Collection Piranesi - Carceri d’invenzione di G. Battista Piranesi Archit. Vene.

Plate I, Carceri d’invenzione di G. Battista Piranesi Archit. Vene. Plate II, The Man on the Rack Plate III, The Round Tower Plate IV, The Grand Piazza Plate V, The Lion Bas-Reliefs Plate VI, The Smoking Fire Plate VII, The Drawbridge Plate VIII, The Staircaise with Trophies Plate IX, The Giant Wheel Plate X, Prisoners on a Projecting Platform
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Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Carceri d’invenzione di G. Battista Piranesi Archit. Vene.

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Piranesi, Giovanni Battista, 1720-1778

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CA RBD Piranesi

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Fourth edition, first Paris edition

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Dates of creation area


  • 1800-1809 (Creation)
    Piranesi, Giovanni Battista, 1720-1778

Physical description area

Physical description

16 plates

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Custodial history

Gift of Ramsay Traquair (1874-1952), MacDonald Professor of Architecture, School of Architecture, McGill University (1914-1938).

Scope and content

Etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi printed in Paris between 1800 and 1809. Sixteen plates numbered I-XVI, with the title plate first used in the second edition of 1761 and the two plates added to the second edition, Pl. II “The Man on a Rack,” and plate V, “The Lion-Bas Reliefs” as well as plate XVI, the reworked “Pier with Chains.” All plates with Roman numerals added in the second editions, numbered I-XVI, including the title plate.

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  • Focillon, Henri, Giovanni Battista Piranesi: Essai de catalogue raisonné de son oeuvre, 1918, p. 12-14 (nos. 24-39).
  • Hind, Arthur M., Giovanni Battista Piranesi; a critical study, with a list of his published works and detailed catalogues of the prisons and the views of Rome, 1967, p. 24-29, (nos. 1-16); p. 81.
  • Focillon, Henri, Peintures romanes des églises de France, 1967, p. 282-287.
  • Robison, Andrew, Piranesi-early architectural fantasies : a catalogue raisonné of the etchings, 1986, p. 135-210 (nos. 29-44).

Publication and Exhibition of this work and archival sources in the Rare Books and Special Collections Division: Letter of B.T. Batsford, 94 High Holborn, London, to Ramsay Traquair, April 23, 1913; “Durer to Daumier,” 1913, pp. 44-48, no. 36 (Title Plate) and no. 38 (Smoking Fire, no. 36, ill. p. 45, and no. 38, ill. p. 47.

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