AFTER CHARLES PERCIER (1764-1838)
TITLE PAGE OF THE PREMIER CAHIER (PALAIS ET MAISONS DE ROME)
Etching with watercolour on laid paper
Plate: 25.3 x 19.1 cm
Sheet: 34 x 28 cm
Sir Jack & Lady Baer, Kensington;
By whose estate sold in 2022
'Percier and Fontaine integrated color into their earliest publications, including Palais, maisons et autres edifices modernes...whose tinted editions sold for eight times as much as those with online line etchings - twenty-four livres instead of three...and Fontaine's wife, Sophie Dupuis, trained as a print watercolorist.' (1)
The watercolour study for the present work was formerly with Dr Moeller & Cie. Kunsthandel, Hamburg, when Dr Moeller noted that the sarcophagus seen in the subject also featured in Percier's View of the Exterior of the Sistine Chapel (Private coll. Hamburg). The caption for the plate in the Palais noted that the various classical objects all came from the collection of the Palazzo Mattei di Giove, Rome.
A pupil of Antoine-François Peyre, Percier was awarded the Grand Prix of the Royal Academy of Architecture in 1786. With this he travelled to Rome, where he remained until 1792. In 1798, in association with Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine, he published the fruits of their joint archaeological research and surveys of palazzi, houses and other notable buildings in Rome (for which the present work was the first plate), which was followed in 1801 by a similar work depicting their interiors. Percier’s most popular works have always been his imagined compositions filled with pieces of sculpture and classical architecture, which he produced both as frontispieces and for private collectors.
(1) Basile Baudez, Inessential Colors: Architecture on Paper in Early Modern Europe, Princeton (2021), pp.164-165