Literature 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.

From the library of Benedetto Varchi

23. Dionysius Halicarnaseus (ca. 60–after 7 BC)

Antiquitates Romanae. Bernardinus Celerius, 24 or 25 February 1480.

Folio (289x196 mm). Collation: [110, 2-78, 8-96, 10–238, 24-378, 386]. [300] leaves, complete with the final blank. Text in one column, 37 lines. Type: 1:113R. Blank spaces for capitals, with no guide letters. Early nineteenth-century vellum over pasteboards. Smooth spine attractively gilt tooled, title and imprint in gilt on double lettering-piece. A good copy, marginal soiling and staining to opening leaves. The outer blank margin of the last quires waterstained.

Provenance: the Florentine humanist Benedetto Varchi (1503-1565; ownership inscription on the recto of first leaf, marginalia and underlining in the first two quires in his own hand); the Florentine diplomat Pandolfo Attavanti (sixteenth-century ownership inscription on the recto of first leaf); the Tuscan scholar Alemanno Orsucci (eighteenth-century ownership inscription on the recto of first leaf); Kenneth Rapoport (ex-libris on the front pastedown).

First edition of Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnassus' narrative of the history of Rome from its beginnings to the First Punic War, in a precious copy once owned by the Florentine humanist Benedetto Varchi.

In his postscript, the translator, Lapus Biragus of Milan (the suffix 'Flor'[entinus] was erroneously added to his name in this edition), states that he based his Latin translation on two manuscripts from the library of Pope Paul II, to whom the edition is dedicated. The translation was probably carried out in 1469 as the papal archives record that during that year the Pope paid a scribe to make a copy of a manuscript by Dionysius.

This edition was the first dated book to be issued from the Treviso press of the itinerant printer Bernardinus Celerius from Lovere; it was his third press overall, set up after brief printing stints in Venice and Padua. He printed only a few books at Treviso (Goff and Hain-Copinger list four, Rhodes five), where he was active between 24 February and 18 September 1480, before returning to Venice at the end of 1480. At least six variant issues of Dionysius' colophon and the paragraph preceding it have been recorded, but no priority of issue has been established.

The present copy is enriched by a highly interesting provenance, as it comes from the library of the distinguished humanist Benedetto Varchi, one of the leading sixteenth-century Florentine scholars, whose intellectual interests varied from lyrical, pastoral, and spiritual poetry to Dante studies, history to philosophy, linguistic theory to aesthetics, and even alchemy and Pythagorean numerology. He assembled a great book collection, whose inventories are today preserved in the National Library of Florence (ms II.VIII.142; Filze Rinuccini 11, fols. 266-343). For other books from Varchi's library see nos. 81 and 104 in the second volume of this catalogue.

HC *6239; GW 8423; BMC VI, 895; IGI 3484; Goff D-250; Rhodes Treviso, 79; Flodr Dionysius Halicarnaseus, 1; 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. Sorella, “La Biblioteca Varchi”, B. Varchi, L'Ercolano, ed. A. Sorella, 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. 23.

Living in Platonic Style

30. Ficino, Marsilio (1433-1499)

De vita libri tres (De triplici vita); Apologia; Quod necessaria sit ad vitam securitas. Add: Poem by Amerigus Corsinus. Antonio di Bartolomeo Miscomini, 3 December 1489.

Folio (257x187 mm). Collation [*]2, a-d8, e6, f-k8, l6, m4. [90] leaves. Text in one column (the tables in two columns), 32 lines. Type: 112R. Four lines of gilt letterpress at the head of the text on the recto of fol. a2. Woodcut printer's device on colophon. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Eighteenth-century red crushed morocco, covers within three-line gilt-ruled border. Spine gilt tooled, with stemmed acorns, circlets, crescent handles, and stars. Gilt edges. A fine, wide-margined copy. A blind stamp touching two letters of text.

Provenance: Wigan Free Public Library, United Kingdom (embossed stamps on four leaves); deaccessioned by 2002 at the latest.

First edition, presented in a fine, wide-margined copy, of this influential medical-astrological treatise by the leading Platonic philosopher Marsilio Ficino, famous for his translations into Latin of the Corpus Hermeticum, and of Plato, first published in 1484. As the eldest son of the physician to the Medici family, Marsilio also received a professional training in medicine and natural philosophy.

The work is divided into three books (Lib. I. De vita sana; Lib. II. De vita longa; Lib. III. De via coelitus comparanda) and dedicated, at the beginning of the second Book, to the wealthy Florentine nobleman Filippo Valori, who paid for the printing. Ficino deals here with health and diet, touching on magic and astrology, especially in the short writing appended to De triplici vita – the Apologia quaedam, in qua de medicina, astrologia, ac vita mundi – addressed, on 15 September 1489, to the so-called 'three Pieros', i.e., Piero del Nero, Piero Guicciardini, and Piero Soderini. The work had a complex redaction. The first Book dates to 1480 and was originally part of Ficino's epistles, the third Book was composed between 1486 and 10 July 1489, and the second Book was written between August and October of 1489.

“He begins by advising students on relieving the melancholy, and Ficino recommends health and dietary measures to temper its influences. But it is in the third book, entitled 'De vita coelitus comparanda', that Ficino goes beyond the common medical-astrological astral influence. Building on the Platonic tripartite division of intellect, soul and body, Ficino introduces the originally Stoic concept of 'spiritus mundi' which is composed of the four earthly elements plus the divine 'aether', or cosmic spirit” (M. L. Ford, Christ, Plato, Hermes Trismegistus, Amsterdam 1990, 1, p. 179).

The De triplici vita enjoyed wide and enduring popularity. Its influence is detectable in numerous other works produced in the Renaissance, and was an important source for Paracelsus's De vita longa as well as for the famous engraving Melancholia executed by Albrecht Dürer.

The first lines of text on fol. a2r are set in capital letters and exceptionally in this copy printed in gold, a technique first introduced by the leading Augsburg printer Erhard Ratdolt, who moved to Venice in 1476, for printing the prefatory epistle in two dedication copies of his Euclid of 1486.

HC (+Add) 7065*; GW 9882; BMC VI, 639; IGI 3868; Goff F-158; Rhodes Firenze, 299; P. O. Kristeller, Marsilio Ficino and his Work after 500 Years, Firenze 1987; M. Ficino, Three Books on Life, ed. by C. V. Kashe, and J. R. Clark, Binghamton, NY, 1989; D. Laube, “The Stylistic Development of German Book Illustration, 1460-1511”, D. De Simone (ed.), A Heavenly Craft. The Woodcut in Early Printed Books. Illustrated Books purchased by Lessing J. Rosenwald at the Sale of the Library of C. W. Dyson Perrins, New York-Washington 2004, p. 55; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 30.

From the library of Franchino Gaffurio, musicus and phonascus

31. Perotti, Niccolò (ca. 1430-1480)

Cornucopiae linguae Latinae. Baptista de Tortis, 19 October 1490.

Folio (307x212 mm). Collation: A-B8, a-z8, &8, cum8, rum8, A-O6. [16], 291, [1] leaves. Complete with the last leaf blank, often lacking in the recorded copies. Text in one column, 64 lines. Type: 78R, 78Gk. On the lower margin of fol. a3r coat of arms in full colour, with extensions of acanthus leaves in maroon, green, red, and blue, and with the initials 'fg' added later. Half-vellum, boards covered with a fifteenth-century manuscript leaf, lettering-piece on upper cover. A very good copy, some pale waterstains, mostly marginal, in the first half and near end; slight, marginal wormholes in the first two quires.

Provenance: from the library of Franchino Gaffurio (1451 1522; ownership inscriptions on fol. B8v, 'Liber Franchini Gafurij laudinesis Regij musici / corteque mediolanensis phonasci/', and purchase note on fol. O5v, dated 16 January 1494).

Third edition of Perotti's Cornucopiae, presented here in a fine copy which once belonged to the renowned Renaissance music theorist, musician at the Sforza court, and choirmaster or maestro di cappella at the Duomo of Milan, Franchino Gaffurio.

Born in Sassoferrato, in the Marche region of Italy, Niccolò Perotti was a pupil of Vittorino da Feltre and Guarino Veronese, and he became secretary for Cardinal Bessarion in 1447. His Cornucopiae linguae Latinae was first published by Paganino Paganini in 1489 and enjoyed immediate success. Written as a commentary on Book I of Martial, it became a standard reference on the Latin language and a sort of encyclopaedia of the classical world. The work was later revised and expanded by Perotti's son Pyrrhus.

This precious volume comes from the library of the musicus and phonascus Franchino Gaffurio (or Gafori). Born in Lodi to an aristocratic family, the young Gaffurio entered a Benedictine monastery where he acquired early musical training. He later became a priest and lived in Mantua and Verona before settling in Milan as the local cathedral's maestro di cappella, a position he held from 1484 until his death in 1522. Gaffurio showed a strong humanist bent, and met composers from all over Europe; in Milan alone he made the acquaintance of Leonardo da Vinci (see no. 68) as well as Josquin Desprez, the greatest composer of the period.

An autograph note on fol. O5v states that Gaffurio acquired the present copy of Perotti's Cornucopiae on 16 January 1494, for a sum of 3 1⁄2 lire, possibly as an aid for the preparation of his Practica musicae, which first appeared in 1496, or his teaching. This annotation recording the purchase of the book shows the distinctive features of his youthful hand and can be compared with an autograph document dated 1495 and published by Gaetano Cesari. However, the second annotation visible here – an ownership inscription on fol. B8v, in which he describes himself as 'royal musician and singer (phonascus) of the church of Milan' – is written in the more trembling hand typical of his later life, as evinced by a letter dated 1520, also edited by Cesari. The title of the treatise by Perotti is entered in the inventory drawn up in 1518, when Gaffurio gifted his library (or a part of it) to the Church of the Incoronata in his hometown of Lodi, whose Schola had been founded in 1511. In 1694 the library of the 'Tempio dell'Incoronata' was dispersed, and partly sold to the Oratorian monastery located in the town. Only a few volumes once owned by Gaffurio have been discovered among the collections of the Biblioteca Laudense at Lodi.

H 12698; GW M31105; BMC V, 326; IGI 7421; Goff P-290; J.-L. Charlet, “Observations sur certaines éditions du Cornucopiae de Niccolò Perotti (1489-1500)”, Res Publica Litterarum, 11 (1988), pp. 83-96; G. Cesari, “Musica e musicisti alla Corte sforzesca”, F. Malaguzzi Valeri, La corte di Ludovico il Moro, IV (1923), p. 210; F. Fano, “Vita e attività del musico teorico e pratico Francino Gaffurio da Lodi”, Arte Lombarda, 15/2 (1970), pp. 49-62; E. Motta, “I libri della chiesa dell'Incoronata di Lodi nel 1518”, Il libro e la stampa, 1 (1970), pp. 105-112; A. Novasconi, L'Incoronata di Lodi, Lodi 1974, esp. pp. 19-42; R. Auletta Marrucci (ed.), L'Incoronata. Il Tempio di Lodi, Lodi 1995; M. Pantarotto, “Per la biblioteca di Franchino Gaffurio: i manoscritti laudensi”, Scripta, 5 (2012), pp. 111-118; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 31.

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.

A Masterpiece of Venetian Woodcut

37. (Benedetto Bordone). Lucianus Samosatensis (125–after 180 BC)

Vera historia. Tr: Lilius (Tifernas) Castellanus. Add: De asino aureo; Philosophorum vitae; Scipio; Tyrannus; Scaphidium (Dialogus de funerali pompa); Palinurus; Charon; Diogenes; Terpsion; Hercules; Virtus dea; In amorem; Timon; Sermo de calumnia; Laus muscae. Ed: Benedictus Bordonus; Maephus Vegius: De Felicitate et miseria. Simon Bevilaqua, for Benedetto Bordone, 25 August 1494.

4° (216x155 mm). Collation: a8, b4, c-g8, h4, i-p8. [112] leaves. Text in one column, 29 lines. Type: 5:110R. White on-black woodcut candelabra border on fol. a2r, by Benedetto Bordone. Blank spaces for capitals, with no guide letters. Later vellum over pasteboards. Smooth spine, title written vertically 'Lucianus Venice Woodcut title-border'. Binding somewhat bumped. A good copy, first leaf lightly soiled, with old repair to the outer blank margin, without any loss. A few small stains, some spots and fingermarks. The lower blank margin of fol. g7 slightly trimmed. A few early marginal and interlinear notes. On the rear pastedown, a cutting taken from an old sale catalogue describing this copy: “Fol. a2 is surrounded by a magnificent woodcut border [...] Such borders are very rare in books of small format. A very fine copy of a rare book, save for the first page, skilfully repaired”. Bibliographical notes on the front pastedown (among these '217x153. BM copy only 204x143'), and on the recto of the front flyleaf. On the rear pastedown, pencilled collation by Bernard Quaritch.

Provenance: the bibliographer Gilbert Richard Redgrave (1844-1941; ex-libris on the front pastedown, and the inscription on the recto of the front flyleaf ‘Ex libris. Gilbert R. Redgrave Thriffwood, Sydenham, London. Sept. 9th. 1914'); Wynne Rice Hugh Jeudwine (1920-1984; ex-libris on the front pastedown; see sale Bloomsbury London, 18 September 1984 Catalogue of the Important Collection of Printed Books formed by the Late W. R. Jeudwine, lot 18); Kenneth Rapoport (ex-libris on the front pastedown).

A fine copy of the rare first book edited by famous Paduan artist Benedetto Bordone (1450/55-1530). This edition represents the first official appearance of Bordone's name in Venice.

On 3 May 1494, Benedictus miniator applied for permission to print a book edited by himself, a Latin translation of Lucian's dialogues. The book was published on 25 August by Simone Bevilaqua (active in Venice between 1492 and 1506) at Bordone's expense, and his name is mentioned in a final address, composed in verse, on fol. p6r, and in the statement of privilege printed on the verso of the same leaf. In the four-verse address, Bordone invites the reader to take this book and relax among the collected stories of Lucian. It is indeed an enjoyable book, featuring widespread texts without scholarly commentaries or notes, printed in a roman type that is easy to read, and in a small quarto format, a practical prelude to the well-known Aldine octavos. The title page is framed within an exquisite woodcut all'antica border on black ground whose design is attributed to Bordone himself. This delicately refined candelabra border is a compendium of decorative motifs from classical antiquity: vases, vine leaves, and foliate branches, with the head of a 'leafy old man' at top and a Roman eagle, horns, and winged animals down below.

This woodcut border was first used, with some variants, in the 1494 Herodotus (see no. 36), and later in the Commentaria in Bibliam by Hieronymus (see no. 40). Single elements of Bordone's decorative vocabulary also find close parallel in headpieces and initials used by Aldus in the years 1495-1498.

This copy was bought in 1914 by Gilbert Richard Redgrave, son of the famous British artist Richard Redgrave and president of the Bibliographical Society of London, as well as co-editor, with Alfred W. Pollard, of A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640. A note on the front flyleaf written in his own hand states: 'All writers on book ornament agree in attributing the splendid border on f. a2 to the same designer as the border of the Herodotus of 1494. These two borders are the most splendid works on the early Venetian press'.

HC 1026; GW M19059; BMC V, 519; IGI 5842; Goff L-329; Flodr Lucianus, 4; Essling 747; Sander 4037; L. Armstrong, “Benedetto Bordon, 'Miniator', and Cartography in Early Sixteenth-Century Venice”, Eadem, Studies of Renaissance Miniaturists in Venice, London 2003, 2, pp. 591-643; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 37.

The Painted Page

38. Lucianus Samosatensis (ca. 125-after 180)

Διάλογοι. Lorenzo de Alopa, 1496.

Folio (330x235 mm). Collation: Α-Β8, α-ω8, αα-ηη8. 262 of [264] leaves, lacking the first and last blanks. Text in one column, 41-44 lines. Type: 5:IIIGk. Blank spaces for capitals, with no guide letters. Opening page framed in a fine and lavishly illuminated full-border, with small flowers, acanthus leaves, fruits, birds, and gold-rayed discs. At the top two cornucopias, the lower panel containing a large cartouche including a blue lion coat of arms, flanked by the gold initials 'IO' and perhaps 'M' (smudged). The right panel exquisitely painted, depicting a scholar, quite surely Lucianus himself, with long curly hair, sitting and reading a book. On the same leaf a ten-line gold initial 'a' with interlaced branches on black ground, and a portion of a portico supported by a cherub. Seventeenth-century limp vellum. Spine with five raised bands underlined by gilt fillets, compartments decorated with floral tool, title in gilt on red lettering-piece. Edges slightly speckled purple, A very good copy, with wide margins. A few early ink stains, foxing and browning in places. In the last quires pale waterstain to the lower blank margins, a few minor stains to the gutter of the two final leaves. Early inked foliation, and marginalia in Greek and Latin, in the same hand. On the front pastedown the early inked shelfmark 'A. 58.', and an erased, not legible annotation.

A magnificent example of a Florentine incunable receiving a high-quality illumination: the rare editio princeps of Lucianus' Dialogues edited by Ianos Laskaris, an absolute chef d'oeuvre of early Greek typography. It is one of the three dated editions published by Lorenzo de Alopa, the first Florentine printer to produce books in Greek, the others being the Anthologia Graeca of 1494 and the Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius, which appeared in 1496. The text of Lucianus was set in the third Greek type cut for Alopa, a lower-case with accents and breathings, used also for the commentary surrounding Apollonius' Argonautica.

The opening leaf of the sumptuos copy presented here represents a highly original artwork, and was executed by an artist of considerable skill. The decorative pattern of the border, the particular palette of colours and tones, the illusionistic three-dimensional composition, the hair- and beard-style of the figure reading a book on the right panel – doubtless a depiction of Lucian himself – have many similarities to illuminations attributed to the miniaturist known as 'Petrus V', possibly originating from Lombardy. This artist was also active in Padua and Venice in the 1470s in the production of illuminated incunables, creating masterful illustrations for a distinguished clientele, as demonstrated by the magnificent Glasgow copy of the Breviarium Romanum printed in 1478 by Nicolaus Jenson (Glasgow University Library, B.f.1.18). From Veneto he moved to Rome, where he worked in the 1480s and 1490s, receiving several commissions from prestigious patrons for illuminating printed books.

A refined work for a refined patron: the smudged coat of arms included in the border is similar to that of the famous and wealthy Sforza family, while the capital letters painted in gold may be read as 'IO' and 'M', suggesting the possible identity of the first owner of the present copy: Giovanni Maria Sforza (d. ca. 1520), the son of Francesco, Duke of Milan. As a Protonotary Apostolic he was a member of the Roman curia, and in 1498 was appointed Archbishop of Genoa. The Elmer Belt Library of the University of California at Los Angeles preserves a single leaf from Book II of the Nicolaus Jenson edition of Pliny the Elder's Historia naturalis of 1476, whose border and first initial were possibly illuminated for Gian Galeazzo Sforza (1469-1494). In this leaf the inscription, only partially legible, 'OPVS PETRI V M' supports “the Lombard origins of this intriguing artist. The letters of Petrus' surname suggest Vimercate, the name of a town midway between Milan and Bergamo, earlier the patria of another illuminator, Guinifortus de Vicomercato” (The Painted Page, p. 178).

HC (+Add) 10258*; GW M18976; BMC VI, 667; IGI 5834; Goff L-320; Rhodes Firenze, 416; Flodr Lucianus, 1; Hoffman III, pp. 29-30; Legrand I, 19; Staikos, Charta, pp. 277-278; J. J. G. Alexander (ed.), The Painted Page. Italian Renaissance Book Illumination, London-New York 1995, pp. 178-180 (catalogues entries nos. 86-88 by L. Armstrong); M. Conway, “The Early Career of Lorenzo Alopa”, La Bibliofilia, 102 (2000), pp. 1-10; L. Armstrong, “Opus Petri: Renaissance Book Illuminations from Venice and Rome”, Eadem, Studies of Renaissance Miniaturists in Venice, London 2003, 1, pp. 339-405; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 38.

Bonfire of the Vanities

44. Benivieni, Girolamo (1453-1542)

Canzoni e sonetti dell’amore e della bellezza divina, con commento. Antonio Tubini, Laurentius (Francisci) de Alopa, Venetus and Andrea Ghirlandi, 7 September 1500.

Chancery folio (281x212 mm). Collation: [π]4, a-n8, o6, oo10, p8, q10, r-s6. [4], CL leaves. Text in one column, surrounded by commentary, 44-45 lines. Fols. r1-s6 in two columns, shoulder notes. Type 2:107R (text), 1:86R (commentary). Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary blind-tooled brown calf, over wooden boards. Covers within three fillets, and filled with diagonal blind lines. Spine early rebacked, renewed clasps and flyleaves, upper headcap slightly damaged. A very large copy, a few stains and wormholes towards the end, repairs to the corner of the first two leaves. Interesting contemporary marginalia throughout.

Provenance: the Certosa at Casotto, near Cuneo, in Piedmont (ownership inscription on the title-page, 'Cartusia Casularum mihi a M. de ducibus donato'; in the same hand the annotations on the margins); 'Jo. iac. salomonius' (ownership inscription on the title-page, with five Latin diptychs in praise of Benivieni's poems written in the same hand); Leo S. Olschki (1861-1940; pencilled note on the recto of the front flyleaf, 'L. S. Olschki. Firenze, 30 Ag. 1917, £120.00'; see Monumenta typographica. Cat. LIII, Florence 1903, no. 1805, and Choix de livres anciens, rares et curieux, I, Florence 1907, no. 1965, 'Ais de bois rec. de veau, dos refait'); Giuseppe Martini (1870-1944; his collation and bibliographical notes on the front pastedown).

First edition, in first issue, of Benivieni's Neoplatonic verse summary of the Libro dello amore, a commentary on Plato's Symposium that was strongly influenced by the Ficinian theory of love. The work is famous for containing the first eye-witness account ever printed of Savonarola's famous Bonfire of the Vanities, held in the Piazza della Signoria during the Carnival on 7 February 1497.

Benivieni, a prolific versifier of conventionally Petrarchian love poems, was a close friend of both Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) and Giovanni Francesco Pico (1469-1533), nephew of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola whose only work in Italian was a prose commentary on Benivieni's Canzone, at the time still unpublished but paraphrased by the latter, and inserted into the present edition. The volume was printed by Tubini, Alopa, and Ghirlandi during their short partnership in 1499-1500, and the publication is one of only three stating their names. The preliminary leaves contain Benivieni's dedicatory epistle to Giovanni Francesco Pico, while his dedication to Niccolo Vicecomite da Coreggio is printed on fol. r5v.

The Florentine humanists Benivieni, Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola were all contemporaries of Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498) and ardent admirers and supporters of his reform ideas, as were the three printers Tubini, Alopa, and Ghirlandi. It was in this cultural and social context that the present edition appeared. In 1496, Benivieni translated Savonarola's De simplicitate, and one of the most remarkable inclusions of this collection is the first printed eye-witness account of the famous 'bruciamento' at the bequest of Savonarola, the Bonfire of the Vanities held in the Piazza della Signoria during the Carnival on 7 February 1497. This Canzone (fols. oo6r-oo7r) offers a detailed list of the 'lascivious, vain and detestable objects' that were thrown on the fire, including paintings, musical instruments, feminine ornaments, dice, cards, and other such works of Satan.

The edition is known in two variants: the copy presented here belongs to the first issue with the colophon dated 7 September, and has the lines 24-25 of the table on fol. [π]3r.

H *2788; GW 3850; BMC VI, 693; IGI 1481; Goff B-328; Rhodes Firenze, 106; A. Jacobson Schutte, Printed Italian Vernacular Religious Books (1465-1550). A Finding List, Genève 1983, p. 72; R. Ridolfi, “Girolamo Benivieni e una sconosciuta revisione del suo Canzoniere”, La Bibliofilia, 66 (1964), pp. 49-62; R. Leporatti, “Canzone e Sonetti di Girolamo Benivieni fiorentino. Edizione critica”, Interpres, 27 (2008), pp. 144-298 (esp. pp. 156-161); A. Giaccaria, “I libri della Certosa di Casotto alla fine del Cinquecento”, R. Comba - G. Comino (eds.), Dal manoscritto al libro a stampa nel Piemonte sud-occidentale, pp. 169-199; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 44.

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 Lyonese counterfeit, even rarer than the original Aldine

47. Petrarca, Francesco (1304-1374)

Le cose vulgari di Messer Francesco Petrarcha. [Lyon, ca. 1502].

8° (145x92 mm). Collation: a-y8, z4, A8. [188] leaves. Complete with fols. u6, x5, y5, and z4 blank. Lyons italic type. Nearly contemporary vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine with title inked vertically by an early hand. Edges speckled brownish red, head-edge darkened. A few stains to the covers. A very good copy, the upper margin slightly trimmed, partly affecting the early inked foliation. A few spots, a small stain on fol. l7. An early hand has added in the final leaf an index of Petrarch's poems included in the volume.

Provenance: Alessandro Grassi (seventeenth-century ownership inscription on the recto of the first leaf); purchased by John Barker in Rome in 1671 (ownership inscription on the front pastedown, 'Roma, 15. d'Apr- 1671. di Sig.r Ales. Grassi, incontro il palazzo del Gouernatore'; also in Barker's own hand is the note on the front pastedown 'v. Hor. l. I. Sat. 10', and a passage taken from the Dell'Huomo di lettere by Daniello Bartoli on the recto of the front flyleaf 'Fauorino auuisa [Gell. l. 17 c. 12] che per aguzzare l'ingegno, quando dall'otio di molto tempo ci paia rintuzzato, e ottuso, ottimo mezzo sia prendere à trattare materie inutili, e allegre. P. Bartoli dell'Huomo di lettere, p. 339'); Kenneth Rapoport (ex-libris on the front pastedown).

The exceedingly rare Lyonese counterfeit, in its first issue, of the celebrated Petrarca volgare printed by Aldus in Venice in 1501, and edited for him by the outstanding humanist Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) on the basis of Petrarch's autograph manuscript of the Canzoniere, held at the Vatican Library. This is one of the three earliest of all Aldine counterfeits, alongside those of the Virgil and Juvenal.

The volume was issued entirely anonymously and without date, but the printing might be attributed to Balthasar de Gabiano from Asti (Piedmont) – according to Baudrier the originator of the Lyonese italic type –, or other printers who were active in Lyon, such as Jacques Myt, who, together with the dealer Barthélemy Troth, had immediately perceived the commercial possibilities of Aldus' revolutionary series of easily portable octavo-format volumes, printed in the fine italic type designed for the Venetian printer by the Bolognese punch-cutter Francesco Griffo. Despite the ten-year privilege granted by the Venetian Senate which gave Aldus exclusive right to its use, this font was imitated or counterfeited by certain unscrupulous Lyonese printers who produced a group of pirated editions closely imitating the Aldine format and layout, though obviously omitting the colophon, prefaces, and privileges. On 16 March 1503 Aldus was compelled to print the broadside Monitum in Lugdunenses typographos, a warning against the counterfeited Lyonese editions, in which he explained how to distinguish them from his genuine editions.

In the Lyonese Petrarch the original colophon, Aldus' address to readers, and the errata leaf are all omitted. Further, a few misprints are detectable: the general title on fol. a1r reads Le cose vulgari in place of the original Le cose volgari, the divisional title on fol. a1v is printed as Sonetti et canzone in vita di madonna Laura, and not correctly Sonetti et canzoni in vita di madonna Laura, while the Aldine divisional title Sonetti et canzoni in morte di madonna Laura on fol. n3 became Sonetti et canzoni in morte di madona Laura in the counterfeit. Further, the quire k is signed 'K'.

Two different issues of this Lyonese counterfeit are known; according to David J. Shaw they could have been printed in about 1502 and 1508, respectively. This copy belongs to the first group; an especially noteworthy point about this state is represented by the Provençal verse 'Dreç 7 [i.e., 'et'] rayson es quieu ciant em demori' printed on fol. d6v (Sonetto 70, Lasso me, ch'i non so in qual parte pieghi), which here faithfully adheres to the original, while in the late counterfeit datable to 1508 the same phrase is transformed, or better, translated into French as “Droit et raison es que Ie chante damor”.

Renouard Alde, 308.17; Baudrier VII, 15; Ahmanson-Murphy 1101; De Marinis, Appunti e ricerche bibliografiche, Milano 1940, p. 328, pl. CCLX; H. G. Fletcher, “The 1501 Petrarch”, Idem, New Aldine Studies, San Francisco 1988, pp. 95-99; C. Pulsoni, “Pietro Bembo e la tradizione della canzone 'Drez et razo es qu'ieu ciant em demori'”, Rivista di Letteratura Italiana, 11 (1993), pp. 283-304, esp. 285-290; D. J. Shaw, “The Lyons Counterfeit of Aldus's Italic Type. A New Chronology”, D. V. Reidy (ed.), The Italian Book 1465 1800. Studies presented to Dennis E. Rhodes, London 1993, pp. 117-133; C. Pulsoni, I classici italiani di Aldo Manuzio e le loro contraffazioni lionesi, Roma 2002; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 47.

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.

52. Pulci, Luca (1431-1470)

Epistole di Luca de Pulci al magnifico lorenzo de medici. Manfredo Bonelli, 21 October 1505.

8° (147x97 mm). Collation: A-K4. [40] leaves. Gothic and roman type. Title-page within a woodcut four-piece border (first used by Bonelli for the Aesopus moralisatus of 1491). Modern gilt-tooled vellum over pasteboards, signed by Gozzi, binder in Modena. Covers ruled in gilt, at centre the inscription 'Torre del Palasciano', within medallion and supplemented with author's name and title in gilt on the upper cover, and imprint on the lower one. Smooth spine, decorated in gilt. A fine copy, some marginal foxing.

Provenance: 'Bibl. Conu. Prat: [?]' (old ownership inscription on the title-page faded and partially erased); Torre del Palasciano (inscription on the binding); Adolfo Tura (ex-libris of the front pastedown).

The first and exceedingly rare sixteenth-century edition of this collection, the seventh overall after its first appearance in Florence on February 1481.

The Epistole by Luca Pulci – also the author of such poems as Driadèo d'Amore and Ciriffo Calvanèo – was considerably well circulated during the Renaissance and represents the typical fruit of Medici literary circles, the same which produced the Morgante by Luigi Pulci, Luca's elder and better-known brother; this was literature nurtured by tavern and street conversation, improvisation, popular tales, jests, chivalric poems and cantari.

Among the books listed in the celebrated Codex Atlanticus, Leonardo da Vinci mentions Pulci's work, which was evidently one of his readings. The 1505 edition is introduced – like the Florentine edition of 1481 – by a prefatory epistle to Lorenzo de' Medici, and contains eighteen letters in terzine freely inspired by Ovidius' Heroides. Responsible for publication was the Monteferrato printer Manfredo Bonelli, whose Venetian production – he began printing there in 1491 – was largely made up of vernacular literature and illustrated books. During the Cinquecento, Pulci's collection was reprinted seven more times.

The title-page of this publication is framed within a woodcut border composed of four individual pieces, fragments of blocks first used by Bonelli for his Aesopus moralisatus of January 1491 which imitate the style introduced by two other Venetian printers, Johannes Rubeus and Christophorus de Pensis. Bonelli printed Pulci's Epistole again in 1506.

Only one copy of this edition is recorded; it is located in the Vatican Library.

Essling 1499 (mentioning this copy, “Florence, Collection Torre, 1898”); Sander 6008; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 52.


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.

Paganini’s ‘long 24mo’ format

60. Bembo, Pietro (1470-1547)

Gli Asolani di messer Pietro Bembo. Alessandro Paganini, April 1515.

24° (102x50 mm). Collation: A-P8, Q8. CXXVI, [2] leaves (numbered in the lower margin). Italic type. Blank space for capital on fol. A4. Near contemporary Venetian brown morocco, over pasteboards. Covers richly gilt tooled, within border of fillets and friezes. Floral cornerpieces, at the centre fleuron in knotwork pattern. Traces of ties. Spine with three small raised bands, decorated with fillets and small tools. Gilt edges. Covers abraded in places, minor wears to corners and headcaps. In a brown half-morocco case, with title lettered in gilt. A good copy, restored the first three leaves, with loss of a few letters. Pale waterstain to the blank lower margin.

An extremely rare edition, finely printed by Alessandro Paganini in his innovative and compact 'long 24mo' format, of the celebrated dialogue Asolani by the Venetian patrician and humanist Pietro Bembo, written between 1497 and 1504. The work had first been published in March 1505 by Aldo Manuzio, and Paganini immediately re-issued it after the Aldine ten-year privilege had ended. His new edition closely follows the text of 1505.

In April 1515, the Asolani – along with the Rime by Francesco Petrarca and the Arcadia by Iacopo Sannazaro – inaugurated Paganini's celebrated 24°-format series of literary masterpieces in Italian vernacular, which never failed to attract the attention of collectors and bibliophiles. Dante's Commedia followed in 1516, standing as an exemplary achievement of Paganini 'vernacular library' (see no. 62).

The 1515 edition is dedicated – like the Aldine edition of 1505 – to Lucrezia Borgia, and Paganini added his own dedication to Bembo. It is recorded in only four Italian institutional libraries.

STC Italian 80; Nuovo, Alessandro Paganino (1509-1538), no. 20; R. Sturel. “Recherches sur une collection in -32 publié en Italie au début du XVie siècle”, Revue des Livres anciens, 1 (1913), pp. 50-73; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 60.

The first illustrated Aldine Dante counterfeited by a Venetian printer

61. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

Le terze rime di Dante con sito, et forma de lo Inferno novamente in restampito. [Venice, Gregorio de’ Gregori, after August 1515].

8° (156x97 mm). Collation: [π]2, a-z8, A-H8. 248 of [250] leaves, wanting fols. H7 and H8 blanks, but including the blank l2, often lacking. Italic and roman type. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters, at the beginning of each cantica. One double-page woodcut depicting the Sito et forma della valle inferna (fols. H4v-H5r), two full-page woodcut diagrams showing the categories of sins punished in Hell (fols. H5v-H6r), and in Purgatory (fol. H6v). Seventeenth-century vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, edges speckled pale blue, the head-edge darkened. A good copy, the first two leaves repaired to the gutter and re-mounted. The lower blank margin of some quires slightly waterstained. Small ink stain to the outer upper corner of the central quires, repairs to the corners of the leaves containing the woodcuts, without any loss.

Provenance: from the library of the Carmelite convent St. Teresa in Turin (early ownership inscription on the title-page, 'Ex libris Bibl. Carm. Discalceatorum Conventus Sanctae Teresiae Taurini'); the American Egyptologist Charles Edwin Wilbour (1883-1896; stamp on the upper margin of some leaves).

The rare, nearly contemporary counterfeit of the first Aldine Commedia to be illustrated, issued in August 1515, and intriguingly reflects – as evinced by the woodcut depiction of the Sito et forma della valle inferna – a historical vogue for measuring and mapping Hell.

The counterfeited volume appeared only a few months after the original Aldine edition. It was issued entirely anonymously, without date or printer's device; however, since Colomb de Batines, the printing has generally been attributed to Gregorio de' Gregori, the printer originating from Forlì who was active in Venice between 1480 and 1528, and who often worked in partnership with his brothers Giovanni and Bernardino Stagnino. The volume closely adheres to the text, layout, and illustrative apparatus of the Aldine Dante, except for the title printed on the first leaf, in which the original Dante col sito, et forma dell'inferno tratta dalla istessa descrittione del poeta is changed to Le terze rime di Dante con sito, et forma de lo Inferno novamente in restampito, recalling the title of the first Aldine Commedia printed in 1502 (see no. 46). On fol. b4r, line 55 of Canto v of the Inferno is also incorrectly indented.

This counterfeit gives further, striking evidence of the success of the Aldine Commedia printed in the portable octavo size and set in italic type, despite the warning against unauthorized reprinting in the colophon of the Dante of 1502, or the privilege granted by the Venetian Senate. Even after Aldus' death in February 1515, the volumes produced by the printing press now run by his father-in-law, Andrea Torresano, maintained a certain level of charm and continued to be counterfeited by other printers.

STC Italian 209; Batines I, pp. 75-76; Mambelli 25; Martini, pp. 29-30; Koch 7; Sander 2322; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 61.

The Dantino Paganini’s ‘long 24mo’ format

62. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

Dante col sito, et forma dell’Inferno. [Venice, Alessandro Paganini, ca. 1516].

24° (95x47 mm). Collation: A-X8, AA-DD8, EE4. 202, [2] leaves. Italic and gothic type. Blank spaces for capitals at the beginning of each cantica. One double-page woodcut plan of Hell (fols. EE2v-EE3r), three full-page woodcut diagrams of categories of sins punished in Hell (fols. EE3v-EE4r), and in Purgatory (fol. EE4v). Early nineteenth-century three-quarter green morocco, marbled covers. Spine with two small raised bands, decorated with narrow frieze, author's name lettered in gilt. In a green half-morocco case. A good copy. One small wormhole at the gutter of the first leaf, affecting a few letters. Minor repair to the gutter of fol. A8, quires C-E waterstained. The lower margins of the woodcuts slightly trimmed.

Provenance: 'Di Bern. Capiri in dono' (old ownership inscription on the title-page).

The exceedingly rare Paganini edition of the Commedia – the first edition printed in the innovative long 24° format – presented here in the state with leaves numbered with arabic numerals, except for fols. IX, X, and XV. It is the smallest printed Commedia of the Renaissance, known as the Dantino. The volume is part of the series begun by Paganini in the same year, which opens with Petrarch's Rime, Bembo's Asolani (see no. 60), and Sannazaro's Arcadia, all dedicated by the printer to pre-eminent contemporaries and patrons. This edition was addressed by the printer to no less than the cardinal Giulio de' Medici, who, in 1523, became Pope Clement VII. The date is not present in the book, but it belongs to the period before Paganini's move to Toscolano.

The last three leaves contain a double-page and three full-page woodcuts, all appearing here for the first time. The double-page woodcut, showing the plan of Hell, is signed by the engraver 'I.A.', possibly the Venetian artist and cartographer Giovanni Andrea Vavassore, also known as Guadagnino.

“It is believed that Bembo was active with publishers in Venice at his time. According to his friend Trifon Gabriele, Bembo was responsible for the analysis of the structure in Paganini's 1515 edition of Dante and therefore, presumably, of the structurel analyses of all three realms in Aldus's Dante, also of 1515. It has been suggested that Paganini pirated the tree of sins which Bembo drew for Aldus. However Bembo and Paganini seem to have been on good terms since Paganini republished Gli Asolani in 1515, in his new and elegant pocket book size collection of Latin and Italian classics [...] Although his copyright had expired after ten years, Aldus reprinted Gli Asolani himself, also in 1515” (C. Kidwell, Pietro Bembo. Lover, Linguist, Cardinal, Montreal-London 2004, p. 183).

Adams D-337; STC Italian 209; Nuovo, Alessandro Paganino (1509-1538), Padova 1990, no. 28; R. Sturel. “Recherches sur une collection in -32 publié en Italie au début du XVie siècle”, Revue des Livres anciens, 1 (1913), pp. 50-73: 57; Batines i, pp. 77-24; Mambelli 26; Essling 540-541; Sander 2323-2324; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 62.

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.

The first Homer printed outside of Italy

74. Homerus (8th century BC)

Ομήρον Ιλιάς... Strasbourg, Wolfgang Köpfel, 1525. (together with:) Idem. Οδύσσεια, Βατραχομνομαχία, Υμνοι. λβ. Wolfgang Köpfel, 1525.

Two works, in two volumes, 8°. I. (161x91 mm). Collation: A-Z8, AA-MM8. 277, [3] leaves. Greek type. Title-page within a woodcut border depicting subjects from the Iliad, possibly by Hans Weiditz d.J.; woodcut printer's device on the title-page and on fol. I8v. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. II. (161x95 mm). Collation: A8, b-z8, A-I8, aa-gg8. 251, [61] leaves. Complete with fols I4v and I8r blank. Title-page within a woodcut border depicting subjects from the Odyssey, possibly by Hans Weiditz d.J; woodcut printer's device on the title-page. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Uniformly bound in contemporary blind-tooled black leather, over pasteboards. Traces of ties. Spine with four raised bands. Both volumes are very well preserved. In the first volume, outer margin lightly short and some minor loss to the blank outer corner of one leaf; in volume two, waterstain to gutter and lower margin of some quires. Repairs to corners, spine heads and joints of both volumes, spines slightly rubbed. A few interlinear Latin notes on fol. MM8r.

Provenance: Étienne Desprez, president of the Besançon school and correspondent, between 1529-34, of Erasmus of Rotterdam (ownership inscription on the title-page of the second volume, 'Sum Stephanj a pratis'); De Valimbert family from Besançon (ownership inscription on the title-page of the first volume, 'Jo. Fred. de Valimbert'; on the last verso and on the verso of last flyleaf: 'Carolus Valimbertus Rhetore Bisuntinae').

The first complete edition of Homer's works printed outside Italy. The printer, Wolfgang Köpfel (or 'Cephalaeus', as the colophon in both volumes states), introduced Homer to the German Renaissance, the great poet having previously only been known in German-speaking areas though the Batrachomyomachia (1513) and the first book of Ilias (1516).

The 1525 Homer is rare and can be “found only in very few collections” (Dibdin, Introduction, p. 375). It is rarer still to find both volumes together, as they usually tend to appear separately.

Homer's texts were edited by philologist Johannes Lonicerus (1499-1569), who had studied in Wittenberg under the influential Reformation humanist Philipp Melanchton. In his prefatory epistles – both addressed to Melanchton – Lonicerus identifies the canon of Greek poetry in Homer, Hesiod, and Pindar, and stresses not only the beauty of language and narrative of the Homeric poems, but also their vastness of wisdom, moral meaning, and pedagogic function. The texts are mainly based on the Florentine editio princeps of 1488, and the variant readings are included at the end of each volume. Both title-pages are framed with fine woodcut borders that depict Homer himself as well as scenes and subjects from the Iliad (the duel between Hector and Achilles, the city of Troy, and Priam's family) and the Odyssey (Ulysses in the island of the Phaecians and the return to Ithaca), possibly executed by German artist Hans Weiditz the Younger (1495-1537), famous for his woodcut embellishments to Brunsfels's Herbarum vivae eicones.

The publishing initiative enjoyed great success, and three subsequent Köpfel editions followed in 1534, 1542, and 1550.

Adams H-746; VD16 H-4652/4692; Ritter Repertoire, 1189-1190; Benzing-Muller, 55-56; Chrisman p. 74 (A3.3.4-5); Hoffmann II, p. 315; Young Homer, p. 180; Homer in Print, Chicago 2013, A7 (only the Odyssea of 1525); Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 74.

A forerunner of poker

77. Berni, Francesco (1497-1535)

Capitolo del gioco della primiera col comento di messer Pietropaulo da San Chirico. [after 27 August 1526].

8° (137x91 mm). Collation: A-K4. [40] leaves. Roman and italic type. On fol. B1r woodcut initial with a small portrait. Eighteenth-century vellum, over pasteboards. Smooth spine, with inked title. Red edges. A good copy, the lower blank margin of the title-page trimmed, and slightly repaired. On the front pastedown the early shelfmark 'M.I.28'. On the lower blank margin of fol. A2r the note 'à Fiesole; cioè il Berni'. Seventeenth-century hand has added the note: “Proibito” ('Prohibited'), referring to the fact that Berni's entire works had been condemned by the Roman Church and included in 1559 in the Index librorum prohibitorum.

Provenance: 'Ex Bibliotheca Card. [?]' (early stamp on the title-page); Stuart R. Kaplan (ex-libris on the front pastedown).

Rare, undated edition of this poem by the Tuscan Francesco Berni about the card game primiera, a forerunner of poker. The work first appeared in Rome in 1526, from the press of Francesco Minizio Calvo. A second edition was published in Venice in 1534. This pirated edition was probably printed immediately after the first edition of 1526. As in the Roman edition, the author disguises himself under the pseudonym of Pietropaulo de San Chirico, and the volume opens with his dedicatory epistle to his friend Borgianni Baronci da Narni, written in Rome on 27 August 1526.

The Capitolo del Gioco della Primiera is part of a long literary tradition built around card games which also includes Matteo Boiardo's early Tarot poetry, the invective against tarot games by Alberto Lollio, and verses on cards by such authors as Federico Fregoso, Gasparo Pallavicino, and Pietro Aretino. Berni praises primiera and makes of it a metaphor for courtly life; in contrast, he ridicules the tarot player, whom he considers too distracted by the many pictures and cards at stake in that game.

From the library of Stuart R. Kaplan, the well-known author of the work Tarot: Cards for Fun and Fortune-Telling, and Encyclopaedia of Tarots, both published by the press founded by him in New York, the U.S. Game Systems. A reproduction of the present copy's title-page is published in the first volume of Kaplan's Encyclopaedia, alongside a short entry devoted to Berni: “Francesco Berni, writing in Capitolo del Gioco della Primiera, makes what appears to be the earliest printed reference to tarocchi [see no. 8]. The author styles himself 'Messer Pietropaulo de San Chirico' and in the course of his mock commentary he describes the game of primiera, its laws and mode of playing” (p. 28).

Melzi II, p. 343; S. R. Kaplan, Encyclopaedia of Tarots, New York 1978, I, pp. 28-29; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 77.

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