Paris [with] Venice, Simon de Colines [with] Aldus, 1529 [with] 1501


one volume: 1): ff. 167, [1]; 2): 78 leaves, A-G8, H10, a8, b4. Two different sets of Italic letter; large printer’s device on title and white-on-black foliated initial in 1); tiny nicks to lower margin of ff. 145 and 159 in 1), occasional light ink smears in lower margin and small wormtrail at tail of gutter in final gathering of 2). A fine copy in contemporary English calf, blind-tooled with triple-fillet panel; later crested arms of the Mander family handsomely blind-stamped on rear cover; a few small stains and wormholes, repair to first compartment of spine; original pastedowns from two folded leaves of thirteen-century, probably English, manuscript of Aristotle’s Topica with red and blue rubrication and slightly later extensive annotations, diagrams, manicula and charming little drawing of man with hat; on front endpaper recto, contemporary English monastic ex dono, partially legible ‘Anthonius Dunworth[?]’, and bookplate of the historian Gerald P. Mander (fl. 1927-1950); acquisition note of ‘Henry Bracegirdle’ dated ‘Oxford, 6 December 1660’, his extensive annotations throughout and final table of subjects on rear fly and endpaper, his autograph repeatedly in places; at head of title, Bracegirdle’s price note, partially erased, and seventeenth-century inscription of ‘Ed. Palmer’ of Queen’s College in Oxford; partially covered contemporary inscription on verso of rear endpaper.

A fine volume with two clean and remarkable editions of Latin classic poetry. The first is an early reprint of the 1502 ground-breaking Aldine edition in octavo of Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius, who were, together with Ovid, the main lyric poets of the first century BC. In their innovative verses, they focused on personal matters and day-to-day images, dwelling on the passionate feeling for their lovers. This is the first edition published by Simon de Colines (c.1480 -1546), a highly skilled printer who was trained by Henry Estienne, led the Estienne workshop until Robert entered the business in 1526 and then became an independent and distinguished publisher in Paris. He was renowned for the beauty of his Roman, Greek and Italic fonts, often modelled on Aldus’s types. In this book, he employed the famous Saint Augustin flourished italics. The second part of the volume comprises an exceptionally bright copy of the genuine 1501 Aldine edition of two masters of Latin satire, Juvenal (c.55-127 AD) and Persius (34-62 AD). This publication (not to be confused with an almost identical imprint issued some twelve years later by the Aldine) was the fourth ever printed classic in the renowned octavo series with Griffo’s italic font, soon after Virgil, Petrarch and Horace.

The book has an interesting early English provenance connected to the seventeenth-century academia in Oxford. Henry Bracegirdle bought it in Oxford on 6 December 1660 and then read it over and over, drafting marginalia extensively throughout and compiling a detailed index of topics; this suggests he used the book for his university studies and perhaps as source of inspiration for his own writing. He must be the BA who graduated at Merton College in 1667, the son of Richard Bracegirdle from Wolverhampton and the owner of two manuscript miscellanies of English poetry (Cambridge, King’s College, Hayward Collection, H. 11. 13-14). Below Bracegirdle’s price note, one can see another seventeenth-century inscription (‘Ed. Palmer e Coll. Reg. Oxon.’) written by probably the subsequent owner of the book, that is Edward Palmer, son of Sir William of Warden in Bedfordshire, BA at Queen’s College in 1668 and poet. In 1667, he published An elegy on the death of Mr. James Bristow, late fellow of All-souls (A. Wood and P. Bliss, Fasti Oxonienses, II, London 1820, p. 301). The sale of his library was advertised in 1681 (cf. ESTC, R221392).

1): Not in Adams. BM STC Fr., 96; Brunet, I, 1678 (‘assez belle’); Graesse, II, 86; Renouard, 132; Schreiber, 52.2): BM STC It., 364; Adams, J 770; Brunet, III, 629; Graesse, III, 518; Renouard, 29:6.

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