Boni, Andrea & C(ompagnia)

Album di decorazione eseguite in terra cotta nell stabilimento Andrea Boni e C. premiate con Medaglia d’Oro e d’Argento dall’I.R. Istituto di Milano e con Medaglia di Bronzo dal giuri nell’Esposizione Mondiale di Nuova Jork.

Milano, Andrea Boni nd (but dated 1860 on upper cover of binding).

Reference: 06717
Price: £2 [convert currency]

Full Description

Folio. Litho pictorial title leaf, (16)ff printed text, 60 plates (of which 17 engraved, 42 litho and 1 chromolitho), one further printed leaf inviting subscriptions to the Boni firm’s catalogue. Contemporary full blind- and gilt-stamped maroon calf, rubbed at corners and head and foot of spine. Small light marginal stain to outer margin of three text leaves, old light stain to part of plate 2, and small amount of old glue on plate 43 from verso of plate 42, but essentially a good, clean copy. Presentation inscription on upper margin of title leaf.

An early, scarce and well illustrated Italian trade catalogue for the terracotta manufacturing company headed by Andrea Boni, the man who revived the craft in the nineteenth century. The Boni company had just won a prize at the World Exhibition in New York, and were highly regarded in Lombardy and especially their home town of Milan. Their impressive catalogue consists of printed price lists followed by carefully executed engravings and lithographs of terracotta ornamental fireplace and mirror surrounds, vases, decorative pots, gateways, garden buildings such as tempietti, statues and figure groups, portrait plaques, monuments, busts, architectural cornices and mouldings, and even entire façades of houses which had already been carried out. The firm had a large output, wealthy clients, and correspondingly skilled and respected artists and designers, all of whom, unusually, are scrupulously credited with their part of the design, and who include the architect Fortunato Lodi (1805-1883) who designed and built a number of theatres (including the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II in Lisbon, 1846, and the Teatro di Cento near Ferrara, illustrated in the catalogue) and who in 1864 refaced two façades of the house of the writer Alessandro Manzoni with Renaissance style terracotta ornament manufactured by the firm. Another architect whose designs appear was Giuseppe Pestagelli, who restored the church of S. Maria del Carmine in Milan between 1826 and 1839, built a theatre for the illustrious Milanese Dal Verme family and also built the Palazzo Beltrami on the Piazza della Scala, one of the first modern Milanese palaces, faced by Pestagalli in terracotta. The catalogue is dedicated to one of the firm’s most important clients, Baron Ippolito Gaetano Ciani, the then owner of the Villa d’Este, who commissioned a number of works including an elaborate facade for a palace he owned in Milan and a Chinese-style ornamental gate for the Giardini Pubblici in Milan.

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