antique prints, maps and watercolors

James Merigot. (The Pantheon). Ruines de Rome. London 1796-98. Framed Sold

click for detailed image Merigot Pantheon.JPG

“The Pantheon”

James Merigot (1760–1824) was a French engraver and publisher who is known for an attractive album of 62 aquatinted plates designed and engraved by Marigot himself. Titled A Select Collection of Views and Ruins in Rome and its Vicinity. Recently executed from Drawings made upon the spot. The plates are dated 1796-1798 and are printed on watermarked laid paper with descriptive text in English and French. Many similar books were produced during the late 18th and early 19th centuries due to the rise of Neo-classicism among the British populace. This work was unique in its particular attention to the accurate depiction of the Roman ruins. Merigot visited each of the ruins and drew them in person, making this historically significant as an important record both of Ancient Rome and the state of Roman ruins at the turn of the 19th century. It also is a reminder of how the city would have looked at the height of the Romantic era when Rome embodied many Romantic ideals, not least the traces of a vanished civilization.

"This temple, the most celebrated of those which have escaped the more essential injuries of time, impresses us with a very striking idea of the magnificence of the ancients. From its circular form it has acquired the name of the rotunda. The entrance is under a grand portico, supported by sixteen immense columns of the corinthian order, each of them composed of a single piece of red oriental granite. Of these, eight are in front, and sustain an entablature and frontispiece of the most beautiful proportion which architecture can boast. The circumference of each of these columns is fourteen feet; and the height, independent of the base and capital which are of white marble, two and forty. The inside of the temple is supplied with light through one circular aperture, the diameter of which is six and twenty feet, and to which there is an ascent by a staircase consisting of a hundred and ninety steps. The gallery over the principal altar of a semi-circular form, is obtained from the thickness of the wall, and supported by pillars of yellow marble. On every side are chapels adorned also with columns of yellow marble and with pilasters crowned with an entablature of white marble, which extends round the building. The walls and the pavement are cased in marble. The whole presents with an assemblage of rare beauty; and we cannot but regret the loss of its statues and some of its other original ornaments, which would still improve the magnificence of its effect. The bronze ornaments of the dome were removed in the pontificate of Urban VIII for the purpose of forming the canopy of the great altar in St. Peter's. We know that the bronze gates, ornamented with bass-reliefs. were taken away by Genseric, king of Vandals, and were lost in the sea of Sicily."

Uncolored sepia toned aquatint engraving.
Archivally framed 16 5/8 x 19 ¼ inches outside dimensions.
Excellent condition.