Icones sive Imagines [with] Icones…clarorum virorum

Basle, Conrad Waldkich, 1589


8vo, 2 works in 1, 144 + 32 unnumbered ll. *8, A-R8, Aa-Dd8. Separate t-p to each. Roman letter, text within ornamental topographical border, 90 full page woodcut portraits of celebrated, mainly intellectual figures of the C16, throughout. Autograph of T. P. Tomek (c. 1800) at foot of t-p and fly, earlier press mark and binder’s price or ref on rear pastedown. Light age yellowing, rather indifferent paper, a good copy in beautiful contemporary vellum over bds., covers semé gilt, interlacing patterns à la cire in red, green and black, outlines gilt, symbolic gilt ornament in centre of each cover, yapp fore-edges, central ornament design repeated on edges gauffered gilt.

Second and new edition of Reusner and FIRST EDITION of Zwinger’s portrait gallery of many of the great figures of Renaissance and Reformation Europe, together with their tombstone inscriptions, other epitaphs and commendatory verses; many of the first series of portraits come from the Museo Ioviano. Among those depicted and described are Gaza, Lascaris, Mirandula, Ficino, Bembo, Fracastoro, Iovio, Alciatus, Titian and Michelangelo, whilst Zwinger looks further afield to Dolet, Ramus, Bauhin and even Fisher, More and Pole.

The portraits were designed by Thomas Stimmer and are cut on wood, maybe by the printer, though none are signed. Stimmer was one of the most talented and industrious German painters and engravers of the second half of the C16 and Rubens is said to have learned much from him. He provides a highly individualised series of likenesses, generally both expressive and convincing. The series of figures is not the same in this edition as in the first. Reusner was initially and essentially a lawyer, but he was one of the period’s polymaths and the formidable range of his works includes history, travel, emblem books and other illustrated volumes.

In a beautiful mosaiqué binding, most unusual both on vellum and as late in the century, in excellent shape.

BM STC. Ger p 734. Adams R 409 [without the Zwinger]. Brunet IV 1255 “le corps de volume renferme 82 portraits pour les éloges de P. Jove. Il y a de plus un supplement…lequel ne contient que 8 portr.” Graesse VI 96. Passavant III 453.


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