Very good. Item #7254
Venice: "Presso gli Editori Sopraindicati Rio Terrà S. Toma al N. 1652," [c. 1830]. (The "editori sopraindicati" are not named, though space is allotted on the front panel for an individual bookseller's name.) Quarto volume of 48 engravings, each on its own leaf, with additional portfolio of 18 loose engravings, originally part of the same album. Each leaf approximately 20x27cm; engraved images range from 10x17cm to 17x24cm. Sixty aquatint engravings by Andrea Tosini and Antonio Lazzari; with, additionally, 4 drawn and engraved by Lazzari alone; 1 drawn and engraved by Pietro Chevalier; and 1 drawn and engraved by unnamed artist(s).
In new custom-built umber-taupe linen case with separate compartments for bound album and prints within a portfolio.
Album binding in original gray-brown printed boards with paper label affixed at spine crown. Binding shaken but holding. Textblock edged in red; some mild foxing throughout, though none directly affecting images. Those plates excised from the bound album are within the portfolio (see below).
Antonio Lazzari (1798-1834) achieved fame for the subtlety of his aquatint engravings despite his death at an early age. Andrea Tosini (fl. first half of 19th century) was renowned not only for his architectural and city views, but also for his botanic plates; he taught at the University of Padua and wrote an introductory manual on perspective drawing.
This album of engravings was one of many such albums, most often of aquatints or lithographs, sometimes hand-colored, intended for Venice’s Grand Tour visitors (or would-visitors) and published between, approximately, 1829 and 1850. Authoritative bibliographer of Venice, Emmanuele Antonio Cicogna, in his "Saggio di Bibliografia Veneziana," enumerates several dozen such “raccolte,” from a variety of artists, engravers, and publisher-booksellers. These albums were printed, sold, and hybridized by several prominent Venetian booksellers within various bindings, and with differing configurations and quantities of plates. Hybridization makes the state of “first” or “complete” edition difficult to validate. In general, the more numerous and differentiated the array of images from a consistent artist+engraver pair, and the more consistent the paper and format within a given album, the closer we are to what can be posited as an early and complete(ish) volume.
This album, while not entire, is close to such an early and complete(ish) state. The artist and engraver, Andrea Tosini and Antonio Lazzari, respectively, are responsible, as a pair, for 60 of our extant 66 plates. Antonio Lazzari, working alone both as artist and engraver, is responsible for 4 more of them; one plate is drawn and engraved by Pietro Chevalier; another is from an unknown hand. Paper stock and matching cut lines allow us to presume (but not to prove) that all of the loose plates were once part of the bound volume, whether directly bound or tipped in.
Cicogna’s first listing of such an album from Tosini and Lazzari (No. 4563 in his bibliography), was published in 1829 under the title “Vedute Prospettiche degli Interni de' Migliori Tempj e delle Situazioni Piu Pittoresche della Città di Venezia.” That 1829 volume, which we may use for a baseline, comprised 90 plates, so our item seems to be lacking 30 of them, if they were ever included—something we cannot know. Based on gatherings and stub remnants, the additional plates, from Lazzari alone and other hands, were added in initial publication or soon after. At a much later date, a previous owner numbered the plates in pencil up through 74, so we know that eight plates have been lost since that intermediate tabulation.
The missing plates don’t affect the 66 we have, which are finely printed and remarkably crisp. Aquatint, of which Lazzari was a noted master, permitted striking effects of directional lighting and nuanced chiaroscuro. The image of the Rialto was colored by hand—and, interestingly, to the colorist’s taste, since other surviving contemporaneously hand-colored copies of the same plate by Lazzari show different color schemes.
The modern presentation of this Raccolta di Vedute Prospettiche is in a new umber-taupe archival linen case, with one niche for the portfolio containing the loose leaves, and another for the bound album—an elegant housing for a remarkably fine set of prints.