Vecellio, Cesare (ca. 1521-1601).
Corona delle nobili e virtuose donne. Libro primo [- secondo]. Nel quale si dimostra in varj dissegni tutte le sorti di Mostre di Punti tagliati, Punti in aria, Punti à Reticello, e d’ogni altra sorte... Opera nuova e non più data in luce. Venice, Giorgio Angelieri for Cesare Vecellio, .
Two parts in one volume, oblong 4° (140x190 mm). Collation: A4, B2, C-F4, Hhh2; AA-FF4. ;  leaves. Roman and italic type. Vecellio's woodcut bird device on the title-pages. Forty-five woodcut patterns for embroidery and lace designs (twenty-three plates in the first Book: twenty-two in the second one), mostly on black ground and printed on recto only, with the exception of fol. A4 of the Libro primo, bearing illustrations on both sides. Nineteenth-century red morocco, signed on the rear pastedown by Georges Trautz-Bauzonnet (1808-1879). Spine with five raised bands, title lettered in gilt. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, inside dentelles. Green silk bookmark, gilt edges. A very good copy, slightly soiled and foxed in the margin.
Provenance: Edward Arnold (d. ca. 1911; ex-libris on the front pastedown; see A Catalogue of the Library Formed by Edward Arnold, Grove Dorking, privately printed, 1921, no. 691, “[...] crimson morocco extra, edges gilt, by Trautz-Bauzonnet”; by descent to his son Andrew W. Arnold (see his sale at Sotheby's, Catalogue of the Valuable Library Largely of French Literature in Handsome Bindings, Formed by the Late Edward Arnold... of the Grove, Dorking, London 1929); purchased by the London bookseller Bernard Quaritch; sale Libreria Vinciana, 8/9 June 1948, lot 280).
The only known copy of the first edition of the first two books of the most distinctive Venetian embroidery pattern book, published by Cesare Vecellio. He was a cousin and pupil of Titian and became especially well known for having decorated, with drawings or painted fore-edges, the bindings of the 172 volumes preserved in Pillone's Villa Casteldardo, in the Dolomites (see nos. 157 and 159). He also published a very successful compendium of world costume, De gli habiti antichi, et moderni di diuerse parti del mondo (Venice 1590). The printing date of the first edition of the Corona is inferred from the two dedicatory letters addressed by Vecellio to Viena Vendramini Nani, wife of the Procurator of St. Marks, and are dated 20 and 24 January 1591, respectively.
This first edition of the Corona delle nobili e virtuose donne (Crown for noble and virtuous Ladies) includes forty-five woodcut patterns for embroidery and lace designs, the geometrical, curving, and almost fantastical white lines of which stand out against a dark background, offering marvellous patterns of punti tagliati or cutworks, punti in aria, punti a reticello or reticella works. The Corona was reprinted several times (two reprints were issued as early as 1591). A third and fourth books also appeared in 1591 and 1593, under the title of Gioiello della corona.
Lotz lists as the only surviving testimony of Angelieri's first edition of the Libro primo and Libro secondo the copy described here, once belonging to Edward Arnold, whose collection was presented in a catalogue privately published in 1921 by his son Andrew, and later sold at auction in London in 1929. Arnold's library included a great number of early pattern books for lace and embroidery (see lot 673- 691). “Of all the library, I am told, the rarest, are the old Venetian lace books. Altogether, as the catalogue shows, there are eighteen of these lace books. It is difficult to estimate their rarity as there are some that are not to be found in the Catalogue of British Museum, Bibliothèque Nationale, nor in Berlin” (A Catalogue of the Library Formed by Edward Arnold, p. IV).
Purchased by Bernard Quaritch, this copy of the Corona delle nobili e virtuose donne was sold again at auction in Italy in 1948 (Libreria Vinciana, 8/9 June 1948, no. 280). Since then, it has remained in a private collection.
Lotz, Bibliographie der Modelbücher, Stuttgart-London 1933, nos. 116a and 117; Cesare Vecellio, Pattern Book of Renaissance Lace: A Reprint of the 1617 Edition of the 'Corona delle nobili et virtuose donne', New York 1988, pp. VII, 35; T. Conte (ed.), Cesare Vecellio, 1521 c.-1601, Belluno 2001; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 169.