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Pecci-Blunt (Anna Laetitia) Print Collection of Views of Rome
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Related Archival Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt print collection of views of Rome
    Date (inclusive): 1589-circa 1860
    Number: P850003
    Creator/Collector: Pecci Blunt, Anna Laetitia
    Physical Description: 97 prints (6 boxes, 31 flatfiles)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: 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.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record  for this collection. Click here for the access policy .
    Language: Collection material is in Italian, Latin, French, German and English.

    Biographical/Historical Note

    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 dispersed.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Anna Laetitia Pecci-Blunt print collection of views of Rome, 1589-circa 1860, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession no. P850003.

    Acquisition Information

    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.

    Processing History

    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 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.

    Indexing Terms

    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


    Pinelli, Bartolomeo
    Pecci Blunt, Anna Laetitia
    Sarti, Antonio
    Silvestre, Israël
    Penna, Agostino