This 25-volume collection of over 1000 etched and engraved works by Giovanni Batista Piranesi, supplemented by the works of Francesco Piranesi, is the ‘first Paris edition,’ issued by his sons Francesco and Pietro Piranesi between 1800 and 1807. This edition was bound in red combed paper and leather spines by Tessier of Rue de la Harpe, Paris. Some Tessier binding labels are still present in the volumes. Other volumes were rebound by Milanese book and print sellers Pietro and Giuseppe Vallardi, slightly later in the same century.
This set was part of the library of James Alipius Goold (1812-1886), archbishop of Melbourne, and member of the University Council, who owned them from 1865. Following his death, the set remained at his residence, the old Bishop’s Palace adjacent to St Patrick’s Cathedral until the 1960s when it was demolished. The Baillieu Library purchased the volumes in 1974-75 from Tom Hazell, the university’s protocol officer, supported by funds from the Ivy May Pendelbury Bequest. Volumes XXI and XXIII were not acquired in the 1970s. A 1764 edition of volume XXI Raccolta di alcuni disegni del Barberi da Cento detto Il Guercino, printed in two colours, was later purchased for the collection in 2014.
The Library also holds an additional copy of volume XVIII Choix des meilleurs statues antiques which was purchased from the collection of Lionel Lindsay in 1963 by the Society of Collectors for the Poynton Collection. An edition of Catalogo dalle opere date finora alla luce da Giovanni Battista Piranesi is also stored with the Print Collection.