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Il Mercurio Italico: O Sia Ragguaglio Generale intorno alla Letteratura, Belle Arti, Utili Scoperte, ec. di tutta l'Italia. The Italian Mercury: Or, A General Account concerning the Literature, Fine Arts, Useful Discoveries, &c. of all Italy.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Italian Mercury


Londra:: Nella Stamperia di Couchman & Fry; Si trova presso T. Payne & Son; J. Robson & Clark; B. White & Son; G. Nicol; C. Dilly; P. Elmsley; G. & J. Robinson; J. Walter, J. Debrett, &c. &c., M.DCC.LXXXIX. (-M DCC XC.)

Physical Description

2 vols.; 231 mm. (Octavo.)

General Note

[Vol. I: January - June 1789]: 96, [3], 106-184, [3], 186-264, [3], 266-344, [3], 346-424, [3], 426-504 p., [7] pl. (incl. 1 folding map and 2 double-page).

[Vol. II: July - December 1789]: 488, 449-488 p., [5] pl. (3 double-page and 2 folding).

'Tomo III. Parte I' dated 1790: [5], 10-100, 100 p., [1] pl. (frontis.)


Vol. I: [Fold. map, frontis., t.p., dedic.] - List Of Subscribers; Errata - Prefazione / Preface [Gennajo 1789] - [Text, 'Il Mercurio Italico'/'Italian Mercury', 1789 January - June, with 5 frontispieces (2 dble.)]; Errata. The dble. frontiss. are those for May and June. - Vol. II: [Text, 'Il Mercurio Italico'/'Italian Mercury', 1789 July - 1790 'Tomo III. Parte I.', with 6 frontiss. (all dble. except that for 1790). The frontiss. for 1789 September and December are dble. and fold.; there is no frontis. for 1789 October.

Responsibility Note

In Volume I the folding map of Italy is captioned as '... from D'Anville' and signed as engraved by S.I. Neele. The frontispiece for January is signed as drawn by Burney (that is, Charles Burney) (and the note on p. xviii states that the figure of Mercury is taken from a copy of Raphael's figure in the Farnesina, 'drawn upon the spot by the masterly hand of Mr. James Barry') and engraved by F. Bartolozzi; that for February is signed as drawn by Burney 'from Labruzzi's sketch' and engraved by Neagle; that for March as engraved by Neele; that for April, unsigned; that for May as engraved by Barlow [some signature or imprint has been clipped in binding]; that for June (2 prints), as engraved by Barlow. In Volume II the frontispiece for July is signed as engraved by Nodder; that for August is unsigned; that for September, as engraved by S. Neele; [there is no frontispiece for October]; those for November and December, as engraved by Neele; that for 1790 as drawn by Ed.d F. Burney and engraved by F. Bartolozzi.

The map and frontispieces for January, February, June, November and December carry the imprint of F. Sastres.

The name of the printer is given on the January 1789 issue as 'Stamperia di Couchman & Fry', but on the issues from February to July as 'Stamperia Logografica' (there is no imprint on the issues 1789 August - December, and on the 1790 issue no printer's name is given).

The names of the booksellers given on the title page for January 1789 are joined on February issues onwards by those of R. Faulder, Edwards, T. & J. Egerton and T. Hookham; from June onwards by that of T. Cadell; in 1790 by those of Sewell, T. & T. Merril of Cambridge and D. Prince of Oxford; but the 1790 issue loses the names of Clark (from J. Robson and Clark) and G. & J. Robinson. There is no imprint for issues 1789 August - December.

The publication is dedicated by Francesco Sastres to George, Prince of Wales (afterwards King George IV).


ESTC, P6395
A survey was H. Roberts, 'British art periodicals of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries', in Victorian Periodicals Newsletter, 9 (1970), p.121-83.

Summary Note

This periodical appears to have been published monthly throughout 1789, and several issues appeared late, if the imprint dates on the frontispieces may be taken as an indication: the map at the beginning of Volume I is dated January 1789; the frontispiece for January is dated January 31 1789; that for February is dated March 1789; that for April is dated May 10th 1789; that for June is dated July 1 1789; that for November is dated January 1790; that for December is dated March 1790.

The text is in Italian and English throughout.

The plates of Volume I show: [1] map of Italy (fold.); [2] (frontis. 1789 January) Italy reviving by the assistance of Minerva, in the presence of Mercury [explained on p. xviii]; [3] (frontis. 1789 February) statue of Hercules; [4] (frontis. 1789 March) plan of the Museum Pio Clementino; [5] (frontis. 1789 April) plan and view of the palace of the Public at Velletri, designed by G. della Porta; [6] (frontis. 1789 May) (double plate) Ichthyolites or petrified fishes from Mount Bolca near Verona; [7] (frontis. 1789 June) (dble. pl. carrying two prints) Cestius Pyramid [Rome], Elephant's tooth from near Verona. Those of Volume II show: [1] (frontis. 1789 July) (dble.) 'rare African bird' [described on pp. 33-37]; [2] (frontis. 1789 August) (dble.) An uncommon African bird shot near Fiumicino Decr. 1788 [described on p. 33]; [3] (frontis. 1789 September) (dble., fold.) map of the Atlantic by A. Bianco, Venetian; [4] (frontis. 1789 November) (dble, carrying 2 prints) elevations and sections of the theatre, Venice [explained on pp. 364, 393]; [5](frontis. 1789 December) (dble. and fold.) plans of the theatre, Venice; [6] (frontis. 1790 'Tome III. parte I') Judgment of Paris.


A microfilm version was published in 2003 (Woodbridge, Conn.: Primary Source Microfilm [imprint of Gale Group]).


Purchased by subscription in 1789-1790: the Royal Academy is named in the 'List Of Subscribers.'

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf; rebacked in 20th century, retaining earlier red morocco spine labels lettered 'Mercurio Italico'; spine lettered 'I' ('II').


Italian literature - Art, Italian - Italy - History - 18th century
Periodicals - Great Britain - London - 18th century


Francesco Sastres, editor, compiler
Stephen Couchman, printer
John Fry, printer
Thomas Payne, bookseller
James Robson, bookseller
Benjamin White, bookseller
George Nicol, bookseller
Charles Dilly, bookseller
Peter Elmsley, bookseller
John Robinson, bookseller
John Walter, bookseller
John Debrett, bookseller
Robert Faulder, bookseller
Edwards, bookseller
Thomas Egerton, bookseller
John Egerton, bookseller
Thomas Hookham, bookseller
Thomas Cadell the elder, bookseller
John Sewell, bookseller
Thomas Merrill, bookseller
Daniel Prince, bookseller
Jean Baptiste Bourgignon D'Anville,
Samuel John Neele, engraver
Charles Burney, draughtsman
James Barry RA, draughtsman
Francesco Bartolozzi RA, engraver
Carlo Labruzzi, draughtsman
James Neagle, engraver
J. Barlow, engraver
Frederick Polydore Nodder, engraver
Edward Francis Burney, draughtsman
George IV King of Great Britain, dedicatee
George Robinson, bookseller
Couchman and Fry, printer
J. Robson and Clark, bookseller
T. Payne and Son (London), bookseller
B. White and Son, bookseller
T. and J. Egerton, bookseller
Stamperia Logografica (London), printer