SAINT-NON, Jean Claude Richard, abbé de. Voyage pittoresque ou description des Royaumes de Naples et de Sicile. Quatrième volume, contenant la description de la Sicile. Seconde Partie, Paris, M. DCC. LXXXVI [=1786].
Jean-Claude Richard, abbé de Saint-Non (1727-1791) was a French clergyman, engraver and painter. He was exiled from Paris for political reasons and lived from then onwards in Poitiers. Eventully, hemade the choice to devote himself to his artistic interests (art, archaeology and music), and thus resigned from his public office as a judge. After 1759 Saint-Non lived in England for some time, and later moved to Italy (1759-1761). He travelled to Naples and Sicily with painter Fragonard and H. Robert. He released first his drawings of the monuments of Rome, which soon won over the public; thus, in 1777 he was able to publish his account and drawings of the “enchanting” journey to Magna Graecia. After ensuring financial support from sponsors, he prepared this five-volume work with enthusiasm, in spite of the difficulties which arose (1781-1786). The chronicle is comprised of Saint-Non's texts (a review of the history of Southern Italy and studies on Naples, Pompey, Herculanum and their neighbouring areas), and the corresponding plates. Two of the volumes are dedicated to Sicily.
Saint-Non was acquainted with several eminent artists and scholars of his time. He also created a series of engravings. This account has been republished by publishing houses of Naples (1980-81) and Rome (1986). At present the website includes one of the five volumes of the edition.
This is a historical, geographical, artistic, philological and archaeological work, which is supported by five hundred and forty-two plates. A team of artists (engravers, draughtsmen and painters) contributed to this edition, which also sources information from other travel works. Thus the edition of Saint-Non made up for a vast lack of information on the lesser-known locations and monuments of Southern Italy.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou