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Wednesday 28 July 2021

Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s etching “Towers which Fortify the Wall”, 1762

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720–1788)

Towers which Fortify the Wall” (aka “VIII. Fig. II. A.Torri di cui son munite le mura ...”), plate VIII (8), Fig. 11, from the series, “Le Antichità” (Roman Antiquities)”, initially published in Rome in volume 1 by Angelo Rotili (fl.1749–1766) in 1756–57, this lifetime impression is from the 2nd edition published in 1784 by GB Piranesi in Rome. 

Etching on laid paper coeval with the date of publication (3 cm chainlines, but without showing the watermark, “double circle and lily with letters CB”) with wide margins, backed with a support sheet.

Size: (sheet) 24.1 x 37 cm; (plate) 13.6 x 20.1; (image borderline) 19.6 x 13.1 cm.

Numbered and lettered in plate: (upper right corner) “Fig. II”; (lower right) “A. Torri di cui son munite le mura. B. Arcuazione interio:/ re delle medesime per uso delle Sentinelle C. Comuniazion/ da un’arco all'altro. D. Feritoje corrispondenti nell'esterno. E/ Piano di Roma anteriore alla costruzione delle mura Aurelia:/ nensi. F. Piano di Roma, o sia terrapieno fatto alle mura da Au:/ reliano, colle rovine degli Edifizj che ingombravano il luogo e le vi:/ cinanze della mura./ Piranesi Archit. dis. Inc”; (following indexed locations in image): “A” to “F”.

Wilton Ely I.293 (John Wilton-Ely 1994, “Giovanni Battista Piranesi, The Complete Etchings”, vol. 1, San Francisco, Alan Wofsy, p. 343, cat. no. 293); Taschen/Ficacci 149 (Luigi Ficacci 2011, “ Piranesi: The Complete Etchings”, vol. 1, Cologne, Taschen, p. 167, cat. no. 149); Focillon 20.A.158; Giesecke 116; Hind 83.

Condition: a richly inked, well-printed, near faultless lifetime impression with wide margins laid upon a support of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. Beyond two spots of thinness from past mounting (now removed) and a pencil notation of the cat. no., the sheet is in almost pristine condition with no tears, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing or signs of handling.

I am selling this small(ish) but visually arresting etching by one of the most important printmakers of the 18th century, for AU$304 (currently US$224.54/EUR189.29/GBP161.08 at the time of this listing) 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 purchasing this strong and beautiful etching, 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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