The Sumptuous Illumination of Turin


La Sontuosa Illuminazione della Città di Torino per l'Augusto Sposalizio delle Reali Maesta' di Carlo Emmanuele Re di Sardegna e di Elisabetta Teresa di Lorena.

Turin: Gio. Battista Chais, 1737


Folio: 35.8 x 24 cm. Engraved frontis., XXXVII p., XVII p., 14 plates. (A-G2, A-D2, E1)


Bound in contemporary marbled boards, worn and soiled, rebacked in later sheep. An unusually nice copy internally, with just the slightest toning to some plates, a few spots, clean tear to center of one plate at fold (no loss), and light finger-soiling in the margins. Magnificent engraved ornamental  frontispiece by Prenner with the arms of the house of Savoy. Fourteen etched and engraved plates, including the folding fireworks plate. Title page in red and black. Text in Italian and French.

One of the most beautiful 18th c. Italian festival books and of the Piemontese Baroque. Both the festival and the book commemorating it occupied the combined efforts of some of the most important artists and architects of the period. The decorations of the buildings, the apparatus, the fireworks, and the machines were invented by the architects Borra, Massone, Piovani, Bernardi, Agliaudi, and Bernardo Vittone. The plates were etched and engraved by Daudet, Belmondo, Bianchi, Maltese, Prenner, and Hérisset.

The ten double-page and four full page plates depict scenes of the festivities held on the occasion of the wedding of Carlo Emanuele III, Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia (1701-1773) and Elisabeth Therese of Lorraine (1711-1741) on April 21st, 1737. The images include numerous illuminations, as well as a large fireworks display over an allegorical grotto richly decorated with statuary, the arms of the bride and groom, and an elaborate central fountain. A brief account of the display of the Turin's famous shroud for the King and his subjects on 4 May is also included, as is a plate illustrating the crowd gathered at the Royal Pavilion to view the relic.

The plates: 1. View of the Porta del Po (designed by Guarino Guarini). 2. View of the Contrada del Po, with illuminations. 3. View of the Castello Reale, 4. The enormous fireworks "macchina", with scenes representing the marriage of the personified river Po and Hymenaeus (the God of marriage). The fireworks show was held upon the arrival of the royal couple. 5. View of the Castello, illuminated. 6. View of the royal pavilion, with illumination. 7. View of the courtyard of the Palazzo Reale. 8. View of the Piazza San Carlo and the Porta Nuova. 9. Façade  of the Palazzo Reale, decorated and illuminated. 10. Façade of the Basilica of Corpus Domini. 11. View of the ghetto. 12. Displaying of the Shroud of Turin to the assembled crowd in the royal pavilion. 13. The vineyard and villa of Santa Maria la Regina (Villa della Regina). 14. Garden of the Veneria Reale.

Cicognara 1504. Vinet 600. Lipperheide 2761. Peyrot I, 151. Berlin 3072. Ruggieri 848. Watanabe 1545