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Architectural picture alphabet

Architectural picture alphabet

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Architectural picture alphabet

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About This Item

Vienna: J. de Pian and L. Müller, 1842. Pian, Jean Baptiste de. Folio. (26)ff. Twenty-six color lithographs after Jean Baptiste de Pian, printed and finished by hand by the noted Viennese lithographers Leopold Müller, Johann Höfelich, and M. R. Toma. Each plate in this series has a large letter of the alphabet fully incorporated as part of the internal decoration or architectural structure of various buildings, set in realistic landscapes. The buildings range from traditional European domestic architecture to exotic Babylonian and Egyptian temples, Moorish mosques, Indian porticoes adorned with stone elephants, and a Chinese palace. The illustrations directly reference many periods and styles of art and architecture, including the Classical, Baroque, Eclectic, Gothic, and Romantic movements. In his essay on Pian's alphabet, Dr. Anton Durstmüller notes that the letters also correspond with architectural elements in the scenes. In one illustration, the letter "F" forms the shape of a kitchen hearth, which is "Feuerstätte" in German. The illustrations are imaginative and nuanced, with attention to the finest architectural details.

Jean Baptiste de Pian, also known as Giovanni Battista de Pian, belonged to a family of Italian artists who immigrated from Venice to Vienna in the late 18th century. Jean Baptiste's father and grandfather were both draughtsmen, painters, and engravers who also worked as set designers for the Imperial Court Theater of Vienna.

This set is extremely rare; only one other copy has sold at auction in the last thirty-five years. A facsmile was published in Vienna in 1973, a copy of which accompanies this set. Housed in a blue board folding case. Marginal cropping, scattered foxing. With the bookplate of Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow inside the front cover of the box. (Durstmüller, Ein Schmuckalphabet Aus Wien).


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Bromer Booksellers US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
Architectural picture alphabet
Pian, Jean Baptiste de
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J. de Pian and L. Müller
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Date published
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Illustrated Books;

Terms of Sale

Bromer Booksellers

All books are guaranteed as described and may be returned, with prior notice, within ten days. All bills are payable within thirty days from the date of the invoice. Shipping and insurance are additional. Overseas shipments will be sent by air mail unless otherwise instructed.

About the Seller

Bromer Booksellers

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers. member since: 2008
Boston, Massachusetts
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About Bromer Booksellers

Bromer Booksellers specializes in rare and beautiful books. Owned and operated by Anne Bromer, who has been in the business of fine books for over fifty years, our shop carries a range of important private press books, designer bookbindings, illustrated books, children's books, and miniature books.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Full page illustration or photograph. Plates are printed separately from the text of the book, and bound in at production. I.e.,...[more]
Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former...[more]
A folio usually indicates a large book size of 15" in height or larger when used in the context of a book description....[more]

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