The prince as a civic hero and a condottiero, on blue paper

Capelloni, Lorenzo (1510-1590).

Vita del Prencipe Andrea Doria... Con un compendio della medesima Vita.... Venice, Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari, 1565.

Capelloni, Lorenzo (1510-1590) Vita del Prencipe Andrea Doria... Con un compendio della medesima Vita.... Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari, 1565.

4° (226x160 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: *8, **6, A-M8. [28], 188, [4] pages. Complete with the last blank. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's devices on the title-page and on the verso of fol. M7. Two engraved full-page portraits depicting Andrea Doria on fols *8v and **1r: the first showing the prince as civic hero and father of the homeland, placed within an elaborate medallion bearing the motto 'VT CIVIS PATRIAE PATER ET LIBERTATIS RESTITVTOR', the second depicting him as a condottiero, within a medallion with the motto: 'VT DVX ET PRINCEPS PRELIORVM VICTOR', and enriched by his coat of arms. Woodcut animated and decorated initials, headpieces. Early eighteenth-century French red morocco; covers framed with a double gilt fillet and narrow dotted frieze. Smooth spine with title in gilt lettering and richly decorated with ramages in gold. A very good, wide-margined copy, small repair to the upper margin of the title-page, a few insignificant spots. On the title-page, a manuscript note written in French with brown ink, attesting to the rarity of the work and the peculiarity of its printing on blue paper, “Ce Livre est rare; C'est un des premiers ouvrages qui ait été imprimé sur du papier bleu. Cette vie est bien ecrite; L'italien est très pur; Ce qui me ferais presque croire que l'ouvrage a été imprimé plus tard que ne le comporte la date 1565”. On the recto of the front flyleaf the early shelfmark 'V.2. n° 74'.

Provenance: erased ownership inscription on the title-page ('Antonio' ?), preserving only the date '1738'.

Rare first edition – presented here in a fine, and possibly unique copy printed on blue paper – of this biography of Andrea Doria (1466-1560), written by his secretary Lorenzo Capelloni. It is the first sixteenth-century biography of the celebrated Genoese nobleman, admiral, and patron of arts. The work is dedicated, on 1 April 1562, by the author to the great-nephew and heir of Andrea Doria, Giovanni Andrea (1539-1600), who had commissioned Capelloni to write the biography. The Venetian Senate granted a fifteen-year privilege for the work, giving Giolito exclusive rights to printing it. A second edition appeared in 1569.

Capelloni's Vita del Principe Andrea Doria is also famous for the double illustrations bearing, on facing pages, two engraved profile portraits of Andrea Doria which had an important role in establishing the political iconography of this pivotal Genoese figure. The first portrait shows the prince as a civic hero and father of the homeland and is set within an elaborate medallion with the motto 'VT CIVIS PATRIAE PATER ET LIBERTATIS RESTITVTOR' (fol. *8v); the second portrait depicts him as a condottiero within a medallion bearing the motto ‘VT DVX ET PRINCEPS PRELIORVM VICTOR', enriched with his coat of arms (fol. **1r).

A copy of the work “printed on Carta Grande Azzurra, red morocco” is listed in the Catalogue of Printed Books and Manuscripts sold by London booksellers Payne and Foss in 1837 for the sum of 3 pounds and 3 shillings. Probably this copy.

Adams C-587; Bongi Annali, II, 287 (“rara [...] quasi mai s'incontra nei cataloghi”); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 135.

$ 18.000
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