Humanae salutis monumenta

Antwerp, ex officina Christophe Plantin, 1571.


FIRST EDITION.  76 unnumbered leaves, pp. 39 [i]. A-I8, K4, a-b8, c4. Issue without borders to illustrations, illustration on K2 dated 1572. Italic letter, some Roman. Fine engraved pictorial title, large roundel portrait of Christ and 70 full-page engraved illustrations of Biblical scenes after P. van der Borcht, floriated woodcut initials, remarkable, hand-coloured engraved bookplate depicting an african slave of Pierre de Maridat de Serrières (1613-1689) his ex libris on front endpaper, “Petri Bonifanti” manuscript in a contemporary hand at head of title. Light age yellowing, three leaves loose and a little worn at edges. A very good copy, crisp and clean, with excellent, rich impressions of the plates, in handsome contemporary polished vellum over thin paper boards, covers bordered with a single gilt rule, floral wreath gilt at centres, spine double gilt ruled in compartments with fleurons gilt at centres, all edges gilt.

A very good copy of the rare first edition of this beautifully illustrated emblem book with fine impressions of the engravings. This work was published in two editions in 1571; one in quarto with borders to the engraved plates, and this octavo version without the borders. Benito Arias Montano came to the Netherlands in May 1568 in obedience to Philip II instructions to assist in the process of editing and printing the Biblia Polyglotta on which Plantin had been working for several years. He worked closely with Plantin and supervised the administration and printing of the liturgical books Plantin produced for the Spanish crown. Whilst working with Plantin he devised this emblematic work which was hugely successful going through several editions in the late sixteenth century. “Montano’s influential Humanae salutis monumenta was the first book to compound the format of the picture Bible with the text-image apparatus of the emblem, in a haybrid construction offering sacred exempla as the matter of meditative devotion”  Marcia Kupfer. ‘The Passion Story: From Visual Representation to Social Drama.’  Abraham de Bruyn, Pieter Huys, and the Wierix brothers of Antwerp engraved the prints after modelli by Pieter van der Borcht, who was given the task of translating Arias Montano’s inventions into working drawings.

“We find examples of works dating from the late sixteenth century, paving the way for those of the seventeenth century. In 1571 the Plantin Press in Antwerp published the first of several editions of a lavishly illustrated catholic work by Benito Arias Montano, almoner of Philip II of Spain, in which, although the word ‘emblem’ is not specifically used, we nevertheless see a clearly emblematic pattern of construction. In his wholly Latin ‘Humanae salutis monumenta’ Arias Montano offers a series of 71 two-page biblical emblems in which the recto contains a large ornate engraving of the biblical scene, … in the style of the earlier sixteenth-century French emblem books produced in Paris by Janot and in Lyon by de Tournes, or the Rouille/Bonhomme partnership, accompanied by a Latin motto and distich, while on the facing verso is a longer passage of verse in the form of a Latin ode, taking its inspiration from the visual trigger provided by the engraved figure to which refers, and explaining the significance of the scene depicted. The message of each individual emblem is further reinforced by the inclusion of Explanatory notes and biblical references in prose, although, unusually these do not accompany the actual ‘emblem’, but – like Gambert’s ‘Meditations’ – they are grouped together at the end. The collection begins with Moses holding the tables of the law, followed by Adam and Eve, and ends appropriately with the Last Judgement.” Alison Saunders. ‘The Seventeenth-century French Emblem: A Study in Diversity’

The beautiful engraved book plate on the front fly, depicting a handsome black slave boy holding a shield and scales, with contemporary hand colouring, is that of Pierre de Maridat who was born at Serrières in the Ardèche at the beginning of the C17th. He was a councillor for many years at the court of Louis XIII and later during the minority of Louis XIV.

USTC 401487. Adams M1646. Landwehr, Low Countries 45. Brunet I, 421. Voet 588.


LUCAN, M. Anneus

De bello civili libri decem. Eiusdem vita in fine operis

Paris, ex officina Rob. Stephani typographii Regii, 1545.


8vo. pp. 273 [vii]. a-r8, s4. Italic letter, headlines in Roman. Estienne’s woodcut ‘Noli Altum Sapere’ device on title-page, capital spaces with guide letters, contemporary inscription of ‘Franciscus de Saunoys’ on front pastedown, ‘Cont’ mss. with monogram after colophon, C20 bookplate of Margaret Flower on pastedown, a few neat contemporary underlinings and marginal annotations towards beginning. Light age-yellowing, tiny worm trail to top of extreme inner margin on last few quires, very light waterstain to outer and upper margins of first few leaves.  A very good copy, crisp and clean, with good margins in contemporary French polished calf, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, gilt fleurs-de-lys at outer corners, central gilt lozenge, spine with blind ruled raised bands, in six compartments with small gilt fleuron at centres, C16 vellum ms. stub, joints, head and tail of spine and corners very expertly restored covers a little stained and scratched.

The beautifully printed first Estienne edition of Lucan’s Pharsalia, his epic poem on the Civil War between Pompey and Caesar, printed in the exceptional Garamond italic, which was then still innovative, having first appeared only in 1543. Claude Garamond’s italic type was designed for Robert Estienne in imitation of the Aldine italic, which it surpassed in beauty and readability. Although Robert Estienne was made Royal printer in Greek in 1539 he continued to produce many ‘pocket’ editions of the Latin classics of this kind and they came to form the backbone of his printing practice. “The actual texts of the Latin classics, on the other hand, were now much more prominent in his lists. It was during this period (1539 -1550) that he published two complete sets of the works of Cicero, as well as a considerable number of separate works. … The years 1544-5 produced Juvenal and Persius, Lucan and Horace in the same ‘pocket’ form..”  Elizabeth Armstrong. ‘Robert Estienne, Royal Printer.’

Lucan’s account of the Civil Wars between Caesar and Pompey was considered in the Middle Ages superior to Virgil (a view held later by Shelley and Southey). The poem was begun around 61 AD and several books were in circulation before the Emperor Nero and Lucan had a bitter falling out. Lucan continued to work on the epic, despite Nero’s prohibition against any publication of Lucan’s poetry, and it was left unfinished when Lucan was compelled to commit suicide as part of the Pisonian conspiracy in 65 AD. A total of ten books were written and all survive; the tenth book breaks off abruptly with Caesar in Egypt. Events throughout the poem are described in terms of insanity and sacrilege. Most of the main characters are terribly flawed and unattractive; Caesar is cruel and vindictive, while Pompey is ineffective and uninspiring. Far from glorious, the battle scenes are portraits of bloody horror, where nature is ravaged to build terrible siege engines and wild animals tear mercilessly at the flesh of the dead

Lucan’s continued place in contemporary reading is well-evidenced by the many fine editions printed after the Aldine editio princeps, of which this is a good example. The author was to have an important influence in the next century on Corneille, and thus classical French drama.

BM STC Fr. p. 270. Adams L 1575. Renouard 64:14. Brunet III 1199 “bonne édition, peu commune”. Graesse IV p. 273. OCLC 4748140.


[BROWNE, William]

Britannia’s pastorals. The first booke

London, printed by Iohn Hauiland, 1625.


FIRST EDITON thus. Two vols. in one. 8vo. pp. [xvi], 140 [i.e. 142], [xiv], 179, [i]. A-Y⁸. “Variant 1: (second) title page is a cancel, with ‘Haviland’ in the imprint.” ESTC. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Woodcut printer’s device on first title, two woodcuts in text of first vol., ‘arguments’ within typographical borders, woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut head-piece, typographical ornaments, ‘Lewis Anwill’ contemp. autograph at head of title, 6-line verse in his hand on front free endpaper, addressed to the author drawn from Du Bartas, engraved Porkington Library label on pastedown. Light age yellowing, light water-stain throughout, heavier in part of second work, second title, a cancel, loose from its stubb, the odd marginal mark or spot. A good copy in fine contemporary English polished vellum, covers bordered with a triple gilt rule, fine strap-work corner-pieces, with criblé ground, gilt stamped to corners, central gilt lozenge made up with gilt cherub head and star tools, semée of flaming heart tools, spine quadruple gilt ruled in compartments, with scrolled gilt tools, later olive morocco label, gilt lettered, all edges gilt, a little stained and soiled, small hole to upper edge of front cover.

A very good copy of the first complete edition of Browne’s best-known pastoral poem, probably a presentation copy, in a fine contemporary binding, with the contemporary ownership inscription of Lewis Anwyl and his manuscript verses dedicated to the Author. The binding on this copy is very similar, both in design, and choice of the tools used, to one in the British Library, which has a centrepiece of gilt feather motifs that probably relate to Charles I as Prince of Wales, BL Shelfmark C28a3. It is on a group of almanacks from 1624 and is nearly identical in style, with the same semi of flaming heart tools and elaborate corner-pieces gilt on vellum, around a central lozenge. Both these bindings, made at the same time, are suggestive of either authorial or editorial presentation copies. The cherubs head tool with wings used on this binding is also found on another presentation binding in the British library, on a manuscript dedicated to James I, Shelfmark Royal Ms 8 E VIII,  with his arms gilt at centre, also on a fine vellum binding. Finally, identical blocked corner-pieces and cherub tools, used as a central lozenge, are found on another vellum binding, again on a group of Almanacks, BL Shelfmark, Davis99, this time with a semi of ermine tools. The flaming heart tool on the covers  of this binding also echo the woodcut printer’s device on the first title which has the same motif, which could possibly point to an editor’s presentation copy.

Lewis Anwyl of Llanfrothen, Merioneth, died 1641, was the father-in-law of William Owen and owner of a Shakespeare second folio. He was a patron of poets and “There can be little doubt that the first member of the family interested in pure literature, as distinct from the literature of politics, law and theology was Lewis Anwyl, of Parc” (The National Library of Wales Journal, vol. 5 no. 3, 1948). The nature of the binding with his inscription and his position as a wealthy patron of poets all point towards a presentation copy of this work. The Porkington or the Brogyntyn Library at Brogyntyn Hall in Shropshire also contained a hugely important collection of Welsh books and manuscripts donated by the third and fourth Lord Harlech to the National Library of Wales. They included a psalter and a version of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniæ, both from the thirteenth century, a fifteenth century miscellany in Middle English, a volume of the Welsh laws of Hywel Dda, and pedigrees, genealogy and heraldry of families in Wales.

“Edmund Spenser was Browne’s poetic model throughout his career, most obviously in Britania’s pastorals, although he was influenced by Italian pastoral drama (specifically by Torquato Tasso’s Aminta). In Britannia’s pastorals, Browne mixes the pastoral and romantic genres, as Spenser did in the Faerie Queene, and, like Spenser, Browne attempts to write an epic that will be thoroughly English. …His greatest quality was probably his talent for natural description . The passages in which he describes what is recognizably his native Devonshire are especially fine. …In his own lifetime Browne was considered an important English poet, but his fame did not last. Still, it has often been argued that not only Milton but also such later poets as Keats, Tennyson, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning were influenced by his work, and in particular his treatment of nature.” The Encyclopedia of English Renaissance Literature.

A very interesting, rare and finely bound copy of this important work of English pastoral poetry.

STC 3916. ESTC S105932. Lowndes I 292. Not in Pforzheimer.



Sonetti morali

Bologna, Antonio Manuzio, 1557.


FIRST and ONLY ALDINE EDITION. 8vo, ff. 116. Sonnets 305-06 mis-numbered. Roman and Italic letter, Aldine woodcut device on title page and last verso, one historiated initial. Title page a little browned, light age yellowing and some light foxing. A good copy in elegant early C19 English red morocco, gilt anchor on cover, bordered with quadruple gilt rule, gilt title to spine, raised bands in compartments with gilt floral motifs, marbled endpapers, a. e. g.; slightly rubbed. Two C19th bookplates to front pastedown, one with monogram TP, the other of Bernard Sancholle-Henraux. Contemporary inscription in Italian to verso of t-p mentioning the purchase of this book in Foligno in May 1579; marginalia (maniculae) in a few places and faded autograph to last recto.

First edition of Pietro Massolo’s collected poems, and one of the few published by Antonio Manuzio in Bologna between 1556 and 1557 (Ascarelli-Menato, p. 60). Pietro (1520-1590) was son of Lorenzo Massolo and Elisabetta Querini, the beautiful noblewoman praised by Bembo and portrayed by Titian. In 1537, shortly after the marriage, for unknown reasons Pietro murdered his wife, the young daughter of Stefano Tiepolo, a senator and procurator of Venice. To expiate his crime, he found refuge in the Convent of San Benedetto in Mantua and became a monk with the cloister name of Lorenzo, in the Congregation of Monte Cassino. He met the most learned men of his age and composed numerous poems.

The work is dedicated to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and consists of 400 sonnets addressed to different historical personalities. Among them are politicians (the Emperor Carlo V; Vittoria Colonna, Marchioness of Pescara; Cosimo de’ Medici, Duke of Florence; Henry, King of France; Lorenzo Priuli, Governor of Venice; Ferdinand Hapsburg); religious (Daniele Barbaro, Patriarch of Aquileia; Giovanni della Casa, Archbishop of Benevento; Pope Paul III) and scholars (Annibal Caro, Sperone Speroni, Pontano, Lodovico Dolce, Girolamo Ruscelli, Lodovico Castelvetro, Gian Giorgio Trissino, Benedetto Varchi). The volume also includes sonnets devoted to Pietro Massolo’s parents (322) and to his father-in-law, the Captain Stefano Tiepolo (302), honoured for his military successes against the Ottoman Empire. They seem to have forgiven his crime. The second part (372-400) includes funeral poems for Pietro Bembo and other friends and relatives, such as his wife, where the author reveals his intensive suffering and repentance (P. Molmelli, “Un poeta uxuricida del secolo XVI”, in “Nuova Antologia”, 151, 7, 1927: 129-141). Pietro Massolo was the first author to use the term “moral” in a poetical book title. Expanding on Petrarch’s model and mainly focusing on moral and religious contents, his work reflected the new trends of the post-Tridentine age, which absorbed the contemporary culture into the Catholic cosmos. The book contains a deep meditation on mortality and combines the genres of courtly praise, penitential speech and moral satire, with quotations from Petrarch, Bembo, Della Casa and many other philosophical and classical sources. Several sonnets concern the topic of Virtue which conquers Death and Fate, making men closer to God, especially the first, which serves as an introduction to the entire collection. Others describe the Stoic figure of the Wise Man (Christian hero), free from Fear and Desire, or deal with spiritual values (knowledge, happiness, poverty and freedom), as well as with the issue of life after death. Most interesting are sonnets on the cities of Venice (2), the poet’s mother land, compared to a pitiful mother, and Rome (92), decadent Empress of the World. Sonnet 299 is a patriotic exhortation to Italy, the servant of many peoples, to wake up from her long sleep and rebel against her enemies.

Adams, M 865; BM STC It., 425; Brunet, III, 1521; Renouard 172:14. Not in Gamba. Not in Fontanini.


HERBERSTEIN, Sigismund Von

Comentari della Moscovia et parimenti della Russia

Venice, Nicolò Bascarini per Giovan Battista Pedrezzano, 1550.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to, (8), 90, (1), initial and final blanks; 3 pp. misnumbered. Italic letter, a little Roman, Herberstein’s woodcut coat of arms on title page, small decorated and historiated initials, large folding map of Russia, 6 fine full-page woodcut illustrations representing the Russian army with weapons and horses, a charming scene of sleighing and skiing on ice and a portrait of the Grand Duke of Muscovy. Last few leaves slightly spotted, map with a few spots and minor repairs. A fine, very clean copy in olive morocco by Francis Bedford (1799-1883), covers bordered with a double blind and single gilt rule with fleurons, spine gilt ruled raised bands, fleurons gilt in each, a. e. g. Armorial bookplate of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery (1847-1929), Prime Minister of England from 1894 to 1895.

A handsome copy of this first Italian edition, and the earliest issue obtainable, including a new map of Muscovy by Giacomo Gastaldi, of Baron Sigismund von Herberstein’s “Rerum Moscovitorum Commentarii” (1549), the first Western account of Russia, which formed European impressions of the Muscovite Empire for several centuries. Herbesteins’s work is remarkable as being a rare first-hand account of early C16 Muscovy and as containing considerable information not available elsewhere.

Herberstein (1486-1566) was born in the Slovenian town of Vipava, in the Hapsburg Empire. Knighted by Emperor Maximilian I in 1514, he served as a diplomat of the Holy Roman Empire undertaking numerous missions in the following thirty years. Herberstein visited Russia as ambassador in 1517-18 and in 1526-27, to negotiate a peace treaty between King Sigismund I of Poland and the Russian Tsar Vasily III (1479-1533), eldest son of Ivan III. Thanks to his knowledge of Slovenian, Herberstein had access to documents such as chronicles, religious texts, legal codes and geographical notes, and succeeded in producing the first detailed eyewitness ethnography of Muscovy. He carefully reviewed the existing literature on Russia, including works by Paolo Giovio, Olaus Magnus and Sebastian Münster, but his account was far more trustworthy and complete than those of his predecessors. Herberstein described Russian territory from the Carpathian mountains  and the Dniester River, down to the Black Sea, and drew an overview of trade, religion, customs, history and a theory of Russian politics. At the centre of his perception were particularly the tyranny of the Grand Prince of Moscow and the prominence of religion in Russian life.

After a short introduction concerning the geographical borders of Russia and considerations on the Slovenian language (such as the spelling of the word “tsar”, which means “emperor”), the work deals with a wide range of topics: history, politics and religion of Muscovy in the first part of the work; natural history and customs of Moscow and other settlements (military art, architecture, food habits and clothing, techniques of navigation, etc.) in the second. The first chapters are dedicated to the history of Russia, the government of principalities (Muscovy, Lithuania and Poland) and the civil wars which lead to the dominant power of the Prince of Moscow. Other chapters concern his coronation ceremony in presence of the Metropolitan bishop, the hierarchy of Orthodox clergy and the strict organization within the monasteries, where hobbies and meat were forbidden and interesting pages regarding the Sacraments, especially baptism and marriage, arranged by the bride’s father. Herberstein expresses his opinion on the servile condition of women, considered inferior and dishonest. There follows a section on Moscow, described as a commercial city entirely built in wood, exporting precious metals, silk and gems, as well as leather made from different animals. Moscow is said to be protected against the Tatars by a force of 20000 soldiers used to eating dry pork during battles and wearing long, tight coats, buttoned and with narrow sleeves, suitable for the cold. The last part comprises a detailed account of Herberstein’s own missions and his arrival and welcome at the court of Moscow. The book ends with a letter by an anonymous translator describing the illustrations and advertising Gastaldi’s map as “more accurate” than the earliest, with the indication of cities, peoples and geographical features.

BM STC It., 325; Graesse, III, p. 245. Adams and Brunet list other editions.


FELINI, Pietro Martire

Trattato nuovo delle cose maravigliose dell’alma città di Roma

Rome, Andrea Fei [Giovanni Antonio Franzini], 1625.


8vo, pp. (16), 437, (3). Two parts in one with separate titles. Roman and Italic letter, title in black and red, woodcut title vignette representing the allegory of Rome, foliated initials, decorative and typographical tailpieces, 227 half and full-page engravings depicting ancient and modern monuments of Rome. Light age yellowing and a little light browning, occasional spotting and damp staining, lower margin of last three leaves very lightly water stained. First leaves chipped, small worm trail to pp. 13-18 just affecting text, p. 31 torn without loss, small tear to lower blank margin of V5. A good, clean copy in contemporary limp vellum, early title lettered on spine, remains of ties, a bit worn, slight splitting to joints. C19th bookplate of Chateau de Montrevost to front pastedown, inscription in contemporary hand on t-p.

Reissue of the second edition (1615), printed on the occasion of the 1625 Jubilee, of the guidebook to Rome by Pietro Felini (1565 ca -1613) from Cremona. It includes engravings from Girolamo Franzini’s travel guide (1588), not in the first. Felini studied languages, archaeology and sacred music, and was Prior of the convent of Santa Maria in Via in Rome. His treatise on Rome became very popular and was reprinted several times in Italian and Spanish. Based on previous treatises by Palladio and Prospero Parisio, it represented a turning point, including new itineraries for visitors and descriptions of 303 churches, antiquities, as well as detailed information on art history and collecting.

Taking the model of medieval books on indulgences and “Mirabilia urbis”, Felini’s work merged the categories of the ancient, the Christian and the modern capital, each with their monuments, history and the extensive use of illustrations. The work opens with a letter from the author to Cardinal Virginio Orsini and is divided into three parts: a section on the churches of Rome, particularly the first 7, considered essential stops for pilgrims and followed by a list of the stations for each month of the year, especially the stations of the Cross; a three-day guided tour of the city and an account of its antiquities in 91 chapters. It also includes lists of bishops, cardinals, popes, Roman emperors and European rulers. Of the principal churches Felini describes their origins and foundation, processional stations (Advent, Lent and others), architecture, decorations, relics and indulgences, as well as miracles and apparitions. Most interesting and accurate are the paragraphs dedicated to the newly decorated San Giovanni in Lateran with its Baptistery, founded by Constantine, San Pietro, San Paolo outside the Walls and Santa Maria Maggiore. The work especially provides a meticulous overview of the art works, accompanied by expert comments and opinions on the Cosmatesque pavements, the altars and chapels with their sculptures and paintings, the frescoed vaults and mosaics, by famous contemporary artists, such as Antonio Tempesta, Giuseppe d’Arpino and Cristoforo Pomarancio, Domenico Passignano, Orazio Gentileschi, Giovanni Baglione, and many others, even Lavinia, a paintress from Bologna, who depicted Saint Stephen’s martyrdom. Many walking directions are contained in the second part. The last section is the most extensive and comprises a short historical excursus on the ruins and ancient monuments of Rome (bridges, aqueducts, circus, theatres and amphitheatres, especially the Coliseum, triumphal arches, columns, temples and other buildings), giving also information on modern collections and artists, such as Michelangelo who drew the statues of the Laocoon, Cleopatra and the Belvedere Torso in the Vatican garden, and sculpted a beautiful Moses (Julius II’s sepulchre) in St Peter in Chains. Chapters 34 deals with the libraries; 35 with the invention of printing by Gütenberg, who spread this art to Rome under Pope Nicolò V. The work encompasses useful bibliographic references, namely Felini’s “Guida spirituale” (1608) and Muzio Pansa’s “Vago e dilettevole giardino di varie lettioni” (1608), on the Vatican library.

BL. C17th It. 332. Not in USTC. Not in Brunet or Graesse.



Il Duomo di Milano.

Milan, Francesco Paganello [Antonio degli Antoni], 1597.


FIRST EDITION. 16mo, pp. (16), 142, (ii). Roman and Italic letter, printed side notes, printer’s woodcut device on title page, decorated initials and typographical head- and tailpieces, beautiful engraved medallions representing the Virgin surrounded by putti under a baldachin on recto of fol. 8 and a portrait of the author on verso. Light age yellowing, the odd marginal spot or mark, slight water stain in first couple of gatherings; small marginal worm trail to a few leaves, ink corrections to verso of *7, small repair to lower margin of p. 29, small tear from blank lower corner of p. 91, a few leaves untrimmed. A good, clean, wide, copy in contemporary limp vellum, early title to spine, remains of ties, worn at corners. Inscriptions in early hands on t-p (“Mediolanum”) and rear pastedown.

Rare first edition of the earliest historical guide to Milan by the Jesuit and historian Paolo Morigia (1525-1604), describing the Cathedral of Milan and a few other religious monuments, and extensively dealing with art theory. It is enriched by two beautiful engravings, not appearing in later issues. Morigia was Superior of the Jesuit house of San Girolamo and wrote numerous works of religious history, in particular on his own order. His most important works known are “Historia dell’antichità di Milano” (1592), providing invaluable sources on life and work of the painter Arcimboldo, and “La nobiltà di Milano” (1595).

The dedication to the Cardinal Federico Borromeo (1564-1631), archbishop of Milan from 1595, defines the Cathedral of Milan as the “eighth wonder of the universe” and summarises the contents, mainly concerning location, size and appearance of the building, as well as its relics and list of cardinals and archbishops. The work consist of 25 chapters: 1-6 deal with the foundation of the Cathedral (1386), devoted to the Virgin, under Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, and describe external and internal architectural features, particularly its layout (nave, transept and chancel, pulpits, altars and glass windows), with reference to materials, decoration and iconography; 8 concerns the Archbishop’s palace; 8-9 the sepulchres of important cardinals and archbishops (Carlo Borromeo and others) and notable contemporaries, such as Marino Caracciolo, Governor of Milan, and Giovanni Giacomo Medici, Marquise of Melegnano, by the well-known Milanese artists Agostino Busti (Agosto Zabaraia) and Leone Leoni; 10 about the consecration of the Main Altar by Pope Martin V; 11-12, 19 are about the bodies of Saints and the Holy relics of Mary and Christ, especially the fragments from the Cross and the nails, which the Emperor Constantine received as a gift from his mother Helena; 15 contains a list of silver items, canonicals and other precious vestments used during the ceremonies; a number of chapters are dedicated to the organisation and political role of the Church of Milan from its origin under the apostle St. Barnabas and bishop St. Ambrose, to the history and works of the archbishops, amongst the others, Pietro Oldrato and Valberto Medici, who rescued Italy from the tyranny of the Longobardians and Arab peoples with the intervention of Charlemagne and the German Emperors. Morigia’s book is a detailed description of the history and heritage of Milan revealing many of its hidden treasures and providing names of the artists (above all, the architect Giovanni Battista Clarici) and valuable information from Milan’s old archives, including a detailed list of the expenses related to the construction of the Cathedral.

Only the National Art Library recorded in the UK. Only 4 copies in the US (Amherst College Library; Notre Dame, Indiana; Illinois and Yale University). Not in Adams; not in BM STC It; not in Brunet or Graesse.


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Biblia Sacra.

Antwerp, heirs of Arnold Bircmann, 1569-70


4 vols, 24mo. ff. (xviii) 319 (i); 423 (i); 373 (i); 328 (xiv) (i). Text in Roman letter, side notes in Italic, woodcut printer’s device to each t-p. T-ps slightly soiled with partially washed out early autograph ‘Gryphius’, last couple of ll in two vols a bit spotted or browned. Very good, clean copies in particularly handsome C17th crushed red morocco a la Du Seuil, covers with panel and outer border of fine dentelles  gilt, fleurons at covers of former, inner dentelles and edges gilt, spine compartments richly decorated with fleurons and tendrils, all gilt, modern bookplate of Carlo de Poorteve(?) on front pastedown, a.e.g. A little wear to upper joint, but a fine, high quality binding, unrestored.

A beautiful and rare small format Bible set comprising (I) Genesis to Ruth, (II) Kings to Job, (III) Prophets to Malachi, (IV) New Testament including Apocalypse. In vol II Esther is followed by Job and Maccabees omitted – the pagination and collation is continuous and correct, and in vol III Malachi is wrongly given the running title ‘Maccabees’. This is essentially a reduced size reprint of the first edition of the Louvain Bible, 1547.

“By an imperial edict all suspected Bibles – in Latin, or French, or Dutch – had been prohibited, and the Theological Faculty of Louvain was commanded to prepare duly authorized editions in these languages. … At the time of the Council of Trent, when the Vulgate was declared ‘authentic’, the Roman Church possessed no duly authorised edition which was accepted as standard. … In 1547, however, there appeared this recension, put forth with the sanction of the Theological Faculty of Louvain, and protected by imperial privilege. This and the second Louvain revision (see No. 6161) were practically accepted as authorized editions until the publication of the Sixtine Bible of  1590. In his reface the editor, Johannes Hentenius, praises the work of R.Stephanus… Yet he complains that csme even of these editions were marred by the unorthodox sentiment which had crept into their prefaces, marginal notes, and index of matters. [Nevertheless] This Louvain edition of the Vulgate is practically a reprint of R. Stephanus’ Bible of 1538-40, with certain modifications of the text and marginal matter, these changes been indicated by special signs.” Darlow & Moule II, 2 p.936

The various parts of this Bible were obviously available for separate sale and perhaps separate composition. Nukat (Polish Research Library Cat.) Aberdeen the Ambrosiana, and the National Library Jerusalem each have vol I and Ambrosiana, Folger, and Bibl. Nacional Madrid, the New Testament, they do not have the others. BM.STC. Dutch apparently claims 2 copies in 5 parts, one imperfect, but they do not appear in either BL online catalogue or Copac; it is logical that a psalms/proverbs value would have been available, but certainly at the time of binding it was not part of this set – or it would have been vol III and the Prophets vol IV.

Not in Darlow & Moule.


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ZURITA, Jeronimo

Indices rerum ab Aragonese regibus gestarum… ad annum MCDX.

Zaragoza, Dominicus a Portonariis de Ursinis, 1578.


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp (iv) 407 (v); (iv) 5-155. Roman letter, two parts in one, three crowned shields woodcut on first and and one large one on second, printers full page armorial device on last leaf of both parts. First t-p foxed with a few oil splashes towards slightly frayed fore-edge, intermittent and inoffensive light browning and spotting. A good, clean, very wide margined copy in contemporary Spanish vellum, fleurons gilts at each corner and multi part ornament in centres, all gilt, now rather oxidised. Remains of ties, loose red silk marker, ex libris ‘Oxford 1943’ on fly, pencil marginalia to first few pages of text.

First edition of one of the major historical works of Zurita, the father of modern historical scholarship in Spain. He was the preeminent chronicler of the Kingdom of Aragon, in the present case of its Kings up to the reign off Martin I in the early C15th, to which is appended a history of the Spanish Kingdom of Sicily, the work of Godofredo Malaterra, Fray Alejandro, Abolorio de Roberto Guiscardo and others. In 1548 Zurita was appointed the first official chronicler of the Kingdom of Aragon to which he later added the important offices of secretary to the Council of the Inquisition, secretary to the Royal Council, and of the Royal Household – all matters requiring the royal signature passed through him. Having resigned his offices in 1571, he completed over a period of thirty years his great ‘Annals of Aragon’, its history from the time of the Islamic conquest up to the reign of Ferdinand the Catholic. It was published in 6 large volumes between 1562 and1580. The present text is not part of that great work but can be said to follow on from it. What is important about both was Zurita’s impeccable historical method, which earned him the title of the first modern Spanish chronicler. Despite the ample resources available to him Spain, he personally sought out sources in the Netherlands, Rome, Naples, and Sicily, in order to obtain documents containing first hand information and other most reliable materials.

Zurita died the year his last volume was published. Subsequently his works have been criticised for a partiality towards Aragon (and not much affection for Castille) but they remain the preeminent source for the history of that part of the Spanish peninsula during its golden age.

BM.STC.Sp. p222; Adams Z204; Palau XXVIII 381759 ‘Algunos bibliófilos añaden el siguiente que aunque es un compendio de la grande obra de Zurita, contiene algunos nuevos detalles y amplía ciertos pasajes’.


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De Emendata Structura Latini Sermonis Libri Sex.

London, Richard Pynson, 1524


FIRST EDITION. 4to, ff [2] 113 [1, blank] 78. Roman letter, some Greek. Title within the handsome ‘Laws Porsenna’ border designed by Holbein (McKerrow & Ferguson 8), major initials white on black in two series, stark white on black or with extensive naturalistic decoration; old stain to upper inner corner of first few ll., light and marginal except for A, where it enters part of the first 6 lines, small repair to  same upper edges; a very good copy, crisp and clean, ‘a.f’ in Tudor hand at end of title. Rebound in C19th by Price, of Oswestry. contemporary London covers relaid, upper compartment of spine later restored, covers inner and outer roll tooled borders framing a central panel, the former of foliage and Renaissance ornament (Oldham CH.c8 pl. XXXVIII) and the latter mainly female heads (Oldham HM.a11, pl. XLVII), worn at corners. C18th armorial bookplate of Robert Goldolphin Owen of Porkington on pastedown.

Pyson’s handsomely printed first edition of the best known work of one of England’s outstanding humanists. Linacre, some time fellow of All Souls, physician to Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, and many of the greatest of Tudor England, tutor to Prince Arthur and Princess Mary, Thomas More, and Erasmus, founder of the Royal College of Physicians – the first such body in the world – and of chairs in Greek medicine at Oxford and Cambridge, spent what must have been his minimal spare time over a period of twenty years in completing this scholarly and innovative Latin grammar which was admired throughout Europe and constantly reprinted over the succeeding century. Linacre probably enjoyed the highest scholarly reputation amongst his colleagues of any Englishman of this time.

The work itself is a practical but certainly not a beginner’s manual (hence Colet’s famous rejection of it from St Paul’s school) on the construction of Latin prose. This itself marked it out from its contemporary continental counterparts which were essentially elementary; Linacre’s work was for the advanced student and technically sophisticated. It had several important attributes. It was the first of its kind to synthesise traditional late medieval grammatical teaching with the new information resulting from nearly a century of radical humanist philological study; second, Linacre was a very competent systematiser and he produced a work that, if not simple, was logical and coherent; last, he had the true scholar’s attention to detail. All over 16th century Europe, people who knew of the work of no other contemporary English scholar knew of the grammar of Thomas Linacre.

STC 15634. “First Edition, said to contain the first specimen of Greek type from a London press … frequently reprinted abroad” Lowndes IV 1363. “It appears to have been the second book printed in England, in which the Greek type was introduced” Ames II 634. See also Kristian Jensen, ‘The Latin Grammar of Thomas Linacre’ Warburg & Courtauld Journal vol 49 (1986).


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