Oct 14, 2021 - Sale 2582

Sale 2582 - Lot 61

Price Realized: $ 2,750
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
Lafreri, Antonio (1512-1577)
Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae.

Rome: Lafreri, circa 1547-1582.

Folio, engraved title and fifty-nine large-format intaglio copperplates (of which thirty are folding or double-paged and twenty-nine are full-paged); bound in contemporary wooden boards in full blind-tooled alum-tawed pigskin, plates remargined throughout with extensions to increase format size, many with neat professional paper restoration including pulp-fill; thumbing, some staining and folding, generally good; the binding expertly rebacked with edge and corner restoration and original covering material relaid; original manuscript index on final leaf, an unknown number of plates [from internal evidence, approximately eighty leaves] were removed from the original collection in modern times, 19 1/2 x 13 1/4 in.

Roman prints issued under the Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae title vary widely in terms of production date, subject matter, content, and publisher. This collection begins with three folding maps/views of Rome. Ancient Roman temples are well-represented, as well as the Pantheon, and plates of other ruins and architectural details, the Arches of Titus, Septimius Severus, Constantine, and others. Several amphitheaters are depicted in single- and double-paged plates including the Coliseum. A double-paged plate by Claudius Duchetti dated 1582 and titled Thermae Deocletianae et Maximianae, a bird's eye view of the Baths of Diocletian, is present, along with a similar view by the same publisher dated 1581 and titled Ornithon sive Aviarium M. Varronis, and many others.

"Among the most important episodes in [the] story [of Renaissance print collecting] is the evolution of Antonio Lafreri's Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae, or 'Mirror of Roman Magnificence.' In the most general terms, the Speculum was conceived as an album of prints acquired from Lafreri's Roman publishing house and then composed according to the theme of ancient and modern monuments in the city. However, the project is difficult to characterize because every surviving example is to some degree unique in its content and organization. [...] Because Lafreri's stocks could be purchased either singly or in lots and then assembled according to the individual preferences of the collector, the title-page is often taken to signal the consummation of a marketing strategy, in effect the encouragement of a 'do it yourself' picture atlas with a predetermined theme." (cf. Parshall, Peter. "Antonio Lafreri's Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae." Print Quarterly, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 3–28. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41826397.)