The Monuments & Art of Roman Italy - With 166 Engravings - A Companion to Barbault’s “Les Plus Beaux Monuments De Rome Ancienne” - Barbault’s Rarest Work

Barbault, Jean (1718-1762)

Recueil De Divers Monumens Anciens Répandus En Plusieurs Endroits De L'Italie. Dessinés Par Feu Monsieur Barbault Peintre Pensionnaire Du Roi A Rome, Et Gravé En 166 Planches Avec Leur Explication Historique Pour Servir De Suite Aux Monuments De Rome Ancienne.

Rome: Chez Bouchard & Gravier Libraires françois rüe du Cours près de Saint Marcel, 1770


Large Folio: 52 x 38.5 cm. [6], 54 pages, 104 plates. The book is composed of large bi-folia, many comprising a large printed plate of engravings and a text leaf. The plates are not tipped-in or mounted on guards; they are integral to the sewn gatherings.


Bound in near-contemporary mottled calfskin (minor wear to the extremities, a few minor faults to the boards, corners bumped) the spine richly tooled in gold with floral ornaments and a Greek meander pattern, red morocco label. The contents are in very good condition with only minor cosmetic faults as follows: three text leaves with marginal stain to upper, inner corner; light foxing and toning to some text leaves; occasional, very minor marks in the margins of a few plates; a small, light stain to extreme upper margin of two plates; half-title creased.

Intended as a companion to Barbault’s “Les Plus Beaux Monuments De Rome Ancienne”(1761), the “Recueil De Divers Monumens Anciens”(1770) is Barbault’s rarest work. As with the “Monumens Anciens”, the “Recueil” comprises engravings and descriptions of ancient Roman architecture, monuments, and sculpture. It also includes Roman pottery, bronze works, and related objects.

Most plates are signed as drawn by Barbault. Seven are signed as both drawn and engraved by him; most carry the names of other engravers - Domenico Montagù (who collaborated with Barbault on the “Rome Ancienne”), Freicenet, Johan Beheim, and Hubert Robert.

Among the most impressive and important of the engravings are images of the temples of Paestum, the triumphal arch of Trajan at Ancona, the Palatine foundations opposite the Circus Maximus, the Arch of Septimius Severus and Caracalla at St. George Velabro, and that of Augustus at Rimini, the amphitheater of Verona, the Temple of the Sibyl at Tivoli, the ancient and grand underground sepulchers of Roman noble families, and the temples of Pozzuoli.

The French artist Jean Barbault arrived in Rome in 1747 and quickly became involved with the circle of Piranesi, with whom he worked on the “Varie Vedute di Roma Antica e Moderna” and for whose “Antichità Romane” he contributed figures for 14 plates “thus becoming one of the few official collaborators” of Piranesi. Barbault’s own views appeared 7 years after his collaboration with Piranesi. The success of Barbault’s views was “largely due to the great fashion for large Roman views created by Piranesi’s publications. The overlapping questions of plagiarism and influence are quite vivid, since not only were Piranesi and Barbault both collaborators and rivals (Barbault died too young to present a real threat), but, more important, in Giovanni Bouchard they briefly shared a publisher as well. It has been persuasively suggested (Rosenberg 1976) that Bouchard promoted Barbault as a rival after Piranesi left to set up his own publishing enterprise and that Barbault became Piranesi’s most feared pasticheur.

A complete list of the plates:

The plates show: 1. Temple de la Sibylle à Tivoli; 2. Temple de la Déesse de la Toux; 3. Temple de Clitumne; 4, 5. Temples de Jupiter, Junon, à Pouzole; 6-9. Temples de Pesto; 10. Trépieds; 11-13 Autels; 14. Plan de chambre sepulchrale des Affranchis & Esclaves de la famille d'Auguste; 15-17. Coupes intérieures de la même chambre; 18. Vue interieure de la chambre sepulchrale contigue; 19, 20. Vue externe, interieure, des trois chambres sepulchrales qu'on croit etre de la famille d'Auguste; 21, 22. Vues interieure de la chambre sepulchrale de L. Arruntius; 23. Tombeau de la famille Plautia; 24. Vue - chambres sepulchrales sur la voie Appia; 25. Vue - Mausole de Ste Helene; 26, 27. Urnes sepulchrales; 28, 29. Monumens sepulchrales; 30, 31. Urnes sepulchrales; 32. Monumens sepulchraux de la Garde Pretorienne; 33. Urnes cineraires; 34-38. Vases cineraires; 39-44. Sarcophages; 45. Vases lacrimatoires; 46-52. Lampes; 53-57. Pateres; 58-60. Arcs de Septime Severe, Trajan à Ancone, Auguste à Rimini; 61. Pont à Rimini; 62. Amphitheatre à Verone; 63. Anciens murs de Rome; 64-75. Statues, de Jupiter, Junon, Junon, Ceres, Pallas, Bacchus, Diane, Diane, Esculape, Igye, une Muse, deesse inconnue; 76. Jules Cesar; 77-94. Bas-reliefs; 95. Cybele; 96. Statue inconnue; 97-104. Bas-relief, frises, ornements.

RIBA, Early printed books, 1 (1994), 185; Rossetti G-1254