Perotti, Niccolò (ca. 1430-1480).
Cornucopiae linguae Latinae. Venice, Baptista de Tortis, 19 October 1490.
Folio (307x212 mm). Collation: A-B8, a-z8, &8, cum8, rum8, A-O6. , 291,  leaves. Complete with the last leaf blank, often lacking in the recorded copies. Text in one column, 64 lines. Type: 78R, 78Gk. On the lower margin of fol. a3r coat of arms in full colour, with extensions of acanthus leaves in maroon, green, red, and blue, and with the initials 'fg' added later. Half-vellum, boards covered with a fifteenth-century manuscript leaf, lettering-piece on upper cover. A very good copy, some pale waterstains, mostly marginal, in the first half and near end; slight, marginal wormholes in the first two quires.
Provenance: from the library of Franchino Gaffurio (1451 1522; ownership inscriptions on fol. B8v, 'Liber Franchini Gafurij laudinesis Regij musici / corteque mediolanensis phonasci/', and purchase note on fol. O5v, dated 16 January 1494).
Third edition of Perotti's Cornucopiae, presented here in a fine copy which once belonged to the renowned Renaissance music theorist, musician at the Sforza court, and choirmaster or maestro di cappella at the Duomo of Milan, Franchino Gaffurio.
Born in Sassoferrato, in the Marche region of Italy, Niccolò Perotti was a pupil of Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino Veronese, and he became secretary for Cardinal Bessarion in 1447. His Cornucopiae linguae Latinae was first published by Paganino Paganini in 1489 and enjoyed immediate success. Written as a commentary on Book I of Martial, it became a standard reference on the Latin language and a sort of encyclopaedia of the classical world. The work was later revised and expanded by Perotti's son Pyrrhus.
This precious volume comes from the library of the musicus and phonascus Franchino Gaffurio (or Gafori). Born in Lodi to an aristocratic family, the young Gaffurio entered a Benedictine monastery where he acquired early musical training. He later became a priest and lived in Mantua and Verona before settling in Milan as the local cathedral's maestro di cappella, a position he held from 1484 until his death in 1522. Gaffurio showed a strong humanist bent, and met composers from all over Europe; in Milan alone he made the acquaintance of Leonardo da Vinci (see no. 68) as well as Josquin Desprez, the greatest composer of the period.
An autograph note on fol. O5v states that Gaffurio acquired the present copy of Perotti's Cornucopiae on 16 January 1494, for a sum of 3 1⁄2 lire, possibly as an aid for the preparation of his Practica musicae, which first appeared in 1496, or his teaching. This annotation recording the purchase of the book shows the distinctive features of his youthful hand and can be compared with an autograph document dated 1495 and published by Gaetano Cesari. However, the second annotation visible here – an ownership inscription on fol. B8v, in which he describes himself as 'royal musician and singer (phonascus) of the church of Milan' – is written in the more trembling hand typical of his later life, as evinced by a letter dated 1520, also edited by Cesari. The title of the treatise by Perotti is entered in the inventory drawn up in 1518, when Gaffurio gifted his library (or a part of it) to the Church of the Incoronata in his hometown of Lodi, whose Schola had been founded in 1511. In 1694 the library of the 'Tempio dell'Incoronata' was dispersed, and partly sold to the Oratorian monastery located in the town. Only a few volumes once owned by Gaffurio have been discovered among the collections of the Biblioteca Laudense at Lodi.
H 12698; GW M31105; BMC V, 326; IGI 7421; Goff P-290; J.-L. Charlet, “Observations sur certaines éditions du Cornucopiae de Niccolò Perotti (1489-1500)”, Res Publica Litterarum, 11 (1988), pp. 83-96; G. Cesari, “Musica e musicisti alla Corte sforzesca”, F. Malaguzzi Valeri, La corte di Ludovico il Moro, IV (1923), p. 210; F. Fano, “Vita e attività del musico teorico e pratico Francino Gaffurio da Lodi”, Arte Lombarda, 15/2 (1970), pp. 49-62; E. Motta, “I libri della chiesa dell'Incoronata di Lodi nel 1518”, Il libro e la stampa, 1 (1970), pp. 105-112; A. Novasconi, L'Incoronata di Lodi, Lodi 1974, esp. pp. 19-42; R. Auletta Marrucci (ed.), L'Incoronata. Il Tempio di Lodi, Lodi 1995; M. Pantarotto, “Per la biblioteca di Franchino Gaffurio: i manoscritti laudensi”, Scripta, 5 (2012), pp. 111-118; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 31.