This series of engravings reproduces the lost altarpiece installed in 1589 in the private chapel in the Munich Neuveste of Herzogin Renata, wife of Herzog Wilhelm V (“the Pious”) von Bayern. Designed by Friedrich Sustris (1526-1599), Court Superintendent of the arts, and painted by Christoph Schwarz (1548-1592), the altarpiece consisted of nine copper panels: an image of the Crucifixion in the centre, framed by depictions of Christ’s seven falls during his Passion, and a devotional text (Isaiah 53). The altarpiece was dismantled in the 18th century and only the Crucifixion panel has survived. A comparison of it, a drawing of the altarpiece by Sustris, and Sadeler’s prints, indicates that the engravings were made in the same size as the original panels, and preserve their essential elements.
An album of prints of Cornelis Schut, apparently assembled and marketed by the printmaker himself. It contains ninety-eight plates that he had first sold individually, or in small sets, and has now imposed on forty-five sheets of paper of a uniform large size, with the smaller plates printed in groups of two, three, or four on a single sheet. Several comparable albums are known, with varying contents but similarities in the arrangement of the prints. They are evidence of burgeoning interest among collectors in acquiring the output of single artists, a taste that developed in the 1630s and quickly spread, soon guiding the commercial strategy of numerous printmakers, including Rembrandt.
[Amsterdam], Nicolaus Visscher excudit, Cum Privilegio Ordinum Hollandiae et Westfrisiae, after 1682
An early issue of Abraham Bloemaert’s widely disseminated model book for student draughtsmen, presenting figure compositions and studies of the parts of the body, and a dozen similar examples of domesticated animals.
Rome, Apud Dominicum de Rubeis eiusdem Ioannis Iacobi Hæredem ad Templum S. Mariæ de Pace… Superiorum Permissu, 
A set of engravings reproducing decoration painted in 1641-1647 by Pietro da Cortona in three rooms on the north side of the piano nobile of the Pitti Palace in Florence, dedicated respectively to the deities Jupiter, Mars, and Venus. Formerly presence chambers in the residence of the grand-dukes, the three rooms – and two others, dedicated to Apollo and Saturn, left unfinished by Pietro and completed in 1659-1665 by his pupil Cirro Ferri – today house the main part of the Galleria Palatina.
Amsterdam, P. van de Boom, 1696 (fictitious imprint)
The Recueil de cent paysages is a nearly-complete collection of Allart van Everdingen’s landscape etchings, supplemented by two complementary etchings by Adriaen Hendricksz. Verboom, a “frontispiece” devised by another printmaker, and letterpress title with imprint “Amsterdam… 1696”, a clumsy attempt to make the restruck prints seem near-contemporary. Judging by the paper evidence, the prints were issued circa 1810-1820, during a period when Everdingen had numerous followers, and his prints were commanding high prices in the market. Only one other complete copy is recorded (Rijksmuseum Research Library, Amsterdam).
A project to engrave Piazzetta’s oeuvre was jointly conceived in the early 1740s by the printmakers Marco Alvise Pitteri (1702-1786) and Giovanni Cattini (1715-1804 or 1809), with an intentional division of the work: the “immagini sacre” were to be engraved by Pitteri, and “le profane” by Cattini. In 1742, Pitteri requested a privilege for engraving fifteen of Piazzetta’s “heads” (the Twelve Apostles, together with God the Father, The Redeemer, and The Virgin) and in 1743 Cattini published as Icones ad vivum expressae fourteen studies of character and expression, with a portrait of Piazzetta as a frontispiece. Both sets of prints are present in this album in fine, early impressions, together with another of Piazzetta’s “sacre Imagini” (Saint Paul) and five “Figure ideali” (all etched by Pitteri), making a total of thirty-six prints.
A suite of chiaroscuro woodcuts reproducing seventeen works of art by great Venetian painters of the sixteenth century, then in churches and lay confraternities of Venice and its environs, or in the private collection of the series’ principal patron, Consul Joseph Smith. The chiaroscuro woodcut process developed in response to a demand for reproductions of monochromatic wash drawings, and until Jackson began to experiment with the technique, in 1735, had not been used for the interpretation of oil paintings. Complete sets of Jackson’s prints are rare and we notice just six passing through the auction sale rooms during the past forty-five years.
One of the finest of Venetian topographical print suites, equal in stature to the publications of Carlevarijs, Canaletto-Visentini, and Marieschi, however of greater rarity, especially as here in first edition (of four) with all prints in first state and in fine state of preservation. Ten of its twenty vedute depend from paintings of Canaletto drawn and engraved by Antonio Visentini, adapted to a larger size by Brustolon, who extended the views and enriched them with new objects and figures. Another four vedute are precise copies of prints by Michele Marieschi, slightly reduced from their models. The remaining six of Brustolon’s vedute are more original: four etchings are derived from recent paintings and drawings by Canaletto (executed 1756-1763) and the other two document paintings or drawings by Giambattista and Giuseppe Moretti. Throughout the suite, but particularly in etchings of this last group, depicting popular festivals seen by moonlight, Brustolon displays his special gift for rendering “la trasparenza dei cieli del Canaletto, e la luminosa brillantezza delle architetture” (Terisio Pignatti), which has earned for him a position “tra i più dotati e versatili incisori del suo tempo” (Mari Pietrogiovanna).
A beautiful work reproducing 171 drawings attributed to forty-seven artists, above all Parmigianino (28 sheets), Raphael (15), Guercino (11), Andrea Boscoli (10), Federico Zuccaro (10), Giulio Romano (8), Camillo Procaccini (7), Michelangelo (6), Polidoro da Caravaggio (6), Gaspare Celio (5), and Giuseppe Cesare (5). All the drawings were in the grand-ducal collections and the volume is dedicated on the title-plate (modelled after a drawing by Girolamo Macchietti) to Pietro Leopoldo di Lorena.
A fine suite of prints reproducing in actual size German and Northern Italian drawings in the collection formed by the Nuremberg merchant and humanist Paulus II Praun (1548-1616). It is the first and most impressive of three albums of reproductive prints after drawings produced by Johann Gottlieb Prestel in collaboration with his wife, Maria Katharina, in which aquatint is used to imitate the manner of a wash.
A set of prints by Carlo and Giovanni Ottaviani reproducing the fresco decorations executed about 1610 by Guido Reni and assistants (probably Antonio Carracci and Alessandro Albani) in the Cappella dell’ Annunziata, the private chapel of the papal residence on the Quirinale.
Milan, Giocondo Albertolli, -1787-1796 (but probably issued c. 1796)
A series of influential works documenting both interior decoration completed by Giocondo Albertolli and ornament he had observed on his travels around Italy. One of the most important taste-makers of his day, Albertolli was the professor of drawing and ornament in the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, where he taught his own brand of neoclassicism to an entire generation, from the founding of the academy in 1776 until 1812. These three works – together with a Corso elementare di ornamenti architettonici, a suite of twenty-eight plates published in 1805 – became the “principale strumento didattico a disposizione degli allievi della scuola d’ornato” (Giuseppe Beretti), and further spread Albertolli’s ideas in Italy and abroad.
Bound with Albertolli, Giocondo. Alcune decorazioni di nobili sale ed altri ornamenti di Giocondo Albertolli Professore nella Reale Accademia delle Belle Arti in Milano Incisi da Giacomo Mercoli e da Andrea de Barnardis MDCCLXXXVII. Bound with Albertolli, Giocondo. Miscellanea per i giovani studiosi del disegno pubblicata da Giocondo Albertolli Professore Nella Reale Accademia delle Belle Arti in Milano L’Anno MDCCXCVI. Parte terza. Si ritrova presso allo stesso Albertolli in Milano.
A suite of four engravings of paesaggi italiani con figure after designs by Francesco Antonio de Capo, a painter born near Lecce in Apulia, documented in Naples and Rome from about 1775, where he associated with the Genoese landscape painter Giuseppe Bacigalupo. The printmaker Giuseppe Cunego was born in Verona in 1760, the son and pupil of Domenico (1726-1823) and brother of Luigi Cunego. He followed his father to Rome, but soon abandoned art, takings up the religious life as a lay brother of the Third Order of Minims. His engraved oeuvre is just fifteen prints: eleven engravings after Gaspard Dughet's frescoes in the Palazzo Colonna in Rome, dated 1781 or 1782; and these four prints, each dated 1784.
Only edition of a work memorializing Mauro Tesi, a prolific decorative and architectural painter, working both in fresco and in oil, who executed vedute and ornamentation all’antica in and on churches and private and public buildings throughout Bologna, as well as in Pistoia, Florence, and Pisa. The work was published twenty years after Tesi’s death by Conte Cesare Massimiliano Gini (under the pseudonym Lodovico Inig, his surname reversed; “Lodovico” being perhaps a member of the family). A painter and etcher himself, Gini collected drawings by Tesi, and sixteen of these are reproduced here together with others borrowed from local collectors. In order to render Tesi’s drawings faithfully, Gini used a variety of the aquatint, a process very recently introduced into Italy. Eight of Tesi’s drawings were etched by Gini himself; the remainder were etched by Valentino Baldi.
A fine suite of facsimile reproductions of drawings credited to Parmigianino. The prints were executed by Francesco Rosaspina (1762-1841), except for one (plate ) etched by the promoter of the volume, the Bolognese connoisseur Conte Cesare Massimiliano Gini, and another (pl. ) probably etched by Giovanni Battista Frulli (fl. 1788-1837). Like two previous works of Gini, both issued in 1787, the work was published under the pseudonym Lodovico Inig (‘Inig’ being an anagram of Gini; ‘Lodovico’ perhaps a member of the family). Three of the twenty-five drawings presented were in Gini’s own collection; the rest were in the possession of friends, local collectors, and fellow-members of the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna (Accademia Clementina).
A mezzotint reproduction of Sablet’s early conversation piece Scène de la vie romaine ou La Joueuse de harpe, painted in Rome circa 1787-1789, and now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne (Inv. 742, Dépôt de la Fondation Gottfried Keller). The printmaker Domenico Cunego had travelled in 1785 to Berlin, where for four years he managed the copperplate printing works (Königliche Preußische Hofkupferstichoffizin) set up by the businessman Johann Mark Pascal, and experimented with engraving in the maniera nera (mezzotint), which on his return to Rome became his favourite mode of expression. In a conspicuous legend on this print, Cunego identifies it as the “Première Gravure en ce genre faite a Rome”. Also in 1790 Cunego engraved a “Testa di evangelista” after Giacinto Brandi, designating it the “Deuxieme gravure faite en ce genre à Rome”; both prints probably were sold by Pietro Paolo Montagnani, from his shop beside S. Maria degli Agonizzanti, in the Piazza di Pasquino.
A rare suite of forty-seven prints reproducing drawings of putti playing or fighting, all’antica heads, and studies of the Virgin and Child, once attributed to Andrea Mantegna, now recognized as works of Marco Zoppo (1432/3-1478). The drawings – then in an album in the possession of the printmaker’s father, the Venetian painter Pietro Antonio Novelli, and since 1920 in the British Museum – were commissioned by an unknown patron, presumably with humanistic interests, as there are witty references to antiquity. The elusive meaning of some of the drawings and discreet homosexual imagery in others “suggests a commission where the patron had a hand in providing some of the subject matter, the significance of which may have been understood only by a small circle of friends” (Hugo Chapman). Our impressions are all “proofs before letters”.
Extremely rare set of fifteen prints reproducing in actual size heads in Raphael’s cartoons for the Sistine Chapel tapestry series “The Acts of the Apostles”. The prints were engraved by Antoine Cardon after drawings made by Nicolas Joseph Ruyssen, and issued in three fascicules dated 1798, 1800, and 1801. As heads in only six of the seven cartoons are engraved, the intention was probably to produce further prints.
London, Printed for the Author, by J. McCreery, and published by Taylor and Hessey, -1823
A beautiful work reproducing in facsimile eighty-four drawings in the author’s own collection, all that appeared of an arduous attempt to provide “a chronological sequence of the designs of the most eminent artists of Italy”. The sheets represent the work of some two dozen artists ranging in date from the 14th to the 17th centuries, among whom Michelangelo and Raphael feature predominantly (nearly half of the plates reproduce their drawings). “The eighty-odd plates, some of which Ottley engraved himself… are tours de force of facsimile engraving; never, even with the most elaborate mechanical processes, have drawings been more faithfully reproduced… It is indeed one of the most sumptuous books on the fine arts ever produced” (J.A. Gere).
A series of line engravings documenting statues and reliefs produced in Thorvaldsen’s Roman workshop, eleven drawn and engraved by the brothers Franz (1786-1831) and Johannes (1788-1860) Riepenhausen, the remainder by the engraver-publisher Ferdinando Mori (1775/1782-1852). It is heralded as one of the earliest publications reproducing works by a modern artist, and responsible for focusing the attention of all Europe on the sculptor.