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Maccio, Paolo (1576-1638)

Emblemata Clemente Ferroni, April 1628.

€ 4.000
The Colbert-Heber-Beckford copy
Maccio, Paolo (1576-1638). Emblemata. Clemente Ferroni, April 1628.

4° (203x140 mm). Collation: A-Z4, AA-TT4. 331, [5] pages. Roman and italic type. Engraved title-page within typographical border; dedicatory plate showing the Madonna and Child in a landscape; eighty-one emblematic engravings. Eighteenth-century calf, over pasteboards. Covers within a triple gilt fillet. Spine with five raised bands, title in gold on morocco lettering-piece. Marbled flyleaves, gilt edges. Joints and top of spine partially restored. A very good copy, small repair to the lower margin of fol. Q1r, without any loss.

Provenance: from the library of French politician Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683; ownership inscription on the title-page 'Bibliothecae Colbertinae'); by descent to his son Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Marquis de Seignelay (d. 1690), Jacques Nicolas Colbert, Archbishop of Rouen (1655-1707), and Charles Eléonor Colbert, Comte de Seignelay (d. 1747; see the sale catalogue Bibliotheca Colbertina, seu Catalogus librorum bibliothecae quae fuit primum Ill. V.D. J. B. Colbert, Regni ministri, deinde Ill. D. J. B. Colbert. March. de Seignelay; postea Rev. et ill. D. J. Nic. Colbert, Rothomagensis Archiepiscopi, ac demum D. Caroli-Leonorii Colbert, Comitis de Seignelay, Paris 1728, Pars Secunda, Continens Libros in 4.); the English book collector Richard Heber (1773-1833; his stamp on the front flyleaf; see Bibliotheca Heberiana. Catalogue of the Late Richard Heber, Esq. Part The Seventh, Removed from his House at Pimlico, London, Evans, 1835, lot 3839); the English writer and patron of the arts William Beckford (1760-1844); his younger daughter Susan Euphemia (1786-1859), wife of Alexander Hamilton, 10th Duke of Hamilton (pencil note on the front flyleaf, dated 20 December 1882; see the sale at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, The Hamilton Palace Libraries. Catalogue of the Second Portion of the Beckford Library, Removed from Hamilton Palace, London 11-23 December 1882, lot 2012, “Maccii (P.) Emblemata, engraved title, plate of Madonna and Child and 81 Etchings by A. Parisino. Colbert's copy in veau fauve, gilt edges / small 4to, Bononiae, 1628”).

First edition of this lively and richly illustrated emblem book by the Modenese Paolo Maccio (Macchi, or Mazzi), which presents an interesting iconography of contemporary life in Bologna.

The engravings were executed by various artists who were active in Bologna. Oliviero Gatti (1598-1646), a disciple of Giovanni Luigi Valesio, drew and engraved the dedication plate and fifty-two emblematic plates. Giovanni Battista Coriolano (1590-1649) was responsible for engraving twenty-six emblematic plates, while the remaining three engravings are the work of Agostino Parisini (fl. 1625-1636) after drawings by Florio Maccio, a disciple of Lodovico Carracci.

A further point of interest in this copy lies in its provenance, as it once belonged to the great book collector Jean-Baptiste Colbert, chief minister to the King of France Louis XIV from 1661 to 1683. The notable library assembled by Colbert passed by descent to other members of this French family, and was largely sold in Paris on 24 May 1728. Later the book came into the possession of one of the most refined English bibliophiles, Richard Heber, founder of the Roxburghe Club of bibliophiles, whose collection of 105,000 volumes was sold by auction in London in 1835. On this occasion, the copy from the Colbertina was purchased by another outstanding English book collector, William Beckford, and until 1882 was preserved in his family's great library at Hamilton Palace.

Cicognara 1913; Frati 7447; Landwehr 496; A. Sorbelli, Storia della stampa in Bologna, Bologna 1929, p. 140; L. Bolzoni - B. Allegranti, Con parola brieve e con figura: libri antichi di imprese e emblemi, Lucca 2004, p. 48; D. Bloch, “La bibliothèque de Colbert”, Histoire des bibliothèques françaises, II, pp. 157-179; Philobiblon, One Thousand Years of Bibliophily, no. 195.