Disegni diversi inventati e delineati da Giovanni Giardini da Forlì… Parte prima (seconda).
Folio. 2 parts in 1. Engr title, engr dedication, 53 engr plates; engr title, engr dedication, (46) engr plates numbered 54-99. First title leaf trimmed and mounted for an early owner. Contemporary marbled boards, rebacked with recent calf spine and corners. Some very occasional marginal spotting or other marks, but generally a good, fresh copy. Ink ownership inscription on first dedication leaf, also ink presentation inscription on front free endpaper, from Carl Drepperd to Rob Hostetter, 1954.
First edition of this spectacular and highly influential pattern book of secular and ecclesiastical designs for goldsmiths and silversmiths. Giovanni Giardini (1646-1721) was the leading goldsmith in Rome in the years around 1700. Born in Forlì, he was apprenticed to a Roman silversmith and by 1698 had been appointed the Vatican’s chief metalworker, with important ecclesiastical commissions throughout Italy and sometimes further afield (his commissions included a gloria for the cathedral of the Order of St. John in Malta in 1703). His reputation spread throughout Europe with the publication of the present work, the finest pattern book for metalworkers of the eighteenth century. Giardini’s sculptural baroque designs for chalices, candelabra, censers and secular mantel- and table pieces reminiscent of Bernini (some almost certainly impossible to produce in precious metal), were beautifully engraved by the Prague-born copper-engraver Maximilian Joseph Limpach, and they remained an influence on the design work of Italian goldsmiths well into the nineteenth century. This collection of Giardini’s designs remains significant for scholars, as relatively few examples of his executed pieces survive, many of those in the Papal collection having been taken from the Vatican and melted down by Napoleon’s troops. The book was reissued in 1750 by the Roman publisher Fausto Amideo, using the original copper plates, although in that version the original engraved dedication leaves are customarily omitted. The present copy of the edition of 1714 contains one less plate than usual, the plates being numbered 1-99 rather than (1), 2-100, but as our copy has its plate numbers handwritten in ink rather than engraved (the copy of this edition recently offered in Robin Halwas’s Catalogue 4 had engraved numbers), it may well represent the very earliest state of Giardini’s book. Cicognara 516 (with a slightly different title, “delineati per lampadi, candelabri ed altri simili arredi”, but of the same year); Berlin Cat 1141. Only one copy reported to NUC (New York Public Library).