Books on Blue Paper Philobiblon

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

Renaissance Architecture, printed on blue paper

97. Serlio, Sebastiano (1475-1554)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Orlando printed on blue paper

106. Ariosto, Ludovico (1474-1533)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Printed on blue paper

107. Calderia, Giovanni (1395-1474)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of the two known copies printed on blue paper

108. Biondo, Michelangelo (1500-1565)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

... and printed on blue paper

117. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

124. Caro, Annibal (1507-1566)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

126. Pigna, Giovanni Battista (1529-1575)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blue paper used by a Milanese printer

129. Davidico, Lorenzo (1513-1574)

Columba animae... Quae in hoc opere continentur. De Columba animae in Deo proficientis, De congrua gratioris nominis electione, De mira summi Pontificis dignitate. Vincenzo Girardoni, 1562.

4° (252x182 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: A-N4. [2], 50 leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut arms of Pope Pius IV on the title-page. Woodcut vignettes on fols. A1v, F2r, and I4v. Numerous woodcut animated and decorated initials. Eighteenth-century marbled calf, covers within a gilt chain border. Smooth spine, richly gilt tooled with leafy pomegranate and volutes, title in gilt lettering. Marbled pastedowns. Very good copy, title-page remargined to the outer and lower sides, without any loss.

Provenance: 'D. Petrucci' and 'N. Lagomaggiore' (ownership inscriptions on the verso of the front flyleaf); Aldo Ravà (1879-1923; ex-libris on the front pasteboard).

A rare edition, and the only known copy printed on blue paper, of this mystical work by the enigmatic preacher Paolo Lorenzo Castellino from Castelnovetto (Vercelli), known by the name of Lorenzo Davidico, a disciple of Battista da Crema. Davidico was involved in an interesting and complex inquisitorial case, to which the Columba animae and its mystic content are a striking testimony.

In 1555, Davidico was imprisoned on the charge of curses and sodomy, but “his repeated and exaggerated declarations of orthodoxy and his violent (thought not particularly original) attacks on the Lutheran heresy [...] procured for him not only 'absolution' for his writings but also the glories of Counter-Reformation spirituality” (G. Caravale, Forbidden prayer, p. 51). In fact, despite repeated attempts to incriminate him, the Roman Inquisition failed to find any trace of heresy in his books, and even given his long stay in prison, Davidico remained untouched by censorship.

The Columba animae is dedicated to Pope Pius IV and is Davidico's last work to appear in print. It also contains – as a statement of his probity and righteousness – his spiritual testament, written on 30 July 1560 in Morbegno, in the low Valtellina Valley.

M. Firpo, Nel labirinto del mondo. Lorenzo Davidico tra santi, eretici, inquisitori, Firenze 1992; D. Marcatto, Il processo inquisitoriale di Lorenzo Davidico (1555-1560), Firenze 1992; G. Caravale, Forbidden Prayer, Farnham 2011, pp. 51-54; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 129.

The prince as a civic hero and a condottiero, on blue paper

135. Capelloni, Lorenzo (1510-1590)

Vita del Prencipe Andrea Doria... Con un compendio della medesima Vita.... Gabriele Giolito de' Ferrari, 1565.

4° (226x160 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: *8, **6, A-M8. [28], 188, [4] pages. Complete with the last blank. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's devices on the title-page and on the verso of fol. M7. Two engraved full-page portraits depicting Andrea Doria on fols *8v and **1r: the first showing the prince as civic hero and father of the homeland, placed within an elaborate medallion bearing the motto 'VT CIVIS PATRIAE PATER ET LIBERTATIS RESTITVTOR', the second depicting him as a condottiero, within a medallion with the motto: 'VT DVX ET PRINCEPS PRELIORVM VICTOR', and enriched by his coat of arms. Woodcut animated and decorated initials, headpieces. Early eighteenth-century French red morocco; covers framed with a double gilt fillet and narrow dotted frieze. Smooth spine with title in gilt lettering and richly decorated with ramages in gold. A very good, wide-margined copy, small repair to the upper margin of the title-page, a few insignificant spots. On the title-page, a manuscript note written in French with brown ink, attesting to the rarity of the work and the peculiarity of its printing on blue paper, “Ce Livre est rare; C'est un des premiers ouvrages qui ait été imprimé sur du papier bleu. Cette vie est bien ecrite; L'italien est très pur; Ce qui me ferais presque croire que l'ouvrage a été imprimé plus tard que ne le comporte la date 1565”. On the recto of the front flyleaf the early shelfmark 'V.2. n° 74'.

Provenance: erased ownership inscription on the title-page ('Antonio' ?), preserving only the date '1738'.

Rare first edition – presented here in a fine, and possibly unique copy printed on blue paper – of this biography of Andrea Doria (1466-1560), written by his secretary Lorenzo Capelloni. It is the first sixteenth-century biography of the celebrated Genoese nobleman, admiral, and patron of arts. The work is dedicated, on 1 April 1562, by the author to the great-nephew and heir of Andrea Doria, Giovanni Andrea (1539-1600), who had commissioned Capelloni to write the biography. The Venetian Senate granted a fifteen-year privilege for the work, giving Giolito exclusive rights to printing it. A second edition appeared in 1569.

Capelloni's Vita del Principe Andrea Doria is also famous for the double illustrations bearing, on facing pages, two engraved profile portraits of Andrea Doria which had an important role in establishing the political iconography of this pivotal Genoese figure. The first portrait shows the prince as a civic hero and father of the homeland and is set within an elaborate medallion with the motto 'VT CIVIS PATRIAE PATER ET LIBERTATIS RESTITVTOR' (fol. *8v); the second portrait depicts him as a condottiero within a medallion bearing the motto ‘VT DVX ET PRINCEPS PRELIORVM VICTOR', enriched with his coat of arms (fol. **1r).

A copy of the work “printed on Carta Grande Azzurra, red morocco” is listed in the Catalogue of Printed Books and Manuscripts sold by London booksellers Payne and Foss in 1837 for the sum of 3 pounds and 3 shillings. Probably this copy.

Adams C-587; Bongi Annali, II, 287 (“rara [...] quasi mai s'incontra nei cataloghi”); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 135.

Commandino Euclid, printed on blue paper

151. Euclides (fl. 3rd century BC)

De gli elementi di Euclide libri quindici... Tradotti ... da M. Federico Commandino.... Domenico Frisolino, [before 3 September] 1575.

Folio (306x211 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: *2, **4, ***2, A-Z4, AA-ZZ4, AAa-ZZz4, AAAa2. [8], 278 leaves. In this copy fol. TT2 bound after fol. VV2. Italic and roman type. Ten-line animated initials at the beginning of each Book. Contemporary gilt-tooled limp vellum. Covers within gilt border, fleuron at the centre. Smooth spine, decorated with gilt tools, inked title. Gilt edges. Minor loss to the spine. A very fine copy. A few corrections in an early hand.

Provenance: 'Di Casa Doni' (early ownership inscription on the front pastedown; on the title-page 'Casa Donj comprato dal [?]).

An extraordinary copy printed on blue paper of the first edition of the Italian translation of Euclids' Elements. The translator and commentator is the humanist and mathematician from Urbino Federico Commandino (1509-1575). Luxury copies of sixteenth-century scientific books are unusual and were surely intended for presentation.

In 1565 Commandino was visited by English philosopher, mathematician, and astrologer John Dee (1527-1608; see no. 91), who gave him a manuscript translation into Latin of an Arabic work related to Euclid's De divisionibus. Commandino published this Latin version – De superficierum divisionibus liber Machometo Bagdedino ascriptus – in Pesaro in 1570, adding a short treatise of his own to condense and generalize the discussion of this work. Two years later, at the request of Francesco Maria II della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, Commandino translated Euclid's Elements into Latin and published it along with an extensive commentary at Pesaro in 1572.

Then, in 1575, for those of his countrymen who did not know Latin, Commandino supervised a translation into Italian of the Elements together with his commentary, which he entrusted to some of his students. The De gli elementi di Euclide libri quinque is the first book printed in Urbino in the sixteenth century, and the publication is dedicated – as was the Latin version of 1572 – to his patron Francesco Maria della Rovere. The volume was issued by Domenico Frisolino, whom Commandino had probably called to Urbino for this purpose, Frisolino having established the first printing house in the city in the last months of 1574. The press was located in his home, as attested by the colophon of the 1575 Euclides: 'IN VRBINO IN CASA DI FEDERICO COMMANDINO, CON LICENTIA DEI SVPERIORI. MDLXXV'.

For the Italian Euclides, Frisolino re-used the blocks for the diagrams and initials first employed by Camillo Franceschini in the Latin edition of 1572, with the exception of the title-border block, which was ultimately not given to him. On 13 November 1574, Commandino drew up a contract for buying paper with Melchiorre Silvestri and Magister Pietro Bramante, who were active in the paper mill of Fermignano, a small town near Urbino where the manufacture of paper had begun in 1411. The Fermignano paper mill was owned by the Montefeltros.

The present copy is exceptionally printed on blue paper, and was certainly destined for a distinguished recipient or patron. The Harvard College Library preserves a copy of Commandino's Elementorum libri XV of 1572 likewise printed on blue paper, suggesting both copies may have been printed on blue paper produced by the Fermignano paper mill.

Adams E-995; STC Italian 239; L. Moranti, L'arte tipografica in Urbino (1493-1800), Firenze 1967, no. 4; Riccardi I, 363. Steck, p. 25; Thomas-Stanford 42; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 151.

A sixteenth-century Lucca edition printed on blue paper

155. Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313-1375)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bordering on the fringes of heresy and the occult

177. (pseud-) Gioacchino da Fiore

Vaticinia Pontificum. Illustrated manuscript on grey-blue paper, in Italian. Italy, end of the sixteenth century.

266x211 mm. 20 leaves. Complete. Five quires. Collation: 14+1, 24, 34+1, 44,52. Blanks fols. 1/5r and 5/2. Modern pencilled foliation (used here). Written in brown ink, in a unique hand. On the first leaf beneath the title ('Prophetia dello Abbate Ioachino circa li Pontifici & RE'), Christ's monogram 'HIS' within an elaborate cartouche. Thirty-two wash drawings in brown ink heightened in white chalk biacca. On fol. 18r a folding tab pasted to the outer corner bearing the text 'Leo XII. quem Deus sospitem diutissime servet'. Eighteenth-century brown morocco, covers within an elaborate gilt frame, cornerpieces. Smooth spine richly gilt. Marbled edges. Lower joint damaged at the extremities. Preserved in a cloth box with morocco lettering-piece on spine. Manuscript in good condition, the ink has corroded several lines of text, paper eroded in places; all holes have been skilfully repaired.


Fol. 1r: title and elaborate cartouche;

fol. 1v: a friar at a lectern – evidently Joachim of Fiore – preaching to his confreres;

fol. 4v: monk with a halo giving books to four monks and four nuns;

fol. 5r: Onorius IV ('Dure fatiche sustinerà del corpo');

fol. 5v: Celestinus IV ('La voce vulpina perderà il principato');

fol. 6r: Alexander V ('La confusione et errore sera uitiato');

fol. 6v: Iohannes XXIII ('Elatione');

fol. 7r: Benedictus XIII ('Li homini forti sara orbati de la Inuidia');

fol. 7v: Clemens V ('Mobile, et immobile se fara, et assai mati guastata');

fol. 8r: Innocentius VII ('Le decime seranno dissipate in la effusione del sangue');

fol. 8v: Gregorius XII ('La penitentia, tenera le vestigie de Simon Mago');

fol. 9r: Niccolo III ('Le stelle congregara accioche luceno nel firmamento del cielo'):

fol. 9v: Martinus IV ('Con le chiaue serara et non aprira');

fol. 10r: Nicolaus IV ('Loriente beuera del Calice de lira de Dio');

fol. 10v: Bonifacius VIII ('Fraudolentemente sei intrato potentemente hai regnato, tu morirai gemendo');

fol. 11r: Iohannes XXII ('Contra la Columba questa imagine brutissima de Chierici pugnata');

fol. 11v: Benedictus XII ('Sei Planeti lucidata et finalmente uno excedera il fulgore di quelle');

fol. 12r: Clemens VI ('La Stola sua delbara nel sangue de l'agnello');

fol. 12v: Innocentius VI ('Il lupo habitata con lo agnello, et parimente cibaransi');

fol. 13r: Urbanus V ('Questo sole aprira il libro scritto con il dito de Dio viuo');

fol. 13v: Gregorius XI ('Li fiori rossi laqua odorifera distillarano');

fol. 14r: Urbanus VI, the Antichrist ('Tu sei terribile, che fara resistentia a te');

fol. 14v: Bonifacius IX ('Lo occisione del figliolo de Balael seguirano');

fol. 15r: Martinus V ('La incisione hipocresi sera ne labominatione');

fol. 15v: Eugenius IV ('La occisione del figliol de Balael seguirano');

fol. 16r: view of a city ('Sangue');

fol. 16v: a pope with a fox and flagstaffs ('Con bona gratia cessara la Symonia');

fol. 17r: view of a city ('La potestate sera unitate');

fol. 17v: the naked pope ('La bona oratione altramente operatione Thesauro a li poueri sera erogato');

fol. 18r: a pope as a pastor ('Bona intentione');

fol. 18v: a pope being crowned by an angel ('Pro honoratione');

fol. 19r: a pope enthroned and surrounded by angels ('Occisione bona');

fol. 19v: a pope with Nabuchodonosor as a monstrous creature ('Reuerentia').

An interesting manuscript on grey-blue paper containing the earliest translation in Italian vernacular – made by the Dominican Leandro Alberti – of the Vaticinia pontificum, the mystical prophecies traditionally attributed to the Calabrian abbot Joachim of Fiore (ca. 1132-1202). The Vaticinia may have had Byzantine origins, but by the late thirteenth century the prophecies were being disseminated by Joachimite disciples and were associated with his authorship. It is the most important apocalyptic work of the Middle Ages, and the manuscript was widely circulated.

The text of the Vaticinia pontificum was produced in two stages. The older set consists of fifteen prophecies, substantially Latin translations of the Greek Oracles composed by Leo the Wise which had been in circulation since about the time of Pope Benedict XI's death in 1304. In the second half of the fourteenth century, another fifteen similar prophecies were produced. From the early fifteenth century onward these two series, along with their related images, commonly circulated together, the more recent series generally placed before the older one to keep the future predictions further from the present. Each prophecy follows a canonized scheme composed of four elements: an emblematic image of a pope, his name before and after becoming pope, a mystical prophecy, and a motto.

In 1515 the Bolognese Dominican Leandro Alberti (1479-1552) – the well-known author of the popular Descrittione di tutta Italia (see no. 110), which was first published in 1550 – was responsible for one of the earliest printed edition of the Vaticinia pontificum.

Alberti's edition appeared in print in Bologna in July 1515 under the title Ioachimi abbatis Vaticinia circa apostolicos viros et Ecclesiam Romanam, and is his first published work. The booklet was issued from the press of Girolamo Benedetti simultaneously with the Italian vernacular edition of the text (Prophetia dello abbate Ioachino circa li Pontifici et R.C). Both editions had obtained the imprimatur from the Inquisition, despite the nature and content of the prophecies bordering on the fringes of heresy and the occult. The Bolognese edition of the Prophetia dello abbate Ioachino is illustrated with thirty woodcuts which only partially follow the traditional illustrative apparatus found in the manuscript tradition of the Vaticinia as they are lacking the names of the popes depicted in the emblematic images. A second edition of Leandro's translation was published in Venice in 1527 by an anonymous printer employing a different set of woodblocks, including two additional illustrations not belonging to the traditional Vaticinia series.

The present manuscript closely follows the Venetian edition of 1527, containing – like its printer counterpart (we have referenced the copy in the British Library, 730/1609) – thirty-two illustrations in the form of chiaroscuro wash drawings, including the two additional images, along with the identical elaborate cartouche on the title leaf. The first illustration is here painted on the verso of the first leaf and shows a friar at a desk – evidently Joachim of Fiore – preaching to his confreres. The second illustration depicts an unidentified monk with a halo giving a book entitled Vitae Patrum to four monks on his right, as well as an untitled book to four nuns on his left (in contrast, in the Venetian Prophetia both books are entitled Vitae Patrum). The subsequent thirty illustrations belong to the traditional Vaticinia series, but – as in the aforementioned printed editions – the scheme is composed of only three elements: an image of a pope at the centre of the page, a motto at the top, and the mystical prophecy below. In this manuscript, however, the sequence of emblematic illustrations does not always follow that found in the Venetian publication. The mottos and the mystical prophecies accompanying each illustration are substantially identical to those included in the publication of 1527, with a few minor orthographical variants.

The manuscript also includes the dedicatory letter from Leandro Alberti to Giulio de' Medici, the future Pope Clemens VII and, at that time, Apostolic Legate in Bologna (fols. 2r-v), followed by the Vita de Ioachino Abbate de S. Flore, composed likewise by Alberti (fols. 3r-v), and the short address in verse on fol. 4r 'Sopra le Prophetie de lo Abbate Ioachino al Lectore' by Filippo Fasanini (d. 1531), to whom the translation into Italian has been also attributed.

Both printed editions of 1515 of 1527 are of the greatest rarity, and extant copies can be counted on one hand. The Bolognese as well as the Venetian Prophetia dello abbate Ioachino were apparently printed in a limited number of copies, a feature which might explain the enduring manuscript circulation of this prophetical work during the age of printing.

H. Grundman, “Die Papstprophetien des Mittelalters”, Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, 19 (1929), pp. 77-138; M. Reeves, The Influence of Prophecy in the Later Middle Ages. A Study in Joachimism, Oxford 1969; D. L. Drysdall, “Filippo Fasanini and his 'Explanation of Sacred Writing', The Journal of Medieval and Renaissance studies, 13 (1983), pp. 127-155; A. Prosperi, “Intorno a un catechismo figurato del tardo '500”, E. Ullmann (ed.), Von der Macht der Bilder. Beiträge des CIHA- Kolloquiums “Kunst und Reformation”, Leipzig 1983, pp. 99-114; O. Niccoli, “Prophetie di musaico. Figure e scritture gioachimite nella Venezia del Cinquecento”, A. Rotondò (ed.), Forme e destinazione del messaggio religioso: aspetti della propaganda religiosa nel Cinquecento, Firenze 1991, pp. 197-227; H. Millet, Il libro delle immagini dei papi. Storia di un testo profetico medievale, Roma 2002; F. Troncarelli (ed.), Il ricordo del futuro. Giacchino da Fiore e il Gioachimismo attraverso la storia, Bari 2006; A. Damanti, “Bononia docet: Leandro Alberti e l'ambiente umanistico a Bologna. Con qualche nota sulle edizioni albertiane dei Vaticinia Summi Pontificis”, M. Donattini (ed.), L'Italia dell'Inquisitore. Storia e geografia dell'Italia del Cinquecento nella Descrittione di Leandro Alberti, Bologna 2007, pp. 97-116; J.-B. Lebigue, H. Millet et. al. (eds.), Vaticinia Pontificum (ms. A.2448, Biblioteca Comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bolonia). Libro de estudios, Madrid 2008; R. Rusconi, Santo Padre. La santità del papa da san Pietro a Giovanni Paolo I, Roma 2010; A. Prosperi, “Vaticinia Pontificum. Peregrinazioni cinquecentesche di un testo celebre”. M. Donattini (ed.), Tra Rinascimento e Controriforma: Continuità di una ricerca. Atti della giornata di studi per Albano Biondi, Verona 2012, pp. 77-111; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 177.

A wedding account printed on blue paper

182. Rinuccini, Camillo (1564-1649)

Descrizione delle Feste fatte nelle Reali nozze de’ Serenissimo Principi di Toscana D. Cosimo de’ Medici, e Maria Maddalena Archiduchessa d’Austria. Giunta, 1608.

4° (232x158 mm). Printed on blue paper. Collation: [π]2, A-H4, I2, K-L4, M2, N-T4, V2. [4], 149 [i.e. 147, pp. 69-72 omitted], [1] pages. Complete with fol. M2 blank. Roman and italic type. Text partly printed in two columns. Woodcut coat of arms of the Medici and Habsburg families on the title-page. Fine woodcut compass rose on the recto of fol. N4. Woodcut decorated initials, small tailpieces. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. On both covers, a blind-tooled coat of arms of the Vettori family. Smooth spine with running stitches, title and small decorative motif inked in a contemporary hand, partly faded. Marbled pastedowns. Covers slightly stained, lower corners somewhat bumped. A good copy, printed on strong paper. Some spots, light browning. A few small wormholes, occasionally affecting a few letters.

Provenance: the Florentine Vettori family (armorial binding); James Bindley (1737-1818; the note on the recto of the front flyleaf, 'Jan. 1819 Bindley 2d Sale £ 2.10'; and his sale, Evans, 11 January 1819, A Catalogue of the Curious and Extensive Library of the Late James Bindley, Esq. F.S.A. Part The First, London 1818, p. 37, lot 1043, “on blue paper”); purchased by Richard Heber (1773-1833; small stamp 'BIBLIOTHECA HEBERIANA' on the recto of the front flyleaf; see the sale catalogue Bibliotheca Heberiana. Catalogue of the Library of the Late Richard Heber... Part The Second, Sotheby & Son, London 1836, p. 200, lot 3819, with the note “printed on blue paper,” and sold for the sum of 2 pounds and one shilling); the Italian bibliophile and bookseller Giuseppe Martini (1870-1944; his bibliographical notes on the front flyleaves, including 'Coll. completo G. Martini', and 'Largo margine'); acquired from the English bookseller Percy Mordaunt Barnard in 1916 (see the note on the verso of the flyleaf, 'Barnard, Turnbridge Wells, Inghilt. Agosto 1916').

A marvellous and exceedingly rare copy, printed on blue paper, of one of the most famous festival books of the late Renaissance: the first edition of Camillo Rinuccini's description of the sumptuous ceremonies organised around the wedding of the eighteen-year-old Crown Prince Cosimo II de' Medici to the Archduchess of Austria Maria Magdalena, cousin of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II, celebrated in Florence in 1608. This blue-paper copy was likely offered by the author to a member of the important Florentine Vettori family, whose coat of arms is stamped on the binding.

Florence witnessed an unprecedented series of events in celebration of the union between Cosimo, who would become Grand Duke of Tuscany only a few months after his marriage, and his bride from the powerful Habsburg house: plays, musical intermezzi, giostre, horse ballets, a triumphal procession, banquet, and even a naval battle or naumachia on the Arno river. Camillo Rinuccini narrated all of these magnificent events, and his Descrizione enjoyed wide and immediate success. Especially noteworthy is Lorenzo Franceschi's Ballo et Giostra de' venti (fols. N1r-N4r), a poem in octaves describing a horse ballet illustrated with a fine thirty-two-point compass rose or wind rose (fol. N4r), which was also issued separately from the Giunti press.

At least four other issues from 1608 have been recorded, each with varying numbers of pages and, occasionally, plates. This copy corresponds to the enlarged issue, in which Rinuccini's report is supplemented, in the last quires, with two musical dialogues by Francesco Cini – La notte d'amore (fols. O1r-O4r) and L'Argonauta (fols. P1r-P4r) – as well as I Cavalieri sanesi a valorosi e cortesi professori d'arme (fols. Q1r-V2r).

The number of plates included in the various issues of Rinuccini's Descrizione, depicting different ceremonies or banquets and executed by Matthias Greuter, is uncertain: Watanabe-O' Kelly calls for two plates, but a few copies containing five plates are recorded. The copy on blue paper described here is in its original binding, and apparently never included plates, of which there is no mention in the early nineteenth-century sale catalogues of the exquisite libraries of James Bindley and Richard Heber, respectively, to whom this fine volume later belonged.

“Vinet [...] conjectures that the plates were published separately, each having been dedicated to a separate person [...] in similar cases the author, publisher or the buyer might bring the plates to the printer for inclusion in the bound book” (Pettas, The Giunti of Florence, p. 753). The blue-paper recorded copies do not usually include plates.

STC 17th century, 749; Camerini 318; Pettas 871a; Cicognara 1412; Lipperheide II, Si 14; Sartori, Libretti italiani a stampa, 7648; Vinet 608; Watanabe-O'Kelly & Simon 1241; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 182.

A defence of Raphael and Carracci, printed on blue paper

221. Victoria, Vicente (1658-1712)

Osseruazioni sopra il libro della Felsina pittrice per la difesa di Raffaello da Urbino, dei Caracci, e della loro scuola. Publicate, e diuise in sette lettere.... Gaetano Zenobi, 1703.

8° (198x129 mm). Printed on blue paper. 114, [2] pages. Complete with the last blank leaf. Large engraved vignette with the coat of arms of Pope Clement XI on the title-page, rendered by Victoria. Full-page engraving showing a hand sharpening a quill above a copy of Malvasia's Felsina pittrice, with the inscription in a cartouche 'VT SCRIBAT NON FERIAT', likewise after Victoria. Fine woodcut head- and tailpieces; numerous woodcut decorated initials. Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, title in gold on painted lettering-piece. Covers restored. A fine copy, a few minor stains to the title-page. Light foxing in places, some fingermarks.

Provenance: armorial ex-libris on the title-page, including six bees; below the inked letters 'B. D. M.'.

A handsome copy – printed on blue paper – of this work by the Spanish painter, printmaker, and canon Vicente Victoria y Gastaldo. Born in Valencia, Victoria was primarily active in Rome, and known under the Italianised name of Vittorio Vincente. A protégé of the Albani family, he was appointed, in 1703, as antiquarian to Pope Clement XI, whose coat of arms is engraved on the title-page of this edition, likewise printed in 1703. Victoria amassed a notable library and a large collection of classical antiquities.

He published the Osservazioni in defence of Raphael and Annibale Carracci, whose styles had been criticised as 'dry and lifeless' by Count Carlo Cesare Malvasia (1616-1693) in his Felsina Pittrice of 1678 (see no. 216), the biographical work on Bolognese painters, and one of the most relevant sources for the history of Italian painting. Victoria had perceived in Malvasia's treatise an anti-Roman bias: as is well known, in a few copies of the Felsina Pittrice Malvasia had referenced Raphael – in a passage related to the Vatican Stanze – as the boccalaio di Urbino, i.e., the 'potter from Urbino', an expression which was later changed to ‘the great Raphael' in the definitive issue.

The 1703 publication is famous for including a full-page engraving, executed after a drawing of Victoria himself, depicting a hand sharpening a quill close to a copy of Malvasia's treatise, and surmounted by the caption VT SCRIBAT NON FERIAT', i.e., 'May it write, not strike'.

This copy of Victoria's Osservazioni is printed on blue paper, indicating that this precious volume was gifted by its author to an as yet unidentified but evidently prominent figure.

E. Páez, Repertorio de Grabados Españoles, Madrid 1981; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 221.

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

230. Valaresso, Zaccaria (1686-1769)

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Soranzo-Smith copy, printed on large blue paper

231. Svetonius Tranquillus, Gaius (70-126)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A eulogy for Newton, printed on blue paper

235. Arrighi Landini, Orazio (1718-1755)

Il Tempio della Filosofia. Poema... di Orazio Arrighi Landini fra gli Agiati, Dorinio (i) In cui con accrescimenti, e osservazioni del medesimo Autore s’illustra. (2) il Sepolcro d’Isacco Newton. Con gli Argomenti di Leontippo Accad. Agiato. Marco Carnioni, 1755.

Small 4° (213x142 mm). Printed on blue paper. XVI, 142, [2] pages. Engraved frontispiece signed by Francesco Bartolozzi (1727-1815), bearing two medallions, the first portraying the author, the second showing an allegory of 'LABORE'. Title-page printed in red and black, with engraved vignette depicting an armillary sphere. A folding plate, with an outline of the different philosophical schools and the names of their proponents. Fine engraved decorated initials, head- and tailpieces, the headpiece on fol. *2r including coat of arms of the dedicatee, the Bergamo nobleman Giovanni Battista Gallizioli (1733-1806). Contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Spine with five small raised bands, marbled pastedowns and flyleaves. A very good copy, printed on strong paper. Pale waterstain to the lower gutter of the first leaves, frontispiece slightly browned. On the verso of the front flyleaf the note '4214 B 3.2' in an early hand. A nineteenth-century hand has annotated '955. I.m.7' on the recto of the rear flyleaf.

Provenance: Gottlieb Schweyer, a Venetian merchant of German origin also known as Amadeus Svajer (1727-1791; his ex-libris on the front pastedown); modern ex-libris, with the initials 'S.B.' on the front pastedown.

A fine copy, printed on blue paper, of this verse and prose work by Arrighi Landini, a member of the Accademia degli Agiati in Rovereto, where he came to adopt the nickname 'Dorinio'.

Divided into three books, the Tempio della filosofia is essentially a panegyric, supplemented with lengthy philosophical observations, of the 'new' physics of Isaac Newton (1643-1727). As an introduction the work contains a short biography of Newton, and the text is replete with references to such scientists and philosophers as Nicolas Malebranche, John Locke, Voltaire (see no. 238), Francesco Algarotti, and Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, among others, whose works had been included in the Index of Forbidden Books. The Tempio della filosofia is dedicated to the philosopher and orientalist Giovanni Battista Gallizioli, and also clearly reveals the influence of Giambattista Vico (see no. 229).

This handsome copy was once owned by the German merchant Gottlieb Schweyer – also known as Amadeus Svajer – who was active in Venice, where he assembled a notable library. After his death in 1791 the library was partially confiscated by the Inquisition, including his collection of manuscripts relating to Venetian politics.

Morazzoni, Il libro illustrato veneziano del Settecento, p. 214; S. Ferrari, “Amadeo Svaier (1727-1791): un mercante erudito nella Venezia del Settecento,” M. Bonazza (ed.), 'I buoni ingegni della Patria'. L'Accademia, la cultura e la città nelle biografie di alcuni Agiati tra Settecento e Novecento, Rovereto 2002, pp. 51-85; A. Battistini, “Tra Newton e Vico: Il tempio della Filosofia di Orazio Arrighi Landini”, G. Cantarutti – S. Ferrari (eds.), L'Accademia degli Agiati nel Settecento europeo. Irradiazioni culturali, Milano 2007, pp. 11-34; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 235.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

242. Ioannes, Diaconus (ca. 965-1018)

Chronicon Venetum omnium quae circumferuntur vetustissimum et Johanni Sagornino vulgo tributum e Mss. codice Apostoli Zeno V.Cl. nunc primum Cum Mss. Codicibus Vaticanis collatum, Notisque illustratum in lucem profert. H. Fr. Zanetti Al. F. Venice, 1765.

Small 4° (218x131 mm). Printed on blue paper. XIX, [1], 131, [1] pages. Woodcut headpiece and decorated initial on fol. A2r. Fine contemporary, possibly French, red straight-grain morocco, over pasteboards. Covers within triple gilt fillet. Spine with five small raised bands, compartments decorated in gilt with diagonal of dotted fillets, small floral tools, and dots. Title in gold on red morocco lettering-piece. Marbled pastedowns and flyleaves, board edges gilt ruled, inside dentelles. Green silk bookmark. Yellow edges. A very good, wide-margined copy, printed on strong paper, and reglé throughout in red ink. A few minor spots; some leaves slightly browned and waterstained on the lower margin. Small tear to the lower margin of fol. A5, without any loss.

The first edition of the Chronicon Venetum, a significant medieval source for Venetian history. This Chronicle of Venice was written in the early eleventh century, and its composition is generally attributed to Ioannes Diaconus.

The Chronicon was edited by Girolamo Francesco Zanetti (1723-1782) on the basis of a manuscript then in the possession of the Venetian scholar Apostolo Zeno (1669-1750), whose textual version was collated with two codices preserved in the Vatican Library.

The work enjoyed lasting popularity; counting among its legacy of readers was the especially noteworthy English critic and writer John Ruskin (1819-1900), who referenced the Chronicon Venetum in his celebrated work on Venetian art and architecture, The Stones of Venice, which first appeared in 1851.

Cicogna 583; B. Rosada, “Il Chronicon Venetum di Giovanni Diacono”, Ateneo veneto, 28 (1990), pp. 79-94; Ioannes Diaconus, La cronaca veneziana, ed. M. De Biasi, Venezia 1986-1988; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 242.

Printed on blue paper, and bound for Cardinal Salviati

254. Cecire, Antonio Maria (fl. 2. half of the 18th century)

La dottrina della Chiesa sulle Indulgenze esposta e difesa... per dimostrare il valore delle Indulgenze contenute nella Bolla-Crociata pe’ regno delle due Sicilie. nella Stamperia Simoniana, 1791.

Large 8° (214x135 mm). Printed on blue paper. 360 pages. Woodcut ornament on the title-page. Woodcut decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Fine contemporary honey calf, over pasteboards. Covers within elaborate gilt frame of neoclassical decorative elements, at each inner corner a small amphora-shaped tool. At the centre a large coat of arms of Cardinal Gregorio Antonio Maria Salviati. Spine with five small raised bands, richly gilt tooled with larger amphora-shaped tools. Title in gold on brown morocco lettering-piece. Board edges decorated with diagonal gilt fillets. Marbled pastedowns, gilt edges. Flyleaves renewed, lower corners restored. A very fine, wide-margined copy. Insignificant paper flaws to the lower margin of fol. Y1 and outer lower corner of fol. Q3, in both cases not affecting the text.

Provenance: Cardinal Gregorio Antonio Maria Salviati, Duke of Giuliano (1727-1794, armorial binding).

A fine copy – printed on 'carta turchina' – of this striking testament to the lively debate that had arisen in the late eighteenth-century Kingdom of the Two Sicilies concerning indulgences and the abuses of their practice.

Cecire's treatise aims to offer a sort of 'guide' for preachers, parish priests, and catechists on the issue of indulgences, a topic which has consistently sparked much extensive and heated controversy throughout ecclesiastical history. Here the Franciscan author deals especially with the so-called 'Bolle della Crociata', or Crusade-Bulls, issued in the 1790s by Pope Pius VI for Ferdinand IV, King of Naples, which foresaw special indulgences for punishment due to sins. The Bolla della Crociata had first been promulgated in 1509 by Julius II in favour of the Spanish monarchy, granting indulgences to those who would take part in the crusades against infidels. Obviously, at the end of the eighteenth century the Bull had lost its original function; instead, it was periodically issued for financing the construction or repair of churches and monasteries among other pious initiatives, but the money was also often used for other purposes, thus provoking criticism and polemics.

This copy, housed in a fine armorial binding and printed on blue paper, was indeed commissioned by the author for a distinguished recipient or patron: Cardinal Gregorio Antonio Maria Salviati.

V. Pinchera, Lusso e decoro. Vita quotidiana e spese dei Salviati di Firenze nel Sei e Settecento, Pisa 1999; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 254.

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

272. Pulci, Luigi (1432-1484)

Tractato del Prete cole Monache. Tipografia Crapelet, 1840.

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

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

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

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

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