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Di Due Spelonche Ornate Dagli Antichi Alla Riva Del Lago Albano.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Descrizione e disegno dell' emissario del Lago Albano


(Roma:): [s.n.],, (1762.)

Physical Description

9, [1] p., 12 pl. [pl. 2, 4-7 are dble; pl. 8 is fold., printed from 2 coppers on two sheets pasted together]; 540 mm. (Broadsheet.)


Di Due Spelonche Ornate Dagli Antichi Alla Riva Del Lago Albano - Spiegazione Delle Tavole [on plates 1-8] - Imprimatur; Approvazione [dated 1762]; Imprimatur - [Plates 1-12].

Responsibility Note

The headpiece and all plates are signed as made by Piranesi, except pl. 3, which is unsigned.


National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, 4 (2000), 93; RIBA, Early printed, 3 (1999), 2554; Giovanni Battista Piranesi: the complete etchings, ed. J. Wilton-Ely (1994), 625-37; J. Wilton-Ely, Piranesi [exhibition catalogue] (1978), 161; A. Robison, 'Giovanni Battista Piranesi: prolegomena to the Princeton collections', in Princeton University Library Chronicle 31:3 (1970 spring), 165-206; A.M. Hind, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1922 repr. 1978), 85-86; H. Focillon, Giovanni-Battista Piranesi (1918 repr. 1964), 492-504.

Summary Note

There is no title page; our title is the caption title on the first page of text. No publication-date is given, but the Approvazione is dated 'Roma 30. Agosto 1762' - that is, a few months after the Approbatio (1 April 1762) of Piranesi's Descrizione E Disegno Dell'Emissario Del Lago Albano, to which the present work appears to be a supplement (it lacks its own separate title-page, and its captions to plates 2 and 3 refer to the Descrizione). The smaller plates 9-12 are not listed in the 'Spiegazione Delle Tavole', are usually found printed on different paper, and may have been added to the work later, possibly in 1764, when Piranesi issued his Antichità d'Albano.

In his introductory text Piranesi describes these structures as nymphaea, and states that it is uncertain whether they date from Republican times and were perhaps part of a villa of Clodius, or from imperial times and were part of a villa of Domitian.

The plates show: 1. plan of the first cave; 2. view of the cave; 3. plan of the second cave; 4. section of the same shrine; 5. elevation of the same shrine; 6. details of capitals and entablatures; 7. details of cornices; 8. view of the same shrine; 9. substructures of Clodius; 10-12. details of substructures of Clodius.


Acquired between 1769 and 1802. Recorded in RAA Library, Catalogue, 1802.

Copy Note

Plate 8 is housed separately.

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf, upper cover gilt-stamped with royal arms of Britain and 'R.A.'; rebacked in 20th century, red and green morocco spine-labels lettered 'Antichita D'Albano E Di Castel Gandolfo Piranesi.', spine lettered 'R.A. 1764'. Bound with three others by Piranesi.


Antiquities, Roman - Nymphaea (Architecture) - Caves - Grottos - Italy - Albano - History
Views - Vedute - Plans - Sections - Italy - 18th century
Pictorial works - Italy - 18th century
Armorial bindings - Great Britain - 18th century