The Fairfaix Murray, Martini, Olschki, Brunschwig, and Berès copy

Forti, Girolamo (d. 1489).

Inamoramento de’ Rinaldo de monte Albano et diuerse ferocissime battaglie leq[ua]le fece lardito et francho Paladino et come occise Ma[m]brino di Leuante et moltissimi forti pagani.... Venice, Giovanni Tacuino, 8 August 1517.

Forti, Girolamo (d. 1489) Inamoramento de’ Rinaldo de monte Albano et diuerse ferocissime battaglie leq[ua]le fece lardito et francho Paladino et come occise Ma[m]brino di Leuante et moltissimi forti pagani.... Giovanni Tacuino, 8 August 1517.

4° (214x158 mm). Collation: a-y8, z4. [180] leaves, complete with the last leaf blank. Gothic and roman type. Text in two columns. On the title-page, a large woodcut medallion portrait of Rinaldo on horseback. Numerous woodcut vignettes in text, some on black ground. Nineteenth-century red morocco over pasteboards, signed on the front pastedown by Georges Trautz-Bauzonnet (1808-1879). Covers within triple gilt fillet. Spine with five raised bands, compartments gilt tooled, title lettered in gilt. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, inside dentelles. Blue silk bookmark, gilt edges. A fine, well-margined copy. Title-page and a few leaves slightly browned, minor loss to the lower blank margin of fol. N4, not affecting the text.

Provenance: Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919; see A List of Printed Books in the Library of Charles Fairfax Murray, [London] 1907, p. 199); Giuseppe Martini (1870-1944); Leo S. Olschki (Rome, 15 April 1927); Sylvain S. Brunschwig (ex-libris; see sale Nicolas Rauch, Bibliothèque Sylvain S. Brunschwig: Incunables et seizième siècle, Genève, 28-30 March 1955, lot 259); Pierre Berès.

Very rare edition of the Italian translation in verses – attributed to Teramo humanist Girolamo Forti – of the story of Renaud de Montauban, part of the French cycle of the Quatre fils of Aymon of Dordogne. This chivalric poem was first composed in Alexandrine verse in the thirteenth century, and the narrative of the adventures and exploits of Rinaldo da Montalbano enjoyed ever-increasing popularity in Italy from the late fourteenth century, where it developed in different versions, both in verse and in prose. “Renaissance Italians loved chivalric romances as much or more than any other European people [...] Soon Italian minstrels dressed Roland and Charlemagne in Italian armor. Then they created new knights and maidens to accompany the heroes of Roncisvalle, and sent all of them forth on an endless road of adventure” (P. Grendler, “Form and Function of Italian Renaissance Popular Books”, p. 472). Rinaldo's story appeared first in print in Naples in about 1475. Numerous editions followed in the earliest decades of the sixteenth century, generally of extraordinary rarity and mostly known through a single copy.

The edition of 1517 is based on the Rinaldo issued by the Venetian Melchiorre Sessa in 1515, from which is also derived the fine woodcut printed on the title-page as well as most of the vignettes in the text. The present copy is exceptionally complete. In fact, the only other traceable copy of the Tacuino publication, which once belonged to Essling and Bonfiglioli, is preserved in the Yale University Library and is lacking two leaves. The copy listed by Melzi and Tosi – bound with the Bindoni edition of Pietro Durante's Leandra (1517) – was later offered by the Parisian bookseller Edwin Tross (1822-1875) in his Catalogue no. 19 for the sum of 300 francs (no. 2532) and has since then disappeared.

Melzi-Tosi, p. 256; Essling 1859; Sander 6496; N. Harris, “Marin Sanudo, Forerunner of Melzi”, La Bibliofilia, 95 (1993), pp. 1-37, 101-145, 96 (1994), pp. 15-42; E. Melli (ed.), I cantari di Rinaldo da Monte Albano, Bologna 1973, esp. pp. XXXII-XXXIV; E. Melli, “Nella selva dei 'Rinaldi'. Poemetti su Rinaldo da Mont'Albano in antiche edizioni a stampa”, Studi e problemi di critica testuale, 16 (1978), pp. 193-215; G. Petrella, À la chasse au bonheur. I libri ritrovati di Renzo Bonfiglioli e altri episodi di storia del collezionismo italiano del Novecento, Firenze 2016, pp. 165-166 (mentioning this copy as lost); P. Grendler, “Form and Function in Italian Renaissance Popular Books”, Idem, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, Brookfield, VT 1995, pp. 451-485; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 65.

$ 16.000