[SMITH, Joseph (Consul).]


[SMITH, Joseph (Consul).] Bibliotheca Smithiana

Venice, Joannes Baptista Paschalius, 1755


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. (viii), xliii, (i), DXIX, (i), CCCXLVIII, (iv). Roman letter, some Italic, a little Greek. Smith’s bookplate engraved on T.p., T.p. in red and black, elaborate tailpieces including Athena and Pasquali’s device of Apollo in glory holding open book (‘Litterarum felicitas’). Casemark numbered on head of spine. Couple of little marginal tears, slight wear to joints and edges. In original cartonnage, edges uncut, probably unpressed. Autograph of ‘Leondardo Tressino 1830’ on ffep v., marginal sale prices throughout.

An outstanding and comprehensively marked up copy of this celebrated private catalogue. The noted bibliophile Count Leonardo Trissino Baston (1780-1841) was a close friend of Giacomo Leopardi, whose Canzone ad Angelo Mai (1820) was dedicated to Trissino. The setting of the Addenda is quite different from the copy at B9/L2121.

Joseph Smith (c.1682-1770) was the British consul at Venice (1744-1760), during which time he was a patron of artists (notably Canaletto), and a collector of art and books. Smith’s library was rich in incunabula, early printed books, Italian literature, history, art, architecture, and antiquities and was bought by George III almost in its entirety in 1765 for £10,000; it formed the nucleus of what is now the British Library. While at Venice, Smith bankrolled the Pasquali press, and enjoyed patronising lavish and limited editions, including an almost perfect facsimile of the rare 1527 edition of the Decameron. He used the coat of arms of the family of Smith of Essex and Suffolk but he never established his right to it (CERL). Goethe, on his Italian journey of 1786-88, stopped to pay his respects at Smith’s grave: “To him I owe my copy of Palladio, and I offered up a grateful prayer.” 

‘Catalogue curieux, parce qu’il reproduit les préfaces des éditions du XVe siècle qui y sont décrites.’ Brunet I, 925. De Ricci 54-55
Stock Number: B10 Category: