SPANISH RENAISSANCE WOODCUTS
Saragossa, Jorge Coci, 1509.
Folio. ff. XLIX. a8, b-h6 (lacking blank h6.) Gothic letter. Full page woodcut printer’s device of arms, held aloft by an angel, on title, fine white on black floriated initials in various sizes, each page with woodcut genealogical trees incorporating portraits of the kings of Aragon (many repeated) woodcut diagrams of coins and woodcut arms in text, large woodcut printer’s device on recto of last with St. Sebastian and St. Roch at sides. Light age yellowing in places, small tear restored in blank lower margin of f1, the odd insignificant marginal spot. A very good copy, crisp and clean, on thick high quality paper, with excellent impressions of the woodcuts, in modern vellum over boards, yapp edges, old Quaritch label to rear pastedown.
First separate edition of Marineo’s superbly printed and important history of the Kings of Aragon, commissioned by the Eight Deputies of Aragon for King Ferdinand, and one of the most beautiful early printed Spanish books. Marineo, an important literary figure of the age, was born in Sicily and studied in the Roman Academy of Pomponius Laetus. He moved to Spain where he taught poetry and Oratory at the University of Salamanca, and met Antonio de Nebrija, with whom he had a fractious relationship. He left Salamanca in 1497 to join the Catholic monarch’s court as chaplain and master and, in 1504, he was appointed chronicler of Aragon by Fernando the Catholic.
He published some poetry and a few works of Grammar but is chiefly remembered for this genealogy of the Aragonese monarchs, which was first published in Spanish as the ‘Cronica d’Aragón,’ in 1524 (this Latin edition is much rarer according to Salva) and his other histories of the period. His impact on the Spanish Renaissance was profound, especially through his disciple Alfonso Segura, in bringing to Spain the ideas of the Italian Humanists. His work remains one of the chief sources for the history of the period; he not only wrote about the early history of Aragon but also produced extensive accounts documenting the fifteenth-century reign of Fernando’s father, Juan II, and the reign of Fernando himself.
Coci (or Koch) is renowned as one of Spain’s great early printers. He began printing (with two other German printers) in 1499 and inherited materials from the press of Pablo and Juan Hurus, adapting their device for his own use. “Coci printed one other contemporary Latin work of some importance. This was a history of Aragon written by Lucius Marineus at the behest of the Eight Deputies of Aragon for presentation to King Ferdinand. It appeared in 1509, and it is on record that for their respective shares in the work Marineus received one thousand solidi, Jaca money, and Coci five hundred.” F. J. Norton, ‘Printing in Spain 1501-1520.’ One of the most striking early Spanish books in typography and layout, reminiscent of a miniature ‘Nuremberg Chronicle’ in its style and use of woodcut illustration. A very good copy.
BM STC Sp. C16th p.127. Norton 628; Lyell, Early book illustration in Spain, figure 93 (printer’s device). Adams M 593. Brunet III, 1432. Palau VIII 152144. OCLC records four copies in US libraries. Salva 3019.