. 68 and Abb. 51. He was a specialist ‘Portefeuillearbeiter’; see Hektor Rössler, Ausführlicher Bericht über die von dem Gewerbverein für das Großherzogthum Hessen im Jahre 1842 veranstaltete Allge­meine deutsche Industrie-Ausstellung zu Mainz (Darmstadt 1843), p.240.

3. Jahrbücher der Literatur (Vienna) 51 (1830), p.13 (‘Wilhelm Zahn berichtet von seinem Lebens­gange’).

4. Cf. William Gell, Pompeiana: the topography, edifices and ornaments of Pompeii; the result of excavations since 1819 (London 1832), I, p.109, where Gell credits as the source of his plate xxix ‘a large drawing made with the camera lucida by my friend M. Zahn’.

5. Zahn mostly drew in pencil or charcoal, in full size, noting the colours in the margins of the sheet; sometimes he made watercolour drawings. Many of his drawings are in the Antikensammlung der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin; see Silvia Schöne, in Italienische Reise: immagini pompeiane nelle raccolte archeologiche germaniche, edited by Baldassarre Conticello (Naples 1989), pp.365–383 nos. 121–166 (fourteen of these are drawings copied for Die schönsten Ornamente und merkwürdigsten Gemälde aus Pompeji). See also Max Kunze, ‘Zeichnungen, Aquarelle und Faksimile von Wilhelm Zahn und Wilhelm Ternite’ in Kölner Jahrbücher für Vor- und Frühgeschichte 24 (1991), pp.269–270; Bilder aus Pompeji: Antike aus zweite Hand: Spuren in Württemberg, catalogue of an exhibition in Alten Schloss, Stuttgart, 23 October 1998–11 April 1999, edited by Marion Mannsperger and Joachim Migl (Stuttgart 1998), pp.84–86 nos. 9–10 (attesting the accuracy of Zahn’s drawings and prints by comparison with modern photographs published in Häuser in Pompeji, Bd. 8, Casa della Fontana piccola, edited by Thomas Fröhlich, Munich 1996, Abb. 185–187).

6. Reviewed in Berliner Kunst-Blatt 1 (January 1828), pp.14–21. Bernhard Fischer, Der Verleger Johann Friedrich Cotta: chronologische Verlagsbibliographie 1787–1832 (Munich 2003), p.673 no. 1821.

7. Jahrbücher der Literatur, op. cit., p.13: ‘Ich wurde von den antiken Malereyen insbesondere so durchdrungen, und sah, daß dieses die rechte Quelle für die Dekorationsmalerey des Innern war (wozu ich immer die größte Neigung hatte), daß ich mich entschloß, den Sommer 1826 meist in Pompeji zuzubringen’.

8. G.K. Nagler, Neues allgemeines Künstler-Lexicon, 25 (Leipzig 1835–1852), p.151.

9. The work appeared in twenty Hefte issued between 1832 and 1848; a second edition appeared in 1853. Zahn’s drawings for this work are in the Kunstbibliothek, Berlin, Hdz 3978–3978a.

10. Berliner Kunst-Blatt 1 (July 1828), p.198 and pp.206–210 (review by Friedrich Förster). Cf. Allge­meine deutsche Biographie, 44 (Leipzig 1898), p.668: ‘im Juni 1828 lag bereits das erste Heft dem Kronprinzen vor’. Ordinary copies and a ‘Prachausgabe’ are advertised; the latter possibly offered the plates on china paper, mounted.

11. J.W. von Goethe, in Jahrbücher der Literatur 51 (July–September 1830), pp.1–12. Zahn had first shown his Pompeii drawings to Goethe in Weimar on 7 September 1827 and Goethe afterwards described them in a letter to Karl Friedrich Zelter as ‘einen unglaublichen Schatz’. Cf. Jörn Göres, ‘Goethe und der Zeichner Wilhelm Zahn’ in Düsseldorfer Hefte 14 (1969), pp.8–13.

12. Cf. Serapeum: Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswissenschaft, Handschriftenkunde und ältere Litteratur, ‘Intelligenzblatt’, no. 13, 15 July 1841, p.99 (‘2te Folge. 1 Heft’).

13. Cf. Deutsches Kunstblatt (Stuttgart), no. 8, 25 February 1850, p.63 (Novitätenschau): ‘Dritte Folge, erstes und zweites Heft. Berlin 1849. Roy.-Fol. Dietrich Reimer. Diese Folge wird in 10 Heften zu 10 Tafeln erscheinen, wovon je 4 in Farbendruck. Preis eines jeden Heftes 8 Thlr. Prachtausgabe 11 ½ Thlr’. Allgemeine Bibliographie. Monatliches Verzeichniss der wichtigern neuen Erscheinungen der deutschen und ausländischen Literatur, no. 2, February 1859, p.36 no. 569 (‘3. Folge. 9. Hft. Berlin 1858’) and Bibliographisches Jahrbuch für den deutschen Buch-, Kunst- und Landkarten-Handel 17 (Leipzig 1859), ii, p.274 (‘iii. Folge. 10 Heft. Berlin 1859’).

14. Bamber Gasgoigne, Milestones in Colour Printing 1457–1859 (Cambridge 1997), pp.vi, 25–26; cf. Catalogue of the British Architectural Library, op. cit., p.2474 (‘between two and eight colours’). Joachim Migl, ‘Wilhelm Zahns Dokumentation pompejanischer Wandmalereien als frühe Farblitho­grafie. Mit einem Exkurs zur Technik von Boris Fuchs’ in Druckfarbe zwischen Alchemie und High­tech: Jahrestagung des Internationalen Arbeitskreises Druckgeschichte 9. bis 11. November 2001, edited by Volker Benad-Wagenhoff, Beiträge zur Druckgeschichte, Band 2 (Diepholz 2003), pp.39–60.

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