Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Art & Architecture > 56. Antoine Lafréry

56.  Antoine Lafréry (1512-1577).  Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae. 610 prints of varying sizes mounted on sheets (76.8 x 55.2 cm). 16th-18th centuries. Avery Library, Drawings and Archives

The Speculum Romanae Magnificentiae is a collector's album of engravings of Renaissance Rome that takes its name from a title-page designed by Etienne Dupérac (ca. 1573-1577) and published by Antoine Lafréry. In his shop at Rome, Lafréry offered for sale well over a hundred prints of Roman subjects, which could be supplemented with other prints and bound up by visitors to the Eternal City. These sixteenth-century albums were in turn acquired by later collectors who further expanded them.

The Avery-Crawford Speculum is what may be called a "super" Speculum, consisting of over 600 prints assembled by the 26th Earl of Crawford (James Ludovic Lindsay, 1847-1913), most probably from two Speculum exemplars of 168 and 433 prints each. As was the fashion with these nineteenth-century amalgamations, the prints were removed from their old mounts and bindings, laid down on fresh sheets, and boxed. The Avery-Crawford Speculum is distinguished by the number of unusual suites and single prints it contains, as well as its size. One such print is this engraving for a monument with the dioscure designed by Giovanni Guerra.

Purchase, 1951

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