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
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Language: Collection material is in Italian, Latin, French, German and
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 bygone era.
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
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 no. P850003.
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.
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
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
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
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 Pecci-Blunt (1885-1971).
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