Grecian Remains in Italy, a description of Cyclopian Walls, and of Roman Antiquities with Topographical and Picturesque Views of Ancient Latium.
Author and artist John Izard Middleton (1785-1849) was the son of Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He spent much of his adult life traveling in France and Italy where, like many contemporary travelers, he sketched extensively. His careful depictions of ancient ruins established him as one of America's first Classical archaeologists.
Middleton deserves more credit as a topographical artist than he has received. A number of his drawings turned up without attribution in other books, notably those of the more famous Edward Dodwell, with whom our author travelled and whose "Views in Greece" and "Tour through Greece" were substantial and well received publications.
This is a masterwork of aquatint engraving notable for the beauty and precision of its depictions of ancient Greek and Roman ruins in Italy. The plates are visually impressive-the three double-page images especially so-showing to good advantage architectural ruins, Italian towns, and surrounding landscapes, often in the form of memorable vistas.
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This copy of "Grecian Remains" is a first edition, but it's more complicated than that. The book was originally issued in parts over a period of nine years (probably during 1811-1812 and in 1819), with the title page (as here) dated 1812. The plates themselves were issued in 1818 or later, and then combined with the separately printed installments of text. In our copy, the paper on which the text is printed is watermarked 1805 for parts I-III, and 1818 for parts IV-VII, surely indicating that the letterpress here represents the original parts. All but one of our plates are on paper watermarked 1818 (our later plate being dated 1823). Abbey's copy had watermarks identical to ours.
Whatever the dates of the paper they were printed on, our plates are clear, sharp, and beautifully colored. The present copy is remarkable in that the fatal offsetting from text onto plates, which mars the vast majority of otherwise beautiful color plate books, is virtually absent here. This is a masterwork of aquatint engraving notable for the beauty and precision of its depictions of ancient Greek and Roman ruins in Italy. The plates are visually impressive-the three double-page images especially so-showing to good advantage architectural ruins, Italian towns, and surrounding landscapes, often in the form of memorable vistas.
25 illustrations by M. Dubourg after Middleton, Philip Giuntotardi, and others. 23 of them are hand-colored aquatint plates (3 double page) and two are simpler plain line engravings.
480 x 335 mm. (19 x 13"). 1 p.l. (title), 50 pp. (plus plates). (Collation matching Abbey and Tooley.)
Abbey Travel 165; Tooley 328; Prideaux 234 & 344; Bobins 591. Avery Architectural Library, p. 666.