Les Plus Beaux Monuments De Rome Ancienne. Ou Recueil Des Plus Beaux Morceaux De L'Antiquité Romaine Qui Existent Encore: Dessinés Par Monsieur Barbault Peintre Ancien Pensionnaire Du Roy A Rome, Et Gravés En 128 Planches Avec Leur Explication.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Half-title: Monuments de Rome Ancienne
Recueïl Des Plus Beaux Morceaux De L'Antiquité Romaine


A Rome:: Chez Bouchard & Gravier Libraires françois rüe du Cours près de Saint Marcel., M.DCC.LXI. De L'Imprimerie De Komarek. Avec Permission Des Superieurs.

Physical Description

viii, 90 p., 73 pl.: illus.; 511mm. (Folio).

General Note

Of the 73 numbered leaves of plates 29 carry full-page impressions, and 44 two half-page impressions each. (The latter generally show an architectural ruin and a smaller sculptural fragment below.) These, with the nine tail-pieces, dedication head-piece and title-page vignette, bring the total number of coppers up to 128 as announced on the title page.


[T.p., dedic.] - Préface; Imprimatur - [Plates, with explanatory texts] - Table De Ce Qui Est Contenu Dans Cet Ouvrage.

Responsibility Note

Most plates and vignettes are signed as drawn by Barbault (83 coppers), Carlo Nolli (1) or L. Bufalino (1), and engraved by Barbault (56), Domenico Montagu (52), G. Bouchard (6) or Freicenet (4). A few vignettes are reminiscent of views by Piranesi, with whom Barbault earlier collaborated.

The book is dedicated by the publishers to Jean François Joseph de Rochechouart, Bishop of Laon (afterwards Cardinal), French ambassador to the Holy See from 1758 to 1762.


National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard Architectural, IV (2000), 13; Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 1 (1994), no. 184; Johns Hopkins University, The Fowler Architectural Collection (1961), no. 37, p.29.

A background study is O. Michel, Vivre et peindre à Rome au XVIIIe siècle (1996).

Summary Note

With this book Barbault established himself as a vedutista worthy to rival his contemporaries Vasi and Piranesi.

The plates of views fall into the following groups: temples, pl.1-15; arches, 16-21; theatres, 22-27; columns and obelisks, 28-31; Portico of Octavia and Palace of Caesars, 32-33; baths and aqueducts, 34-44; tombs and altars, 45-51; pictures from Herculaneum, 52-54; statues and bas-reliefs, 55-73. Each plate is placed so that it is accompanied by explanatory text - with the exception of plates 55-73, which have no accompanying descriptions.

In 1763 Bouchard et Gravier followed up this work by publishing Barbault's Les Plus Beaux Edifices De Rome Moderne.


A copy was published on microfilm (London: World Microfilms Publications, 1975-77) (RIBA Rare Books Collection Sect. 4, reel 1, no.3).


Acquired by 1802. Recorded in Catalogue Of The Library In The Royal Academy, London (1802).

Copy Note

Imperfect: lacks the half-title.

Binding Note

20th-century half calf in 18th-century style, with marbled-paper boards; pink morocco spine-label and 'R.A.' gilt-stamped on spine.

Name as Subject


Antiquities, Roman - Architecture, Roman - Public buildings - Monuments - Bas-reliefs - Italy - Rome
Views - Vedute - City views - Italy - 18th century
Pictorial works - Italy - 18th century


Jean Barbault, draughtsman, source artist, engraver
Giovanni Bouchard, publisher, bookseller
Jean Joseph Gravier, publisher, bookseller
Bizzarini Komarek, printer
Domenico Montagu, engraver
Jean Francois Joseph Rochechouart de Faudoas Cardinal, dedicatee
Carlo Nolli, draughtsman
Freicenet, engraver
Bouchard et Gravier (Rome), publisher, bookseller

Images from this book

41 results