BAYARDI [BAIARDI], Ottavio Antonio
Prodromo delle antichità d’Ercolano.
Alla maesta’ del re’ delle Due Sicilie Carlo infante di Spagna, … di monsignor Ottavio Antonio Bayardi. In Napoli MDCCLII. Nella Regale Stamperia Palatina, . Five volumes, quarto, contemporary presentation binding of Carlo VII, King of the Two Sicilies, full calf (lightly rubbed), boards with tooled floral borders, corners of fleur-de-lys, central arms of the dedicatee, Carlo VII (later Carlos III of Spain), gilt spines with crown in top compartment and fleur-de-lys in others (parts I and V with a tiny amount of loss at the head; parts I, III and IV with a little worming at the head); edges speckled red; Part I XLVIII-520; Part II 521-1048; Part III 1049-1556; Part IV 1561-2117; Part V 2119-2678 pp; title page of Part I in red and black with vignette engraving; illustrated with a total of 13 engraved plates on 11 sheets (of which 8 are folding; one with a stub tear, else good) and smaller text engravings; clean throughout, a fine set in the handsome royal presentation binding.
The excavation of Herculaneum, near Pompeii, in 1738, had been undertaken at the instigation of Carlos VII. 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 archaeological site at Herculaneum. Baiardi argues that the city found below Resina is indeed Herculaneum. Subsequent research by members of the Accademia Ercolanese (including Baiardi) produced eight famous folio volumes between 1755 and 1792.
Complete sets in the calf presentation bindings are scarce, particularly in such fine condition, although presentation bindings in morocco with more elaborate gilding are occasionally found.
Brunet I 314; Cicognara 2649.