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Ragguaglio Della Solenne Comparsa, Fatta in Roma gli otto di Gennaio M DC LXXXVII, Dall'Illustrissimo, Et Eccellentissimo Signor Conte De Castelmaine Ambasciadore Straordinario Della Sagra Real Maestà Di Giacomo Secondo Rè D'Inghilterra, Scozia, Francia, Et Ibernia, Difensore Della Fede Alla Santa Sede Apostolica, In Andare Publicamente All'Udienza Della Santità Di Nostro Signore Papa Innocenzo Undecimo. Dedicato All'Altezza Serenissima Della Duchessa Di Modena Da Giovanni Michele Writ Maggiordomo Del medesimo Signor Ambasciadore.

John Michael Wright

RA Collection: Book

Record number




In Roma,: Nella Stamperia di Domenico Antonio Ercole. Con licenza de' Superiori., (1687.)

Physical Description

91, [3] p., frontis., 15 pl. (one fold.): illus.; 400 mm. (Quarto.)

General Note

Plate [9] carries no number. In the Royal Academy's copy pages 51-4 and plates 6-8 have been bound in upside-down.


[Frontis., t.p., dedic.] - [Address by 'N.N.' to 'Sig. Padron Colendissimo', with pl. 1, 2] - [Description of pl., with pl. 3-15] - [Text] - [Poems in Greek, Latin and Italian, by Ioseph de Iuliis, 'N.N.' and 'F.P.'] - [Imprimatur].

Responsibility Note

Frontispiece and all plates are signed as drawn by Gio. Batta. Lenardi - apart from pl. 1, 2, signed as painted by Philippus Michael Camers. Additionally plates 3-5 are signed as designed by Ciro Ferri and made by And[re]a Cor[nel]i, and plates 6-8 are signed as designed and made by Andrea Cornely. All plates are signed as engraved by Arnoldo Van Westerhout.

The dedication has a headpiece signed as designed and drawn by Gio. Batta. Lenardi and engraved by Arnoldo Van Westerhout, and a decorated initial signed as engraved by Westerhout.

The work is dedicated by 'Gio. Michele Writ' to the Duchess of Modena.


M. Fagiolo dell'Arco, La festa barocca (1997), p.528-31.

R. Salvini, 'Un ambasciatore d'Inghilterra alla corte di Roma', in Appunti di gastronomia, 16 (1995), p.25-33; G. Fusconi, 'Per la storia della scultura lignea in Roma: le carozze di Ciro Ferri per due ingressi solenni', in Antol. B.A., 21-2 (1984), p.80-97.

On Wright as painter see S. Stevenson and D. Thomson, John Michael Wright the King's painter [exhibition catalogue] (1982).

On Westerhout see D. Bodart, L'oeuvre du graveur Arnold van Westerhout (1651-1725): essai de catalogue raisonné (1976).

Summary Note

No publication-date appears on the title-page; the dedication is dated 1687.

Castlemaine had had a strained relationship with Charles II because of his wife's adultery with the king; but on the accession of James II in 1685 he was restored to royal favour, and was sent to Rome to re-establish diplomatic relations between Britain and the Papal States. On arrival Castlemaine spent nine months preparing a state entry calculated to impress by its magnificence. The painter John Michael Wright as Castlemaine's majordomo was entrusted with the oversight of these preparations, and he commissioned not only elaborate coaches, designed by Ciro Ferri and Andrea Cornely, with an immense number of costumes and decorations, but also a series of intricate sugar-sculptures to decorate the table for the banquet which followed.

The frontispiece shows Castlemaine kissing the foot of Innocent XI while a portrait of James II, carried by putti, hovers overhead. Plates 1 and 2 show the arms of Innocent and James; 3-8, the coaches designed by Ferri and Cornely; [9], the banqueting-table with its decorations; 10-15, the table-decorations in detail. In-text illustrations are the dedication's decorated initial and headpiece, which incorporates a portrait of the Duchess of Modena, King James's mother-in-law.

Wright followed up this Italian account with an English-language version, published in London in 1688 (An Account Of His Excellence Roger Earl of Castlemaine's Embassy, From His Sacred Majesty James the IId ... To His Holiness Innocent XI).

Binding Note

17th-century white vellum, upper and lower covers having gilt borders; gilt-decorated spine, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Castlemaines Embassy'.

Name as Subject


Great Britain - Vatican City - Embassies - Ambassadors - Foreign Relations - History - 17th century
British - Ceremonies - Banquets - Italy - Rome - 17th century
Monarchs - Rulers - Publicizing - Public relations - Italy - Rome - 17th century
Carriages - Dining tables - Figurines - Table decorations - Italy - Rome - 17th century - Baroque
Pictorial works - Italy - 17th century