Pulci, Luca (1431-1470).

Epistole di Luca de Pulci al magnifico lorenzo de medici. Venice, Manfredo Bonelli, 21 October 1505.

Pulci, Luca (1431-1470) Epistole di Luca de Pulci al magnifico lorenzo de medici. Manfredo Bonelli, 21 October 1505.

8° (147x97 mm). Collation: A-K4. [40] leaves. Gothic and roman type. Title-page within a woodcut four-piece border (first used by Bonelli for the Aesopus moralisatus of 1491). Modern gilt-tooled vellum over pasteboards, signed by Gozzi, binder in Modena. Covers ruled in gilt, at centre the inscription 'Torre del Palasciano', within medallion and supplemented with author's name and title in gilt on the upper cover, and imprint on the lower one. Smooth spine, decorated in gilt. A fine copy, some marginal foxing.

Provenance: 'Bibl. Conu. Prat: [?]' (old ownership inscription on the title-page faded and partially erased); Torre del Palasciano (inscription on the binding); Adolfo Tura (ex-libris of the front pastedown).

The first and exceedingly rare sixteenth-century edition of this collection, the seventh overall after its first appearance in Florence on February 1481.

The Epistole by Luca Pulci – also the author of such poems as Driadèo d'Amore and Ciriffo Calvanèo – was considerably well circulated during the Renaissance and represents the typical fruit of Medici literary circles, the same which produced the Morgante by Luigi Pulci, Luca's elder and better-known brother; this was literature nurtured by tavern and street conversation, improvisation, popular tales, jests, chivalric poems and cantari.

Among the books listed in the celebrated Codex Atlanticus, Leonardo da Vinci mentions Pulci's work, which was evidently one of his readings. The 1505 edition is introduced – like the Florentine edition of 1481 – by a prefatory epistle to Lorenzo de' Medici, and contains eighteen letters in terzine freely inspired by Ovidius' Heroides. Responsible for publication was the Monteferrato printer Manfredo Bonelli, whose Venetian production – he began printing there in 1491 – was largely made up of vernacular literature and illustrated books. During the Cinquecento, Pulci's collection was reprinted seven more times.

The title-page of this publication is framed within a woodcut border composed of four individual pieces, fragments of blocks first used by Bonelli for his Aesopus moralisatus of January 1491 which imitate the style introduced by two other Venetian printers, Johannes Rubeus and Christophorus de Pensis. Bonelli printed Pulci's Epistole again in 1506.

Only one copy of this edition is recorded; it is located in the Vatican Library.

Essling 1499 (mentioning this copy, “Florence, Collection Torre, 1898”); Sander 6008; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 52.

$ 3.200