Illustrium imagines ex antiquis marmoribus, nomismatibus, et gemmis expressae, quae exstant Romae, maior pars apud Fulvium Ursinum

Antwerp, ex officina Plantiniana, 1606.

FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. 2 parts in 1 vol.; 1) pp. 8 [iv], 151 engraved plates, pp. [iv], 17 engraved plates lettered A-R. 2) pp. (viii) 88 (vi). Five additional plates from another work. Roman and Italic letter. Finely engraved title-page with figures of ‘Cornucopiae’ on one side ‘Felix antiquitatas’ on the other, intricate early monogram finely stamped below, full-page engraved portrait of the author, 151+17 engraved plates, Plantin’s engraved printer’s device on second title-page, his woodcut printer’s device on final verso, with 5 additional similar engravings at end, ‘Joseph Lauthier’ inscribed at foot of first title-page, armorial bookplate of Oliver Pemberton on pastedown, Patricia A. Milne-Henderson’s booklabel above, armorial bookplate of Henry J.B. Clements of Killadoon, Ireland, on rear pastedown. Light age yellowing, t-p fractionally dusty, the occasional mark or spot. A very good, well margined copy in good contemporary French red morocco gilt, covers bordered with a double gilt rule, gilt central oval formed of leafy sprays, spine gilt ruled in compartments, gilt fleurons at centres, later black morocco labels gilt, extremities and joints a little worn, spine a little rubbed.

First edition of this important collection of portraits from antiquity with the commentary of Johannes Faber and with an additional 17 plates. Fulvio Orsini of Rome, 1529 – 1600 was a renowned antiquarian, collector of books and antiquities, particularly gems and portraits. Orsini published a number of his own ancient portraits, with commentary in his ‘Imagines et elogia virorum illustrium at eruditorum’ (Rome 1570). “Most of our knowledge about Orsini’s collection comes from the work of Dirk Galle (Gallaeus) who visited Rome in 1595 and made drawings of 240 portraits from Roman collections, especially that of Orsini. Galle engraved 151 of these for his own illustrium imagines (published by Plantin, Antwerp 1598), but Orsini was dissatisfied with the publication because it lacked a scholarly commentary. Orsini prepared notes for such a commentary but was unable to complete the work before he died, and the notes were taken over by Johanes Faber, a German physician and botanist to the Pope, who finally issued the commentary for the second edition of the work (Antwerp 1606). This book enlarged with seventeen additional reproductions, became the basic reference work on portrait iconography for two centuries… for this kind of work he (Orsini) is o en characterised today as the ‘father of ancient iconography.’ One of his most influential identifications however was later rejected. He was the first to identify the portrait of Seneca, from a bust in the Farnese collection; later he was proved wrong with the discovery of an inscribed portrait bust of Seneca in 1813.” Nancy Thomson de Grummond. ‘Encyclopedia of the History of Classical Archaeology.’

This work is extra illustrated with five further plates in the same style, unsigned but also probably by Galle and drawn from the Orsisni collection, with the manuscript title, Appendicula Nondam edita. They include a portrait of Pompeius Magnus, broken busts of Aristoteles, Euripides, and inscriptions concerning Menander and Homer.

The Joseph Lauthier autograph on the title is probably that of the Author of the work “Nouvelles Regles Pour Le Jeu De Mail,” published by C. Huguier & A. Cailleau, 1717 and translated into English the same year as ‘New rules for the game of Mail’. The Game of Mail or Pall Mall is one of the precursors of the game of Golf.

BM STC Low Countries 1601-1620 p. 218, G8.

£3250

L2366

Illus