Misc. Philobiblon

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

A fortune-telling book, for learned readers

228. Sturm, Johannes (1559-1650)

De accurata circuli dimensione et quadratura, cum sylvula epigrammatum aenigmatum... Leuven, François Simon, 1633. (bound with:) Idem. Ludus fortunae, ad recreandam societatem Latinis versibus omnibus in contrario sensu Retrogradis exhibitus, & in tres Libros distributus.... François Simon, 1635 [but 1633].

Two works in one volume, 4° (197x154 mm). I. Collation: ):(4, ):( ):(4, ):( ):( ):(4, A-I4. [24], 72 pages. Roman and Italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page, with the motto 'REBUS IN HUMANIS FORTUNA VOLUBILIS ERRAT' in cartouche. Six-line decorated woodcut initials. II. Collation: A-Z4, Aa4. 192 pages. Roman and Italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page, with 'FORTUNA VOLUBILIS ERRAT', in cartouche. Six-line decorated woodcut initials. Text within pyramid-shaped diagrams on fols. E3v-H1v. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards, with yapp edges. Running stitches, traces of ties. Smooth spine. A good copy, slightly spotted and browned in places, last quire of the first bound edition is loose.

Provenance: 'I.C.S.I.' (contemporary ownership inscription on the title-page); José Bayolo Pacheco de Amorim (1918-2013; stamp on the title-page, with the printed shelfmark '14009').

The rare first edition of De accurata circuli dimensione et quadratura, an influential contribution by Belgian mathematician Sturm to the controversial topic of squaring the circle, a futile effort which, toward the end of the sixteenth century, had captured the imagination of numerous mathematicians, including Scaliger, Viète, Clavius, and Adrianus van Roomen, Sturmius' predecessor to the chair of mathematics at the University of Louvain.

The second bound work is the first edition of the Ludus fortunae printed in 1633, and presented here in an apparently unrecorded variant of the title-page, with the final number '3' in the date of printing erased, and overprinted with '5'. Whilst this work fits into the tradition of fortune-telling books – whose highest achievement in print is represented in Italy by Lorenzo Spirito (see nos. 42 and 202), and in France by Jean de Meung – the Ludus fortunae distances itself from the legacy of pagan books drawing on biblical figures. The author indeed charges his predecessors with having abused their readers' naivety by combining pagan oracles and characters from Christianity. For this reason Sturmius plays out the Seven Sages of Greece – like Solon of Athens, Cleobulus of Lindos and Chilon of Sparta –, at the end of an itinerary marked by kings and queens from antiquity – including Nestor, Priam, Dido and Cleopatra –, the most renowned European cities – like Antwerp, Leuven and Brussels – and their rivers. Responses were obtained through the roll of two dice, whose twenty-one possible combinations were deemed sufficient, or by the throw of five small bones.

Poggendorf II, 1018 (only the first edition); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 199.

The damask chairs of the Imperial Diet

233. Imperial Diet Ceremonies

Disegni dei sedili e banchi nelli varj Apartamenti dell’Imperiale Palazzo di Vienna disposti per li Ministri ed Ufficiali aulici secondo il rispettivo loro grado cominciando dal Sedile di S.M.C. sopra 4. gradini sotto il Baldacchino.... Manuscript on paper, in French. Austria (?), mid-eighteenth century.

335x205 mm. [6] leaves. Six watercolours depicting the tables and armchairs (mostly coloured in green, brown, and red) in the Hofburg Imperial Apartments once used for meetings of the Imperial Diet. Contemporary marbled and gauffered paper. Italian title inked in a contemporary hand on the upper cover, small paper label on the spine, with early shelfmark. Paper rather abraded along the board edges. A well-preserved manuscript.

Fascinating album of six watercolours depicting the furnishings – especially the chairs, armchairs, and tables – of the great chambers of the Imperial Diet at the Hofburg in Vienna. The former imperial palace and main residence of the Habsburg dynasty rulers, the Hofburg is also the only court residence to have permanently been kept furnished. As the documented seat of government, its chambers provided the setting for countless ceremonies and delegate receptions for Diets held in Vienna, this being the highest representative assembly of the Holy Roman Empire.

The plates are titled, in French, La Sale de Re et Correlation; Le College Electoral; Le College des Princes; L'Appartement Electoral; L'Appartement des Princess; and Le College des Villes Imperiale. For each of the six plates, a legend is provided describing the furniture depicted as well as the relative placements of the Emperor and Prince-Electors, among other various representatives. Thus, for example, the plate Le College des Princes illustrates the furnishings for meetings presided over by the Imperial Diet's Council of Princes, including the chairs of its director, co-director, and secretaries, the bench for the bishops of Osnabrück and Lübeck, and even a clock – an 'horologe fait de la manière que celui de Strasbourg' – and small jam table – a 'table petite pour les Confitures'. The plate of the College Electoral, meanwhile, depicts a large table with a seat for the envoyés of the different Prince Electors, 'selon l'ordre suivant Mayence, Treves, Cologne, Bohême, Bavarie, Saxe, Brandenbourg, Palatin et Brounsvic': also in this chamber is a small table for Confitures that must not be missed. The tables here are covered in green velvet and the chairs are upholstered in a wonderful red damask rendered with especial care by the work's anonymous artist.

An album of watercolours (353x221 mm) titled Mobiliar der Zimmer zur Kaiserwahl and illustrating six identical subjects is now preserved in the Hessische Landesbiliothek Fulda (Hs 48). The Moravian Library in Brno holds a similar album, bearing the exact same German title, but with illustrations that have been rather carelessly executed.

This newly discovered manuscript is of the greatest import to the history of the Imperial Diet and its ceremonial traditions, as well as the history of eighteenth-century design in general.

G. von Demilić, The Hofburg in Vienna: Dwelling and Ceremonial Apartments of the Former Imperial Family, Vienna [ca. 1930]; H. Karner (ed.), Die Wiener Hofburg 1521-1705. Baugeschichte, Funktion und Etablierung als Kaiseresidenz, Wien 2014; L. Hellmut (ed.), Die Wiener Hofburg 1705-1835. Die kaiserliche Residenz vom Barock bis zum Klassizismus, Wien 2016; M. Beck, Macht-Räume Maria Theresias. Funktion und Zeremoniell in ihren Residenzen, Jagd- und Lustschlössern, Berlin 2017; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 233.

241. Beccaria, Cesare (1734-1794)

Dei delitti e delle pene.... [Livorno, Marco Coltellini for Giuseppe Aubert], 1764.

4° (204x150 mm). 104 pages. Lacking the final leaf with the errata. Woodcut headpiece on fol. A2r. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. A very good, wide-margined copy. Minor, and sporadic foxing to the first and last leaves.

The first edition of one of the most important works of the Italian Enlightenment. A manifesto on legal reform, and one of the best interpretations of the ideas circulating around France in the second half of the eighteenth century.

The young Milanese nobleman Cesare Beccaria Bonesana composed this work between March 1763 and January 1764, while he was an active member of the intellectual circle known as the Accademia dei pugni, founded in Milan in 1762 by the brothers Alessandro and Pietro Verri, and Beccaria himself, among others. The central theme of the work is the reform of criminal justice, in a context in which punishment was still both brutal and arbitrary. Beccaria advocates an egalitarian justice system, and traces a new metric for punishment and laws rooted in the concept of public happiness. “One of the most influential books in the whole history of criminology [...] Beccaria maintained that the gravity of the crime should be measured by its injury to society and that the penalties should be related to this. The prevention of the crime he held to be of greater importance than its punishment [...] his ideas have now become so commonplace that it is difficult to appreciate their revolutionary impact at the time” (PMM).

The work enjoyed wide and immediate success, and its influence was enormous. Voltaire, d'Alembert, Helvétius, Holbach, Hume and Hegel all counted among its enthusiastic readers; Beccaria's ideas also inspired justice reforms introduced by Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany, Emperor Joseph II, and Catherine II of Russia, and its influence on constitutionalism broadly, especially the Declarations des droits de l'homme of 1789, is likewise evident.

The Dei delitti e delle pene was published in Livorno (Tuscany) – then one of the most advanced cities in Italy – on 12 April 1764, anonymous and without indication of place, for fear of repercussions owing to its strong egalitarianism. The printer Coltellini had already published, in 1763, the Meditazioni sulla felicità by Pietro Verri, Beccaria's closest friend. The 'innovative' feature of the reform proposed by Beccaria was, however, perceived by the Roman censorship, and in 1766 Dei delitti e delle pene was included in the Index of Forbidden Books. A good sign, as Beccaria admonishes: if a government needs censorship, it comes from the weakness of its constitution.

The work was translated into English in 1767, and On Crimes and Punishments “significantly shaped the views of American revolutionaries and lawmakers. The first four U.S. Presidents – George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison – were inspired by Beccaria's treatise and, in some cases, read it in the original Italian. On Crimes and Punishments helped to catalyze the American Revolution, and Beccaria's anti-death penalty views materially shaped American thought on capital punishment, torture and cruelty.” (J. D. Bessler, “The Italian Enlightenment and the American Revolution”, p. 1).

The first edition also appeared with an errata leaf containing twenty-one corrections, likely printed as a separate sheet, and thus now scarcely found; as with most copies, the errata leaf is missing in the present copy.

Einaudi 3362; PMM 209; B. E. Harcourt, Beccaria's 'On Crimes and Punishments': A Mirror on the History of the Foundations of Modern Criminal Law, Chicago 2013; M. Palumbo – E. Sidoli (eds.), The Books that Made Europe, Bruxelles 2016, pp. 248-249; J. D. Bessler, “The Italian Enlightenment and the American Revolution: Cesare Beccaria's Forgotten Influence on American Law”, Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy, 37.1 (2017; accessed January 2018); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 241.

Probably the first numeroté Italian book, one of only thirty-six copies published

247. Marcolini, Francesco (1550-1559)

Giardino dei Pensieri composta da Francesco Marcolini da Forli L’Anno mdl. Ristampata nel MDCCLXXXIV. [Venice, Santini], 1784.

Folio (374 x 265 mm). [4], 157 [i.e. 206] pages. Pages 1-7 are typeset, while all extant leaves, including the preliminaries, are engravings reproducing the text and original woodcuts of the 1550 edition. As in this previous edition, the page number on the verso is often repeated on the following recto. Marcolini's engraved portrait after the woodcut portrait of the 1550 edition, signed by Giuseppe Daniotto (1741-1789). Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Spine with six raised bands; gilt title on morocco lettering-piece. Covers slightly soiled and bowed. An immaculate copy. Minimal fingermarks to right corners and margins of a few leaves.

Rare, privately printed eighteenth-century Venetian edition of Marcolini's Sorti, the most celebrated book of fortune games of the Italian Renaissance, and one of the great illustrated books of the sixteenth century. The present work is modeled on the more complete, and revised second edition of 1550, the first having appeared in 1540. It is of especial art historical interest for showing how the gusto of eighteenth-century Venetian engraving 'translated' the illustrations of sixteenth-century woodcuts. This generally shows higher definition of the image owing to the medium when the original was more suggestive and perhaps refined, with a greater degree of realism. The Giardino dei Pensieri of 1784 is one of the first books to be printed in a limited and numbered press run, with only thirty-six copies, of which the present copy is numbered fourteen.

As stated in the title-page, this edition is a larger-format reprint of the 1550 edition, with the exception of the lovely rococo title-page, showing a receding formal garden, and the verso of the final leaf, in which a poem in terza rima allows us to identify the printer (Santini), localize the place of publication (Venice), and infer that the book's illustrator, Giuseppe Daniotto (who signs the portrait of Marcolini), is also responsible for the vignettes. The same verses claim that after the printing of thirty-six copies, the plates perished in the proverbial fire, thus limiting production to an exclusive number. Casali credits the financing of the publication to the Venetian patrician Francesco Savorgnan of Campareggio, a noted bibliophile.

OCLC records a single copy, held at the University of Chicago.

Casali Annali, pp. 176-77; Brunet III, 1408; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 247.

A Tuscan pioneer of Ballooning

248. Henrion, Francesco (fl. 18th century)

Arte Di scorrere a piacere negli Spazi aerei con le Macchine Aereostatiche, di Francesco Henrion Architetto Pittore Consistente nella Copia del Progetto da esso spedito all’Accademia di Scienze, Arti, e Belle Lettere di Lione in Francia In soluzione del Quesito da essa proposto richiedendo con il medesimo La Maniera la più sicura, La meno dispendiosa, e La più Efficace p[er] dirigere a Piacere le Macchine Aereostatiche. Autograph manuscript on paper, in Italian. Florence, 1785.

233x177 mm. I + 38 + I leaves. Complete. Five quires. Collation: 18, 210, 36, 410, 54. Blank: fol. 5/4. Contemporary foliation in the upper outer corner (with errors). Text written in brown ink. Twelve numbered drawings in ink (ten in the text, two as folding plates, 421x291 mm). Contemporary sprinkled calf, over pasteboards. Covers within blind-ruled fillet. Smooth spine, with title vertically lettered in gilt on morocco label. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, green silk bookmark, red edges. A well-preserved manuscript.

An important autograph manuscript by the engineer, architect and mineralogist from Pistoia Francesco Henrion, the most important Italian balloonist of his time.

At the beginning of 1784, only seven months after Joseph and Étienne Montgolfier's first public launch of their ‘globe volant' on 5 June 1783, Henrion launched an 'aerostatic globe' from the Ponte alla Carraia in Florence by releasing a skin-covered frame held over iron filings in a solution of sulphuric acid. Henrion's launch “initiated a frenzy of ascensions in Tuscany including one on 1 February 1784 that 'rose to a great height' but 'caught fire and came down immediately'. This, along with other accidents, led the Grand Duke of Tuscan to issue an edict on 13 April 1784 forbidding such activities in his territory” (M. L. Lynn, The Sublime Invention: Ballooning in Europe, 1783-1820, p. 16).

The present manuscript contains a detailed description, in twelve articoli (or chapters), of this 'macchina areostatica', which Henrion wrote in 1785 in an attempt to win the 1,200-livres prize offered by the Académie des Sciences, Arts et Belles Lettres in Lyon for an essay illustrating the most efficacious and least expensive manner of steering balloons.

The Bibliotèque municipale de Lyon owns the manuscript that Henrion sent to the Lyon Academy (Ms PA 231; cf. Delandine, Manuscripts de la Bibliothèque de Lyon, no. 1233, “Ce manuscrit d'une belle écriture [...] fut adressé à l'Académie de Lyon qui avoit proposé, en 1785, un prix sur ce sujet, et il forma le n. 99 du concours”). The Lyon manuscript is also divided into twelve chapters but contains only ten drawings, while the one offered here includes two additional ones.

Furthermore, on fol. 9r of the present manuscript Henrion left a blank space for inserting a portrait of 'Signor de Mongolfier', which was never realised by the author. Instead, he added a pencilled note 'In questo spazio deve esservi il ritratto di Mongolfier da me tralasciato p[er] non averlo'.

The manuscript described here – and presented by Henrion as a copy of the 'project' sent to the Lyon Academy – is therefore of the greatest importance and value for its inclusion of two additional drawings. It is quite possible that Henrion made a copy of the text sent to the 'Signori Componenti della rispettabile Accademia' (fol. 37v) for his patron, Pietro Leopoldo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Gazzetta Toscana, vol. 19, Firenze 1784, p. 35; A.-F. Delandine, Manuscrits de la Bibliothèque de Lyon, Lyon 1812, III, no. 1233; E. Crochane, Tradition and Enlightenment in the Tuscan Academies 1690-1800, Chicago 1961, p. 149; L.T.C. Rolt, The Aeronauts: A History of Ballooning, 1783-1903, New York 1966; R. Abate, Storia della areonautica italiana, Milano 1974; C. G. Gillespie, The Montgolfier Brothers and the Invention of Aviation: 1783-1184, Princeton, NJ 1983; J. Christopher, Riding the Jetstream: The Story of Ballooning from Montgolfier to Breitling, London 2001; D. Arecco, Mongolfiere, scienze e lumi nel tardo Settecento, Bari 2003 (esp. pp. 179-183); M. R. Lynn, The Sublime Invention: Ballooning in Europe, 1783-1820, London 2010; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 248.

With an early bibliography on artificial memory and the game of chess

262. Cancellieri, Francesco (1751-1826)

Dissertazione... intorno agli uomini dotati di gran memoria ed a quelli divenuti smemorati. Con un’Appendice delle Biblioteche degli scrittori, sopra gli eruditi precoci, la memoria artificiale, l’arte di scegliere e di notare, ed il giuoco degli scacchi. Francesco Bourlie, 1815.

8° (193x105 mm). XI, [1], 168 pages. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine. A very good, uncut copy. Minor foxing in places, the lower blank margin of the title-page slightly soiled. A few pencilled bibliographical notes on the rear pastedown.

Provenance: Marco Mazzoni (ownership inscription on the title-page).

First and only edition of this curious work by the Roman Jesuit Francesco Cancellieri. After the suppression of the Order, Cancellieri became librarian to Cardinal Leonardo Antonelli (1730-1811), whose library was at the Palazzo Pamphili in Piazza Navona, a post he held until the Cardinal's death. In addition to this position, Cancellieri was also superintendent of the Propaganda printing press.

The first, and by far longest, part of the work is devoted to men and women with exceptional memories – people who were able to memorise the entire Bible, like the Italian humanist Isotta Nogarola, or, in general, people who have displayed extraordinary mnemonic capacities: famous philosophers, historians, and poets are quoted here, including, among others, Onofrio Panvinio, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Torquato Tasso, and Ludovico Antonio Muratori, to mention only a few. The second part deals with precocious, learned men like Ermolao Barbaro and Giacomo Leopardi, who was able to learn Greek without a teacher at the age of sixteen. Two bibliographical appendices follow, one on artificial memory, the other on the game of chess. The last part relates to people who have lost their memory owing to age, disease, or trauma (which, in Malebranche's case, was also a means of recovering it).

A. Chicco - A. Sanvito, Lineamenti di una bibliografia italiana degli scacchi in Italia, Roma 1987, 138; Young 57; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 262.

In original printed boards

267. Fröbel, Friedrich Wilhelm August (1782-1852)

Die Menschenerziehung, die Erziehungs-, Unterrichts- und Lehrkunst, angestrebt in der allgemeinen deutschen Erziehungsanstalt zu Keilhau.... Keilhau, Verlag der allgemeinen deutschen Erziehungsanstalt; Leipzig, A. Wienbrack, 1826.

8° (208x127 mm). [4], 497, [1] pages, plus one final leaf bearing a list of Fröbel's writing up to that date. Original printed boards. The explanatory notes of the two vignettes – 'Die Lilie im Garten' and 'Jesus im Tempel' – at the centre of the covers are pasted on the front and rear flyleaves. A very good copy, only slightly browned.

Provenance: Fröbel's friend and collaborator at Keilhau, Johann Heinrich Langethal (1792-1879; ownership inscription on the verso of the front flyleaf).

Rare first edition of Fröbel's first major work. Perhaps even more than Wie Gertrud ihre Kinder lehrte (1801) by Pestalozzi, who deeply influenced Fröbel, Die Menschenerziehung represents a milestone of modern pedagogical thought, and had an enormous impact on such later educators as Peter Petersen, Hermann Lietz, Maria Montessori, and John Dewey.

In 1816 Fröbel started his first school in the small village of Griesheim (in Hesse, Germany). A year later, the school moved a few miles away to another village, Keilhau, where his friends Wilhelm Middendorff and Johann Heinrich Langethal – the owner of the present copy – joined him to work as teachers. The number of pupils at the school soon grew, and more teachers were recruited. While at Keilhau, Fröbel had begun to publish his ideas in a weekly journal called Die erziehenden Familien, and in 1826 he privately published his Die Menschenerziehung.

The work outlines Fröbel's teaching methods and embodies a theory of education based on the principles of 'wholeness' (a child must be in harmony with nature and society), and 'activity' (in the sense that thinking and doing through play, learning, and work are the basis for a fully conscious and happy life for the individual and for society). The Prussian authorities were not enthusiastic about this eccentric man and his 'dangerous' ideas, and decided to investigate the practices at the school. Parents started removing their children; when finally only six students remained, the school had to be closed down. This, however, was not the end of Fröbel's career as school director; on the contrary, it marked only its beginning.

The present copy had once belonged to Johann Heinrich Langethal, one of Fröbel's closest collaborators at Keilhau. Born in Berlin, he first met Fröbel in 1813, and in 1817 he was among the founders of the Keilhau School.

H. Heiland, Bibliographie Friedrich Fröbel, Hildesheim-Zürich-New York, 1990, no. 0023; S. Hebenstreit, Friedrich Fröbel - Menschenbild, Kindergartenpädagogik, Spielförderung, Jena 2003; M. Berger, “Langethal, Johann Heinrich”, F. Marwinski (ed.), Lebenswege in Thüringen, Fünfte Sammlung, Jena 2015, pp. 171-176; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 267.

The Leonardo of our time — Pablo Picasso

284. Munari, Bruno (1907-1998)

Le macchine. Einaudi, 1942.

4° (283x210 mm). [32] pages. Fifteen full-page coloured plates showing 'useless machines'. Editor's illustrated cardboard, spine covered in black cloth, black-and-white author's portrait on the front pastedown. A very good copy.

Provenance: given by the author to the Italian architect Carlo Paccagnini (see Munari's autograph dedication to on the front pastedown: “Caro Paccagnini, ti regalo l'apparecchio per sostenere la testa del cane stanco, puoi fartene pure uno di ferro (da Crespi) e tenerlo in casa tua. Ciao. Munari” ('Dear Paccagnini, I give you as a present a device to sustain the head of the tired dog, you can also have it made in iron (by Crespi) and keep it at home. Bye. Munari').

First edition of Munari's most important artist book, a brilliant re-use of those 'useless machines' invented by the American cartoonist Rube Goldberg (1883-1970). The definition 'useless machines' indicates machines, made up of various movable parts, which are unable to produce expendable goods and do not increase resources. Munari, inspired by Goldberg's comics, began to draw these humorous machines during his student period to make his friends laugh. Some of these 'useless machines' are: a Machine to tame alarm clocks, a Mechanism to smell artificial flowers, an automatic Gauge of cooking time of boiled eggs, a Device to foresee the aurora, and an Apparatus to make hiccup music.

Bruno Munari is one of the most successful and prolific twentieth century Italian artists and designers. With his fundamental contributions to the visual arts in painting, sculpture, film, and industrial and graphic design (in modernism, futurism, and concrete art), as well as to non-visual arts with his ground-breaking research into games, didactic methods, tactile and kinaesthetic learning, and creativity, Munari became known worldwide as a true design legend. Called by Picasso 'the Leonardo of our time', Munari considered the book the best medium to communicate his visual ideas, showcase his art, and convey his creative spirit: he produced over sixty publications, ranging from design manuals and manifestos to visionary tactile children's books.

Munari's Le macchine appeared in the Einaudis' series “Libri per l'infanzia e la gioventù”, the press run for which is unknown. This copy was given as a gift by the author to the architect and friend Carlo Paccagnini, who was one of the participants to the Movimento per l'Arte Concreta (Concrete Art Movement) or MAC, the artistic movement formed in Milan in 1948 by, among others, Munari and the critic Gillo Dorfles.

G. Maffei, Munari: i libri, Mantova 2007, p. 56; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 284.

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