Auction 487 / Lot n° 239

[CANALETTO] - VISENTINI, Antonio (1688-1782) da Giovanni Antonio CANAL (1697-1768, detto 'Il Canaletto'). - Urbis Venetiarum prospectus celebriores. Venice: Giovanni Battista Pasquale, 1754. A fine copy of the third complete edition of Visentini's set of engravings commissioned by Consul Joseph Smith after 38 paintings by Canaletto in his collection. it is 'the most widely known and the best of the many engravings after Canalatto's views of Venice' (F.J.B.Watson, The Burlington Magazine, 1950, p.351). The work begun in 1728 and was completed in 1735 when an edition with 14 views only was published; the preparatory drawings are now in the British Museum in London and the Museo Correr in Venice. In 1742 the first complete edition was published through the collaboration between Smith and his business partner the editor Pasquali. In this edition Visentini focused on trying to obtain better effects in the lighting of the plates and in the water. The two portraits are also reissued for this new complete edition. Following the 1742 first complete edition a second edition was published in 1751 and a third in 1754 which was the last one curated by Pasquali and the one less known to scholars. The prospectus mantains the publication date of MDCCXLII and the paper presents two watermarks: V.G. (or V.C.) and the one of a shield with three stars, surmounted by a crown with a half moon above it (watermark no. 14). Copies of mixed editions are also known as Smith didn't want to destroy the unsold plates of the previous editions or collectors which had the first 1735 plates decided to use them to complete the later editions they might have purchased. Two copies of mixed editions with the dates of 1742 and 1751 are preserved at the Museo Correr in Venice. In the present copy there are some early pencil annotations indicating I/III or II/III which might lead to think that some plates are from previous editions but the watermarks correspond to the 1754 edition. 3 parts in one volume, oblong folio (348 x 512mm). Each part with letterpress titles printed in red and black with engraved vignettes, Prospectus dated MDCCXLII and double portrait of Canaletto and Visentini after Giovanni Battista Piazzetta in second state, letterpress table of contents, 38 engraved views of Venice by Visentini after Canaletto, two watermarks: V.G. (or V.C.) and the one of a shield with three stars, surmounted by a crown with a half moon above it (light soiling to first title and just visible to second title, light marginal foxing). Late 19th-century green morocco decorated with a double fillet border, gilt spine and dentelles, marbled endpapers (extremities very lightly rubbed).

Auction: 22 September 2020 at 15:30

Estimate € 12,000 - 18,000

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