Literature Philobiblon

One Thousand Years of Bibliophily from the 11th to the 21st Century

The most famous Italian poetess of her age

95. Colonna, Vittoria (1490-1547)

Rime... di nuovo ristampate, aggiuntovi le sue stanze, e con diligenza corrette. [Venice, Niccolò Zoppino?], 1539.

8° (141x95 mm). Collation: A-F8. [48] leaves, complete with the last leaf blank. Roman and italic type. Old vellum over pasteboards, inked title on the spine. A very good copy. Slightly foxed and waterstained in places.

Provenance: 'di giannantonio Bartholi. Ede sua amicj' (contemporary ownership inscription on the title-page); 'di Paolo franceschi' (later ownership inscription on the same leaf).

Rare second edition, edited by Filippo Pirogallo and containing the same dedication from him to Alessandro Vercelli as in the first edition, which appeared in Parma in 1538. Pirogallo's unauthorized publishing aroused Vittoria's irritation. “The angry poetess could not prevent the piracy edition, because a copy right did not exist at her time. Pirogallo defended himself: 'The annoyance of one single lady has less importance than the demand of so many people'. He asked pardon for some errors, which had 'crept in', because he did not have the original sonnets at hand” (M. Musiol, Vittoria Colonna. A Female Genius of Italian Renaissance, Berlin 2013, p. 167).

In 1539, the Rime by Vittoria Colonna – the most famous Italian poetess of her age – was printed three times: the Florentine edition issued in July by Nicolo d'Aristotile followed by two other prints which appeared in Venice, the first published by Giovanni Marco Salvioni, and the second without mention of a printer or month of publication, but likely attributable to Zoppino.

The present edition contains the same poems as the first: a total of 145 poems, including nine by other authors, with the addition of the stanze 'Quando miro la terra ornata e bella' by Veronica Gambara, called here Stanze aggionte and wrongly attributed to Vittoria Colonna.

Baldacchini Annali, 395; T. Crivelli, “The Print Tradition of Vittoria Colonna's 'Rime'”, A. Brundin (ed.), A Companion to Vittoria Colonna, Leiden 2016, pp. 69-139; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 95.

The Manzoni-Cavalieri-Martini copy

96. Boiardo, Matteo Maria (ca. 1441-1494)

Orlando innamorato. I tre libri dello innamoramento di Orlando... Tratti dal suo fedelissimo essemplare. Nuovamente con somma diligenza revisti, e castigati. Con molte stanze aggiunte del proprio auttore, quali gli mancavano. Insieme con gli altri tre Libri compidi. Pietro Nicolini da Sabbio, March-April 1539.

Two parts in one volume, 4° (199x144 mm). A-Z8, AA-DD8, EE10; Aa-Kk8, L-Q8, Rr-Xx8. 226; 167 (numbered I-XLVI, 47-167) of 168 leaves. Lacking the last blank. Roman type. First title-page printed in red and black within an elaborate architectural woodcut border; on fol. A2v woodcut map of southern France, Switzerland, and part of Germany, showing the geographical disposition of the 'Sequani' and 'Helvetii' fought by Julius Caesar, repeated also on fols. N3v and BB8r of the first part, and on fol. Ff6v of the second part (in the last three appearances a contemporary hand has added at the top of the woodcut the inscription 'FABIUS MAXIMUS PATRIT ROMANUS'); on the second title-page, a large round horseback portrait of Orlando (the same hand has added to the caption in brown ink 'IL CONTE', and 'IL PALADINO'). Early twentieth-century vellum with overlapping edges, ink title on the spine. Gilt edges. A good copy, worm track, partially repaired, in the lower margin of fols. G3-O8, occasionally affecting text (especially between fols. G3 and I5). Some marginal stains, upper margin cut short, slightly trimming the running title on a very few leaves.

Provenance: Giacomo Manzoni (1816-1889; ex-libris on the front pastedown; see Bibliotheca Manzoniana. Catalogue des livres composant la Bibliothèque de feu M. le Comte Jacques Manzoni, Città di Castello 1893, lot 3065); Giuseppe Cavalieri (1834-1918; ex-libris on the front flyleaf; see T. De Marinis, Catalogue des livres composant la Bibliothèque de M. Giuseppe Cavalieri à Ferrara, Florence 1908; no. 273); Giuseppe Martini (1870-1944; his pencilled notes on the front flyleaves).

Rare edition – in a fine copy once belonging to the libraries of the great book collectors Giacomo Manzoni and Giuseppe Cavalieri – of the complete Orlando Innamorato printed by Nicolini da Sabbio, in which the three books originally written by Boiardo are continued and completed by three other books composed by Nicolò Degli Agostini (fl. first quarter of the sixteenth century) and introduced here with a separate title-page bearing the printing date of March 1539. These supplementary books were published together with the three Libri by Boiardo up until the end of the seventeenth century.

Editions of Boiardo's poem in its original instantiation – before Francesco Berni's censored revision of 1541, which became the standard text for all subsequent editions – are all extremely rare. Of the 1495 edition, the first in three books (published at Scandiano by Pellegrino de' Pasquali on behalf of Boiardo's widow, Taddea Gonzaga) issued in 1,250 copies, none have survived beyond the end of the eighteenth century.

As for Degli Agostini's continuation, the fourth book was originally published in Venice in 1505 in a lost edition, the fifth book was first published in Venice by Rusconi in 1514. The sixth part was probably first published by Zoppino in 1521, but no copy has survived, and was followed by a 1524 reprint.

Adams B-2314; Sandal, Il mestier de le stamperie de i libri, p. 199, no. 8; Melzi-Tosi, p. 93; N. Harris, Bibliografia dell' “Orlando Innamorato”, nos. 25a-25b; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 96.

The Marcolini Commedia that belonged to Marcus Fugger, with Dante’s portrait by Stimmer as an unrecorded single sheet

102. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

La Comedia di Dante Aligieri con la nova espositione di Alessandro Vellutello.... Francesco Marcolini, June 1544.

4° (236x153 mm). Collation: AA-BB8, CC10, A-Z8, AB-AZ8, BC-BI8. [442] leaves. Italic and roman type. Three full-page woodcuts at the beginning of each cantica; eighty-four woodcut vignettes in the text. An extra leaf, not present in the volume when it was originally issued, is bound here before the title-page; it bears the woodcut portrait of Dante from the Elogia virorum literis illustrium by Paolo Giovio (Basel 1577), issued here with some variants as a single sheet. Contemporary French calf, covers within gilt fillets, decorated with elaborate strapwork and floral tools on pointillé ground; title lettered at the centre of the upper cover, author's name at the centre of the lower cover. Later smooth spine gilt-tooled with a diaper pattern. Edges gilt and gauffered with a floral design. Covers restored and inlaid. On the verso of the front flyleaf, an early hand – likely that of Fugger himself – has copied the words of Dante's epitaph in Ravenna, restored by Bernardo Bembo in 1483. A very good copy, occasionally browned and stained.

Provenance: Marcus Fugger (1529-1597; his autograph signature on the front pastedown); Paul Harth (twentieth century; ex-libris on the front pastedown).

The first Commedia to contain the new and important commentary by the Lucchese Alessandro Vellutello (b. 1473), in a copy finely bound for the great bibliophile and member of the celebrated Augsburg banking dynasty, Marcus Fugger, who in 1560 succeeded his father Anton as head of the family firm. This copy is in the first state of the Marcolini edition, in which terzina 64-66 of the Purgatorio's second canto is missing due to a printing oversight (fol. V7r). The book is rightly famous for its illustrations, which were all newly designed for this edition. Each woodcut records one or more scenes from the illustrated cantos and closely relates to Vellutello's glosses. The vignettes were possibly designed by Giovanni Britto, who worked as an engraver for Marcolini, and were likely cut by Marcolini himself.

The volume is in a strapwork, gilt-tooled, and now extensively restored binding, produced for Fugger in the Parisian ateliers of Jean Grolier, as suggested by the elaborate interlaced decoration, patterned tools, and dotted background. The binding may have been executed by either Claude de Picques or Gommar Estienne, both of whom produced work for the Bibliothèque Royale.

A notable addition in the present copy is an extra leaf which was not included in the volume as originally published; the leaf has been bound here for Fugger as a frontispiece and bears the woodcut portrait of Dante taken from the Elogia virorum literis illustrium by Paolo Giovio (Basel, Perna, 1577). The Elogia woodcuts were designed by the Swiss painter and printmaker Tobias Stimmer (1539-1584), who was sent by Perna to Lake Como in 1569-1570 to produce drawing copies of the famous portrait collection assembled by Giovio. In 1577, Perna published the woodcut portrait of Dante, cut after Stimmer's designs, in the Elogia virorum literis illustrium, together with sixty-seven other portraits of illustrious men of letters, each surrounded by a strapwork frame. In the leaf bound into the present copy, however, Dante's portrait is lacking the border found in the original edition, and the name of the poet is spelt in the variant form 'Dante' instead of the 'Danthes' of the Basel publication; although the font used is identical, the name is perhaps stamped separately letter by letter, rather than printed as a single word. This represents an unrecorded issue of the woodcut portrait and may therefore suggest that the Stimmer series was issued individually as single-sheet prints.

Adams D-94; Mortimer Italian 146; Casali Annali, 72; Batines I, pp. 82-84; Mambelli 30; Essling 545; Sander 2328; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 102.

A book for affluent bibliophiles

103. Colonna, Francesco (ca. 1433-1527)

La Hypnerotomachia di Poliphilo, cioe pugna d’amore in sogno. Dou’egli mostra, che tutte le cose humane non sono altro che Sogno: & doue narra molt’altre cose degne di cognitione. Sons of Aldo Manuzio, 1545.

Folio (286x195 mm). Collation: [π]4, a-y8, z10, A-E8, F4. [234] leaves. Roman type. Aldine device on the title-page and verso of the last leaf. 172 woodcuts, eleven of which are full page. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary vellum over pasteboards with yapp edges and running stitches to spine. Smooth spine with title and date inked in black. A very good copy. First quire slightly browned. A few marginal fingermarks, pale waterstain to the upper corners of fols. a2 and a3. Minor foxing. more prominent on first two quires and the margins and woodcuts of fols. k8, l1r, and l2. Small repair to lower inner corners of fols. a1v and a2r, and to fol. E1r, without any loss; larger repair to fol. a4, affecting some letters on the recto and verso;. Some bibliographic notes in pencil on the front and rear pastedowns.

The rare second edition of the Poliphilo, the most famous illustrated book of the Renaissance. The first edition was printed by Aldus Manutius in 1499 (see no. 43), and the new printing of 1545 suggests a renewed interest in the work, in Italy as well as abroad, for within a year a French translation also appeared, followed by an English translation in 1592.

The second edition is a page-for-page reprint: the book was printed by Aldus' heirs employing the same woodblocks as the 1499 edition, with the exception of seven that were either broken or missing. The redesigned and newly cut woodcuts are found on fols. b4v, b5r, e2v, e5r, o3v, q5v, and x2r.

The text was set in a different roman type. “A single roman type has been used in a single body, although in 1545 the current state of typography offered the possibility of differentiation on roman and italic (both letter forms had small capitals). But there is a major difference: where there were printed initials in 1499 [...] here, in 1545, the printer has left open blank spaces, in which a guide letter has been printed for the illuminator who could then paint in a beautiful initial by the buyer's order [...] this means that the son of Aldus [Paulus Manutius] felt that the market for this book was with affluent bibliophiles: he produced an edition intended to be transformed into a deluxe copy by the buyer. What is special is that in 1545 this fashion had all but passed, so that this edition may be termed an anacronism” (F. A. Janssen, “The Typographical Design of the 'Poliphilus' (1499-1600)”, p. 69). Further, in 1545 the title of the book was here translated into Italian as La Hypnerotomachia di Poliphilo, with the added phrase Dov'egli mostra, che tutte le cose humane non sono altro che Sogno, the author demonstrating in his book “that all human things are nothing but a dream”.

Adams C-2414; Mortimer Italian, 131; Renouard Alde, 133.14; Ahmanson-Murphy 335; L. Donati, “Di una copia tra le figure del Polifilo (1499) ed altre osservazioni”, La Bibliofilia, 64 (1962), pp. 163-183; G. Mardersteig, “Osservazioni tipografiche sul Polifilo nelle edizioni del 1499 e 1545”, Contributi alla storia del libro italiano. Miscellanea in onore di Lamberto Donati, Firenze 1969, pp. 221-242; F. A. Janssen, “The Typographical Design of the 'Poliphilus' (1499-1600)”, Idem, Technique and Design in the History of Printing, 't Goy-Houten 2004, pp. 57-74; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 103.

A handsome French painted entrelac binding, from Benedetto Varchi’s library

104. Alamanni, Luigi (1495-1556)

La coltivatione... al christianissimo re Francesco Primo. Robert Estienne, 1546.

4° (209x136 mm). Collation: a-t8, u-x2, *2. [158] leaves. In this copy fols. *1-*2 bearing the dedicatory epistle to 'Madama la Dalphina' are bound after fols. x1 and x2, consisting of the privilege of François I dated 28 August 1546. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Contemporary French, possibly Parisian, red morocco gilt over pasteboards. Covers with black-painted strapwork, central oval cartouches with foliate tools within a black-painted strapwork frame, black-painted border within gilt rules. Smooth spine gilt in compartments, the compartments decorated with diaper-patterned gilt rules forming diamonds alternately painted black. Gilt board-edges, inside dentelles. Gilt edges. Spine extremities skilfully repaired. In a modern green cloth solander box. A fine copy, ruled in red throughout (somewhat faded). Title-page laid down; light spotting in places, a few pale marginal waterstains. Small hole at the margin of fol. c4.

Provenance: Benedetto Varchi (1503-1565; ownership inscription 'Bened. Varchi‘ on the title-page); Francesco Mainardi from Ferrara (late eighteenth-century ownership inscription on the recto of the front flyleaf 'Franciscus Mainardi Ferrariensis aere proprio acquisit 1792'); Michel Wittock (ex-libris on the front pastedown; see The Michel Wittock Collection. Part I: Important Renaissance Bookbindings, Christie's London 2004, lot 4).

The first edition, in the first issue, of this famous work, presented here in a copy once owned by the distinguished Florentine humanist and poet Benedetto Varchi, and in its handsome French painted entrelac binding, in all likelihood executed in Paris. Alamanni's work is a didactic poem in 5,000 endecasillabi sciolti, composed in imitation of Vergil's Georgica and dedicated to King François I, while the preliminary epistle is addressed to the dauphine Catherine de Medici. It is the only book that the celebrated printer and prominent scholar Robert Estienne issued entirely in a modern language other than French – even the imprint on the title-page is in Italian, 'Stampato in Parigi da Ruberto Stephano Regio Stampatore'.

Following the discovery of his part in a conspiracy against the Medici in 1522, Luigi Alamanni fled from Florence to France, where he joined the royal court and was swiftly recognised as one of the leading Italian poets of the age. This is also the only book printed by Estienne in his larger italic type.

Of this edition, two different issues are recorded, the first bearing on its title-page the statement 'CON PRIVILEGI', the second 'Con privilegi'. According to Renouard, there are copies without the errata on the verso of fol. u2, in the present copy the errata is instead printed.

Between 1538 and 1550 Alamanni was in direct correspondence with Benedetto Varchi, the owner of this precious copy, who may have received the book as a gift from the author himself. In a letter written from Padua on 8 October 1539 to Carlo Strozzi, Varchi states he had read in manuscript a Georgica “in 5 libri toscani d'un nostro fiorentino” – in all likelihood Alamanni's Coltivazione – “che quando che sia si stamperà e vi impararete su tutta la vita contadina, la quale fu la prima che si vivesse e la più utile e più santa e quieta (B. Varchi, Lettere 1535-1565, ed. V. Bramanti, Roma 2008, p. 73).

For other books once owned by Varchi see items nos. 23 and 81 in the present catalogue.

Adams S-409; Mortimer French 10; Renouard Estienne, 68.22; Armstrong 39.49; Schreiber 88; M. Prunai Falciani, “Manoscritti e libri appartenuti al Varchi nella Biblioteca Riccardiana di Firenze”, Accademie e biblioteche d'Italia, 53 (1985), pp. 14-29; A. A. Sorella, “La Biblioteca Varchi”, B. Varchi, L'Ercolano, Pescara 1995, pp. 155-166; R. Norbedo, “Alcuni libri posseduti da Benedetto Varchi”, Lettere italiane 56 (2004), pp. 462-467; P. Scapecchi, “Ricerche sulla biblioteca di Varchi con una lista di volumi da lui posseduti”, V. Bramanti (ed.), Benedetto Varchi 1503-1565, Roma 2007, pp. 309-318; Autografi di letterati italiani. Il Cinquecento, Roma 2009, pp. 337-351; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 104.

Orlando printed on blue paper

106. Ariosto, Ludovico (1474-1533)

Orlando furioso... nouißimamente alla sua integrita ridotto & ornato di varie figure. Con alcune stanze del S. Aluigi Gonzaga in lode del medesimo. Aggiuntoui per ciascun Canto alcune allegorie, & nel fine una breue espositione et tauola di tutto quello che nell’opera si contiene... Venice, Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1546. [together with:] Dolce, Lodovico (1508-1568). L’Espositione di tutti i vocaboli, et luoghi difficili, che nel Libro si trouano; Con una brieue Dimostratione di molte comparationi & sentenze dell’Ariosto in diuersi auttori imitate. Raccolte da M. Lodouico Dolce.... Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari, 1547.

Two parts in one volume, 4° (215x149 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A-Z8, AA-KK8; *8,**8, ***8, ****6. 264; [30] leaves. The second part bearing on its separate title-page the imprint date '1547'. Roman and italic type, the cantos printed in two columns. The first title-page within an elaborate architectural border containing Giolito's phoenix device; imprint set in type in a cartouche in the lower part of the border; in the second part different printer's devices on the title-page, and at the end. Medallion portrait of Ariosto on fol. *8v. Forty-six woodcuts (ca. 47x87 mm), one at the beginning of each canto. The argumenti within a woodcut border. Woodcut historiated initials in two different sizes. Seventeenth-century Italian limp vellum, gilt tooled (probably a remboîtage). Covers framed within double fillets, small floral tool at each inner corner. At the centre, large gilt coat of arms of an unidentified bishop. Traces of ties. Spine with three raised bands, emphasized by gilt fillets. On the first and last compartments the early inked shelfmark 'K V 2'. A good copy, light foxing. A few spots on the title-page, the verso of the last leaf somewhat soiled. Fols. A4v and A5r lightly discoloured. Wormholes repaired to the lower margin of the last quires. Minor loss to the outer upper corner of fol. HH2. Small early ink stains, the upper margin of some leaves lightly trimmed. A few early marginal annotations and reading marks.

Provenance: early seventeenth-century ownership inscriptions on the verso of fol. *2, 'Jo. Pompilio mano propria', repeated twice, and 'Io Domenico [?]'.

The rare Giolito 1546 quarto edition of Orlando, in an extraordinary copy printed on blue paper: one of the finest illustrated books produced in the Italian Cinquecento.

Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari printed his first Furioso in 1542, a publication which goes far beyond previous editions by other printers: for the first time the text of the poem is supplemented with commentary, and each canto is introduced by a woodcut vignette, as well as an argomento. The success of this innovative publication was immediate and unprecedented, and the Furioso became the 'symbol' of the printing house itself. From 1542 onwards the poem was constantly re-issued, both in quarto and, as of 1543, in the cheaper and more popular octavo format, thus proclaiming Giolito's success as a printer and businessman, and transforming the Furioso into a 'classic' of modern literature.

The 1546 edition opens – like that of 1542 – with Giolito's dedicatory epistle to Henri II de Valois, then Dauphin de France, who had married Catherine de' Medici in 1533. The text was edited by the Venetian Lodovico Dolce (1508-1568), one of the closest collaborators of the Venetian house, and was additionally supplemented by his Espositione di tutti i vocaboli et luoghi difficili, che nel Libro si trovano, which soon became the most frequently reprinted commentary to the Furioso. Furthermore, in the edition of 1546, Giolito includes – in response to the Cinque Canti first published in 1545 by the rival Aldine printing house – his 'novelty', i.e., eighty-four stanzas dealing with the history of Italy, which he had in turn obtained from Ariosto's son Virginio.

Another remarkable aspect of the Giolito Furioso is the illustrative apparatus that accompanied the cantos: forty-six woodcuts comprising a cycle whose stylistic quality, refined design, and abundance of detail represents a significant step in the illustration of the poem. Each vignette shows multiple scenes pertaining to the canto at hand, thereby visually capturing the multifarious and ever-changing narrative structure of the poem. The various episodes diminish in size in the receding planes of the woodcut, and are thus conceived as separate but simultaneous actions: the majority of the vignettes depict two or three scenes from the related canto, although two woodcuts each include four episodes, and one – the vignette for Canto XLI with a surface area of only 47x87 mm – presents an incredible five scenes simultaneously.

In 1541 the Venetian Senate had granted a ten-year privilege for the woodblocks or 'intagli novi' of the Furioso, giving Giolito the exclusive right for using this illustrative apparatus. They were then re-used, with a few changes, in numerous subsequent editions issued by the Venetian printer until the quarto edition of 1559. The identity of the skilled artist or artists responsible for designing and cutting the vignettes that introduce each canto of the Furioso remains unknown; recently the name of the Bolognese painter Jacopo Francia (1484-1557) has been put forth, while a once -plausible attribution to Giorgio Vasari is now generally refused.

The 1546 Giolitina is further enriched by a woodcut medallion portrait of Ariosto taken from a block first used for the Furioso of 1542, and accompanied here by a sonnet. The source is the profile portrait introduced by Niccolò Zoppino in his famous Furioso of 1530, and ultimately derived from Titian. The artist employed by Giolito re-interpreted this earlier portrait, transforming it into a classical bust of Ariosto dressed in a toga and crowned with a laurel wreath. This new iconography was an immediate success and was readily imitated by other printers.

Surviving Giolitine on blue paper are quite rare. An edition in carta turchina of the 1554 Furioso was sold in the Pinelli sale for 25 francs, and Angela Nuovo records copies on blue paper of the Giolito Furioso of 1543, 1544, 1549, 1551, and 1554. In this copy the Furioso of 1546 is supplemented by Dolce's Espositione from the reprint of 1547. Copies of the Furioso of 1546 and 1547 printed on blue paper are unrecorded. As previously stated, Giolito continued to re-issue his Furioso, often changing the dates on the title-pages during printing in order to re-present unsold copies back on the market, or inserting quires from other issues. The interior composition of this volume may therefore testify to hectic phases in the production and 'packaging' of a copy on blue paper commissioned by a rich but impatient customer, as well as the aim to supplement the text of the poem with a 'new' version of the Espositione, which – as claimed on the its title-page, dated 1547 – is now corrected and enlarged.

Bongi Annali, pp. 126, 144; Agnelli–Ravegnani, p. 76; D. Javitch, “Gabriele Giolito 'packaging' of Ariosto, Boccaccio and Petrarca in Mid-Cinquecento”, F. Fido - R. A. Syska-Lamparska - P. D. Stewart (eds.), Studies for Dante. Essays in Honor of Dante Della Terza, Fiesole 1998, pp. 123-133; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 106.

Outstanding copy on blue paper, from a sixteenth-century private press

113. [Claudianus, Claudius ca. 370-404] Sanuto, Livio (ca. 1520-1576)

Al reuerendissimo et illustrissimo signor il cardinal di Trento La rapina di Proserpina di Liuio. Venice, [Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari ?], 1551.

8° (184x118 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A-H8. [64] leaves. Complete with the last blank. Roman and italic type. Numerous large woodcut decorated initials. Handsome Roman eighteenth-century red morocco, over pasteboards. Covers framed within elaborated dentelle, at the centre, gilt-tooled coat of arms of the Doge Marco Foscarini. Spine with five raised bands, compartments decorated with gilt acorn tools, title in gilt on black morocco lettering piece. In a half-leather box. A fine copy. On the front flyleaf 'rarissimo 16'.

Provenance: Marco Foscarini (1726-1797; armorial binding), 117th Doge of Venice; Henry Chandon de Briailles (1898-1937; ex-libris on the front pastedown and recto of front flyleaf). Old armorial stamp on the title-page, very faded.

A superb copy on blue paper of the exceedingly rare first edition of Livio Sanuto's translation, or adaption, into Italian of the poem De raptu Proserpinae by Claudian. One of the few copies known, it is likely to have been privately printed for the Bishop of Trent, Cristoforo Madruzzo (1512-1578), who is also the dedicatee of the publication, and is well known for having the honour of hosting one of the most important events of the sixteenth century: the Council of Trent. The volume is finely bound in red morocco with the arms of the Venetian Doge Marco Foscarini, famous eighteenth-century collector of Aldines and Italian books.

Another copy on blue paper is in the Biblioteca Braidense in Milan, and is considered a printing proof for the second edition of 1553 (“Esemplare con correzioni mss. sul front. e data corretta da 1551 a 1553, e molte correzioni mss. nel testo; probabile bozza di stampa per l'edizione del 1553”). Three 'normal' copies are recorded in the libraries at Harvard, Yale, and Cambridge University, with the latter copy lacking the dated title-page and thus possibly a copy of the 1553 edition (see Adams S-376, and Adams S-377).

The reprint of 1553 is attributed by Dennis E. Rhodes to Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari on the basis of the large woodcut capitals used there, and which occur in many other books published by the Venetian printer. However, “Gabriel Giolito de Ferrari [...] rarely indulged in anonymous printing, or printing on behalf of other publishers. He was too successful and too independent on his own” (D. E. Rhodes, Silent Printers, p. viii).

Edizioni per i Madruzzo (1540-1659). Dedicatari, committenti e autori nella famiglia dei principi vescovi di Trento, Trento 1993, no. 44; D. E. Rhodes, Silent Printer: Anonymous Printing at Venice in the Sixteenth Century, London 1995, p. 245 (for the 1553 edition); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 113.

Defending Heliocentrism just nine years after the publication of Copernicus’ De revolutionibus

115. Doni, Anton Francesco (1513-1574)

I Marmi del Doni, Academico Peregrino. Al et Eccellente S. Antonio da Feltro Dedicati. Francesco Marcolini, 1552 - 1553.

Four parts in one volume, 4° (207x150 mm). Collation: A-X4; Aa-Pp4; a4, B-X4; AA-MM4. 167, [1]; 119, [1]; 166, [2]; 93, [3] pages. Italic type. Woodcut printer's device on last pages of each part within full-page scrollwork borders, title-page of part 1 with large globe device; parts 2-4 each with a different device on title-pages. Forty-four woodcut illustrations in the text (three repeats) in various sizes, including portraits of Doni, the printer Marcolini, and other writers and cultural figures. Smaller woodcuts within ornamental frames of scrollwork and grotesques. Woodcut headpieces, decorated initials. Contemporary limp vellum. At the centre of both covers the blind-stamped coat of arms of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex. Inked title on the spine and tail-edge. Covers somewhat soiled, minor loss to the bottom of the spine. An attractive copy, first title-page slightly dusted, small worm-tracks skilfully repaired in the gutter of the first leaves, slight staining in places.

Provenance: from the library of the Duke of Sussex Augustus Frederick, sixth son of King George III (1773-1843; armorial binding); Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, acquired from John Fleming, 1966 (ex-libris on the recto of the front flyeleaf; see The Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, Christie's New York 2013, lot 163).

First edition of one of the most famous and esteemed works by the eccentric Florentine writer and former priest Anton Francesco Doni, a collection consisting mainly of a series of imaginary dialogues involving more than a hundred different characters, some real, some fictive, who are portrayed conversing upon the marble steps (I marmi) of the Duomo in Florence: the wide-ranging topics under discussion are unrelated and include, in the second part, the invention of printing (fol. Aa4r) and the publishing production of Aldus Manutius (fols. Cc2v-Cc4r). Further, the first dialogue contains a noteworthy passage of particular import to the reception history of Copernican theory during the sixteenth century, when the 'buffo' Carafulla defends the heliocentric system just nine years after the publication of Copernicus' De revolutionibus.

On fol. LL1r of the fourth part the title-page of another of Doni's works, the Inferni, is reproduced to announce the forthcoming publication, followed by a description of its contents on fol. LL2r and LL2v. This is probably the first time in the history of printing in which the imminent publication of a new work is promoted through the insertion of its soon-to-be-released title-page within another published work.

Adams D-824; Mortimer Italian, 165; Casali Annali, 95; Gamba 1368; C. Ricottini Marsili-Libelli, Anton Francesco Doni scrittore e stampatore, Firenze 1960, no. 40; R. Mortimer, “The Author's Image: Italian Sixteenth-Century Printed Portraits”, Harvard Library Bulletin, 7 (1996), pp. 45-46; M. R. Macchia, “Le voci della scienza nei 'Marmi' di Anton Francesco Doni: la divulgazione scientifica fra oralità e scrittura”, R. Librandi - R. Piro (eds.), Lo scaffale della biblioteca scientifica in volgare, secoli XIII-XIV: atti del Convegno, Matera, 14-15 ottobre 2004, Firenze 2006, pp. 469-484; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 115.

... and printed on blue paper

117. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

La Divina Comedia di Dante, di nuovo alla sua vera lettione ridotta con lo aiuto di molti antichissimi esemplari.... Gabriel Giolito de' Ferrari and Brothers, 1554 - 1555.

12° (136x72 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: *12, **6, A-Z12, AA-BB12. [36], 598, [2] pages. Italic and roman type. On the title-page and on the verso of the last leaf woodcut printer's device. Woodcut medallion portrait of Dante on fol. *3v; twelve woodcuts in text, mostly smaller copies of the woodcuts in the Marcolini edition of 1544. Woodcut initials and headpieces. Nineteenth-century vellum with yapp edges, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, with inked author's name. Pastedowns and flyleaves renewed. A good copy, in the first quires the upper and lower margins of some leaves have been restored. Repair to the upper margin of the last leaf. A few waterstains, spots, and ink stains. Fols. *3, A1, B3 and B4 from an ordinary copy, and later coloured blue. Possibly an eighteenth-century hand has annotated the upper margin of the first leaf with the number '1265', corresponding to Dante's date of birth.

Another copy of the famous Divina Commedia edited for Giolito by the prolific Lodovico Dolce (1508-1568), one of Giolito's closest collaborators, and here exceptionally printed on blue paper. The colophon bears the date '1554'.

The copy presented here is one of the few copies of the Commedia printed by Giolito on blue paper, a mode of production first introduced by Aldus Manutius in 1514. This stylistic choice was in keeping with oriental practices that were particularly widespread in Venice, a city with strong trading links to the East as well as a thriving dye industry. Like his illustrious predecessor, Giolito reserved the use of blue paper for those volumes he considered exceptional and evidently commissioned by distinguished clientele, while still providing a less expensive alternative to vellum.

Copies of this edition printed on 'carta turchina' are recorded by Bongi in his Annali di Gabriel Giolito de' Ferrari. “Se ne conoscono esemplari in carta turchina, come quello bellisimo già appartenuto all'avv. Alberghini di Roma, citato da Ugo Foscolo e dal Batines, passato poi presso il sacerdote Raffaelo Pagliari di Roma, e andato in vendita coi suoi libri nel Dicembre 1891, catalogo primo” (Bongi Annali I, p. 475).

Adams D-101; STC Italian 210; Bongi Annali I, pp. 475-476; Batines I, pp. 90-91; Mambelli 39; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 117.

The Great Apollo and Pegasus Myth

118. Plutarchus (ca. 45-120)

La prima [- seconda] parte delle Vite... nuouamente da M. Lodouico Domenichi tradotte. Con due tauole, le quali sono poste nel fine della seconda parte.... Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari and Brothers, 1555.

Two volumes, 4° (256x168 mm). I. Collation: *4, A-Z8, AA-ZZ8, AAA-PPP8. [8], 973, [3] pages. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the recto of fol. PPP8. II. Two parts. Collation: †4, a-z8, aa-kk8, ll4; aaa-fff8, ggg4. [8], 535, [1]; [104] pages. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on both title-pages, and a smaller version at the end of each part. Woodcut animated initials, and headpieces.

Handsome Venetian bindings, executed around 1555 by Anthon Lodewijk. Gilt-tooled red morocco, over pasteboards. Gilt and blind fillet borders. Central medallion with radiating tongues-of-flame within lobed panel, the two volumes slightly differently tooled with solid outline and azure tools. The central medallion of the first volume overstamped with forged Apollo and Pegasus plaquette. Spines with five double raised bands, decorated with one, and outlined with two gilt fillets. Compartments gilt, open circle border at the head and foot of the spines. Edges of the boards decorated with a double vertical line in blind. Edges gilt and gauffered with double dotted-line frame. Missing four ties, probably in red silk. Vol. 1 with minor repairs to the corners, rebacked preserving most of the original backstrip, some gilding renewed. Skilful repairs to the corners and joint of vol. 2, a little worming in flyleaves. In modern cloth solander cases, in brown for vol. 1 (on the spine 'PLUTARCHIS VENEZIA 1555 CANEVARI'), and in green for vol. 2 ('PLUTARCHA [SIC] LA SECONDA PARTE DELLE VITE, VENETIAN BINDING VENICE 1555'). A fine copy, some spotting. Minor ink stain in the first volume, a few leaves uniformly browned. On the recto of the front flyleaf of the first volume, the inked note 'Reliure Canevari Iere moitié du XVime S. Genes'.

Provenance: Pietro Benincasa (ownership inscription on the title-pages 'Pietro Benincasa', partly removed from the first volume); Curtio Bertini, from Colle val d'Elsa (sixteenth-century ownership inscriptions on the title-pages, 'Di Curtio Bertini' and 'Di Curtio Bertini da Colle' partly removed from the first volume). By the early twentieth century the two volumes became separated:

Vol. 1: the bookseller in Florence Tammaro De Marinis (1878-1969), 1911; early twentieth-century ex-libris engraved by Stern on the front pastedown, eradicated; Cartier library (sale Sotheby's Monaco, 28 November 1979, lot 1366); GDV (monogram blindstamp on the title-page); Rossignol (sale Paris, Valleriaux expert, 27 February 2003, lot 557); Michel Wittock (see The Michel Wittock Collection. Part I: Important Renaissance Bookbindings, Christie's London 2004, no. 97).

Vol. 2: Baron de Sant'Anna (sale Brussels 16 May 1925, lot 105); Michel Wittock (ex-libris on the front pastedown; see The Michel Wittock Collection. Part i: Important Renaissance Bookbindings, Christie's London 2004, no. 97).

A remarkable copy, in its original Venetian binding, of the first edition of Domenichi's Italian translation of the Vitae by the Greek historian Plutarch. The two volumes have only recently been reunited after a century's separation; they were bound around 1555 by the famous Flemish craftsman Anthon Lodewijk or Lowies, who was active in Venice between 1553 and 1557.

Anthon Lodewijk “seems to have arrived in Venice not later than 1553. In his mature work he imitated the style of the 'Mendoza Binder' or the 'Fugger Binder', but using his own kit of Italian tools. These are found in presentation copies of books printed by Giolito in 1554, 1556 and 1557, for his distinguished clientele, which included among others Jakob Fugger and Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle. Lodewijk probably left Venice soon afterwards and is next found in Augsburg binding Greek manuscripts and printed books for Johann Jakob Fugger and decorating them with the Italian tools brought from Venice” (Hobson-Culot, Italian and French 16th-Century Bookbindings, p. 43).

These volumes demonstrate his more mature, elaborate Venetian style; in all likelihood the bindings were executed on behalf of the printer Giolito for a notable recipient. For a similar binding see for example the copy of the Giolito edition of Musso's Prediche (1554) presented by the Venetian printer to the Duchess of Urbino, Vittoria Farnese della Rovere (see Hobson, Renaissace Book Collecting, p. 131, pl. 80).

By the early twentieth century the two volumes had become separated, and the first one now offers a striking example of a perfectly genuine Renaissance binding to which a forged medallion had been added. In fact, on its cover a forged Apollo and Pegasus round plaquette was carefully applied, possibly before 1911, when it appeared in a catalogue published by the Libreria De Marinis in Florence. The volume was later seen in Sotheby's sale of the Cartier library in Monaco on 28 November 1979. The Apollo and Pegasus medallion may have been made either in the nineteenth century by the best known Apollo and Pegasus forger, the Milanese binder Vittorio Villa (d. 1892), who often worked for Guglielmo Libri; or later, in the first quarter of the twentieth century by Domenico Conti-Borbone, another bookbinder active in Milan who had inherited Villa's tools after his death. These skilful forgeries were sought by some collectors as specimens of fine Renaissance bindings or desirable curiosities.

STC Italian 528 (vol. 1 only); Bongi Annali, pp. 479-480 (“É difficile trovare uniti i due volumi”); H. Harrisse, “Les falsification bolognaises. Reliures et livres”, Bulletin du Bibliophile, (1902), pp. 428-442, 445-666, 505-523; (1903), pp. 449-452; De Marinis, Legatura artistica in Italia, I, no. 3146, pl. 4 (vol. 1); M. Wittock, “À propos de reliures, vraies ou frelatées, au médallion d'Apollon et Pégase”, Bulletin du Bibliophile, (1998), pp. 330-336 (no. 33, only vol. 1); M. Wittock, “Il medaglione di Apollo e Pegaso”, L'oggetto libro 2000, no. 37 (only vol. 2); A. Hobson, Renaissance Book Collecting, App. 9, nos. 9a-b; Hobson-Culot, Italian and French 16th-Century Bookbindings, no. 15 (only vol. 2); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 118.

The device of three interlaced crescents

121. Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-1375)

Il Decamerone... alla sua intera perfettione ridotto, et con dichiarationi et auuertimenti illustrato, per Girolamo Ruscelli.... Vincenzo Valgrisi and Baldassare Costantini, 1557.

Two parts in one volume, 4° (219x167 mm). Collation: *4, A-Z8, AA-II8; a-g4 (fol. HH2 signed H2). [8], 496, [16]; [56] pages. Roman and italic type. Valgrisi's serpent device on both title-pages, and at the end. Each giornata introduced by a large woodcut (fols. A5v, D2v, H5v, L8v, O8v, R8v, T5v, Y2r, BB7r, DD6v). Numerous woodcut animated initials. Contemporary French calf, over pasteboards. Covers within double frame of multiple blind fillets, the inner frame with gilt fleurons at outer corners. Device of three interlaced crescents tooled in gilt at centre. Traces of ties. Spine with five raised bands, compartments tooled with a single floral tool, title and the number 'XIII' lettered in gilt. Edges gilt. Minor wear at the head of the spine. A very fine copy, slightly browned on the first leaves, a few paper flaws, minor foxing, some fingermarks.

The third and revised Valgrisi edition of Boccaccio's masterpiece, lavishly illustrated, and edited for the Venetian printing house by Girolamo Ruscelli (ca. 1518-1566). The first Decameron from the press of Valgrisi – the famous printer of French origin, active in Venice from 1540 'all'insegna d'Erasmo' – had appeared in 1552, and was intended to rival the successful Giolito editions. The work is supplemented by Ruscelli's Vocabolario generale di tutte le voci usate dal Boccaccio, while the preliminary leaves contain, as an introduction, La vita di messer Giouan Boccaccio, written by Francesco Sansovino (1521-1586). The Valgrisi Decameron is one the finest editions of Boccaccio's work produced in the sixteenth century and is rightly famous for its handsome full-page illustrations introducing each giornata, all newly designed and mentioned – as “figure nuoue & bellissime” – on the title-page. Each woodcut is framed within an architectural border including putti, grotesque figures, antique vases, and floral motifs, and depict scenes from the life at the villa of the brigata of young men and women who had fled from Florence during the plague. The success of the publication was immediate, and Valgrisi re-issued Boccaccio's work in 1554, 1555, and 1557, thereby establishing a new iconography of the Decameron in print. The blocks and borders were later re-used by other Venetian printers, including Agostino Zoppino, Onofrio Farri, and Alessandro Vecchi.

The Valgrisi Decameron presented here is in a fine contemporary French binding. The covers bear at the centre the device of three interlaced crescents, a feature which might suggest the binding was executed for Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566), mistress of King Henry II of France and from 1548 duchess of Valentinois, who used the triple-crescent device. The exquisite library assembled by this femme bibliophile remained in her Château d'Anet until its sale in 1724. For a similar binding on a copy of Cardanus's De subtilitate (1561) see The Michel Wittock Collection. Part I: Important Renaissance Bookbindings, lot 30. It is noticeable that the crescents also appear on bindings from the King's own library.

G. H. Bushnell, 'Diane de Poitiers and Her Books', The Library, 4 (1926-1927), pp. 283-302; J. Porcher, 'Les livres de Diane de Poitiers', Les Trésors des Bibliothèque de France, 26 (1942), pp. 78-89; The Michel Wittock Collection. Part I: Important Renaissance Bookbindings London 2004, lot 30; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 121.

The first appearance in print of the Galateo

123. Della Casa, Giovanni (1503-1556)

Rime, et Prose... Con le Concessioni, & Priuilegij di tutti i Prencipi. Niccolò Bevilacqua for Erasmo Gemini, October 1558.

4° (220x157 mm). Collation: a4, b2, A-X4, Y2. [12], 170, [2] pages. Roman type. Woodcut ornaments on the title-page. Woodcut animated initials, one blank space for capital on fol. A1r, with printed guide letter. Eighteenth-century vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, title lettered in gilt. Edges speckled red. Minor wear to the upper portion of the spine. A wide-margined copy, in excellent condition.

Provenance: Giacomo Manzoni (1816-1889; Bibliotheca Manzoniana. Catalogue des livres composant la Bibliothèque de feu M. le Comte Jacques Manzoni, Città di Castello 1893, lot 4495, 'Rare'); Puccinelli Sannini family (ex-libris on the front pastedow); Federico Lobetti Bodoni (ex-libris on the front pastedown).

A very fine copy of the first edition of Della Casa's Rime et Prose, from the celebrated library of Italian bibliophile and bibliographer Giacomo Manzoni.

The collection of Italian writings in prose and verse by the Florentine Della Casa was posthumously edited from his manuscripts by his former secretary Erasmo Gemini de Cesis and dedicated to Giacomo Querini. Alongside his Rime and the Oratione to Charles V, the Venetian collection of 1558 contains the first appearance in print of the well-known Galateo, one of the most famous and influential courtesy books, written by Della Casa between 1551 and 1555 in the form of advice given by an old gentleman to a young student, “et qui passa longtemps pour le livre en prose italienne le mieux écrit après le Decameron de Boccace” (J. Balsamo, De Dante à Chiabrera, p. 211). The Galateo was named after Galeazzo Florimonte, Bishop of Sessa, and printed almost immediately in a separate edition.

This edition was printed by Venetian printer Niccolò Bevilacqua with the types and fine woodcut initials which Paolo Manuzio used to print for the Accademia Veneziana. Renouard thus includes this edition in his Annales de l'Imprimerie des Alde.

Adams C-806; Renouard Alde, 175.15 (“bien executé et peu commun”); J. Balsamo, De Dante à Chiabrera. Poètes italiens de la Renaissance dans la bibliothèque de la Fondation Barbier-Mueller, Genève 2007, II, no. 89; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 123.

The author, and the recipient of the book in the poet Molza’s villas; An association copy printed on blue paper

124. Caro, Annibal (1507-1566)

Apologia de gli Academici di Banchi di Roma, contra M. Lodouico Casteluetro da Modena. In forma d’uno Spaccio di Maestro Pasquino. Con alcune Operette del Predella, del Buratto, di Ser Fedocco.... Seth Viotti, November 1558.

4° (210x150 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A-Z4, a-i4, k6, l-m4. 268, [16] pages. Roman and italic type. Engraved printer's device on the title-page and woodcut device on verso of fol. m4. Woodcut animated initials. Eighteenth-century quarter-leather, marbled covers. Smooth spine with gilt title on lettering-piece, compartments framed in gilt tools. A very good copy, some minor browning.

Provenance: given as a gift by Annibal Caro to his friend, the writer Marco Antonio Piccolomini (1504-1579; ownership inscription on the title-page: 'Di M. Anto piccolomini & degli Amici MDLVIII Dono dell'Autore'); on the verso of the front flyleaf is a sonnet by Giacomo Marmitta, unpublished at the time and written in Piccolomini's own hand, dedicated to 'Comendador Caro'; marginalia by Piccolomini on fols. F4v and k6v.

Remarkable association copy, printed on blue paper, of this testimony to one of the greatest literary quarrels of the Renaissance; the work is presented here in its variant 'c' form, as evinced by the finely engraved printer's device, instead of the more common woodcut one, on the title-page, and by the text reading “LA nobil Secchia harà per numer un drago?” that appears on the recto of fol. i1 (p. 241).

The dispute centered on the poem Venite all'ombra de' gran Gigli d'oro ('Come to the shade of the great golden lilies'), which had been commissioned by Alessandro Farnese and which Caro had composed in praise of the French monarchy. The poem was harshly criticized by the philologian Ludovico Castelvetro (1505-1571) due to its lack of Petrarchian style and use of linguistic inventions, especially in its incorporation of spoken language. Caro replied to Castelvetro's criticism with his Apologia, which ends with a Corona of nine injurious sonnets through which Caro comes to accuse Castelvetro of having murdered Alberico Longo, Caro's advocate in this impassioned quarrel.

The present copy was given as a gift by Caro to his friend Marco Antonio Piccolomini, member of one of the most distinguished Sienese families and co-founder – his academic nickname was 'Sodo' – of the celebrated Accademia degli Intronati, a pivotal institution in the cultural life of 1550s Siena, and one of the most ancient academies in the world. The correspondence attests to the close friendship between Caro and Piccolomini, as well as Piccolomini's attempt to incite contemporary scholars like Girolamo Ruscelli to support Caro against Castelvetro. It is thus particularly noteworthy that Piccolomini has transcribed a sonnet pertaining to the quarrel on the flyleaf of the present copy. The poem, 'Lingua d'atro venen' tutta conspersa', was composed by the poet Giacomo Marmitta (1504-1561; see no. 134) and was unpublished at the time; it would only be printed some years later, in 1569, when it was included to accompany Caro's response in his collected Rime, issued by the Aldine press.

The marginal note written by Piccolomini on fol. F4v is also interesting as it provides a previously unknown element in our reconstruction of this contemporary intellectual milieu: Piccolomini marks a passage concerning two inscriptions located in the villas of the Modenese poet Francesco Maria Molza (1489-1544), Caro's friend and the uniquely non-Sienese member of the Accademia degli Intronati. Piccolomini attributes both inscriptions – 'Ancor essa è modo di parlar plebeo', and ‘perchè l'uso della lingua nobile, non riceve esso col sostantivo manifesto, se non davanti' – to Ludovico Molza, Francesco Maria's father.

Only one other copy printed on blue paper is known, held by the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma.

Adams C-739; Gamba 276; C. Di Felice, “La seconda edizione dell'Apologia di Annibal Caro: un censimento delle sopravvivenze e un esemplare in Normandia”, S. Fabrizio-Costa (ed.), Autour du livre ancien en Normandie. Intorno al libro antico in Normandia, Bern 2011, pp. 165-194; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 124.

The Cesi 'Seven Hills’

125. Plutarchus (ca. 45-120)

La prima [- seconda] parte delle Vite di Plutarco Tradotte da M. Lodovico Domenichi. Con gli suoi Sommarii posti dinanzi a ciascuna Vita.... Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1560.

Two volumes, 4° (225x161 mm). I. Collation: *4, A-Z8, AA-ZZ8, AAA-PPP8. [8], 937, [3] pages; II. Two parts, each with separate title-page. Collation: †4, a-z8, aa-kk8, ll4; aaa-eee8, fff10 (fol. fff5 signed 'ggg'). [8], 535; [101] pages. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on title-page of both volumes, on the recto of fol. PPP8, on the title-page of the Tabulae (fols. aaa1r), and on the verso of fol. fff10. Nearly contemporary uniform Roman binding, brown morocco over pasteboards. Covers within blind fillets and narrow gilt roll, at the outer corners the Cesi 'seven hills'. At the centre small floral tools and fleuron in gilt. On the upper cover of the first volume the gilt inscription in a cartouche '.VITE. DI. PLUTARCA. I. PARTE'; on the upper cover of the second one ‘‘.VITE. DI. PLUTARCA. 2. PARTE', likewise in gilt lettering. Spines with seven raised bands, underlined with gilt fillets, rebacked; title and volume numbering in gold. Original, handsome gauffered and painted edges, the fore-edge showing the Cesi coat of arms, a tree above seven hills. Good copies, foxing in places, trace of old stamps, now illegible, on both title-pages.

Provenance: from the library of the Cesi family (armorial binding).

A magnificently bound copy of the Italian edition of Plutarch's Vitae, translated for the Venetian printer Giolito by his collaborator, the polymath Lodovico Domenichi (1515-1564). The two-volume publication is a substantial re-issue – introduced with a newly recomposed title-page bearing the printing date '1560' – of the first edition, which had appeared in 1555 (see no. 118).

As their fine armorial binding stamped with the seven-hills coat of arms attests, the volumes presented here were once preserved in the library assembled by the aristocratic Cesi family which was highly connected in Rome and the Papal States. The most outstanding member of this family was undoubtedly the naturalist, scientist, and Duke of Acquasparta, Federico Cesi (1585-1630), founder of the Accademia dei Lincei (Lincean Academy) in 1603, and one of the most influential patrons of Galileo Galilei. The entry relating to a copy of the Giolitine Plutarch of 1560 is included in the inventory of Federico's books located at Acquasparta, the Cesi palace, listing also volumes owned by other members of the family, which never entered the Lincean Academy. The inventory Libri diuersi dell'Heredita sudetta, held in the Academy Archives (ms Archivio Linceo XXXII) was compiled between February and April 1631, in order to divide the inheritance among Frederico's heirs – his second wife, Isabella Salviati, sister of the mathematician Francesco Salviati, and his brother, Giovanni Federico Cesi. Plutarch's Lives is listed among the volumes put in a case filled with moral and historical books (‘Cassa N, Morali et Historici'): “P.a parte delle vite di Plutarco tradotte da Domen[i]chi con li suoi Sommarij con la dei paesi [pesi] in Venetia 1660. [i.e. 1560] del Giolito”.

STC Italian 528 (describing a slightly different issue); M. T. Biagetti, La Biblioteca di Federico Cesi, Roma 2008, p. 172, no. 748; Eadem, “Dispersed Collections of Scientific Books. The Case of the Private Library of Federico Cesi (1685-1630)”, F. Bruni - A. Pettegree (eds.), Lost Books. Reconstructing the Print World of Pre-Industrial Europe, Leiden-Boston 2016, pp. 386-399; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 125.

Se ne trovano copie in carta grande ed in carta turchina — S. Bongi

126. Pigna, Giovanni Battista (1529-1575)

Gli Heroici di Gio. Battista Pigna, a Donno Alfonso da Este II. Duca di Ferrara V.... Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari, 1561.

4° (210x152 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A-M4, N6, *4, **4. 105, [19] pages. Complete with fol. N6 blank. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page, a different device on fol. N5v. Woodcut animated initials, head- and tailpieces. Fol. L4v within woodcut architectural border. Nineteenth-century cardboards, covered with brown paper. Spine with title in gilt lettering. A good copy, a few repairs to the lower gutter, not affecting the text.

Provenance: from the library of Count Henry Chandon de Briailles (1898-1937; ex-libris on the recto of the front flyleaf).

First and only edition of this famous heroic poem, exceptionally presented in the only-extant copy printed on blue paper.

The Heroici was composed by the renowned humanist Giovan Battista Nicolucci, better known as Giovanni Battista Pigna, secretary to Alfonso II, Duke of Este, historian at the Ferrara court and great commentator of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso. The work is dedicated by Pigna to his illustrious patron, and narrates, over forty-nine ottava rima stanzas, the true event of the duke's fall from his horse during a tournament. The poem is introduced by three books in prose, in which Pigna expounds his theory on tragic poetry and the heroic epic and provides an analysis of the peculiar features of these poetic genres.

Bongi states that of Pigna's Heroici “se ne trovano copie in carta grande ed in carta turchina”, one of which is in the hands of the “cav. Andrea Tessier di Venezia”, referring to the library of Andrea Tessier, sold in Munich in 1900 by Rosenthal, which contained a copy “tiré sur papier bleu” (lot 534), possibly purchased by Henry Chandon de Briailles. A copy on blue paper was also sold in London in 1783, at the sale of the distinguished library collected by Thomas Croft. The catalogue Bibliotheca Croftsiana lists the entry “Pigna (Gio. Batt.) gli Heroici 4° perg. Vineg. per Gab. Giolito 1561. printed upon blue paper”.

Adams P-1208; Bongi Annali II, p. 121; Olschki Choix, 18620; Nuovo-Coppens, I Giolito e la stampa nell'Italia del XVI secolo, Genève 2005, p. 423; Bibliothek Tessier. Katalog eins grossen Theils der Bibliotheken des verstorbenen Chevalier Andrea Tessier und des Marchese de***. Versteigerunge in München vom 21.-23. Mai 1900 durch Jacques Rosenthal, München 1900; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 126.

Rampazetto’s re-issue of the Marcolini Commedia, unrecorded in the Dante bibliography

133. Dante, Alighieri (1265-1321)

La Comedia di Dante Alighieri con la nova esposizione di Alessandro Vellutello.... Venice, Francesco Rampazetto, 1564 [at the end: Francesco Marcolini for Alessandro Vellutello, 1544].

4° (223x150 mm). Collation: AA-BB8, CC10, A-Z8, AB-AZ8, BC-BH8, BI8. 441 of [442] leaves, lacking only the last blank leaf, BI8. In this copy, fols. F3-F6, and AY3-AY6 are misbound. Roman and italic type. Rampazetto's woodcut device and headpiece on the title-page. Marcolini's colophon, dated 1544, on the recto of fol. BI7. Three full-page and eighty-four smaller woodcuts. Seven-line woodcut animated initial on black-lined background on fol. AA2r; smaller animated initial on the verso. Late seventeenth-century bazzana leather, over pasteboards. Spine with four raised bands, underlined with gilt friezes; each compartment decorated with small floral tools, title in gold on red morocco lettering-piece. Edges speckled red. Corners of both covers restored, later flyleaves; minor losses to the lettering-piece. Front hinge slightly weak. A good copy, title-page rather browned and soiled. Some foxing and spotting; a few fingermarks and ink stains, more significant on fol. AR1. The upper margin of some leaves are slightly trimmed. A tear on fol. AZ8 has been carefully restored.

Provenance: a small, old, illegible stamp on the title-page; the Tuscan clergyman Giovanni Ciabattini (nineteenth-century ownership inscription on the title-page).

The second known copy of a Rampazetto's re-issue of Marcolini's famous 1544 edition, the illustrated Commedia supplemented with the Vellutello commentary (see no. 102). Francesco Rampazetto somehow came into possession of an unsold, and possibly defective, stock of Marcolini's twenty-year-old edition and replaced some leaves. He reset the Marcolini title-page with his own address, setting the line in a roman capital type of various sizes. He also set the dedication to Paul III in a large italic font (fol. A2r), while the first page of the Letter to the readers (fol. A2v), and a portion of the Descritione de lo Inferno (fols. A7 and A8) were set in a small roman type.

The extremely rare Rampazetto re-issue was, until now, known only in a unique and incomplete copy preserved in the library of the University of Notre Dame. In that copy, fols. BB1 and BB8 (both illustrated), as well as the last blank BI8 are lacking, and only fols. AA1-AA2 and AA7-AA8 are reset. On the contrary, this newly discovered copy is complete from a textual point of view, lacking only the last blank leaf. Most importantly, it contains more leaves reset by Rampazetto, as well as leaves misprinted by Marcolini.

They are as follows:

- fols. AY3-AY6 (Par. xv) were reset by Rampazetto with the text in the same large italic he used for the dedication to Paul III (fol. A2r), while the commentary is cast in the same small roman type used for fols. A2v, A7 and A8. In fact, as he had no small italic type, he used a small roman type in place of the italic.

- the four central leaves of quire K were misprinted (K3v on the verso of K5r, K4v on the verso of K6r, and vice versa) by Marcolini himself, as they are in his 1544 type. This further suggests that Marcolini kept some incomplete or bad copies, which were sold to Rampazetto who had to reset the leaves missing in this copy; instead, he did not reset the misprinted leaves.

A different matter is the variant at the end of fol. V7r, which is present in this copy as well as in the copy at Notre Dame: a terzina (Purg. II, 64-66) was omitted in the Marcolini edition, and as the 63rd line came at the bottom of the page, Rampazetto could add these lines in hand-printing, with different spacing and in a darker ink, using the letter 'u' for the 'v' found in Marcolini as well as, in the second line, the letter 'e' for the ligature '&t' used by Marcolini (in the present copy the impression of these lines is grey and blurry).

This newly discovered copy is therefore of the greatest significance, and gives precious insight into the history of the Venetian press. “In 1564, the printer Francesco Rampazetto had in some way come into possession of unsold stock of the twenty year-old 1544 Marcolini edition [...] No listing of 16th-century Dante editions includes this imprint. Its extreme rarity is due to its odd history, a curiosity in the annals of early Dante publishing, providing insight into the commercial wiles and ways of the Venetian press during this period” (Renaissance Dante in Print).

For Marcolini's edition: Adams D-94; Mortimer Italian, 146; Casali Annali, 72; Batines I, pp. 82-84; Mambelli 30; Essling 545; Sander 2328; University of Notre Dame, Renaissance Dante in Print (1472-1629) (accessed January 2018); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 133.

It should be a Parmesan binding... — Bernard Quaritch

134. Marmitta, Giacomo (1504-1561)

Rime di M. Giacomo Marmitta Parmeggiano. Seth Viotti, 1564.

4° (206x152 mm). Collation: A4, 2A-Z4, a-c4. [8], 198, [10] pages. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Woodcut animated initials and headpieces throughout the text. Contemporary (Parma?) brown, gilt-tooled morocco, over pasteboards. Covers within a broad border with an interlacing design and small floral tools, central shaped compartment built up with small tools, including circles, semicircles, and fleurs-de-lis, at the centre of the front cover the gilt lettering 'OVE HA VERA VIRTU SVO ALBERGO FIDO', and 'BEN CHE BASSO ET HVMIL VENIR M'AFFIDO', on the lower one. Spine with four raised bands, decorated with single gilt fillets, laid down. Gilt edges. Flyleaves renewed in the late nineteenth century, around the time the book was offered by Quaritch. A very fine copy, a few leaves slightly browned.

Provenance: the London bookseller Bernard Quaritch (see Examples of the Art of Book-Binding and Volumes Bearing Marks of Distinguished Ownership. Catalogue 166, London 1897, no. 397: “it should be a Parmesan binding with a motto”); Leo S. Olschki (1861-1940; ex-libris on the front pastedown; see Le livre en Italie à travers les siècles, Firenze 1914, no. 121 “Au milieu du premier plat cette inscription en lettres d'or: “Ove ha vera virtu suo albergo fido”, et du second plat: “Ben che basso et humil venir m'affido”, and pl. LXXXIII).

First and only edition, posthumously published, of Marmitta's collected poems, in a fine and unusual contemporary binding, likely executed in Parma itself. The mottoes stamped on both covers are unrecorded.

The publication is dedicated by the printer, Viotti, to the Duke of Parma and Piacenza, and by Marmitta's adopted son, Ludovico Spaggi, to the Cardinal Giovanni Ricci of Montepulciano, the poet's lifelong patron.

Giacomo Marmitta was born in Parma in 1504. At the age of twenty he moved to Venice, where he became acquainted with Pietro Bembo, Pietro Aretino, and Lodovico Dolce. In 1538, after spending time in the service of Marino Grimani, Patriarch of Aquileia, he was appointed secretary to the future cardinal Ricci. In Venice he also became a member of the Accademia della Fama, founded by Federico Badoer, as well as a close friend of Giovanni Della Casa.

A meeting with the Italian priest Filippo Neri in 1556 proved to be a critical turning point in his life. Neri encouraged Marmitta to follow a more retired life, and his poetry during this period undergoes a shift from secular to spiritual. Perhaps because of his late conversion, Marmitta never published his poems (see no. 124), although before his death a few rhymes had appeared in collective anthologies edited by various printers.

It was only after his death that his adopted son gathered his complete poetic oeuvre into a single manuscript. The 1564 publication is based on this manuscript and is divided into two parts; it contains 282 poems, most of which are sonnets. At the end is an appendix with sonnets written by others in response to the author. The rhymes, described by the printer as 'dotte e leggiadre' ('learned and graceful'), range in subject matter, reflecting Marmitta's early interest in love as well as the religious topics with which he was more concerned following his meeting with Filippo Neri.

Adams M-623; Gamba 1509; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 134.

Tutto ricorretto, et di nuove figure adornato. Valgrisi Furioso, in a precious Islamic-style Venetian binding

139. Ariosto, Ludovico (1474-1533)

Orlando furioso di M. Lodovico Ariosto, tutto ricorretto, et di nuoue figure adornato. Con le Annotationi, gli Auuertimenti, & le Dichiarationi di Ieronimo Ruscelli. La Vita dell’Autore, descritta dal Signor Giouan Battista Pigna... Di nuouo aggiuntoui Li Cinque Canti.... Vincenzo Valgrisi, 1568.

Two parts in one volume, 4° (259 x 182 mm). Collation: *8, A-Z8, a-u8 (fol. X2 signed Y2). [16], 654, [34] pages. Italic and Roman type, the cantos printed in two columns. On fols. n3v-n4r the running title of Canto iii is erroneously printed as 'CANTO QVARTO'. Title-page within an elaborate architectural border containing Valgrisi's serpent device and medallion portrait of Ariosto (a reverse copy of the one by Giolito; see no. 106); imprint set in type within a cartouche placed in the lower part of the border. Other Valgrisi devices on the separate title-page of the second part, which contains the Annotationi by Ruscelli, and on the verso of the last leaf. Forty-six full-page woodcuts, one at the beginning of each canto (ca. 164x105 mm, one repeat; the woodcut for Canto II is the same used for Canto I), set within two different borders with figures and grotesques. Five woodcuts illustrating the added Cinque Canti. Two smaller cherub borders for the argumento to each canto. Woodcut historiated initials. A superb contemporary Venetian honey-brown morocco over thin pasteboards. Covers framed within a gilt Mamluk interlaced roll; small floral tool at the inner corners, at the centre a large medallion in Islamic style. Extended yapp edges on three sides, traces of four pairs of green silk ties. Smooth spine, divided into compartments by gilt fillets and narrow interlaced rolls, compartments decorated with semé of trefoil tools. Edges gilt and gauffered in a geometrical pattern (for a similar binding see T. De Marinis, Legatura artistica in Italia, II, no. 2322, pl. 403). In half-morocco folding case. A deluxe and wide-margined copy, with an excellent impression of woodcuts. Paper flaws on fols. G5 and c8, a few fingermarks; minor loss to the outer lower blank corner of fols. N8 and R7. Insignificant waterstain to the lower outer corner of the last quires; a small, pale spot on the outer margin of the last quire.

Provenance: from the exquisite library formed by Robert Hoe (1839-1909; red morocco ex-libris and gilt monogram stamp on the front pastedown; sale Anderson Auction Company, New York, 24 April 1911, The Library of Robert Hoe. Illuminated Manuscripts, Incunabula, Historical Bindings, Early English Literature, Rara Americana... Part I. A to K, lot 99, “limp citron morocco, trefoil ornaments on the back, scroll panel and centre ornaments on the sides, overlap covers tooled on the edges, gauffred gilt edges, silk ties. A Venetian binding of the xvi century”); Wynne Rice Hugh Jeudwine (1920-1984; ex-libris on the front pastedown; sale Bloomsbury, London, 18 September 1984, Catalogue of the Important Collection of Printed Books formed by the Late W. R. Jeudwine, lot 37); Pierre Berès (pencilled notices on both pastedowns).

The handsome and rare Furioso in quarto of 1568, edited for the Venetian printer Vincenzo Valgrisi by the well-known poligrafo Girolamo Ruscelli (1504-1566), a fine copy in an exceptional Venetian binding of Mamluk inspiration.

Valgrisi printed his first Furioso in 1556, and produced more editions of Ariosto's poem than any other save that of Giolito, with seventeen editions up to 1587, as well as an octavo edition which was produced for a cheaper market.

Ruscelli began work on a new Orlando between 1552 and 1553. He based his editorial work on the text printed by Giolito in 1552, which he claimed to have compared with previous editions from the 1530s, as well as some autograph corrections received by Ariosto's brother Galasso. His Furioso “tutto ricorretto” is supplemented with new commentaries and paratexts, among others his Annotationi, et Avvertimenti sopra i luoghi importanti del Furioso. From the edition issued in 1560 the poem is further accompanied by an enlarged version of Ariosto's Vita, composed by the secretary of the Estense court and minister of Alfonso II Giovanni Battista Pigna (1529-1575). Starting with the Furioso of 1565, Valgrisi added the texts of the Cinque Canti, allegorical prose, and argumenti by Luigi Groto from Adria (1541-1585).

The Valgrisi Furioso offers one of the finest examples of multi-narrative book illustration, with the first full-page woodcuts for each canto of Ariosto's masterpiece, all newly designed. Each woodcut, framed within fine borders with figures and grotesques, records one or more scenes from the illustrated canto, rendered with a skilful use of perspective and close attention to the iconographic tradition established by Giolito. In the nineteenth century, Girolamo Baruffaldi ascribed the designs for these woodcuts to the Ferrarese painter Dosso Dossi (1480-1542), while Paul Kristeller later attributed them to his brother Battista Dossi (1517-1548), owing to the latter's stylistic tendencies. Recently, Battista's name has been proposed again, along with that of an artist belonging to the circle of Giovanni Britto. A further innovative feature of the Valgrisi cycle is the introduction of geographic charts as backgrounds for the multiple plots of the poem: an apt visual representation of that geographical space which Ariosto continuously enlarged in the Furioso, ultimately including, in the definitive edition of 1532, important discoveries of the navigators of his time. The marvellous woodblocks continued to be re-used in subsequent editions issued from Valgrisi's printing house up until 1603.

One of the greatest points of interest of this copy lies in its spectacular contemporary morocco binding of Islamic inspiration, evidently originating in Venice where it was commissioned by its unknown but surely distinguished and affluent first owner. The binding offers striking testimony to the Ottoman influence on Venetian craftsmen who were active in the field, an influence that can be traced until the end of the sixteenth century. The debt is evident in the great elaborateness of its decoration and ornamental gilt motifs, akin to contemporary patterning in the decorative arts or embroidery designs: the 'moresque' or Mamluk interlaced scroll, the central medallion, the sumptuosly gauffered gilt edges in geometric patterning, the extended yapp edges. Some ducal Commissioni – i.e., official documents signed by the Doges or by the Procurators and granted to Venetian patricians elected to the highest offices – exhibit similarly gilt-tooled covers. Tammaro De Marinis argues that these Islamic-style bindings – including those bindings with polychrome filigree decorations – could be the result of a collaboration between Persian and Venetian binders: “there is however no archival evidence of the existence of Persian crafstmen in Venice at the time” (A. Hobson, “Islamic Influence on Venetian Renaissance Bookbinding”, p. 114). The exquisite binding presented here further reveals the great appeal of the Furioso and the wide range of its readership throughout the Cinquecento. As a result of this popularity, the poem was offered on the market in various forms, from the less expensive octavo format to the wide-margined and lavishly illustrated editions. The Furioso was the most widely diffused work in Venetian homes, and it could be bound in plain limp vellum or housed within deluxe bindings, as is the case with the present copy: it thus made its way into the hands of every rank of reader, small, middle or great.

In the early 1900s, this copy was owned by the outstanding American bibliophile Robert Hoe, a founder of the Grolier Club, as well as its first president. As stated in the foreword to the sale catalogue of his marvellous collection, “he was a lover of fine bindings, and his library is rich in specimens of the work of all the great binders, ancient and modern”.

Adams A-1676; Mortimer Italian, 29; Agnelli-Ravegnani I, 135; I D. Caracciolo, “Per un'esegesi figurata dell''Orlando Furioso': il caso Valgrisi”, L. Bolzoni - S. Pezzini - G. Rizzarelli (eds.), Tra mille carte vive ancora, 2010, pp. 233-252; I. Andreoli, “L'Orlando furioso 'tutto ricorretto et di nuove figure adornato'. L'edizione Valgrisi (1556) nel contesto della storia editoriale ed illustrativa del poema fra Italia e Francia nel '500”, S. Fabrizio-Costa (ed.), Autour du livre italien ancien en Normandie, Bern 2011, pp. 41-132; A. Hobson, “Islamic Influence on Venetian Renaissance Bookbinding”, E. J. Grube (ed.), Arte veneziana e arte islamica. Atti del primo Simposio internazionale sull'arte veneziana e l'arte islamica, Venezia 1989, pp. 111-123; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 139.

The descendants Ariosto’s characters

141. Telluccini, Mario (fl. end of the 16th century)

Le pazzie amorose di Rodomonte secondo, composte per Mario Teluccini, sopranominato il Bernia. Seth Viotti, 1568.

4° (200x150 mm). Collation: A-N8, O6. 218, [2] pages. Roman and italic type. Large woodcut printer's device on the title-page; a different device at the end. Woodcut animated initials. The Argomenti, at the beginning of every Canto, within a rich woodcut frame. Eigheenth-century vellum, over pasteboards. Spine with gilt title on red morocco lettering-piece. Marbled flyleaves, blue edges. A very good copy, title-page slightly waterstained.

The rare first and unique edition, dedicated to Alessandro Farnese, duke of Parma and Piacenza, of this twenty-cantos poem expressing the love of Rodomonte di Sarza for the beautiful Lucefiamma, daughter of Meandro, wealthy lord of a castle on the Genoese Riviera. It was written by Mario Telluccini, who was born in Popiglio (Pistoia) and called Il Bernia, and was active as a bookseller in Rome and as a courtier-poet in several cities. He was the companion of Torquato Tasso at the Ferrarese court of Alfonso II d'Este around 1543.

The Le pazzie amorose di Rodomonte secondo belongs to a group of poems inspired by Orlando Furioso, which feature not the characters in Ariosto's poem, but rather their descendants. In the Pazzie amorose, the protagonist, a grandson of Ariosto's Rodomonte, is a wicked character; he is contrasted by Fidelcaro, a positive hero, by whose hand he ends up dying.

Telluccini's other chivalric epics include Paride e Vienna (Genoa 1571), Artemidoro (Venice 1566), and Erasto (Pesaro 1566).

STC Italian 663; Ascarelli-Menato, p. 79; Melzi-Tosi, p. 283; A. Cutolo, I romanzi cavallereschi in prosa e in rima del fondo Castiglioni presso la Biblioteca Braidense di Milano, Milano 1944, p. 125; M. Beer, Romanzi di cavalleria: il 'Furioso' e il romanzo italiano del primo Cinquecento, Roma 1987, p. 383; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 141.

Foscolo’s 'divine Plutarchus'

148. Plutarchus (ca. 45-120)

Plutarchi Chaeronensis quae extant opera, cum Latina interpretatione. Ex vetustis codicibus plurima nunc primùm emendata sunt, vt ex Henr. Stephani annotationibus intelliges: quibus & suam quorundam libellorum interpretationem adiunxit. Aemylii Probi De vita excellentium imperatorum liber. Henri Estienne, 1572.

Seven volumes, 8° (174x105 mm). I. Collation: *8, a-z8, Aa-Cc8. 16, 778, 2 of [6] pages, lacking the blank Cc7 and Cc8, but complete with the blank Cc6. II. Collation: aa-zz8, AA-PP8. [2], 781-1381, 3 of [5] pages, lacking the blank PP8, but complete with the blank PP7. III. Collation: aaa-zzz8, AAA-YYY8. [2], 1389-2101, 3 of [5] pages, lacking the blank YYY8, but complete with the blank YYY7. IV. Collation: a-z8, A-M8, N10; 579, [1] pages. V. Collation: a6, b8, Cc-Zz8, aA-rR8. [2], 583-1213, [3] pages. VI. Collation: Aa-Zz8, Aaa-Vvv8, Xxx10. [2], 1219-1923, [1] pages. VII. Collation: [A]-[M]8, [N]6, [O]-[Z]8, [AA]-[FF]8, [GG]4. 467, [1] pages. Complete with fol. [N]6 blank. The set comprises only the Greek portion of the edition, and therefore does not include the volumes containing the Latin translation of Plutarch's work. For this reason, volume VII includes – as in most of the recorded copies – the Appendix, but not the final Index rerum et verborum. Greek, roman, and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page of the first volume. Woodcut decorated initials and headpieces. Eighteenth-century uniform binding, vellum over pasteboards. Smooth spine, divided into compartments by gilt fillets; title and volume numbering in gold on double green morocco lettering-piece. A set in good condition, leaves uniformly browned, some foxing. A pale spot to the upper margin of the first leaf of text in each volume due to an ownership inscription that was later erased.

Provenance: the Italian poet Ugo Foscolo (1778-1827; white wax-stamp with the initials 'L.F.' on the front pastedown of the first volume; a loose paper slip is inserted in the same volume, bearing the hand written note 'N. 1552 du Catalogue de la Bibliothèque du Monsignor Foscolo vendu par autorité de justice de la Depositeria urbana pas le Ministere de libre Agazzi. La 1ere vente devais avoir lieu le 4 xmbre 1843 mais enfait la vente n'a eu lieu qu'en 1844 et le N. 1552 n'a été vendu qu'à la vacation en date du 22 mars 1844'). In Foscolo's own hand the emendations on fols. Aa2r and Aa8 of the sixth volume, and some underlining in red pencil.

An exceptional set of the first complete edition of Plutarch's works, edited by Henri Estienne “avec correction et elegance” (Renouard), and once owned by the outstanding Italian poet and patriot Ugo Foscolo. The seven-volume set includes only the Greek part of Estienne's publication, supplemented with his Appendix.

Foscolo's interest in the 'divine Plutarchus' was already evident in his famous epistolary novel Le ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis, in which Plutarch's works are the beloved reading of the main character. Foscolo began to write the Discorsi sopra gli uomini illustri di Plutarco at the beginning of the nineteenth century; of this work, only the Proemio or Preface – dated 1 January 1801 – was completed. On 25 July of the same year he was appointed director of an office in Milan created to put into writing the military code of the Cisalpine Republic, which had been established in 1797; on 3 August he was moved to the fourth section of this office and charged with the writing of disciplinary and penal rules. For this purpose, in a letter addressed on 7 August to the Minister of War, Vincenzo Lancetti, Foscolo requested some books, which he considered necessary for his writing, among others “Plutarco. Vite degli uomini illustri”, i.e., Plutarch's Parallel Lives. The missing publication date forbids certain identification of the Plutarch edition which was later supplied by Lancetti, and the subsequent course of Foscolo's private library is very complex. His collection was bought by his friend Quirina Mocenni Magiotti in 1816, when Foscolo decided to self-exile himself in London, and it later came mostly into the possession of the Biblioteca Marucelliana in Florence: among the books recorded in the Florentine library is the Italian-language edition of Vite di Plutarco volgarizzate da Girolamo Pompei, printed in Verona between 1772 and 1773. The volumes of this Italian Plutarch bear the ownership inscription 'Ugo Foscolo Firenze M.DCCC.I'. It is known that Foscolo sejourned in Florence until 25 March 1801; therefore, the Veronese publication cannot be the edition given to Foscolo in Milan after 7 August 1801, the date of his letter to Vincenzo Lancetti. The copy given by him on that occasion may thus actually be the set of volumes described here.

Renouard Estienne 134.2; Schreiber Estienne, 179; Schweiger I, 259; G. Gambarin, Scritti letterari e politici: dal 1796 al 1808, U. Foscolo, Edizione Nazionale, Firenze 1972, vol. VI, pp. LXIII-LXIV; La biblioteca fiorentina del Foscolo nella Biblioteca Marucelliana. Premessa di L. Caretti; introduzione, catalogo, appendice di G. Nicoletti. Firenze [1978]; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 148.

A sixteenth-century Lucca edition printed on blue paper, from the Library of Guglielmo Libri

155. Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-1375)

La Theseide... Innamoramento piaceuole, & honesto di due Giouani Thebani Arcita & Palemone; D’ottaua Rima nuouamente ridotta In Prosa per Nicolao Granucci di Lucca. Aggiuntoui un breve Dialogo nel principio e fine dell’Opera diliteuole, & vario. Vincenzo Busdraghi for Giulio Guidoboni, 1579.

8o (154x100 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: a8, A-S8 (fol. F4 signed G4). 8, 144 leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Woodcut decorated seven-line initials and headpieces. Fine Parisian red morocco over pasteboards, signed by Hippolyte Duru, and executed in 1847. Covers within double blind fillet. Spine with five small raised-bands, emphasized by blind fillets; title lettered in gold. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves; edges-boards decorated with gilt fillet, inside dentelles. Gilt edges. A good copy; restored upper margin of leaves, some letters of the running titles reconstructed at the time of the binding.

Provenance: Guglielmo Libri (1803-1869; Catalogue de la Bibliothèque de M L****, Paris 1847, lot 2299, “La Theseide, di Gio Boccaccio... Lucca, Vinc. Busdraghi, 1579, in 8. Mar. r. d. Duru. Exemplaire en papier bleu de cette ouvrage curieux”. Sold for 40 francs).

Very rare edition of Boccaccio's Teseida, presented here in a copy exceptionally printed on blue paper, and in a fine binding executed for Guglielmo Libri by the renowned Parisian binder Hippolyte Duru.

Boccaccio composed the Teseida in order to demonstrate that a classical epic could be written in a vernacular language. The text was produced in three redactions, the first beginning in the early 1340s, and the second and third in the late 1340 and early 1350s. On the model of Vergilius' Aeneis, the poem is divided into twelve books, and consists of 1,238 octaves. The Teseida combines elements from the classical epics and the contemporary tradition of love literature, and was first printed in Ferrara in 1475, edited on the basis of a contaminated text assembled by the Ferrarese Pietro Andrea de' Bassi. After the Venetian edition of 1529, the Teseida appeared again in Italy only fifty years later, thanks to Nicolò Granucci, who rewrote the text in prose.

Boccaccio's work had notable popularity in the English literature of the Middle Ages, and served as the primary sources for Geoffrey Chaucer's Knight's Tale, included in his Canterbury Tales. “Several books occupied Chaucer's desk while he was composing The Knight's Tale [...] The most important book on that very crowded desk was the Teseida” (Coleman, The Knight's Tale, p. 87).

STC Italian 112; D. Anderson, Before the Knight's Tale. Imitation of Classical Epic in Boccaccio's “Teseida”, Philadelphia 1988; W. E. Coleman, “The Knight's Tale”, R. M. Correale, M. Hamel. Sources and Analogues of the Canterbury Tales, Cambridge 2005, 2, pp. 87-124; R. Daniels, Boccaccio and the Book, London 2009, p. 57; W. E. Coleman, “Teseida delle nozze d'Emilia”, T. De Robertis, C. M. Monti et al. (eds.), Boccaccio autore e copista, Firenze 2013, pp. 89-99; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 155.

Sausage ‘alla fiorentina’

163. Grazzini, Antonfrancesco (1504-1584)

Lezione di Maestro Niccodemo dalla Pietra al Migliaio: Sopra il Capitolo della Salsiccia del Lasca. Domenico and Francesco Manzani, 1589.

8° (157x108 mm). Collation: A-D8. 60, [4] pages. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page and on the verso of the last leaf. Later vellum over pasteboards. Spine with four raised bands, with inked title and imprint. A good copy, slightly browned and foxed throughout, heavier to fols. B1-C1; a few marginal stains in the last leaves.

Provenance: faded ownership inscription on the title-page no longer legible.

The first and very rare edition of this gastronomic burlesque work in praise of pork and sausage, dedicated by the Florentine printer Domenico Manzani to the Archconsul of the Accademia della Crusca, Pier Francesco Cambi.

Grazzini was a member of the Accademia degli Umidi, which wanted to revive the Florentine tradition of burlesque poetry. In 1582, he was co-founder of the renowned Florentine Accademia della Crusca, adopting the nickname, or nome di Crusca, of 'Lasca'. The booklet was issued from the press of Domenico Manzani, mostly engaged by this Florentine academy, and well-known for the printing, in 1591, of the Commedia edited by the Crusca, the first modern critical edition of Dante's masterpiece.

The Lezione contains the composition in verse Capitolo sopra la salciccia, supplemented with an extensive commentary. Grazzini celebrates here many different kinds of food, but comes to the conclusion that pork meat is the finest of all and that sausage is the most delicious part of the pork, preferable to any other. He then gives the recipe for sausage 'alla fiorentina' (in Florentine style), which, according to him, is the absolute best, and reports several entertaining stories related to sausage with comic and occasionally erotic effect.

STC Italian 370; C. Spalanca, Anton Francesco Grazzini e la cultura del suo tempo, Palermo 1981; F. Pignatti, “Il ‘Comento di maestro Nicodemo dalla Pietra al Migliaio' del Lasca. Preliminari per un'edizione e note critiche”, A. Corsaro - P. Procaccioli (eds.), Cum notibusse et comentari-busse. L'esegesi parodistica e giocosa del Cinquecento. Seminario di letteratura italiana Viterbo, 23-24 novembre 2001, Manziana 2002, pp. 99-108; M. Plaisance, Anton Francesco Grazzini dit Lasca (1505-1584). Écrire dans la Florence des Médicis, Manziana 2005; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 163.

The first book printed by the Medici Oriental Press

168. [Bible. Gospels. Arabic]

Evangelium sanctum Domini Nostri Iesu Christi conscriptum a quatuor Evangelistis sanctis idest, Matthaeo, Marco, Luca, et Iohanne. Medici Oriental Press, 1590 - 1591.

Folio (309x203 mm). Collation: [1-46]4. 386 pages. Text in Arabic. Title-page in Arabic and Latin. Title-page and text within frame of woodcut fillets. 149 large woodcuts (130x100 mm), from sixty-eight blocks, some executed by Leonardo Parasole after Antonio Tempesta. Woodcut head- and tailpieces. Contemporary limp vellum. Title inked in Latin and Arabic by contemporary hands. Losses to the outer lower corners, and to the top of spine. A very good, unsophisticated copy, a few leaves uniformly browned. Some small spots and waterstains to the margins of the title-page, and a heavier waterstain on the last leaf. First and last leaves partially detached.

Provenance: two seventeenth-century ownership inscriptions on the title-page, the first, partially erased, '[...] die 20. Maij. hab. Romae 1668. ex Biblioth. Medicea'; the second one refers to the Franciscan monastery of Trecastagni in Padua ('Pro Conventum S.ti Antonij da Padua Mgr. Trium Castanearum'; inscription repeated with slight variations on the verso of the last leaf).

Rare and finely illustrated first edition of the Gospels printed in Arabic. It is the first book printed by the Typographia Medicea Orientale, established by Gregorius XIII in 1584 specifically for printing in oriental languages, and financially supported by Cardinal and future Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando de' Medici. The Medici Oriental Press was the first printing press in Europe dedicated to printing books in an Arabic font, and the mathematician and orientalist Giovanni Battista Raimondi (1540-1610) was commissioned with its direction. The text of the Gospels was edited by Raimondi himself, and set in the fine types cut by Robert Granjon. The 1590 edition of Arabic Gospels is also highly praised for its exceptional illustrative apparatus, including numerous woodcut vignettes, some of which were executed by the woodblock carver Leonardo Parasole (1570-1630) after the renowned painter and printmaker Antonio Tempesta (1555-1630). The presence of these illustrations – which include the figural representation of the divine – suggests this publishing initiative was intended for a European market, rather than as an effort to convert Muslims, for whom such figural representation is proscribed.

This copy belongs to the issue bearing the title-page set in Arabic as well as in Latin types, and including the date of publication.

Adams B-1822; Mortimer Italian, 64; Tinto, La tipografia medicea orientale, p. 79; Darlow & Moule 1636; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 168.

A German emblem book

187. Flittner, Johann (fl. 1st half of the 17th century) - Murner, Thomas (1475-1537)

Nebulo Nebulonum; hoc est, Iocoseria Modernae Nequitiae Censura; qua Hominum Sceleratorum fraudes, Doli ac versutiae aeri aërique exponuntur publice: Carmine Iambico Dimetro adornata a Joanne Flitnero, Franco, Poëta Laureato. Jakob de Zetter, 1620.

8° (156x98 mm). Collation: [π]4, A-K8, L4. [8], 164, [4] pages. Complete with fol. L4 blank. Roman and italic type. Engraved title-page. Thirty-three engravings in the text (91x72 mm). Woodcut decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary blind-ruled vellum, over pasteboards. Spine with inked title. A very good, unsophisticated copy. Outer margin of the title-page slightly trimmed. Minor browning, wormholes in the inner margin not affecting the text.

Provenance: given as a gift by 'Petr. Mock.' to a certain 'Doctor Frederice' (address on the recto of the front flyleaf); modern, unidentified ex-libris on the front pastedown.

First edition of the free Latin adaptation by the German poet laureate Johann Flittner of the Schelmen Zunft by Thomas Murner, a collection of satirical poems first published in 1512 and strongly influenced by Brant's famous Narrenschiff. Flittner's adaption enjoyed great popularity: subsequent editions of the Nebulo Nebulonum were published in 1634, 1636, 1644, and 1663, while a translation into Dutch appeared in Leeuwarden in 1634 and 1645.

The work is dedicated to the brothers Joannes Jacobus, Dominicus and Joannes Porsch, and contains thirty-three poems, each of which is illustrated by an allegorical engraving and accompanied by two captions, one for the poem and one for the plate, as well as an explanation in prose. Particularly for its age, the Nebulo Nebulonum is a very curious emblem book, which makes fun of the customs of Flittner's time, sparing no social class. If the clergy is the most heavily and frequently attacked, all professions are taken into account, especially those who use words to deceive and seduce other people like jurists, councillors, clerics, and preachers.

The lively illustrations – likely designed by the publisher Jakob de Zetter – show the daily life of the time, depicting costumes, the interiors of homes, and indoor and outdoor activities.

VD17 1:029198C; H. Hayn-A.N. Gotendorf, Bibliotheca Germanorum Erotica, München 1913, v, 248; Landwehr 283; Wellcome 4490; M. Praz, Studies in 17th century imagery, Roma 1975, p. 337; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 187.

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