BARROS, Alonso de


BARROS, Alonso de Proverbios morales, concordados por el Maestro Bartolome Ximenez Paton.

Lisbon, por Pedro Craesbeeck: a costa de Tome de Valle mercader de libros, 1617


4to. ff. [x], 78 [i.e 80], [ii]. Roman and Italic letter, text within box rule. Small woodcut Jesuit device on title, floriated woodcut initials, grotesque tail-pieces, Light age yellowing, occasional light browning. A fine copy in splendid contemporary French olive morocco, covers triple gilt ruled to a panel design, double lambda monogram gilt to outer corners, arms of Louis Phélypeaux de la Vrillière (1599-1684), gilt stamped at centres, (Guigard II 395), spine triple gilt ruled to a single panel, title gilt lettered in long, fleurons gilt at head and tail, edges with a gilt pointillé rule, a.e.g., upper cover and spine very lightly sunned.

A rare and beautifully printed bilingual edition of the collection of Proverbs by Alonso de Barros with the concordance by Bartolomé Jiménez Patón, numbered alongside, beautifully bound in contemporary French morocco of the highest quality. This, Barros’s most influential work, first appeared in 1598. This edition by Craesbeeck was only the second to have the Latin concordance to the 1100 Castilian verse proverbs. The work is beautifully printed by Peeter van Crasesbeeck, who, after an apprenticeship withe the Plantin press, moved to Lisbon, where he became one of the principal printers, eventually being made Kings printer by Philippe II of Portugal in 1620. “The Proverbios morales”Moral Proverbs” by Alonso Barros, as one of the the paratexts states, include in a “cerco pequeno, sentido grande” [great meaning within a small enclosure] where “cada uno en su estado hallara lo que para cumplir con el le sea conveniente y necessario” [each one in his state will find whatever is appropriate and necessary to comply with it.] Mateo Aleman, the author of the prologue to Barros’s collectanea, also insists on the conciseness of the form: according to him, the compiler has gathered “las Flores de mayor olor, y mejor vista, consejos, y sentencias de gravissimos Filosofos, Griegos, y Latinos” [The flowers with the sweetest smell and prettiest sight, the counsels and maxims of the profoundest Greek and Latin philosophers], and the compendium thus represents the “quinta essencia de la Etica, Politica, Economica.” [quintessence of Ethics, Politics and Economics.]” Barry Taylor. ‘Brief Forms in Medieval and Renaissance Hispanic Literature’. This copy was beautifully bound, in very elegant olive morocco for Louis Phélypeaux de la Vrillière (1599-1684). Guigard states that he has seen a book with these arms in the “Bibliotheque de Sainte-Geneviére” also bound in green morocco. He also states that “Nous avons trouvé encore d’autres volumes de cette provenance habillés avec un gout exquis, et nous ne sommes pas éloigné de croire que la plupart sortaient des mains de Le Gascon”. The absence of tools on this binding prevents such an attribution but it is certainly a binding of the highest quality, and exquisitely executed.

BM STC Sp.-Por. C17th, p. 17 no. 108. Guigard II 395. Palau 24905. Goldsmith B-108.

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