Curtius Rufus, Quintus (fl. 1st cent. AD).
Q. Curtio De' fatti d'Alessandro Magno, Re de' Macedoni,tradotto per M. Tomaso Porcacchi, con alcune Annotationi, dichiarationi, & avvertimenti, & con unalettera d'Alessandro ad Aristotele del sito dell'India, & con la Tavola copiosissima delle cose notabili.
4° (218x150 mm). Collation: *-****8, *****4, A-P8, Q6. , 249,  pages. Complete with the last blank leaf Q6. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page and fol. Q5v. Woodcut decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Precious and unusual eighteenth-century, possibly Venetian painted vellum binding. Covers bearing at the centre a piece of coloured paper with painted decorations in black and green surrounded by strips of vellum decorated with floral patterns painted in green, black, and red watercolour. Vellum spine with green painted decorations and inked title. Coloured flyleaves with the same pattern as the piece of paper pasted on the covers. Some minor losses to the upper cover, one of the vellum strips on the lower cover is missing. A good copy. Small wormholes in the first leaves, only occasionally affecting the text; worm tracks to the lower blank margin of a few leaves. Some marginal staining, more prominent to the upper margin of fol. Q2. Early inked shelfmark ‘AA:III:i3' on the front flyleaf.
Provenance: unidentified sixteenth-century monograms ‘GF' and ‘CART' on fol. Q6v; on the same leaf the ownership inscription ‘Io Pietro Pavolo Byrne in Lodi 1670'; Marquis Luigi Silva (fl. eighteenth century; his armorial stamp in gilt‘D. LVIGI SYLVA' on the title-page).
First edition of the Italian translation of the famous Historiae Alexandri Magni by Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus. A protégé of Duke Cosimo I de' Medici, Tommaso Porcacchi (1530-1585) – the well-known author of Le isole più famose del mondo (1572) – was responsible for this version. This copy bears the armorial stamp of Luigi Silva, and is bound in painted vellum, showing similarities in material execution, decorative motifs, and colouring with the binding of the volume containing Il Cesano by Claudio Tolomei (here). Painted vellum bindings were greatly appreciated in the eighteenth- and nineteenth centuries, above all in France and England, and were especially commissioned to binderies. However, this kind of binding is rarely found in volumes owned by Italian collectors, increasing the interest and value of this copy, as well as the one previously described.
Bongi II, pp. 62-64; Frati, Dizionario bio-bibliografico dei bibliotecari e bibliofili italiani, p. 519; M. F. Viallon, Catalogue du Fonds italien XVIe siècle de la Bibliothèque Municipale de Roanne, Saint-Etienne 1994; M. A. Foot, Pictorial Bookbindings, London 1986.