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Forty-six fine watercolours elegantly bound in a nineteenth-century album by  Francesco NOVELLI - 1825 - from Rare Illustrated Books (SKU: 1246)

Forty-six fine watercolours elegantly bound in a nineteenth-century album

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Forty-six fine watercolours elegantly bound in a nineteenth-century album

by NOVELLI, Francesco

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About This Item

Probaly Venice, 1825. An exquisite suite of watercolours, including a beautiful series of scenes documenting a Venetian commedia dell'arte troupe, by the Italian artist Francesco Novelli. Francesco Novelli (1767-1836), one of the preeminent artists of his generation, lived in Venice where he was best known for his outstanding book illustration. He enjoyed a long and successful career that culminated in the landmark editions of Don Quixote (1819) and Gil Blas (1820). Novelli is also known for illustrating works such as the Fasti Veneziani (1794), hinting at his abiding interest in the theatre and the performing arts. In this unmatched collection of Novelli's watercolours, the greatest number are piquant images of a troupe of the commedia dell'arte, with especially fine depictions of Pierrot himself, as well as other key figures such as Columbine and Harlequin. There is a remarkable series of scenes from a play, as well as studies of individual performers, many so precisely rendered that it is almost certain Novelli is depicting a known troupe. The remaining images cover all aspects of contemporary life, including several military vignettes (perhaps scenes from the diorama) as well as charming rural scenes. Several show Novelli's work at its most sympathetic, especially in his studies of street vendors and town squares. Many of these scenes derive from a period when the troupe was on the road. Some of the liveliest paintings depict street performers, conjurors and Punch and Judy shows. Unpublished, although the compilation of the album suggests this might have been Novelli's original intention. An exceptional collection, incomparably rare, and providing a wonderful insight into Italian theatre of the Golden Age. Small oblong quarto, 185 x 275mm, a beautiful album containing 46 fine watercolours of various sizes and shapes ranging from delicate circular vignettes to larger scenes of urban and theatrical life, elegantly bound in nineteenth-century ochre morocco, ornately gilt.


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Rare Illustrated Books AU (AU)
Bookseller's Inventory #
Forty-six fine watercolours elegantly bound in a nineteenth-century album
NOVELLI, Francesco
Book condition
Place of Publication
Probaly Venice
Date Published
DEALER-VBF Venetian commedia dell'arte Don Quixote Italian art nineteenth century watercolours NOVELLI Francesco Pierrot Columbine and Harlequin street vendors and town squares Italy Italian theatre puppet shows Venice performing arts
Bookseller catalogs
Art; Painting;

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Sydney, New South Wales
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Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

The term quarto is used to describe a page or book size. A printed sheet is made with four pages of text on each side, and the... [More]
Morocco is a style of leather book binding that is usually made with goatskin, as it is durable and easy to dye. (see also... [More]
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in... [More]
A book in fine condition exhibits no flaws. A fine condition book closely approaches As New condition, but may lack the... [More]

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