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Royal Wedding Circa 1714:
An 18th C. Life Magazine Account

[FETES] MAGGIALI, Giuseppe. Ragguaglio della Nozze delle Maestà Filippo Quinto e di Elisabetta Farnese...celebrate in Parma l’Anno 1714. Parma, Stamperia di S.A.S., 1717.

Folio, (1) f., 115, (1) pp., including frontispiece and 5 large folding plates measuring approximately ; plate I; 89cmx60cm; plate II.:49cmx44cm: plate III:43cmx67cm: plate IV:82cmx60cm; plate V: 82cmx53cm. Bound in original Spanish calf. ‘Pasta Espanola”. Very tall copy with large margins. Internally very fresh. Generally excellent.


Rare fete book celebrating the nuptials of Philip V of Spain, the Founder of the Bourbon dynasty, and Elizabeth Farnese, at Parma Cathedral in September of 1714. Arranged by the Vatican after the death of Philip's first wife, Maria Louisa of Savoy, the marriage was of considerable political importance, and in due course brought about the transference of the Duchy of Parma from the possession of the Farnese family to that of the Bourbons. As not infrequently happened in such marriages, the groom didn’t show, but was represented by proxy (a high-ranking Cardinal!).

The prose account retails the entry of the massive Vatican entourage into Parma, the tour of the Farnese apartments and other possessions and selected local attractions. The elaborate procession to the Cathedral is set out, with remarks on costume and of course the decoration of the cathedral is treated at length.

The Farnese court painter Ilario Spolverino (1657-1734) was commissioned to make a series of paintings of the event, from which a number of engravings were made for the work at hand by the Bolognese Francia. The plates include an allegorical frontispiece in which winged figures present an oval portrait of Elizabeth Farnese to the (apparently) smitten King; (1) an “extra” large plate showing the entry of the Vatican party into Parma, complete with 24 mules; (2) the exterior of the cathedral decorated with draperies and family arms; (3) the decorated interior, with draperies and allegorical emblems, and showing as well the contemporary state of the Cathedral’s permanent decoration, a subject of considerable art historical interest; (4) the wedding proceedings “live,” including the panoply of the filled cathedral; (5) an architectural plan of the cathedral.

* Berlin Kat. 3060; Lipperheide Si 36; Cicognara 1491; Vinet 567; Coxe, Memoirs of the Kings of Spain and of the House of Bourbon; R.A. Riccardi, Ilario Spolverini (1979), #55-73.

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