De exequendis mandatis regum Hispaniae, quae rectoribus civitatum dantur

Salamanca, Juan de Canova, 1564.


Folio. ff. (xii), 259 (i.e. 257), (xxi). Roman letter, some Italic, double column. Title within fine woodcut architectural border signed RDA dated 1553, floriated and historiated woodcut initials, woodcut printer’s device on final leaf, otherwise blank, Dd3 and 6 duplicated, ‘Resendez’ in an early hand at foot of title-page, autograph of M. y Esares partially inked over above, extensive marginal annotations in two early hands in both Spanish and Latin. Light age yellowing, occasional mostly marginal water staining, ink stains on B1-2 and Q1-2 the occasional ink splash elsewhere, small worm trail at gutter over a few quires not touching text, a little dust soiling in places. A good copy in charming late C16th Spanish blind-tooled sheep, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, outer panel with large foliate scroll, inner panel with charming roll of a hunting scene with alternate figures of boars, hares and dogs, blind fleurons to cornes and at centres, spine with blind ruled raised bands, double blind ruled in compartments, small blind fleurons at centre, title gilt in top compartment, rubbed, corners and joints worn, C17 purchase note on ply.

Rare first enlarged edition of this important legal work, first published in Alcalá in 1543 (USTC states that there are no surviving copies), reprinted in 1554 and then enlarged in this third edition. Nuñez de Avendaño was a prominent lawyer from Guadalajara, the author of an influential hunting book, as well as this seminal legal work, dedicated to Bernardo Fresneda, Bishop of Cuenca. Nunez de Avendano conceived it as a general overview of Spanish law during this period of tremendous change, with the discovery of the new world and the rapid expansion of the Spanish colonies in its new empire. The timing of his writing meant that it was hugely influential in the establishment of Spanish law in the colonies of Spain in the New World. It is a very practically organised volume, divided into 30 chapters each with its own subheadings of topics as well as extensively indexed.

It is concerned mostly with what might now be described as public law, e.g. constitutional, criminal, administrative i.e. the legal relations between subjects and the crown rather than the civil relations between subjects themselves, and covering everything to sorcery to health and safety. The binding on this work seems contemporary to the hand that made the annotations throughout the work. The outer roll-tooled border on this binding is also found on two gilt bindings recorded in Penney, An Album of Selected Bookbindings (New York, 1967), plates XXV and XXVI, dated to Burgos 1605 and Valladolid 1626 respectively. An important and rare first enlarged edition of this highly influential work in a charming early Spanish binding.

Palau 197087. Not in BM STC  Adams.


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