PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista (1720-78). Invenzioni Capric di Carceri. Rome: Giovanni Bouchard, [c. 1758-60 (Robison's 1st ed. 3rd issue)].\n\nFull broadsheets (760 x 525mm and slightly smaller). 14 ETCHED PLATES including title, with engraving, some with scratching, burnishing, sulphur tint or open bite; with INK DABBING ON TEN SHEETS, TYPICAL OF THIS ISSUE, APPLIED BY THE ARTIST with his hand or a rag directly onto the copperplates. (Tiny hole in title-plate, paper lightly browned in places, centerfolds strengthened at an early date.) Disbound, formerly framed (with slight traces of mounting). Modern blue cloth portfolio, gilt red morocco lettering piece on front cover. Provenance: Acquired from Walter Schatzki 1956.\n\nTHIRD AND RAREST ISSUE OF THE FIRST EDITION OF PIRANESI'S Prisons, HIS MOST CELEBRATED WORK OF ARCHITECTURAL FANTASY. Only the mysteries of Goya's and Blake's visions have provoked as much interpretation as Piranesi's. If we can never be certain to approach the true meaning of his artistic inventions, this issue of the work at least brings us in closest contact with his technical methods. Owing to Andrew Robison's researches (Piranesi. Early architectural fantasies. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Etchings 1986), we can now observe Piranesi not just changing the state of four etchings between the first and third issue of the first edition, but - exclusively in this issue - dabbing selected areas of the other copperplates with dark ink blobs from one impression to the next; "Piranesi's ink dabbing in the Carceri was one more creative, direct technique, with an immediate sense of the artist's touch, used to elaborate variations in light and tone and, at the same time, to produce the repeatedly similar impressions which are characteristic of the printmaking medium" (p. 44). FINE IMPRESSIONS OF ALL ETCHINGS, pulled on uniform laid paper watermarked with circled fleur-de-lis (Robison 5), the most frequently used stock by Bouchard throughout the 1750s, but the watermark not apparent in each case.\n\n1. R29 Title-page - second state, with ink dabbing to both beam and arch\n2. R30 The Round Tower - first state, with ink dabbing\n3. R31 The Grand Piazza - first state, with ink dabbing\n4. R32 Smoking Fire - first state, with ink dabbing\n5. R33 The Drawbridge - first state, with ink dabbing\n6. R34 Staircase with Trophies - first state, with ink dabbing\n7. R35 The Giant Wheel - third state\n8. R36 Prisoners on a Projecting Platform - first state, with ink dabbing\n9. R37 Arch with a Shell Ornament - second state\n10. R38 The Sawhorse - second state, with ink dabbing\n11. R39 The Well - first state, with ink dabbing\n12. R40 The Gothic Arch - second state\n13. R41 Pier with a Lamp - first state, no dabbing\n14. R42 Pier with Chains - first state, with ink dabbing\n\nOnly 9 other sets of this issue are recorded, 4 of them incomplete. The Vershbow set shows ink dabbing on 10 (out of a possible 11) plates. FINE COMPLETE SET, before the addition of two plates in the second edition (four issues 1761-78).