Literature Philobiblon

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

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.

Gondola Serenades

146. Caravia, Alessandro (1503-1568)

Naspo Bizaro. nuouamente restampato, con la zonta de lamento chel fà per hauerse pentio de hauer sposao Cate Bionada Biriotta.... Piero di Domenico, [ca. 1570/75].

4° (203x147 mm). Collation: A-L4. 43, [1] leaves, complete with the last blank. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on fol. L3v. Two different large woodcuts on both title-pages (fols. a1r and H4r), respectively repeated as full-page illustrations on fols. F2v and D2v. Six- to nine-line woodcut decorated initials. Fine nineteenth-century English gilt-tooled green morocco, over pasteboards. Covers within rich frames of fillets, friezes, and floral roll. At centre sun-shaped cornerpieces, and fleuron. Spine with five small raised bands, compartments tooled with floral motifs, title lettered in gilt. Board edges decorated with narrow frieze, inside dentelles, marbled pastedowns and flyleaves. Green silk bookmark, gilt edges. A good copy, carefully washed. Minor repair to the verso of fol. B3, with loss of a few letters.

Provenance: Gugliemo Libri (1803-1869; see Catalogue de la Bibliothèque de M. L****, Paris 1847, p. 268, lot 1667, 'Bel exemplaire'; the lot number '1667' is annotated on the verso of the front marbled flyleaf); sold for 19 francs to the Parisian bookseller A. Franck.

The exceedingly rare expanded second edition of this popular comic serenade composed in ottava rima and in Venetian dialect by the Venetian jeweller Caravia, whose name appears at the end of the dedicatory epistle to Antonio della Vecchia. The work first appeared in Venice in 1565, from the press of Domenico Nicolini da Sabbio, and at Caravia's expense. In both editions the fourth Canto is introduced by the separate title-page El fin de l'inamoramento de Naspo Bizaro. El qual per viver da christian batizao, sposa con alegrezza Cate Bionda Biriota.

The edition printed in about 1570/75 by Piero di Domenico 'al segno della Pigna', is, for the first time, supplemented with the zonta to the Canto Quarto (fols. L1v-L3r), entitled Lamento de Naspo Bizarro. The printer could maintain the same quiring as the 1565 edition by omitting, in comparison to the previous edition, the blank leaf H4 separating the third and fourth cantos as well as the plate on fol. L3, showing a wedding party.

The relevance of the Naspo bizaro in the history of Italian popular literature, especially in the context of the commedia dell'arte, is widely recognized. The edition is also rightly famous for its woodcuts, which follow the iconography of the Venetian characters Pantalone and Zanni. Responsible for their execution was the renowned publisher, engraver, and print dealer Niccolò Nelli (ca. 1530 - 1579/86), who had a shop at the Rialto Bridge.

The title-page of the 1570 publication bears the same large woodcut that decorates the previous edition and is signed with Nelli's monogram. The plate shows the Venetian Naspo Bizaro as a canterino, singing his hyperbolic serenade to the beautiful Cate Bionda Biriota – so-named after the rough district of Biri – while his servant Zan Polo eats in his gondola. The block is repeated as a full page illustration on fol. F2v. A second woodcut – likewise a re-use of the one previously employed – is printed, as a full-page, on fol. D2v, and repeated on the divisional title El fin de l'inamoramento de Naspo Bizaro, introducing the Canto Quarto: the scene depicts a different poet-musician, singing and playing under a window, with the city of Venice in the background. The source of this woodcut is different, and the blocks are signed 'AL'.

Adams C-626; Mortimer Italian, 105; Gamba, Serie degli impressi in dialetto veneziano, Venezia 1832, p. 83; E. Benini Clementi, Riforma religiosa e poesia popolare a Venezia nel Cinquecento: Alessandro Caravia, Firenze 2000; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 146.

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 (see no. 258), 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

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.

The last seventeenth-century Commedia

196. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

La Diuina Comedia di Dante, Con gli Argomenti, & Allegorie per ogni Canto. E due Indici, uno di tutti i vocaboli più importanti usati dal Poeta... E l’altro delle cose più notabili. Niccolò Misserini, 1629.

24° (95x50 mm). Collation: A-X12, Y6, *12. [6], 510, [24] pages; numerous leaves misbound, but complete. Roman and italic type. Title-page framed within a woodcut border containing Dante's portrait in the upper panel and the printer's device in the lower one. Fine contemporary binding à la Du Seuil, red morocco tooled in gold over pasteboards. Covers framed by two concentric borders delimited by fillets à l'ancienne, the internal border decorated at its corners with floral tools. Spine with four raised bands, tooled in gilt; title lettered in gold in the second compartment. Gilt edges. A good copy, repairs at joints and foot of spine.

Third and last edition of the Commedia published in the seventeenth century. The volume is printed in the innovative and compact 'long 24mo' format invented by Alessandro Paganini (see nos. 60 and 62).

From a textual point of view the edition follows the Commedia of 1613, which had been published by the Vicenza printer Francesco Leni under the title of La Visione (see no. 185). Dante's poem is therefore presented without any commentary or encomiastic texts or woodcuts, apart from the arguments and allegories by Lodovico Dolce and the Tavola de vocaboli più oscuri usati da Dante, taken from the Commedia published in 1554-1555 by Gabriel Giolito de' Ferrari (see nos. 116 and 117).

However, rather than use the 1613 title of La Visione – which Donato Pasquardi adopted for the second seventeenth-century edition, published in Padua, likewise in 1629 – Misserini adheres to the traditional title of Divina Commedia.

Batines I, p. 102; Mambelli 55; U. Limentani, “La fortuna di Dante nel Seicento”, Studi secenteschi, 5 (1964), pp. 3-49; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 196.

Ilustrada con differentes estampas muy donosas, y apropriadas a la materia

210. Cervantes, Miguel de (1547-1616)

Vida y hechos del ingenioso cavallero don Quixote de la Mancha... Nueva edicion, coregida y ilustrada con differentes estampas muy donosas, y apropriadas a la materia. Jan Mommart, 1662.

Two volumes, 8° (188x118 mm). I. Collation: †10, ††4, A-Z8, Aa-Pp8, Qq4. [28], 611, [5] pages. II. Collation: *8, A-Z8, Aa-Ss8. [16], 649, [7] pages (pages 529-576 misnumbered 525-572). Roman and italic type. Two engraved titles included in the foliation, and sixteen full-page engraved plates, in total. Uniformly bound in contemporary calf, over pasteboards. Spines with five raised bands, tooled in gilt; title lettered in gold. Marbled edges. Extremities of the spine and joints restored. Tooling and title on the spine somewhat faded. A very good, tall, and genuine copy. Leaves slightly and uniformly browned. In the first volume, skilful repair to the upper margin of the third plate with no damage to the engraving.

An extremely rare and important edition of this masterpiece of world literature: the first illustrated edition in Spanish, and the second edition in any language – following the Dutch translation published in Dordrecht in 1657 – to feature illustrations. This is the first edition with the new title Vida y hechos, and one of the most important editions in the history of Cervantes novel.

The sixteen engravings included in this edition are not signed, but are generally attributed to Frederik Bouttats (ca. 1610-1676) – who was active in Antwerp between 1643 and 1676 – after the Dutch edition of 1657. The text follows the 1637 edition for the first part, and the Madrid 1615 and Valencia 1616 editions for the second part. “The complete edition has 2 frontispieces and 16 chapter illustrations newly engraved by an unknown engraver after Savery's 24 illustrations (Dordrecht: Savery 1657). 8 illustrations from Savery's set have not been copied: 'Andrés' lashes', 'The galley slaves', 'DQ's penance', 'DQ hanged at the inn', 'The enchanted Dulcinea', 'Braying mayors squadron', ‘Washing beards episode', and ‘Sancho's judgement'. Cushing's copy has only the 1 frontispiece and 8 chapter illustrations from vol. 1. Río y Rico refers to two illustrations ('Don Quixote knighted' and 'Doña Rodríguez' night adventure') as if they appeared in this edition, but they don't” (Cervantes Collection, Cushing Memorial Library).

Palau 51993; Rius, Bibliografia critica de las obras de Miguel de Cervantes, I, no. 20; Río y Rico, no. 42; Peeters-Fontainas 229; Bardon cat. 2005, no. 3 (“Primera ediciòn ilustrada en castellano de gran aprecio y rareza”); P. Lenaghan, Imágenes del Quijote: modelos de representación en las ediciones de los siglos XVII a XIX, Madrid 2003; Cervantes Collection, Cushing Memorial Library (accessed January 2018); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 210.

A stunning presentation copy of Kircher’s Ars Magna Sciendi

212. Kircher, Athanasius (1602-1680)

Ars Magna Sciendi, In XII Libros Digesta, qua Nova & Universali Methodo Per Artificiosum Combinationum contextum de omni re proposita plurimis & prope infinitis rationibus disputari, omniumque summaria quaedam cognitio comparari potest.... Johann Jansson van Waesberghe and the Widow of Elizeus Weyerstraet, 1669.

Two parts in one volume, large folio (447x282 mm). The two parts with running collation and foliation. Collation: *4, **4, A-Z4, Aa-Hh4, Kk-Zz4, Aaa-Ooo4, Ppp6. [16], 482, [10] pages. Roman and italic type. Text in two columns. Separate engraved title-pages to both parts, the second one bearing a woodcut printer's device. Between fols. *2 and *3, an engraved portrait of Emperor Leopold, one engraved plate between fols. Ii1 and Ii2 depicting the 'Arbor Philosophica Universae cognitionis Typus'. Four double-page letter-press tables, one folding; engraved diagrams in the text, those on fols. B3r and Y3r with volvelles. Numerous woodcut illustrations, decorated initials, and large tailpieces. Contemporary Amsterdam binding, red morocco over pasteboards. Covers profusely gilt with massed floral and arabesque tools, partly au pointillé. Spine with seven raised bands, similarly gilt; title lettered in gilt 'A. KIRCHE. ARS COMBINAT.'. Comb-marbled pastedowns; board edges decorated with gilt frieze; inside dentelles. Edges speckled red and blue. Binding in very fine condition, especially for a volume of this size; extremities of the spine slightly repaired. A good copy, some browning and foxing, sometimes heavy, as expected. On the title-page, two early inked shelfmarks.

Provenance: Giovanni Paolo Oliva (1600-1681; contemporary ownership inscription on the title-page 'Bibl. P[raepositi] Olivae'); Martin Breslauer, Fine Books and Manuscripts in Fine Bindings. Catalogue 110, New York 1992, no. 107 (his bibliographical notes, dated 22 July 1990, on the front flyleaf); Joost R. Ritman, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (bookplate on the front pastedown).

A splendid, large-paper copy of the first edition of the Ars magna sciendi, in a stunning morocco binding executed on behalf of Athanasius Kircher for presentation to Giovanni Paolo Oliva (1600-1681), eleventh general of the Jesuits, whose name appears printed on the approbation leaf in this edition. Oliva was a very close friend of Kircher, demonstrated great interest in his polyhedric research and studies, and gave several formal permissions to print his works.

The Ars magna sciendi is one of the most influential works by the well-known German Jesuit, who was an eclectic scholar, inventor, collector, and founder of the Museum Kircherianum in the Roman College (see no. 226). In this monumental work, which is dedicated to Emperor Leopold I, Kircher builds an exhaustive scientific system based on logical combinations and symbolic logic formulae capable of expressing each truth; it thus represents one of the most celebrated seventeenth-century attempts at creating a universal language for scientists and philosophers to describe and circumscribe all knowledge into a unified system.

In 1661, Kircher – who never left Rome after settling there in 1633 – came into epistolary contact with the Dutch publisher Joannes Jansson van Waesberghe (Janssonius). Jansson was active in Amsterdam from 1651 to 1681; in his later years he entered into partnership with his son-in-law, Elizaeus Weyerstraet. Of Kircher's thirty-four books printed during his lifetime, fourteen were published by Janssonius. As Kircher wrote in his Vita, “It was my wish then that all the books I had previously published should be dedicated by posterity to the magnanimous emperor Ferdinand III and those that appeared after his death to his son the emperor Leopold. All those who read these in later times will admire their splendid production by the Amsterdam bookseller Johannes Janssonius, who has assumed responsibility for the publication and printing of all my books” (The Life of the Reverend Father Athanasius Kircher of the Society of Jesus, p. 495). The Archives of the Jesuit Gregorian University in Rome preserves Jansson's draft contract, written in Amsterdam and dated 29 July 1661, establishing the sum of 2,200 scudi for 'tutti li suoi libri', that is, for publishing all Kircher's books (PUG 563, fol. 244). Kircher also commissioned Jansson to produce luxury bindings for presentation copies, which were to be executed on his behalf by the most renowned binders active in Amsterdam. Among the various craftsmen active in the city at that time, Mirjam Foot has been able to identify a group of 'Kircher-binders' based on the fact that four of the eight luxury bindings she has seen from this group contained works by Athanasius Kircher. This includes the Latium printed by Jansson in 1671, which was perhaps bound for Pope Clemens X and is now preserved in Copenhagen's Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

Father Oliva's presentation copy of the Ars magna sciendi is housed in a sumptuous binding which bears comparison with those executed by Albert Magnus (1642-1689), the most important Dutch bookbinder of the age. Anthony Hobson has attributed to Magnus a very similar binding found on the famous Landau Hely-Hutchinson copy of the same work, held at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York (PLM 49213; see the Sotheby's sales of 13 July 1948 and 13 March 1956). According to Foot, however, the Morgan binding was in fact not executed by Albert Magnus, but represents rather the only work of an Amsterdam bookbinder of the same professional stature who also belonged to the group of the 'Kircher binders'.

It is very likely this individual used tools based directly on those employed by Magnus, and was probably active in Jansson's printing house.

“One of the binders commissioned was Magnus, another Dr. Foot's 'Kircher Binder' of which she knew eight bindings, four on Kircher's works. Are the two presentation bindings on the 'Ars Magna' the only survivers of a shortlived attempt by Janssonius to establish a bindery of his own, for which he had special tools cut and for which he temporarily employed one of Magnus' craftsmen?” (Breslauer, Catalogue 107, p. 188).

Merrill 22; Caillet II, 360.5771; Clendening 10.17; J. E. Fletcher - E. Fletcher, Study of the Life and Works of Athanasius Kircher, ‘Germanus Incredibilis'. With a Selection of his Unpublished Correspondence and an Annotated Translation of his Autobiography, Leiden-Boston 2011; H. de la Fontaine Verwey, “The Binder Albert Magnus and the Collectors of his Age”, Quaerendo, 1 (1971), pp. 158-178; M. M. Foot, Studies in the History of Bookbinding, London 1979; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 212.

On one of the most famous Egyptian artifacts

213. Pignoria, Lorenzo (1571-1631)

Mensa Isiaca, qua sacrorum apud Aegyptios ratio & simulacra subjectis tabulis aeneis simul exhibentur & explicantur. Accessit ejusdem authoris de Magna Deum matre discursus, & sigillorum, gemmarum, amuletorum aliquot figurae & earundem ex Kirchero Chisletioque interpretatio. Nec non Jacobi Philippi Tomasini Manus Aenea, & de vita rebusque Pignorij dissertatio. Andreas Fries, 1669.

Two parts in one volume, 4° (238x187 mm). Collation: *4, **1, A-N4, O2; [π]4, [a]-[n]4. [10], 96, [12]; [8], 96 [i.e. 94] pages. Roman and italic type. Extra engraved title-page, executed by A. Blothelingh (included in the foliation). Eleven engraved folding plates. Three engraved title-vignettes, nine full-page illustrations, and additional vignettes and other illustrations in the text. Contemporary vellum. Spine gilt tooled, title in gold on lettering-piece. Front hinge slightly opened. A very good copy.

Provenance: J. H. Harrison (ex-libris on the front pastedown).

Third and best edition of the Mensa Isiaca by the Paduan antiquarian Pignoria, the first scholarly work on Egyptology, which first appeared in Venice in 1605, under the title Vetustissimae tabulae aeneae sacris Aegyptiorum.

The 'Mensa Isiaca' or the table of Isis was an elaborate bronze table with enamel and silver inlay discovered in the ruins of the Temple of Isis after the Sack of Rome in 1527; it may have been executed – as Pignoria himself suggests – in Rome in the first century AD.

The table was then bought by Cardinal Pietro Bembo (it is also known as the 'Bembine Table'); after his death in 1547 the table was acquired by the Gonzagas, remaining in their collections until the capture of Mantua in 1630. The table of Isis eventually came into the hands of Cardinal Pava, who gave it to the Duke of Savoy, who then presented it to the King of Sardinia. In 1797 the tablet was carried in Paris by French troops, and in 1809 – as Alexandre Lenoir attests – it was exhibited in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Later, it returned to Turin, and is now held at the Egyptian Museum of this city.

In the seventeenth century the table of Isis became one of the most famous Egyptian artifacts known: it was used by the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher as a primary source for deciphering hieroglyphs, and an illustration showing the table was included in his Oedypus Aegyptiacus (1652/55).

The effective function of the 'Mensa Isiaca' is still subject to debate, although Pignoria's explanation was the simplest and most convincing: he believed it was a representation of sacrificial ceremonies according to Egyptian rites.

The 1669 edition is supplemented with numerous illustrations in the text which had been executed e Musaeo Bembi in 1559 by the Parma engraver Aeneas Vico (1523-1567).

Blackmer 1312; Gay 1567; Ibrahim-Hilmy II, 119; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 213.

in carta Turchina con Rami cinabrio — Libri Stampati da Giuseppe Bettinelli

230. Valaresso, Zaccaria (1686-1769)

Rutzvanscad il Giovine. Arcisopratragichissima Tragedia. Elaborata ad uso del buon gusto de’ Grecheggianti Compositori da Cattuffio Panchianio Bubulco Arcade. Giuseppe Bettinelli, 1737.

8° (204x138 mm). CXXXV, [1] pages. Printed on blue paper. Engraved allegorical frontispiece in orange ink, counted in the foliation. On the title-page engraved vignette in orange ink. Two engraved initials and headpieces printed in orange. Nine full-page satirical copperplates, counted in the foliation and printed in red and orange ink; the engraving on fol. C4r is repeated on fol. F1v. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, with inked title, partly faded, traces of an earlier lettering-piece; minor losses to the foot of spine and lower cover. Green silk bookmark. A beautiful copy, ink stains to the lower inner corner of the last two leaves, not affecting the text.

Provenance: Isidore-Justin-Séverin baron Taylor (1789-1879; on the recto of the front flyleaf cutting taken from his sale catalogue, Catalogue de la bibliothèque dramatique de feu le baron Taylor: vente, Paris, 28, rue des Bons-Enfants, 27 novembre-13 décember 1893, lot 2262).

An extraordinary copy, printed on blue paper, of this 'ultra-super-tragical tragedy' (P. Monnier, Venice in the Eighteenth Century, p. 34). Valaresso's tragedia satirizes the contemporary tragic dramaturgy, and in particular the inflated and tearful Ulisse il giovane (The Young Ulysses) by Domenico Lazzarini, first performed in 1718. The plot takes place in the fictional capital of Nova Zembla, the domain of the protagonist Rutzvanscad, King of China, and governed by two dictators, mockingly named – with obscene wordplay – Tettinculusso and Culicutidonia. The Rutzvanscad il Giovine originally appeared in Bologna in 1722 printed by Ferdinando Pisarri, but the present third edition is the first and only edition to be supplemented with illustrations. Of this tragedy two issues are known: an ordinary issue on white paper and illustrated in black, and a deluxe issue in carta Turchina con Rami cinabrio – as Giuseppe Bettinelli states in the catalogue of his publications included at the end of the volume (fol. I4r). The text is illustrated with ten full-page copperplates (one repeat), exceptionally printed in the present copy in orange and red ink. The depicted scenes poke fun at tragedies based on the Greek model, which are based on horrible events and far removed from contemporary life. The first plate introduces the charlatan 'Astrologa di Piazza', while the last one shows the prompter explaining that the characters 'Son tutti morti' ('are all dead'). These engravings are unsigned, but Eleonor Garvey suggests they may be the work of Gaetano Zompini (see no. 249).

Furthermore the volume has a very appropriate provenance, having once been held in the library of the famous French dramatist and traveller Isidore-Justin-Séverin Taylor, whose influential role in the cultural life of Paris led him to be known as the 'Father of Artists'. In 1825 he was made Royal Commissioner of the Theatre Français, where he opened the door to the Romantic movement, by supporting the work of Victor Hugo and Alexandre Dumas.

Allacci 686; Gamba 2297; Lancetti, Pseudonimia, 58.; Melzi I, 189 ('faceto critico-satirico componimento'); Lapiccirella, Libri illustrati veneziani del XVIII secolo, no. 244; Lanckoronska, Venezianische Buchgraphik, 72; Morazzoni, Il libro illustrato veneziano del Settecento, p. 221; P. Monnier, Venice in the Eighteenth Century, Boston 1910; E.M. Garvey, “Some Venetian Illustrated Books of the Eighteen Century in the Harvard College Library”, Bulletin du bibliophile, 2 (1999), pp. 293-312; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 230.

The Soranzo-Smith copy, printed on large blue paper

231. Svetonius Tranquillus, Gaius (70-126)

Le vite de’ dodici Cesari... Tradotte in volgar Fiorentino da F. Paolo Del Rosso Cavalier Gerosolomitano. Nuova edizione con le vere effigie de’ Cesari Ed altre illustrazioni.... Francesco Piacentini, 1738.

Folio (296x215 mm). Printed on blue paper. [2], XIX, [1], 377, [3] pages. Complete with the last blank leaf. Title-page printed in red and black. Half-title within a frame executed and signed by John Baptist Jackson (1701-ca.1780). Woodcut vignette on the title-page, fine cul-de-lampe. Each Vita is introduced by a large woodcut medallion portrait, from the series executed by the Flemish artist Hubert Goltzius (1526-1583). Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Spine with five raised bands, double morocco lettering-piece, title and imprint lettered in gilt. Gilt edges. A very fine, wide-margined copy, printed on strong paper, partly uncut.

Provenance: the Venetian senator Giacomo Soranzo (1686-1761; ownership inscription on the recto of the front flyleaf, '1743 Di Giano Soranzo'); the British Consul in Venice Joseph Smith (1682-1770; large ex-libris on the front pastedown; his sale Bibliotheca Smithiana, Venice 1755, p. CCCLVIII, “la stessa, tradotta dal suddetto, con le vere Effigie de' Cesari (cavate da Goltzio) ed altre illustrazioni. Ven. per Francesco Piasentini [sic] 1738. 4. c. gr. turchina. leg. Oll.”). On the rear pastedown a cutting taken from an unidentified sale catalogue 'Splendida copia, una delle poche stampate in carta grigia. Leg. orig. in piena perg. taglio dorato, Con un belliss. Ex-libris di Joseph' Smith, Britisch Consul, ad venice'.

A superb copy, printed on strong blue paper, of this famous historical work, divided into eight books and containing the biographies of twelve Roman emperors, from Julius Caesar to Domitianus.

The well-known artist John Baptist Jackson (1701- ca.1780) is responsible for the fine border framing the half-title. The portraits of Roman Emperors, or “le vere effigie dei Cesari” – as the Venetian printer Piacentini states in his preliminary address – are by anonymous designers and engravers, and closely reproduce the outline of Hubert Goltzius' series of medallions, originally executed in chiaroscuro, which first appeared in the volume Vivae omnium Imperatorum Imagines, published in Antwerp in 1557.

The volume has a very distinguished provenance, having once belonged to Joseph Smith, refined lover of paintings and books, and Canaletto's patron (see no. 232). He spent his life in Venice, and in 1740 was named British Consul of the city. Smith's library was sold at auction in 1755, while his celebrated art collection was purchased by King George III in 1762.

Previously this fine copy of the Le vite de' dodici Cesari had been in the possession of the Venetian patrician and senator of the Serenissima Giacomo Soranzo, one of the greatest collectors of books printed on blue paper.

Brunet V, p. 584; Gamba 1669; Morazzoni, Il libro illustrato veneziano del Settecento, p. 255 (listing only the octavo edition); J. Kainen, J. B. Jackson, 18th Century Master of the Color Woodcut, Washington, DC 1962, p. 29; M. Zorzi, “La stampa, la circolazione del libro”, Storia di Venezia, dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, VIII, pp. 801-860; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 231.

Opere... con la traduzione in Volgar Fiorentino del Signor Bernardo Davanzati Posta rincontro al Testo Latino. Con le Postille del medesimo e la Dichiarazione d’alcune voci meno intese... Novella Edizione, purgata dagl’innumerabili errori di tutte le precedenti...

236. Tacitus, Caius Cornelius (ca. 55 – ca. 120)

Opere... con la traduzione in Volgar Fiorentino del Signor Bernardo Davanzati Posta rincontro al Testo Latino. Con le Postille del medesimo e la Dichiarazione d’alcune voci meno intese... Novella Edizione, purgata dagl’innumerabili errori di tutte le precedenti.... Giuseppe Comino; Giovanni Antonio Volpi and Gaetano Volpi, 30 August 1755.

Two parts in one volume, large 4° (245x174 mm). Printed on blue paper. lxxx, 343; [5], 344- 669, [1] pages. Complete with the last blank leaf. Text in two columns. Engraved Comino printer's device at the end. Engraved medallion portrait of Davanzati on the title-page, with the inscription 'BERNARDO DAVANZATI GENTILUOMO FIORENTINO.' Decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, with inked title and printing date. Pastedowns and flyleaves in blue paper. Gilt and gauffered edges. A very fine copy. On the front pastedown the inked number '966'; on the recto of the front flyleaf the stamped shelfmark 'D 327'.

Provenance: Giovanni Antonio Gotti from Ceneda, near Treviso (the ownership inscription 'Die 27 February 1777 Joh:is Antonj Gotti Cenetensis, Vicarj Pretorj Paduae cum Px:mo Antonio Gajnerio - Costò £ 26.-' on the front pastedown); Giovanni Giacomo Trivulzio (1774-1831; ex-libris); Biblioteca Trivulziana, Milan (small stamps on the recto of the front flyleaf and on a few leaves of the volume; copy sold as a duplicate).

The Cominiana edition of Tacitus' Annales and Decades, offered here in the only copy known to have been printed on blue paper. This elegant Italian translation by the Florentine Bernardo Davanzati (1529-1606) successfully captures Tacitus' brevity while illuminating his obscurity. It first appeared posthumously in Florence in 1637, where it was printed on behalf of the Accademia della Crusca, which had inherited Davanzati's manuscripts. This translation represents a significant chapter in the history of the great Roman historian's reception in early modern Europe. During his lifetime Davanzati had only published a version of the first book of the Annales which appeared in Venice in 1596.

Tacitus was considered a master of political thought, and a sceptical analyst of political reality; his works could thus offer an interpretation of contemporary political events and the problems of monarchies through discussions of ancient civil wars and the unlimited power of Roman emperors. “The condemnation of Machiavelli's works by the Catholic Church (1559) had left an empty space which Tacitus could easily fill. What could be not be said in the name of Catholic Machiavelli could be said in the name of pagan Tacitus” (A. Momigliano, The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography, Berkeley 1990, p. 123). This explains the popularity of Davanzati's translation, and more generally the vernacular translation of Tacitus, which was indeed a European phenomenon.

This marvellous copy was once held in the exquisite library collected by Giovanni Giacomo Trivulzio and is mentioned by Gamba with regard to the Paduan Tacitus of 1755. The Milanese bibliophile may have purchased the volume at the sale of the Bibliotheca Pinelliana (see no. 250).

Gamba 940; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 236.

Le meilleur des mondes possibles — PMM

238. Voltaire [François Marie Arouet de] (1694-1778)

Candide, ou l’Optimisme. [Geneva], [Gabriel Cramer], 1759.

12° (161x95 mm). 299, [3] pages. Complete with the penultimate blank leaf, fol. N7 but the final fol. N8 (instructions to the binder) being only a stub. Woodcut ornament to the title-page, and tailpieces. Contemporary Italian mottled sheep-backed boards, gilt spine with title on red morocco lettering-piece. A very good copy. Some light foxing and browning, mostly to the upper margins.

A fine copy of the true first edition, with the following issue points: the title ornament of spray, fruit and flowers is repeated at pp. 193 and 266; p. 103, line 4, has the misprint 'que ce ce fut' (corrected to ‘que ce fut' in later editions); p. 125, line 4, has 'précisément' (corrected to 'précipitamment' in later editions); with Voltaire's revisions on p. 31 eliminating an unnecessary paragraph break, and on p. 41 the rewriting of several short sentences on the Lisbon earthquake. This first edition does not preserve the cancelled paragraph critical of German poets on p. 242 (beginning “Candide était affligé”).

The bibliographical history of this book has been extremely complex and confused, not least because before handing over a final manuscript to the Genevan publisher Gabriel Cramer, Voltaire went behind his back and sent a slightly different version of the manuscript to John Nourse, a printer in London, who may well have dispatched copies to other publishers. The result was that within weeks of the first edition of Candide appearing in Geneva, sixteen other editions appeared in Paris, London, and Amsterdam. The identification of the present issue as the true editio princeps, already supposed by Bengesco and Gagnebin, was recently confirmed by the cumulative analyses of Ira Wade, Giles Barber, and Stephen Weissman: the Genevan printing must be considered earlier than the other three editions containing 299 pages published in 1759, as well as the thirteen other editions of different sizes printed in Europe in the same year. Around 1754 Voltaire “fled [from Berlin] to Geneva where he found and bought the ideal refuge, Ferney, four miles from the city. Here, just on French soil, he could enjoy the political liberty of Geneva with the social liberty of France. Here Candide, the most perfect of the light-weight parables which were his especial and peculiar forte, was written. Typically, it was published anonymously, and many times printed and pirated in its early years” (PMM).

Drawing on the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 for inspiration, this conte philosophique became an almost instant best-seller with about 20,000 copies sold in the first year alone, despite its initial censorship.

Barber 299G; Bengesco 1434; Morize 59a; PMM 204; I. O. Wade, Voltaire and Candide: A Study in the Fusion of History, Art and Philosophy, Princeton, NJ 1959; S. Weismann (ed.), Voltaire: the Martin J. Gross collection in the New York Public Library, New York 2008; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 238.

Le plus grand poète priapique qui ait jamais existé et en même temps l’un des poètes les plus lyriques du XVIIIme siècle — Guillaume Apollinaire

245. Baffo, Giorgio (1694-1768)

Le Poesie di Giorgio Baffo Patrizio Veneto. [London or Venice ?], 1771.

Large 12° (179x111 mm). [2], 250 pages, lacking the last blank leaf. Nineteenth-century half-calf, over pasteboards. Marbled covers. Spine tooled in gilt, title in gold on red morocco lettering-piece. Marbled flyleaves; edges marbled. A good copy, repair to the outer blank margin of the title-page, slight foxing in places. A few leaves browned.

Rare first edition, published posthumously and clandestinely, probably in Venice or, more likely, in London, as argued by some scholars, through the efforts of Consul Joseph Smith (1682-1770), a collector of paintings and great lover of Venetian literary culture.

A second edition was issued in London in 1789, and the complete, four-volume edition of all Baffo's works (Raccolta universale delle opere) appeared from the fictional place of Cosmopolis (Venice or London) in 1789 at the expense of the Earl of Pembroke, a great admirer of the poet. However, some of the poems, which had enjoyed anonymous manuscript circulation while the author was still alive, have remained unpublished until today. Baffo refused a large sum offered to him by some British travellers who wanted to see his compositions printed, and it seems that in the last years of his life he also destroyed many of his papers.

Born on 1 August 1694 into a family of the small Venetian aristocracy, Giorgio (Zorzi) Baffo completed his studies in law and embarked upon the obvious professional career to which a man of his rank was entitled. Following assignments in Peschiera and Asola, he entered the Quarantie (Venice's Supreme Court) in 1732, particularly the Criminal Quarantia. He used to walk in town wearing a toga and would recite his poems in cafés and shops, where his company was very much appreciated. He began to write poetry at a young age, in the name of a blasphemous and sacrilegious desecration and with a spirit of vengeance against the conformism and social rigor he was forced to endure in his position as a public official. His poetic motto, in stark contrast to the boredom of Arcadian poetry, was “Cazzo ghe vol” (“Fuck is needed”).

Apollinaire inserted a section from Baffo's poems in the first volume of his L'oeuvre libertine des conteurs italiens (Paris 1910), naming him “le plus grand poète priapique qui ait jamais existé et en même temps l'un des poètes les plus lyriques du XVIIIme siècle”.

J. Gay, Bibliographie des ouvrages relatifs à l'amour, aux femmes et au mariage et des livres facétieux, pantagruéliques, Lille 1899, III, p. 777; Gamba, Serie degli scritti impressi in dialetto veneziano, pp. 166-168; F. Govi, I classici che hanno fatto l'Italia, Milano 2010, no. 255; ; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 245.

Finely bound for Antoine-Augustin Renouard

251. Lucianus Samosatensis (125–182)

Opera Graece et Latine ad editionem Tiberii Hemsterhusii et Ioannis Frederici Reitzii accurate expressa cum varietate et annotationibus.... Societas Bipontina, 1789 - 1793.

A set of ten volumes, large 8° (210x117 mm). I. [4], CXVI, 492 pages. II. [4], 552 pages. III. [4], 596 pages. IV. [4], 603, [1] pages. V. [4], 604 pages. VI. [4], 605, [3] pages. VII. [4], 583, [1] pages. VIII. [4], 598, [2] pages. IX. [4], 605, [3] pages. X. [4], 367, [313] pages. Engraved vignette on the title-page of each volume. Uniformly bound in blue morocco by Pierre-Joseph Bisiaux, active between 1777 and 1801; the binding of the tenth and last volume uses slightly different leather and tooling, and was probably executed by another binder, possibly after Bisiaux's death. Covers framed within large gilt frame. The owner's name 'renouard' is tooled in gilt on the upper cover of each volume, apart from the tenth. Spines with five double raised bands, underlined by a narrow gilt frieze on red ground and decorated with gilt stars, diagonals of dotted fillets, and small central tools. Title, imprint, and volume numbering lettered in gilt. Rose-pink silk pastedowns; flyleaves either in rose-pink silk and in vellum. Board edges tooled with gilt fillets, inside dentelles. Rose-pink silk bookmarks, gilt edges. In the first nine volumes, the original blue colour of the spines changes to dark olive. Spines occasionally repaired at extremities; upper headbands of the first and seventh volumes restored, and covered with marbled paper. A set in very fine condition, insignificant browning in places.

Provenance: the renowned French bibliographer and outstanding book collector Antoine-Augustin Renouard (1765-1853).

A fine set, uniformly bound for Antoine-Augustin Renouard by the leading Parisian binder Pierre-Joseph Bisiaux: the monumental edition of Lucianus' works, published in the Bipontine series of classical texts and edited by Johann Frederik Reiz (1695-1778) and Tiberius Hemsterhuis (1685-1766). The texts included are mainly based on the three-volume edition of Lucianus that appeared in Amsterdam in 1743.

The Societas Bipontina was established in Zweibrücken (lat. Bipontum) in 1778, and its production centered on Greek and Latin classics. Its publishing activity is famous for the elegance of its layouts and philological accuracy. The first volume opens with the Sylloge de aetate, vita scriptisque Luciani by Reitz, whereas the tenth and last volume contains philological notes on textual variants by Jacques-Nicolas Belin de Ballu, along with a series of detailed indices.

The volumes were bound for the celebrated bibliographer and great book collector Antoine-Augustin Renoaurd, who was particularly passionate about books that were elegantly bound in morocco, richly gilt tooled, and further enriched with vellum or silk – especially rose-pink – pastedowns and flyleaves, as the marvellous set presented here well testifies. The most famous binders during the transition from the Monarchy to the Directory executed bindings for his exquisite library; this included, among others, Pierre-Joseph Bisiaux, who was active in Paris between 1777 and 1801, a rival of Nicolas-Denis Derome (1731-1790), and his heir Bradel.

For an identical binding see the Renouard copy of Athenagoras' work Della risurrettione de' morti (Venice 1556), a volume which later came into the possession of Henry Davis, one of the greatest collectors of magnificent bindings, and held now in the British Library (Davis 570).

G. Burkard, Bibliographie der Editiones Bipontinae, Zweibrücken 1990, pp. 94-101; J. Schoendorf, Zweibrücker Buchdruck zur Fürstenzeit. Das Buch-und Zeitungswesen einer Wittelsbacher Residenz 1488-1794, Zweibrücken 1995, pp. 161-179; M. Baubach, Lukian in Deutschland. Eine Forschungs- und Rezeptionsgeschichtliche Analyse vom Humanismus bis zur Gegenwart, München 2002, pp. 100, 118, 266. For similar bindings see S. de Ricci, French Signed Bindings, no. 124; M. Foot, Les reliures françaises, pl. 8; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 251.

A troubled publication, between French Revolutionism and Austrian Conservatism

258. Foscolo, Ugo (1778-1827)

Vera storia di due amanti infelici, ossia Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis.... [Bologna, Jacopo Marsigli, 1799].

Two parts in one volume, 16° (130x85 mm). [4], 138; [8], 139-264 pages. The first leaf of the second part is blank. Frontispiece with an engraved medallion portrait of Foscolo, in bistro (85x63 mm), uncounted in the foliation. Contemporary mottled calf, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, compartments underlined by double gilt fillet and decorated with floral tools in gold; title in gilt lettering. Upper joint somewhat worn, lower extremity of spine slightly damaged. A good copy, foxing throughout, the upper margin of a few leaves waterstained. The manuscript note 'Par Ugo Foscolo' on the recto of the front flyleaf.

Provenance: ownership inscription, partially trimmed, on the recto of the blank leaf signed [χ]1, separating the two parts, 'M Antonio Centura' [?]; on the verso of the title-page of the second part 'Comprato li 18:7bre 1802'.

The extremely rare first edition – in the 'Austrian' issue known as '1799A' – of Foscolo's masterpiece, which is considered the first Italian epistolary novel.

Foscolo's Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis (The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis) is a semi-autobiographical work; in epistolary form, it narrates the impossible love of the young patriot Jacopo Ortis for a girl named Teresa, set against a backdrop of the Napoleonic wars in northern Italy. The epilogue is tragic as sentimental disappointment and political disillusionment lead the young Jacopo to commit suicide.

The work has a very complex publishing history, in which issue 1799A plays a fundamental role. Foscolo had been writing the work between the summer of 1798 and the beginning of the following year, and it was set to be published by the Bolognese printer Jacopo Marsigli. Foscolo then joined the Napoleonic Army, interrupting the text at letter forty-five. Marsigli, the printer, decided to assemble the material regardless, and he asked the young law student Angelo Sassoli (b. 1773) to continue writing the story up until the epilogue. The book came to light – under the title Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis – around 30 June 1799, although the title-page bears the year '1798 Anno vii' as the date of publication. This first issue, known as Ortis 1798, was evidently not distributed: only three complete copies are recorded, these being preserved in the Archiginnasio in Bologna, the Biblioteca di Storia moderna e contemporanea in Rome, and the Biblioteca Comunale in Treviso. At the same time, the city of Bologna was occupied by the Austrian army, and Marsigli attempted to conform his still undistributed publication, which was replete with political statements and references to religious questions, to the new political context. In order to overcome the reactionary Austrian control he assembled a 'new Ortis' – known as issue 1799A – which appeared on the market around August 1799 under the more 'reassuring' title of Vera storia di due amanti infelici, ossia Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis (The True Story of Two Unhappy Lovers, i.e., The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis). Marsigli re-used the 1798 quires containing the Foscolo-Sassoli text, and organised the Letters into two parts, each of which was preceded by new preliminaries, including the Annotazioni, a sort of 'justification' of what could be considered suspicious. He also eliminated the more delicate or dangerous passages of the Ortis 1798, inserting instead substitute bifolia or single leaves (cancels). After Napoleon's victory in Marengo on 14 June 1800, the French government was restored in Bologna, and the enterprising Marsigli decided to distribute a third and more 'revolutionary' issue of Foscolo's work – issue 1799B –, assembling copies and leaves from the two previous issues, Ortis 1798 and 1799A. Foscolo had been unaware of Marsigli's various attempts at publishing his epistolary novel; it was only in September 1800 that he came into possession of a copy of the Ortis, in its 1799B iteration. The publication was, however, firmly refuted by Foscolo as being not his own work, and thus the 'official' edition appeared only in 1802. “The editorial history of this novel is controversial and partly conjectural, with some aspects still shrouded in darkness [...] Although recent scholarship tends to see Foscolo's contribution greater than he cared to admit, the question of how much can be attributed to him and how much to others is still debated [...] Marsigli himself was involved more than one would expect of a publisher, being most probably responsible for assembling the material and filling in some of the gaps” (R. Loretelli, “Fleurons as Temporal Markers in Richardson and Foscolo”, p. 150).

The present copy is in the rare 1799A or 'Austrian' issue, with the following issue points – as noted by Gambarin – being observed: the novel is divided into two parts, both with new title-pages bearing the different, aforementioned title. In the first part, an additional quire was inserted for the new preliminaries, including the Avviso a chi legge (fol. [π]2; replacing the shorter address of Ortis 1798 Al lettore, signed by Lorenzo F.), the preface Lorenzo F. Al sensibile Lettore (fol. a1) and Annotazioni Alla prima parte delle ultime Lettere di Jacopo Ortis indispensabilmente da Leggersi (fol. a2). At the beginning of the second part, following the new title-page, are four unnumbered pages containing the Annotazioni Alla seconda parte delle ultime Lettere di Jacopo Ortis indispensabilmente da Leggersi. In this copy the title-page and the four-page Annotazioni are preceded by a blank leaf, forming a quire of four leaves (χ4), a feature unrecorded in the bibliographies.

Overall, in the 1799A issue, fourteen leaves are cancels, single leaves variously pasted over the stubs of the cancellands, or bifolia inserted into the quires. In this copy, the leaf signed e5 is taken from the original Ortis 1798 (cancelland, bearing on page 74 the misprints 'lampi lampi' and 'gi à') and not a cancel (with the corrected 'lampi' and 'già'), as is normally found in other recorded copies of the 1799A. This particular feature was also described in 1955 by Limentani in his paper “Ancora sulle prime edizioni delle Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis” with regard to his own copy of the 1799A, suggesting that the volume offered here may in fact be the same copy that was once in the hands of that Foscolo scholar.

Only two copies of the Ortis 1799 first edition are preserved in American libraries, one held in the Houghton Library at Harvard (1799B); and one, from the Ferrara collection of Renzo Bonfiglioli (1904-1963) and without any indication of issue (A or B), which is held in the Beinecke Library at Yale University.

Raccolta Foscoliana Acchiappati, 19; Ottolini 55; Limentani (“oltremodo rara edizione”); G. Gambarin, “Introduzione” to U. Foscolo, Edizione Nazionale, Firenze 1955, IV, pp. XII-XXXV; U. Limentani, “Ancora sulle prime edizioni delle Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis”, La Bibliofilia 57, (1955), pp. 156-160; M. A. Terzoli, Le prime Lettere di Jacopo Ortis. Un giallo editoriale tra politica e censura, Roma 2004; R. Loretelli, “The Space of Time. Fleurons as Temporal Markers in Samuel Richardson's Clarissa and Ugo Foscolo's Ortis”, R. Loretelli - F. O'Gorman (eds.), Britain and Italy in the Long Eighteenth Century: Literary and Art Theories, Newcastle Upon Tyne 2010, pp. 144-155; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 258.

The true porchetta

264. Nardi, Luigi (1777-1837)

Porcus troianus o sia la porchetta. Cicalata ne le nozze di messer Carlo Ridolfi veronese con madonna Rosa Spina riminese. Nobili Press, 1821.

8° (209x144 mm). [2], XVI, 134, [2 blanks] pages. Contemporary wrappers, small losses to the spine. A fine, uncut copy.

The second, augmented edition of this entertaining ludic poem, or cicalata. A notice is printed before the title-page referring to the first edition printed in Rimini in 1813. The name of the author is given only under the form of an anagram, 'Giri di Luna', in the dedication on p. III.

This work, by the canon from Savignano Luigi Nardi, though written as a cicalata for the marriage of Carlo Ridolfi from Verona to Madonna Rosa Spina from Rimini, represents a real treatise on the history and art of making porchetta (roast pork). According to Nardi, the only true porchetta is that traditionally made in Romagna, the author's region, a version which has nothing to do with that produced in Naples or Bologna.

Nardi then explains that in Ancient Roman cuisine, 'porcus troianus' referred to pork stuffed with various meats, which, when cut open at the table – often in a spectacular manner – revealed its precious contents, as in the famous Homeric episode of the Trojan horse.

B.IN.G., 1338; Westbury 158; L. Bartolotti, “La porchetta, sapori di storia e di tradizione”, Porcus troianus: la storia della porchetta in un trattato dell'Ottocento, Rimini 2006 (facsimile reprint of the present edition); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 264.

265. Polybius (200-118 BC)

Polybii Megalopolitani Historiarum quidquid superest. Recensuit, digessit, emendatiore interpretatione, varietate lectionis, indicibus illustravit Johannes Schweighaeuser... Tom. i. [- Tom. iv]. Editio nova. Oxford, William Baxter, J. Parker, and R. Bliss; London, George Whittaker and W. B. Whittaker, 1823. [together with:] Schweighauser, Johann (1742-1830). Lexicon Polybianum ab Is. et Merico Casaubonis olim adumbratum inde ab Jo. Aug. Ernesti elaboratum nunc ab Joanne Schweighaeusero passim emendatum.... William Baxter for George Whittaker, W. B. Whittaker, and J. Parker, 1822.

Two works, in a set of five volumes, 8° (213x131 mm). I. [4], clxxxv, [3], 448 pages; [4], 542 pages; [4], 560 pages; [4], 287, [1], 84, [166] pages. Text in Greek and Latin. The Index historicus et geographicus in the fourth volume printed in two columns. II. vii, [1], 495, [1] pages. Text in Greek and Latin, printed in two columns. Contemporary uniform bindings, polished honey calf over pasteboards. Covers within double gilt fillet. Spines with five small raised bands, richly gilt tooled, titles and volume numbering on double lettering-pieces. Board edges decorated with gilt frieze, inside dentelles. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves. Edges marbled. Extremities of spines slightly rubbed; the upper lower corner of the Lexicon Polybianum somewhat bumped. A very fine set, minor foxing in places; minor loss to the lower blank corner of fol. GG3 of the fourth volume.

Provenance: the English politician Charles James Monk (1824-1900), gifted by him in July 1843 to his friend Edmund Rolley Pollexfen Bastard (Monk's address in the first volume of Polybii Historiae, on the recto of the front flyleaf, 'Edmund R. P. Bastard from his very sincere friend Charles James Monk. Eton. July 1843'; Bastard's armorial ex-libris on the rear pastedown of each volume).

A fine, beautifully bound set, comprising the four-volume edition of Polybius' complete works – presented here in the second edition – edited by Johann Schweighauser, and supplemented with his special Lexicon Polybianum. The first edition of Schweighauser's Polybius had appeared in 1789-1795. The first volume opens with a lengthy preface by the sixteenth-century French Hellenist Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614), taken from his Latin translation of Polybius' works, which was published posthumously in 1617. This is followed by Schweighauser's preface, in which the philologist acknowledges his debt to Casaubon. “Casaubon's Polybius has deserved that Schweighauser should say of it, that there is not a page of it, which does not show how much Polybius owes to the learning and sagacity of that industrious editor” (M. Pattison, Isaac Casaubon, p. 224). For the Lexicon Polybianum Schweighauser had likewise relied on materials previously collected by Casaubon, and more recently by the German scholar Johann August Ernesti (1707-1781).

The present set has a very interesting provenance, as the volumes were given as a gift by a then-young Charles James Monk – the English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1857 and 1885 – to his friend Edmund Rodney Pollexfen Bastard, son of a known Tory politician. Both Monk and Bastard were educated at Eton College and Trinity College in Cambridge.

Hoffmann III, p. 267; M. Pattison, Isaac Casaubon, London 1875; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 265.

La chartreuse est un grand et beau Livre... — Honoré de Balzac

271. Stendhal [pseud. of Marie-Henri Beyle, 1783-1842]

La chartreuse de Parme. Par l’autheur de Rouge et Noir. Ambroise Dupont, 1839.

Two volumes, 8° (203x123 mm). I. [4], 402 pages. II. [4], 445 pages. Both volumes complete with half-title. Lacking – as with the majority of recorded copies – the last leaf of the second volume, a cancel with advertising. Contemporary brown cloth, blind-stamped with floral pattern. Smooth spines, divided into compartments by gilt fillets, title and volume numbering lettered in gold. Blue speckled edges. Pastedowns and flyleaves in yellow paper. Hinges and corners somewhat rubbed. A good copy, some stains.

Provenance: armorial stamp on the half-title of both volumes, the same coat of arms stamped in gilt at the foot of the spines.

First edition, in its rare first issue, of the eighth novel published by the celebrated French writer Stendhal, mentioned here as the author of another famous roman, Le Rouge et Noir, which appeared in 1830/31. La chartreuse de Parme was written in only fifty-six days, between 4 November and 26 December 1838. It was inspired by both Stendhal's desire to write a Napoleonic novel centred on the Battle of Waterloo and his interest in the life of Alexander Farnese – who would later become Pope Paul III – which featured numerous parallels with that of the novel's main character, Fabrice del Dongo.

The present copy, printed on vellum paper (papier velin) and without the indication 'Deuxième édition' on the title-page, represents a rare example from the first issue of this edition. “The various copies of the first edition of the Chartreuse de Parme that I saw were all on vellum paper; there is, under the same date of 1839, an edition of this work bearing on the titles and on the wrappers 'Deuxième édition'. The copy I saw is on laid-paper. In fact, it is a new issue on the same composition rather than a second edition. The volumes' collation is identical to the first edition” (Vicaire, Manuel de l'amateur, 458).

The novel was enthusiastically received by Stendhal's contemporaries. Of especial note is the opinion expressed by Honoré de Balzac in a letter written to Stendhal on 6 April 1839: upon reading the work, Balzac writes “Il ne faut jamais retarder de faire plaisir à ceux qui nous ont donné du plaisir. La chartreuse est un grand et beau Livre, je vous le dis sans flatterie, sans envie, car je serai incapable de le faire [...]”.

Carteret Romantique II, 358; Clouzot 151; Lhermitte 567; Vicaire I, 458; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 271.

A late first edition of a lascivious Cantare Carnacialesco, printed on blue paper

272. Pulci, Luigi (1432-1484)

Tractato del Prete cole Monache. Tipografia Crapelet, 1840.

Large 8° (210x135 mm). Printed on blue paper. [8] leaves. Set in gothic type. Large woodcut vignette on the title-page depicting the encounter between a priest and three nuns. Two woodcut decorated initials, on criblé ground. Contemporary marbled pasteboards, engraved label with title on the upper cover. A very good copy, trace of large ex-libris on the front pastedown. Issued in a total of fifty copies, of which this is number 36.

The first edition of this Renaissance cantare carnacialesco, a lascivious work about a priest enticing nuns. The composition of this poetic text has variously been attributed to Luigi Pulci, and it is introduced here by a brief address to the reader written by Niccolò Franco (1515-1570).

The Tractato del Prete cole Monache – replete with double entendres – enjoyed a significant manuscript circulation, as attested by the Zibaldone included in this very catalogue (see no. 4). The work was first published in 1840, from the Paris printing press run by Georges André Crapelet, and upon the recommendation of Étienne Audin de Rians, a scholar of Italian chivalric and popular literature. The text itself is based on the ms Palatino 359 of the National Library in Florence.

As the colophon printed on the recto of the last leaf states, the edition was issued in a total of fifty copies, seven of which were printed on parchment, with only fifteen being printed on blue paper, including the handsome copy offered here.

E. Benucci et al. (eds.), Cantari novellistici dal Tre al Cinquecento, Roma 2002; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 272.

In the most desirable original red cloth binding

273. Melville, Herman (1819-1891)

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale. Harper & Brothers, 14 November 1851.

8° (187x124 mm). XXIII, [1], 634, [1 blank], [6, of advertisements], [2 blank] pages. Original red cloth binding (A); original brown-orange coated endpapers. Exceptional copy, almost invisibly repaired by the master restorer Bruce Levy (DeGolyer Award for American Bookbinding in 2000). Housed in a full red morocco clamshell case.

First American edition of one of the Great American Novels, in its extremely rare original first state binding in red cloth (according to BAL). “As a work of fictional narrative Moby-Dick is a formidable book. Its reputation generally precedes it and certainly no reader comes to the text without having at least heard about 'that long book on whales' [...] Melville's highly poetic narrative style was as unique in its own time as it is today. Based primarily on his deep and insightful reading of Shakespeare and the Bible, especially the Old Testament, Melville's prose is grandly metaphorical even at its most literal moments” (M. J. Davey, Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, p. 2) The American edition follows the English one (entitled The Whale) – published only a month earlier – and includes thirty-five passages and the 'Epilogue' which had been omitted from the London publication, to avoid offending delicate political and moral sensibilities.

There is no doubt that Melville was inspired by an article written by the American journalist and explorer Jeremiah N. Reynolds and published on the popular publication Knickerbocker Magazine in May 1839: the magazine's account was a vivid tale purportedly told to Reynolds by the eccentric first mate of a whaling vessel, and was based on the legendary Mocha Dick, the whale who had killed more than thirty men, and had attacked and damaged three whaling ships and fourteen whaleboats. Melville began focusing his attention on the question of evil, which let him generate the character of Captain Ahab, thanks to Nathaniel Hawthorne's friendship: the zenith of their relationship was reached when Moby Dick was published and was dedicated to Hawthorne.

In 1853 the Harpers' fire destroyed the plates of all his books, and only about sixty copies of Melville's book survived.

“Melville's permanent fame must always rest on the great prose epic of Moby Dick, a book that has no equal in American literature for variety and splendor of style and for depth of feeling” (Dictionary of American Biography, XII, p. 526).

BAL 13664; Grolier 100 American Books 60; Sadleir Excursions, 229; M. J. Davey (ed.), Herman Melville's Moby-Dick: A Routledge Study Guide and Sourcebook, Abingdon-New York, 2004; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 273.

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