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[Vasi Candelabri Cippi Sarcofagi Tripodi Lucerne Ed Ornamenti Antichi Disegn Ed Inc Dal Cav Gio Batta Piranesi]

RA Collection: Book

Record number



[Pubblicati, L'Anno MDCCLXXIIX]

Physical Description

[13] pl. (all dble. except pl. [5]); 539 mm. (Broadsheet).

General Note

In the Royal Academy's holding, between pl. [5] and [6] there are two copies of a plate showing a vase, dedicated by Franciscus Bartolus to 'Illmo. Et Revmo. D.D. Nicolao ...', dated 1700. Pl. [10] is a different state of pl. [9].

Responsibility Note

Plate [7] is unsigned. All others are signed, either as drawn and engraved by Cavalier(e) Piranesi (pl. [1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13]), or as engraved by him (pl. [3, 12]). Plates [1, 2] are dedicated by Piranesi to 'Monsigr. D. Giovambatista Rezzonico Nipote e Maggiorduomo della Santità di N.S. Papa Clemente XIII e Gran Priore in Roma della Sacra Religione Gerosolimitana'; plate [12], to 'Miledi Maria Fox'.


National Gallery (Washington), Mark J. Millard, 4 (2000), 101; Royal Institute of British Architects,British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, 3 (1999), no. 2568; Focillon, 601-718; Hind, Piranesi, p. 87; Piranesi: complete etchings, 888-1005, Wilton-Ely, Catalogue, 292-316.

Summary Note

This is a group of thirteen unnumbered prints without a title-plate - prints which in later states were included in the set first published under the title, Vasi Candelabri Cippi in 'MDCCLXXIIX' (= 1778?). The work was first mentioned in what is thought to be the nineteenth state of Piranesi's Catalogo (ca. 1772) - and there its plates are stated to be priced singly, implying that they were probably available singly at an earlier date. The dedications of plates [1] and [2] to Monsigr. D. Giovambatista Rezzonico imply a date after 1766, when he became Prefect of the Apostolic Palace, but before 1770, when he became a Cardinal, and before 1769, when Pope Clement XIII died; and that of plate [12] to Miledi Maria Fox implies a date before 1774, when Lady Mary's husband became second Baron Holland, and after 1767, when she and her husband were in Rome. The first known title-plate of the Vasi Candelabri Cippi is dated 'MDCCLXXIIX' (i.e. 1778?), when the work is thought to have contained 105 unnumbered plates. At some stage (probably 1779) sets were issued containing 109 numbered plates. The complete state retains the 'MDCCLXXIIX' title-plate but has 112 numbered plates, of which the latest carries the date '1791'. It is not possible to date all these thirteen plates precisely (apart from noting the implications of the dedications discussed above, and the implication that, as all are unnumbered, all were probably printed before 1779). Below we list and describe them, with references to the numbers assigned them in the complete (1791) edition, noting any differences: [1] (dedicated to Giovambatista Rezzonico, and captioned 'Altro Candelabro ... de' due posseduti dal Sigr. Tommaso Jenkins ...') = 50 [no differences]; [2] (a candelabrum, uncaptioned, dedicated to Giovambatista Rezzonico) = 51 [no differences]; [3] (three vases, captioned 'Monumento antico che si vede in Inghilterra presso il Sigr. Aufrere ...') = 49 [but the latter has a dedication at the head of the plate, 'Al Signor Giovanni Taylor ...']; [4] (three vases, captioned, 'Vaso e piedestallo antichi di marmo che si vedono nel Museo dell'Autore ...') = 28 [but the latter has a dedication at the foot of the plate, 'All'Illustrissima Signora Maria Udnij ...']; [5] (vase on tripod, captioned 'In Inghilterra presso il Signor Dalton ...') = 78B [no differences]; [6] (candelabrum, captioned 'Altra veduta in prospettiva dell'altro Candelabro antico che si vede nel Museo del Cavalier Piranesi') = 108 [but the latter has a dedication added immediately below the caption, 'Dedicato al Signor Carlo Morris ...']; [7] (candelabrum, with no caption, dedication or signature) = 107 [but the latter having a lengthy dedication 'Al Signor Carlo Morris Cavaliere Inglese Un tal Lume perpetuo ...', Piranesi's signature bottom left and a scale 'Palmi Romani numero sei']; [8] (candelabrum captioned 'Veduta in prospettiva dell'altro Candelabro antico che si vede nel Museo del Cavalier Piranesi') = 97 [but the latter having a dedication at the foot of the plate, 'Al Signor Carlo Morris Cavaliere Inglese Il Presente Candelabro ...' and a further inscription 'Extant in Bibliotheca Radcliviana Oxonia ex Dono']; [9] (three candelabra, the central one captioned 'Candelabro antico geometricamente disegnato ...') = 100 [but the latter having the dedication at the foot of the plate, 'Al Signor Carlo Morris Cavaliere Inglese Nel piantato di questo Candelabro ...']; [10] (the same plate as [9] but in a different state, omitting the caption of the central candelabrum) = 100 [with the additions described above]; [11] (candelabrum captioned 'Veduta in prospettiva dell'altro Candelabro antico che si vede nel Museo del Cavaliere Piranesi') = 101 [but the latter having the dedication at the foot of the plate, 'Al Signor Carlo Morris Cavaliere Inglese Il presente Candelabro o Signore ...', and Piranesi's signature moved to a point higher in the plate]; [12] (3 vases, one on a pedestal, captioned (i) 'Vaso antico di marmo di bassirilievi rappresentanti il Sacrifizio di Suovetaurilii ...'; (ii. iii) 'A.B. Vasi antichi ... fra le altre antichità dell'Autore'; dedicated at the foot of the plate 'A Sua Eccellenza Miledi Maria Fox ...') = [52] [but with captions ii and iii changed to 'Vaso antico di marmo esistente in Inghilterra presso Mr. Hugh Dean Pittore di Paesi' and 'Vaso antico di marmo che si vede presso l'autore'];] [13] (3 vases, one on a pedestal, captioned 'Vaso antico alto palmi 4. onc. 7. che si vede nel Museo dell'Autore ...') = 46 [but with a dedication added at the foot of the plate, 'Al Signor Tomasso Palmer ...' and Piranesi's signature now removed]. It is notable that the prints caption the vases and candelabra - apart from those described as being in Piranesi's own Museum - as all being in the possession of British collectors - Tommaso Jenkins Pittore Inglese, Giorgio Aufrere Cavaliere, Milord Palmerston, Signor Dalton Cavaliere, Mylord Holland, Signor Hugh Deane, Milord Exeter.


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

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 'Cammini Antich di Cora Candelabra Piranesi', spine lettered 'R.A.' Bound with 3 others.

Name as Subject


Antiquities, Roman - Vases - Candelabras - Lampstands - History
Pictorial works - Italy - 18th century
Armorial bindings - Great Britain - 18th century