ORLANDI, Pellegrino

ORLANDI, Pellegrino Antonio. L’abecedario pittorico dall’autore ristampato, ricorretto e accresciuto…

Naples, Nicolò & Vincenzo Rispoli, 1733.




£ xxx


4to. (20), 473, (110). Roman letters with some italic. Title-page with small printer’s device and owner’s signature to head of page. Five engraved plates with artists’ monograms; large historiated and floriated initials from different sets; numerous head- and tail-pieces. Bookplate of art historian Michael Jaffé (1923 – 1997) on first free e-p. Pencil annotations by Jaffé and some occasional marginalia from an early English hand. Original bookmark still in place. Some foxing towards the end of the book and occasional soiling near the margins, otherwise in excellent conditions. Bound in contemporary blind calf over boards with some signs of wear to front and outer hinges; spine in six compartments with five raised bands covering sowing support; gilt label to spine.


Orlandi’s ‘Abecedario’ is the most authoritative source for the study of Italian art during the eighteenth century. It was dedicated by its author to Francesco Solimena (1657 – 1747), one of the most celebrated painters of the time. The book is composed of three parts: a short dictionary of classical artists (pp. 1 – 40); a dictionary of modern and contemporary artists (painters, sculptors, architects) (pp. 41 – 430) with the addition of a few more painters that were not originally included by Orlandi (pp. 431 – 473); five plates with a repertoire of engravers’ monograms followed by an index, three bibliographies (on artists, architects, techniques) and the extended captions to the five plates. This edition is concluded by a second, anonymous dedication to the great French collector Pierre Crozat (1667 – 1740). From the point of view of the art historian, Orlandi’s work is particularly useful for the study of the late=baroque Italian art, which was gradually departing from a plain naturalism towards a more elaborate use of space and perspective. Although Orlandi’s descriptions are generally short and sometimes defective, his book offers an invaluable repertoire of minor artists and lost artworks from Italy and beyond.


This copy belonged to Michael Jaffé (1923 – 1997), one of the most important English art historians of the last century. Focusing primarily on Rubens, Jaffé was nominated Head of the Art History department at Cambridge University and Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum. He clearly made an extensive, yet respectful, use of this copy, which he annotated in pencil for an easier consultation.