BAYARDI, OTTAVIO ANTONIO. 1690-1765.
Prodromo delle antichità d'Ercolano. Naples: Regale Stampería Palatina, 1752.
5 volumes. 4to (227 x 160 mm). Engraved illustrations, 13 engraved plates on 11 sheets (of which 7 are folding). Period calf, covers with roll-tooled floral borders, corners of fleur-de-lys, central arms of the dedicatee, Carlo VII, King of the Two Sicilies (later Carlos III of Spain), gilt spines with crown in top compartment and fleur-de-lys in others. Volume 5 lightly waterstained and with one paper flaw touching footnote, a few stub tears to folding plates, bindings rubbed and bowed, chip to head of one spine.
Provenance: Carlo VII of the Two Sicilies (binding); indistinct ownership inscriptions dated March 1831 on endpapers.
BOUND FOR PRESENTATION FROM THE DEDICATEE, King of the Two Sicilies. Carlo had ordered the excavation of Herculaneum, near Pompeii, in 1738, and the Regale Stamperia was formed in 1750 for the express purpose of publishing the discoveries. The present work is the first book published by the Stamperia, and the first official study of the site. Bayardi argues that the city found below Resina is indeed Herculaneum, with extensive reference to the life of Hercules. Research continued, and from 1755-92 a newly-formed Accademia Ercolanese, of which Bayardi was a member, produced eight famous folio volumes. (Mattusch, The Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum, 2005, pp 65-8.)
Presentation bindings in morocco with more elaborate gilding are occasionally found. Brunet I 314; Cicognara 2649.