Related Archival Materials
Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt print collection of views of Rome
Date (inclusive): 1589-circa 1860
Pecci Blunt, Anna Laetitia
(6 boxes, 31 flatfiles)
The Getty Research Institute
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
Los Angeles 90049-1688
The collection consists of 97 prints of views of the city of Rome, dating 1589 to circa 1860, from the library of collector,
gallerist, philanthropist and patron of the arts, Countess Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt.
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Language: Collection material is in Italian, Latin, French, German and English.
Anna Laetitia ("Mimì") Pecci-Blunt was born on 15 March 1885. Her father, Count Camillo Pecci was head of the Guardia nobile
pontificia and a nephew to Pope Leo XIII (Vicenzo Gioacchino Pecci), and her mother, Silvia Bueno y Garzon was a Spanish noblewoman
from Cuba. After passing the years of World War I in Switzerland, Anna Laetitia Pecci settled in Paris and soon immersed herself
in artistic and intellectual circles, becoming friends with Georges Braque and Jean Cocteau. She was introduced to the wealthy
and cultured American banker, Cécil Blunt, son of the collector Ferdinand Blumenthal. The marriage between the two was celebrated
in 1919 with the benediction of Pope Benedict XV, who gave Cécil Blunt the title of Count Pecci-Blunt. The couple took up
residence in Paris where they opened their home to writers, poets, artists and musicians including Salvador Dalì, Cocteau,
Paul Valéry, Francis Poulenc and Paul Claudel. The Pecci-Blunts had five children: Dino, Laetitia, Viviana, Camilla and Graziella.
In 1929, the Pecci-Blunts decided to spend part of each year in Rome and they purchased, near the Campodiglio and the Piazza
Venezia, the palazzo in Piazza Aracoeli 3 designed by Giacomo della Porta. As in Paris, this residence became a cultural hub,
reflecting Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt's desire to foster exchange between Italian and foreign artists, musicians and intellectuals.
During this period Pecci-Blunt began to acquire prints, published works, drawings and paintings thematically focused upon
the city of Rome. Many of these materials were purchased in Rome, however she also acquired art during her frequent trips
to Paris. Pecci-Blunt's collection included views, plans, maps of Rome and depictions of the inhabitants of the city in popular
costume. As intense urban development under Mussolini transformed Rome in the 1930's, interest in the city's past grew among
certain circles in Rome. The collection came to be known as "Roma Sparita" because of its nostalgic focus on the Rome of a
In addition to her collecting activities, Pecci-Blunt's patronage of the arts blossomed during this period. She began hosting
an annual series of spring concerts at her palazzo and invited musicians such as Darius Milhaud, Arthur Rubinstein, Poulenc,
George Auric, Igor Stravinsky and Nathan Milstein to perform. By 1934 plans were laid to open an art gallery. The Galleria
della Cometa opened in April 1935 under the direction of Libero de Libero and featured contemporary artists including AFRO
(Afro Basaldella), MIRKO (Mirko Basaldella), Corrado Cagli, Giorgio de Chirico, Guglielmo Janni and Gino Severini, among others.
In 1937 a New York branch called The Cometa Art Gallery was opened. Both galleries were named after Pecci-Blunt's family coat
of arms, a comet. She had adopted the symbol from her relative, Pope Leo XIII.
For a brief period, both galleries were in operation until mounting political tensions forced the closure of the gallery
in Rome in 1938. Anna Laetitia and Cécil Pecci-Blunt spent the years of World War II in New York, before returning to Italy
in 1947. Upon her return, Pecci-Blunt resumed her cultural and artistic activities, and in 1948, the first meeting of the
Associazione Amici dei Musei di Roma was held in her palazzo. Shortly after, she expressed her desire to donate her collection
of drawings, watercolors and other paintings to the Museo di Roma. Over the next twenty-odd years, she continued to support
artistic endeavors in all forms, holding concerts, building and operating a theater (Teatro di Cometa), and serving in an
advisory capacity to the museums of Rome. She was honored for her artistic patronage and philanthropy in 1960 with a Medaglia
d'oro per l'arte e la cultura and in 1964, for her encouragement of cross-cultural interchange, with a Légion d'honneur from
the French government.
During her years of activity with the Amici dei Musei di Roma, she provided funds for acquisitions and discouraged purchases
that would duplicate items in her own collection. Upon her death in 1971, she donated her collection of drawings, watercolors,
and paintings to the Museo di Roma, while her collection of prints and published works were sold and dispersed.
Open for use by qualified researchers.
Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt print collection of views of Rome, 1589-circa 1860, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession
The collection was acquired in 1985 as part of the library of Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt, which was sold in 1972 after her
death, along with her maps of Rome. The prints were integrated with the Getty Research Institute's Special Collections and
divided into two collections: maps of Rome, Accession no. P850002, and views of Rome, Accession no. P850003.
The finding aid for this collection was originally prepared by Brian Parshall in 1996. It was revised in May-July 2012 by
Insley Julier, under the supervision of Karen Meyer-Roux.
Related Archival Materials
The collection is complemented by Pecci-Blunt's collection of maps of Rome, also held by The Getty Research Institute, Los
Angeles, Accession no. P850002, and by other holdings from Pecci-Blunt's library. Search the Getty Research Institute's library
catalog using the phrase "Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt" for the Research Institute's holdings from the Pecci-Blunt library.
The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington (D.C.) holds another portion of the print collection of Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt,
focused on papal ceremonies and representations of St. Peter's. Some duplication exists between the Getty Research Institute's
and the Folger Shakespeare Library's collections. See: Folger Shakespeare Library.
Digital Image Collection. (http://luna.folger.edu/luna/servlet).
Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt's watercolors, drawings and other paintings, which also chronicle the city of Rome, were donated
to the Museo di Roma in 1971 at the time of her death.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection consists of 97 prints of views of the city of Rome, dating 1589 to circa 1860, from the library of Anna Laetitia
The majority of the prints (over 50) were printed in Rome and executed by Italian printmakers, while others were issued
in Antwerp, Augsburg, London, Milan, Naples and Paris. Printmakers particularly well represented in this collection include
Agostino Penna, Bartolomeo Pinelli, Antonio Sarti and Israël Silvestre. There are also prints by Stefano della Bella, Giovanni
Maggi, and Giovanni Battista Falda.
Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt marked many of the prints in her collection with her collector's marks. Small, circular marks
found on the recto of the prints, typically in the lower right corner, display a small comet, encircled with the text: "Coll.
C.ssa A. L. Pecci Blunt." Circular marks on the verso of the prints, typically in the lower center, denote Pecci-Blunt's name
for her collection, "Roma Sparita." The stamps contain the text; "Roma Sparita, N....," (with space for adding an inventory
number), encircled with additional text "Collezione Contessa Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt." Five prints from Pecci-Blunt's collection
also bear the collector's mark of Alessandro Castagnari (1881-1940) (Lugt 86a).
Organized in four series: Series I. General views of Rome, 1642-circa 1860; Series II. Sites and monuments, 1619-circa 1851,
undated; Series III. Papal ceremonial, 1589-circa 1846; Series IV. Suites of prints, 1817-circa 1850.
Subjects - Topics
Fountains -- Italy -- Rome
Church buildings -- Italy -- Rome
Prints -- Private collections
Prints -- Collectors and collecting -- Italy
Bridges -- Italy -- Rome
Monuments -- Italy -- Rome
Pecci Blunt, Anna Laetitia, 1885-1971 -- Art collections
Subjects - Places
Rome (Italy) -- Description and travel
Rome -- Antiquities
Genres and Forms of Material
Prints -- Italy -- 18th century
Prints -- Italy -- 17th century
Prints -- Italy -- 19th century
Prints -- Italy -- 16th century
Pecci Blunt, Anna Laetitia
Arrigoni, Paolo and Achille Bertarelli.
Piante e vedute di Roma a del Lazio. Milan: Castello Sforzesco, 1939.
Comune di Roma.
Una collezionista e mecenate romana: Anna Laetitia Pecci Blunt, 1885-1971. Roma: Edizioni carte segrete, 1991.
Faucheux, L. E.
Catalogue raisonné de toutes les estampes qui forment l'oeuvre d'Israël Silvestre. Paris: F. de Nobele, 1969.
Instituto nazionale per la grafica.
Calcografica. Ministero per i beni e le attività culturali. http://calcografica.ing.beniculturali.it/calcografica/index.php.
Lugt, Frits and Jean Nicollier.
Les marques de collections de dessins & d'estampes. Fondation Custodia. http://www.marquesdecollections.fr/
Vesme, Alexandre de.
Le peintre-graveur italien: ouvrage faisant suite au Peintre-graveur de Bartsch. Turin: Bottega d'Erasmo, 1971.