My thanks to Paul Rumsey for reminding me of the Alfabeto pittorico (1839) by Antonio Basoli (1774–1848). This is the same idea as yesterday’s pictorial alphabet but with an architectural theme. Basoli’s series of prints depicts each letter in an architectural style which matches the initial: A is for Arabia but also for aranciera (orangery). The attention to detail and the rendering of light and shade is very Piranesian, and it so happens that Piranesi had earlier designed a small number of capitals for use in books, the letterforms being created by architectural scenes. It’s tempting to see Basoli’s series as an elaboration of this idea done in the manner of Piranesi’s Prima parte di Architettura e Prospettive.
Given how much I enjoy this kind of thing I would have posted something about them by now, but seeing as they’d already been covered by the late-lamented Giornale Nuovo I stayed my hand. Mister Aitch’s post on the subject is still worth a look for the detail he supplies regarding the prints and their creator. For scans of the entire volume, go here.