Bindings Philobiblon

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

Ce Manuscrit est écrit sur beau vélin blanc, à très grandes marges... — Leo S. Olschki (1914)

6. Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19 BCE)

Georgica. Aeneis. With argumenta . Illuminated manuscript on parchment, in Latin. Florence, ca. 1460-1470.

275x180 mm. i + 238 + ii leaves. Complete (with the replacement leaves, see below) but the volume evidently originally included at the beginning sixteen leaves with the Eclogues (an erasure on fol. 1r was probably the end of the Eclogues). Twenty-five quires (one quire of 10 leaves presumably lost). Collation: 110 (1-6 lost), 2-810, 910 (1-2 and 9 missing, replaced and numbered 74A, 74B, 80A), 10-2310, 248, 258 (most of 6, blank except for the colophon, cut away; 7-8 canc.). Blanks: 1r, 44v, 235v. Text block: 170x90 mm, one column, 26 lines. Ruled with dry point. Catchwords written vertically from top to bottom in the inner margin of the last page of each quire (a system of catchwords which the scribe Nicolaus Riccius used in his earliest manuscripts). Text written in brown ink in a formal humanist script, signed in the colophon on fol. 238r 'Nicolaus riccius spinosus vocatus scripsit'. At the beginning of each work titles in red capitals (fols. 1v, 45r). Fols. 74rA, 74B, 80A written in 1925 in a skilful imitation of Florentine humanist script by the English calligrapher William Graily Hewitt (1864-1952). On fols. 1v and 45r large gold and vinestem initials with small borders to the left, with clusters of gold-rayed discs and penwork at bottom; vinestem washed in yellow, grounds in brownish red, blue-green and darkish blue, dotted in white or yellow. Thirteen smaller gold initials on square panels of vinestem decoration, and (for the argumenta) fifteen three-line gold initials on blue, green and pink grounds patterned with white and yellow, and with curly outside edges in ink. On the replacement fol. 74A two initials – a vinestem initial and a smaller one on a blue and green ground – copied from the originals. Contemporary Florentine dark brown goatskin over wooden boards, panelled in blind with fillets and borders of small knotwork tools and roundels, star-shaped central panel of intersecting squares. Spine cross-hatched; four original metal clasps, leather straps replaced; edges with traces of gilding and gauffering. Some skilful repairs. In a modern slipcase. A fine, wide margined manuscript. Outer blank margin of fol. 18 cut away, the ink slightly rubbed on a few pages. Some cursive page headings, additions and corrections written by the scribe, a few notes in a later humanistic hand (e.g., fols. 3r, 54r, 54v, 89r). On fol. 70v the first line of the Helen episode 'Iamque adeo super unus eram, cum limina veste' (Aen., ii 567) was first written, then cancelled by the scribe with 'va-cat'.


The manuscript contains the complete text (with the replacement leaves, see above) of Virgil's Georgica, and Aeneis. The volume evidently originally included at the beginning sixteen leaves with the Eclogues (an erasure on fol. 1r was probably the end of the Eclogues):

fols. 1v-44r: Vergilius, Georgicorum Libri; inc.: 'Quid faciat letas';

fols. 45r-234v: Vergilius, Aeneidos Liber; inc.: 'Arma virumque cano'.

Provenance: Leo S. Olschki (1861-1940; Le livre en Italie à travers les siècles, Firenze 1914, no. 108; “Ce Manuscrit est écrit sur beau vélin blanc à très grandes marges. Le dernier f. ne contient que ces lignes: “Liber uirgilii eneidum explicit Nicolaus riccius spinosus uocatus scripsit [...] la marge blanche au-dessous de ces 2 lignes surnommés a été decoupée”); Tammaro De Marinis (1878-1969; see the sale of his collection by Hoepli, Vendita all'asta della preziosa collezione proveniente dalla cessata Libreria De Marinis, Milano 1925, no. 211, pl. xliv, “Magnifico codice fiorentino”); Sir Sidney Carlyle Cockerell (1867-1962; bought for 30,000 lire; in his hand the note dated 27 June 1925, regarding the scribe and the replacement leaves written for him by Graily Hewitt); Charles Harold St John Hornby (1867 1946); John Roland Abbey (1896-1969; ex-libris dated 1933; Sotheby's, Catalogue of the Celebrated Library of the late Major J. R. Abbey. The Eighth Portion: The Hornby Manuscripts, Part i, London 1974, lot 2930, and pl. 40); William Salloch, Catalogue 353. The Classical Heritage, Ossining, NY 1978, no. 39.

A fine illuminated manuscript of the works of Virgil. It contains the four books of the Georgica, with the four-line argumenta to each book, and the twelve books of the Aeneis with an argumentum consisting of ten to twelve lines before each book except the first.

The codex was written by the scribe who in the colophon signs himself 'Nicolaus riccius spinosus vocatus' (the epithet 'spinosus' means 'prickly' in English; 'Riccio' is the Italian for hedgehog), i.e., Nicolò di Antonio di Pardo de Ricci (1434/1435 - ca. 1490), active in Florence in the second half of the fifteenth century; according to Albinia de la Mare, sixty-four manuscripts are attributable to him, and a number of them are signed with the same formula as here. Riccius was one of the humanist scribes most closely associated with the pre-eminent bookseller or cartolaio Vespasiano da Bisticci (ca. 1422-1498), by 1460 the main provider of books to princes, popes, cardinals, and scholars across Europe. Riccius copied twenty-four manuscripts for Vespasiano, and his hand is found in several classical manuscripts transcribed for the Medici – among them the famous, and almost contemporary Vergilius Riccardianus 492 – and for Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, as the codex of Bracciolini's Opera, copied in about 1470 (Biblioteca Vaticana, Urb.Lat. 224). The quality of the parchment used for the present Vergilius and the exquisite white-vine initials decorating the volume – closely resembling those executed in the Florentine workshop of Apollonio di Giovanni for the ms Riccardianus – indicate that this manuscript was commissioned by an important patron. The handsome blind-tooled binding is characteristically Florentine, and very similar to some of those made by Vespasiano da Bisticci for the Duke of Urbino.

In 1914 this volume – one of only two manuscripts included, as “preuves de ressemblance des caractères des premiers livres imprimés avec l'écriture des manuscrits” – was chosen by the renowned bookseller Leo Olschki to represent Italian humanistic manuscript production in the Leipzig exhibition Le livre en Italie à travers les siècles.

G. Turati, “L'Esposizione mondiale del libro a Lipsia. ii. La partecipazione italiana”, Emporium, 40 (1914), pp. 221-237; M. Levi D'Ancona, Miniatura e miniatori a Firenze dal XIV al XVI secolo, Firenze 1962; J. Wardrop, The Script of Humanism. Some Aspects of Humanistic Script, Oxford 1963; A. Graham - A. de la Mare, The Italian Manuscripts in the Library of Major J. R. Abbey, New York 1969, no. 15; R. D. Williams - T. S. Pattie, Virgil. His Poetry through the Ages, London 1982; L. D. Reynolds (ed.), Texts and Transmission. A Survey of the Latin Classics, Oxford 1983; A. C. de la Mare, “New Research on Humanistic Scribes in Florence”, A. Garzelli (ed.), Miniatura fiorentina del Rinascimento 1440-1525. Un primo censimento, Firenze 1985, i, pp. 395-574; Eadem, “Vespasiano da Bisticci e i copisti fiorentini di Federico”, G. Certoni Baiardi - G. Chittolini - P. Floriani (eds.), Federico da Montefeltro. Lo stato, le arti, la cultura, iii, Roma 1986, pp. 81-96; G. C. Alessio, “Medioevo. Tradizione manoscritta”, Enciclopedia Virgiliana, 3, 1987, pp. 432-443; A. C. de la Mare, “Vespasiano da Bisticci as Producer of Classical Manuscripts in Fifteenth-Century Florence”, C. A. Chavannes-Mazel - M. McFadden Smith (eds.), Medieval Manuscripts of the Latin Classics: Production and Use. Proceedings of the Seminar in the History of the Book to 1500. Leiden 1993, Los Altos Hills, CA 1996, pp. 166-207; M. Venier, Per una storia del testo di Virgilio nella prima età del libro a stampa (1469-1519), Udine 2001 (mentioning this manuscript, p. 3, note); A. Labriola, “Repertorio dei miniatori fiorentini”, M. Peruzzi (ed.) Ornatissimo codice. La biblioteca di Federico di Montefeltro, Milano 2008, pp. 227-234; L. Nuvoloni, “Bartolomeo Sanvito and Albinia C. de la Mare”, R. Black-J. Kraye-L. Nuvoloni (eds.), Paleography, Manuscript Illumination and Humanism in Renaissance Italy: Studies in Memory of A. C. de la Mare, London 2016, pp. 251-277; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 6.

A Landmark of Geographical Knowledge

19. Ptolemaeus, Claudius (ca. 100-168)

Cosmographia. Tr: Jacobus Angelus. Ed: Angelus Vadius and Barnabas Picardus. Hermann Liechtenstein, 13 September 1475.

Folio (304x205 mm). Collation: aa10, bb8-1, a10, b-g8, h10, A-F8, G10. 142 of [143] leaves, lacking fol. aa1 blank. Text in one column, 39 lines. Type: 102R. Finely painted initials alternately in red or blue, the one on fol. aa8v with extension. Seven-line blank space on fol. aa1r. Rubricated in red and blue, the capital letters touched with yellow. Four woodcut diagrams on fols. bb5v, bb6v, bb7v, and F3r. Contemporary wooden boards, one (of two) original oyster clasp preserved. Spine covered in calf, with three raised bands. A few wormholes to the upper cover, loss to the upper outer corner; joints slightly abraded. In a black morocco box, title and imprint in gilt lettering on the spine. An exceptional, and unsophisticated copy, with wide margins. Two small wormholes to the blank outer margin of the first leaf repaired, without any loss. The front and rear flyleaves both reinforced at an early date with a fragment from a manuscript. Pencilled bibliographical notes on the rear pastedown. A typewritten French description of this copy tipped in on the front pastedown, '142 feuillets, sans le premier blanc. Le F. bb8 ne fait pas partie du cahier. Reliure de l'époque en ais de bois, un fermoir HC 13536. Klebs 812.1 Rarissime'.

Outstanding copy – still in pristine condition – of the first Latin edition of the most celebrated geographical treatise of classical antiquity. An edition of the greatest rarity, and a monumental achievement of geographical knowledge and a cornerstone of the European tradition.

The Latin Ptolemy of 1475 was issued from the printing house established in Vicenza by the German printer Hermann Liechtenstein, also known by his surname 'Leuilapis'. A native of Cologne, he began his career as a printer in Vicenza, publishing the undated Historiae by Orosius in 1475, as well as the first edition of Ptolemy, completed on 13 September. Ptolemy's Geographia is one of the first books ever printed in Vicenza, where printing was first introduced in the spring of 1474 by Leonardus Achates de Basilea. The text was set in a roman type, which seems to derive from the font used by Achates.

The present work, divided into eight books, was produced by Ptolemy in the second century AD and describes the known inhabited world (or oikoumene), divided into three continents: Europe, Libye (or Africa), and Asia. Book i provides details for drawing a world map with two different projections (one with linear and the other with curved meridians), while Books ii-vii list the longitude and latitude of some 8,000 locations, Book vii concluding with instructions for a perspectival representation of a globe. In Book viii, Ptolemy breaks down the world map into twenty six smaller areas and provides useful descriptions for cartographers.

The work was brought to Italy from Constantinople around 1400, and its translation into Latin was made by Jacopo Angeli (or Angelo da Scarperia) in Florence between 1406 and 1409. He was a pupil of Manuel Chrysoloras (ca. 1350 1415), the exiled Byzanthine scholar who had possibly begun the translation himself, on the basis of a hitherto unidentified Greek manuscript. Angelo's translation is mainly based on a composite text deriving from two different manuscripts.

This volume was edited by Angelus Vadius and Barnabas Picardus and contains only the text of Ptolemy's Geographia. No maps were issued in this first edition of 1475, which were probably not present in the manuscript which served as copy-text, and the only illustrations included are the three diagrams in chapter xxiv of Book i (fols. bb5v, bb6v, and bb7v), showing the ‘modus designandi in tabula plana', and that on fol. F3, depicting the Polus antarcticus. The first illustrated edition of Ptolemy appeared in Bologna in 1477, under the title of Cosmographia and supplemented with copperplates drawn and engraved by the famous illuminator Taddeo Crivelli.

The Latin edition of this landmark geographical text enjoyed wide and enduring popularity. The editio princeps in Greek appeared in Basel only in 1533, and the circulation of the Latin text throughout Europe in the fifteenth century greatly influenced (both directly and indirectly) the shaping of the modern world. As Angeli writes at the end of his dedication: “Now, I repeat now, let us listen to Ptolemy himself speaking in Latin”.

HC 13536*; GW M36388; BMC VII, 1035; IGI 8180; Goff P-108; Flodr Ptolomaeus, 1; Sander 5973; F. Mittenhuber, “The Tradition of Texts and Maps in Ptolemy's 'Geography'”, A. Jones (ed.), Ptolemy in Perspective. Use and Criticism of his Work from Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century, Dordrecht 2010, pp. 95-120; B. Weiss, “The Geography in Print. 1475-1530”, Z. Shalev - C. Burnett (eds.), Ptolemy's “Geography” in the Renaissance, London 2011, pp. 91-120; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 19.

An extraordinary set, in its contemporary uniform binding

22. Livius, Titus (59-17 BC)

Historiae Romanae decades [Italian]. apud Sanctum Marcum (Vitus Puecher), 30 May - 20 July 1476.

Three volumes, folio (372x260 mm). I. Collation: [*8, 1-310, 46, 510, 68, 7-910, 108, 11-1410, 15-168, 1710, 188]. [174] leaves, first and last leaves blank. II: Collation: [*12, 1-510, 612, 76, 814, 9-1210, 138, 146, 1512, 1610, 176]. [176] leaves, first and last leaves blank. III: Collation: [*10, 1-310, 48, 5-610, 7-88, 9-1410, 158]. [152] leaves. Text in two columns, 55 lines. Type: 98R. On the opening leaf of each volume contemporary white vinestem two-side border on green, blue and crimson ground with clusters of gold-rayed discs at the extremities, including a five-line illuminated initial in gold on vinestem ground; on the lower panel laurel wreath with empty shield, surrounded by gold- rayed discs. Numerous penwork initials alternately in red or blue, with extensions in red, blue or violet. Contemporary, possibly Florentine, uniform binding, with light variants in tooling of the covers. Hazel brown goatskin over wooden boards, panelled in blind with fillets and borders of foliate motifs. The central spaces filled with small tools in geometrical pattern. At the centre of the covers of the third volume an eight-point star, decorated with knotwork motif. Brass clasps preserved (four in the first two volumes, three in the third one), cornerpieces. Spines with four large raised bands, title inked on parchment label. Parchment pastedowns and flyleaves. Minor losses to the spines. In modern brown boxes. A very fine set, printed on strong paper. Light foxing and browning in places; a few pale fingermarks.

Provenance: from the library of the Florentine Serzelli family; Jacopo Serzelli (sixteenth-century ownership inscription 'Jacopo Serzelli' on the recto of the first leaf in each volume); Biblioteca Bardi-Serzelli (nineteenth-century ex-libris on each pastedown).

Rare first edition of the Italian translation of Titus Livius' Roman History (Ab urbe condita), presented in a splendidly illuminated three-volume set in its original uniform binding. This is the fourth book issued from the printing house established in the palace of San Marco in Rome, which was active in the papal city between 1475 and 1477/78. This press seems to have been led by Vitus Puecher and used fonts similar to those employed by Jacobus Riessinger.

The text of Livius' History survives in ten books referred to as Decade, but only three of the original fourteen were known in the late Middle Ages, with the first, third, and fourth books eventually circulating together.

This Roman edition is of the greatest importance for the history of Italian literature, combining the names of two of the so-called 'Three Crowns', Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarca. In fact, the translation into Italian vernacular of the third and the fourth Decade has been attributed to Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), who would likely have had the opportunity to work on a manuscript owned by his close friend Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374). Boccaccio met the great poet from Arqua for the first time in Florence in 1350, and it was Petrarca who encouraged him to study the Greek and Latin classics, transforming him into a great classical scholar and quintessential Renaissance Man. However, the identity of the translator for the first Decade, who worked from a manuscript containing the French version of Livius' text, remains unknown to this day.

Boccaccio's translation contributed significantly to Livius' renewed popularity during the Italian Renaissance, and the Historiae Romanae decades became a model for humanist historiography.

The first volume of the set presented here is complete with the dedicatory epistle from the 'Cartolaio fiorentino' Giovanni Bonaccorsi to Giovanni Bernardo di Nicolò Cambini, often lacking in the recorded copies.

Complete sets of this Roman edition are very scarce in the libraries, and rarely appear on the market. An additional noteworthy feature in the set presented here is in its original uniform binding, finely blind tooled with a geometric pattern, and in all likelihood executed in Florence. The central star-shaped tool used for the covers of the third volume is in fact a characteristically Florentine element, of mudéjar inspiration. Further, the style of the illumination recalls that of artists active in the late Quattrocento for the leading Florentine bookseller Vespasiano da Bisticci.

HR 10144; GW M18508; BMC IV, 65; IGI 5782; Goff L-251; Flodr Titus Livius, 17; M. T Casella, Tra Boccaccio e Petrarca. I volgarizzamenti di Tito Livio e di Valerio Massimo, Padova 1982; G. Tanturli, “Il volgarizzamento della quarta Deca di Tito Livio”, in T. De Robertis, C. M. Monti et al. (eds.), Boccaccio autore e copista, Firenze 2013, pp. 125-127; B. Casini, I “Libri d'oro” della nobiltà fiorentina e fiesolana, Firenze 1993, pp. 25-26; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 22.

As book jackets do today — Paul Needham

34. (Benali’s wrappers)

Monte de la oratione. [Venice, Bernardinus Benalius (?), before June 1493].

4° (204x145 mm). Collation: [18, 2-84]. [36] leaves. Text in one column, 32-33 lines. Type: 130G, 85G. Full-page woodcut on fol. a2v. Woodcut decorated initial on fol. a3r, Lombards throughout. Original pictorial paper wrappers, now cased in transparent plastic material, black morocco spine, with title and 'Benali's wrappers' in gilt lettering. In a black morocco box. A good copy, slightly waterstained and spotted.

This vernacular edition, printed in Venice and bound in attractive and scarce pictorial paper wrappers, is generally attributed to the printer Bernardinus Benalius. The publication has also been ascribed to Paulus Fridenperger.

Examples of early paper bindings with woodcuts are very rare, and of the greatest value and import for the history of engraving. These wrappers “were meant to function not as permanent binding, but rather as eye-catching advertisements for the books they covered, precisely as book jackets do today” (P. Needham, Twelve Centuries of Bookbindings, New York 1979, p. 117). The woodcuts designed for the upper and lower cover, which probably belonged to Benalius himself, were used as cheap coverings for different books, independent from their content. In the present edition, the woodcut on the upper cover depicts St. John the Baptist and St. Peter in a desert landscape supporting circles formed of intertwined foliage symbolizing the Trinity; on the lower cover, the woodcut shows St. John the Evangelist with his eagle and St. Francis standing before a church and supporting the foliage circles, along with the name and virtue of Maria. The full-page woodcut on fol. [1]/2v with the inscription 'Mons or[ati]onis' was executed for this book, and re-used in the edition of the Zardino de Oration by Nicolaus de Ausmo (see no. 35), and later in the Fioretti by Francesco d'Assisi, printed on 11 June 1493. “Nous croyons devoir assigner à ce livre la date de 1493, attendu que la gravure qui orne le verso du 2me f., se retrouve, en 1494, dans le Zardino de oratione, s.l. & n.t.m mais privée de l'inscription gothique: mons orationis, qui se voit ici dans l'angle supérieur de gauche, et qui, étant gravée sur le bois même, suffit pour établir la priorité de cet état” (Essling 728).

Bernardinus Benalius, active in Venice since 1483, is well known for the illustrated books and popular devotional vernacular editions he produced. Between 1490 and 1491 he worked in partnership with Matteo Capsaca, and continued to print as late as 1524.

HR 11576; GW M25328; BMC V, 378; IGI 6712; Goff M-847; Essling 728; Sander 4879; A. Jacobson Schutte, Printed Italian Vernacular Religious Books (1465-1550). A Finding List, Genève 1983, p. 303; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 34.

Two first Aldine editions in original Venetian speaking-binding

45. Catullus, Gaius Valerius (ca. 84-ca. 54 BC) – Tibullus, Albius (ca. 55-19 BC) – Propertius, Sextus Aurelius (47-14 BC)

Catullus. Tibullus. Propetius. Venice, Aldo Manuzio, January 1502. (bound with:) Lucanus, Marcus Anneus (35-65). Lucanus. Venice, Aldo Manuzio, April 1502. Aldo Manuzio, 1502.

Two works in one volume, 8° (161x99 mm) I. Three parts. Collation: A-F8-; 2A-D8, E4; a-i8. [152] leaves. Italic type. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. II. Collation: a-r8, s4. [140] leaves. Italic type. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary Venetian brown morocco over pasteboards. Covers within blind border of fillets and foliate roll, one small gilt ivy-leaf at each corner. At centre at the upper cover the inscription 'CAT. TIB. PROP. LVCA.', lettered in gilt; on the lower cover a sun-shaped tool. Traces of four pairs of ties. Italian-style spine with three double bands alternating with four single bands, underlined by blind fillets. Darkened edges. Corners somewhat worn, joints slightly cracked, minor loss to the extremities of spine. A good copy, first leaf of the first bound edition partly loose, with a small hole affecting a few letters or words on the verso. Some marginal spots. Early inked foliation in the outer upper margin, the three title lines in a frame inked by the earliest owner of the copy. In the same hand some marginalia, pen trials, reading marks, and the annotation on the verso of fol. i7 of the first edition, 'Quand'io veggio la terra / Vestir di nuouo un bianco uelo / Et l'acqua al uerno conuertirsi in uetro / Et chi poi ueggio nel girar al ciclo / Al Tempo che uien dietro / La fredda naue distillarsi, e il gielo / Allhora io dico, ahi donna di guai temp[...] / In quel ghiaccio crudel, ch'in uoi sta sempre'. A few pencilled bibliographical notes on the pastedown.

Provenance: Xanchius Voconius (long contemporary ownership inscription on the recto of the first leaf, 'Xanchi Voconij sum, ne me obsecro sibi surripias Fur, nullius enim ad manus p[er]venire posse, quin eius desyderiu[m] egerrime laturus essem'; on the verso of the last leaf are annotations, in his own hand, of verses from Giovanni Gioviano Pontano's De amore coniugali); The Property of The Hon. Viscount Hinchinbrooke, M.P. and Other Properties including ... a few Fine Early French and Italian Bindings, sale Sotheby's 22 December 1957, lot 414; purchased by the English bookseller and bibliographer Graham Pollard (1903-1976; his purchase inscription on the front pastedown).

A fine volume, in its contemporary binding, comprised of two rare Aldine editions, both printed in 1502 in the highly portable octavo format which was introduced by Aldus for the Latin classics beginning with the Virgil of 1501.

The volume contains the first Aldine edition of the Latin elegiac poets (generally published together following the Venetian princeps of 1472), followed by the first Aldus edition of Lucanus' Pharsalia, which first appeared in Rome in 1469.

The Aldine collection of Latin elegias poetry is presented here in its first issue, which bears the misspelling of 'Propetius' on the title leaf, along with Aldus' prefatory letter on the verso erroneously addressed to Marino Sanuto Benedicti filio, instead of Leonardi filio.

As Fletcher has suggested, the particular sequence in the signature of the leaves – Aldus rarely adopted the reduplication of signature-marks, as here – suggests the possibility that each part could have been bound separately, and therefore could had a separate circulation. The volume is in its original binding, executed in Venice. The covers are decorated with tools widely used on Venetian bindings in the first decades of the sixteenth century, including, among others, the ivy-leaf tool – rather improperly referred to as the Aldine leaf – which is stamped here at each corner.

I. Adams C-1137; STC Italian 160; Renouard Alde, 39.16; Ahmanson-Murphy 52; H G. Fletcher, “Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius”, Idem, New Aldine Studies, San Francisco, 1988, pp. 100-106. II. Adams L-1557; STC Italian 395; Renouard Alde, 33.3; Ahmanson-Murphy 56; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 45.

The first 'complete' Euripides, a fine set

48. Euripides (480-406)

Εὐριπίδου τραγῳδίαι ἐπτακαίδεκα, ὧν ἔνιαι μετὰ ἐξηγήσεων...Euripidis tragoediae septedecim, ex quib. quaedam habent commentaria & sunt hae: Hecuba, Orestes, Phoenissae, Medea, Hippolytus, Alcestis, Andromache, Supplices, Iphigenia in Aulide, Iphigenia in Tauris, Rhesus, Bacchae, Cyclops, Heraclidae, Helen, Ion. Venice, Aldo Manuzio, February 1503. (uniformly bound with:) Idem. Ἐυριπίδου Ἠλέκτρα. Euripidis Electra. Nunc primum in lucem edita. Rome, [Blado Antonio], 1545. Aldo Manuzio, February 1503.

Two works uniformly bound in three volumes. I. Two volumes, 8° (160x97 mm). Collation: Ν-Ξ8, Ο10, Π-Ρ8, Σ10,Τ-Υ86, Χ-Ω8, ΑΑ-ΒΒ8, ΓΓ6, ΔΔ-ΖΖ8, ΗΗ6, ΘΘ-ΙΙ8, ΚΚ10, [χ]4; ΛΛ8, ΜΜ10, ΝΝ-ΡΡ8, ΣΣ10, ΤΤ8, ΥΥ6, ΦΦ-ΧΧ8, ΨΨ4, ΩΩ8, ΑΑΑ-ΒΒΒ8, ΓΓΓ6, ΔΔΔ-ΖΖΖ8, ΗΗΗ6, ΘΘΘ-ΚΚΚ8, ΛΛΛ4 (fols. Δ4, Φ6, ΗΗ6, ΣΣ10, ΥΥ6 blanks). [268]; [190] leaves. Greek, roman and italic type. On fol. KK10v of first volume and on fol. ΛΛΛ4v of the second one woodcut Aldine device. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. II. 8°(155×92 mm). Collation: A-Γ8, Δ8 (fols. A1v, Δ7 and Δ8 blanks). 30 leaves, wanting the two final blanks. 30 following blank leaves were added for uniformly binding the volume with the first two. Greek, roman and italic type. On the title-page, a circular woodcut showing a coin ('asse') of Caesar Augustus (Cohen 228), and the woodcut arms of the dedicatee, Cardinal Ardinghelli. Six-line woodcut decorated initial on fol. A2r.

Uniformly bound in English dark blue morocco ca. 1840, covers within triple gilt fillet, central lozenge tooled in gilt with flowers and leafy stems. Spine with five small raised bands underlined by dotted gilt fillets, compartments richly gilt tooled; author's name, volume numbering and imprint 'Aldvs 1503' (first and second volume), 'ROM. 1545' (third volume) in gilt lettering. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, board edges decorated with narrow frieze, inside dentelles. Gilt edges. An excellent, and wide-margined copy, carefully washed and pressed. A few pencilled bibliographical annotations in the first volume, on the recto of the rear marbled flyleaf.

Provenance: Sir Robert Peel, second baronet (1788-1850), Prime Minister of Great Britain for two terms of office, 1834-1835 and 1841-1846, with his Drayton Manor armorial ex-libris in each volume.

A superb, uniformly bound set with a distinguished provenance, containing – as a virtually complete corpus – the first Aldine edition of eighteen plays by Euripides, and one of the scarcest Greek books printed in Rome, the 1545 editio princeps of Electra, the only tragedy still lacking in the Aldine publication. The first two volumes contain the first Aldine edition of Euripides – the second ever after the Florentine princeps of 1495, edited by Ianos Laskaris – notably enlarged to include a total of eighteen tragedies. This influential and widely popular edition thus contains all the plays except Electra, which only came to light in 1545.

Although the title-page lists the titles of only seventeen plays, the edition also includes Hercules Furens, which was added during the press run at the end of the second volume. Euripides' plays are not accompanied by commentary.

For the texts of Medea, Hippolytos, Alcestis, and Andromache, Aldus closely followed the Florentine princeps, but he gave no information on the manuscripts used for the other tragedies. It has long been believed that the editor could have been the famous Cretan scholar Marcos Mousuros, yet it is quite possible that responsibility for establishing the text belonged primarily to Ioannes Gregoropoulos, another Cretan coadjutor at the Venetian press. The edition remained the Euripidean vulgate until at least the second half of the nineteenth century. The Euripides is in parva forma, the handy portable size which was introduced by Aldus for the Virgil of 1501.

The text of Electra was first printed by Blado in 1545, and edited by the Florentine Pietro Vettori (1499-1585) on the basis of a manuscript discovered by his disciples Bartolomeo Barbadori and Girolamo Mei. It is the first edition printed by Blado with his new Greek type, designed by Giovanni Onorio da Maglie at the request of Cardinal Marcello Cervini. The fine volumes presented here had belonged to Sir Robert Peel, Prime Minister of Great Britain, appointed under King William IV and Queen Victoria. They are late examples of the 'Harleian' style, so called after Edward Harley, second Earl of Oxford.

I. Adams E-1030; STC Italian 239; Renouard Alde, 43.10; Ahmanson-Murphy 69; Sicherl Manutius, pp. 291-309; Hoffmann II, p. 68; Legrand I, 31; Layton, The Sixteenth-Century Greek Book in Italy, p. 383; Staikos, Charta of Greek Printing, p. 343; Staikos, The Greek Editions of Aldus Manutius and his Greek Collaborators (1495-1515), New Castle, DE 2016, 33. II. Adams E-1052; STC Italian 239; Fumagalli 79 (“rarissimo”); Ascarelli, p. 100; Hoffmann II, p. 82; M. L. Agati, G. Onorio da Maglie, Roma 2001, pp. 41-44; R. A. Gaunt, Sir Robert Peel. The Life and Legacy, London 2010; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 48.


54. [Cinderella]. Geiler von Kaysersberg, Johannes (1445-1510)

Das irrig Schaf. Sagt von kleinmuetikeit und verzweiflung... mit sampt den nachvolgenden tractaten.... Matthias Schürer, [ca. 1510].

Seven parts in one volume in small 4o (196x139 mm). Collation: A8, B-C4, D8, E-F4, G6, H4; a8, b-c4, d8, e4, f6; aa6, bb8, cc-dd4, ee8; Aa6, Bb8, Cc6, Dd4 (Dd2 signed Dd3), Ee4, Ff8; (a-(b8, (c-(d6; (A6, (B4; AA4, BB6, CC4, DD4, EE6. [204] leaves, complete with all five blank leaves (fols H4, ee8, (d6, (B4, and EE6). Gothic type. Title and six sectional titles with woodcuts. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. First five quires rubricated in red, Lombard initials painted in red, in a contemporary hand. Contemporary blind-stamped, pink-stained half pigskin and wooden boards. One brass clasp, lacking the tip of the catch. Spine with three double raised bands. The lower wooden board slightly wormed. A good copy, small repair to the upper margin of the first leaf. Some wormholes mostly to the outer margin, occasionally affecting partial letters but not legibility. The woodcut is slightly offset on the separate title-pages. Some contemporary Latin marginalia, in an early hand, and a note on the verso of the front flyleaf, no longer legible.

Provenance: Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow, acquired from Gilhofer & Ranschberg, 1983 (ex-libris on the front pastedown; see The Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, Christie's New York, 9-10 April 2013, lot 186).

First edition of seven small tracts adapted into German by the Swiss-born Johannes Geiler von Kaysersberg, preacher at the Strasbourg Cathedral, from the moral sermons of theologian Jean Gerson (1363-1429) whose works he had edited from 1488 to 1502. Geiler “was a populariser rather than an original thinker and, as such, an ideal diffuser of Gerson's thought. [...] Geiler's preference to translate almost exclusively Gerson's works addressed to simple people ‘sans lettres' rather than his learned scholastic treatises, also reflects his priorities as a parish priest dealing with daily needs of ordinary people” (Y. Mazour-Matusevich, “Jean Gerson's Legacy in Tübingen and Strasbourg”, p. 264).

The Strasbourg edition contains one of the earliest printed versions of the enormously popular fairy tale of Cinderella, included here under the title Der Eschen Grüdel, Von den anfaßenden möenschen in dem gots dienst, and considered a forerunner of the Aschenputtel by the Brothers Grimm. Each of the seven short treatises in this collection is introduced by a sectional title bearing a woodcut vignette; the woodcut on the title of Der Eschen Gründel depicts an unhappy young girl by a fireplace and is indeed considered one of the earliest illustrations of Cinderella herself, the protagonist of that celebrated fable.

The other treatises include Das irrig Schaf (a significantly enlarged version of Gerson's De remediis), Der Hellisch Low, Die Christenlich Künigin, Der dreieckecht Spiegel, Das Klappermaul, and Der Trostspiegel. The woodcut on the title of Der dreieckecht is signed with the letters 'H G', a monogram which has tentatively been attributed to different artists active in Strasbourg at that time, such as Hans Baldung Grien, Hans Grüninger, and Hieronymus Greff.

Adams G-320; VD16 G-764; STC German 335; Panzer, Annalen 670; Ritter Repertoire, 1078; Schmidt 43; P. Kristeller, Die Strassburger Bücher-Illustration im XV. und im Anfange des XVI. Jahrhunderts, Leipzig 1988, *528; L. Dacheux Die ältesten Schriften Geilers, Freiburg i.B. 1882, p. 47; R. Muther, German Book Illustration of the Gothic Period and the Early Renaissance (1460-1530), Metuchen, NJ, 1972, p. 194; Y. Mazour-Matusevich, “Jean Gerson's Legacy in Tübingen and Strasbourg”. The Medieval History Journal, 13 (2010), pp. 259-286; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 54.

The first book printed in the Ge’ez language

55. [Bible. Old Testament. Psalms. Ethiopic]

Psalterium David et Cantica aliqua. Marcello Silber for Johannes Potken, 30 June - 10 September 1513.

4° (225x160 mm). Collation: [1-128, 13-146]. [108] leaves. Ethiopic and roman type. Printed in black and red. On the recto of the first leaf full-page woodcut showing David crowned, with a harp in his hand and framed within a candelabra and floral border signed 'S C'. Woodcut headings and initials printed in red throughout; woodcut head-pieces in knotwork pattern, likewise in red. Contemporary, probably French, elaborately blind-tooled brown calf, over pasteboards. Covers within multiple fillets, and a large roll with interlaced foliate motifs and acorn tools. The centre panel tooled with two vertical candelabra rolls, and a central smaller strip with bee-shaped tools. Traces of four pairs of ties, one at head and tail, as well as two at the fore-edge. Spine with four raised bands, skilfully rebacked. Gutter reinforced with a leaf from a parchment manuscript. Very good copy; old repair to the blank outer margin of the first leaf; small repaired wormholes on the last leaf. Minor waterstains to the first and last leaves. Covers abraded in places, corners slightly bumped. The number '60' written by an early hand on the upper outer corner of the title-page. Pencilled bibliographical notes in French on the recto of the front flyleaf, 'Psalterium Premier livre en ethiopien'.

Provenance: Gabriele da Casale, capuchin of the Province of Genoa, named in 1622 General Commissar (ownership inscription on the front pastedown, 'Questa Cantica è stata mandata da Genoua dal P. Gabriele di Casale Prouinciale de Capucini, anno 1606. mensis Nouemb').

Very rare first edition of the first book printed in the Ge'ez language or Ethiopic – and the first book of the Bible printed in an Eastern language other than the original Hebrew – edited by German churchman and papal protonotary Johann Potken (ca. 1470 - ca. 1525), who also published it at his own expense. The book contains the Psalter, Biblical hymns, and the Song of Solomon, alongside basic notions on the Etiophic language, misleadingly considered here a version of Chaldean. “Of interest is the typographical care Potken has taken to represent the short a by a lower case letter a with the ascender filed off, and the long o with a character resembling the lower case omega” (Smitskamp III, 233).

Potken had learned this language from the abbot Thomas Walda Samuel, member of the Ethiopian Christian community of the church of Saint Stephen of the Abyssinians, and had become fascinated with the liturgy and culture. “Potken describes in his preface how he had heard Ethiopian strangers in Rome reciting sacred hymns, in which he recognized the names of the Blessed Virgin, the Apostles and certain Saints. Aroused by curiosity he determined to learn Ethiopic – which he calls lingua Chaldea – and eventually succeeded in mastering enough of the language to enable him to publish this edition in the native character” (Darlow & Moule).

For this publishing initiative, Potken borrowed an Ethiopic Psalter manuscript from the Vatican Library (Vat. Etiop. 20) and commissioned the cutting of types in Ge'ez script to Marcellus Silber, a printer from Regensburg engaged by the Curia. The fruit of this collaboration is one of the finest liturgical books printed in Rome. The text is printed in red and black, and opens with a handsome woodcut within a border, stamped in red and signed with the monogram 'S C', depicting the traditional image of King David playing on the harp and singing psalms.

Adams B-1481; STC Italian 99; Tinto, Annali Silber, 157; Fumagalli, Bibliografia Etiopica, p. 353; Bohatta II, 376; Darlow & Moule 3560; Nagler IV, 3990; Smitskamp III, 233; Fact and Fantasy 17; Sander 5942; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 55.

An illuminated octavo Juntine

56. Seneca, Lucius Annaeus (ca. 4 BC - 65 AD)

Senecae Tragoediae. Florence, Filippo Giunta, July 1513. (bound with:) Euripides (480-406 BC) Hecuba et Iphigenia in Aulide Euripidis tragoediae in Latinum tralatae [sic] Erasmo Roterodamo interprete.... Filippo Giunta’s heirs, December 1518.

Two works in one volume, 8° (165x103 mm). I: Collation: a-z8, &8, A-D8. [8], 215, [1] leaves. Complete with fol. D8 blank. Roman and italic type. Fol. a2 (opening of the preface) is decorated with a large initial in gold and blue, a floral frame surrounding the text in blue, red, green, and gold, and at the bottom, within a circular frame, unidentified coat of arms (presumably Florentine), featuring two red lions or leopards on gold ground separated by an oblique red band. II: Collation: [1-4]8, a-i8. [80] leaves. Roman and italic type.

Woodcut Giunta device on the verso of the last leaf. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary blind-tooled calf, over pasteboards. Spine with two raised bands, panels divided by a thick frame into two square compartments decorated with a circular pattern at the centre, geometric motifs at the corners. The corners of the upper cover's corners and extremities of spine skilfully repaired, traces of metal ornament pieces and ties. Very good, genuine copy with wide margins. Small round hole in the first four leaves and on the last leaf slightly affecting the text; some staining and soiling.

A fine miscellany, in its contemporary binding, containing two rare Juntine editions.

The volume opens with Seneca's tragedies, a substantial reprint of the edition first published by Filippo Giunta in 1506 and edited by Benedetto Riccardini. As in 1506, the edition is dedicated to Domenico Benivieni and contains a short biography of Seneca, taken from the Pietro Crinito's De poetis Latinis.

The second bound edition is the Euripides of 1516, containing the Latin translation of the Hecuba and Iphigenia Aulidensis by the outstanding humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam, first issued from the Venetian printing house of Aldus Manutius in 1507. The Juntine reprint is introduced with a preface by Antonio Francini, the most productive of the editors active for the Giunti press in the first half of the sixteenth century. The original dedicatory epistle from Erasmus to William Warham, Archbishop of Canterbury, follows. “Francini's first editorial work for Bernardo after Filippo's death was the 1518 edition of the Historiae of Herodian, in the Latin translation by Poliziano. In the same year he edited Bernardo's printing of the 1507 Aldine edition of Euripides' Hecuba and Iphigenia in Aulide. [...] Presumably this would have been a legal reprint, for Manuzio's ten-year privilege had ended” (Pettas, The Giunti of Florence, p. 34). The copy is presented here in the issue bearing the misprint 'tralatae' on the title-page.

The opening leaf of the first edition is finely illuminated, and includes the coat of arms of an unidentified (and perhaps Florentine) owner, painted as usual in the lower margin.

I. STC Italian 621; Renouard Alde, XXXVII, 42; Camerini Annali, 42; Pettas 53. II. Adams E-1047; STC Italian 239; Renouard Alde, XLIII.6; Camerini Annali, 111; Pettas 122; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 56.

Rare example of a Neapolitan 'speaking-binding' with lettering on the lower cover

57. Sabellicus, Marcus Antonius Coccius (1436-1506)

Rapsodiae historiarum Enneadum... ab orbe condito pars prima (-posterior) quinque complectens Enneades. Josse Bade for Jean Petit, 5 January 1513 – 1 March 1516.

Two volumes, folio (321x205 mm). Collation: I. ã12, ê10, a-z8, A-Z8, &8, cum8, rum10. [22], CCCXCIIII leaves. II. ãã10, ê8, aa-qq8, rr10, ss-zz8, AA-VV8, XX10. [18], CCCLV [i.e. CCCLVI] leaves. Complete with the last leaf blank. Roman and gothic type. Title-pages printed in red and black, framed within woodcut architectural border. Bade's device of a printer's press on each title-page. Woodcut decorated and animated initials on criblé ground throughout, several on fourteen lines. Fine uniform contemporary, probably Neapolitan gilt-tooled red morocco, over pasteboards. Tooled in blind and gold to a panel design, broad gilt border formed from repeated impressions of a 'peacock's tail' motif, central gilt arabesque, small floral tools at inner and outer corners of border, lower covers lettered in gilt 'ENNEADVM SABELLICI PARS PRIOR.' and 'ENNEADVM SABELLICI PARS POSTERIOR' respectively. Remains of four pairs of ties, edges speckled in red and blue. Slightly rubbed, skilful repairs at foot of spines and corners, small areas of re-gilding. A very fine, wide-margined copy, a few spots and foxing in places. Waterstain to the last leaves of the first volume; in the second volume, small repair to the blank lower corner of the front flyleaf and title-page. A few paper flaws, some minor spots and stains.

Provenance: Giorgio Teodoro Trivulzio, Count of Melzo (1542–1612; ownership inscription on the title-page of each volume, 'Georgius Triuultius'; repeated on fol. a1r of the first volume, and on fol. aa1r of the second one).

A superb, wide-margined copy – in an exquisite contemporary Italian speaking-binding – of this monumental world history since the Creation, written by the fifteenth- century Venetian Marco Antonio Coccio Sabellico. The first part of the Enneades ab orbe condito was originally published in Venice in 1498, and the author subsequently wrote a continuation up until 1504. Josse Bade had first printed the work in 1509; this second edition was printed between 1513 and 1516, and opens with his prefatory epistle to Guillaume Petit, already appended to the publication of 1509. The title-pages are framed within a fine Roman portico with two sculptured columns, with antique elements, such as vases, Roman heads copied from coins, mythological animals, and cuirasses. Apart from the upper panel, this title-border is identical to the architectural frame first seen in the Cicero printed by Bade in 1511 – the first Renaissance title-border used in Paris – which reproduces the border first used for Livius' Decades, printed in Venice in 1493.

The volumes are in their original, richly gilt-tooled binding. De Marinis describes a very similar binding on a Cyrillus Alexandrinus (Paris 1508) now in the Museo Civico di Arte Antica, Turin. It is assigned to Naples, and displays the same 'peacock's tail' tool, along with similar lettering on the lower cover (Legatura artistica in Italia, T, no. 272, pl. LIII). The provenance of the volumes is highly distinguished: they once belonged to the nobleman Giorgio Teodoro Trivulzio, of one of the most illustrious Milanese families. He was a member of the College of Jurisconsults of Milan and became a senator in 1571 (for another book once belonging to him see no. 53).

Renouard Bade, pp. 224-226; Imprimeurs et Libraires II, 230; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 57.

A reversal of del Tuppo’s celebrated Hercules and Antaeus lunette

58. Vipera, Giovanni Mercurio (1426-1527)

De divino et vero numine apologeticon. Rome, Marcellus Silber, 1514-1515. (bound with:) Idem. De disciplinarum virtutumque Laudibus opusculum. Rome, Etienne Guillery, 14 September 1515. (bound with:) Idem. Orationes. Rome, Etienne Guillery and Ercole Nani, 30 September 1514. (bound with:) Idem. Oratio [de justiciae laudibus]. [Rome, Johannes Beplin, ca. 1513].

Four works in one volume, 4° (198x130 mm). I. Six parts. Collation: a-b4, c6; a-d4; a-b4, c6 ; a-c4; a-b4, c6; a-f4. [94] leaves. Roman type. Each part with separate title-page within a fine woodcut compartment of floral design on black ground. II. Collation: A-T4. [76] leaves. Roman and gothic type. Title-page within woodcut border on black ground from the celebrated del Tuppo Aesop of 1485. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. III. Collation: A-H4. [32] leaves. Roman type. One woodcut decorated initial on fol. A1v. IV. [a]4. [4] leaves. Roman type. Title-page within a beautiful portico on white ground, two rounded pillars at sides and long tassels hanging down from a flat-topped entablature (slightly trimmed at the upper panel).

Sixteenth century brown calf over pasteboards, likely executed by a Spanish binder. Covers within blind fillets, floral tool at each corner. At the centre, an unidentified coat of arms in gilt, with the Roman numerals 'XVI' and initials 'CJ'. Neatly rebacked in the nineteenth century, gilt-tooled spine with five raised double bands; title lettered in gold. Covers slightly rubbed. A very fine copy, ruled in red throughout. Minor foxing and browning in places. Early manuscript index on front flyleaf of the volume.

Provenance: early illegible signature on the upper margin of the first title-page; Charles Spencer, Earl of Sunderland (1674-1722; see Bibliotheca Sunderlandiana. Sale Catalogue of the truly important and very extensive library of printed books known as the Sunderland or Blenheim library, 1 December 1881, lot 13036, 'woodcut titles, old calf with arms on sides'); the English politician Charles Butler, esq. of Warren Wood Hatfield (1821-1910; ex-libris; his sale at Sotheby's 29 May 1911, The first portion of the extensive and valuable library of the late Charles Butler, esq. of Warren Wood, Hatfield, and Connaught Place); Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, acquired from Lathrop C. Harper, 1973 (see The Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, Christie's New York 2013, lot 340).

A fine miscellaneous volume, containing four very rare Roman editions. Vipera of Benevento was a learned man and for many years auditor at the Papal Court. He was slain by a plundering soldier in the Sack of Rome in 1527. Most of his writings are short orations, all beautifully printed by the most renowned Roman presses of the time, especially by the French printer Etienne Guillery, who, between 1510 and 1514/15, printed in partnership with Ercole Nani from Bologna. The final edition issued by the firm 'Magister Stephanus et Magister Hercules socii' was precisely Vipera's Orationes, in 1514-1515.

For the title-page of the second work bound here, De disciplinarum virtutumque Laudibus opusculum, Guillery used a woodcut border that included the figures of Hercules and Antaeus in the upper panel, a scene which is a reverse copy of the border used by Francesco del Tuppo for his famous Aesop issued in Naples in 1485 (see A. M. Hind, An Introduction to a History of Woodcut, II, pp. 405-407). The title-border was also used by the French printer for the Suma de arithmetica by Juan de Ortega, likewise published in 1515. The last work bound in the volume was probably issued by the enigmatic printer Johannes Beplin, who printed mostly anonymously, and possibly for other printers active in Rome. His production is limited to bulls, orations, and other short texts.

The volume is presented in a handsome near contemporary binding with interesting but unidentified arms, possibly executed by a Spanish bookbinder. In a letter dated August 1945, Geoffrey Dudley Hobson writes that various people called 'Jacobs' in the Spanish Netherlands used very similar arms. It has not been possible to discover the identity of its earliest owner, but the subsequent provenance is highly distinguished: the earliest recorded owner of this fine volume was Charles Spencer, Earl of Sunderland. The extensive Bibliotheca Sunderlandiana was sold in London in 1881.

I. Tinto Annali, no. 111; Sander 7629. II. Adams V-843; Mortimer Italian, 542; Isaacs 12088; Sander 7631; F. Barberi, Tipografi romani del Cinquecento, p. 52. III. Isaacs 12159. IV. Adams V-847; STC Italian 729; Isaacs 12159; Sander 7635. For the activity of the printer Etienne Guillery, see Norton, Italian Printers, pp. 98-100; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 58.

The Aldine Lucianus, bound by the Mendoza Binder

63. Lucianus Samosatensis (125–182)

Opuscula Erasmo Roterodamo interprete. Aldo Manuzio's heirs and Andrea Torresano, May 1516.

8° (165x93 mm). Collation: a-z8, aa-ff8, gg6. 236 (misnumbered 136), [2] leaves. Italic and roman type. Woodcut Aldine device on the title-page and on the verso of the last leaf. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Handsome contemporary Venetian binding, executed by Andrea di Lorenzo, also known as the Mendoza Binder. Red morocco, over pasteboards. Covers framed within border of blind and gilt fillets, small leaves and rosettes in gilt. In the rectangular interior space, foliate cornerpieces and an arabesque fleuron, composed of three elements. At the top of the upper cover the inscription 'LVCIANI DIAL' in gilt lettering. Traces of holes for ties on the edges. Spine with three double bands alternating with four single bands, underlined by narrow gilt frieze, compartments blind tooled. Gilt and gauffered edges, in knotwork pattern. Minor loss at the top of the spine, small stain to the lower cover. A good copy, the first two leaves once stuck together and damaged, with loss of a few letters or words, owing to the censorial attempt to eliminate the dedicatory epistle by Erasmus. The last leaves slightly waterstained. The occurrences of Erasmus' name censored and deleted in ink throughout.

Provenance: on the title-page an earlier ownership inscription covered with paper, and small oval stamp inked out; the British botanist and politician Charles Carmichael (1853-1933), and Mary Laicata, Selham Sussex (ex-libris on the front pastedown); his sale at Sotheby's in the 1950s, lot 190 (inserted loose a ticket in the hand of John Pashby, active at the time at Sotheby's, 'Lucian 1516', and lot number).

The rare first Aldine edition of Lucian's Opuscula, edited for Andrea Torresano by the pre-eminent Dutch humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536), presented here in a strictly contemporary red morocco binding executed by one of the best and most sought-after Venetian binders: Andrea di Lorenzo, active in Venice between 1518 and 1555 and known as the 'Mendoza Binder' after his principal client, the Spanish ambassador in Venice and great bibliophile Diego Hurtado de Mendoza. The most inventive and in-demand Venetian binder of the mid-sixteenth century, he also worked for other important book collectors, such as Jean Grolier, Johann Jakob Fugger, and Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle.

Andrea di Lorenzo had a close relationship with the Manutius-Torresano printing house. Until about 1525, the Venetian binder seems to have mainly worked for the Anchor and Dolphin bookshop near Rialto Bridge, decorating the bindings with characteristic features such as rectangular frames of fillets, rosettes, arabesque leaves, fleurons, and lozenges. For distinguished customers, he added the author and title in gilt lettering at the top of the upper cover, or their names at the foot of the same. His decorative patterning and innovative style were particularly influential, inspiring generations of binders in France and Germany.

“The Manuzio-Torresano partnership did not employ a binder – or, at least, no binder producing tooled leather covers – during the elder Aldus's lifetime. After his death Andrea Torresano introduced a binder from outside (since [...] the Mendoza Binder was probably not a Venetian by birth) to improve sales and perhaps clear a backlog of unsold stock. Rather that the 'Aldine Binder' [...] the man in question would more appropriately have been called the 'Torresano Binder'” (A. Hobson, Renaissance Book Collecting, p. 107).

For similar examples see Anthony Hobson's census of the bindings by the Mendoza Binder in his Renaissance Book Collecting (Appendix 5, p. 247); see plate no. 46, showing a copy of the 1516 edition of Ovid's Metamorphoses decorated with grouped arabesque leaves and preserved in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York.

Adams L-1624; Renouard Alde, 76.2; Ahmanson-Murphy 145; Bibliotheca Erasmiana Bruxellensis, 470; Hobson, Renaissance Book Collecting, App. 5, p. 247; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 63.

The Fairfaix Murray, Martini, Olschki, Brunschwig, and Berès copy

65. Forti, Girolamo (d. 1489)

Inamoramento de’ Rinaldo de monte Albano et diuerse ferocissime battaglie leq[ua]le fece lardito et francho Paladino et come occise Ma[m]brino di Leuante et moltissimi forti pagani.... Giovanni Tacuino, 8 August 1517.

4° (214x158 mm). Collation: a-y8, z4. [180] leaves, complete with the last leaf blank. Gothic and roman type. Text in two columns. On the title-page, a large woodcut medallion portrait of Rinaldo on horseback. Numerous woodcut vignettes in text, some on black ground. Nineteenth-century red morocco over pasteboards, signed on the front pastedown by Georges Trautz-Bauzonnet (1808-1879). Covers within triple gilt fillet. Spine with five raised bands, compartments gilt tooled, title lettered in gilt. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, inside dentelles. Blue silk bookmark, gilt edges. A fine, well-margined copy. Title-page and a few leaves slightly browned, minor loss to the lower blank margin of fol. N4, not affecting the text.

Provenance: Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919; see A List of Printed Books in the Library of Charles Fairfax Murray, [London] 1907, p. 199); Giuseppe Martini (1870-1944); Leo S. Olschki (Rome, 15 April 1927); Sylvain S. Brunschwig (ex-libris; see sale Nicolas Rauch, Bibliothèque Sylvain S. Brunschwig: Incunables et seizième siècle, Genève, 28-30 March 1955, lot 259); Pierre Berès.

Very rare edition of the Italian translation in verses – attributed to Teramo humanist Girolamo Forti – of the story of Renaud de Montauban, part of the French cycle of the Quatre fils of Aymon of Dordogne. This chivalric poem was first composed in Alexandrine verse in the thirteenth century, and the narrative of the adventures and exploits of Rinaldo da Montalbano enjoyed ever-increasing popularity in Italy from the late fourteenth century, where it developed in different versions, both in verse and in prose. “Renaissance Italians loved chivalric romances as much or more than any other European people [...] Soon Italian minstrels dressed Roland and Charlemagne in Italian armor. Then they created new knights and maidens to accompany the heroes of Roncisvalle, and sent all of them forth on an endless road of adventure” (P. Grendler, “Form and Function of Italian Renaissance Popular Books”, p. 472). Rinaldo's story appeared first in print in Naples in about 1475. Numerous editions followed in the earliest decades of the sixteenth century, generally of extraordinary rarity and mostly known through a single copy.

The edition of 1517 is based on the Rinaldo issued by the Venetian Melchiorre Sessa in 1515, from which is also derived the fine woodcut printed on the title-page as well as most of the vignettes in the text. The present copy is exceptionally complete. In fact, the only other traceable copy of the Tacuino publication, which once belonged to Essling and Bonfiglioli, is preserved in the Yale University Library and is lacking two leaves. The copy listed by Melzi and Tosi – bound with the Bindoni edition of Pietro Durante's Leandra (1517) – was later offered by the Parisian bookseller Edwin Tross (1822-1875) in his Catalogue no. 19 for the sum of 300 francs (no. 2532) and has since then disappeared.

Melzi-Tosi, p. 256; Essling 1859; Sander 6496; N. Harris, “Marin Sanudo, Forerunner of Melzi”, La Bibliofilia, 95 (1993), pp. 1-37, 101-145, 96 (1994), pp. 15-42; E. Melli (ed.), I cantari di Rinaldo da Monte Albano, Bologna 1973, esp. pp. XXXII-XXXIV; E. Melli, “Nella selva dei 'Rinaldi'. Poemetti su Rinaldo da Mont'Albano in antiche edizioni a stampa”, Studi e problemi di critica testuale, 16 (1978), pp. 193-215; G. Petrella, À la chasse au bonheur. I libri ritrovati di Renzo Bonfiglioli e altri episodi di storia del collezionismo italiano del Novecento, Firenze 2016, pp. 165-166 (mentioning this copy as lost); P. Grendler, “Form and Function in Italian Renaissance Popular Books”, Idem, Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History, Brookfield, VT 1995, pp. 451-485; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 65.

The Mendoza Binder for the Aldine Press

70. Sallustius Crispus, Gaius (86-34/33 BC)

De coniuratione Catilinae. Eiusdem De bello Iugurthino. Orationes quaedam ex libris historiarum... Eiusdem oratio contra M. T. Ciceronem. M. T. Ciceronis oratio contra C. Crispum Sallustium. Eiusdem oratione quatuor contra Lucium Catilinam.... Aldo Manuzio's heirs and Andrea Torresano, January 1521.

8° (160x98 mm). Collation: a-t8. [8], 142, [2] leaves. Complete with fol. t7 blank. Italic and roman type. Woodcut Aldine devices on the title-page and verso of the last leaf, in two variants. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Fine contemporary dark brown Venetian morocco over pasteboards. Covers within a border of multiple blind fillets, one in gilt. At the centre lacework tool in gilt, one small gilt-tooled ivy-leaf at each corner. Holes for a pair of ties to the fore edge. Spine with three raised bands, underlined by blind fillets. Darkened edges. Trace of a small round paper label on the spine, with the inked number '303'. Corners and board edges slightly worn, minor loss to the extremities. A very good copy, title-page lightly soiled and spotted. Some foxing, tiny wormholes to the blank upper margin of a few leaves, without any loss. On the front pastedown the pencilled price notice '£ 5-50'.

Provenance: ownership inscription barely legible on the front pastedown, dated 1663 ('[?]aria Fabritius duodecim et semis 1663 Paris.'); Edward Herbert Viscount Clive, 2nd Earl of Powis (1785-1848; ex-libris on the front pastedown; his sale, Sotheby's, 22 Mar. 1923, lot 492); Bernard Quaritch (Catalogue of a most important Collection of Publications of the Aldine Press, 1494-1595, London 1929).

The rare second Aldine edition of Sallustius' works, first issued by Aldus Manutius in April 1509 and offered here in a handsome contemporary binding. The 1521 publication includes Aldus' original dedicatory epistle, followed by an address to readers by Aldus' brother-in-law Gian Francesco Torresano, who edited and improved the text. According to Renouard, this edition is superior to that of 1509, in that it is “beaucoup plus belle, imprimée avec un caractère neuf, et d'un meilleur texte”.

The volume's fine binding was executed in a style frequently seen in editions published by the Aldine printing house, and can confidently be attributed to the Mendoza Binder, the skilled craftsman so called owing to his association to one of the greatest book collectors of that age, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, the Emperor's ambassador to Venice from 1540 to 1546. This binder was active in Venice between 1518/19-1555, and also worked for other collectors – among others, Johann Jakob Fugger – and Venetian booksellers, primarily for the press run by Andrea Torresano, and later by the Manuzio- Torresano partnership. “Quite apart from his work for Hurtado de Mendoza the binder produced regular trade work for the book-buying public. These have fairly standard decorative schemes. His typical trade binding is decorated with a rectangular frame of one gilt and multiple blind lines, rosettes and ivy-leaves at the corners and a smaller leaf between them, either in silver or in blind. The title and often the customer's initials are gilt on the upper cover. These are bindings made either for a bookseller's stock or a bookseller's customer. Binders in Venice were not allowed by the booksellers' guild to sell books directly to the public. Although no doubt major collectors [...] would have dealt directly with a binder, most customers must have arranged for binding through a bookshop” (A. Hobson, “Was There an Aldine Bindery?”, pp. 243-244).

Adams S-147; STC Italian 599; Renouard Alde, 93.16; Cataldi Palau 60; Ahmanson-Murphy 194; A. Hobson, “Was There an Aldine Bindery?”, D. S. Zeidberg (ed.), Aldus Manutius and Renaissance Culture. Essays in Memory of Franklin D. Murphy, Florence 1998, pp. 237-245; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 70.

A well-preserved wallet binding

71. Erasmus, Desiderius (1466-1536)

Paraphrases in omnes epistolas Pauli germanas, & in omnes Canonicas. Johann Froben, March 1521.

Four parts in one volume, 8° (168x114 mm). Collation: a-z8, aa-mm8; nn-tt8; A-L8, M10; N-Q8, R10. 473 of [474] leaves, lacking the last blank leaf. Roman and italic type. Each title within a fine woodcut border; the first, second and third border also including Froben's printer's device. Woodcut section borders on fols. a6v, l7r, t7v, dd7v, gg7r, ii6r, ll3v, nn5r, ss3v, tt5r, and A5r. Larger printer's devices on fols. mm8v, M10v, and R9v, with some variants. Numerous woodcut animated initials in different sizes, mostly on black ground, the initial on fol. a2r on ten line, with the inscription 'DIOGENES. ARISTIPPVS'; woodcut headpieces. Contemporary wallet-style German binding, blind tooled pigskin over pasteboards, the lower cover overlapping the upper one. Covers within border of fillets and foliate roll, central spaces filled with floral and foliate tools. Spine with three raised bands, underlined by multiple fillets. Compartments decorated with floral motifs, trace of early inked title on the first one. Head-edge darkened. Metal attachments missing, a small hole to the upper cover. A very fine copy, with strong impression of the woodcut borders. A few paper flaws, loss to the blank outer lower corner of fol. nn1, not affecting the woodcut border. A few contemporary marginalia, and reading marks. Pencilled bibliographical notes on the recto of the front flyleaf; on the front pastedown, the inked note '88-76-5'.

Provenance: John Jermain Slocum, the famous Joyce collector, and Joyce co-bibliographer (1914-1997; pencilled note on the recto of the front flyleaf, 'Ex Coll. John Slocum'); Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow, acquired from Goodspeed's Book Shop, 1975 (ex-libris on the front pastedown; see The Collection of Arthur & Charlotte Vershbow, Christie's New York, 9-10 April 2013, lot 170).

A fine copy – from the celebrated library of Arthur and Charlotte Vershbow – of the first edition of this important work by Erasmus, rarely found complete with all four parts and presented here in its original, well-preserved wallet-style binding.

The first part of the Froben edition contains Erasmus' paraphrases of the Romans, Corinthians, and Galatians; the second part covers those of Timothy, Jude, James and John; and the third part is devoted to the canonical letters of Peter, Jude, James and John. This Basel edition also contains, as a fourth and final part, the paraphrases of the letters to the Hebrews (In epistolam Pauli apostoli ad Hebraeos paraphrasis per Erasmum Roterodamum extrema), which is not mentioned on the title-page nor in the list of contents. The text of this section was printed on five quires added during the printing, and owing to this circumstance complete copies with all four parts very rarely appear on the market.

The present edition is also praised for the fine title borders and initials, some of them – like that on fol. b5r – were cut by Johann Faber after drawings by the renowned artist Hans Holbein the Younger, who often worked for Froben. The border on fol. A1 is instead signed by Ursus Graf, with his monogram 'VG'.

A further point of great interest in this copy is its blind-tooled pigskin binding, a handsome example of wallet-style binding, in which the lower cover extends along its length, folding over the fore-edge. This sort of binding was adopted to protect precious manuscripts against the possibility of getting damaged, and it was also used in intensively-used volumes such as account books, textbooks, prayer books, archival documents, and more generally for volumes intended to be carried around by their owners, merchants, school masters, or – as the content of Erasmus' volume suggests – preachers. Few of these bindings have survived.

Adams E-793; VD16 E-3375; STC German 115; Heckethorn, The Printers of Basle, 170; Bezzel 1526; Bibliotheca Erasmiana Bruxellensis, 325; F. Hieronymus, Basler Buchillustration 1500 bis 1545, Basel 1984, no. 374; C. Müller, Hans Holbein d. J. Die Druckgraphik im Kupferstichkabinett, Basel 1997, no. 24; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 71.

Title-page printed in red within a blue floral-patterned woodcut frame

73. Leone, Ambrogio (1459-1525)

Nouum opus quęstionum seu problematum ut pulcherrimorum ita utilissimorum tum aliis plerisque in rebus cognoscendis tum maxime in philosophia & medicina scientia. Bernardino and Matteo Vitali, 28 August 1523.

Folio (314x216 mm). Collation: a4, A-P4. [64] leaves. Complete with the last blank. Roman type. Title-page printed in red within woodcut floral-patterned border stamped in blue ink. Woodcut printer's device on fol. P3v. Fine contemporary limp vellum. On the upper cover the title 'AMBROSII NOLANI PROBLEMATA', inked in capital letters within a frame composed of four concentric circles. Smooth spine, the title inked vertically in gothic type. Traces of ties. Binding slightly loose. A handsome, unsophisticated copy.

Provenance: early ownership inscription on the title-page, almost illegible.

The exceedingly rare first and only edition of this collection of miscellaneous observations by the physician, mathematician, historian, and philosopher Ambrogio Leone, originating from Nola (near Naples), and active in the Aldine printing house as a proof-reader. The work collects numerous quaestiones naturales and deals with a wide range of topics in philosophy, science, and medicine, including the first description of syphilis ever to be published, seven years before the appearance in 1530 of the poem Syphilis, sive De morbo gallico by Girolamo Fracastoro. Leone was already at work on this collection in 1507-1508, while collaborating with Aldus Manutius and Erasmus of Rotterdam. The work is considered one of the earliest 'libri de secreti' to appear in print. “In 1523, in order to satisfy his passion for miscellaneous observations, Ambrogio Leone also printed in Venice one of the first 'libri di segreti': this was his Opus quaestionum [...], on which he was already at work while collaborating with Erasmus in 1507-08, but which, as usual with Ambrogio, matured very slowly and was only printed in 1523 [...] It is important to notice that questions like the first one – why Bacchus is represented with horns and a beard – call to mind Polizianus' Miscellanea, the various Castigationes, the Adagia of Erasmus as well as many collections of proverbs and emblems inspired by these works” (P. Zambelli, “A Nolan before Bruno, Momus and Socratism in the Renaissance”, pp. 258-259).

This Venetian edition includes an exceptional feature in the context of early Italian Renaissance printing: on the title-page the title's lines are printed in red within a fine woodcut floral-patterned border stamped in blue ink. This exquisite woodcut frame shows a continuous design in four parts, and first appeared, stamped in black, in the illustrated Vitruvius of 1511 printed by Giovanni Tacuino, whose woodcuts – as Lilian Armstrong suggests – are reminiscent in style of one of the most esteemed and sought after designers and illuminators active in Venice, Benedetto Bordone (1450/55-1530). Bordone might be responsible for the design of this fine border on shaded ground with parallel lines, which was later re-used in black for the title of Bordone's famous isolario, the Libro nel quale si ragiona de tutte l'Isole del mondo issued in Venice in 1528.

In Venice, in 1514, Ambrogio Leone published his De Nola Opusculum, a historical survey on the origin and history of his birth city. The volume was printed by Giovanni Rosso and supplemented with four copperplates by Girolamo Moceto (see A. M. Hind, Early Italian Engravings, II, vol. 5, pp. 170-71, nos. 19-22). In some copies, these engravings are printed in varying colours of green, red, dark brown, and blue-grey ink, possibly revealing – as with the 1523 edition of the Problemata – Leone's personal interest in colour printing.

F. Barberi, Il frontespizio nel libro italiano del Quattrocento e del Cinquecento, Milano 1969, I, p. 125; L. Ammirati, Ambrogio Leone nolano, Marigliano 1983: L. Armstrong, “Benedetto Bordon, 'Miniator', and Cartography in Early Sixteenth Century Venice,” Eadem, Studies of a Renaissance Miniaturist in Venice, London 2003, 2, p. 621, note 91; P. Zambelli, “A Nolan before Bruno, Momus and Socratism in the Renaissance”, Eadem, White Magic, Black Magic in the European Renaissance, Leiden-Boston 2007, pp. 254-264; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 73.

In original speaking-binding

83. [Scriptores de re rustica]

Libri de re rustica, M. Catonis, M. Terentii Varronis, L. Iunii Moderati Columellę, Palladii Rutilii: quorum summam pagina sequens indicabit. Josse Bade, 30 April 1529.

Folio (333x214 mm). Collation: Aa6, A8, B6, a-t8, v6, x8. [40], 311, [21] pages. Roman type. Title-page within an elaborate woodcut architectural border, including putti, grotesque figures, antique vases and cuirasses, and mythological figures; on the upper panel a medallion depicting a laureate writer at his desk, large Bade device of a printer's press at the centre. Woodcut decorated initials, on ten lines the ones on criblé ground at the beginning of each book. Numerous woodcut illustrations and diagrams in the text. Handsome contemporary brown morocco, over pasteboards. Covers within blind fillets and two frames richly blind tooled in floral pattern. Traces of ties to the edges. At centre of both covers cornerpieces and fleurons surrounding a quatrefoil-shaped medallion, with the gilt inscriptions 'DE RE RVSTICA' on the upper cover, and 'M: CAT: M: VAR L: COL' on the lower one. Spine with three raised bands, compartments blind tooled with diagonal fillet pattern. Edges with trace of the original green colouring. Minor scrapes to the upper cover, upper joint slightly cracked, minor wear to corners and extremities of the spine, the front flyleaf lacking. A good, wide-margined and unsophisticated copy. Small wormholes to the lower portion of the front gutter; title-page lightly soiled with old repair to the outer lower blank corner, without any loss. A few leaves uniformly browned, some small stains and spots.

First Badius edition of this classical collection of texts on agriculture by the major Roman writers on the topic: De re rustica by Lucius Columella (4-70 AD), the De re rustica by Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder (234-149 BC), the De re rustica by Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 BC), and the De re rustica and De insitione by Rutilius Palladius (4th-5th century AD). The Scriptores rei rustica had been re-discovered at the beginning of the fifteenth century by Poggio Bracciolini, and the collection was first printed by Nicolas Jenson in Venice in 1472. Numerous editions followed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the collection became the standard reference work on agriculture until the end of the sixteenth century, owing especially to its comprehensive address of all aspects necessary for the conduct of a farm: plants, animals, wine, mustard, cheese, olives, fruit, etc.

The Badius edition closely followed the Libri de re rustica published by Aldus Manutius in May 1514, and edited by the Venetian printer himself along with the humanist and architect Giovanni Giocondo. Like the Aldine publication, the Parisian edition is thus supplemented with commentary by renowned humanists, such as the Enarrationes vocum priscarum in libris De re rustica by Giorgio Merula, the Enarrationes in XII Columellae libros by Filippo Beroaldo, the Interpretatio in hortum Columellae by Pomponio Leto, and the Scholia in hortum Palladii by Giovanni Battista Pio and Antonio Urceo (Codrus).

Renouard Bade, II, pp. 263-264; Schweiger II, p. 1306; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 83.

The Mendoza Binder for the ambassador Benedetto Curzi

86. 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.

An ‘Apollo and Pegasus’ binding

90. 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

91. 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 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.

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

98. 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

102. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

104. Alamanni, Luigi (1495-1556)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Honeyman Copy

114. 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.

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