Famous collection of fakes
PASSERI, Giovanni Battista. ~ Lucernae fictiles Musei Passerii. Pesaro: [Niccolo] Gavelli, 1739 [-1743-1751.]
3 vols bound in 2, folio (346 × 220 mm), pp. [xvi], xxviii, 92; [x], xii, 73, ; [viii], xvi, 147, . First title printed in red and black, engraved vignettes to all titles, complete with 322 engraved plates and several engraved vignettes. Contemporary mottled calf, expertly rebacked to style preserving the original labels. Slightly rubbed with corners worn. Quicke family armorial bookplate to first vol., early inscription (John Quicke) to second title. An excellent copy.
First edition of this celebrated illustrated account of Passeri’s collection of oil-lamps. The collection was feted in its day as the best of its kind, but scholars have subsequently proved Passeri to have been the most gullible of collectors and that his collection consisted almost entirely of fakes. The work is thus a rather remarkable testimony to the unfortunate fervour of an eighteenth-century collector. The frontispiece in volume 1 is a portrait of the Archbishop Friderico Lantio de Ruvere, engraved by Carlo Gregori after Giuseppe Menabuoni; emblematic title vignette by Giovanni Battista Passeri, engraved by Vincenzo Franceschini. The plates and head- and tail-pieces, are engraved after Giuseppe Menabuoni, mainly by Vincenzo Franceschini.