Outstanding copy on blue paper, from a sixteenth-century private press

[Claudianus, Claudius ca. 370-404] Sanuto, Livio (ca. 1520-1576).

Al reuerendissimo et illustrissimo signor il cardinal di Trento La rapina di Proserpina di Liuio. Venice, [Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari ?], 1551.

[Claudianus, Claudius ca. 370-404] Sanuto, Livio (ca. 1520-1576) Al reuerendissimo et illustrissimo signor il cardinal di Trento La rapina di Proserpina di Liuio. Venice, [Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari ?], 1551.

8° (184x118 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A-H8. [64] leaves. Complete with the last blank. Roman and italic type. Numerous large woodcut decorated initials. Handsome Roman eighteenth-century red morocco, over pasteboards. Covers framed within elaborated dentelle, at the centre, gilt-tooled coat of arms of the Doge Marco Foscarini. Spine with five raised bands, compartments decorated with gilt acorn tools, title in gilt on black morocco lettering piece. In a half-leather box. A fine copy. On the front flyleaf 'rarissimo 16'.

Provenance: Marco Foscarini (1726-1797; armorial binding), 117th Doge of Venice; Henry Chandon de Briailles (1898-1937; ex-libris on the front pastedown and recto of front flyleaf). Old armorial stamp on the title-page, very faded.

A superb copy on blue paper of the exceedingly rare first edition of Livio Sanuto's translation, or adaption, into Italian of the poem De raptu Proserpinae by Claudian. One of the few copies known, it is likely to have been privately printed for the Bishop of Trent, Cristoforo Madruzzo (1512-1578), who is also the dedicatee of the publication, and is well known for having the honour of hosting one of the most important events of the sixteenth century: the Council of Trent. The volume is finely bound in red morocco with the arms of the Venetian Doge Marco Foscarini, famous eighteenth-century collector of Aldines and Italian books.

Another copy on blue paper is in the Biblioteca Braidense in Milan, and is considered a printing proof for the second edition of 1553 (“Esemplare con correzioni mss. sul front. e data corretta da 1551 a 1553, e molte correzioni mss. nel testo; probabile bozza di stampa per l'edizione del 1553”). Three 'normal' copies are recorded in the libraries at Harvard, Yale, and Cambridge University, with the latter copy lacking the dated title-page and thus possibly a copy of the 1553 edition (see Adams S-376, and Adams S-377).

The reprint of 1553 is attributed by Dennis E. Rhodes to Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari on the basis of the large woodcut capitals used there, and which occur in many other books published by the Venetian printer. However, “Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari [...] rarely indulged in anonymous printing, or printing on behalf of other publishers. He was too successful and too independent on his own” (D. E. Rhodes, Silent Printers, p. viii).

Edizioni per i Madruzzo (1540-1659). Dedicatari, committenti e autori nella famiglia dei principi vescovi di Trento, Trento 1993, no. 44; D. E. Rhodes, Silent Printer: Anonymous Printing at Venice in the Sixteenth Century, London 1995, p. 245 (for the 1553 edition); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 113.

$ 38.000