Boiardo, Matteo Maria (ca. 1441-1494).
Orlando innamorato. I tre libri dello innamoramento di Orlando... Tratti dal suo fedelissimo essemplare. Nuovamente con somma diligenza revisti, e castigati. Con molte stanze aggiunte del proprio auttore, quali gli mancavano. Insieme con gli altri tre Libri compidi. Venice, Pietro Nicolini da Sabbio, March-April 1539.
Two parts in one volume, 4° (199x144 mm). A-Z8, AA-DD8, EE10; Aa-Kk8, L-Q8, Rr-Xx8. 226; 167 (numbered I-XLVI, 47-167) of 168 leaves. Lacking the last blank. Roman type. First title-page printed in red and black within an elaborate architectural woodcut border; on fol. A2v woodcut map of southern France, Switzerland, and part of Germany, showing the geographical disposition of the 'Sequani' and 'Helvetii' fought by Julius Caesar, repeated also on fols. N3v and BB8r of the first part, and on fol. Ff6v of the second part (in the last three appearances a contemporary hand has added at the top of the woodcut the inscription 'FABIUS MAXIMUS PATRIT ROMANUS'); on the second title-page, a large round horseback portrait of Orlando (the same hand has added to the caption in brown ink 'IL CONTE', and 'IL PALADINO'). Early twentieth-century vellum with overlapping edges, ink title on the spine. Gilt edges. A good copy, worm track, partially repaired, in the lower margin of fols. G3-O8, occasionally affecting text (especially between fols. G3 and I5). Some marginal stains, upper margin cut short, slightly trimming the running title on a very few leaves.
Provenance: Giacomo Manzoni (1816-1889; ex-libris on the front pastedown; see Bibliotheca Manzoniana. Catalogue des livres composant la Bibliothèque de feu M. le Comte Jacques Manzoni, Città di Castello 1893, lot 3065); Giuseppe Cavalieri (1834-1918; ex-libris on the front flyleaf; see T. De Marinis, Catalogue des livres composant la Bibliothèque de M. Giuseppe Cavalieri à Ferrara, Florence 1908; no. 273); Giuseppe Martini (1870-1944; his pencilled notes on the front flyleaves).
Rare edition – in a fine copy once belonging to the libraries of the great book collectors Giacomo Manzoni and Giuseppe Cavalieri – of the complete Orlando Innamorato printed by Nicolini da Sabbio, in which the three books originally written by Boiardo are continued and completed by three other books composed by Nicolò Degli Agostini (fl. first quarter of the sixteenth century) and introduced here with a separate title-page bearing the printing date of March 1539. These supplementary books were published together with the three Libri by Boiardo up until the end of the seventeenth century.
Editions of Boiardo's poem in its original instantiation – before Francesco Berni's censored revision of 1541, which became the standard text for all subsequent editions – are all extremely rare. Of the 1495 edition, the first in three books (published at Scandiano by Pellegrino de' Pasquali on behalf of Boiardo's widow, Taddea Gonzaga) issued in 1,250 copies, none have survived beyond the end of the eighteenth century.
As for Degli Agostini's continuation, the fourth book was originally published in Venice in 1505 in a lost edition, the fifth book was first published in Venice by Rusconi in 1514. The sixth part was probably first published by Zoppino in 1521, but no copy has survived, and was followed by a 1524 reprint (see no. 72).
Adams B-2314; Sandal, Il mestier de le stamperie de i libri, p. 199, no. 8; Melzi-Tosi, p. 93; N. Harris, Bibliografia dell' “Orlando Innamorato”, nos. 25a-25b; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 96.