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Tuesday 26 March 2019

Nicolas Oraty’s engraving, “Four still-life frescoes excavated from Herculaneum”, c1762

Niccolò Oraty (fl.mid-1700s)

“Four still-life frescoes excavated from Herculaneum” (descriptive title only), c1762, after the design by the intermediary  draughtsman, Giovanni Elia Morghen (1721–c1789), plate 55 (“Tavola LV”), illustration to page 287 in “Le pitture antiche d'Ercolano e contorni incise con qualche spiegazione”, vol. 3, published by Regia Stamperia in 1762, Naples.

Note: this publication may be viewed online or downloaded free-of-charge at

Etching and engraving on laid paper with small margins and backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 36.9 x 27.8 cm; (plate) 35 x 25.2 cm; (outer image borderline) 33.6 x 24.3 cm
Inscribed on plate above the image borderline: (right) “Pag. 287.”
Lettered on plate below the image borderline: (left) “Giov. Morghen R. dis.”; (centre) “Palmo Napoletano/ Palmo Romano”; (right) “Nic. Oraty Nap. R. Inc. Port.”

Note: the scale shown below the image with the terms “Palmo Napoletano” and “Palmo Romano” identify the different hand-palm sizes differentiating folk from Naples and Rome for proportional comparison with the painting. I understand that this was an early measurement system.

Condition: richly inked, crisp and near faultless impression, trimmed with a small margin around the platemark and backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling).

I am selling this exquisitely delicate engraving (with etching) reproducing four ancient Roman frescoes buried for centuries following the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, for AU$162 (currently US$115.53/EUR101.99/GBP87.30 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world (but not, of course, any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries).

If you are interested in acquiring this sensitive graphic translation of four frescoes from Herculaneum that are superb showcases of antique Roman understanding of perspective and—even more fascinating for me—reveal an intriguing interest in composing fruit “cascading” over two levels/steps, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

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