Successi del viaggio d’Henrico III Christianissmo re di Francia, e di Polonia.

Venice, appresso Gabriele Giolito de’ Ferrari, 1574.

£2,500

FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. 64. Italic letter, with Roman. Printer’s device and decorated headpiece to t-p, fine full-page woodcut of Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici to t-p verso, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Light age yellowing to first few gatherings, t-p with tiny ink spots towards head, slight marginal foxing. A good, well-margined copy in patterned boards c1800.

Scarce first edition of this fascinating pamphlet describing the journey of Henry III of France from Cracow to Turin, and the celebrations prepared for his progress. Henry of Valois (1551-89), king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 1573-75, was elected after the late Sigismund II Vasa in exchange for concessions to the Polish nobility. Soon after the death of his brother Charles IX, and to the chagrin of the Polish Senate, Henry returned to France becoming king in 1574—the last French ruler of the House of Valois. Dedicated to Cardinal Ferdinando, fifth son of Cosimo I de’ Medici, the pamphlet begins with Henry’s departure from Poland at night time and focuses on the numerous entertainments organized for his stay in Venice. Lucangeli superbly portrays the protracted Venetian celebrations, with cannons echoing through the city at Henry’s passage on the Bucintoro decorated with fine gold. He also describes the architectural pageants erected throughout the city, with Latin mottos, political emblems like a dragon treading over human heads, ancient deities and heroes. Regattas organised in his honour through the canals were followed by lavish banquets adorned with sugar statues representing classical and biblical figures. Like other similar contemporary pamphlets faithfully reporting celebrations for royal progresses, ‘Successi’ fed the appetite of the Renaissance elites for wondrous entertainments, intricate political emblems and the ‘mirabilia’ of luxury.

Yale, UPenn, Getty and Harvard in the US.

BM STC It., p. 394; Annali di Giolito II, 340-41: ‘assai raro e di qualche valore’; Watanabe-O’Kelly and Simon, Festivals and Ceremonies, p. 233. Not in Brunet.

L2809

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