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Six Plates from Tombeaux des Princes, des Grands Capitaines et autres hommes illustres qui ont fleuri dans la Grande-Bretagne.
Paris: for MacSwinney, [1741] - Within mounts c.630 × 400 mm. Copper engravings with etching. Light toning overall, but otherwise very good. A rather raffish character, McSwiny made and lost "a moderate younger brother's fortune" as a theatrical impresario in London. With the failure of Handel's Teseo in 1713 he was bankrupted and forced to flee abroad. Settling in Italy he continued to act as an agent for Italian opera in London, recruiting singers and recommending operas, but also moved into the commissioning of works of art from young Italian painters. It was McSwiny's patronage that helped establish the close connection between Canaletto and England. In the 1720s he commissioned a team of Venetian and Bolognese artists, including Canaletto, Cimaroli, Creti and Ricci, to produce a series of capriccio landscapes featuring allegorical tombs celebrating great men of recent English history. The Duke of Richmond was an important patron of the enterprise, acquiring at least ten of the paintings, and in the 1730s a prospectus was issued inviting subscriptions from "the Ladies and Gentlemen of Taste of Great Britain" for a volume of engravings based on the paintings. These were finally produced in Paris in 1741 drawn by Creti's pupil Domenico Maria Fratta and employing some of the finest French engravers of the period, including Tardieu, Beauvais and Cochin. Each finely-engraved plate features a ruined classical tomb rendered in superb architectural detail within an Italianate landscape. These serve as the setting for complex allegorical scenes illustrative of the quotations from ancient authors which serve as captions. The collection was described by Cohen-De Ricci as "très rare." Cohen-De Ricci 670
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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