Orlando furioso di Messer Lodovico Ariosto. (with) Cinque canti di un nuovo libro di M. Ludovico Ariosto.

Venice, in casa haer. Aldo I Manuzio, 1545.


FIRST EDITION of second part, and first Aldine edition of first. 4to. 2 works in one, ff. 247 (i) 28, separate t-ps. Italic letter, occasional Roman. Printer’s device to t-p and last of each. Light browning and marginal spotting to first t-p, small clean loss to blank lower outer corner, upper margins slightly short. An excellent, clean copy in splendid C19 green crushed morocco by Roger Storr, stunning floral silk brocade eps, loose silk bookmark. Gilt to a triple-ruled panel design, outer border with gilt dentelles, roll of lilies, and suns to corners, centre panel bordered with blind-tooled tendril and attractive gilt Aldine device, gilt floral roll to outer and gilt palmettes to inner edges, a.e.g. Spine triple gilt ruled in four compartments, roll of palmettes at head and foot, design with single rule squares to first and last, gilt lettering, raised bands gilt. Bookplate of Syston Park with arms and monogram of Sir John Hayford Thorold to front pastedown, bookplate of William Henry Smith to recto and ex-libris of Pierre Bergé to fly, label ‘Bound by R[oger] Storr Grantham’ to rear pastedown. The odd annotation in red crayon or black-brown ink.

The splendid binding was made by Roger Storr of Grantham for Sir John Hayford Thorold of Syston Park, Lincolnshire. Four similar bindings by Storr, dated post-1825, are recorded on Aldines bound for Sir John as nos. 50, 391 and 680 (352, 404, 420 and 941 unsigned) in the Ahmanson-Murphy collection.

Excellent copy of these scarce Aldine editions together comprising for the first time Ludovico Ariosto’s complete ‘Orlando furioso’. One of the greatest authors of the Italian Renaissance, Ariosto (1474-1533) studied law and classics at Ferrara before entering the service of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este and later of Alfonso, Duke of Ferrara. For his patrons, he fulfilled diplomatic and political functions, including emissary to Pope Julius II, whilst composing poems, comedies and satires mostly in the Italian vernacular. His masterpiece—‘Orlando furioso’—is a chivalric poem in ottava rima intended as a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo’s ‘Orlando innamorato’ (1483). In Ariosto’s poem, Orlando’s love for Angelica, as narrated by Boiardo, turns into ‘fury’; at her rejection, the paladin loses his mind and abandons the battlefield. The very complex plot interweaves narratives of the paladins’ war against the Turks, Angelica’s flight from the furious Orlando and their adventures, and the love story between the Christian Bradamante and the Saracen Ruggiero. ‘Orlando furioso’ became an instant classic and was extensively reprinted in Italy and France in the C16. The first 40 cantos were published in 1516; the final version in 46 followed in 1532, joined here by five further cantos. Animated by darker overtones, they narrate the destruction of Charlemagne’s army by the sorceress Alcina. Allegedly given to Aldus’s press by his son, Virginio, the ‘Cinque Canti’ appeared for the first time in this edition.

Only Pierpont Morgan, Colorado and UCLA copies recorded in the US.

Rénouard 133:13: ‘très bonne et l’une des plus rares parmi les éditions Aldines’; Brunet I, 433: ‘bonne et fort rare’; Gamba 54.  Not in BM STC It.


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