[FLAXMAN, JOHN (1755-1826)]. Alighieri, Dante.
Title COMPOSITIONS FROM THE HELL, PURGATORY, AND PARADISE OF DANTE ALIGHIERI. FLAXMAN'S DESIGNS FROM DANTE. Engraved by Thomas Piroli from the drawings in the possession of Thomas Hope, Esq. 1793.
Book Condition Very Good
Publisher London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orne, 1807.
Seller ID 104
Folio (oblong). 110 leaves of plates; 38 plates to Inferno, 38 to Purgatorio, and 33 to Paradiso. One plate, between Purgatorio and Paradiso is not numbered and entitled, "Faith, Hope, and Charity". In rich, chocolate colored boards with vellum spine. Spine solied. Vellum cracked on back of spine. Boards rubbed, edges have small chips (less than 1/8" each) and corners fraying. Age toning to edges of pages. Foxing throughout, though generally affecting the margins.
This collection of plates illustrated by John Flaxman was commissioned by the art collector Thomas Hope (1769-1831), and were probably begun in April or May 1792, at the same time as Flaxman's work on drawings for Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. Flaxman was the leading Neo-classical sculptor in late eighteenth-century Britain and a well known designer for Wedgwood pottery. After working as a designer for Josiah Wedgwood, Flaxman spent seven years studying in Rome. Britain's National Portrait Gallery describes this time as one that "transformed him from an obscure British designer and sculptor into a major international figure with a proven record in monumental sculpture and decorative design. His outline engravings of 1793-5 illustrating Homer and Dante won him an international reputation unmatched by any contemporary British artist. He was also appointed the Royal Academy's first Professor of Sculpture in 1810." Though over two hundred years old, Flaxman's stark line drawings are eerily modern in their interpretation of Dante's classic poem. Uncommon.