SIR CHRISTOPHER HATTON\'S COPY
Italia travagliataVenice, Daniele Zanetti and Co, 1576
FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. , 219, . Italic letter, little Roman; printer’s device on title and final verso; foliated initials, decorative or typographical head- and tail-pieces; title very lightly foxed, small light waterstain on lower gutter in first gathering, traces of edge colouring occasionally on extreme margins, clear tear to blank corner of f. 93. A good copy in contemporary English vellum, recased, gilt border and central medallion with initials ‘C. H.’ on both sides, morocco title label on gilt spine; a. e. yellow; bookplates of Chatsworth and Robert S. Pirie on front pastedown.
Finely bound copy of the first edition of one of Shakespeare’s sources on Italy used for Othello and The Merchant of Venice. Umberto Locati (1503-1587) was a Dominican friar and historian. Doctor of law and theology, he had a brilliant career as inquisitor in Pavia, Piacenza and finally Rome. He was very close to the head of the Inquisition, Michele Ghislieri, later Pius V, who made him bishop of Bagnoreggio. He compiled a history of Piacenza, his hometown, a bulky manual of inquisitorial procedure and the Italia travagliata, a successful account of the many wars fought for the control of the Italian peninsula from Aeneas up until the crisis of the Republic of Genoa in 1573.
This beautiful copy comes from the library of Sir Christopher Hatton (1540-1591), as the gilt initials on covers makes clear (see W. O. Hassall, ‘The books of Sir Christopher Hatton at Holkham’, The Library, I, 1950, pp. 1-13). Hatton was Elizabeth I’s favourite and Lord Chancellor as well as patron of men of letters, including Spencer. His relationship with the Queen and the related frictions with other courtiers were public knowledge: Hatton is usually regarded as the target of Shakespeare’s satire as typified by Malvolio in The Twelfth Night.Not in Brunet. BM STC It., 390; Adams, L 1386; Graesse, IV, 242.
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