BOUND FOR THE DEDICATEE, MARQUIS AND AMBASSADOR TO CARDINAL DE’MEDICI

Senatori Fiorentini.

Florence, Stamperia di S.A.S. alla Condotta, 1665.

£4,750

FIRST EDITION, first issue. 8vo., 45 leaves, (*1), +2, A-E8, F2. Roman and Italic letter; fine engraved title with the dedicatee’s arms, decorated initials and decorative head- and tail-pieces, woodcut armorial devices throughout; one line and one coat of arms with printer’s pasted correction slips. A very good copy in contemporary limp vellum, elegantly tooled in gilt with green morocco pieces inlaid, central panel with Florentine fleurs-de-lys surrounding hand-painted arms of the dedicatee, gilt spine with interlacing floral decoration; original endpapers, all edges red; three tiny wormholes on front; armorial bookplate of the Walpole family and Annual International Exhibition label, 1874, on front pastedown; small stamp of the Selbourne Library on blank title verso and lower margin of D2r.

Fine dedication copy – first issue of the first edition – of this rare work of heraldry devoted to the senatorial families of Florence, in a lavish contemporary binding including the arms of Filippo Niccolini (1586-1666), Marquis of Ponsacco and Camugliano, ambassador, maestro di camera to Cardinal Gian Carlo de’ Medici and dedicatee of this edition. Ferdinando Leopoldo Del Migliore (1628-1696) was a voracious collector of material related to Florence and its past, which, at his death, took up over 120 volumes. He acquired some notoriety with an illustrated history of the Tuscan city (1684), incomplete.

Senatori fiorentini, Del Migliore’s first work in print, lists about 150 local noble families holding a seat in the Senate of Forty-Eight, the highest institution of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany since 1532. The book is alphabetically arranged and includes useful depiction of the families’ arms. One can find the prominent lineages which gave birth to great statesmen (de’ Medici, Pazzi, Pitti, Soderini, Strozzi, Valori), renowned scholars (Acciaiuoli, Cavalcanti, Doni, Guicciardini, Machiavelli, Vettori) and high-ranking prelates (Aldobrandini, Capponi, Corsini, Gaddi, Pucci, Ridolfi, Salviati). Many of these families acquired vast collections of books, so this little and instructive work can be of great help in identifying armorial bookplates, ex libris and other ownership marks.

This is the first issue of the first edition with two correction slips, consisting of one line at Aviiiv and the coat of arms of the Corsi family at Bivv, both pasted in straight after printing. Only the first slip is present in the British Library copy, which appears to be a second issue, since the Corsi arms were correctly printed with the rest of the text after the re-setting of the whole page.

This unique copy comes from the library of the Walpoles of Orford, of which Horace (1717-1797), antiquarian, man of letters and Whig politician, was the most illustrious member. Although the bookplate on the front pastedown is not his own, the contents suggest that he may have acquired this book in Florence during his stay in 1742. An alternative hypothesis is that he received it from Horace Mann (1706-1786), the British envoy in Tuscany and a close friend.

Very rare. No recorded copies in the US. Not in Brunet or Graesse.

BM STC It. 17th, 574 (incomplete, 2nd issue); ICCU SBN, IT\ICCU\TO0E\056337.

L2006

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