Return to Archive
View more images of this item


[CHANDLER, Richard, REVETT, Nicholas and PARS, William]
Ionian Antiquities, published by order of the Society of Dilettanti.
London: printed by T[homas] Spilsbury & W. Haskell, 1769.

First edition, first issue. Unbound broadsheets (540 x 375 mm, some plates marginally smaller). 28 engraved plates, four engraved headpieces and four engraved tailpieces. Clamshell box by Nello Nanni in quarter brown morocco, gilt tooled and lettered with raised bands in eight compartments, over “O’Malley Crackle” brown marble-patterned Cave paper; recent green cloth portfolio. Collates [A], [a], b-c, [B], C-Dd, [Ee]: [2 ll. (engraved bookplate tipped to second], 1 l. (title), 1 l. (inscription to the King recto, Members of the Society verso), pp. [i]-iv, [1]-53, [1 p.], plus 28 plates printed rectos only, complete. Occasional negligible foxing and staining, pinholes in outer center left and right margins of text pages (possibly for printing registers), overall fine, very bright and in almost original condition.

After the successful publication in 1762 of the first volume of “Athenian” Stuart’s and architect Nicholas Revett’s Antiquities of Athens, the Society of Dilettanti sponsored a two-year expedition to Anatolia to record the Ionian antiquities, dispatching with Revett the classical scholar Richard Chandler of Magdalen College, editor of the Marmora Oxoniensia, and the “young Painter of promising Talents” William Pars. The resulting publication, its first issue recording the temples of Bacchus at Teos, Minerva Polias at Priene and Apollo Didymaeus at Miletus, was the first work commissioned and funded directly by the Society, and a major influence on neo-classicism in England.

The present leaves are strongly and beautifully printed in Roman and Greek fonts on fine French laid paper (the title leaf watermarked T Dupuy Fin Auvergne). The work was completed in five parts: part 2, 1797; part 3, 1840; part 4, 1881; and part 5, 1915; parts 2-5 were issued with the title Antiquities of Ionia. The Society ordered 150 copies of Part 1, of which the present copy is one, printed for its own distribution in 1769 (Harris 847; Fowler 276), paying for the plates, the setting of letterpress, the paper and the printing. Chandler, Revett and Pars were then given permission to print the work separately as a commercial enterprise for their own account, and they proceeded to have 600 copies printed of a second issue of Part 1 with a variant title page and on their own paper as the first part of the set (Harris 848). A third issue of Part 1 in 1783, supplementing 200 remaining collated copies of the second issue (Cust, op. cit. p. 100; Harris 849), added Chapter IV (the Temple of Jackly, pp. [55]-60 with five additional plates). Finally, a second edition of Part 1 was issued in 1821 (Millard British 80). The 1769 first issue has become quite rare. The Short Title Catalogue lists copies in the British Isles at only six libraries (mostly overlapping the ten royal and institutional presentation copies, see Cust, p. 94) and in the United States at only seven libraries.

Provenance: James Frampton (Moreton, Dorset, armorial bookplate tipped to original blank leaf with IV watermark).

Cust, Lionel. History of the Society of Dilettanti, London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1914, particularly pp 81-95.
The Fowler Collection of Early Architectural Books, Johns Hopkins University, p. 132 (under Revett, Nicholas) and Reel 48, No. [276].
Harris, Eileen (with Nicholas Savage), British Architectural Books and Writers, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 431-7.
National Gallery of Art, Washington, The Mark J. Millard Architectural Collection, vol. II, British books: seventeenth through nineteenth centuries, New York: George Braziller Incorporated, 1998, pp. 298-301.
Wiebenson, Dora, Sources of Greek Revival Architecture, London: A. Zwemmer Ltd., 1969, pp. 45-6, cf. p. 117, entry 132.

View more images of this item

Price: SOLD
Inquiries: [email protected]

<< Previous