Catalogo dei quadri, e pitture esistenti nel palazzo dell’eccellentissima Casa Colonna in Roma coll’indicazione dei loro autori. Diviso in sei parti secondo i rispettivi appartamenti.
Roma, Arcangelo Casaletti 1783.
4to. 177 + (1) + xvi pp. Later quarter calf, contemporary marbled boards. Four pencil notes in blank margins (see note above). A good, fresh copy.
Scarce catalogue of the vast inherited collection of Old Master paintings accumulated over several generations by the Colonna family in their palace in Rome, compiled for Prince Filippo Colonna (1760-1818) and listing no fewer than 1362 items, in most cases with attributions and approximate measurements. This was the first printed catalogue of the paintings in a Roman princely collection, predating the 1794 catalogue of the collection of the Doria Pamphili family, and it is fortunate that it was published when it was, for financial pressures at the end of the 1790s, caused by the French occupation of the Papal States, compelled Prince Colonna to part with some of the best pictures that he owned. This is evidenced in the present copy by the pencil marginal note “Angerstein” against nos 116 and 120 in the catalogue, paintings by Titian of the Rape of Ganymede and of Venus and Adonis, both now in the National Gallery, and by a similar note, “at Cobham Hall”, against nos. 174 and 206 in the catalogue, paintings respectively of Herodas by Guido Reni and of the Death of Regulus by Salvator Rosa. It seems to us likely that the notes were written by John Bligh, 4th Earl of Darnley (1767-1831), creator of the picture collection at Cobham Hall, Kent (any other writer of these notes would presumably have recorded ‘Darnley” as owner of these paintings), and therefore that the present copy of the catalogue once belonged to him. Bligh had been in Rome on his Grand Tour in 1790, but Ingamells (p.277) is probably wrong to imply that his purchase of the painting of the Death of Regulus took place that early. The bibliography of copies of this catalogue needs investigation, for our copy has a woodcut rendering of the armorial bearings of the Colonna family on its title leaf, while other copies have an engraved vignette of these arms in the same position, as well as having varying and seemingly unrelated engravings bound in as frontispieces. Cicognara 4499; Schudt 1151.