CORVINUS, Johannes Arnold


CORVINUS, Johannes Arnold Postumus Pacianus seu Definitiones.

Amsterdam, Louis Elzevir, 1643


FIRST EDITION. 12mo, pp. [12], 499, [81]. Roman letter, little Italic and Greek; printer’s device on title, floriated initials; pin hole at blank head of title, tiny rustspot to outer lower margin of p. 193, tiny splash to (a)10 in final index; A very good copy in early nineteenth-century straight-grained dark blue morocco, by Simier, gilt border with palmette and flowers, central coat of arms of Lord Stuart de Rothesay (1779-1845); spine elaborately gilt with floral decoration and title, a. e. g., marbled pastedowns and endpapers; corners and head of spine very lightly rubbed; ex libris label of the American banker Mortimer Loeb Schiff (1877-1931) on front pastedown, late seventeenth-century inscription ‘Stephanus Baluzius Tutelensis’ lightly faint at foot of title.

Elegantly bound first edition of a legal university textbook published by the Elzevir press in the distinctive portable format. Johannes Arnold Corvinus (c.1582-1650) was a Dutch jurist, Arminian minister and practitioner in Amsterdam. A follower of Hugo Grotius, he authored several pamphlets and essays as well as a few influential textbooks on Roman law for higher education. Postumus Pacianus is named after the Italian Calvinist Giulio Pace (1550-1635), who taught law and philosophy successfully throughout Europe and published a long-lasting edition of Aristotle’s Organon. Corvinus dedicated this work to the city council of Leiden and to any young student of law eager to learn more.

This copy belonged to Etienne Baluze (1630–1718), a prominent French bibliophile, Latin philologist, Church historian and professor of canon law at the Collége Royal in Paris. Baluze is mostly famous for having served Jean-Baptiste Colbert as keeper of his legendary library. Baluze’s vast personal collection of books and manuscripts, including a significant portion of Mazarin’s papers, was sold at auction by Martin and Baudot in 1719. Later in the century, the book was acquired by Charles, 1st Baron Stuart of Rothesay (1779-1845). A major figure of British diplomacy during the Napoleonic wars and the Restoration, he was ambassador to Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain and, most importantly, to the France of Louis XVIII between 1815 and 1824. Probably during the latter period, Stuart commissioned this fine morocco binding to the Parisian family workshop Simier.

Not in Brunet or Graesse. Willems, 996.
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