FINANCING THE FLORENTINE ARCHIVE

Ordine delli molto magnifici e clarissimi signori […] sopra quello, & di quali instrumenti si debbe pagare l’Archiuio, come ancora circa il matricolare li Notai.

Florence, [Nella Stampa di lor’Altezze Serenissime], 1571.

£1,350

FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. 2 unnumbered ll., A2. Roman letter. Large woodcut device of the royal press with Medici arms. T-p marginally dusty, very small bite mark from lower blank edge. A remarkably well-preserved copy, in modern wrappers, early ink ms. ‘20 luglio 1571’, ‘126’ and later ‘5’ (red crayon) to t-p, another ‘127’ to upper outer blank corner of first leaf, C20 pencilled bibliographical note to blank margin at end.

A remarkably scarce ephemeral survival of the first edition of this Florentine ‘Ordine’ imposing a tax on notarial acts. The new tax increased the cost of procurations to 4 soldi, contracts to a maximum of 8 soldi, and last wills to 12 soldi. This additional cost included however a copy of each document which could be requested for free by the signatories from the archive at any time. The income, which spared the state great expenditure, went into the ‘perfect preservation’ of the Archive of public documents, only possible if the archivists received ‘proper acknowledgement and treatment for their labours’. The ‘Ordine’ also required that all newly-appointed notaries, within 4 months, appear in front of the archive officers to be approved by them. The Ducal Press was established by Cosimo de’ Medici in 1547. The first ‘stampatore ducale’ was Lorenzo Torrentino; after his death in 1562, the office remained vacant for years, as Duke Francesco I decided ‘to grant [the privilege] anew for each work, so as not to favour a specific printer’ (Pignatti, ‘Diz. Biog.’). For printers, the production of and trade in administrative ‘ordini’ and ‘bandi’ was ‘safe and abundant due to the high number of magistrates issuing ordnances, regulations, provisions, etc.—which quickly expired and were quickly renewed—and many were the offices and people interested in purchasing these works, which were printed cheaply on low-quality paper’ (Biagiarelli, 318). The printer of this ‘Ordine’ was not specified and we have not been able to trace another example of the device. USTC and EDIT16 identify him as Giorgio Marescotti, who, in 1571-3, used the imprint ‘Alla Stamperia di loro Altezze appresso Giorgio Marescotti’ with the Medici device, generally used on ‘bandi’. Biagiarelli suggests this was only meant to highlight, in his quest for the post of ‘stampatore ducale’, that he had taken over Torrentino’s premises—those of the former ducal press; he received a ten-year privilege for the ‘bandi’ only in 1574 (pp.317-18). The device (here much more elaborate) and typeface do not appear to match those used by Marescotti. An undated Giunti edition, with different Medici device and typeface, was also produced, but arguably in 1572, as the privilege for each ‘bando’ usually lasted for 6 months.

Only Yale copy recorded in the US.

EDIT16 CNCE 59988; USTC 859809; Salimbeni, Leggi, ordini […] della Toscana dei Medici, 310; Cantini VII, 364-370. B. Maracchi Biagiarelli, ‘Il privilegio di stampatore ducale nella Firenze Medicea’, Archivio Storico Italiano 123 (1965), 304-70; F. Pignatti, ‘G. Marescotti’, Diz. Biog. degli Italiani (2008).

L3514

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