Anania, Gianni Lorenzo da (1545-1609).
L’uniuersale fabrica del mondo, overo Cosmografia... Diuisa in quattro Trattati... Di nuouo ornata con le figure delle quattro parti del Mondo in Rame. Venice, Andrea Muschio for Giacomo Aniello De Maria, 1582.
4° (218x157 mm). Collation: †8, ††4, a-d4, A-Z4, Aa- Zz4, Aaa-Bbb4, Ddd6. , 402 pages, lacking the last blank leaf. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. One double-page engraved map of 'ORBIS DESCRIPTIO'; four folding engraved maps depicting Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Woodcut decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary vellum over pasteboards, with original drawings in pen and ink executed by Cesare Vecellio, depicting a map of Europe, Asia, and Africa on the front cover, and a map of the Americas (Mondo Novo) on the back. Spine with three raised bands, title 'FABRICHA DEL MONDO' vertically inked in the two central compartments, arabesques in ink at the external compartments. Edges decorated with curving lines. Binding in excellent condition, a little faint staining, two pairs of ties on the fore-edge replaced. A good copy, small repairs to the leaves of the first quire, affecting a few letters, light browning, the first leaves slightly waterstained; a small wormhole at the upper blank margin.
Provenance: Odorico Pillone of Casteldardo (1503-1593); Sir Thomas Brooke of Armitage Bridge House, Huddersfield (1830-1908; ex-libris on the front pastedown; see A Catalogue of the Manuscripts and Printed Books Collected by Thomas Brooke, F.S.A. Vol. II. M-Z, London 1891, no. 100, “Lorenzo d'Anania, Gio. L'Universale Fabrica del Mondo, overo Cosmografia. In Venetia, 1587. 4to. v.”); from Humprey Brooke to Pierre Berès (P. Berès, Un group de livres Pillone. Catalogue no. 67, Paris 1957, no. 132; label on the front pastedown 'Livre no. 132 de la Bibliothèque Pillone Pierre Berès'); John Roland Abbey (1896-1969; ex-libris on the front pastedown; sale Sotheby's 21 June 1967, Catalogue of the Celebrated Library of Major J.R. Abbey. 3rd portion. London 1967, lot 2091); Sotheby's London, 25 May 2000, lot 89.
A rare surviving copy from the celebrated library assembled by the Pillone family in their Villa of Casteldarno in Val Cadore, near Belluno: the third edition of Anania's Cosmografia, an influential and much-cited sixteenth-century guide which first appeared in Naples in 1573, and presented here in a magnificent vellum binding decorated with India ink and wash drawings by Cesare Vecellio (1521-1601; see no. 157), a cousin and pupil of Titian. Vecellio is also famously the author of Habiti antichi et moderni, as well as the Corona delle nobili e virtuose donne, one of the finest cut pattern books for embroidery and lace designs (see no. 169).
The library was formed by the Pillones over several generations, but significantly expanded by Antonio (1464-1533) and his eldest son Odorico (1503-1594). These finely painted bindings were commissioned by Odorico, or possibly by his son Giorgio in the late 1570s-1580s. In all, 172 books were bound and decorated, mainly by Vecellio and a few other artists.
The Pillone Library was larged and varied, and well supplied with geographical books and travel narratives. The present copy of Anania's Universale fabrica del mondo or Cosmografia is one of only twenty-one volumes bound in vellum whose covers were finely decorated by Vecellio with drawings in pen and ink appropriate to the content of the book, which in this case contains – along the double-page engraved map of 'orbis descriptio' – four folding engraved maps of the continents known at the time, depicting Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. On the upper cover, Vecellio presents a map of Europe, Asia, and Africa, while the lower cover bears a map depicting the Mondo Novo.
“Si elles n'ont pas pour l'amateur d'art le prix inestimable des oeuvres originales de Vecellio, elles offrent pour l'amateur de livres des spécimens également désirables à cause de leur précision iconographique et de l'élegance de leur facture. Les vélins peints [...] ressortissent plus à la gravure qu'au dessin. Leur presence [...] concourt à donner sa physionomie unique à la bibliothèque Pillone. Par le souci réellement artistique qui a présidé à leur décoration et dont on ne connaît aucun exemple, ils doivent être considerés commes des oeuvres artistiques exceptionnelles” (L. Venturi, Cesare Vecellio et la Bibliothèque Pillone, introduction to Bibliothèque Pillone).
STC Italian 26; Bibliothèque Pillone, 132; Sabin 1364; T. Conte (ed.), Cesare Vecellio, 1521 c.-1601, Belluno 2001; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 159.