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Bound in painted vellum for Marquis Luigi Sylva

Tolomei, Claudio (1492-1555).

Il Cesano, dialogo di M. Claudio Tolomei, nel quale da più dotti huomini si disputa del nome, col quale si dee ragionevolmente chiamare la volgar lingua... (bound with:) Plato (427-ca. 347 BC). Il dialogo di Platone, intitolato il Timeo... Venice, [Orfeo Dalla Carta] for Comin da Trino, 1558.

Tolomei, Claudio (1492-1555). Il Cesano, dialogo di M. Claudio Tolomei, nel quale da più dotti huomini si disputa del nome, col quale si dee ragionevolmente chiamare la volgar lingua... (bound with:) Plato (427-ca. 347 BC). Il dialogo di Platone, intitolato il Timeo... Venice, [Orfeo Dalla Carta] for Comin da Trino, 1558. Venice, Gabriel Giolito de' Ferrari & Brothers, 1555.

(bound with:) Plato (427-ca. 347 BC). Il dialogo di Platone, intitolato il Timeo, overo della natura del mondo. Tradotto di lingua greca in italiano da m. SebastianoErizzo, gentil'huomo venetiano. Et dal medesimo di molte utili annotationi illustrato, et nuovamente mandato in luce da Girolamo Ruscelli. Venice, [Orfeo Dalla Carta] for Comin da Trino, 1558.

Two works in one volume, 4° (205x143 mm). I. Collation: A-N4. [4], 97, [3] pages. Roman and italic type. Woodcutprinter's device on the title-page and fol. N4v. Woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. II. Collation: *4, A-L4, K2. [4], 41, [1] leaves. Roman and italic type. Woodcut printer's device on the title-page and fol. L2r. Woodcut decorated initials. Precious and unusual eighteenth-century, possibly Venetian painted vellum binding. Covers bearing at the centre a piece of marbled paper surrounded by strips of vellum decorated with geometric and floral patterns painted in green, blackand brown watercolour. Edges decorated with coloured floral motifs. Marbled flyleaves showing the same pattern as the piece of paper pasted on the covers. A good copy. In the first work bound small hole in the blank margin of fol. A2. Wormholes to the lower margin of about ten leaves of the second edition bound, and small loss to the outer corner of fol. D2, in both cases not affecting the text, some marginal stains. Early inked shelfmark ‘J:I:10' on the front flyleaf.

Provenance: the Milanese Marquis Luigi Silva (fl. eighteenth century; his ownership inscription and armorial stamp ingilt ‘D. LVIGI SYLVA' on the first title-page, repeated on fol. A2v).

A volume finely and most unusually bound in painted vellum with paper insertions, from the exquisite library of Marquis Luigi Silva, and containing two sixteenth-century first editions. The volume opens with the first edition of the dialogue Il Cesano, composed by the Sienese Claudio Tolomei in 1525-1529, but printed only in 1555, on account of censorship. This fictional dialogue offers a synthesis of all major proposals circulating in those years around the debate over the Italian language, and its interlocutors are Pietro Bembo, Gian Giorgio Trissino, Baldassarre Castiglione, Alessandro de' Pazzi, and Gabriele Cesano. Following in the volume is the first edition, in the second issue (the first is dated 1557 on the title-page) ofthe first Italian version of Plato's famous dialogue Timaeus, translated from the Greek by the Venetian Sebastiano Erizzo (1525-1585). The volume was once owned by Luigi Silva, a member of the noble Milanese family famous for its interestin bookcollecting. Luigi Silva's books, bearing his elegant stamp in gilt, are scattered among various libraries, and the volume presented here – as with others bearing identical provenance, mostly referring to editions in Italian vernacular, as with the copy of the 1549 Giolito edition of Lodovico Domenichi's Nobiltà delle donne in the Bibliothèque Municipale in Roanne (158-BOU 264) – is housed in a fine painted vellum binding, possibly executed in a Venetian workshop. The remarkable binding is a fine example of Silva's especial taste forbeautiful books.

Bongi, I, p. 460; L. Sbaragli, Claudio Tolomei, umanista senese del Cinquecento, Siena, 1939; C. Tolomei, Il Cesano dela lingua toscana, ed. O. Castellani Pollidori, Firenze 1974. II. Hoffmann III, p. 147; J. Hankins, Humanism and Platonism in the Italian Renaissance, Rome 2005, II, p. 164; F. Tomasi, “Una scheda su Sebastiano Erizzo traduttoredel ‘Timeo”', Quaderni Veneti 3 (2014), pp. 47-48; 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.

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