ITALIAN POETRY WITH INFLUENTIAL POST-CONTEMPORARY COMMENTARY
Il Petrarcha con l’espositione d’Alessandro Vellutello
Venice, Comin da Trino, 1541
Rime di diversi antichi autori toscani in dieci libri raccolte
Venice, Nicolini da Sabio, 1532.
8vo. ff. 208, AA-CC8; ff. 148, A-S8-T4. 1) Roman letter, text in double columns, unusual printers device with sea-dragons on title page usually attributed to Guglielmo Molino at Vercelli but thirty years later (G. Zappella); 2) italic letter, title within a woodcut allegorical architectural border incorporating putti and grotesques. C19 bookplate of W. H. Corfield on pastedown, monogram “WS 1804” date and price on fly. Manuscript ex libris on title page “Petri Dipy Regij Professoris atque Interpretis 1693” and “J Ballesdens”, occasional French marginalia in the hand of Pierre Dipy. A very good and clean copy in contemporary French calf richly gilt; outer border of double gilt fillets, gilt arabesque cornerpieces with raised strapwork; large central oval gilt with arabesques enclosing a shield with gilt stamped initials ‘C.N.R.’; interstices filled with a semé of tiny quatrefoils; flat spine with five compartments decorated in gilt, surface of backstrip slightly worn and gilding faint. Joints very neatly repaired and spine very neatly remounted, corners restored, all edges gilt.
Vellutello’s edition of Petrarch, with his influential commentary, expanded from the first issued in 1525. “In 1525 Alessandro Vellutello offered a new paradigm for commentary in his edition of Il Petrarcha. [His] major contribution was to reorder the sequence of ‘scattered’ poems into a coherent narrative so as to square their implied story with known events in the author’s life” (Glyn P. Norton [ed.] The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Vol. III: The Renaissance, p. 121). Alessandro Vellutello was an Italian writer of the XVIth century; he dedicated his studies to Petrarch and travelled to Avignon and the Vaucluse where he gathered documents on his subject. He wrote a biography which was printed at the beginning of Petrach’s Sonnets (Venice, 1523, in-4°). This was the only reference work on the great poet for three centuries until Abbé de Sade’s work (Larousse XIX).
The second work is an anthology of 14th- and 15th-century Italian poetry edited by Bernardo Giunta. This is the second edition, with some corrections; the first was issued at the Giunta press in 1527. Included are poems by Dante, Cino da Pistoia, Guido Cavalcanti, Dante da Maiano, Guittone d’Arezzo, Francesco degli Albizzi, Lapo Gianni, and others. It includes the first part of the Vita Nuova of Dante, which was not published in its entirety until 1576. The texts are based on original manuscripts, now in great part lost. A beautifully bound copy of two attractively produced works of the golden age of Italian literature obviously greatly appreciated by their early owner ‘CNR’, who, unfortunately, we have yet to trace.
Jean Ballesdens (1595-1675), was a member of the Académie Française and the owner of a fine library, including some of Grolier’s : see A.-J.-V. Le Roux de Lincy, Researches Concerning Jean Grolier, pp. 90-91.
Pierre Dipy, a Syrian born in Aleppo in the XVIIth century, was Professor of Arabic at the Collège du Roi, secretary and interpreter to Louis XIV and an antiquities merchant. (Cfre. Mathorez. Les étrangers en France sous l’Ancien Régime.) He compiled a catalogue of the Arabic collection of the French royal Library.
William Henry Corfield (1843-1903) was an appointed Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at University College London in 1869. He revolutionized hygiene and household sanitation in Victorian England with his book “Disease and Defective House Sanitation” (1896).
1) BM STC It, p. 504; Graesse, V, 227: “Reprod. Ven. Al segno di Erasmo 1541 (per Comin da Trino). in-8° pour éd. Gio. Ant. Di Nicolini da Sabio, de la même année et du même format”. Fowler: p.97, “The sixth Vellutello edition, printed in very small roman”.
2) Brunet, V, 438 « La réimpression de Venise, per Jo.-Ant. E fratelli de Sabbio, 1532, in-8.». Graesse, VI, 124,’ L’éd. de Vin., Gio. Ant. E fratelli da Sabio, 1532.in-8°. (5 fr. Libri) est plus correcte » ; Mambelli, 996, « Questa edizione, assai ricercata e rara, non è che una fedele ristampa della fiorentina del 1527 con qualche correzione ».