Venice's European diaspora: the case of James Leoni (1685-1746).
By 1700 Venice's declining maritime and mercantile power drove her artists, writers, and architects to find cultural outlets largely in northern Europe. Venice'spalladianism was made fashionable by Grand Tourists and by war veterans in Austria, France, Britain, and Iberia, bringing fresh ideas from Italy. Leoni joined fellow Venetian emigres at Dusseldorf (c. 1708) before moving definitively to London (c. 1714). The lecture considers the web of artistic relationships between Venetians within Europe, and evaluates the life and fortune of Leoni, long forgotten by critics, creator of a dozen surviving architectural masterpieces, editor-publisher of Palladio and Alberti, and author of unpublished texts on Palladio and building techniques.
The Presidential Address of the Modern Humanities Research Association read at 1 Carlton House Terrace, London, on 9 May 2008
For over a thousand years before 1789 any outline of the Italian peninsula would have shown a political patchwork of individual states, similar in their disparity to the miscellany of countries which made up western Europe. Each of those city states had its centre of power at a metropolis: Bologna, Florence, Milan, Rome, Turin, Venice, and a dozen other cities that could be added to the list. To embellish those state capitals, lavish building projects had for hundreds of years stimulated internal migrations of artists and skilled artisans. When Pope Julius II began his rebuilding of St Peter's in 1506, the project attracted men of the genius of Leonardo and Michelangelo, enticed from their native Tuscany, as well as expert artisans from distant regions to the north, often relatives from the same villages, renowned for their building traditions, and usually operating as teams of masons, engravers, carpenters, stuccoists, and the like.
The first part of my theme concerns the international spread of such cultural emigrations. Although any one of Italy's magnificent capital cities might be chosen to illustrate the topic, I choose Venice, a cosmopolitan centre which had since the Middle Ages drawn visitors, traders, and diplomats from northern Europe, particularly through the Brenner Pass and Venezia Tridentina. During the eighteenth century in particular, talented Venetians left their city in large numbers using the same route to earn a living, not simply within the Peninsula but across international frontiers, thus enriching and civilizing northern Europe during what I call Venice's third or European diaspora. (1)
One of those talented emigrants was Giacomo Simone Leoni, sometimes known in Britain as James Leoni. As an architect he usually finds an honourable mention in treatises on Georgian architecture, though the true extent of his worth is yet to be fully acknowledged. (2) Indeed many of his buildings have been destroyed or replaced over the past two hundred and fifty years and are visible only in his surviving plans, while his authorship of others is still not accepted without question by architectural historians. In Britain, and in Italianist literary circles, Leoni is probably unknown, an understandable omission one may say, yet in 1726 he published the first English translation of one of the key humanist texts of the Renaissance, the Ten Books on Architecture by Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72). (3) It is an understandable omission perhaps, because even in his own right Alberti's architectural writing tends to be ignored by British Italianists, with the redoubtable exception of Humphrey Whitfield, (4) though Alberti's statements on architecture are as full of Renaissance humanism as any Italianist might wish for, and form a wonderful link between all that we regard today as the humanities. Alberti's discussion of the civilizing effect of good building (and domestic housing) is certainly as clear an illustration of humanist thinking as may be found in his other more 'popular' volumes such as the Della famiglia; architectural perfection was for Alberti an essential prerequisite for civilized living. (5) Consider for a moment Alberti's design for Florence's Palazzo Rucellai (1458), a fine example of a cissical precedent being employed in a new revolutionary fashion. Alberti had taken his plan from the circle of arches of the Theatre of Marcellus, opening out and flattening them to provide his design for the facade of a new concept of town house. Palazzo Rucellai was later to host conversations for the flower of Tuscan intellectuals, Michelangelo and Machiavelli among others, and to provide a model for other town houses, notably the more superficial Piccolomini house in Pienza (1460). The pages of Alberti' 'Ten Books on Architecture of 1726 are full of consideration for the individual in society, for the happiness of the family, the health of the community, even comprehending jails which allow the humane treatment of the most dire of criminals. That humanism goes beyond the literae humaniores; it foreshadows the humanist movements of the late Enlightenment and the nineteenth century.
Giacomo Leoni also produced a magnificent version, in French, Italian, and English, of Andrea Palladio's Quattro libri dell'architettura (1716-20). A second (English) edition followed in 1721. For its third edition (1742) he succeeded in publishing the precious annotations to Palladio by Inigo Jones. For the fortune and reputation of Palladio (1508-80) this was a milestone in the British reception of that architect. (6) Indeed Leoni's work on these two great men uniquely revived or enhanced their fortune in Britain at an important juncture in the transmission throughout Europe of a classical revival, notably in society's view of art and architecture. Leoni was not a textual critic, but rather a builder, an architect more concerned with the physical and aesthetic aspects of Palladio's work, who wanted to improve and develop ideas in a way compatible with the current Enlightenment. That new attitude had consequences for his relationships with more formal critics such as Lord Burlington. It would be a fitting achievement if, in a preliminary way at least, we could explain some of Leoni's aims and revive his own reputation. But more of this presently.
By the time Sir Henry Wotton took over as British Ambassador to Venice in 1604, he knew the Peninsula better than most other Englishmen, having been a spy there for several years. (7) His preference for the Embassy in Venice, rather than Paris or Madrid, was a personal choice, but it illustrated the judgement of an expert as well as the fashionable allure which by the first decade of the seventeenth century the city already held for Europeans generally. At the end of Wotton's ambassadorship in 1624, Venice had begun to feel the weight of a thousand years of empire, and was happy to encourage visitors to provide alternative income for the city by making use of its cultural delights. Symptomatically, splendid exemplars of guidebooks began to be produced for the Grand Tourist, containing illustrations of Venice's great works of art, her exotic history, or simply aspects of Venetian life, which might attract by their evocation of the everyday in the city.(8) It was an ingeniously self-generating demand which stimulated the artistic taste buds of the rich and powerful from all over Europe. And when the visitors' boats or carriages left the city, there were always plenty of local artists and artisans to satisfy the demand for Venetian artefacts which foreign tourists carried back to their own countries, and which served to recall, in less exotic climes, both the physical presence of Venice and idealized Romantic memories. A natural consequence of the new cultural trends was that wealthy foreign patrons invited the best Italian artists and artisans to work on projects elsewhere in Europe, well beyond the boundaries of Italy. And as Venice's domestic art markets became replete or exhausted during the eighteenth century, the Serenissima was to send out particularly good examples of such cultural ambassadors.
Already during the fifteenth century, Jacopo Bellini and his sons Gentile and Giovanni had created an immense artistic legacy, amplified in only slightly lesser degree by their competitors, especially the Vivarini, Antonio, his son Alvise, and Alvise's uncle, Bartolomeo. In the century which followed, Giorgione, Titian, Carpaccio, Tintoretto, Veronese, Palma il Vecchio, Sebastiano del Piombo, Lorenzo Lotto, Carlo Crivelli, and other exquisite artists continued the tradition, working contemporaneously on commissions to embellish their city. Most of those artists had no need or desire to go beyond its bounds. Papal Rome always seemed eternal and eternally capable of creating an unlimited market for peripatetic artists and workers, but by 1700 Venice, on a more limited site, and without Rome's permanently renewable resources, appeared to have no further capacity for artistic or architectural expansion. From a Venice still bursting with talent, therefore, painters, sculptors, and artisans, under the direction of Venetian engineers and architects, had, by 1700, begun to grow accustomed to travel long distances to find their fortune. (9) From Venice it was no further to journey to Austria, Germany, and France than it was to travel to Rome and the south. Indeed, it was sometimes safer, and there was a good chance that the remuneration would be much better. Initially Austria and Germany were particularly favoured as cultural markets. It is here that we first find Giacomo Leoni, who in about 1705 left his small Venetian parish, San Cassiano, to work in Dusseldorf, more precisely at Bensberg.
Two historic events further helped in the dissemination of Venetian culture throughout Europe. Firstly, the great wars which ravaged the Continent brought different foreign armies into Italy during the period 1650-1850. Military leaders, who were to become fabulously wealthy from the spoils of victory and from the honours heaped on them when they returned home, settled down during more peaceable intervals to build themselves the kind of glamorous mansions they had seen in Italy. Such edifices not only provided northern Europe with elegance and comfort, but also had spectacular propaganda value, impressing both domestic and international visitors with their grandeur. Austria and Britain each provided an outstanding example of that tendency during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14), when, following the defeat of the French forces at Blenheim in 1704, John Vanbrugh, assisted by Nicholas Hawksmoor, was given the commission to design Blenheim Palace in honour of the victorious Duke of Marlborough. And in 1730 Marlborough's ally in the same campaign, Prince Eugene of Savoy, commissioned Vienna's equally impressive Belvedere, built for him by Lucas von Hildebrandt, his Genoese-born military architect. (10) The building and decoration of Blenheim Palace were largely British enterprises, though Bernini's scale model of his 'River Gods' fountain from Piazza Navona finds pride of place on the second terrace of the garden, and Giacomo Leoni's long-term Flemish collaborator John Michael Rysbrack was called by the Duchess to sculpt Marlborough's bust and the monumental statue of Queen Anne. The Duke's second-in-command at Blenheim, George Hamilton, ninth Earl of Orkney, who had moved into Cliveden House in 1696, had Giacomo Leoni build a Blenheim Gate in the gardens to commemorate his most famous victory, its pediment adorned with carved battle honours and trophies. (11)
The second historic event was Prince Eugene's defeat of the Turks at the walls of Vienna in 1683. This provided security and a modicum of peace for the Austrian victors, who settled back to enjoy the spoils of victory, which included Palladian-type residences, with all the trappings of luxury. Lack of native expertise forced them to import foreign artists, designers, and architects to build and adorn their spectacular new palaces. Nearby Venice was quick to oblige, and admirers of Venetian art, such as Prince Eugene's proege Marshal Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, acted as agents to spread the gospel, and attracted Venetians to go abroad to work. (12)
The number of Venetian artists involved in complex movements from country to country now became considerable, a veritable web of associations, family relationships, and migratory patterns. The aptly named Gian Antonio Pellegrini, so often a trailblazer, had by 1696 already spent some six years in Austria, working as a journeyman assistant to Paolo Pagani. Another long-term expatriate was Domenico Guardi, who lived most of his life in Vienna, where his more famous son Antonio was born in 1712. Sebastiano Ricci was enticed to Vienna in 1702, there to work in the Schonbrunn Palace. By 1707 he was in London. along with his nephew Marco Ricci and Pellegrini, who before London had had brief spells in Dusseldorf, Wurzburg, Vienna, and Prague. Antonio Bellucci was called to Vienna in 1705 to be court painter to the Emperor Joseph and to Joseph's successor, Charles VI, who later invited the brilliantly talented Rosalba Carriera to Vienna. Rosalba had by 1706 received commissions from the Elector Palatine, Johann Wilhelm II von der Pfalz, a future patron of Giacomo Leoni at Dusseldorf. (13)
Already a powerful artistic family, the Guardi, Domenico, Antonio, and Francesco, acquired further influence when Giambattista Tiepolo married Cecilia Guardi in 1719. Giambattista himself was to obtain his major successes in Venice before making a first foray abroad (to Wurzburg) as late as 1750. In Austria, at the Residenz of the Prince Bishop Karl Philipp von Greiffenklau, Tiepolo's dazzling frescoApollo and the Continents helped glorify the Prince and his dynasty, while consolidating an international reputation for the painter himself. After his success in Wurzburg, Tiepolo left to accept royal patronage in Spain in 1762, taking with him his sons Lorenzo and Domenico. Between 1717 and 1720 Gaspare Diziani worked on commissions in Munich and Dresden. Other Venetian itinerants included Jacopo Amigoni and Canaletto (Gian Antonio Canale), while Canaletto's nephew, Bernardo Bellotto, who had a successful career at home before being enticed to Dresden, varied his itinerary by moving for other commissions to Munich and Vienna, where he painted for the Empress Maria Theresa. (14)
In Paris and in France generally the situation was different from that in other countries. Louis XIV's policy was to employ native French artists and designers wherever possible, though it was true that Sebastiano Ricci had been commissioned to copy the Vatican's painting of Raphael' Uoronation of Charlemagne because of its nationalistic significance for a new imperial France. (15) But Louis died in 1716 and significantly in the following year Sebastiano Ricci was elected to the Academie de peinture. It was soon afterwards that Rosalba Carriera moved to Paris, where she was commissioned to work for court and aristocracy, and where she, too, was admitted as an associate of the Academie de peinture in 1720. (16) Her brother-in-law Pellegrini also worked in Paris and was elected to the Academie in 1731. For a while in 1711 the peripatetic Pellegrini had become director of Godfrey Kneller's Academy in London, though by 1713 he was away again, working in Germany and Flanders, only to return to London in 1719, where another hyper-itinerant friend in the group was Jacopo Amigoni. These Venetian names constantly recur throughout Europe in the early eighteenth century, and will be associated with Giacomo Leoni in Paris, Dusseldorf, and London. In particular, Amigoni may have worked alongside Leoni at Moor Park (Figure i), where he painted a spectacular cycle of the lo and Argus myth in the Thornhill Room. (17)
Italian connections with Spain were largely from the south of Italy thanks to the long Aragonese rule over Naples and the two Sicilies. Filippo Juvarra, brought from his native Sicily with a commission to design the royal palace in Madrid for Ferdinand IV, invited Amigoni to join him there. Amigoni remained in Spain, painting at the royal court until his death in 1752, the Venetian tradition then being taken over by Tiepolo and his son Lorenzo, both of whom were to die in Spain.
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Britain was a particularly fruitful field for Venetian artists and artisans. (18) A fertile element in the spread of Italian style and taste in Britain had been the presence in the Peninsula of cohorts of such influential artists and architects as Inigo Jones, Christopher Wren, James Gibbs, James Wyatt, Robert Adam, John Vanbrugh, William Kent, and Richard Boyle, the third Earl of Burlington, all of whom returned to Britain dazzled by Palladio's genius, and helped revolutionize architectural fashions. Another such cultural catalyst was Joseph Smith (Venice's celebrated Consul Smith, famous for his skills as a go-between among patrons and artists). Thanks to him, Canaletto was persuaded to spend nine prolific years in England after 1746. (19) Another of Smith's Venetian friends, Giambattista Piranesi (who had helped Robert Adam and other British architects during their sojourns in Rome), was elected to London's Society of Antiquaries in 1757. (20) Other Venetian luminaries in England, not so fashionable today but renowned in their time, included Francesco Zuccarelli, whose paintings of rustic scenes were also favourably promoted by Joseph Smith. Zuccarelli spent some sixteen years in London, and in 1'768 was among the founders of the Royal Academy. (21) The celebrated Florentine-Venetian engraver Francesco Bartolozzi, respected for his book design and, in Britain, best known for his prints of Guercino and Holbein, spent much time in London after 1'764. Like Zuccarelli, he was among the founders of the Royal Academy. (22) At the end of the ancien regime even Antonio Canova, who never needed to travel outside Italy after his triumphs in Rome, carried out commissions for clients abroad: in Vienna in 1798, and after 1815 in Paris and London, where he studied the Elgin Marbles and accepted the commission from George III to design the Stuart Cenotaph in St Peter's.
The traditional view that by 1700 there seemed little left for a potential new Palladio to accomplish within the confines of Venice is reinforced by the case of Count Matteo D' Alberti (1646/7-1735), only too willing to travel for both study and commissions. D' Alberti was a descendant of the Venetian branch of the ancient and much-travelled Alberti family, still flourishing nowadays in the Veneto. (23) He had acquired a good reputation as a military architect active in Bavaria in the first decade of the eighteenth century. Significantly, Matteo was also the brother of Antonio D' Alberti, the priest confessor of Maria Luisa de' Medici, wife of the Elector Palatine, Johann Wilhelm II. It was for the Elector that Matteo D' Alberti became involved in several grand building projects, including the creation of a new hunting lodge at Bensberg, which was to be the largest baroque building north of the Alps. Not unexpectedly, D' Alberti's growing team of artists and artisans included many of his fellow Venetians, well used by now to the tradition of travelling abroad to make a living. At this point it is appropriate to narrow the focus of this discussion to D' Alberti's young Venetian colleague Leoni, who went to work for him at Dusseldorf at the opening of the eighteenth century.
Much of the existing information concerning Leoni has been gathered by Howard Colvin and Timothy Connor in their excellent biographical dictionary accounts of his life and work. A compendious but splendid article by Richard Hewlings enlarged upon previous essays (and summed up changing critical fashions) while showing a sympathy for Leoni rarely found in other critics, who had devoted little space and less affection to his life and work. (24) In Italy, with the exception of the remarks in Lionello Puppi' PPalaadio, followed by his fine article concerning Leoni's early years in Venice, little has been added to the information available in the few publications in Britain and in English. (25)
Giacomo Leoni was born in Venice in January 1685, in the parish of San Cassiano, the son of a butcher, Francesco Leoni, and of Caterina Oliva. Giacomo' s paternal uncle, Antonio Leoni, a respected jeweller and engraver, was yet another of the itinerant Venetian artists who left for Germany to work for D' Alberti at Schloss Bensberg. From his youth onwards, then, Giacomo must have seen the same migratory opportunities as others from his parish, who took that particular route in part to avoid the diminishing architectural and artistic opportunities in Venice. Lionello Puppi has shown that Antonio Leoni probably underwrote his nephew's early education, particularly in encouraging his studies of Palladian structures. (26) To judge from Leoni's unpublished work on an early draft edition of Palladio'sQuattro libri dell'architettura, his youthful exploration of classical remains and neoclassical buildings took him from Rome to Istria and the monuments at Pola, as well as, more obviously, to the territory around Vicenza. (27) The same remarks introduce a novel attitude to the ruins in Rome, the design and proportions of which serve him in a possible revision of Palladio's observations, as seemed the case with a new type of column that Leoni suggests he had personally discovered. (28)
At Bensberg, apart from his uncle Antonio, Leoni would have found the other fellow Venetians already noted, and possibly Gian Antonio Pellegrini, who certainly left London for Germany in July 1713. (29) Presiding over the enterprise was Count Matteo D' Alberti, himself a great internationalist, who had spent several years in Paris studying comparative building techniques before moving to Germany. He was also a well-known Anglophile and an admirer of Inigo Jones (1573-1652) whose designs and buildings he had studied during at least one long sojourn in London (1682-84). (30) I believe that it was important for Leoni's subsequent creative attitude to architecture that Matteo D' Alberti, following the example of Inigo Jones, was willing to build variations on Palladio's style, in at least one case appearing to imitate a version of one of Inigo Jones's buildings. (31) As for his new project at Bensberg, D' Alberti seems to have been indifferent about adding obvious Palladian features. (32)
What exactly Leoni's role was at Bensberg is still uncertain, but he seems to have spent a considerable amount of time and effort planning an edition of Palladio's masterwork. Thus in the dedication to the second book of the first edition of his Palladio, Leoni noted that he had been able at the Elector's court to pursue his ambition to proceed with his study of the great architect. (33) Peter Collins's work on the McGill codex led him to declare fairly authoritatively that by 1708 Leoni was in Germany, and already redrawing and amending the woodcuts of the 1570 edition of Palladio'sFour Books of Architecture. Collins surmises (since four-fifths of the text is in French) that Leoni was collaborating with Nicolas Dubois, then a military engineer with Marlborough's forces, with a view to a translation. (34) Palladio was in great vogue in Austria and Germany, and several attempts had been made there to translate and publish his Quattro libri. In response to that obvious market, Leoni had by 1708 completed copying out his Anglo-French codex entitled The Five Orders of Civil Architecture in the Measures of Palladio addressed to' Engineers or Architects' . The title-page concludes: 'Written and designed by me Giacomo Leoni 1708 Dusseldorf'. (35) The codex includes various simplifications of Palladio's original illustrations, and at the same time admits certain exclusions. Those alterations in the manuscript reinforce the statement, in Leoni's preface to the published 1721Palladio, that the volume might be called in large part his own creation. (36)
Leoni's birth coincided with a period when northern Europe was consolidating in practice what it had intellectually absorbed from two centuries of study of the cultural and artistic precedents visible in the Italian Renaissance. (37) As early as 1615 James I, no doubt alarmed by the political influence of so many rich and noble landowners busily building great town houses in London, had done his best to discourage the practice. The King also believed that the wives of those rich men were squandering their husbands' money on such fashionable enterprises. (38) But King James's austerity was soon overcome. By 1708 John Vanbrugh was writing to Lord Manchester, declaring that the English nobility was going mad in order to construct new mansions. (39) It was during this first decade of the eighteenth century that Leoni arrived in England from Germany, probably after 1708, but before 1713.
In London by 1713 Leoni was probably in the service of Henry Grey, first Duke of Kent. That year Leoni's briefer and more practicalcompendious Directions for Builders was dedicated to Duke Henry, the beautifully bound manuscript having an ex-libris of the Duke dated 1713. The effusive dedication bears the signature 'James Leoni, E[lector]is P[alatin]i Arc[hitectus]'. Leoni's arrival in England coincided more or less with the succession to the British throne in 1714 of another Elector Palatine, George I, the Hanoverian chosen by Parliament to succeed the late Queen Anne, last of the Stuart line. George's accession, approved by the Whig majority, may have helped promote a strong nonconformist fashion of purist and classical style in the public and ecclesiastical buildings which characterized Britain after 1714. (40)
Such neoclassical taste contrasted with baroque edifices elsewhere in Europe, and with the baroque preferences of previous Stuart regimes. No doubt, too, while the choice of a German prince as the new British monarch may have surprised the governing classes of Europe, the reaction of Venetian artists and architects would have been to see new possibilities of patronage following the relative austerity of the final years of Queen Anne's reign. That aspiration was particularly appropriate for those who, like Leoni, had been working for a similar patron on grand building projects in northern Europe. It might also have applied to one of the most influential of the young British architects, Colen Campbell, who came down from Edinburgh in 1710 to seek his fortune in London. There in 1715 Campbell's importantVitruvius Britannicus, published just a few months before Leoni'sPalladio, chimed with the new fashion for the classical. (41) Richard Hewlings implies contact and co-operation between Campbell and Leoni, or at least admiration for the Scot by the latter. (42) Campbell's own approach evidently persuaded the young Lord Burlington to make use of his talents when remodelling Burlington House, using designs based on a range of Palladio's Palazzo Porto at Vicenza. Sebastiano Ricci and his nephew Marco were brought to London to decorate its interior in 1720.
During the period 1713-16 Leoni's name, along with those of William Kent, Nicholas Hawksmoor, and James Gibbs, crops up in the submissions of plans for designs for garden pavilions at Wrest Park, the seat of Henry, Duke of Kent, a keen enthusiast for the new craze for garden design, and just then potentially Leoni's most promising client. (43) At the same time, of the other architects only Leoni was asked to draw up plans for a restyled mansion at Wrest. These were to be sent to the Duke's eldest son Anthony, Earl of Harrold, currently on his Grand Tour of Italy, in order to seek approval from a leading Italian architect (in the event the Sicilian Filippo Juvarra), or else to provide such an architect with notions of the site and possibilities of Wrest Park, so that he in turn might draw up designs. By 1715 two sets of Leoni's plans were on their way to Turin, where Lord Harrold was also to discuss them with the King of Savoy. (44) Juvarra, the arbiter of their merit, spoke slightingly of certain aspects, and proposed instead plans of his own. (45) However, Duke Henry did not go ahead with his ambitious project, probably because by 1720 he had lost a small fortune in the debacle of the South Sea Company. (46)
Leoni's major work of these years, theCompendious Directions for Builders, did, however, remain in the ducal library. The Directions contains much information concerning the architectural orders (in simplified form) and methods of achieving Palladian elegance in design. More practically, they also describe building techniques and practices: the piling of waterlogged foundations (as in Venice), the selection of clay for bricks, the constitution of kilns, the quality and quantity of wood for the furnace, the mixing of aggregates for different types of cement and mortar, the hiring and payment of bricklayers and plasterers ('The price of this work in Italy is reckoned at a venetian ducat, which is about three shillings and sixpence English for every eight or nine paces square both for stuff and work', p. 14). The Directions may have been addressed to the practical and prudent Duke Henry, but they also conform to similar volumes aimed at artisans and builders. (47) At the same time Leoni's earlier experience of other European centres becomes clear from various comparative references. For instance, in his discussion of the flooring of rooms in various countries, he describes in elaborate detail the kind of surface favoured by town houses in Venice and suitable for summer rooms and hot climates, prepared with infinite care from a variety of aggregates, and polished until it shone like a mirror. He warns, however that this type of flooring 'in the winter cools too much the soles of the feet, with prejudice to health' (p. 33), contrasting that disadvantage with Parisian buildings, where 'the floors or pavements are usually made of diverse sorts of wood and of diverse colours divided and set in many inventions and wrought into various figures which have a most beautiful aspect, and are the most convenient for health' (p. 34). He notes without comment that in the case of Germany and England the favoured materials for flooring were planks, preferably running the whole length of the rooms, sawn from oak, chestnut, elm, and other hard woods (p. 35).
Other information concerning Leoni's European experience of building is visible as the Directions proceed. Thus, from the consideration of floors, Leoni moves to the different types of roof required in different climates, noting that every country alleges reasons for its own preference. Noble edifices are usually covered with lead, particularly the roofs of high-class Italian houses, in France 'the roofs are made very sloping and the ridges high, but in Germany much higher, that so the great quantity of snow which falls in the winter may the more easily slide off' (p. 35). And whereas in Italy terracotta tiles were a common roof covering, grander buildings in France and Germany, he observes, were roofed with fine slate, apparently a novelty to Leoni, who notes in parenthesis 'ardoises' . Such steep roofs, he adds, unlike their Mediterranean equivalents, needed to be given appropriate proportions (the height being two-fifths of their breadth). And here a reminiscence of his experiences at Bensberg: 'In this proportion are made the roofs of the new buildings of his most Serene Highness the Elector Palatine at Bensberg (invented by his excellency Count Matthew d' Alberti, Knight of the Sacred Roman Empire, and Sergeant General to his most serene Electoral Highness, in the raising of which I also had the honour to be assisting)' (p. 36). ThCompendious Instructions remained the only memory of his fragile association with Duke Henry. (48)
So far little information has been uncovered about Leoni's domestic life in London, but unlike most of the traditional itinerant emigres from Venice, he did not return to his native city. (49) He married an Englishwoman named Mary, and they had two sons, John Philip and Joseph. His working career of over thirty years in England may be traced from his designs for buildings of various kinds, from splendid mansions such as Lyme Park (Figures z and 3) and the delightful Wortley Hall (Figure 4), to more practical if still grand houses such as Alkrington Hall (Figure 5), (50) or to smaller treasures such as the octagonal pavilion, now the chapel which houses the Astor Tomb at Cliveden (see above, n. II), or the funerary monument to Daniel Pulteney in Westminster Abbey's east cloister, the reading figure itself carved by one of his old collaborators, the Flemish sculptor John Michael Rysbrack, with whom he had worked at Clandon Park (Figure 6), seen by some as Leoni's masterpieces. (51)
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It is interesting to note that Leoni achieved some twenty-six such commissions, a similar number to those designed by Burlington, though, unlike his noble contemporary, Leon', an excellent draughtsman, could and did execute his own drawings. Burlington may have initially welcomed the twenty-nine-year-old Leoni when he first arrived in Britain. An indication of a probable friendly initial rapport with Lord Burlington is visible in Leoni's construction of Queensberry House. (52) The design was commissioned originally from Leoni in 1721 by John Bligh, Lord Clifton, the building then being taken over by Burlington's cousin Charles Douglas, Duke of Queensberry. Constructed on the Burlington estate (now 7 Burlington Gardens), a few yards away from the garden entrance to Burlington House, its design was approved by Burlington himself. (53) Two years later, for John Pierene, Leoni designed a smaller but equally elegant town house, the present Argyll House in King's Road, Chelsea, named after John, fourth Duke of Argyll, who lived there after 1,769. (54)
In order to understand better the development of Leoni's view of architecture (and the break in relations with Burlington), it is worth noting his admiration for Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren. In his Alberti, more precisely in his concluding aside 'To the Reader', Leoni underlines his public refusal slavishly to follow Palladian designs, declaring his admiration for the innovatory architecture of Inigo Jones, as for his extant 'noble monuments'. (55). Inigo Jones had marked out a trail for a new European architecture which had been followed by, among others, his earlier admirer Matteo D' Alberti, whose designs for Schloss Bensberg were, similarly, far from being simple reflections of neoclassical precedents. By contrast Burlington had developed by 1720 a philologist's mania for textual exactitude in editing Palladio. Leoni believed that, after long sojourns in Italy, Jones had created a personal technique which, without plagiarizing their work, reflected his studies of the great Italian masters in Rome, Venice, and Vicenza. In turn Leoni was lavish in his praise of English architects and engineers of the seventeenth century who had adhered to the 'antique proportions measured and approved by our great masters', Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren again being his particular models of excellence.
Leoni could find authoritative precedents in his researches into Leon Battista Alberti'sDe re aedificatoria, whose ideal had been to add new concepts to the best creations of antiquity rather than to impose a model which in effect reflected only frozen Graeco-Roman exemplars. (56) Leoni himself was always ready to accept stylistic variations within the limits of architectural propriety and decorum, particularly having concern for local conditions. (57) And Leoni found precedents for variants in the practice of Inigo Jones as well as in the theory of Leon Battista Alberti. Alberti's new humanism convinced him that man must be more comfortable in his environment, and Alberti himself had acknowledged that his own practical advice could change and not only according to country or climate. Indeed the architect must consider 'human variety in greater detail [...]. Since buildings arose on man's account, and for his needs, they vary, so that they may be dealt with more clearly by distinguishing their individual characteristics.' (58)
Leoni was willing to change his style to meet new conditions, an attitude which contrasted with what Timothy Hudson has termed Burlington's more
for Friendship (London: Michael Joseph, 1991). Lord Shannon's 21 Arlington Street, built in 1738, is another example of an elegant Leoni town house. dogmatic position. (59) In particular Leoni's apparently unscientific or non-philological approach to Palladio annoyed Burlington on its second appearance in 1721. (60) If the two men were ever close, Burlington and Leoni grew apart when the former discovered Leoni's embellishment of Palladio's drawings. At least Lord Burlington did not seem to have noted that Leoni had included in his frontispiece a 'portrait' of Palladio by Paolo Veronese, a spurious creation (since no known portraits of the great architect survive) designed in fact by Sebastiano Ricci, and engraved by Bernard Picart. But the ploy added interest, and no doubt helped in Leoni's publicity for his magnificent edition, along with an allegorical frontispiece, again drawn by Ricci and engraved by Picart. This depicted Time, drawing back a drape to allow a shaft of light to illuminate the bust of Palladio. Opposite the bust sits the figure of Britannia with two putti holding the royal coat of arms, and a winged figure of Fame gazing up at the bust. The translation was a triumphant success, and had lasting influence on British neo-Palladianism. However, as Rudolf Wittkower remarked, vis-a-vis Burlington at least, 'that edition was also the ultimate source of Leoni's professional failure' because of the manner in which Leoni had altered the original text, thus offending Burlington and scotching future commissions from that source. (61)
The noble lord, who had spent his second Grand Tour in the Veneto concentrating on Palladio's original buildings, alarmed at his discovery, commissioned Colen Campbell and, on Campbell's dealh in 1729, Isaac Ware to prepare a rival English edition and translation of Palladio. (62) It took seventeen years of preparation before Ware's edition was published in 1738, too late to catch the Palladian fashion, and, though definitive as an academic text, never so popular as that of Leoni. A further triumph for Leoni came in 1742 when he succeeded in incorporating Inigo Jones's notes to Palladio into his third edition, adding a translation of Palladio's rarcUantichita di Roma' (63) and a chapter on hypocausts, one of Leoni's pet schemes, the Discourse on the Fires of the Ancients.
Between the second and third editions of his Palladio, and particularly during the period 1726-29, Leoni published Leon Battista Alberti'sDe re aedificatoria, the most important, and for the following two hundred and fifty years the most enduring, edition in English of Alberti's treatise, to which Leoni added the bonus of Alberti's two volumes on painting and statuary (1726-30). (64) In the conclusion of his edition of Alberti Leoni also used the opportunity to advertise his own examples of classical simplicity, not least in the designs he appended to his edition: 'I have endeavoured to preserve myself, as all ought to do, from the Corruption of those Builders who have deprived the Art of its Simple Gracefulness. (65) He was currently engaged on the most successful stage of his career, having received commissions from Sir William Scawen for a new mansion at Carshalton Park, and from Sir Peter Legh for the redesigning of the great house at Lyme Park (Figure 3). He might have felt confident then and justified in adversely criticizing the creations of untutored builders, though Leoni would have done himself no favours with other contemporaries through his other comments on certain aspects of English architecture which he regarded as grotesque. (66) It would be wrong to leave Leoni without a mention of that aspect of his prefaces and asides which shows him to be a humorous critic of some contemporary architecture, 'Heaps of Stone piled up one upon the other [...] Pavilions, Alcoves and close Corners that may be very convenient receptacles for Rats and Mice, but are very narrow Habitations for the Family' . He dislikes 'Walls so full of Windows that they look like Lanterns' and 'Doors wide enough for the House itself to go out at'.
The concluding paragraph of his letter suggests that 'infinite praises are due to the Right Honourable Richard Earl of Burlington', and Wittkower sees this and other compliments as a sop to the noble lord. But Leoni is a subtle writer when he wants to be and the lines need to be read carefully. Praises are due because of Burlington's revival of the fortune of Inigo Jones, 'that illustrious Architect, the Follower of our Andrea Palladio, that other great Light in this Art, whose works thro' my means were honoured by the generous Nobility of this Country with a Magnificent Edition'. Burlington by taking the works of Jones and Palladio 'for a model of his own fine genius, has made himself the Honour of our most excellent Art, and in his own building has shown himself to be a compleat Master, both of Magnificence and fine Taste'. It says little for Burlington's originality. Indeed in an earlier paragraph Leoni cautions, with an undoubted side-swipe at Lord Burlington, 'Be warned also, Reader, not to suffer yourself to be imposed upon by any that pretend mighty things in theory, but are not able to draw, from which they excuse themselves by saying they have others that draw for them. (67) Inexplicably, however, in the same letter to the reader, though possibly because Burlington had subscribed to two sets of the edition, Leoni dedicated to him his design for an Egyptian Hall. According to Wittkower, Burlington then used the plan to inspire his own blueprint for the elegant Assembly Rooms in Blake Street, York (begun in the year following the final publication of the design in Leoni' Alberti) and in use by 1732. (68) Naturally, for this wonderful building, attributed to Burlington by the publicists, Leoni received no plaudits.
Leoni is also concerned with anecdotes which might hold his readers' attention, as was Alberti; I find this to be one of the humanist's more endearing characteristics. Thus Alberti was always willing, during the course of a particularly esoteric passage, to insert information concerning natural phenomena which he might consider of interest to the general reader, such as, for instance, the presence inside an uncut stone of fossilized leaves or of small animals, some even said to be still alive. This attitude is met with bored indifference by modern architects of my experience, and it proved an irritant to early architectural historians in Italy, who saw Alberti's asides as irrelevant intrusions. (69) Leoni, rather in the manner of Alberti'sDe re aedificatoria, also introduced anecdotes in the Compendious Directions for Builders, to lighten what might seem to the non-expert a piece of architectural jargon. He was, after all, writing to interest a potential patron, Henry, Duke of Kent, and certainly had an initial success (with the commission to supply plans for garden pavilions and for a new mansion at Wrest Park). (70) Wrest lies in an area with a high water table. In one such 'Albertian' anecdote Leoni reminisces about a sunken oak forest, which for the Duke could well have been evocative of the woods and landscape surrounding his home. (71) Leoni's anecdote concerns the discovery at Rovigo of a mysterious sunken forest of oaks, revealed by a sudden drought. It enables him to discuss the builder's technique for ensuring the toughness and the ebony-like quality of wood by submerging it for a long period. The forest had been undermined by the rising water table formed by the confluence of the
Lake of Evignola and the rising Adriatic, which had gradually prevented the waters of the lake from running off. (72) Witnesses of the excavation had described the blackness of the oak and the fact that the sharpest axes were able to cut only , a little piece of them, especially of their trunks' . Such anecdotes, as in the case of Alberti's work, reveal the humanitarian as well as the humanistic approach of the two men, and here link briefly the Veneto and rural Bedfordshire.
But it is particularly in the evolution of Georgian architecture in England that Leoni was and is an unsung hero. It has been noted that the manuscript of Leoni's work on Palladio, dated from Dusseldorf in 1708, could have been an indication of an earlier attempt to produce an edition of the architect's master work, possibly encouraged by the strong Palladian interest in Germany and France during the seventeenth century. Leoni's editions of Palladio and Alberti were well received by the vast majority of his wealthy public, and merited pride of place on the library shelves of many noble families, where his impressive volumes may still be seen. (73) Unsung Leoni may have been, yet to call him to mind today I would draw your attention again to one of his most beautiful buildings, the mansion at Lyme Park in Cheshire. (74) This was the building which became for a season after 1995 the most popular, if not the best-known, Georgian house in Britain. It was Lyme Park which featured as Pemberley, Fitzwilliam Darcy's palatial residence in Simon Langton's BBC film adaptation of Jane Austen'sPride and Prejudice. There is a pleasant irony in recognizing in this most Italianate of neoclassical buildings so, typical' an English country house. At least one influential Italian critic has suggested that John Wood the Elder, architect of Bath, was a follower of Leoni, Wood's own buildings subsequently furnishing the model for John Nash, in the terraces of both Bath and central London. (75) The south facade of Lyme Park may also have influenced Sir Aston Webb in his rather more ponderous remodelling of the front of Buckingham Palace in 1913.
Also surprising is the hypothesis of John Summerson, who notes the architectural influence over Thomas Jefferson's plans for his famous house Monticello (begun in 1769) of Robert Morris, James Gibbs, and 'Leoni' Palladio, to which he first had access in 1770'. (76) Robert Tavernor underlines the idea, recalling the design for President Jefferson's house from Leoni's plate for Palladio's Rotonda (built 'sopra un monticello') as published in Leoni's 1742 edition of The Architecture of Andrea Palladio. (77) The ornamentation of the pavilion in the University of Virginia also relied on Leoni's illustrations from Palladio.
Finally, Leoni's suggestion of the Pantheon as a model for the 'spherical' in architectural design seems to have been taken up by Jefferson when he ordered Piranesi's most recent study of Rome's Pantheon as a preliminary to his designing the Rotonda for his new university. It is possible to surmise the influence of these designs, thanks also to Jefferson's power, on the dome of Washington's Capitol, and so on the state buildings of many other capitols in the United States. Indeed Leoni's plate from his 1742 edition ofThe Architecture of Palladio, illustrating Palladio's design for his Basilica in Venice, is traditionally seen as one of the probable sources for the Capitol's ensemble. (78)
In London generally, despite his obvious influence and talents, and despite the magnificent work he did on private houses, Leoni was excluded from contracts granted by the Office of Public Works, founded by Wren but by 1731 controlled by Burlington, an exclusion possibly due to Leoni's Catholicism, but probably exacerbated by the rift with Burlington himself. Nevertheless, Leoni was called, along with James Gibbs and John James, to submit designs for London's new Mansion House. None of those competing architects succeeded in obtaining the commission, though money prizes were awarded and for his plans Leoni received a prize of fifty guineas. (79) Leoni also failed, through no fault of his own, to set up lucrative construction contracts to support the building of the houses he designed. His own preparation for progressing in his enterprises was always assiduous, but the illness or misfortune of patrons at crucial times intervened to ruin his plans. (80) To crown his misfortune, despite the rich patrons for whom he worked at one time or another, his remuneration seems to have been regarded by them as a 'present', and Giacomo died in abject poverty in 1746, helped during his last month of life by a charitable gift of eight guineas from his last patron, Lord Fitzwalter. (81) He was buried in St Pancras Old Churchyard, Middlesex, his grave and headstone now lost. Leoni had all the virtu or qualities of which Machiavelli would have approved, and he had cultivated them well, but he lacked fortuna, the most uncontrollable of Machiavelli's necessary requirements for success.
I am deeply indebted to Lord Lucas for his kind permission to consult the Lucas and Dingwall papers, and to quote from the manuscript of Giacomo Leoni' Compendious Directions for Builders. I owe other debts of gratitude: to McGill University Archives for allowing me to copy Leoni's manuscript of Li cinque ordini dell'architettura civile nelle misure di Palladio, and to Dr Richard Vir at McGill for his personal help, to James Collett-White at the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Office for his kindness and guidance through the Lucas and Dingwall Papers, to the John Rylands University Library at Manchester and particularly to John Hodgson for help with Leoni's letters in the Legh of Lyme papers, and finally to Oxford University's Taylor Institution for the generous provision of funds to create a CD of the McGill codex.
(1) The first major diaspora was in 568, when denizens of the hinterland took to islands in the lagoon to avoid the Longobard invaders; the second was the remarkable mercantile expansion into the eastern Mediterranean which brought in wealth beyond the dreams of Venice's European contemporaries; the third was the positive diffusion of cultural and artistic Venetian traditions which until 1700 had remained more or less confined to Venice and its hinterland; a fourth, in 1797, followed Bonaparte's invasion and (at the treaty of Campoformio) his betrayal of Venice to her arch-enemy Austria.
(2) In a brief but pioneering essay, Timothy Hudson, 'A Venetian Architect in England'C,ountry Life, 156 (April 1975), 830-33, declared of Leoni that 'His work deserves further consideration than it has had hitherto' (p. 830). Regrettably in Band part that state of affairs still obtains.
(3) Leon Battista Alberti, De re aedificatoria (Florence: Nicolaus Laurentii, 1485). Basing his text on the Italian translation of Cosimo Bartoli (1550, 2nd edn 1565), Giacomo Leoni was to edit the volume in Italian and English for a British public in 1726-29: Dell'Architettura di Leon Battista Alberti libri X, Della Pittura libri III, Della Statua libro I, 3 vols (London: Edlin, 1726) and in English translation The Architecture of Leon Battista Alberti in Ten Books, Of Painting in Three Books, and Of Statuary in One Book (London: Edlin, 1726).
(4) See J. H. Whitfield, Petrarch and the Renascence (Oxford: Blackwell, 1943), in particular his Chapter 7, 'The Italian Vitruvius', pp. 144-65.
(5) For the record, Leoni's edition of Alberti's architectural treatise in Bartoli's version was its first English translation and endured for two and a half centuries, reprinted in facsimile as Ten Books on Architecture by Leone Battista Alberti, ed. by Joseph Rykwert (London: Tiranti, 1955) A new translation, from the original Latin De re aedificatoria--Leon Battista Alberti: 'On the Art of Building' in Ten Books--was published by Joseph Rykwert, Neil Leach, and Robert Tavernor (Cambridge, MA, and London: MIT Press, 1988).
(6) For further information on Leoni'sPalladio, see below, p. xlii and n. 33.
(7) Wotton, favoured by James 1, had turned down the King's offer of a similar appointment in Paris or Madrid. For further information about Wotton's career in Venice, see lzaac Walton's biographical account in The Lives of Dr,john Donne, Sir Henry Wotton, Mr Richard Hooker, Mr George Herbert (London: Thomas Newcomb for Richard Marriott, 16 70).
(8) The century is punctuated by many such volumes. The rush to profit from guides attracted scholars and printers such as Pellegrino Antonio Orlandi, Antonio Maria Zanetti, Giovanni Graziani, Marco Boschini, and Giambattista Albrizzi, all with multiple titles to their names. A reminder of one Grand Tourist's interest is visible in the manuscript notes of Brownlow Cecil, ninth Earl of Exeter, to Orlandi' Abecedario pittorico (Venice: Pas quali,1753) (30 folios, typescript in Oxford's splendid new Sackler Library).
(9) Although until 1750 there was no academy of fine art in Venice itself, the artistic ferment was sustained by the production of graduates from the Veneto under the Venetian aegis in the flourishing school of art and architecture at Padua University.
(10) JohannLucas vonHildebrandt(1663-1745) studied in Rome under the CarloFontana'school' before becoming Eugene's military engineer. Hdater became first architect at the Viennese court.
(11) The structure still stands to the north-west of the mansion, and along with Leoni's pretty octagonal pavilion (now the Astor family tomb; for which see below, pp. xlv-xlvi), may have been some compensation for his rejected plans for rebuilding the main house. Leoni's drawings for these monuments, and for the rebuilding of Cliveden, are catalogued in the Cliveden Album, for which see Gervase Jackson-Stops, 'The Cliveden Album', I and II Architectural History, 19 (1976), 3-16, and 20 (1977), 65-80.
(12) The inspirational exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1994, and its catalogue The Glory of Venice: Art in the Eighteenth Century, ed. by Jane Martineau and Andrew Robison (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994), still provide a splendid survey of Settecento Venetian art and a rich bibliography of the works and artists represented.
(13) Rosalba'sletters gave rise toanimportant correspondence with theElector'ssecretary, Giorgio Maria Raparini, revealing her wide interests and the associations of these closely related Venetians; see Rosalba Carriera, Lettere, diari, frommenti, ed. by Bernardina Sani (Florence: Olschki, 1985).
(14) Italianists may recall the cosmopolitan influence of the Venetian polymath Francesco Algarotti (1712-64), in service with Frederick II of Prussia; Algarotti attracted his fellow citizens for commissions in Dresden (where he also collected paintings for the Dresden Gallery before moving briefly to the Polish court of Augustus I 1 1). An impressive catalogue of Algarotti's artistic holdings was published a decade after his death by Giovanni Antonio Selva, Catalogo dei quadri dei disegni e dei libri the trattano dell'arte del disegno della galleria del fu Sig. Conte Algarotti a Venezia (Venice: [n. pub.], 1776).
(15) Evidence of Venetian culture in Paris was nevertheless unavoidable in the Commedia dell' arte of the Comedie italienne, significantly illustrated by Antoine Watteau (1684-1721), and later in the presence of Carlo Goldoni (fleeing the irony of Carlo Gozzi and other' modernizing' critics) as both playwright and tutor to the royal children. There were also collectors of Venetian art in Paris, notably Pierre Crozat, the wealthy banker whose collection was auctioned in 1741, releasing further Venetian taste and style to a wider public; in 1772 many of Crozat's remaining Venetian paintings were also sold by his nephews to buyers from the Russian court of Catherine the Great.
(16) Apart from her correspondence, Rosalba left a journal of her Parisian experiences, Journal de Rosalba Carriera pendant son sejour a Paris en 1720-1721, trans. and ed. by Alfred Sensier and Giovanni Vianelli (Paris: Techener, 1865); see also Rosalba's yournal and Other Papers, trans. and ed. by Austin Dobson (London: Chatto and Windus, 1915).
(17) Painting at Moor Park after 1729 for the banker Benjamin Styles, Amigoni, along with his fellow Venetian Francesco Sleter, was asked to replace Thornhill's early efforts. See Martyn Pedrick, Moor Park: The Grosvenor Legacy (Rickmansworth: Riverside Books, 1989); see also Timothy Hudson, 'Moor Park, Leoni and Sir James Thornhill' Burlington Magazine, 113 (November 1971), 657-61. Hudson is cautious about accepting a dominant role for Leoni, who at most, he allows, may have played a Hawksmoor to Thornhill's Vanburgh. Giuseppe Maria Pilo also has useful notes on Amigoni's career in 'Studiando l' Amigoar4e veneta, 12 (1958), 158-68.
(18) For an excellent account of their activities in Britain, see Catherine Whistler's study of 'Venetian Painters in Britain (1708-c. 1750)', The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), Lv1, 247-52.
(19) For an example of Smith's influence, see Wham Barcham, 'Canaletto and a Commission from Consul Smith' forts Bulletin, 59 (1977), 383-93.
(20) As a Fellow of the RSA, Piranesi highlighted his own view of the importance of Joseph Smith's influence by dedicating to him hiCampus Martins antiquae urbis (Rome: [n. pub.], 1762).
(21) Observation of certain houses, such as Shugborough Hall or Farnborough, suggests that canvases by Zuccarelli and Canaletto were treated as investments, to be sold in times of need and, if not redeemed, reproduced in facsimile in their original sites.
(22) At the end of his time in London Bartolozzi continued his travels and lived out his final years as director of the Portuguese Academy of Art, dying in that country, aged eighty-seven, in 1815.
(23) For further information on Matteo D' Alberti see below, p. xli and n. 30. The ancient family of Florentine bankers is illustriously represented by the most celebrated peripatetic Alberti of them all, Leon Battista Alberti, whose treatise The Architecture of Leon Battista Alberti Leoni was to edit for an English public (see n. 3). The Veneto branch of the Alberti family still use the form D' Alberti, possibly to distinguish themselves from the present Florentine and Genoese branches of the family.
(24) H. M. Colvin, Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 3rd edn (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 608-11; T. PConnor, 'Leoni, Giacomc(c. 1686-1746)', inThe Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (see n. 18 above), xxx111, 401-0z; Richard Hewlings, 'James Leoni, an Anglicised Venetian', iArchitectural Outsiders, ed. by Roderick Brown (London: Waterstone, 1985), pp. 21-44. To these must be added Timothy Hudson's simulating articles, noted in footnotes here, such as his already quoted' A Venetian Architect in England', which derive from Hudson's unpublished Cambridge doctoral thesis, 'The Origins of English Palladianism' (University of Cambridge, 1974).
(25) Lionello Puppi, 'L' avventura europea di Giacomo Leoni' Studi di storia dell'arte in memoria di Mario Rotili (Benevento: Banca Sannitica, 1984), pp. 463-80. Less specific for Leoni is Puppi's excellent monograph Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) (London: Phaidon, 1975; new edn Milan: Electa, 1999)
(26) Puppi, 'L' avventura europea' . Puppi there adduces a curious negative clause in Antonio Leoni's will, excusing himself from leaving anythng to Giacomo because of the help he had given the young man years before: 'non lascio cosa alcuna percle non ne ha bisogno, e sa lui se fu da me beneficato in vita' (p. 467).
(27) Giacomo Leoni, Li cinque ordini dell'architettura civile nelle misure di Palladio, unpublished manuscript in the collection of McGill University, no. 278771, 1932.
(28) Ibid., p. 38: 'Di questa sorte n' ho veduto uno in Roma dal quale ho cavate le dette misure, perche mi e parso molto hello e benissimo inteso.'
(29) Rudolf Wittkower surmises that it may have been Pellegrini who encouraged Leoni to go to London: 'Giacomo Leoni's Edition of Palladio Quattro libri dell'architetturo' Arte veneta, 8 (1954), 310-16 (p. 311).
(30) For information on Matteo D' Alberti see Jorg GamerMatteo Alberti Oberbaudirektor des Kurfursten yohann Wilhelm von der Pfalz (Diisseldorf: Schwarm, 1978).
(31) See Hewlings, 'James Leoni', p. 30, where D' Alberti's Neues Haus at Schloss Malberg is seen to be 'a version of Jones' Rrince's House at Newmarket' .
(32) As may be seen from Schloss Bensberg today, still well preserved in its new incarnation as Grandhotel Bensberg, one of Germany's most luxurious traditional hotels, which retains most of the features of Johann Wilhelm's original edifice.
(33) Andrea Palladio, The Architecture of Andrea Palladio [. . .] Designil, and Publishil by Giacomo Leoni, z vols (London: Watts, 1715-20, though the first volume was published only in 1716), Book ii, dedication. This edition (in English, French, and Italian) was published in fascicules; its second edition (1721), in English alone, was the more influential; a third edition (1742) contained Inigo Jones's annotations.
(34) Peter Collins, 'New Light on Leoni'Architectural Review, 127 (April 1960), 235-36 (p. 236). " Leoni, Li cinque ordini, 'Dimostrazioni [... ] Scritte e disegnate da me Giacomo Leoni 1708 Dusseldorf' .
(36) Palladio, The Architecture, 'Preface to the Reader', where Leoni notes: 'I have not only made all the Draughts myself, and on a much larger Scale than my Author; but also made so many necessary Corrections with respect to Shading, Dimension, Ornaments, ec, that this Work may in some sort be rather considered as an Original than an Improvement.' Critics viewing his edition as unscholarly ignore its historical context and Leoni's main purpose. Wittkower, 'Giacomo Leoni's Edition', alone seems to pay serious attention to Leoni's prefaces or letters to the reader.
(37) For want of a better definition we may see the origins of that amazing upsurge of literary and artistic genius at about 1350 in the flowering of Petrarch's humanistic ideas and secular poetry, and we can see its high point in the work of Michelangelo, who died in 1564.
(38) James expressed a fear that London would become too large for the country, 'As when the liver exceeds its natural limit, the body deteriorates' The Political Works of Yames I, ed. by C. H. McIlwaine (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1918), p. 326. See also The Elegie Written by the King concerning his Counsel for Ladies and Gentlemen to Depart the Citie of London, in Poems of Yames I, ed. by James Craigie, Scottish Text Society, 22 and 24 (Edinburgh: Blackwood, 1955 and 1958), vol. 24, p. 179.
(39) See John Summerson, 'The Classical Country House in 18th-century England'ypurnal of the Royal Society of Arts, 108 (1959), 539-86 (p. 541). But a building syndrome only slightly less manic had been developing for over a century.
(40) See John Summerson, Architecture in Britain 1630-1830 (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1953), pp. 190 and 340, for an appraisal of Lord Shaftesbury's view of ancient architecture's embodying 'natural principles', a notion taken up by Thomas Jefferson, who carried a similar view to North America. For a discussion of this theory, see Francis Haskell, Patrons and Painters: A Study in the Relations between Italian Art and Society in the Age of the Baroque (London: Chatto and Windus, 1963).
(41) Colen Campbell, Vitruvius Britannicus; or, The British Architect (London: Sold by the author, John Nicholson, Andrew Bell, W Taylor, Henry Clements, and Jos. Smith, 1715).
(42) Hewlings, 'James Leoni', pp. 38-41, where friendly imitation of Campbell by Leoni is also implied. In his entry' Leoni, James' The Dictionary of Art, ed. by Jane Turner, 34 vols (London: Macmillan, 1996), XIx, 204, Hewlings goes further: 'Leoni would appear to be part of a Campbell school, a grouping of English neo-Palladian architects with a style different from that of Burling Palladianton, Kent, and their followers.' Timothy Hudson implies instead Campbell's rivalry and hostility ('A Venetian Architect', p. 833).
(43) For further information on Duke Henry's patronage, see Timothy Hudson,' A Ducal Patron of Architects' Country Life, 185 (January 1974), 78-81 (p. 79).
(44) The plans are conserved in the Bedfordshire and Luton Archives and Records Office, Lucas and Dingwall papers.
(45) The intriguing sequence of events is visible in the letters, particularly certain bulletins from Turin, which Earl Harrold and his steward, J. Gerard, wrote to the Duke during the period 171516; see Luton and Bedford Archives, Lucas and Dingwall papers, more particularly the ducal correspondence, here L/30/8/28/11 (Turin), and L/30/8/28/26 (Venice).
(46) Curiously the same experience, which ruined many investors when the South Sea Bubble burst in 1720, also afforded Benjamin Styles, a banker with insider knowledge (his brother-in-law, Sir John Eyles, was a sub-governor of the South Sea Company), the opportunity to sell his shares just before the crash, and with the proceeds rebuild Moor Park, the enterprise which Leoni shared in some way with Sir James Thornhill after 1720; see also above, p. xxxviii, and n. 17.
(47) Compare Richard Neve, The City and County Purchaser and Builders' Dictionary, 2nd edn (London: Browne, 1726), corrected in this edition by John Ozell (a celebratedly elegant translator probably employed by Leoni for his Alberti) to create a volume more suited for gentlemen, since the first edition was destined for artisans!
(48) An edition of this volume is currently in course of preparation.
(49) Fragmentary details of his life in London are available in Hewlings, 'James Leoni' .
(50) For the construction of Wortley Hall see Richard Hewlings, 'Wortley Hall' Archaeological journal, 137 (1980), 397-400 (P. 397). Alkrington has seen many changes, but still stands more or less intact; see Peter Fleetwood- Hesketh, 'Alkrington Hall', iie'he Country Seat, ed. by Howard Colvin and John Harris (London: Allen and Lane, 1970), pp. 139-44, and Keith Hamden, 'The Restoration and Conversion of Alkrington Hall, Middleton' Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society, 91 (1997), 145-76 For Lyme Park, see below, p. liii and n. 74.
(51) See John Cornforth, 'Clandon Revisited'Country Life, 156 (December 1969), 1456-60 and 1582-86.
(52) Sir John Summerson hazards that in Queensberry House is visible' the probable birthplace of the Palladian town-house' V rchitecture in Britain, p. zz9).
(53) See Wittkower, 'Giacomo Leoni's Edition',3p.4. Richard Hewlings later indicated ('Leoni, James', p. 204) that Queensberry House, which had met with Burlington's favour, was Leoni's version of Inigo Jones's Queen's Gallery at Somerset House; Timothy Hudson says that it was based on Inigo Jones's Lindsey House in Lincoln's Inn Fields ('A Venetian Architect', p. 830); either view indicates Leoni's freedom from dogmaic Palladianism, and his admiration for Inigo Jones.
(54) Leoni published its plans in his Alberti (plates 20-22). I am obliged to Marsali Coles for bringing to my notice the biography of Sibyl Colefax, who lived in Argyll House for fifteen years until 1936, and who wrote eulogies of its many attractive features. See Kirsty Macleod, A Passion
(55) Leoni in his The Architecture of Leon Battista Alberti, 'To the Reader', unpaginated.
(56) Leoni must have regarded Burlington's Chiswick House of 1725, itself an imitation of Colen Campbell's Mereworth Castle (1722), in turn a copy of Palladio's Villa Capra (La Rotonda), as an architecturally sterile anachronism. Ironically, neither Campbell nor his patron the seventh Earl of Westmorland (a colonel also in service under Marlborough at Blenheim) had been to Italy or had seen the Villa Capra and, according to Christopher Hussey, must have relied on Leoni's plate of Palladio's drawing for their own design. See Christopher Husseyr nglish Country Houses: Early Georgian, 1715-1760 (London: Country Life, 1955), P. 58. Hussey goes as far as to suggest that Burlington discontinued employing Campbell owing to his having no first-hand acquaintance with Italian originals (p. 24).
(57) He also regretted that towns in the north of England had no ordinances requiring arcades to be constructed for the convenience of pedestrians using the footpaths during beastly weather! See his 'To the Reader', at the conclusion oThe Architecture of Leon Battista Alberti.
(58) Alberti, On the Art of Building in Ten Books, ed. by Rykwert and others, 1v.1, 92.
(59) Hudson,' A Venetian Architect',p. 830. In sere] referencesto Burlington, Rudolf Wittkower seems to employ the term 'dogmatic' as though this were a praiseworthy attribute: 'Giacomo Leoni's Edition'passim.
(60) Like Burlington after 1719, Wittkower was equally dogged by the philologist'sf preoccupation with accurate transcription, whereas Leoni openly stated his freedom to correct errors and 'improve' the original. The views of Wittkower and Burlington are tempered by Richard Hewlings's more reasonable appraisal of Leoni's Jonesian creativity in his 'James Leoni', p. 21, and more forcefully in 'Leoni, James' : 'Leoni was an admirer of Inigo Jones, and it was Jones who also became Leoni's model' .
(61) Wittkower, 'Giacomo Leoni's Edition', p. 314. Richard Hewlings points to the minimal number of changes made by Leoni, though Wittkower laid precise emphasis only on these few instances.
(62) Andrea Palladio, The Four Books of Architecture: Literally Translated from the Original Italian by Isaac Ware (London: Printed for Isaac Ware, 1738).
(63) The publication of this small volume had been intimated as long ago as 1708 in the McGill codex. Published by Palladio in 1554, L'antichita di Roma is now available in a new edition with Presentation by Francesco Paolo Fiore (Milan: Pohfilo, 2006). Along with Palladio's Descritione delle chiese [... ] the sonno in la Citta di Roma, L'antichita is now available as Palladio's Rome: A Translation of Andrea Palladio's Two Guidebooks to Rome, presentation by Francesco Paolo Fiore, ed. by Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2006). The autograph notes by Inigo Jones were finally published for the second time in 1970: Inigo yones on Palladio: Being the Notes by InigoYones in the Copy of 'I quattro libri dell'architettura' of Andrea Palladio 1601, in the Library of Worcester College, Oxford (Newcastle: Oriel Press, 1970).
(64) Leoni' The Architecture of Leon Battista Alberti, begun in 1726, seems to have taken a further three years before distribution, if not publication, was completed. In the Legh of Lyme papers at the John Rylands Library, a letter from Leoni to Sir Peter Legh, dated 30 May 1730, announces the imminent arrival in Macclesfield of' a Box with four of the last vol. of Alberti's Architecture directed to you' . The edition probably owes its elegant English to the professional translator John Ozell. In both his major publishing enterprises Leoni chose to avoid claiming credit for Englishing the text.
(65) 'To the Reader' in Leoni's edition The Architecture of Leon Battista Alberti. He had similarly appended his own sketches and designs in his edition of Palladio.
(66) One of his milder strictures follows: 'I have always observed that those who know the least of our Art, nay that can scarcely distinguish the five Orders, are always the most fruitful Inventors of Whim and Extravagancies, and they are generally talkative in Proportion to their Want of Skill' (ibid.).
(67) Burlington habitually gave the task of doing his drawings to William Kent, Henry Flitcroft, and other acolytes. See John Harris, The Palladians (London: Trefoil Books, 1969), p. 18. Wittkower may have taken too literally what he sees as Leoni's effusive attitude to Burlington. In effect Leoni's strictures were harsh in these paragraphs against architects who could not draw, and against servile assistants who were afraid to gainsay their patrons, even if that meant promoting errors.
(68) Rudolf Wittkower, Palladio and English Palladianism (London: Thames & Hudson, 1974), p. 146.
(69) See, for instance, Francesco Milizia, Memorie degli architetti antichi e moderni (Bologna: Cardinali e Frulli, 1827), p. 200; Girolamo Mancini, Vita di Leon Battista Alberti (Florence: Sansoni, 1882), p. 389; and Emilio Londi, Leon Battista Alberti, architetto (Florence: Alfani e Venturi, 1906), p. 23.
(70) The mansion remained in its pre-Palladian form until the 1830s, when Thomas, Earl De Grey himself designed the present house in a gracious French pavilion style. Remarkably untouched by time, it is currently being restored by English Heritage.
(71) The situation still causes preoccupation at Wrest, wherein 2007 John Watkins, head gardener at English Heritage, noted that water levels were too high for Capability Brown's planting, and had caused the loss of ancient trees. An important report on this problem by the landscape expert Tim Richardson figured in the Sunday Times, 15 July 2007.
(72) Compendious Directions for Builders, p. 30.
(73) Magnificently produced, they sell nowadays in antiquarian bookshops for prices consistently well in excess of 50,000 [pounds sterling] per edition.
(74) For more technical details of Lyme Park see John Cornforth, 'Lyme Park, Cheshire' [in four parts], Country Life, 186 (December 1974), 1724-27, 1858-61, 1930-33, and 1998-2001.
(75) Renzo Salvadori, 'Le origini del neoclassicismo e del giardino romantico tra Veneto e Inghilterra' , inBeni culturali: le opere, il restauro, i musei (Monfalcone and Gorizia: Edizioni della laguna, 2004), pp. 198-203 (p. 202).
(76) See Summerson, Architecture in Britain, p. 340, where he quotes research showing the influence of Leoni' PPalaadio on Jefferson's house, later to be incorporated into the University of Virginia..
(77) Robert Tavernor, Palladio and Palladianism (London: Thames & Hudson, 1991), pp. 190-207, for this and other remarks here.
(78) That plate (no. 22 in Leoni's edition) figured in the exhibition of influences on the design of Washington's Capitol in 1995. See' The Most Approved Plan: The Competition for the Capitol's Design' (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/us.capitol/S2.htm]) [accessed 22 April 2008].
(79) George Dance was finally chosen for the commission. For the circumstances see Sydney Perks, The History of the Mansion House (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922), pp. 166-67.
(80) Including Duke Henry's losses in the South Sea Bubble, and the abandonment of Leoni's potentially most lucrative enterprise, the construction of Carshalton House for William Scawen, who died leaving 10,000 [pounds sterling] for the completion of the mansion, though Scawen's nephew, Thomas, subsequently failed to carry out his wishes.
(81) See Arthur Charles Edwards, The Account Books of Benjamin Mildmay, Earl Fitzwalter (London: Regency Press, 1977), p. 64.
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|Publication:||The Modern Language Review|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2008|
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