THE COLUMBUS EDITION
Nouissime hystoriarum omnium repercussiones.
Venice, Impressum per Albertinum De Lissona Vercellensem, 1503.
FIRST EDITION thus. ff. 452, [x]. a-z⁸, &⁸, ⁸, [R]⁸, A-2G⁸ 2H⁴ 2I¹⁰. Without last blank. “Woodcut coat of arms of the dedicatee, Cardinal Antoniotto Pallavicino, 170 x 130 mm., on the title page. Ninety-five woodcuts (including 47 repititions), 53 x 49 mm. to 147 x 146 mm. The four blocks of the Creation, Expulsion, Death of Abel, and the Tower of Babel are printed as full-page illustrations by the use of large border blocks with the sun and the moon and foliated side strips. These border pieces also enclose the first page of text leaf a3r. Geographical diagram including a floral border on a7r. (a T -O world map). The rest of the illustrations consist of city views in several sizes. The smaller blocks are repeated for several cities, although some have distinctive landmarks. The large blocks show Verona, Genoa, Rome Milan and Venice. .. Large white initials with flowers and foliage, one large initial F with Putti on a black ground; guide letters in spaces The dates are set in the margin, either side of a double rule. Roman letter, roman marginalia.” Entirely rubricated, extensive marginal notes in an early hand, mss inscription of the Benedictine monastery of Ettenheim-munster at head of t-p with their library stamp at foot, title mss in an early hand on upper cover. Light age yellowing, scattered single worm holes at beginning and end. A very good copy in contemporary south German pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, stopped at corners with small fleuron, panels filled with lozenge, rose, small floriated panel, and banner stamps, spine with blind ruled raised bands, with four banner stamps in each compartment, remains of clasps, brass catches. Head of spine and upper corners very well restored. In folding box.
The first 16th-century edition of Foresti’s Chronicles, and the fifth illustrated edition to be printed in Italy, the first edition updated by Foresti until 1502 including a most important description of Columbus’ voyage. Foresti’s work is “a meritorious compilation, intended to serve for the correction and completion of all previous historical works, and was therefore named by its author Supplementum Chronicarum. He spent no little labour in making it authentic, and we find that each successive edition received alterations and improvements from his hand. The same studious care was extended to the illustrations. … Like Schedel’s Chronicle – of which indeed it was the immediate prototype, – the Supplementum contains views of the chief cities of the world, with some biblical pictures from the Old Testament at the beginning.” F. Lippmann, ‘The Art of Wood-engraving in Italy in the Fifteenth Century.’ The work is superbly illustrated with very many beautiful woodcuts.“The first illustrated edition printed at Venice is that of Bernardino Benalio, 1486. Eleven of the small views and the view of Genoa are the blocks cut for that edition. Benalio’s blocks passed to Bernardino Rizo, and the set was augmented for an edition of 1490. Most of the small blocks used here by Albertino, the Tower of Babel, and the large views except for Milan are in the 1490 edition. The creation, Expulsion and death of Abel are subjects from 1486, but Albertino’s blocks are different. The large view of Milan is new, an enlarged copy used for Milan in 1490 ..but also for other cities. ..” Mortimer. “In the chapter on Verona, there was substituted, for the fancy sketch of the 1486 Supplementum, a new and superior design, in which the amphitheatre, and the situation of the buildings around it, are correctly delineated. … Especially remarkable is the view of Rome, which made its appearance for the first time in the edition] which conveyed an actual copy from nature.” Lippmann. This woodcut of Rome from the 1490 edition, reused in this edition for the second time, is believed by Lippmann to be “The oldest view of that city”. The charming woodcut depicting construction of the Tower of Babel gives “an attractive illustration of building operations taken from contemporary Italian life.” Hind. ‘An Introduction to a History of Woodcut.’
The work includes a huge amount of most interesting information such as notes on the lives and works of Dante Alighieri and Petrarch; the invention of printing is recorded by Foresti under the year 1458 He states that while some believe the inventor to be Johann Gutenberg, others attribute the invention to Johann Fust or Nicolas Jenson. Of great importance this chronicle includes for the first time, dated 1493, a section entitled ‘De quattuor permaximis insulis in India extra orbem nuper inventis’ which describes the first and second Columbus voyages, based on his letter “Concerning the Islands Recently Discovered in the Indian Sea” including extracts from speeches on the subject by the Spanish ambassador. According to Harisse, Bibliotheca Americana Vetustissima, 42, Foresti’s account, first printed in this 1503 edition, “acquires a peculiar interest from the fact that it preceded the publication of Peter Martyr’s Decades,” Sabin also states that it is “the earliest considerable recognition of that important discoverer by any general author.”
A fine copy of this important and beautifully illustrated work.
BM STC It. C16 p. 273. Mortimer It. C16th 195. Sander I 920. Adams F748. Brunet I 787. Essling 349. Sabin 25083. “the earliest considerable recognition of that important discoverer (Columbus) by any general author.”Alden I 503/2.