MAYER, Luigi (1755-1803)
Views in Palestine from the original drawings of Luigi Mayer with an historical and descriptive account of the country and its remakable places.
/ Vues en Palestine, d’apres les dessins originaux de Luigi Mayer; avec une relation historique et descriptive du pays, et des lieux principaux qu-on y remarque. London : Printed by T. Bensley, Bolt Court, for R. Bowyer, Historic Gallery, Pall Mall, 1804. First Edition. Large folio (495 x 350 mm), contemporary gilt-ruled half scarlet straight-grain morocco over marbled papered boards (lightly rubbed and marked), spine in compartments with flat gilt bands and gilt ornament (a little scuffed), original marbled endpapers, front pastedown with 20th century ex libris, first blank with ownership inscription of the book’s first owner ‘Margaret Graves 1804’; pp [4, including title leaf in English and French], 47, [1 catalogue of plates], 2 preliminary and trailing blanks, with 24 full-page handcoloured aquatint plates; text in English and French; clean and fresh throughout, the plates all in fine condition (some lacking the tissue guards) with strong colour; a fine example in a contemporary binding.
Rare first edition of this beautiful plate book of Holy Land views by the German-Italian orientalist painter Luigi Mayer (1755-1803).
Mayer, who studied with Piranesi and was later artist at the court of the King of Naples, was unquestionably the most accomplished artist to produce drawings of scenes in the Near East prior to the Scottish traveller and artist David Roberts. He produced four major works of Ottoman, Egyptian and Levantine views. His Views in Palestine contains colourful views of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Bethany, and of significant Biblical sites such as the pool of Bethesda, the fountain of Siloam, the sepulchre of the Judges of Israel, Mount Zion, the Valley of Jehosophat, and the tombs of Joseph and of Absalom. His drawings are also of ethnographic interest on account of their depictions of traditional costume types, including those worn by Maronite and Greek Orthodox Christians.
Abbey, Travel 369; Blackmer 1099; Atabey 788; Brunet III, 1557