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[Mosaic marble tile floors from five churches, most or all in Rome]. [Rome?, ca. 1662 or 18th century]. Small folio (26 x 19.5 cm). 40 ink and watercolour drawings (28 round and 12 square, each ca. 11 x 11 cm) showing the decorative patterns and coloured marbles from the floors of 5 churches. Each has a triple-rule border in black ink with a panel at the foot containing the name of the church. Contemporary(?) boards covered with later (ca. 1840?) Storemont on shell marbled paper.
A book of 40 detailed colour drawings showing the elaborate patterns in the mosaic marble tile floors of five different churches, with eight examples from each church: Santa Maria Maggiore (1-8), Santi Giovanni e Paolo (9-16), San Marco (17-24), Sant' Alessio (25-32) and Sant' Ivo (33-40). All probably refer to the Roman churches of these names, though the Basilica di San Marco in Venice also has elaborate mosaic floors. Some of the mosaics are in the Mediaeval Italian style called Cosmatesque, but some may date from the Renaissance. Besides a wide variety of triangular, square, rectangular, diamond, hexagonal, and octagonal tiles, there are many cut with circular edges and a few irregular quadrilaterals. Some are assembled to form stars in a hexagonal grid, round sunburst patterns and an endless variety of other patterns. All patterns show a rotational symmetry around the centre point or a repeating pattern in a square or hexagonal grid. The colouring of many of the tiles shows various styles and colours of marble veins.The drawings are difficult to date exactly. The leaves used for the drawings show a single paper stock, very close to Piccard VI, watermarks V.423 & V.424 (Rome 1662). The drawings could have been made as early as ca. 1662, but the lettering of the names of the churches seems more likely to date from the 18th century. In 1752, Monsignor Giuseppe Alessandro Furietti, a prelate from Bergamo, published an illustrated book on mosaics from classical Rome to his own day: De Musivis, Rome, 1752. This marked a new interest in such antiquities, but he illustrates mainly earlier examples and we find little link with the present examples, which were probably drawn before his book appeared. With smudges on a few pages, one slightly affecting the edge of one drawing, but otherwise in very good condition, with only a light marginal water stain in the last few leaves. The front hinge is broken and the spine and edges of the binding are somewhat tattered. Since many floor mosaics have been destroyed or damaged over the centuries, the present book provides a unique historical record of some of the designs.
      [Bookseller: ASHER Rare Books (Since 1830)]
Last Found On: 2014-08-10           Check availability:      NVvA    

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