Le Pitture Antiche D'Ercolano E Contorni Incise Con Qualche Spiegazione Tomo Primo (-Quarto, Settimo)

Accademia Ercolanese di Archeologia

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Half-title: Pitture Antiche D'Ercolano


Napoli: MDCCLVII (-MDCCLXXIX.), Nella Regia Stamperia.

Physical Description

5 vols.; 483 mm. (Folio).

Series Title

Delle Antichità Di Ercolano;: Tomo [1-4,] 7.

General Note

Vol. I: [viii], 279 [i.e. 179], [9] p., add. engr. t.-pl., frontis. (port.), engr. map (fold.), [50] pl. (2 fold.). - Vol. II: [xiv], 339 [i.e. 219], [11] p., frontis. (port.), [60] pl. - Vol. III: [iv], xvii, [i], 339 [i.e. 219], [13] p., frontis. (port.), [60] pl. - Vol. IV: [iv], x, 368 [i.e. 228], [12] p., frontis. (port.), [70] pl. - Vol. V: [iv], x, 407 [i.e. 239], [1] p., frontis. (port), [84] pl. (1 folding). - The discrepancy between the pagination and actual number of pages arises because each plate (apart from the five frontispieces and the added title-plate and map of Volume I) has been treated as two pages and numbered continuously with the pages of text. Volume IV page 191 is misnumbered 291.


Each volume has the same format: [Add. engr. t.pl., frontis. (port.), t.p., , dedic.] - Prefazione - [Plates with descriptive text] - Alcune Osservazioni - Indice Delle Cose Notabili.

Responsibility Note

According to Brunet the text is by O. A. Baiardi; but according to the RIBA catalogue Volumes III-VII were written by Pasquale Carcani.

The frontispiece portrait is signed as drawn by Camillus Paderni and engraved by Philippus Morghen. The added title-plate of Vol. I is signed as drawn by Vega, with engraving overseen by Puteus; the map, captioned 'Cratere Maritimo, O Parte Del Golfo Di Napoli', is signed, 'Eseguito dal capno. Dn. Carlo Weber, ridotto, e rettificato da Dn. Giose. Liberati, sotto la direzzione del Colonno. Ingege. Militare Dn. Roco. Gioacho. de Alcubierre. Secondo le misure itinerarie, e le osservazioni di Monsigre. Ottavio Antonio Bayardi ... Inciso da P. Gaultier. 1754'. Signatures on the remaining plates, headpieces and tailpieces include those of draughtsmen Francesco de La Vega, Camillo Paderni, Niccolo Vanni, Giovanni Elia Morghen, Giovanni Casanova, V. Campana and L. Vanvitelli, and those of engravers Filippo Morghen, N. Vanni, Rocco Pozzi, Niccolo Billy, P. Gaultier, Giuseppe Alloja, Pietro Campana, F. Campana, Francesco Cepparoli, Carlo Nolli, Niccolo Orazi, Carlo Orazi, Michele Sorello, Filippo de Grado, Nicola Fiorillo, Carmine Pignatori, Marcantonio Giacomino, L. Boilly, Aniello Cataneo, Francesco Giomignani, G. Furlanetti, Secondo De Angelis, Vin. Campana, Ferd. Strina, Fran. Sesone and Isidoro Frezza.

Each volume is dedicated to King Charles by the Accademici Ercolanesi (in Volume I this appears as 'Accademici' simply).


National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, IV (2000), no. 1; L. Garcia y Garcia, Nova bibliotheca pompeiana (2 v., 1998); Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 1 (1994), no. 112. U. Pannuti, 'Incisori e disegnatori della Stamperia Reale di Napoli nel secolo XVIII: la pubblicazione delle Antichità di Ercolano', in Xenia antiqua, 9 (2000), p. 151-178; V. Trombetta, 'L'edizione de Le Antichità di Ercolano esposte' in Rendiconti dell'Accademia di Archeologia, lettere e belle arti di Napoli , 59 (1984), p.151-172.

On the impact of the publication of the paintings see Pompei: pitture e mosaici: la documentazione nell'opera di disegnatori e pittori dei secoli XVIII e XIX, ed. G. Pugliese Carratelli (1995); C. Michel, 'Les peintures d'Herculanum et la querelle des anciens et des modernes (1740-1760)', in Bull. Soc. Hist. A. Fr. (1984), p. 105-17; J. Wilton-Ely, 'Pompeian and Etruscan tastes in the Neoclassical country-house', in The fashioning and functioning of the British country house, ed. G. Jackson-Stops (1989), p. 51-73; P.H. Werner, Pompeji und die Wanddekoration der Goethezeit (1970).

On the excavations and their impact see Bibliothèque Nationale, La résurrection de Pompéi: dessins des archéologues des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles (2000); M. Forcellino, Camillo Paderni Romano e l'immagine storica degli scavi di Pompei (1999); Ercolano 1738-1988 (1993); F. Fernandez Murga, Carlos III y il descubrimiento de Ercolano (1989); Italienische Reise: immagini pompeiane [exhibition catalogue] (1989); L. Fino, Ercolano e Pompei: vedute neoclassiche e romantiche (1988); C. Grell, Herculanum et Pompéi dans les récits des voyageurs français du XVIIIe siècle (1982); C. De Seta, Architettura, ambiente e società a Napoli nel '700 (1981), ch. 5: 'Il ruolo e il significato culturale delle scoperte archeologie'; Pompei, 1748-1980: i tempi della documentazione [exhibition catalogue] (1981); Pompei ed Ercolano attraverso le stampe e gli acquarelli del '700 e '800 [exhibition catalogue] (1958). Contemporary accounts include J.J. Winckelmann, Briefe, Entwurfe und Rezensionen zu den herculanischen Schriften (2001); C. Paderni, Monumenti antichi rinvenuti (facsim., 2000); J.J. Winckelmann, Nachrichten von den neuesten herculanischen Entdeckungen (1764); J.J. Winckelmann, Sendschreiben von den herculanischen Entdeckungen (1762); C.N. Cochin and J.C. Bellicard, Observations sur les antiquités de la ville d'Herculanum (repr. 1996); C.N. Cochin and J.C. Bellicard, Observations sur les antiquités d'Herculanum (1757); J.C. Bellicard, Observations upon the antiquities of the town of Herculaneum .... by Mr. Bellicard (1753 [i.e. 1754?]); A.F. Gori, ed., Notizie del memorabile scoprimento dell'antica città Ercolano (1748).

Summary Note

These five volumes - published in 1757, 1760, 1762, 1765 and 1779 - are part of an eight-volume series describing the antiquities of Herculaneum. (The first volume has an added title-plate reading 'Le Antichità Di Ercolano Esposte'; while the 5fth - 8th volumes have half-titles reading, 'Delle Antichità Di Ercolano Tomo Quinto (-Ottavo)').

The notes give brief indications of find-spots (Resina, Portici, Civita (Pompei) and Gragnano) and find-dates, and helpful explanations of each piece of wall-painting, incorporating quotations from Latin and ancient Greek sources and bibliographic references; most notes also refer to the relevant entry in Baiardi's Catalogo Degli Antichi Monumenti (1754).

The plates give a comprehensive account of Roman wall-painting of the first century, and had a great impact on contemporary Neoclassical designers.

All five volumes carry the same frontispiece portrait of King Charles - that in the first volume captioned as of the King of the Two Sicilies, the rest as of the King of Spain (Charles became King of Spain in 1759).


For reproductions of the illustrations see: Le antichità di Ercolano, ed. R. Ajello (Napoli: Banco di Napoli, 1988).


'If you should think it proper to mention to the King of Naples the establishment of a Royal Academy he would probably make a present of the Antiquities of Herculaneum.' (Letter from Sir Joshua Reynolds to Sir William Hamilton, 28 March 1769). Since the volumes in this series were distributed as gifts rather than through the book trade it is likely that the Academy's set was received as a result of Reynolds's suggestion. The absence of any record of how or when the Academy acquired its copy may be an indication that the Antichità di Ercolano was among the first books to arrive in its Library (as was almost certainly the case with at least half a dozen unacknowledged duplicates from the George III's library). It was certainly present by 1 September 1801, when Flaxman recommended that vols. 7 & 8 should be obtained to complete the Academy's set (see RA Council Minutes III, 109); in 1801-2 vol. 8 was added to the set, possibly by purchase from the Holborn bookseller/publisher Josiah Taylor; vol. 7 however was apparently never acquired.

Copy Note

Imperfect: wanting vol. 7 of the series (i.e. the fifth volume of the Pitture, 1779) and all half-titles. In Volume I the frontispiece portrait captioned as of Charles, King of the Two Sicilies, has been replaced by that used in Volumes II-V, captioned as of Charles, King of Spain.

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf, with royal arms of Britain and 'R.A.' gilt-stamped on upper covers; rebacked, red and green or black morocco spine-labels, lettered, 'Pitture D'Ercolano Tomo I (-IV)'.


Mural painting and decoration, Roman - Interior decoration, Roman - Paintings, Roman - Paintings, European - Italy - Campania - Naples - Herculaneum (Extinct city) - Pompeii (Extinct city) - History - 1st century
Archaeology - Excavations - Collections - Italy - Campania - Naples - Herculaneum (Extinct city) - 18th century
Catalogues - Italy - 18th century
Pictorial works - Italy - 18th century
Armorial bindings - Great Britain - 18th century