Bibliographical note on the Campo Marzio volume in the BSR Library
Piranesi’s sheet of three isometric views in the Campo Marzio
G.B. Piranesi, Campo Marzio dell’Antica Roma
by Clare Hornsby
Bibliographical note on the Campo Marzio volume in the BSR Library
The makeup of the BSR copy is very complex; it is in Italian only and the pagination is different from the dual language version first edition of 1762, where the facing pages have Italian and Latin language scholarly text; however, the content of the text is the same.
Thomas Ashby commented on his copy in a letter published in the Burlington Magazine which I have used as a starting point for my examination; he noted that neither Hind nor Focillon in their catalogues of the prints published in 1914 and 1918 respectively mention the existence of a version in Italian only and his assumption is therefore that his copy dates from later than 1762. Since, as far as I am aware, no other version published by Piranesi scholars is like this one, with its many anomalies, it is difficult to date, but I suggest it is indeed later and could have been created as a special “to order” edition for a client who did not want or need the Latin text. The impressions are mostly of high quality with dark ink and it is quite unlike the Italian-only version produced after Giambattista’s death by Francesco Piranesi in 1783 which has the text set in small type in three narrow columns per page and opens with a new dedication to the King of Sweden, Francesco’s patron at the time.
 See Thomas Ashby ‘Monsieur Henri Focillon’s works on Piranesi’, Burlington Magazine, Nov. 1918 vol. 33 no 188 p. 186-190.  Suggestion made by Susanna Pasquali whom I thank for coming to study the volume with me. The Istituto Centrale per la Grafica edition examined in Matrici Incise 1761-1765, like this one has no dedication essay to Adam, although that study is limited to the etched plates and is not concerned with the text pages with letterpress printing; until further study of various copies in Roman libraries is completed my conclusions regarding the anomalies of the BSR volume cannot be definitive.  Thanks to Heather Hyde Minor who helped me examine the physical structure of the volume and pointed out that a mixture of weights of paper are used and some inking is very pale, especially the maps on Plates III and IV.  Copy at the American Academy in Rome, thanks to the Librarian Sebastian Hierl for showing it to me.  See Minor and Pinto p. 268 for details of the relationship of Francesco Piranesi and King Gustav III.
I quote from Ashby’s letter with his observations on the oddities of his copy, though his account, like his Campo Marzio, is incomplete. I will refer below to the further absences and inclusions. My additional comments and the Wilton-Ely and Focillon numbers which reference the separate etchings appear here in blue and in square brackets.
“M. Focillon has not seen, evidently, a copy of the edition with Italian text only. My copy belonged to the engraver Luigi Rossini, who considered it to be complete, according to an autograph note at the beginning. The two frontispieces are identical with those described by M. Focillon, and I do not know which is the earlier. The initial letter [‘A’ on p.1, WE 561, F 430] does not appear in the Italian text, which consists of 31 pages (p. 32 being blank), while the list of the monuments in the large plan of the Campus Martius occupies pp. i-x, the tailpiece [vignette of the base of the column of Marcus Aurelius, WE 566, F 435] appearing on p. x. Page xi (xii being blank) contains the legend to pls. III and IV [the small maps]. The vignettes [sepulchral monuments WE 565, F 434 and Egyptian porphyry sarcophagus WE 564, F 433] appear between pls. XVIII and XX while [vignette of Aqueduct of Aqua Marcia WE 760, F 932], which appears as a tailpiece in the text of the “Magnificenze”, is substituted for [Remains of the Theatre of Marcellus WE 589, F 458] pl. XXVII, and [headpiece vignette of the Tomb sarcophagus of Maria Honorius WE 563, F432] for pl. XXXIV [remains of the pseudo-dipteral temple of Antoninus Pius WE595, F 464]”.
Ashby’s next sentence is intriguing as he appears to be referring to another copy of the Campo Marzio he owned, not the one that had belonged to Rossini: “I may note that in an otherwise complete, unbound, copy (it lacks the text and pls. I [topography map on fictive torn sheet, present in the BSR copy, WE567, F 420], and XLVII [Plan by Palladio, present in the BSR copy WE 609, F 478] in addition) these three plates, nos. XIX [remains of the Portico d’Ottavia, WE 581, F 450], XXVII and XXXIV [see above for details], are also wanting, while [Focillon] nos. 432 and 435 [the two vignette tail pieces mentioned above] are present.” His footnote 13 says that pls. XIX, XXVII and XXXIV are missing from the copperplate collection in the Calcografia.
He has not referred to the two other plates missing from the BSR volume: pl. XXIV, the rear view of the Pantheon (WE586, F455) and pl. XXV, the view of the remains of the Portico of Saepta Julia (WE 587, F 456), nor to the fact that the catalogue of structures to be found on the large map and the Indices are placed in reverse order here as compared to the dual language version. Also, he neglects to mention that the short, laudatory dedication essay to Robert Adam is missing. Most relevant to this discussion, he does not mention the anomalous ‘three view’ sheets, the subject of the following essay. It would appear that the two copies of the book that he owned - the Rossini copy and the unbound copy - were both incomplete; there are some sheets, that must have come from the latter, now in the BSR print collection, including the large Ichnographia, while some must have left BSR with the sale of the Ashby prints and drawings to the Vatican Library. Since this letter published in the Burlington was written while Ashby was serving with the “British Military Mission, Comando Supremo, Italian Expeditionary Force”, he can be forgiven for the lapses in accurate recall of the state of the two copies in his collection.
With this examination, it can be seen how “odd” the BSR copy of Campo Marzio is, yet the oddities should not be considered as merely recondite bibliographic footnotes; they reveal the fluidity of the concept of the book in Piranesi’s workshop, that sheets could be added and/or taken out, that matters of cost might influence a client to request a specific form for their copy or that Piranesi or one of his assistants could be “playing around” with plates and sheets. As one project melted into another, as was the case with the Campo Marzio map edition that became the book edition, as we shall see below, the mobility of the constituent parts could create many new juxtapositions and reveals much about Piranesi’s book making practice and the world of illustrated books in general in the mid-eighteenth century.
 This is mounted and framed and hangs in the BSR Director’s office.  Heather Hyde Minor helped me to think about the unstable nature of this book, suggesting some of the oddities could have been part of the creation process in the Piranesi workshop, noting that copper plates for the images were not a fixed set and could be printed on demand whereas text on letterpress pages was bought in blocks. Or the odd sheets were introduced at a later stage, for example when it was the property of the print artist and collector Rossini - or indeed by Ashby himself.
Piranesi’s sheet of three isometric views in the Campo Marzio: an investigation into the anomalies in the BSR copy
The large map of Piranesi’s Campo Marzio (plates V-X in the volume) has achieved cult status amongst architectural historians of the Roman 18th century and continues to fascinate architects, topographers, students - and anyone who loves maps - with its profound complexity. Interpretations and analyses abound and it is not the intention in this brief essay to enter deeply into this discussion, rather to applaud the initiative of the BSR Library to make available, on the Digital Collections website, the map (Icnografia in Italian) as well as the remainder of the book page by page, both text and image, indices and endpapers, as they unfold.
Many important published collections of his engraved and etched prints have been made available over the years but there is a growing scholarly interest in the materiality of his work and of his role as a maker of books that attests to the imperative of looking at the whole Piranesi - to see his prints in conjunction with his text, the one informing the other, as he intended. His knowledge of the ancient written sources and his constant examination of the material evidence of the ancient past in and around Rome, undertaken throughout his career, resulted in many spectacular archaeological works, for example the Antichità Romane (begun in the early 1750s and published in four volumes in 1756-7). His encyclopaedic antiquarian scholarship combined with a boundless architectural imagination gave birth to the extraordinary creation that is the Campo Marzio map.
 This essay would not have been possible without Susanna’s Pasquali’s 2016 article and her advice and support.  The subject of authorship of the scholarly text of Campo Marzio is complex and contested; Connors 2011 p. 105-110 summarises the arguments and suggests it was a collaborative effort between Piranesi and scholars whom he employed; Mario Bevilacqua (personal communication 2021) considers it to be the work of Contuccio Contucci, the Jesuit scholar who signed the “Approbatio” - approval for publication, a sheet missing from the BSR copy.  See notably in this regard Heather Hyde Minor and Carolyn Yerkes, Piranesi Unbound, Princeton 2020.
Susanna Pasquali has detailed the genesis of the Campo Marzio map from its beginnings which I summarise here. It started life as a map dedicated to Robert Adam, the British architect who was studying and travelling in Italy, within a volume of the Antichità Romane originally dedicated to Lord Charlemont. Since Adam would be in effect paying for the dedication of the map to him by purchasing some copies, he asked Piranesi to separate the map from the volume as he felt the dedication - a matter of prestige for Adam back in England - would be marred by being combined with the name of someone else; Piranesi agreed to this. Adam saw it still unfinished in April 1757 just before he finally left Rome for England. This discussion process is detailed in letters he wrote to his family in London. In March 1757 an Italian language advertisement appeared in the Monthly Review, a London paper, which described the intention to publish the map along with:
altri sei mezzi fogli parimente di carta massima, che attornieranno la stessa Icnografia, e che conterranno l'elevazione in prospettiva di alcuni magnifici edifizj, ricavate dalle piante de' medesimi [edifizj] sparsi nella estensione della sopradetta Icnografia.
[another six half-sheets, also of the largest size, that will surround this Icnografia and contain the perspectival elevations of some magnificent buildings, inferred from the ground plans of these same [buildings], scattered around the aforementioned Icnografia]. [Pasquali’s translation]
 See Pasquali p. 179.  See the ongoing Adam letters project of Adriano Aymonino and Colin Thom https://adamgrandtour.online and John Fleming Robert Adam and His Circle in Edinburgh and Rome 1962 for a selection of the letters.
Pasquali calculates that a total of 18 views would have been needed to complete the “frame” around the map as it is described in this advertisement, but this never came to fruition therefore the form in which we see the Campo Marzio now, since its publication in 1762, is as an illustrated book with the large fold-out map included.
The focus of this short essay is the single sheet of three isometric views, plate XLVIII, usually found at the end of the volume. Pasquali argues that this is one of two sheets which remain from those that would have surrounded the map in its original conception, the other being the isometric view of the Bustum Hadriani, that finally found a place in the 1762 edition as the second title page.
 This is the case in almost all copies, see Matrici p. 330-331 which refers to four copies and I know of no others in which this varies, but my examination is not yet complete.  See Pasquali p. 190 and Matrici p. 298 where Ginevra Mariani suggests that the heavily abraded area of the plate now bearing the dedication inscription indicates a reworking from a previous state, i.e. the view would have filled the whole plate. The change may have been made to please Robert Adam.
Her study of the material construction of the “original” Campo Marzio of 1757 as an illustrated map, not a book and her brilliant reconstruction of this lost identity explains the role of these three images. She states they are to be identified as isometric projections, not strictly speaking perspectival elevations or bird’s eye views and they clearly relate to areas of the large map. The three views shown on plate XLVIII would have been attached to the bottom left-hand corner of the map (see fig. 2) adjacent to the parts of the cityscape which they illustrate.
Referring now to the images in the order that they normally appear on the sheet. (The Italian title captions only are given here, they appear below each image on the left, the Latin captions are on the right, with the signature Piranesi F in the bottom right-hand corner of each.)
Elevazione de’ Teatri di Balbo, e di Marcello con gli altri edifizj ch’eran loro vicini [referred to here as T]
Elevazione del Pantheon e degli altri edifizi che gli eran vicini [referred to here as P]
Elevazione dell’Anfiteatro di Statilio Tauro, degli altri edifizj che gli eran vicini [referred to here as A].
 An earlier example of a map of Rome surrounded by additional plates of views (in this case with text also) is Greuter’s of 1618, see Bevilacqua in Roca de Amicis 2018 p. 66, fig. 26.
At this point I will examine two unusual features of the BSR copy’s pl. XLVIII: not only is there one such sheet, there are three, and on each sheet the order in which the three views appear is different (see fig. 3). I will look at these three sheets and examine the three images on them, adding some thoughts on the possible reason for this anomaly. That the views were always intended to be placed together on one sheet can be deduced from the fact that there is only one plate number — XLVIII — for all three and it appears at the top left of the Theatres view, T.
 Focillon 1918 has them labelled a, b and d (sic), Wilton Ely 1994 has them listed as a, b, c, and Ficacci as 532, 533, 534 (without quoting the plate number).  The Pantheon plate at 194 mm is taller than the other two which measure 134 mm (Theatres) and 131 mm (Amphitheatre). Measurements from Matrici p. 330.
This Version A (fig. 5) in the BSR copy is not bound into the book; during the recent restoration and rebinding, it was attached in the place where it was found inserted loose. Its sheet size is smaller than those in the rest of the book. It is possible that Ashby at some point noticed the anomalies in the two sheets at the end of his copy and added a “normal” sheet from another copy into the volume, as reference.
 See bibliographical note for the make-up of this volume, especially his reference to an unbound copy which may have provided this “spare” sheet. Giovanna Scaloni in Matrici 2017 p. 331 has noted the irregular positioning of this sheet in the various copies consulted by her; particularly interesting is that in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, the Cicognara copy has two of this sheet, one bound in at the beginning and one at the end of the copy.
Then at the end of the book, in the place that is appropriate to it as the last of the numbered plates, we find the two other versions of the sheet. First is Version B, which I refer to as “upside down” since it reverses the order of the three views found on the first - “normal” - sheet. The plate number therefore has moved down to the bottom of the sheet, as it is incised on the view of the Theatres. Then follows a version I call “bottom heavy” in which the taller plate with the Pantheon and its surrounding porticoes is now at the bottom; in this, Version C, the Theatres view has returned to the top of the sheet and so the plate number is back where one would expect to find it.
The most likely explanation for these two alternative versions of the sheet is that they are experiments, not in the normal sense of workshop trial proofs for testing the quality of the etching or application of the ink but created in order to play with the order of the images on the sheet. The order that was finally chosen - version A, the “normal” one - has the greatest logic in terms of the relationship of the images with the map as we can see in Figs. 4 and 5. The three views, reading from top to bottom as we read text on a page, appear to be ordered according to their location in relation to the river. The Tiber, appearing on the extreme left in the lower section of the map and running adjacent to its fictive carved stone edge, provides a reference point to start a movement across the sheet that mirrors our normal left to right eye movement when reading text. Referring to the map and proceeding from the bank of the river inland we come first to the Theatres of Marcellus and Balbus, then moving eastwards come to the Pantheon and continuing on to the Amphitheatre of Statilius Taurus. The other arrangements B and C have visual appeal, the images are arranged on the sheet as pictures might be hung on a wall, but they lack the internal logic of Version A.
Pasquali has created a reconstruction of the map in its original 1757 concept, although she does not herself comment on the order of the three views on the sheet; indeed, since the anomalous sheets discussed here appear to be unique to the BSR copy, the order of the three views is not an issue that has been raised by scholars, as far as I am aware. Wilton-Ely states that what he calls the “aerial” views are for support of the evidence from the map; Scott however comments that whereas the Theatres and the Pantheon as shown in the views correspond to their position and layout on the map, “the amphitheatre and the huge horologium of Augustus are as independent of the map as of probability”. On examination, this proves not to be the case; the structures appearing in view A are all but one present on the map; misleading perhaps is the type of perspective adopted by Piranesi, which has caused the adjacent buildings to appear to crowd in behind the amphitheatre while it seems to swell and bulge like an open mouth in the centre of the image. The only structure that is missing from the map which appears on the view is the matching arch to that of “Marcus Aurelÿ” (as it is called on the map), shown in the open space on the left side of the amphitheatre.
A further point can be raised resulting from close examination of these three views. There are tiny reference numbers dotted around on each view, placed next to or on each of the structures depicted. The series of numbers is separate for each view. They are similar to the numbers that Piranesi dotted over his views of sites of Rome (Le Vedute di Roma), referring to a caption below where they are listed and identified, for example see fig. 9, the view of S. Giovanni in Laterano with five reference numbers.
 Pasquali p. 188.  Wilton-Ely 1978 p. 70.  Scott 1975 p. 169.  Giovanna Scaloni in Matrici 2017 p. 331 has noted these small numbers.
However, on the Campo Marzio three-view sheet the captions are restricted to titles, in Latin and Italian, moreover none of the indices in the book makes reference to these structures under these numbers. This suggests that a set of indices relating to each view would have been included somewhere. These numbers and the lack of matching indices underlines the identity of the three-view sheet as separate from the book and reinforces Pasquali’s thesis that it is a remnant of the 1757 concept for the Campo Marzio. It should be added that there are no reference numbers present on the Bustum Hadriani isometric view plate, the second frontispiece with the dedication inscription to Adam in Italian, perhaps suggesting it was not in fact intended to be one of the flanking views. We can assume that had the 1757 Campo Marzio illustrated map project been carried forwards, with its proposed surrounding border of small perspectival views, an index of the reference numbers would have been placed below each of the plates.
The unusual features of the BSR volume add more information to what we know about the fascinating document that is Piranesi’s Campo Marzio. They hint at other ideas which he may have had in mind circa 1757 or perhaps reveal a later stage in the process of the project’s evolution from illustrated map to complete presentation volume with scholarly text, plates and several smaller maps. Knowing that the map was not originally destined to be an adjunct but to stand alone as an autonomous document, framed by views of the imaginary ancient city and its monuments, contributes to our understanding of its role in Piranesi’s life-long theoretical and creative commitment to the study of ancient Rome.
 Despite the lack of reference numbers, Pasquali (personal communication Nov. 2020) maintains that this was a flanking view and Mariani (see above n. 14) agrees. See also Matrici p. 303 for further circumstantial evidence, provided by the placing of the three-view sheet and this Bustum Hadriani view next to the large Ichnographia in Frutaz’s map atlas, volume I p. 81.
Focussing on the sheet with the three in one view, most important to the present essay is:
S. Pasquali, ‘Piranesi’s Campo Marzio as described in 1757’ in F. Nevola (ed.) Giovanni Battista Piranesi: predecessori, contemporanei e successori. Studi in onore di John Wilton Ely, Studi sul Settecento Romano 32. Rome 2016, p. 179-190
Other studies consulted: M. Bevilacqua, ‘Il Disegno Nuovo di Roma Moderna di Matthäus Greuter. Un modello Cartografico nell’Europa delle capitali’ in A. Roca di Amicis, Roma nel primo Seicento: una città moderna nella veduta di Matthäus Greuter. Rome 2018 J. Connors, Piranesi and the Campus Martius: the missing corso: topography and archaeology in eighteenth-century. Rome 2011, esp. p. 87 for the second frontispiece with the Bustum Hadriani view L. Ficacci, Catalogo completo delle acqueforti. Colonia, n.d., p. 424 H. Focillon, Giovanni-Battista Piranesi, essai de catalogue raisonné de son oeuvre. Paris 1918, p. 36 no. 479 H. Hyde Minor and J. Pinto, ‘“Marcher sur les traces de son père”: the Piranesi enterprise between Rome and Paris’ in F. Nevola (ed.) Giovanni Battista Piranesi: predecessori, contemporanei e successori. Studi in onore di John Wilton Ely, Studi sul Settecento Romano 32. Rome 2016, p. 263-278 G. Mariani, Giambattista Piranesi Matrici incise 1761-1765. Rome 2017, p. 294-5 (photos of the three copper plates: nos. 149 theatres, 150 Pantheon, 151 amphitheatre) and p. 330-1 (catalogue entries). A. Marletta, IlCampo Marzio dell’Antica Roma: Giovanni Battista Piranesi e l’arte di contemperare. Ariccia (RM) 2016, p. 85-99 J. Scott, Piranesi. London 1975, p. 168-9 J. Wilton Ely, ‘Utopia or Megalopolis? The ‘Ichnographia’ of Piranesi's ‘Campus Martius’ reconsidered’ in A. Bettagno (ed.) Piranesi tra Venezia e l'Europa, Proceedings of the conference held in Venice in 1978. Florence 1983, p. 293-304 esp. p. 300 J. Wilton Ely, The mind and art of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. London 1988, p. 76 J. Wilton Ely, Giovanni BattistaPiranesi the complete etchings, vol II. San Francisco 1994: no. 610, p. 665 Theatres; no. 611, p. 666 Pantheon; no. 612, p. 667 Amphitheatre Also helpful has been the page by page Campo Marzio at https://www.quondam.com/53/5324s.htm although the site is far from user friendly