The drawings were the work of Goethe’s friend Georg Schulz and the plates were engraved and coloured by Melchior Krauss.
This example of the separate, plates only issue was offered in a May 7-8 sale held in Munich by Hartung & Hartung (20% buyer’s premium). The stitching was partly broken and the original wrappers soiled, worn and lacking the spine. There was also some foxing and soiling but the colouring was fine and it sold at €22,000 (£19,360).
Goethe’s Italian travels had taken place in 1786-88 but a full account, in effect an expanded version of his diaries, was not published until 1816-17.
* In December 2015 a copy of the 1789 first of Das römische Carneval offered in Paris as part of the first of the Pierre Bergé library sales realised €25,000 (then £18,125).