HAMILTON, WILLIAM and PIERRE FRANÇOIS HUGUES D'HANCARVILLE.
Collection of Etruscan, Greek, and Roman Antiquities from the Cabinet of the Hon. W. Hamilton his Brittanick Majesty's Envoy Extraordinary at the Court of Naples; Antiquités Etrusques, Grecques, et Romaines Tirées du Cabinet de M. Hamilton.... Naples: [François Morelli], 1766-67 [but 1766-76].
4 volumes. Folio (478 x 380 mm). 177, [3, errata]; 168; 4ff, 5-211, ; viii, 252 pp. With 8 hand-colored engraved titles, 441 engraved plates (186 in color, 64 double-page, 21 large folding), 32 etched and engraved vignette head & tailpieces, and 40 large etched and engraved initials. Contemporary French speckled calf, spines gilt in compartments with 7 raised bands, morocco spine-labels. Worming at head and foot of spines with some loss (lower spine compartment of vols 2 & 3), corners worn, a few minor marginal wormholes, a few minor stains; evidence of bookplate removal, ownership inscriptions clipped from titles and replaced with blank paper.
FIRST EDITION, COMPLETE WITH ALL FOUR VOLUMES of this lavishly illustrated and important work whose "influence on neo-classical design and taste was to be profound" (Dictionary of Art). This "édition splendide et de grand luxe" (Cohen) is very rarely found in all four volumes. After the printing of the first two volumes, publication was halted because of Hugue's expulsion from Naples due to debts. Hamilton had to recover the printing plates from the creditors, and was not able to complete the final two volumes until 1776. While 500 copies of the first two volumes were printed, there were only 100 printed of the last two volumes. We locate only one other complete copy in the auction records. Berlin Katalog 890; Blackmer 845 (435 plates); Brunet I, 321; Cohen-de Ricci Guide de l'Amateur de Livres à Gravures du XVIIIe Siècle 474.