Habiti antichi overo raccolta di figure dal Gran Titiano

Venice, Combi and La Noù, 1664.


8vo. pp. (xiv) 415 (i), lacking preliminary blank. Italic letter, printer’s device on title page and verso of last (latter part coloured), various woodcut ornaments (one fully coloured), blank outer corner of one preliminary strengthened, ‘Bruges 1735’ beside first (Papal) costume portrait, and partly erased in margin of title page. Four hundred and fifteen nearly full page costume woodcuts, all in striking contemporary colouring, expertly painted with no bleed-through. A very good clean copy in contemporary calf, spine richly gilt, morocco label, edges speckled red.

Remarkable copy of the third edition of this the most influential costume book of its day, and the first edition to ascribe the illustrations to ‘the great Titian’. Vecellio (1521-1621), painter and engraver, in fact was related to Titian and was probably his assistant who accompanied him to Augsburg in 1598. The cuts were the work of Christopher Chreiger, an artist from Nuremberg who worked at Venice in the second part of the C16. Both he and Vecellio illustrated a number of important books. In this edition the first 190 illustrations are dedicated to Italy, the next 104 to other places in Europe from Lithuania to London, then 51 from Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, 22 from Africa, 35 from Asia including China and Japan, 13 from the Americas including Florida and Virginia.

The costumes range from the richly beautiful to the homely to the exotic; many of the more far flung were partially derived from other works such as those of Nicolay and de Coeck on the Turks but Vecellio’s illustrations in turn influenced generations in their mental picture of their far away contemporaries, and still do today.

The work is handsome in black and white but richly painted in a full range of deep watercolours with beautifully enhanced details, becoming an artist’s gorgeous survey of the history of the fashions of the world.

Lipperheide 23. Colas 2978. Salin 98732. Brunet V1104. Vinet Bibl. méthodique des beaux arts p266 et seq.


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