Volume II: The 16th Century Philobiblon

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

Two first Aldine editions in original Venetian speaking-binding

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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.

5. 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.


7. [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

8. [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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Vipera, Giovanni Mercurio (1426-1527)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paganini’s ‘long 24mo’ format

12. 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

13. 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

14. 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

15. 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

16. 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.

Franchinus Gafurius laudensis Regius musicus corteque mediolanensis phonascus Excell.mo Amico Ambatiae, Viro honoratissimo

18. Gaffurio, Franchino (1421-1522)

Franchini Gafurii Laudensis Regii Musici publice profitentis: De lubrique Mediolanensis Phonasci: de Harmonia Musicorum Instrumentorum Opus.... Gottardo da Ponte, 27 November 1518.

Folio (299x206 mm). Collation: a4, A-M8, N6. [4], c, [2] leaves. Roman and gothic type. Woodcut printer's device on the verso of the last leaf. Large woodcut vignette on the title-page (137x115mm), depicting the author lecturing to students with the caption 'Harmonia est discordia concors', and the long inscription on the edge of the block 'FRAN. GAFVRI[VS]. LAVDEN. TRIA DE MVSICIS VOLUMINA. THEORICAM. AC PRACTICAM. ET HARMONIAM. INSTRUMENTOR[VM] ACCVRATISSIME C[ON]SCRIPSI'. Woodcut coat of arms, in a medallion, of the dedicatee Jean Grolier on fol. a4v. On fol. N6v another large woodcut portrait of Gaffurio (202x102mm) playing the organ. Sixty diagrams, some of which are full-page, the one on fol. H8v depicting eight figures playing various musical instruments. Full-page woodcut on fol. M6v with an allegory of music, showing its derivation from Apollo, the Muses, and celestial bodies. Musical examples printed from blocks on fol. M1v; mathematical examples in the margins. Numerous woodcut decorated and animated initials in several sizes, some on black ground. Contemporary limp vellum. Smooth spine, with traces of inked title at the top. Loss to the lower portion of the spine. In a modern marbled box. A very beautiful copy, a few quires uniformly browned. An early hand has annotated 'Musurgia' on the rear pastedown. A typewritten description of this copy is tipped in on the recto of the front flyleaf.

Provenance: possibly gifted by Gaffurio to Leonardo da Vinci (Gaffurio's autograph inscription on the recto of the first leaf 'Franchinus Gafurius laudensis Regius musicus / corteque mediolanensis phonascus / Excell.mo Amico Ambatiae, Viro honoratissimo'); Leonardo's servant, Batista de Vilanis (ownership inscription on the recto of the front flyleaf, partly inked out, 'Batta de Vilano'); from the library of the Abbey of Saint-Julien, at Tours, France (ownership inscription on the front pastedown, 'Pertinet ad Monasterium Sancti Juliani Turonensis').

An exceptional presentation copy of the rare first edition of one of the most famous music treatises of the Renaissance. The volume bears a dedication, in Gaffurio's own hand, to 'Excell.mo Amico Ambatiae, Viro honoratissimo', i.e., 'his friend in Amboise', possibly one of the greatest artists of all time: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519).

De harmonia musicorum instrumentorum is the last and most elaborate work published by Gaffurio. Possibly composed around 1500, the treatise deals – as its title reads – with the harmony of musical instruments, and was dedicated by the author to the outstanding bibliophile and patron of the arts Jean Grolier, who was then active in Milan as treasurer of the French army. This edition is rightly famous for its fine illustrative apparatus, including two famous woodcut portraits of Gaffurio, the first of which is printed on the title-page, as a re-use of the block employed by Gottardo da Ponte in 1508 for Gaffurio's Angelicum ac divinum opus musice.

For the second portrait printed at the end of the volume a block first cut for another work by Gaffurio, the Theoricum opus musice discipline (Naples 1490), was re-used. The numerous diagrams and initials supplementing the text were designed by the refined French artist Guillaume Le Signerre, who was born in Rouen and active in Milan and later in Saluzzo (Piedmont).

Beyond the rarity and beauty of this Milanese edition, the most significant and valuable aspect of the present copy undoubtedly lies in the extraordinary story narrated by its provenance, particularly the inscription 'Franchinus Gafurius laudensis Regius musicus / corteque mediolanensis phonascus / Excell.mo Amico Ambatiae, Viro honoratissimo'.

In fact, the formulation used here by Gaffurio – 'Excell.mo Amico Ambatiae', i.e., 'to my most excellent friend in Amboise' – suggests that this copy of the De harmonia musicorum instrumentorum was presented by him as a gift to none other than Leonardo da Vinci. Numerous features appear to confirm this hypothesis. When this volume was published on 27 November 1518, Leonardo was indeed in Amboise (the Latin name for which is 'Ambacia') along with his pupil Francesco Melzi and his loyal servant, Batista de Vilanis, who was mentioned in Leonardo's will, dated 23 April 1519. As the book was printed at the end of 1518, it is possible that Leonardo, who died at the beginning of the following year, never saw the copy, even if his friend had sent it to him. Thus the butler Batista de Vilanis would have taken possession of the volume, signing it with his name 'Batta de Vilano' on the front flyleaf. Later, the book – as evinced by the later ownership inscription – came into the possession of the nearby Abbey of Saint-Julien at Tours.

Gaffurio's close relationship with Leonardo amidst the intellectual elite of the Sforza Court is well documented, and it is also very likely that Leonardo used to visit Gaffurio's rich personal library in Milan. The present copy of De harmonia musicorum instrumentorum not only places striking emphasis on this friendship, but also offers a crucial clue toward confirming the hypothesis that the man portrayed by Leonardo in his celebrated 'Portrait of a Musician' – the identity of whom has long been debated – was actually the maestro di cappella Gaffurio.

Adams G-14; Mortimer Italian, 204; Balensuela-Williams, pp. 75-76; Sander 2989; Santoro, Libri illustrati milanesi, 164; G. Cesari, “Musica e musicisti alla Corte sforzesca”, F. Malaguzzi Valeri, La corte di Ludovico il Moro, IV (1923), p. 210; M. Coleman, Amboise et Léonard da Vinci à Amboise, Tours 1932; F. Fano, “Vita e attività del musico teorico e pratico Francino Gaffurio da Lodi”, Arte Lombarda, 15/2 (1970), pp. 49-62; F. Russoli, “Ritratto di Musico”, Leonardo. La pittura, Firenze 1985, pp. 63-65; C. Pedretti – M. Melani (eds.), Leonardo da Vinci & France, Poggio a Caiano 2010; W. K. Kreyszig, “The Significance of Iconography in the Print Culture of the Late-Fifteenth-Century Music Theoretical Discourse. The Theoricum opus musice discipline (1480) and Theorica musice (1492) of Franchino Gaffurio in the Context of his Trilogy”, Music in Art, 35 (2010), pp. 53-70; M. T. Fiorio, “Leonardo's 'Portrait of a Musician' and some Reflections on his Milanese Workshop”, M. Menu (ed.), Leonardo da Vinci's Technical Practice, Paris 2014, pp. 152-161; L. Fagnart – H. Miesse, “Perché havemo bisogno ancora de maestro Leonardo. Léonard de Vinci au service de Charles II Chaumont d'Amboise”, Raccolta Vinciana, 36 (2015), pp. 47-76; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 68.

The Mendoza Binder for the Aldine Press

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A well-preserved wallet binding

20. Erasmus, Desiderius (1466-1536)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21. Leone, Ambrogio (1459-1525)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first Homer printed outside of Italy

23. 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

25. 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.

The Dolce Stil Novo manifesto

26. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

Sonetti e’ Canzoni di diuersi antichi Autori Toscani in dieci libri raccolte. Di Dante Alaghieri Libri quattro. Di M. Cino da Pistoia Libro uno. Di Guido Cavalcanti Libro uno. Di Dante da Maiano Libro uno. Di Fra Guittone d’Arezzo Libro uno. Di diuerse Canzoni e’ Sonetti senza nome d’autore Libro uno. Filippo Giunta's heirs, 6 July 1527.

8° (160x100 mm). Collation: AA4, a-s8, t4. [4], 148 leaves. Italic and roman type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page and on the verso of the last leaf. Nineteenth-century half-vellum, marbled covers. Spine with title in gilt on red morocco lettering-piece. Red silk bookmark. A very good copy, a few small stains to fols. AA4 and a1. Light foxing in places.

The rare first edition of the remarkable collection known as the 'Giuntina di rime antiche', the first anthology in print which contains Dante's canzoniere along with lyrics composed by poets of the Dolce Stil Novo tradition. Edited by Bardo di Antonio Segni, member of a distinguished Florentine family, this anthology is an authentic monument to Italian vernacular poetry. In his prefatory letter, the printer Bernardo Giunta addressed the publication to the Amatori de le toscane rime, i.e., admirers of Tuscan poetry, inviting them to read and study the early vernacular lyric tradition, and Dante's poems above all. The Giuntina di rime antiche is divided into eleven books (not ten, as erroneously stated in the title), and includes the texts of about three hundred poems, most of which had never previously appeared in print. The entries are grouped by metrical form and are almost entirely by Tuscan authors, although works from the Sicilian and Bolognese Schools are also included, with the former being represented by Giacomo da Lentini, Guido delle Colonne, and Pier delle Vigne, to name a few, and the latter by Guido Guinizelli and Onesto degli Onesti, among others.

The first four books of this edition are entirely devoted to Dante, and contain – for the first time – his complete poems apart from the Commedia, including the text of Vita Nuova, which was only published in its complete form in 1576. The Giuntina poetical collection is very important from a textual point of view, and played a significant part in the reconstruction of the complex history of Dante's lyrical works. In addition to the fifteen so-called canzoni distese, the texts of which are mainly derived from Giovanni Boccaccio's transcriptions, the editor Bardo di Antonio Segni also attributes to Dante a selection of poems which have come down to us but are not included in the manuscripts. This edition represents the highest achievement in print of the long tradition of Florentine lyric anthologies.

Adams T-1213; STC Italian 687; Camerini Annali 206; Pettas 219; Mambelli 995; Gamba 206; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 78.

The last Soncino book printed in Italy

27. Folengo, Teofilo (1491-1544)

Orlandino qual tratta darme e damor per Limerno Pitocco da Mantua composto. Girolamo Soncino, 1527.

8° (155x111 mm). Collation: A-P4, Q6. LXVI leaves. Roman and gothic type. Title-page printed in red and black within an elaborated woodcut frame. Half page woodcut vignette on fol. A2r, showing Berta and Milone. Nineteenth-century vellum, over pasteboards. Red edges. A good copy. Title-page soiled, some foxing and browning, small stains on a few leaves; a short tear to fol. E3, without any loss. Wormhole in the outer margin of the first thirty leaves not affecting text, pin wormhole in the first twenty leaves that slightly affects the title-page border, the frame of the woodcut on the following page and a few letters. Two manuscript notes in Hebrew on the verso of the last leaf.

Provenance: on the recto of the last leaf, the early ownership entry by 'Eliezer bar Silomo Debauzo'; La Anticuaria Libreria de Llordachs Hermanos, Barcelona (ticket on the front pastedown).

The fine third edition of the Orlandino – written by Folengo under the nickname of Limerno Pitocco – and the last book printed by Gershom Soncino in Italy before moving, in 1527, to Salonika, in the Ottoman Empire. The first edition of Folengo's poem had appeared in Venice in July 1526, printed by Gregorio de' Gregori for the bookseller Niccolò Garanta, followed a few months later by another edition, also issued for Garanta, by the Nicolini da Sabbio brothers. The Orlandino is a poem in octaves, which narrates the early years of Orlando, fitting into the semi-popular tradition of the cantari dedicated to the childhood of the hero. The poem is divided into two sections: the background (Berta and Milone, Orlando's parents, falling in love) occupies six books, while the hero's deeds are narrated in the seventh and final canto.

Gershom Soncino was the greatest of the pioneers of Hebrew printing, active in different Italian towns – Brescia, Fano, Pesaro, and Rimini – from the late fifteenth century until 1527, when he was forced to flee for the Ottoman Empire. He published books in Hebrew, Latin, and Italian, with a special interest in chivalric literature, as the fine Orlandino of 1527 attests. The volume is illustrated with the same woodcut depicting Berta and Milone used, with a few variants, in 1526 in the Venetian editions of the poem. The Soncino Orlandino omits, as a measure of prudence, a few stanzas of the seventh canto and the entire eighth canto, which contains an anti-clerical tale on the fake abbot Griffarosto.

In his Annali tipografici dei Soncino (1886), Giacomo Manzoni states he was never able to see a copy of this book. An additional noteworthy feature in the copy presented here is its earliest recorded ownership, to be referred to a certain Eliezer ben Salomon Debauzo, reflecting the taste of the Sephardic diaspora in Italy for chivalric literature.

Manzoni, Annali Soncino, no. 134; E. Sandal, “Indice cronologico delle edizioni latine e volgari di Girolamo Soncino (1502-1527)”, G. Tamani (ed.), L'attività editoriale di Gershom Soncino, 1502-1527, no. 110; Melzi-Tosi p. 192; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 79.

From Βenedetto Varchi’s and Gian Giacomo Trivulzio’s libraries

29. Alighieri, Dante (1265-1321)

Dante. De la Vωlgare Elωquenzia... Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, January 1529. (bound with:) Gian Giorgio Trissino (1478-1550). Dialωgω... intitulato il Castellanω, nel quale si tratta de la lingua italiana. [Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, 1529]. (bound with:) Ιdem. Epistola... de le lettere nuωvamente aggiunte ne la lingua italiana... Vicenza, Tolomeo Gianicolo, February 1529. (uniformly bound with:) Ιdem. La Pωetica di M. Giωvan Giorgiω Trissinω. Tolomeo Gianicolo, April 1529.

Four works uniformly bound in two volumes, large 4° and small folio (278x166 mm). First volume: three works. I. Collation: a-b8, c6, d4. [26] leaves. Italic, Greek, and roman type. II. A-B8, C4. [20] leaves. Italic, Greek, and roman type. III. Collation: A4, aa-bb4, cc6. [17], [1] leaves. Italic, Greek, and roman type. Woodcut printer's device on each title page. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Second volume: collation: a-r4, s2. LXVIII, [2] leaves. Italic, Greek, and roman type. Woodcut printer's device on the verso of fol r4. Blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters.

Uniformly bound in eighteenth-century half-leather over pasteboards. Marbled covers. Smooth spines divided into compartments by narrow gilt frieze, title in gold on lettering-piece, imprint lettered to the foot. Pink rose silk bookmarks. Pale blue edges. At the lower extremities of the spines, small nineteenth-century paper labels, bearing the shelfmarks 'E.VIII.15' and 'E.VIII.16' respectively. Upper joint of the first volume slightly cracked; spines and corners of both volumes slightly worn. A good copy, in the first volume the opening title-page and fol. a8 uniformly browned; minor loss to the lower blank margin of the first title-page, without any loss. Both volumes foxed in places; a few spots, fingermarks, and early ink stains.

Provenance: on the first title-page of the first volume ownership inscription of Benedetto Varchi (1503-1565; 'Di Bened. Varchi'); another erased, and quite illegible ownership inscription in the same title-page; both volumes from the library of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio (1774-1831; his initials G.G.T. inked on the front pastedowns; the notices '1802. 23 7.bre. Broc' and 'fr. 45' on the front pastedown of the first volume).

A fine set, uniformly bound, from the celebrated library once owned by Count Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, which was particularly well endowed with testi di lingua. An additional noteworthy feature is its earliest recorded ownership in the first volume, to be referred to the outstanding Florentine humanist Benedetto Varchi.

The first volume opens with the first edition of Trissino's Italian translation of the De vulgari eloquentia, the unfinished treatise written in Latin by an exiled Dante between 1304 and 1307. The subject of the work is the nature of poetry in vernacular languages, above all Italian; against their detractors, the work attempts to defend the eloquence of vernacular languages, which, in Dante's opinion, have the potential of being just as dignified as Latin. Trissino edited the De la Volgare Eloquenzia on the basis of a manuscript in his possession, today in the Biblioteca Trivulziana in Milan (ms 1088) – the original Latin text only appeared in 1577.

In addition to the Italian translation of the De vulgari eloquentia the miscellaneous first volume also includes – as is frequently found to be the case – two treatises composed by Trissino himself: the first edition of the Dialogo intitulato il Castellano and the reprint of the Epistola de le lettere nuovamente aggiunte ne la lingua italiana, first published in 1524.

The second volume presents the first edition of Trissino's Poetica, devoted to Aristotle's theory of poetry, and likewise printed – as with the editions bound in the first volume – by the enigmatic Vicenza printer Tolomeo Gianicolo, and set in the handsome italic type, with the addition of the Greek vocals ε and ω, designed for him by Ludovico degli Arrighi.

For other books from Varchi's library see nos. 23 and 104 in the present catalogue.

I. Adams D-121; STC Italian 208; Mambelli p. 277; Gamba 1709. II. Adams T-950; STC Italian 681; Mortimer Italian, 507; Gamba 1704. III. Adams T-951; STC Italian 681; Gamba 1704; IV. Adams T-955; Balsamo-Tinto, Origini del corsivo nella tipografia italiana del Cinquecento, Milano 1977, pp. 130-131, pls. 50-51; G. Castellani, “Da Tolomeo Ianiculo a Bartolomeo Zanetti via Giovangiorgio Trissino”, La Bibliofilia, 94 (1992), pp. 171-185; 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, 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. 81.

In original speaking-binding

30. [Scriptores de re rustica]

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

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

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

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

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

The first collection of Bembo’s Latin prose

31. Bembo, Pietro (1470-1547)

De Aetna ad Angelum Chiabrielem Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:) Idem. Petri Bembi ad Herculem Strotium De Virgilii Culice et Terentii Fabulis Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:) Idem. Petri Bembi ad Nicolaum Teupolum De Guido Ubaldo Feretrio deque Elisabetha Gonzagia Urbini Ducibus Liber. Venice, Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530. (bound with:): Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni Francesco (1469-1533). Io. Francisci Pici Ad Petrum Bembum De Imitatione Libellus. Giovanni Antonio Nicolini da Sabbio and Brothers, 1530.

Four works in one volume, 4° (210x150 mm). I. Collation: AA-BB8. [16] leaves, the first leaf is a blank. Italic and roman type. One blank space for initial, with printed guide letter. II. Collation: a-d8, e4. [36] leaves, with the first and the two final blanks, and the extra line printed at the bottom of fol. b1r. Italic and roman type. III. Collation: A-G8. [56] leaves, with the first and final blanks. Italic and roman type. One blank space for capital, with printed guide letter. Small loss to the lower right corner of fol. E5, the first four lines of fol. B1r are only partially printed with loss of some letters. IV. Collation: aa-cc8. [24] leaves, the first and last leaf are blank. Italic and roman type. Two blank spaces for capitals, with printed guide letters. Contemporary limp vellum, title inked vertically, traces of ties. Upper joint cracked, upper cover almost detached. A very fine, unsophisticated copy, with wide margins. A few small stains, insignificant waterstain to the upper blank margin of the last leaves. On the verso of the front flyleaf a bibliographical note in an eighteenth-century hand: 'I never saw any other copy of this reprint of the Aetna of Bembus, printed by Aldus 1495 & exceptionally rare [...]'.

First edition of the Sabbio collection of prose writings by Pietro Bembo, which includes – alongside the second edition of the celebrated De Aetna – the first editions of the dialogues De Virgilii Culice et Terentii fabulis Liber and De Guido Ubaldo Feretrio deque Elisabetha Gonzaga Urbini ducibus Liber, as well as the first official edition of De Imitatione. The four works were issued as a set, but bearing a different series of signatures and separate colophons, and thus can sometimes also be found separate.

The dialogue De Aetna relates Bembo's famous 1493 stay in Sicily and his ascent of Mount Etna in that same year, and was printed for the first time by Aldus Manutius in 1495/96. The text published in 1530 differs in some points from that of the Aldine edition and was possibly revised by Bembo himself, who is known to have reworked his writings in view of new editions.

Particularly noteworthy is the fourth text bound here, representing the first authorized edition of Bembo's De imitatione, which had previously appeared in Rome around 1513 without the author's approval. Bembo's ardent Ciceronianism comes to the fore in this work, which is of the greatest significance, representing as it does the critical, and foundational position of Cicero's prose within the Latin humanist tradition. Bembo wrote this short text, dated 1 January 1513, in response to a letter from another outstanding humanist, Giovanni Francesco Pico della Mirandola, the nephew of Giovanni, which is dated 19 September 1512. A second letter from Pico della Mirandola followed, but is not included in the Sabbio edition of 1530. “One of the most popular of Pico's writings, De imitatione consists of a letter addressed to Pietro Bembo, Bembo's reply to this, and a second letter by Gianfrancesco which apparently was never actually sent to Bembo. These letters date from the years 1512-13, which Pico spent in Rome with Bembo. The originals seem to have been lost [...] The first printed edition dates from 1518 [ie c.1513] and contains all three of the letters. Many of the later editions omit Pico's second letter” (Ch. B. Schmitt, Gianfrancesco Pico Della Mirandola (1469–1533) and His Critique of Aristotle, The Hague 1967, p. 199).

Adams-B, 583-586; Sandal, Il mestier delle stamperie dei libri, pp. 155 - 156, nos. 2, 3, 5, 6; C. F. Bühler, “Manuscript Corrections in the Aldine Edition of Bembo's De Aetna”, Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 1951, pp. 136-142; R. M. Mariano, “Il De Aetna di P. Bembo e le varianti dell'edizione 1530”, Aevum, 65, 1991, pp. 441-452; L. Quaquarelli-Z. Zanardi, Pichiana: bibliografia delle edizioni e degli studi, Firenze 2005, p. 284; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 85.

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