Naples: Gatti & Dura, [ca. 1834]. Oblong octavo, approximately 5-7/16" x 7-1/8" (140 mm. x 182 mm.). In accordion format, measuring an impressive 142-1/2" when fully extended. In a contemporary half mid-tan leather patterned board folder with gilt-rolled spine.
The volume consists of a lithographic title + 18 hand-coloured lithographic plates signed in the stone by the artist + 1 plate of lithographic music for the tarantella in piano score.
Each plate with an animated illustration of a dancing couple with text describing the execution of the particular step being illustrated below the image.
Binding slightly worn. Slight foxing; minor soiling to edges; two plates with tape repair to inner blank margins; final leaf laid down.
First Edition. Quite rare. Not in Leslie, Beaumont or Magriel. Derra de Moroda 2105. OCLC (3 copies only, at Harvard, the New York Public Library, and the Austrian State Library). See Colas 921.
APBC records one complete copy only at auction since 1923; an incomplete copy with 10 plates only was sold in 1955.
Both the drawings by Dura (1805-1878) and the colouring are particularly well-executed.
"The tarantella has roots in ancient history; it is said to derive its name from the city of Tarentum (modern-day Taranto), formerly a Greek settlement on the southern coast of Italy. Historians have identified representations of the dance in ancient Greek vase paintings and on the wall paintings at Pompeii..."
"... According to a widespread legend, the dance acquired its name because it was used as a cure for the poisonous bite of the tarantula spider. Gurzau reports that this etymological point was debated at the Venice Congress and Folk Festival in 1949, and the participants concluded that the legend was based on the similarity of the two words rather than the actuality. In apparent contradiction to this conclusion is the fact that the tarantella is performed as a kind of exorcism by the practitioners of Tarantism, an Italian possession cult comparable to the zar cult of Ethiopia or Vodun in Haiti..."
"Stylized tarantellas have been used to add a touch of local color to the ballet stage. An early example is the tarantella created for Fanny Elssler in Jean Corallli's ballet La Tarentule (1836), the plot of which centers around real and feigned bites of the tarantula." The International Encyclopedia of Dance, Vol. 6, p. 104.
A document highly important to the reconstruction of the Neapolitan tarantella.
A fine example of Italian lithographic illustration. Item #22347
Price: $6,500.00 other currencies