Florence: Bernardo Paperini, 1733.
Folio: 46 x 32 cm. , XXXVIII,  p. Collation: π2, A-L2. With an engraved portrait and 17 plates (on 16 sheets) as follows: "Figures i-vi, ix-xvii" are printed one each on fifteen double-page leaves folded at center; "fig. vii-viii" printed together on one double-page leaf folded at center. An additional plate (xiii ½) is printed on a single-page sheet.
Bound in contemporary vellum (front board bowed, soiled, short split at foot of spine, small defect to label). A fine, broad-margined copy. The paper is thick and crisp, the impressions of the type and plates rich and dark. Title lightly soiled, some insignificant soiling to the blank margins of some plates, occ. light blemishes, a little foxing at the extreme upper edge. The plates were engraved by Sgrilli after drawings by Giovanni Battista Nelli (1661-1725). The frontispiece portrait of Giovanni Gastone I was engraved by V. Franceschini after a drawing by G.D. Ferretti. Title in red and black with large engraved vignette, large engraved initials, headings (incl. one half-page with a view of S.Maria del Fiore) and tailpieces. Rare. I have located only 5 copies in the U.S. (Morgan, National Gallery, Clark Art Institute, Getty, Princeton.).
First edition of this important monograph on the construction and architecture of the Florentine Duomo, the masterwork of Arnolfo di Cambio, Giotto and Brunelleschi. "There is no recent survey as comprehensive as that by G.B. Nelli and S. B. Sgrilli."(Mainstone, "Brunelleschi's Dome")
An extremely valuable work on, the "Description and Studies of the Construction of Santa Maria del Fiore" marks the first appearance in print of the drawings of Giovanni Battista Nelli (d. 1725), director of the Opera del Duomo and the first surveyor of the dome. The illustrations, engraved by Sgrilli, attest to Nelli's attention to detail.
Nelli studied mathematics and engineering with Vincenzo Viviani, and drawing and architecture with Giovan Battista Foggini. In January 1696, he was made superintendent of works for the Florentine Duomo, an office he held until his death. With Viviani, Foggini, Filippo Sengher, and Giovanni Guerrino Guerrini, Nelli was part of the grand-ducal commission for investigating the condition of the dome and making suggestions for its repair and preservation.
The book comprises: A dedicatory of Bernardo Sansone Sgrilli, dated August 18, 1733; notice to readers (pp. I s.); portrait of Giovan Battista Nelli; description of the construction of S. Maria del Fiore by Gerolamo Ticciati (pp. III-XXXVIII); two sonnets; 17 plates depicting: the cathedral complex and baptistery (fig. I); the entire cathedral in plan, section and elevation (figs. II-VI); the plan of the drum (fig. VII); a hemi-section in plan with the course of the wooden tension ring (fig. VIII); section of the dome and lantern (fig. IX); plan, section and elevation of the lantern (fig. X); plan and section of the spire of the lantern (fig. XI); an "External and internal depiction of the dome" (fig. XII); elevation of the eighth loggia of the drum and a partial section of the nave and aisles of the cathedral (fig. XIII); the façade of the cathedral (table XIII ½); a quarter of the choir in plan view and elevation (fig. XIV); elevation and plan of the altar and choir (fig. XV); plan, section and elevation of the bell tower of the cathedral (fig. XVI); plan and elevation/section of the baptistery of S. Giovanni (fig. XVII).
Berlin Kat. 2694; Cicognara 4096; Bigazzi, Firenze e contorni, No. 2327; Guasti, La cupola di Santa Maria del Fiore, p. 216 (under "Descrizione")