Volume II: The 16th Century Philobiblon

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

The Mendoza Binder for the ambassador Benedetto Curzi

32. Navagero, Andrea (1483-1529)

Orationes duae, carminaque nonnulla. Giovanni Tacuino, 12 March 1530.

Folio (283x198 mm). Collation: [π]2, a-b4, c2, d-f4, g2, h-k4, l6. [2], XLI, [1] leaves. Complete with the last blank leaf. Roman type. Woodcut vignette on the title-page, depicting a river god with the inscription 'NAVCELVS'. Two fine woodcut four-line initials on fols. a1r and d1r. Contemporary Venetian binding executed by the Mendoza Binder (Andrea di Lorenzo). Olive morocco, over pasteboards. Line borders in gilt and blind, undulating panel on sides, and foliate cornerpieces. Central roundel in gilt containing, on the upper cover, a flaming urn tool, and a foliate tool on the lower one. Author's name 'AND. NAVAGERIVS' lettered in upper border and owner's name 'BENEDICTVS CVRITVS' in lower portion on both covers. Holes for four pairs of ties. Spine with three double bands decorated with a gilt line alternating with four single bands decorated with gilt diagonals; compartments tooled in blind between multiple blind lines. Edges gilt and gauffered with a repeating motif between dotted line borders. Covers slightly scuffed, loss at the head and tail of the spine. In a modern green cloth solander box. A very fine copy, a few light marginal stains and tiny wormholes, not affecting text. On the rear pastedown early inked price notice, and a few pencilled bibliographical annotations.

Provenance: the nobleman from Pavia Benedetto Curzi, ambassador to Venice of Francesco II Sforza (name lettered on the covers, 'BENEDICTVS CVRTIVS'); Alessandro Monti (ownership inscription on the title-page 'est Alexandri Montij'); given in 1774 by Marchese Giorgio Porro Carcano (1729-1790) to Conte Giovanbattista Giovio (1748-1814; ownership inscription on the recto of the front flyleaf, 'Comitis Jo. Baptistae Jovii Ex Dono Marchionis Georgii Porri Carcani. 1774'); sale Hoepli 1893 (see Manoscritti, incunaboli ed edizioni rare dei Giunti, Aldi, Gioliti... della prima metà del secolo xvi in gran parte dalle bibliotheche Giovio di Como e Cavriani di Mantova, Milano 1893); sale Christie's Rome, 17 February 1997 (with other books from the Giovio family library, lot 120); Michel Wittock (ex-libris on the front pastedown; The Michel Wittock Collection. Part i: Important Renaissance Bookbindings, Christie's London 2004, lot 85).

A very fine copy, in its original deluxe binding, of the collected orations and poems of Andrea Navagero, librarian of the Biblioteca Marciana, official historian of the Venetian Republic, ambassador to the French court at Blois, and close friend and collaborator with Aldus Manutius, for whom he edited writings by Cicero as well as other Latin classics. The collection of his orations and poems – including Navagero's famous Lusus – was published posthumously by his friends a few months after his sudden death, as the colophon statement 'IMPRESSVM VENETIIS AMICORVM CVRA QVAM POTVIT FIERI DILIGENTER' attests. The volume circulated in only a few copies, and among the original owners of this semi-private publication were other great Renaissance book collectors such as Jean Grolier and Giovanni Battista Grimaldi. Soon after, in April 1530, Navagero's Orationes was re-issued in Paris, and the printer Jean Petit mentions the Venetian volume as a private publication, “impressum Venetiis primum amicorum cura.”

The copy is presented here in a precious binding executed by the skilled crafstman Andrea di Lorenzo, active in Venice between 1518 and 1555 and called by Hobson the 'Mendoza Binder' after his chief client, the Spanish ambassador in Venice, Diego Hurtago de Mendoza. His distinguished clientele included numerous other Renaissance bibliophiles, members of the Venetian elite, wealthy patrons of the arts, and diplomats active in the Serenissima, as in the case of this copy, which bears on its covers the name of Benedetto Curzi from Pavia, ambassador to Venice of Francesco II Sforza, Duke of Milan. “It has been suggested that Benedictus Curtius, the owner of this copy, was the Lyonese book-collector, Benoît Le Court. It is true that his name was Latinised as 'Benedictus Curtius', but he is not known to have visited Italy or to have been acquainted with the Venetian humanists who edited the book; all his bindings are French and this copy does not appear ever to have left Italy” (Hobson-Culot, Italian and French 16th-Century Bookbindings, p. 15).

Adams N-94; STC Italian 462; Hobson, Apollo and Pegasus, no. 82; Cinc siècles d'ornements, no. 9; Hobson, Renaissance Book Collecting, app. 5, no. 136; Hobson-Culot, Italian and French 16th-Century Bookbindings, no. 2 (this copy); Musea Nostra, p. 22; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 86.

A bibliographical puzzle

33. Castiglione, Baldassarre (1478-1529)

Il libro del cortegiano del conte Baldesar Gastiglione [sic]. Florence, Benedetto Giunti, 1531 [probably Rome, 1537].

8° (155x96 mm). Collation: A-Z8, AA-BB8. 200 leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page and on the verso of the last leaf. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary limp vellum with yapp edges. Traces of ties, title inked by a contemporary hand on the tail-edge. Smooth spine, with inked title. A good copy, title-page slightly soiled, foxing in places; a few spots, stains, and fingermarks. Loss to the upper outer corner of the front flyleaf. minor wear to the upper board-edge and joint, a few stains. The price notice '2:10' inked by an early hand on the title-page. Some maniculae, and reading marks. Pencilled bibliographical annotations on the pastedowns and flyleaves.

Provenance: 'Joanne Caligario' (ownership inscription on fol. A2r, possibly Giovanni Andrea Calegari (1527-1613), Bishop of Bertinoro, and secretary to the Nuncio in Poland).

The extremely rare Cortegiano bearing the colophon 'In Firenze per Benedetto Giunti MDXXXI', and the misspelling of Castiglione – printed as 'Gastiglione' – on the title-page: a fascinating case study for bibliographers.

The first edition of the famous treatise by Castiglione was published by the Aldine press in April 1528 (see no. 80). The first Giuntina appeared a few months later, in October. Second and third editions were issued by the printing house run by the heirs of Filippo Giunta – his sons Bernardo, Giovanni, Benedetto, and Francesco – in April 1529 and April 1531, respectively. The Giuntina press subsequently “entered a severe decline [...] following the fall of the Republic, although the firm continued in its bookselling and stationery business” (Pettas, The Giunti of Florence, p. 43). Benedetto Giunti was admitted to the stationer's guild on 15 October 1532, and his activity as an independent printer started officially in 1533, after the return of political stability in Florence. Five books were published in 1533; however, Benedetto's activity ceased until 1536/37, mainly owing to financial difficulties.

The present edition is the only known publication pre-dating 1533 to feature his name as a printer, although it is generally believed that the Cortegiano might have been printed – as Camerini has suggested – in 1537, possibly in Rome. The colophon bears the fictitious imprint 'Florence 1531', suggesting an intent to show the Giunti press was still active in the city, despite the unfavourable political situation. This edition is apparently a reprint of the aforementioned Cortegiano, actually printed in 1531 by the heirs of Filippo Giunta, along with some relevant variants such as the misspelling of Castiglione as 'Gastiglione' on the title-page, and the use of a different printer's device. Further, there are two groups of four leaves in which the setting of type is different, including on the title-page and colophon: fols. A1, A4, A5, A8, 2B2, 2B3, 2B7, and 2B8.

The paper used throughout is watermarked with an anchor inscribed within a circle, a watermark frequently found in paper from Veneto.

In his correspondence with the British Library (which also preserves a copy of the rare Cortegiano bearing the colophon 'In Firenze per Benedetto Giunti MDXXXI'), Conor Fahy suggested this mysterious edition might have been printed in Venice, where Benedetto's brother, Bernardo Giunti had moved in 1533/34. In 1537, an edition of the Cortegiano was 'really' printed in Florence, in which the misprint 'Gastiglione' on the title-page is corrected.

Camerini Annali 236; Pettas 235-236; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 87.

Dante’s influence on Hebrew literature

35. ‘Immanu’el ben Šhelomoh (ca. 1261-ca. 1332)

צמנאל מחברת ספר [Sefer Machbaroth ‘Immanu‘el. Hebrew]. Eli‘ezer ben Geršom Soncino, 1535.

4° (200x145 mm). Collation: 1-394. [156] leaves. Text in Hebrew. Title-page within woodcut architectural border (frame slightly trimmed). Early twentieth-century brown morocco, over pasteboards. Covers blind tooled in antique style. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves. A good copy. Some repairs to the title-page, fol. [148] stained, light waterstaining and foxing on a few leaves. Manuscript notes in Hebrew on the title-page and verso of last leaf, censor's signature on recto of last leaf, dated 1597.

Second edition – the first with vocalic punctuation – of this important literary work, first published in Brescia in 1491 by Gershom Soncino, the greatest pioneer of Hebrew printing; the elder Soncino was active in various Italian towns from the late fifteenth century until 1527, when he was forced to flee to Salonika, part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1530, the Soncinos moved to Constantinople and four years later Gershom passed away; his son, Eli‘ezer, continued the business until 1547, issuing at least twenty-eight editions of this signal work.

The Sefer Machbaroth is a composite text divided into twenty-eight chapters that alternate between prose and verse. It was written by the poet 'Immanu‘el ben Šhelomoh, or Immanuel the Jew, known in Italian as Manoello Giudeo. Born in Rome, he lived in numerous towns in central Italy, including Perugia, Fabriano, Fermo, and Camerino, as well as in Verona, while Dante was still living there. The last part of the work contains the short poem Ha-Tofet ve-ha-Eden ('The Hell and Paradise'), an account of the author's journey through Hell and Paradise; the influence of Dante's poem is evident, and numerous episodes from the Commedia would seem to have served as a model.

Adams I-51; Habermann, Soncino 2, p. 83; CB 5269/2; Vinograd II, 153; A. Yaari, Hebrew Printing at Constantinople, Jerusalem 1967, 119. Zedner 324; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 89.

An ‘Apollo and Pegasus’ binding

36. Pindarus (518-after 446 BC)

Pindari Poetae vetustissimi, Lyricorum facile principis, Olympia Pythia Nemea Isthmia. per Joan. Lonicerum Latinitate donata: adhibits enarrationibus, è Graecis Scholijs, & doctissimis utriusque linguae autoribus desumptis.... Andreas Cratander, 1535.

4° (214x135 mm). Collation: α6, A-Z4, a-z4, Aa-Mm4, Nn6. [12], 458, [18] pages. Greek, italic, and roman type. Woodcut printer's devices on the title-page, and verso of the last leaf. Woodcut animated and decorated initials. Roman binding executed between 1545-1547 by Niccolò Franzese for Giovanni Battista Grimaldi. Gold- and blind-tooled dark brown morocco, over pasteboards. Covers panelled with interlocking central lozenge containing the horizontal plaquette of Apollo driving the sun chariot towards Parnassus, upon which Pegasus is standing. Traces of gold and green paint on the plaquette. The motto 'ορθοσ και μη λοξιωσ' is tooled around it. The title 'PIN/DARVS/POETA' is gilt lettered on the upper part of both covers. Spine with three double bands, decorated with a gilt line, alternating with four single bands, decorated with short gilt diagonals. A small foliate tool alternately vertical and in horizontal in the compartments. Gilt edges. Headbands renewed, expert repairs at spine extremities, joints and corners. In a modern brown cloth solander box. A very fine copy, light browning and spotting, repaired neat tear in on one leaf, tiny marginal hole in the final two leaves, a paper flaw to the lower blank margin of fol. t2. Flyleaves slightly wormed. The number '679' inked on the lower margin of the title-page.

Provenance: Giovanni Battista Grimaldi (ca. 1524-ca. 1612; binding); Libreria Ulisse Franchi (sale Florence 8 April 1902, lot 450); the exiled Russian aristocrat Jacques de Zoubaloff (1876-1941); L. A. Barbet (inked ownership inscription on the upper outer corner of the title-page, 'A Barbet 300 c'; see Catalogue de la bibliothèque de feu M. L.-A. Barbet. Première partie, Paris 1932, lot 127, 'Precieux exemplaire portant au centre de chaque plat l'emblème [...] qu'on a longtemps cru être celui de Demetrio Canevari, médecin du pape Urbain VII, mais qui est celui du Duc Pier-Luigi Farnèse, fils du pape Paul III'); the Italian art historian Federico Gentili di Giuseppe (1868-1940); by descent to his daughter Adriana R. Salem, Paris (ex-libris with initials A.R.S. on the front pastedown); sale Sotheby's, 31 October 1977, lot 52); to the London bookseller H. D. Lyon (1917-2004; his notes); Michel Wittock (ex-libris on the front pastedown; see The Michel Wittock Collection. Part I: Important Renaissance Bookbindings, Christie's London 2004, lot 92).

A marvellous example of an 'Apollo and Pegasus' binding: the copy of the second Latin edition of Pindarus' works, bound in about 1545-47 by Niccolò Franzese for the banker Giovanni Battista Grimaldi, from one of the great and wealthy patrician families of Genoa. Anthony Hobson identified three binders in Rome who were engaged by Grimaldi: Maestro Luigi, Niccolò Franzese, and Marcantonio Guillery. Niccolò Franzese was the most innovative among them.

As indicated by his name, Nicolò Franzese – the binder responsible for the Pindar presented here – was a Frenchman by origin, born Nicolas Fery of Rheims. He probably settled in Rome as early as 1526. The cardinal-librarian Marcello Cervini employed him at the Vatican Library from 1549 to 1554, and in 1556 he was appointed Vatican Binder. He worked in Rome for the papal court and other high-profile clients from 1542 until his death in 1570-71.

The covers are panelled with a central lozenge containing the celebrated medallion showing Apollo driving the chariot of the sun towards Mount Parnassus, upon which Pegasus is standing with the Greek motto 'ορθοσ και μη λοξιωσ' ('straight and not crooked') lettered around him. This device, or impresa, is a celebration of virtù, and was invented for Grimaldi by the Sienese humanist and secretary of Pier Luigi Farnese, Claudio Tolomei (1492-1556). Tolomei was further tasked with procuring, for Grimaldi, a 'complete library' – or libreria finita – of about two hundred volumes, in order to further his education. “The choice was to be a balanced one between modern and ancient literature, but Greek poetry, since Grimaldi did not know the language, was provided in Latin translation. This dichotomy, or balance, was given visible expression in the bindings: works in modern languages were to be bound in red morocco, those in classical languages in various shades of green or brown. The library, of about 200 works or volumes, took two years to assemble [...] The task of binding was shared out between three booksellers/binders, who presumably supplied the books as well as providing the gold-tooled morocco covers” (Hobson-Culot, Italian and French 16th-Century Bookbindings, p. 23).

Great collectors have always paid particularly close attention to these precious bindings – stamped for Grimaldi with the distinctive Apollo and Pegasus – owing as much to the quality of their materials and manufacture as to their rarity. Their renown even led to at least two – and possibly more – nineteenth- and twentieth-century binders producing forged or faked Apollo and Pegasus plaquettes, often using sixteenth-century bindings (see no. 118). Anthony Hobson has located 144 true bindings tooled with this medallion plaquette, all of exceptional value: the copy of Pindar presented here is included in his census.

VD16 P-2798; G. D. Hobson, Maioli, no. CII; De Marinis, Legatura artistica in Italia, I, no. 763; Hobson, Apollo and Pegasus, no. 97; Cinq siècles d'ornements, no. 1; Hobson-Culot, Italian and French 16th-Century Bookbindings, no. 5 (all mentioning this copy); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 90.

The Dee-Winthrop copy of Apollonius of Perga

37. Apollonius Pergaeus (late 3rd century BC - early 2nd century BC)

Apollonii Pergei Philosophi, Mathematicique excellentissimi Opera. Per Doctissimum Philosophum Ioannem Baptistam Memum Patritium Venetum, Mathematicharum Artium in Urbe Veneta Lectorem Publicum. De Graeco in Latinum Traducta, & Nouiter Impressa.... Bernardino Bindoni for Giambattista Memmo, 1537.

Folio (303x203 mm). Collation: a-p6. 89 of 90 leaves, lacking the final blank. Roman and italic type. Title-page printed in red and black, within a four-sided border of six different woodblocks, depicting a series of philosophers, poets, and scientists from Antiquity; in the lower panel an enclosed garden with fountains. On the title-page woodcut depiction of the author with his mathematical attributes on a landscape ground. Woodcut vignette, depicting an enthroned pope, with the letters '.S.' and '.P.', on fol. P5v; numerous woodcut diagrams in text. Contemporary Louvain binding of blind-panelled polish fawn calf, over pasteboards. Covers within a frame of blind fillets, with small floral tools in gilt at each outer corner. Central blind fillet-lozenge, a small rampant lion-shape tool in gilt at each outer corner, gilt crowned imperial double-headed eagle at the centre. Spine with five small raised bands, gilt fleur-de-lis and dolphin alternately tooled in compartments. Front pastedown is a fragment of a twelfth-century vellum manuscript on divination in a late-Carolingian hand, rear pastedown is a fragment of a thirteenth-century vellum manuscript Evangeliary in an early Gothic hand with musical notation. Corners worn, spine defective at head and foot, front cover almost detached. In a modern half-brown morocco box, on the spine 'APOLLONIUS OF PERGA DEE-WINTHORP COPY' in gilt on red morocco lettering-piece, and the imprint 'VENICE 1537'. A good copy, the first two leaves slightly browned, a few fingermarks. Some pencilled bibliographical notes on the pastedowns and recto of front flyleaf.

Provenance: the philosopher, mathematician, and astrologer John Dee (1527-1608; his ownership inscription dated 1549 on the title-page, 'Joannes Deeus: Anglus: 1549.', some marginal notes and underlining, autograph table on flyleaf of Ramist systematization of the mathematics in Apollonius, Archimedes, and Eutocius of Ascalon); John Winthrop, Jr. (1606-1676), son of the Massachusetts Bay Colony's first governor, physician, governor of Connecticut colony (ownership signature dated 1631 'John Winthrop. 1631.', and his sigil, the hieroglyphic monad invented by Dee, on the title-page; another ownership inscription on the recto of the front flyleaf, 'Winthropi', combined with a smaller monad symbol); by descent to Waitstill Winthrop (1642-1717) son of John, Jr., chief justice of Massachusetts (signature on the recto of the front flyleaf); Frederick Winthrop of New York (ownership entry dated 18 May 1812 on title-page, 'Fred.k Winthrop New York May 18.th 1812); Robert Charles Winthrop (1809-1894, Speaker of the House, senator from Massachusetts); Charles Fraser (presentation inscription on the flyleaf 'Washington, May, 1850'); Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, acquired from Goodspeed's Book Shop, 1975 (inked note on the recto of the front flyleaf '75-46-14'; ex-libris on recto of front flyleaf; see The Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, Christie's New York 2013, lot 33).

An extraordinary association copy, the rare first Latin edition of the first four books of the famous Apollonius of Perga's Conics, once belonging to the philosopher, mathematician, astrologer, and book collector John Dee (1527-1608), one of the most intriguing and enigmatic figures of the Elizabethan age. After Dee's death, the volume was acquired, in 1631, by John Winthrop Jr. (1606-1676), who in the same year crossed the ocean and brought his notable scientific library to Massachusetts Bay, including the Apollonius with the celebrated hieroglyphic monad invented by John Dee. This is the first recorded scientific book to reach the New World, and among the earliest books with an American provenance.

Apollonius' fame rests on the Κωνικά (Conics), the only work of Greek mathematics to rival in importance those of Euclid and Archimedes. Conics investigates the generation and mathematical properties of conic sections, and introduces the terms parabola, ellipse, and hyperbola. Originally in eight books, the first four books survive in Greek, while Books V-VII survive only in the Arabic version (later translated into Latin by Abraham Ecchellensis, and published in 1661), and Book VIII is lost. The editio princeps appeared only in 1710, edited by Edmund Halley. Conics became the canonical treatise on this subject. Held in such high esteem, it was commented on by the most eminent mathematicians of the seventeenth century, including Pierre de Fermat and Isaac Newton.

Another critical historical figure to hold Apollonius in such high esteem was the first owner of the present copy: the famous philosopher, mathematician, and astrologer John Dee.

Dee was born in London and studied at St. John College, Cambridge. In 1546 he was nominated to be one of the original fellows of Trinity College. In 1547 he travelled briefly to Louvain; upon his return to England he brought with him astronomical instruments devised by Gemma Frisius along with two globes constructed by Gerard Mercator. In 1548 Dee obtained his M.A.; that summer he went again to Louvain, where he resided until July 1550, furthering his mathematical studies with Frisius, Mercator, and Abraham Ortelius, and conferring with fellow scholars. During this time he also bought other scientific instruments and numerous scientific books, including this copy of Apollonius' Conics, which he acquired in 1549.

In 1550 Dee lectured on Euclid in Paris, and upon his return in 1551 he became one of the most influential figures of the Elizabethan court. In 1583 he embarked on a six-year journey in Eastern Europe, visiting Poland, in Bohemia and probably in Prague. When he returned to England in 1589, his important position at the court could not be restored. In 1596 he accepted the office of warden of a college in Manchester, and about 1605 returned in his house at Mortlake (London), where he died in great poverty in 1608.

Like Dee's Hermetic philosophy, his sigil – the Monas – is well known. An intricate symbol devised by Dee, the Monas condenses his mystical cosmogony and contains within it the symbols of all the planets and metals. While much of his activity was devoted to Hermetic magic and occult philosophy, including spiritual conversations with angels and spirits, the definition or the myth of the Magus cannot encompass the wealth of his manifold thought and work.

Dee was indeed not only an eccentric Hermetic philosopher or a reincarnation of Merlin at the Elizabethan court, but also a reputed mathematician, and his work bears witness to these broad and deep scientific interests. Thus, beyond the cabalistic, the same monad is also imbued with geometrical and arithmetical significance, as Dee argues in his manifesto Monas hieroglyphica (1564), in which he offers a construction of the monad symbol as a mathematical proof.

Dee's library – the Bibliotheca Mortlacensis, containing over 3,000 manuscripts and printed books – was at that time the largest in Renaissance England, and was at the disposal of his circle of friends, students, scholars, and statesmen. As evinced by the surviving inventory, which he compiled himself in 1583, Dee had collected the most prominent works on mathematics, astronomy, mechanics, optics, cartography, technology, and military and naval sciences, counting among them the Conics: “Apollonij Pergaei Conica latine fo. Ven. 1537” (John Dee's Library Catalogue, no. 74).

As soon as Dee departed for Poland in 1583, his house in Mortlake was raided – probably by his pupils – and many books, scientific instruments, and natural wonders were stolen. When he returned to England, he was forced to sell many of his books to stave off his increasing poverty, and the remaining volumes were finally dispersed upon his death. The volumes that have survived are now located in institutional and private collections in three continents; they are identified by his ownership inscriptions on the title-page, and also often thanks to his additional signs, underlining, extensive marginalia, and fuller notes written – as in the present example – either on pastedowns or flyleaves, or at the end of the volumes, these inclusions being central to the study of his scientific activities.

The American provenance of this copy, which was acquired in 1631 by John Winthrop the Younger, a cosmopolitan intellectual, one of the most important men in colonial English America, and the first colonial fellow of the Royal Society, is equally remarkable. In the 1620s Winthrop began to study natural philosophy and alchemy, becoming an enthusiastic follower of John Dee. He was a passionate collector of manuscripts and books associated with Dee, and used the hieroglyphic monad as his personal mark. It is through Winthrop that John Dee's name, work and influence spread to Puritan New England; in fact, exactly in 1631 Winthrop left for America, following his father, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, bringing with him his considerable scientific library. “Winthrop began to display a special affinity for the English alchemist John Dee. Dee [...] had a special interest in scientific exploration of the New World. He had given instruction and advice to pilots and navigators conducting exploratory voyages to North America. He also conjured angels to ask them of the success of a colony he proposed to establish there, which he intended to call Atlantis” (W.W. Woodward, Prospero's America, p. 33).

Winthrop's library became the largest in the colonies. In 1812 his descendants distributed the collection to Harvard, Yale, and other institutions; the New York Society Library received 290 volumes, including at least two with the Dee provenance (Paracelsus and Gerard Dorn), but Frederick Winthrop evidently decided to retain for himself Dee's Apollonius.

[Prof. Anthony Grafton of Princeton University, who has recently studied the Dee/Winthrop books held at the New York Society Library, has prepared a full report on the present copy, which is available upon request]

STC Italian 34; Dibner 101; Stillwell Awakening, 139; Hoffmann I, p. 205; Essling 667-668; Sander 480; J.O. Halliwell (ed.), The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee, and the Catalogue of his Library of Manuscripts, London 1842; P. French, John Dee. The World of an Elizabethan Magus, London 1972; F. A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age, London 1979, pp. 75-108; N.H. Clulee, John Dee's Natural Philosophy. Between Science and Religion, London 1988; J. Roberts - A. G. Watson, John Dee's Library Catalogue, London 1990; W. H. Sherman, John Dee. The Politics of Reading and Writing in the English Renaissance, Amherst 1995; S. Wilkinson, “The Alchemical Library of John Winthrop”, Ambix, 13 (1965), pp. 139-186; R. C. Black, The younger John Winthrop, New York 1966; W. W. Woodward, Prospero's America. John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, Chapel Hill, NC 2010; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 91.

Besides Homer, there is Hesiod — Alfred Eckhard Zimmern

38. Hesiodus (fl. 8th-7th century BC)

Ἠσιόδου τοῦ Ἀσκραίου Έργα καὶ Ἠμέραι. Θεογονία. Ἀσρις Ἠρακλέους. Ἄπαντα δὲ μετὰ πολλῶν καὶ καλίστων ἐξηγήσεων. Hesiodi Ascraei Opera et dies. Theogonia. Scutum Herculis.... Bartolomeo Zanetti for Giovanni Francesco Trincavelli, June 1537.

4° (207x147 mm). Collation: †4, α-φ8, ω4. [4], LXXXVIII [i.e. CLXXXVIII] leaves. Greek, roman and italic type. Text in Greek and Latin. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Full-page woodcut depicting farm implements and agricultural tools on fol. ξ8v; two woodcut diagrams on fols. o1v and o4v. On fol. †2r seven-line woodcut decorated initial on black ground, and Byzantine headpiece. Headings, initials and headpiece printed in red on fol. α1r. Nineteenth-century half-calf, marbled covers. Spine with five raised bands, title gilt on lettering-piece. A very good copy; light foxing and browning on the first and last leaves. A few contemporary marginal annotations in Greek.

Provenance: 'Gerardi Cerfolii' (Gérard Cerfaux? Ownership inscription on the title-page).

First edition of Hesiod's complete works, containing a first-edition series of Byzantine Scholia, including those by the grammarian Ioannes Tzetze and the Allegoriae in Theogoniam by Ioannes Galenos Diakonos. The Venetian physician and humanist Vittore Trincavelli (1496-1568) was responsible for the edition. A Greek scholar, Trincavelli collaborated exclusively with Bartolomeo Zanetti, from Casterzago (Brescia), editing at least nine Greek editiones principes.

The volume is finely printed, and decorated with woodcut initials and headpieces in Byzantine style, all previously used by renowned Venetian printers Nikolaos Vlastos and Zacharias Kallierges.

The Opera et dies was first printed in Milan in 1480 by Bonus Accursius, whereas the Theogonia and the Scutum Herculis first appeared in the Theocritus issued by the Aldine press in 1495/96. For the commentaries appended to Hesiod's texts, Trincavelli mainly used manuscripts preserved in the Library of San Marco in Venice. The Hesiod of 1537 – dedicated to Florentine philologist Pietro Vettori – was long considered most correct and served as a model for many subsequent editions.

Adams H-470; STC Italian 326; Mortimer Italian, 233; M. Sicherl, Die griechischen Erstausgaben des Vettore Trincavelli, Paderborn 1993, pp. 68-73; Hoffmann II, p. 248; Layton, The Sixteenth Century Greek Book in Italy, p. 98; Sander 3380; A. E. Zimmern, The Greek Commonwealth Politics and Economics in Fifthe-Century Athens, Oxford 1931, p. 93; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 92.

The most famous Italian poetess of her age

40. Colonna, Vittoria (1490-1547)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Manzoni-Cavalieri-Martini copy

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for Degli Agostini's continuation, the fourth book was originally published in Venice in 1505 in a lost edition, the fifth book was first published in Venice by Rusconi in 1514. The sixth part was probably first published by Zoppino in 1521, but no copy has survived, and was followed by a 1524 reprint (see no. 72).

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

Renaissance Architecture, printed on blue paper

42. Serlio, Sebastiano (1475-1554)

Il terzo libro... nel qual si figurano, e descrivono le antiquità di Roma, e le altre che sono in Italia, e fuori d’Italia. Venice, Francesco Marcolini, February 1540 (bound with:) Idem. Regole generali di architettura... sopra le cinque maniere de gli edifici, cioe, thoscano, dorico, ionico, corinthio, e composito, con gli essempi de l’antiquita, che per la maggior parte concordano con la dottrina di Vitruvio. Francesco Marcolini, February 1540.

Two works in one volume, folio (342x240 mm). Printed on blue paper. I. Collation: A2, B-V4. CLV, [1] pages. Lacking fols. H1 and H4, probably replaced by the first recorded owner with the leaves from an ordinary copy, and fols. R2 and R3 supplied with two manuscript leaves. Roman and italic type. Title within a cartouche surmounting a woodcut depiction of ancient Roman ruins with the caption 'ROMA QUANTA FUIT IPSA RUINA DOCET'. Woodcut printer's device and colophon framed by a cartouche on the verso of fol. V4. 120 woodcuts, including thirty-two full-page and four double-page blocks. Woodcut animated initials throughout. II. Collation: A-T4. LXXVI leaves. Lacking fol. B1 which is supplied with a manuscript leaf. Roman and italic type. Woodcut architectural title. Woodcut printer's device and colophon framed by a cartouche on the verso of fol. T4. 126 woodcuts, fifty-six full-page illustrations, including six plates on three leaves (fols. S4-T2). Woodcut animated initials throughout. Eighteenth-century brown half-morocco, marbled covers. Spine with title in gilt lettering. A good copy, old paper repairs to the gutter and to outer margin of fols. V2 and V3 of the first edition bound. The lower margin of fol. A4 in the second edition bound has been repaired, some ink stains.

Provenance: Francesco Bartoli (possibly the Bolognese antiquarian (1675-1733); early ownership inscription on the first title-page and the margins of fol. V3 in the first edition bound, as well as fol. A4v of the second one, partially legible under UV lamp). To the skilled hand of this early owner are attributed the drawings that replace the lacking leaves, and the marginalia.

This miscellaneous volume, exceptionally printed on blue paper, contains the first edition of Book III from this fundamental work by the celebrated Bolognese architect Serlio; it is followed by the second edition of Book IV or Regole generali di architettura, which originally appeared in Venice in 1537. The early owner of this volume may be identified as the Bolognese antiquarian Francesco Bartoli (1675-1733), who drew numerous copies of antiques, and played a notable role in the eighteenth-century reception of the classical tradition, especially in Britain. It is also likewise possible to attribute to his hand the finely drawn leaves on white paper which replace those lacking on blue paper.

Serlio's monumental work represents the first treatise on architecture in which the illustrations assumed primary importance, leading it to become one of the most important architectural books to disseminate knowledge of antique heritage and invention during the Italian Renaissance throughout Europe.

The work is made up of seven Books, which were published separately following an order explained by Serlio in Book IV. Book III, on ancient monuments, is dedicated to the King of France, François I, and appeared in Venice in 1540, while Book I and Book II, on geometry and perspective respectively, were published simultaneously in bilingual Italian-French editions in Paris in 1545, after Serlio's move to Fontainebleau. Book V, containing twelve temple designs, followed in 1547; it was the last to be published during Serlio's lifetime, once again in Paris in bilingual version. Book VI, on domestic architecture, was never published, and survives only in two manuscript versions and a series of trial woodcuts. Finally, Book VII was edited posthumously by Jacopo Strada and published in Frankfurt in 1575. By the early seventeenth century Serlio's treatise, and its various parts, had been translated into several languages, some as unauthorised editions.

Book III is especially important, and the layout Serlio adopted for it, with its well-balanced blocks of text and images, was later copied by Palladio in his Quattro Libri dell'Architettura of 1570 (see no. 145). “The first genuine advance in architectural illustration seems to have been made by Serlio, and his Libro Terzo set the type of architectural illustration in Italy for the rest of the Century” (Fowler).

The text and the illustrations were both the result of Serlio's own investigations and derivations from the work of other architects, above all Serlio's master, Baldassare Peruzzi, whom he had assisted on a project for the façade of the Bolognese Basilica of San Petronio in the early 1520s. At the end, Serlio adds a separate treatise on Egyptian antiquities – Trattato di alcune cose meravigliose de l'Egitto – which derives mainly from Diodorus Siculus, which presents among other things a perspectival elevation and a description of the Pyramid of Cheops near Cairo, as well as the description and imaginary reconstruction of a monument containing one hundred columns, the remains of which Serlio states were found in Greece.

Book IV – Regole generali – represents the first handbook to summarize the new architectural style, establishing a canon of the five classical architectural orders on the basis of Roman remains. Like the previous edition described, the work is finely illustrated.

The printer Marcolini issued some copies of his editions of Book III and of Book IV on large blue paper as presentation or special copies. Walters Art Gallery has a copy of each of these, while the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has a copy of Book III only.

I. Mortimer Italian, 472; Berlin Katalog 2560; Fowler 308; RIBA 2968 and 2966; II. Charvet, 2; Fowler 314; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 97.

Renaissance military surgery, complete with the two 'fugitive sheets'

43. Gersdorff, Hans von (ca. 1455-1529)

Feldtbuch der Wund Artzney, sampt vilen Instrumenten der Chirurgey dem Albucasi contrafayt. Chiromantia Jo. Indagine. Das ist, die Kunst der Handtbesehung. Natürliche Astrologey, nach warem Lauff der Sonnen. Physiognomey, uss des Menschens Anblick und Glyderen, sein angeborne Neygung zu erlernen... Wie auch, und wenn sich der Artzney zugebrauchen. Johann Schotten, 3 December 1540.

Three parts in one volume, folio (289x190 mm). Collation: [π]4, a-z4, Aa-Bb4, Cc6; A4, B6; aa4, B-R4, S6. [8], CCX [i.e. CCXII]; XX; CXLV, [3] pages (with errors in numbering). Complete with fol. S6 blank. Gothic type. Woodcut printer's device on fol. S5r. Twenty-four full-page woodcut anatomical and medical illustrations (fols. d4v, f2v, g3v, g4r, h1v, i4r, k4v, l1r, l2v, l3r, l4v, m1v, m2r, m3v, m4r, n2r, n4v, o1r, o4v, q3v, u1r, x2v, x4v, A1r), several illustrations of surgical instruments (fols. A2r-B6v); 36 chiromancy hands (fols. aa2r-H2v), eleven double physiognomic portraits (fols. H3r-K2r); a portrait of Johannes ab Indagine by Hans Baldung Grien dated 1540 (fol. M3v), thirty-three astrological diagrams and allegorical chariots (fols. N1r-R3r). The copy is complete with the two fugitive sheets, featuring two extremely rare folding woodcut plates (382x265 mm) representing an anatomical figure showing internal organs – the 'viscera-manikin' – and a skeleton (see below). Woodcut animated initials. Contemporary blind-tooled half-pigskin, over wooden boards. Spine with three raised bands, inked title on upper cover, traces of clasps. A good copy. Repairs to the margins of the title-page and the final leaves, tiny wormholes on a few leaves, some marginal stains, tear repaired to one of the folding plates, contemporary annotations on the verso of the last leaf and rear pastedown.

First edition of this collection of texts, which includes – along with the German translations of the famous treatise on surgical instruments by Albucasis (Abu al-Qasim Khalaf ibn Abbas al-Zahrawi, 936-1013) and the Chiromantia by Johannes ab Indagine (d. 1537) – Gersdorff's Feldtbuch, the first book to illustrate actual surgical procedures and one of the very first illustrated books on surgery to ever be published. It is arguably the most advanced surgical manual of its time, containing original information on amputations, early anaesthesia, and the treatment of gunshot wounds, all accompanied by the very best surgical illustrations of the period.

The Feldtbuch is the third German-language book on surgery after Heinrich von Pfolsprundt's Buch der Bündth-Ertznei (1460) and Hieronymus Brunschwig's Buch der Cirurgia (1497); it also predates the first French publication in the genre, that of Ambroise Paré, which appeared in 1545. Gersdorff's work was first printed in Strasbourg by Johann Schott in 1517 and was an immediate success. It was reprinted in Strasbourg in 1526, 1528, 1530, and 1535 (all editions in quarto) and was also republished in Augsburg by Heinrich Steiner in 1530 and 1532 (both folio editions).

“The practical nature of Gersdorff's book and its fine illustrations caused it to become very popular and it was frequently referred to, widely quoted and freely plagiarized. The work went through at least twelve editions between the time of its first publication in 1517 and the early seventeenth century. The book also appeared in several Latin and Dutch editions” (Heirs of Hippocrates, 149).

Little is known about the early life of Hans von Gersdorff, one of the most noted German surgeons of the late fifteenth and early sixteen centuries. It is not known how or where he received his education, but it is evident that he was especially well-known for limb amputations, of which he is reputed to have performed at least two hundred. “Gersdorff was a military surgeon who had gained wide experience during the course of some forty years of campaigning and was an expert in the care and treatment of battlefield injuries. His work is divided into four books which treat of anatomy, surgery, leprosy, and glossaries of anatomical terms, diseases, and medications [...] Gersdorff emphasized a well-founded knowledge of anatomy because the surgeon was frequently called upon to deal with extensive bodily trauma. He derived his anatomy primarily from the Arabic authors and works of Guy de Chauliac” (History of Medical Illustration, London 1970, p. 142).

The edition is rightly famous for its numerous woodcut illustrations, many of which are full-page, depicting such operations as trepanations and amputations; surgical techniques such as trephining, bone setting, and traction bandages; and numerous surgical instruments. Counting among these illustrations are the first published depictions of an amputation and brain dissections. Gersdorff invented several surgical instruments, including a tripod screw-elevator for raising depressed skull fragments and machines for reducing fractures and dislocations. The woodcuts are partly attributed to the German artist Johann Ulrich Wächtlin or Wechtlin, who was also known as 'The Master of the Crossed Pilgrim's Staves'.

Of particular interest are the two folding plates, also attributed to Wechtlin, which are not usually found in copies of the present edition. The sheets were published by Johann Schott in Strasbourg in 1517 and included in the first edition of Gersdorff's treatise (likewise published by Schott that same year) as individual fugitive sheets to be hung on walls. They were subsequently adapted to volume form, but never completely lost their original function; presumably many owners of the book preferred to be able to use them separately as opposed to having them sewn in, hence why many copies are now missing the plates.

Numerous variants of the sheets are known; the woodcut never changes but the letter-press component is altered, i.e., the caption titles and the verses below which were reset, sometimes bearing Schott's subscription and device, as in the original version of 1517. The woodcuts are also occasionally surrounded by a typographical frame. Variably titled 'Warhafftige Anatomey der ynneren Glyderen des Menschens' and 'Warhafftige Anatomey der Beyn Glyderen des Menschens', or 'Anatomia corporis Humani 1517” and “Anatomia aller Beynglyder des menschen', the two plates are also found in the 1518 Strasbourg edition of Laurentius Phryesen von Colmar's Spiegel der Artzney, as well as the 1528 and 1530 editions of the Feldtbuch. As these two latter editions were issued in quarto format, the folio sheets found in some copies are lacking the verses underneath the image as they were removed to better fit the smaller size.

The 'viscera-manikin' plate shows part of a male figure, from the head to below the knees, with a wide piece of cloth strewn over the thighs, and the thoracic and abdominal cavities dissected; there are also seven accessory figures, the brain, cranial cavity, and tongue, with engraved German designations on the plate. At the top, above the head, is engraved the inscription 'Anatomia corporis Humani 1517'. Below the plate are typeset verses in German and the statement 'Gedruckt zu Strassburg durch Joannem Schott'.

The second fugitive sheet shows a skeleton in frontal view with the head slightly turned to the right and arms hanging down; on both sides and wherever there is space, Latin names of bones have been engraved upon the plate. At the top, above the plate, is printed in type 'Anatomia aller Beynglyder des menschen'. Below the plate, printed in type, are twenty-four verses of moral reflections upon death: “Der Todt binn ich grausam ungstalt, Vnd doch des lebens vfenthalt [...] Eer Gott, dein acht, die welt vernicht. Dein seel ewig, der leib verblicht”.

It is extraordinary that the present addition includes both plates. “Fugitive sheets (fliegende Blätter) with pre-Vesalian anatomy, representing whole figures with the names of the parts or explanatory texts, were published either on a single broadside or on two sheets, each with printing on one side only. In this period several appeared. They were generally intended to disseminate popular information, or to give instruction to barbers and surgeons, and were probably to be hung up in their anterooms. [...] They were, in the nature of things, predestined to be scattered and lost, and, on this account, are now all of them exceedingly rare” (Choulant-Franck, p. 156).

VD16 G-1625; Cushing G-200; Durling 2059 (1517 ed.); Garrison-Morton 5560 (1517 edition); Wellcome 2761; Choulant-Franck, History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration, Chicago 1920, p. 156; A. Carlino, Paper Bodies: A Catalogue of Anatomical Fugitive Sheets 1538-1687, London 1999, pp. 90-91; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 98.

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

46. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A book for affluent bibliophiles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

50. Alamanni, Luigi (1495-1556)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

51. Pincio, Giano Pirro (fl. 1st half of the 16th century)

De gestis ducum Tridentinorum. De Gallorum Senonum aduentu in Italiam. De origine vrbis Tridentinae. De appellatione et transitu Alpium. De confinibus Italiae. Libri duo. Venturino Ruffinelli, 1546.

Two parts in one volume, folio (310x205 mm). Collation: A-B8; †8, A-M8, N10. 16; [8], 104, [2] leaves. Complete with the last two leaves blank. Roman and italic type. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary limp vellum. Spine with three raised bands, with inked title. Outer corners of the upper cover skilfully repaired. A good, and genuine copy. A short inscription on the title-page inked out.

Rare first edition of the first printed and authoritative chronicle of Trent and surrounding regions, including what today forms South Tyrol, especially under its prince-bishops Georg Helideck (1505-1514), Bernardo Cles (1514-1539), and Cristoforo Madruzzo (1539-1567). The Mantuan humanist Pincio was court historian to Bishop Cles, and in 1539 was named poet laureate by Emperor Charles V; he dedicated his work to Aliprando, nephew of Bernardo, and especially noteworthy are the pages in which he describes the magnificent library assembled by the bishop in the palazzo vescovile in Trent.

Pincio adds to the chronicle De appellatione et transitu Alpium, a topography of the Tyrolian Alps and a guide to the alpine pass routes which contains the first reference in print to the Non Valley, mentioning Lake Tovel as the source of the tasty char that one can fish in the lake.

An Italian translation of the work was published in 1648.

G. Nova, Stampatori, librai ed editori bresciani in Italia del '500, Brescia 2000, p. 90; G. Tovazzi, Biblioteca tirolese, R. Stenico & I. Franceschini, eds., Trento 2006, p. 569; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 105.

Orlando printed on blue paper

52. Ariosto, Ludovico (1474-1533)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Printed on blue paper

53. Calderia, Giovanni (1395-1474)

Concordantiae Poetarum Philosophorum &Theologorum... opus vere aureum, quod nunc primum in lucem prodijt ex antiquo exemplari Authoris.... Giuseppe Comino da Trino, 1547.

8° (150x93 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: *4, A-Z4, AA-YY4. [4], 179, [1] leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Numerous woodcut animated initials. Early twentieth-century mottled calf, over pasteboards. Covers within two floral borders. Smooth spine divided into compartments with gilt fillet, gilt title on blue lettering-piece, imprint lettered in gilt. Pastedowns and flyleaves in blue paper. Good copy, the first leaves slightly spotted, last leaves somewhat browned. On the recto of the front flyleaf the pencilled note 'Papier bleu rare'.

Provenance: Count Raoul Chandon de Briailles (1850-1908; ex-libris on the recto of the first flyleaf).

Rare first edition – printed on blue paper – of this treatise by the Venetian physician Giovanni Calderia, possibly composed in 1457, and posthumously edited by Michelangelo Biondo, author of Della nobilissima pittura (see no. 108). The edition is dedicated by him to Francesco Donà.

Calderia wrote the Concordantiae Poetarum Philosophorum et Theologorum for his beloved daughter Cateruzza, in order to remove her from her excited religiousness: in fact, in 1451, Guarino Veronese's son asked for Cateruzza's hand in marriage but the pious sentiment of the girl, supported by her mother, caused the negotiations to fail. The work guaranteed to its author a certain reputation as a Platonic philosopher during the subsequent centuries.

This copy offered here was once owned by one of the greatest collectors of blue paper books: Raoul Chandon de Briailles, who may have purchased it from the library of Andrea Tessier, sold in Munich in 1900 by the bookseller Jacques Rosenthal, which contained a copy “tiré sur papier bleu” (lot 519, in the section “Particularités. Imprimées sur vélin, sur papier bleu. Elzevier non rognés. Minuscules etc”).

Brunet I, 1470; Bibliothek Tessier. Katalog eins grossen Theils der Bibliotheken des verstorbenen Chevalier Andrea Tessier und des Marchese de***. Versteigerunge in München vom 21.-23. Mai 1900 durch Jacques Rosenthal, München 1900; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 107.

One of the two known copies printed on blue paper

54. Biondo, Michelangelo (1500-1565)

Della nobilissima pittura, et della sua arte, del modo, et della dottrina, di conseguirla, agevolmente et presto. al segno di Apolline, Bartolomeo Imperatore, 1549.

8° (152x100 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A4, A-G4. [4], 27, [1] leaves. Italic and roman type. Woodcut printer's device on the verso of the last leaf. Woodcut decorated initials. Dark blue morocco signed by Masson De Bonnel. Spine with five raised bands, title in gilt lettering. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, inside dentelles. Gilt edges. A very good copy, loss to the outer lower corner of the title-page and fol. G3, in both cases not affecting text; few lightly browned stains.

Provenance: early illegible ownership inscription in brown ink on recto of fol. A2.

A copy exceptionally printed on blue paper of the first appearance in print of the famous Della nobilissima pittura, an edition rarely seen on the market: there exists only one auction record of an ordinary copy in the last sixty years.

The treatise was written by the Venetian physician Michelangelo Biondo, who lived mainly in Naples and Rome. Della nobilissima pittura is dedicated to the 'Eccellentissimi Pittori di tutta l'Europa', and represents one of the most interesting works on art theory produced during the Italian Renaissance; in it, Biondo avers the dignity of painting, arguing for its worthy consideration as a liberal art.

Along with Lancilotti's Trattato di pittura, Biondo's work represents one of the first sixteenth-century attempts to adopt the literary form of the dream-narrative: in Della nobilissima pittura the personification of painting appears to the author in a dream and laments her low stature among the liberal arts. Biondo quotes numerous contemporary artists and authors, and further references various other writings on the topic, thereby offering a valuable survey of Renaissance art theory.

Of the first edition of the Della nobilissima pittura, only one other copy on blue paper is recorded, which is preserved in the Fondo Cicognara of the Biblioteca Vaticana. The present copy could well be that volume in carta Turchina listed in the catalogue of the Bibliotheca Smithiana, the celebrated library assembled by Joseph Smith (ca. 1682-1770), British consul in Venice between 1744 and 1760, and sold in the lagunar city in 1755.

STC Italian 106; Cicognara 82; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 108.

55. Alberti, Leandro (1479-1552)

Descrittione di tutta Italia... nella quale si contiene il sito di essa, l’origine, & le signorie delle città , & delle castella, co i nomi antichi e moderni... Et piu gli huomini famosi che l’hanno illustrata, i monti, i laghi, i fiumi.... Anselmo Giaccarelli, January 1550.

Two parts in one volume, folio (287x193 mm). Collation: [π]4, A8, B-Ζ6, Aa-Zz6, AAA-ZZZ6, AAAA-IIII6; a-d6, e4. [4], VII (lacking blank A8), 9-469 (lacking fol. IIII6 blank), [28] leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Woodcut author's portrait on fol. [π]4v, numerous woodcut animated initials. Eighteenth-century vellum over pasteboards. Smooth spine, title in gilt. Edges mottled red and blue. A good copy, title and first leaves slightly browned and spotted, especially at the gutter, old marginal repair to fol. Oo1; waterstain at the beginning and in the middle of the volume, inner margin of the last leaf reinforced, a little hole repaired in the same leaf with the loss of a few letters. Some early marginal notes.

First edition – in its first issue bearing in the preliminary quire the author's portrait and verses by Giovanni Philoteo Achillini – dedicated to Henry II of France and Catherine de' Medici. This important historical, artistic, and geographical guide was composed by the Dominican from Bologna Leandro Alberti, who travelled widely throughout Italy and in 1536 was named vicar of Santa Sabina in Rome. Despite its great size, the work became immensely popular, and was read and referenced until the late eighteenth century by many foreign travellers embarking upon the Grand Tour. Alberti's Descrittione has an encyclopaedic character, and its reliance upon earlier antiquarian works – above all Flavio Biondo's influential Italia illustrata – is profound. At the same time, the Descrittione also reflects his individual experience as a traveller across Italy and contains numerous personal reflections and observations, including a brief reference to Vespucci's New World voyage. Furthermore, Alberti consulted Biondo's remarkable library and requested information from all major Italian scholars of his time who in turn answered enthusiastically; among his correspondents, the names of Paolo Giovio and Andrea Alciati stand out. Alberti's work quickly found an eager audience all over Europe, as evinced by its early presence in most of the academic libraries in Northern Europe. The enduring international impact of Alberti's work is also shown in its use by cartographers like Ortelius and Quad in their mapping and description of the Italian peninsula.

After the first printing in 1550, ten more editions of the Descrittione appeared between 1551 and 1631.

STC Italian 14; Harrisse no. 302; A. Pescarzoli, I libri di viaggio e le guide della raccolta Luigi Vittorio Fossati Bellani, Roma 1957, I, no. 284; F. Govi, I classici che hanno fatto l'Italia, Modena 2010, no. 87; G. Petrella, L'officina del geografo: la 'Descrittione di tutta Italia' di Leandro Alberti e gli studi geografico-antiquari tra Quattro e Cinquecento, Milano 2004; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 110.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Honeyman Copy

58. Schöner, Johann (1477-1547)

Opera Mathematica... in unum volumen congesta, et publicae utilitati studiosorum omnium, ac celebri famae Norici nominis dicata. Johann vom Berg & Ulrich Neuber, 1551.

Three parts in one volume, folio (306x201 mm). Collation: α6, β4, A-Z6, Aa-Cc6, Dd-Ee8, Ff-Mm6, Nn8; 1-136, 148, 15-196, 20-214, 22-286, 294, a-h6, i8. [10], 218 [i.e. 222]; 172 [i.e. 169]; [3], 54, [2] leaves, including errata, colophon leaf and final blank; lacking fols. 29/4 and α4 blanks. Roman and Greek type. Title printed in red and black with two large woodcut ornaments. Woodcut printer's device at the end. Author's woodcut portrait on fol. β4v. Numerous woodcuts in various sizes, and diagrams. Four full-page woodcuts, including a terrestrial globe (fol. 22/1v), a celestial globe (fol. 22/5r), and a planisphere (fol. f6v). Complete with eleven diagrams with working volvelles (some of them with original threads) on fols. a5v, b3v, b4v, b5v, c1v, c4r, d1r, d3v, g5r, g6r, 16r. Woodcut decorated and animated initials in various size, on black ground. Contemporary blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards. Covers within two blind-stamped rolls, the outer roll dated 1541 and depicting the Crucifixion, David, the Resurrection, and St. John; the inner roll dated 1556 and showing Lucretia, Caritas, and Justicia. At the centre, a later stamp of the Schola Altenburgensis printed in gold on the upper cover and in black on the lower one. Some minor abrasion to binding, spine slightly chipped at the top, corners lightly rubbed. A very fine, wide-margined copy. Title gutter formerly reinforced, quire R lightly browned, few other leaves toned, small wear to the lower blank margin of fol. b3v, tiny wormhole in blank outer margin of last several leaves.

Provenance: from the library of the Latin school in Altenburg, Germany (stamp on the binding 'Biblioth. Schol. Altenburgensis'); the English politician and book collector Sir Robert Leicester Harmsworth (1870-1937; his sale at Sotheby's London, 9 February 1953, lot 9605); Robert Honeyman IV (1897-1987; see The Honeyman Collection of Scientific Books and Manuscripts. Volume VII. Printed Books S-Z and Addenda, Sotheby's New York, 19-20 May 1981, lot 2802A); Astronomy & Science Books from The Library of Martin C. Gutzwiller, lot 175.

The Honeyman copy – in an exceptional state of preservation, and in its strictly contemporary binding – of the first and very rare edition of the collected works by Johann Schöner, mathematician, astronomer, cartographer, and scientific instrument maker from Karlstadt, in Bayern.

Schöner was a contemporary of Nicolaus Copernicus, and, in 1526, became the first professor of mathematics at the University of Nuremberg. His most illustrious pupil was Georg Joachim Rheticus, who in the Narratio prima (1540) would announce Copernicus' discoveries. Schöner was also active as a printer and even set up a press in his house, printing numerous previously unpublished works by Johannes Regiomontanus, as well as the first printed terrestrial globe to name the recently discovered continent of America.

The Opera mathematica was published posthumously by his son Andreas and introduced with a preface by the outstanding humanist and reformer Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560). The volume contains a representative sample of Schöner's wide and diverse interests, and a digest of some of his separately published works, most of which are extremely rare. “The contents of the Opera mathamatica reveal the depth and variety of the intellectual pursuits of Johannes Schöner. Titles ranging from elementary mathematics to very complex natal astrology held his interest throughout his lifetime. Schöner was a polymath, equally at home in the study of the geography of the New World and the new astronomy of Nicolaus Copernicus” (J. W. Hessler, A Renaissance Globemaker's Toolbox, p. 29).

The most important section may be found in the third part, which describes and represents eleven instruments, and is introduced by the title Aequatorium Astronomicum, ex quo errantium stellarum motus, luminarium configurationes, & defectus colliguntur, a revised and enlarged version of the work first appeared in 1521. The Aequatorium Astronomicum contains the earliest collection of printed equatoria-diagrams, as well as a catalogue of stars which comprise Schöner's adaptation of that published by Copernicus in his De revolutionibus of 1543. The text is illustrated by an elaborate series of volvelles (movable wheel charts) used to determine planetary positions.

Each part of these volvelles was printed on a separate page, such that the reader could cut them out or trace them on separate pieces of paper, and then assemble the various parts with string. These fragile 'paper instruments', which Schöner was among the first to employ, are frequently lacking or only partially present in most other copies of the Opera mathematica, and they are very often constructed incorrectly. The copy presented here is exceptionally complete and includes all volvelles, some of them with original thread.

The collection of 1551 also included Schöner's Opusculum Geographicum ex diversorum libris ac cartis summa cura & diligentia collectum, originally printed in 1533, and the text of which is preceded by the famous full-page wodcut depicting a globe (fol. 22/1r).

Adams S-678, 685; VD16 S-3465; Alden 551/35; BEA, pp. 1027-1028; Houzeau - Lancaster 2388; Sabin 77806; Thorndike v, 354-371; Zinner 2033; C. van Duzer, Johannes Schöner's Globe of 1515. Trascription and Study, Philadelphia 2010; J. W. Hessler, A Renaissance Globemaker's Toolbox. Johannes Schöner and the Revolution of Modern Science 1475-1550, Washington, DC - London 2013; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 114.

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

59. Doni, Anton Francesco (1513-1574)

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

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

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

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

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

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

... and printed on blue paper

60. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Great Apollo and Pegasus Myth

61. Plutarchus (ca. 45-120)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A bio-bibliographical survey on surgery and surgeons, by the Father of Bibliography

62. Gessner, Conrad (1516-1565)

Chirurgia. De Chirurgia Scriptores optimi quique veteres et recentiores, plerique in Germania antehac non editi, nunc primum in unum coniuncti volumen.... Andreas and Jacob Gessner, March 1555.

Folio (321x205 mm). Collation: †6, *4, A-Z6, a-z6, Aa-Yy6, α-β6, γ8. [10], 408 [i.e. 406], [21] of 22 leaves. Lacking the final blank leaf, but complete with blank *4. Roman, italic, and Greek type. Printer's woodcut device on the title-page and fol. Yy6v. 260 woodcut illustrations in the text (some full-page) cut by Jos Murer. Seventeenth-century half-vellum, boards covered with decorated paper. Spine with four raised bands. Title inked on the spine and tail edge, in an early hand. Covers somewhat rubbed and worn. A good copy, title-page slightly stained with a short tear not affecting the text; second leaf remargined, pale waterstain to the upper margin of the final leaves.

Provenance: early ownership inscription ('Ego Gabriel [?]', barely legible) and small old stamp on the title-page.

First edition of this collection of works on surgery selected and edited by Conrad Gessner, who also included his own treatise, De medicinae chirurgicae praestantia et antiquitate.

The book can rightly be considered both a history and a bio-bibliography of surgery and surgeons, one of the first of its kind. It covers 150 authors, including Guido Guidi, Jean Tagault, Jacopo Dondi, Mariano Santo, Angelo Bolognini, Michelangelo Biondo, Bartolomeo Maggi, Alfonso Ferri, Jacques Houllier, and Joachim Lang, to mention just a few.

The woodcut skeletal illustrations were taken from Vesalius, the field surgery scenes from Gersdorff (see no. 98), and the depictions of surgical instruments mainly from Guidi.

Conrad Gessner was a polymath: one of the leading Hellenists of the sixteenth century, he was also a physician, botanist, zoologist, bibliographer, prolific editor, and professor of philosophy. He was a native of Zurich and studied classical languages and theology in Strasbourg, followed in 1533 by studies in medicine undertaken in Bourges, Paris, and Montpellier. In 1537 he was appointed professor of Greek at the Academy in Lausanne. In 1541 he settled in Zurich, where he practiced medicine. In 1546, in addition to his medical activities, he also became professor of physics, natural philosophy, and ethics. In 1565 the plague – which has been identified, based on Gessner's description, as a form of pulmonary bubonic – came to Zurich, and he succumbed to it on 13 December.

Besides the Chirurgia, three other major projects preoccupied Gessner in his life. The first was the Bibliotheca universalis (1545), which earned him the title of the 'father of bibliography'. The second project was the Historia animalium (four volumes between 1551 and 1558), a monumental encyclopaedia of animals. The third was the Historia plantarum (1541), a magnificent herbal, for which Gessner worked to produce a significantly augmented edition up until his early death in 1565 at age 49.

Adams G-520; Durling 960; Garrison-Morton 5562; Waller 1959; Wellcome 1460; L. Pinon, “Conrad Gessner and the Historical Depth of Renaissance Natural History”, G. Pomata - N. S. Siraisi (eds.), Historia: Empricism and Erudition in Early Modern Europe, Cambridge, MA 2005, pp. 241-268; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 119.

The device of three interlaced crescents

64. Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-1375)

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

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

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

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

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

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