AMERICANUM BOUND FOR JAMES I
BG. [Mazzella Scipione.] Regum Neapolitanorum vitae et effigies.
Augsburg, sumpt. Dominici Custodis. Coelo Raphael Custodis, 1605
DE BRY, Theodor. Indiae orientalis pars vndecima,
Frankfurt, typis Hieronymi Galleri, 1619
Folio. Two works in one. 1) C-T² lacking first two quires [4 leaves, A-B2 title and prefatory material]. Roman letter. 31 full page engraved genealogical tables and portraits with typeset explanations on verso, one tear with marginal loss, one affecting plate. 2) pp. 62 (ii); (ii) X engraved plates. [A-H⁴; a-c⁴] without last blank. Roman and Italic letter, first title with engraved portrait of Olivier van Noort with two natives at sides and with two map hemispheres, large grotesque head and tail pieces and initials, second part with separate t-p with grotesque woodcut ornaments, and 10 half page engraved plated with printed explanations, tiny single worm trail in lower blank margin of last four ff. Light age yellowing. A fine copy in stunning contemporary English olive morocco, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, outer panel with a dentelle border made of small gilt tools, and a second border two blind rules and gilt laurel scrolls, inner panel with corner pieces of gilt laurel branch fleurons, filled with semée of gilt stars, large arms of James I within grotesque border, crown at head, gilt stamped at centres, spine double gilt ruled in compartments, gilt fleurons at centres with gilt star tools, edges gilt ruled, all edges gilt, upper joint repaired at foot, remains of blue silk ties, a.e.g.
The beautifully illustrated, rare and important eleventh vol of Theodor De Bry’s Small voyages containing three important travel accounts including the relation of Vespucci’s third and fourth voyage to America, in a stunning, finely preserved, contemporary morocco binding from the library of James I, very much in the style of Bateman. The first part contains all the plates from Mazella’s history of the kings of Naples.
The Small Voyages were printed in a total of 13 parts and an Appendix, at Frankfurt from 1597 to 1633; this is the sole Latin edition of part eleven of the Small voyages.“This eleventh part contains three narratives: 1) [p. 5-10] The relations of the third and fourth voyages of Vespuccius to America, in 1501 and 1503; it is a reprint of selections of the author’s: Mundus novus, first printed under title: Albericus Vespuccius Laurentio Petri Francisci de Medicis salutem plurimam dicit Amerigo Vespucci, Paris, 1503 but generally known as: Mundus novus. 2) [p. 11-46] An account of Robert Coverte’s travels by land through Persia and Mongolia [here, Church is incorrect. Instead of Mongolia, it is the Mogul Empire], after his shipwreck off Surat. This relation was first printed in English, at London in 1612; it is a translation of ‘A true and almost incredible report of an Englishman, that (being cast away in the good ship called the Assention in Cambaya the farthest part of the East Indies) trauelled by land through many vnknowne kingdomes, and great cities, by Robert Coverte, first printed London, 1612’ 3) [p. 47-62] A geographical description of Spitzbergen and a refutation of the claims of the English to the northern whale fisheries, with the journal of the voyage of Willem Barentsz and Jan Corneliszoon Rijp, in 1596, Cf. Church. It is a translation of: Histoire du Pays nommé Spisberghe collected and edited by Hessel Gerritsz, printed in Amsterdam, 1613, which is, in turn, a translation of selections of his: Descriptio ac delineatio geographica detectonis freti; sive Transitus ad occasum, supra terras Americanas, in Chinam atque Japonem ducturi, recens investigati ab M. Henrico Hudsono Anglo, first printed in Amsterdam, 1612. There are two states of the title page: in the first one, the vignette has two natives and a centre engraved portrait of Olivier van Noort, with two map hemispheres; the other has a native woman on the left with her child and a native man on the right with two ships in the centre. This copy contains the rare Plate VII, of a woman being carried in state to be burned with the body of her husband. This is often replaced by the plate, in which a woman is represented as throwing herself into the funeral pyre of her husband, used as plate IX.” JCB.
“The language of Vespucci’s first public letter is compatible with the idea of a “new world” under and subordinate to the known configuration of lands. But in his second published letter Vespucci treats the southern and northern parts of the area he and Columbus explored as a single continent that is not Asia. This was a stunning breakthrough in the state of knowledge, one Columbus never achieved” Wills, Letters from a New World.
This marvellous copy, with two works of particular interest to the English, comes from the library of James I (1566-1625), the first and probably the most learned ‘King of Great Britain’ as ruler of both Scotland and England. ‘He studied Greek, French, and Latin and made good use of a library of classical and religious writings that his tutors, George Buchanan and Peter Young, assembled for him. James’s education aroused in him literary ambitions rarely found in princes but which also tended to make him a pedant.’ EBO. His numerous books were often customised with his arms by the royal binder, John Bateman, who employed various style, material and techniques (M. Foot, The Henry Davids Gift, I, pp. 38-49, 52). This copy is of exceptional quality even within Bateman’s refined and wide-ranging output.
Church II 223. “Sole edition” t-p reproduced. JCB I 383. Brunet I 1341. Graesse VII 129.