Two first Aldine editions in original Venetian speaking-binding

Catullus, Gaius Valerius (ca. 84-ca. 54 BC) – Tibullus, Albius (ca. 55-19 BC) – Propertius, Sextus Aurelius (47-14 BC).

Catullus. Tibullus. Propetius. Venice, Aldo Manuzio, January 1502. (bound with:) Lucanus, Marcus Anneus (35-65). Lucanus. Venice, Aldo Manuzio, April 1502. Venice, Aldo Manuzio, 1502.

Catullus, Gaius Valerius (ca. 84-ca. 54 BC) – Tibullus, Albius (ca. 55-19 BC) – Propertius, Sextus Aurelius (47-14 BC) Catullus. Tibullus. Propetius. Venice, Aldo Manuzio, January 1502. (bound with:) Lucanus, Marcus Anneus (35-65). Lucanus. Venice, Aldo Manuzio, April 1502. Aldo Manuzio, 1502.

Two works in one volume, 8° (161x99 mm) I. Three parts. Collation: A-F8-; 2A-D8, E4; a-i8. [152] leaves. Italic type. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. II. Collation: a-r8, s4. [140] leaves. Italic type. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary Venetian brown morocco over pasteboards. Covers within blind border of fillets and foliate roll, one small gilt ivy-leaf at each corner. At centre at the upper cover the inscription 'CAT. TIB. PROP. LVCA.', lettered in gilt; on the lower cover a sun-shaped tool. Traces of four pairs of ties. Italian-style spine with three double bands alternating with four single bands, underlined by blind fillets. Darkened edges. Corners somewhat worn, joints slightly cracked, minor loss to the extremities of spine. A good copy, first leaf of the first bound edition partly loose, with a small hole affecting a few letters or words on the verso. Some marginal spots. Early inked foliation in the outer upper margin, the three title lines in a frame inked by the earliest owner of the copy. In the same hand some marginalia, pen trials, reading marks, and the annotation on the verso of fol. i7 of the first edition, 'Quand'io veggio la terra / Vestir di nuouo un bianco uelo / Et l'acqua al uerno conuertirsi in uetro / Et chi poi ueggio nel girar al ciclo / Al Tempo che uien dietro / La fredda naue distillarsi, e il gielo / Allhora io dico, ahi donna di guai temp[...] / In quel ghiaccio crudel, ch'in uoi sta sempre'. A few pencilled bibliographical notes on the pastedown.

Provenance: Xanchius Voconius (long contemporary ownership inscription on the recto of the first leaf, 'Xanchi Voconij sum, ne me obsecro sibi surripias Fur, nullius enim ad manus p[er]venire posse, quin eius desyderiu[m] egerrime laturus essem'; on the verso of the last leaf are annotations, in his own hand, of verses from Giovanni Gioviano Pontano's De amore coniugali); The Property of The Hon. Viscount Hinchinbrooke, M.P. and Other Properties including ... a few Fine Early French and Italian Bindings, sale Sotheby's 22 December 1957, lot 414; purchased by the English bookseller and bibliographer Graham Pollard (1903-1976; his purchase inscription on the front pastedown).

A fine volume, in its contemporary binding, comprised of two rare Aldine editions, both printed in 1502 in the highly portable octavo format which was introduced by Aldus for the Latin classics beginning with the Virgil of 1501.

The volume contains the first Aldine edition of the Latin elegiac poets (generally published together following the Venetian princeps of 1472), followed by the first Aldus edition of Lucanus' Pharsalia, which first appeared in Rome in 1469.

The Aldine collection of Latin elegias poetry is presented here in its first issue, which bears the misspelling of 'Propetius' on the title leaf, along with Aldus' prefatory letter on the verso erroneously addressed to Marino Sanuto Benedicti filio, instead of Leonardi filio.

As Fletcher has suggested, the particular sequence in the signature of the leaves – Aldus rarely adopted the reduplication of signature-marks, as here – suggests the possibility that each part could have been bound separately, and therefore could had a separate circulation. The volume is in its original binding, executed in Venice. The covers are decorated with tools widely used on Venetian bindings in the first decades of the sixteenth century, including, among others, the ivy-leaf tool – rather improperly referred to as the Aldine leaf – which is stamped here at each corner.

I. Adams C-1137; STC Italian 160; Renouard Alde, 39.16; Ahmanson-Murphy 52; H G. Fletcher, “Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius”, Idem, New Aldine Studies, San Francisco, 1988, pp. 100-106. II. Adams L-1557; STC Italian 395; Renouard Alde, 33.3; Ahmanson-Murphy 56; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 45.

$ 18.500
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