The second volume (The Sixteenth Century; items nos. 45-178) is entirely devoted to the Cinquecento and offers a vast survey of the period's immense book production, including the celebrated Aldine series of Greek and Latin classics in portable octavo format; books printed in modern Greek, Aethiopic, Hebrew, and Arabic; finely illustrated chivalric literature; magnificent scientific works like Schöner's Opera Mathematica, complete with working volvelles; an astonishing number of editions printed on blue paper, including such masterpieces as Dante's Commedia, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and Euclid's Elementa; and a true testament to iconographic invention in the form of an engraved series of the Songes drolatiques.
It is similarly difficult to summarize the great range contained in the third volume (From the 17th to the 21st Century; items nos. 179-290), which features works from the Seicento to the present day, including Shakespeare's legendary First Folio and such modern literary classics as Don Quijote, Moby Dick, Pinocchio, The Great Gatsby, and Se questo è un uomo. The history of illustration is also highlighted here through, among others, sumptuous festival books, etchings by Canaletto, Tiepolo, and Piranesi, Goya's Caprichos, and luxury artist books illustrated by Bonnard and Picasso. Among the great science books one finds such wonders as the Saggiatore by Galileo, a copy of Bacon's De dignitate et augmentis scientiarum gifted by Peiresc to Gassendi, rare offprints signed by Babbage, and a ‘dream set' of Darwin's Narrative inscribed by Darwin himself along with Beagle Captain FitzRoy. Great attention has been paid to provenance across the selection, with a large number of copies from exceptional libraries of the early modern age, including those amassed by Giovanni Battista Grimaldi, Markus Fugger, the Pillone family, and Jean-Baptiste Colbert, often housed in precious bindings by leading ateliers and without regard to expense. The great bibliophily of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is likewise well represented with copies once owned by Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, Sir Thomas Phillipps, Antoine-Augustin Renouard, Charles Fairfax Murray, John Roland Abbey, and Giacomo Manzoni, to name but a few. Many of these books have also passed through the hands of outstanding figures in the history of antiquarian bookselling, such as Bernard Quaritch, Ulrico Hoepli, Leo S. Olschki, Giuseppe Martini, Tammaro De Marinis, Hans Peter Kraus, Martin Breslauer and Bernard M. Rosenthal.
Finally, many of the works included in our selection are enriched with highly important marginal annotations. One example is especially significant in this regard: John Dee's copy of Apollonius of Perga's Conics, copiously annotated by Dee himself. In 1631, this copy was acquired by John Winthrop Jr. who brought it with him on his ocean crossing that same year, along with the rest of his notable library; upon arrival in Massachusetts Bay, this volume became the first recorded scientific book to reach the New World, bearing on its title-page Winthrop's sigil, the hieroglyphic monad invented by Dee.
You can have access to each of the three volumes by clicking on the links below or you can scroll all the books arranged by subjects by opening the sections below.