The Architecture Library, with the support of Italian Studies, Art, Art History & Design, and Humanities funding, is pleased to announce our newest addition to the collection, Giovanni Battista Falda’s Nuovo Teatro della Fabriche from 1665. This volume consists of the first three books in the series, bound together, which are a collection of engravings detailing the contemporary architecture of Rome. The volume, in its present form, is incredibly rare with only twelve copies housed in American collections.
The illustrations contained in the volume are of the Renaissance and Baroque architecture of Rome, and include general views, facades, interiors, and details of churches, monasteries, palazzi, public buildings, monuments, piazzas, as well as other sites of interest in the city. This volume, important in itself because of its study of Rome, also complements the current holdings of the Ryan Rare Book Room, which houses Falda’s Palazzi di Roma, a counterpart to Il Nuovo Teatro delle Fabriche, and together these books present a more complete picture of Renaissance and Baroque Rome.
This volume is also an important acquisition for the expansion of our SPQR-ND mobile application (available for iPad and iPhone) and other digitization projects we have underway in the Architecture Library. This work provides the reader with a snapshot of Rome in the seventeenth century and, in the words of Professor Carroll William Westfall, this book “sharpens one’s understanding of Rome as a place where change is constant and each era has important things to teach.” Cities are not static places and each new project leaves its mark. This work documents Rome in one of its most noteworthy periods.
A curious hieroglyphick Bible, or, Select passages in the Old and New Testaments, represented with emblematical figures, for the amusement of youth: designed chiefly to familiarize tender age, in a pleasing and diverting manner, with early ideas of the Holy Scriptures: to which are subjoined, a short account of the lives of the Evangelists, and other pieces: illustrated with nearly five hundred cuts. Worcester, Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, 1788.
Isaiah Thomas’s hieroglyphic Bible of 1788 is both a landmark piece of American children’s literature and a newly ambitious use of woodcut illustration in an American printed book. The idea of a hieroglyphic Bible, in which select scriptural passages were presented in a combination of words and images, was consistent with Thomas’s interest in works for children that simultaneously instructed and amused. He based his book on an English edition first published in 1783. In his preface—dedicated to the “parents, guardians, and governesses of the [newly constituted] United States of America”—Thomas notes the “considerable expense” involved in commissioning the hundreds of woodcuts that fill the book. Some of these, to the modern eye at least, seem a bit opaque; fortunately, Thomas printed the full text of each passage at the foot of the page. The present copy is a first edition, with all of its pages intact. It was acquired by the Libraries in January 2015.
While the etchings from this book are well-known, both as framed reproductions and from the 1978 Dolmen Press edition, original editions, with their large and detailed prints, are very uncommon.
James Malton accompanied his father, an English architectural draughtsman, to Ireland and was employed for a time by the famous architect James Gandon, who was then working on Dublin’s Custom House. He was dismissed and later worked on a series of drawings of Dublin buildings, first published in six parts between 1792 and 1799 and later, in 1799, published in one volume.