May 18, 2022

Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Acquires Rare 18th-Century Piranesi Books Illustrating Ancient Rome

From Emory University:

Emory recently acquired “Le Antichità Romane,” the complete folio set by Piranesi (1720-1778), who documented, imagined and recreated ancient Rome — buildings, maps, mausoleums, cemeteries, street scenes and more — through incredibly detailed etchings.

Emory’s Woodruff Library collaborated with the Michael C. Carlos Museum and the Department of Art History to obtain the rare set, which arrived at the Rose Library on Feb. 23. The four volumes, created around 1756, have stunning frontispieces and multiple fold-out pages that reveal large maps or other etchings.

“The acquisition of these volumes will transform our ability to teach Piranesi at Emory,” says McPhee, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Art History and the department chair. “If you have the real thing, you hold it in your hands, you turn the pages, you see the texture of the paper, you understand in a way that you can’t by seeing the volumes online or looking at a digital print. The degree of enthusiasm on the part of our undergraduates and graduate students is evidence that original works of art make all the difference.”

Emory Libraries first became aware of this particular set of “Le Antichità Romane” through McPhee and art history associate professor Eric Varner, says Kim Collins, art history subject librarian and Research Engagement Services leader at the Woodruff Library. The set, which once belonged to Giannalisa Feltrinelli, mother of influential Italian publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, is in excellent condition, McPhee says.

Learn More About the Books and Acquisition


About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.