(Romæ: Typis Georgii Plachi, 1711). 248 x 191 mm. (9 3/4 x 7 1/2"). 20 p.l. (including three title pages, one engraved, one in Latin, one in Italian), followed by plates with facing commentary and, at the end, two index leaves. FIRST EDITION.
Excellent contemporary sprinkled calf, covers with border in gilt and blind, raised bands, spines handsomely gilt in compartments with large intricate fleuron centerpiece and scrolling cornerpieces, reddish-brown morocco label. WITH A TOTAL OF 167 FULL-PAGE ENGRAVED PLATES: a frontispiece showing Victory perched above military accoutrements, 143 plates (engraved by Giovanni Battista Sintes after Andrea Antonio Orazi) depicting members of various knightly orders in a variety of costumes (each plate facing a text leaf of explication in Latin and Italian), and 23 plates showing the insignia of the orders (usually with several figures on each of these 23 plates). Bookplate of the Macclesfield library on front pastedown, first three leaves with small matching embossed armorial Macclesfield stamp. Brunet I, 1086; Graesse I, 480. Spine and joints with slight dryness and rubbing, several tiny marks to covers, a trivial spot here and there internally, but A REALLY EXCELLENT COPY, the attractive early binding solid and without any serious wear, and THE TEXT AND PLATES UNUSUALLY CLEAN AND FRESH.
The illustrations here of members of various "knightly and military orders" are a wonderful source for the costumes of the early 18th century. The orders include not only genuine fighting orders such as the Templars and the Teutonic Knights, but all sorts of honorary, social, and charitable orders, so that some figures appear in suits of armor, others in clerical garb, and many in elaborate secular dress, decked out in the extravagant fashions of the day. Of the orders, 18 are for women, all elegantly costumed here, some suitably for the cloister, others for the ballroom. Perhaps the most exotic are a Roman member of the knightly (i.e., business) class, dressed, naturally, in a toga; a Turkish member of the Order of the Moon; a Peruvian; and a Floridian. The artist Andrea Orazi (b. 1670) painted in oils and frescoed two Roman churches. In addition to writing books on subjects ranging from coins to musical instruments to natural history, the learned Jesuit Buonanni (1638-1725) served as librarian of the Collegio Romano and in 1698 became curator of the Kircherian Musem. (ST11283)
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PJP Catalog: ELIST5.006