[FRANZINI, Girolamo].


Las cosas maravillosas de la S. Ciudad de Roma.

Rome, por Girolamo Francino: por Alessandro Gardane & Francesco Coattino, 1589.


FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. pp. (xvi) 260. Roman letter, little Italic. T-p in red and black with small woodcut view of Rome, allegorical figure and arms of Sixtus V, 103 half-page woodcuts of Roman monuments, decorated initials and ornaments. T-p a bit dusty, thumb marks to a few ll., a little marginal spotting. A very good copy in polished calf by Hering, rebacked with onlaid spine, double gilt ruled, border of tendrils with large fleurons to corners in blind, gilt arms of William Stirling Maxwell to upper board, joints and extremities a bit rubbed, ffep and fly detaching. Armorial label of Charles Brooke to front pastedown, William Stirling Maxwell and binder to ffep, bookplates of J.B. and Michael Bury to rear fep, another of Stirling to rear pastedown.

Scarce first edition in Castilian of this early illustrated guide to Rome. Born in Brescia, Girolamo Franzini (1537-96) moved to Rome, retaining business connections with Venice, to work as a printer and publisher. He specialised in the production of works on the city of Rome and its monuments, from 1588. ‘The history of his publishing house was crucial for the development of a specific type of Roman guidebook’ (Schudt, ‘Guide’, 32). ‘Las cosas maravillosas’ was a translation of his ‘Le cose maravigliose dell’alma città di Roma’ (Venice, 1588), of which it reprised the woodcuts, with a few additions to the text. Probably cut by Franzini himself, the illustrations depict ‘extremely schematically drawn monuments’, with a simplicity which ‘imitates images of sculpture and architecture on ancient coins’ (Tschudi, ‘Baroque Antiquity’, 55). Catering for the international market of religious pilgrimage, it explained how to see the major sights of Rome, the parishes and antiquities, including obelisks and columns. For the pilgrims, it included a list of churches functioning as stations for indulgences and a treatise on ‘the way to earn the indulgence at the stations’. For tourists, it provided a three-day sightseeing programme, since ‘for those who wish to see the marvellous antiquities of Rome it is necessary to proceed in an orderly fashion, not doing like those who look at one thing and then another, and eventually leave having seen only half’. The last part includes useful factual information like chronological lists of popes and emperors, of parishes and confraternities, and a brief survey of the customs of ancient Rome.

No copies recorded in the US.

Schudt, Guide di Roma, 163; Wilkinson, Iberian Books, 9197. Not in Fowler, BM STC It., Berlin Cat or Palau. V.P. Tschudi, Baroque Antiquity (New York, 2017).


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Gothic architecture, …To which is added an historical dissertation [with] A catalogue of modern books on architecture, theoretical, practical and ornamental: … on sale at I. and J. Taylor’s architectural library,

London, Printed for I. & J. Taylor, at the Architectural Library No. 59. Holborn, [1790?] (with) [London, I. & J. Taylor, 1796?]


Folio. 1) pp. [ii],7,[i]p.,64 full page engraved plates. 2) pp. 4. folded. Roman letter. Engraved title page, engraved armorial bookplate of the Earl of Guilford at Wroxton Abbey on pastedown. Light age yellowing minor marginal foxing on a few plates. A very good copy, crisp and clean with good dark impression of the plates, in contemporary sheep, rebacked original red morocco label mounted, a little rubbed corners worn.

A very good copy of this beautifully illustrated and influential work on Neo-Gothic architecture from the library of the Earl of Guilford, Lord North, at Wroxton Abbey, bound with a very rare catalogue of the architectural works of the publisher. Batty Langley (baptised 14 September 1696 – 3 March 1751) was an English garden designer, and prolific writer who produced a number of engraved designs for “Gothick” structures, summerhouses and garden seats first half of the 18th century. He published extensively, and attempted to “improve” Gothic forms by giving them classical proportions. He inclined strongly towards a home-grown English architectural form, publishing articles in the Grub Street Journal under the pseudonym “Hiram” from July 1734 to March 1735, praising Gothic architecture (or as he termed it “native Saxon”) and rejecting the “imported” Palladian architecture favoured by Lord Burlington and his circle. He published a wide range of architectural books, from a huge folio on Ancient Masonry in parts from 1733 to 1736 with over 450 plates, through The Builder’s Complete Assistant of 1738 (also known as The Builder’s Complete Chest-Book) and The Builder’s Jewel of 1741, to the tiny The Workman’s Golden Rule in 1750, in vicesimo-quarto. He is best known for this work ‘Ancient Architecture, Restored, and Improved’ first published in 1742 and reissued in 1747 as Gothic Architecture, improved by Rules and Proportions. His book, with engravings by his brother Thomas Langley, attempted to improve Gothic forms by giving them classical proportions and to create a scheme of architectural orders for Gothic architecture. He provided inspiration for elements of buildings from Great Fulford and Hartland Abbey in Devon, to Speedwell Castle in Brewood in Staffordshire, and Tissington Hall in Derbyshire, and the Gothic temple at Bramham Park in Yorkshire, and gates at Castletown House in County Kildare.Langley’s books were also enormously influential in Britain’s American colonies. At Mount Vernon, for example, George Washington relied upon plate 51 of Langley’s The City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of Designs as the source for the famous Venetian (or Palladian) window in the dining room; upon plate 54 of the same book for the ocular window on Mount Vernon’s western facade; and upon plate 75 of Langley’s The Builder’s Jewel for the rusticated wood siding.

A very good copy form the library at Wroxton Abbey.

1) ESTC N18448. RIBA 1728. Harris 411. 2) ESTC  T80563.


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Raccolta delle principali fontane dell’inclita città di Roma.

Rome, G.B. de Rossi, 1647 [after 1651?].


Large folio. Engraved t-p and 44 superb etchings of Roman fountains, all mounted (with wide margins) on thick laid paper and bound in an album. Very minor marginal foxing, occasional marginal toning or traces of glue to corners, repaired tears to upper margin and upper outer corner of pl. 40. An excellent copy in mid-C19 half blue calf over marbled boards, gilt-lettered spine, joints little scuffed, C19 autograph of P. de Morey, bookplate of de Morey library and rubber stamp of Anna Laetitia Countess Pecci-Blunt to front pastedown, modern bookplates of J.B. and M. Bury loose.

Excellent collection of etchings, in fresh impression, from this famous series depicting fountains in the city of Rome and surrounding locations. This is the second, enlarged edition, 44 plates instead of 20, printed on one side only. Although the t-p is dated 1647, the second edition was not released before 1651, as suggested by the etched date on the plate of the Obelisco Pamphilio (Berlin Cat. (3601) and (3602)). In 1618, Domenico Parasacchi (fl. first half of the C17) published, in collaboration with Giovanni Maggi, a set of plates entitled ‘Fontane diverse’ depicting major Roman fountains. This collection was the basis for Giovanni Battista de Rossi’s first edition of ‘Raccolta delle principale fontane’ of 1637. Giovanni Battista (1601-78) belonged to a family of printers and engravers operating, in open competition, between the workshops of Piazza Navona (his own) and via della Pace, run by his cousin Domenico. In 1645, Domenico reprinted the Parasacchi-Maggi plates as ‘Nuova raccolta di fontane’, including also fountains in Tivoli and Frascati, in competition with Giovanni Battista’s ‘Raccolta’. Between two and six years later, the latter published this edition, enlarged with 24 additional plates designed by Girolamo Felice and engraved by Pietro Moggi. In the second half of the C17 self-concluded series of ‘vedute’, which could however be easily enlarged, became increasingly popular among collectors. Their ‘exhaustive’ nature, pleasing to scholars and visitors, was also steered by the collecting activity of noble families and the agenda of the Catholic Church, as well as changing tastes concerning modern versus ancient buildings (Grelle, ‘Indice’, 43-44). The fountains portrayed were mostly built between the late C16 and early C17—a period of intense urban changes undertaken under papal sponsorship. The fountains reflected a sophisticated taste ranging from the geometrical, classical simplicity of the late C16 to the C17 baroque taste for grotesques, ‘rustic’ and theatrical architectures. In addition to those in main Roman squares (e.g., Piazza del Popolo and Piazza Barberini), the plates illustrate one of the oldest of the Renaissance—Trastevere—as well as others at the Belvedere, Frascati, Tivoli and at villas of the nobility (e.g., the Aldobrandini). The gallery of images turns the reader into a walking tourist. The plates include two famous fountains with ‘talking statues’—the Babuino and the Fachino, where, despite the recurring intervention of the authorities, the politically dissatisfied left critical or satirical messages against the Pope or government. A handsome collection and tribute to the architectural transformations of Renaissance Rome.    

Anna Laetitia (1885-1997), Countess Pecci-Blunt, was a major collector of books and paintings, and a renowned patron of the arts in post-war Rome.

BL STC It. C17, p. 657; Berlin Cat. (3602) (44 plates). Not in Fowler. Indice delle stampe de’ Rossi, ed. A. Grelle Iusco (Rome, 1996).


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De architectura libri decem…Elemeta architecturae…ab Henrico Wottono…Lexicon Vitruvianum…et…Scamilli Impares.

Amsterdam, L. Elzevirum, 1649


Folio. pp. (viii) 272 (xxviii), 164, 69 (iii). Roman letter, with Italic, little Greek. Engraved t-p with ancient architects discussing drawing surrounded by columns, classical building in background, 4 full-page and over 70 small woodcuts, mainly of columns, decorated initials and ornaments. Slight toning or marginal spotting, light foxing in places, small ink mark to lower margin of Z5, verso of last a little soiled. A very good, clean, fresh copy, on thick paper, in C18 crushed morocco over boards stained green, marbled endpapers, triple gilt ruled, small fleurons to corners, armorial gilt centrepiece of the Society of Writers to the Signet, raised bands, tan spine in seven compartments, gilt large fleuron and cornerpieces to each, inner edges gilt, a.e.g., minor loss at head of spine. C20 bookplate to front pastedown, C18 casemark inked to ffep, C18 inscription ‘J Gale’ to t-p.

Handsome, clean, crisp copy of this important edition of the founding work of Renaissance architectural theory, issued with translations by Johannes de Laet—polymath and director of the Dutch West India Company—of other major, nearly contemporary, contributions. It is ‘a superb edition, decorated with many woodcuts’, ‘somewhat scarce’ (Willems 1097)—a very useful compendium for practitioners. The first work is a Latin translation of ‘Elements of Architecture’ (1624), itself a free adaptation of Vitruvius’s major opus, by the English scholar and diplomat Henry Wotton (1568-1639). Following Vitruvius, he identifies the ‘ultimate end of architecture as building well’ and that good buildings should be ‘comfortable, solid and aesthetically delightful’. The second is the only surviving major ancient work on the subject—‘De architectura’ in ten books by Vitruvius (80/70-15BC), a Roman architect and engineer. He begins from the basics (what is architecture, the building of foundations, the qualities of woods and stones), and proceeds with the handsomely illustrated examination of building structures (the decoration and proportions of the five orders of columns) and the construction of specific buildings (e.g., temples, theatres or baths, private or communal residences), down to their painting and the effects of humidity. Most famously, in book III, Vitruvius related the proportions of temples to those of the human figure—a theory which inspired Leonardo’s immensely influential drawing of the ‘Vitruvian Man’ inscribed within a circle. There follow works on integrating architectural theories including Agricola’s on weights and measurements, Goldmann’s essay on the ‘voluta ionica’, Alberti’s works on painting and sculpture, and two commentaries, a technical dictionary, an index and a treatise on the pedestal of columns (‘Scamilli impares’) all relating to Vitruvius’s work. A handsomely printed, important compendium of major architectural theories, from antiquity to the mid-C17.

Berlin Katalog 1817; Fowler 417; Cicognara 726; Willems 1097.


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Regola delli cinque ordini d’architettura. [with] Alcune Opere d’Architettura di Iacomo Barotio da Vignola.

Rome, G.B. de Rossi, [1625-80?] (with) Rome, [F. Villamena], 1617


Large folio. 2 parts in one, 55 plates (incl. separate t-ps, 2 folding), engraved architectural t-ps, framing author’s portrait on first, and surrounding text on second, else with sections of columns, arches and capitals, geometrical diagrams, façades and portals, 2 folding with bird’s-eye view and plan of Palazzo di Caprarola. Few plates thumbed, scattered wormholes affecting some (backed), minor tear to lower blank margin of pl. 21, C18 annotation to gutter of pl. 34, paper flaw to lower outer corner of second folding plate, old reinforcement at gutter of pl. 52, faint ink mark to pl. 39, pls 50 and 51 bound upside down. Very tall, fresh copy, on thick paper, in contemporary vellum, raised bands, autograph ‘Ja Nasmith’ to upper cover, modern bookplate to front pastedown.

Handsome copy, with plates in good clear impression, of this major, much reprinted work in the history of architecture. Jacobo Barozzi da Vignola (1507-73) was at the centre of the Renaissance European architectural world. As influential as Serlio and Palladio, he was employed by royalty (at Fontainebleau by Francis I), the nobility (at the Farnese’s Roman villa) and the most influential religious (at the Jesuits’ Chiesa del Gesù). Intended as a collection of plates rather than a book, ‘Regola’ focused on the practical rendition of the five classical orders. As examples Vignola chose ornaments which ‘can be seen in the antiquities of Rome’, especially ‘those which according to the common opinion appear most handsome and gracious to the eye; those which bear a plain correspondence and proportion to numbers’. Despite the printing privilege imposed by Pius IV through a ‘motu propriu’—one of the earliest instances of copyright including fines on transgressors (Casotti, ‘Giacomo Barozzi’, 512)—the first edition was pirated. Plate III—with the five orders drawn from Serlio’s ‘Libri’—first appeared in an early unauthorised copy. It remained in subsequent editions, albeit paradoxically going counter to Vignola’s ‘regola’ which saw illustrations not as models to be copied but as exemplary representations of geometric and proportional principles to be adjusted proportionally. (Thoenes, ‘La “Regola”’, 270, 272). The original copperplates of ‘Regola’ were purchased c.1617 from Vaccario, the printer of the 1607 edition, by the Roman printer Francesco Villamena. The latter’s ‘Opere’, conceived as a companion to ‘Regola’, featured façades, plans and portals of buildings by Vignola and a few attributed to Michelangelo. After Villamena’s death, these copperplates were bought by Giovanni Battista de’ Rossi, whose name appears in the t-p of this copy. His workshop continued to issue the two works together. The bibliographic features of this copy suggest it was probably a later reissue of BAL 3447 n.21. BAL mentions the existence of ‘several variant imprints’ of this edition (3447 n.21), like the present, and extends its dating from 1625 to probably 1680, whilst attributing to Villamena the 1617 edition usually assigned to de’ Rossi. In this copy, the continuous numeration of the plates in ‘Opere’, unrecorded in major bibliographies and absent in Villamena’s originals, points to a consolidated practice of publication (Casotti states that this edition always included both ‘Regola’ and ‘Opere’, ‘Giacomo Vignola’, 544 n.12). But it was not printed so late as to lose the freshness of the plates.

In this copy, ‘Regola’ features XXXVI numbered plates: XXXII drawn from the originals of the first edition of c.1562 (see Type A, Fowler 351a), and four comprising three portals and the Farnese mantelpiece. The original plate XXXVII (the Farnese portal) appears in ‘Opere’ as plate 41, as in other cases (Fowler 356). ‘Opere’ features 18 plates, numbered 37 to 52 here (plus 2 unnumbered folding). Plates 50-51, the latter dated 1619, illustrate Michelangelo’s Ionic capital for the Capitol, engraved by Villamena.

James Nasmith (1740-1808) was an English clergyman, antiquary and Cambridge scholar. A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, he devoted his spare time to cataloguing Archbishop Matthew Parker’s mss housed in Christ Church college. The resulting ‘Catalogus librorum manuscriptorum’ was published in 1777. He also published pamphlets on Poor Laws (1799).

KU, St Mary, JHU and Cornell with 55 plates as here.

BAL 3447 and 3481; Berlin Catalog 2581 and 2655; BL STC It. C17 (together), p. 77; Fowler 356 (together). C. Thoenes, ‘La Regola dei cinque ordini del Vignola’, in Les traités d’architecture, ed. J. Guillaume (Paris, 1988), 269-79; M. Walcher Casotti, ‘Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola’, in Trattati di architettura, ed. P. Cataneo (Milano, 1985), 499-578.


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Archisesto per formar con facilità li cinque ordini d’architettura.

Vicenza, Appresso gli Heredi di Dominico Amadio, 1627.


FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. (viii), [2], 100, [2]. A4 A-M4 N2. Italic and Roman letter. Elegant title page with half-page engraving of an architectonic sector (archisesto) and pair of compasses headed by the motto ‘FIRMA EX MOBILIBUS’ in cartouche. Floriated woodcut initials, head and tail pieces, and typographical ornaments. Large folding plate after prefatory material showing in detail the components of the architectonic sector; engraving of baluster on final plate. Richly illustrated with fifty fine architectural engravings for practical use. Pencil autograph of Emilio Barcovich from the city of Fiume (now in Croatia and known as Rijeka) and handwritten record of provenance (Coll. Ing. Robert Panicali – Parigi/Suresnes) on front pastedown, maybe by the noted collector Giancarlo Beltrame. Date of publication in old hand at foot of t-p; early ms. on verso of rear endpaper: ‘liber perrarus’ (very rare book). A very good, clean copy, some mostly marginal spotting, title a bit dusty with small hole in blank at head, occasional ink spot or thumb mark. In contemporary vellum over boards.

First and only edition of Ottavio Revese Bruto’s (Brendola 1585-1648) architectural textbook, which shows how to make and use an ‘archisesto’. The ‘archisesto’ is a proportional compass invented by the author, who based his invention on Galileo Galilei’s geometrical and military compass, the sector. The name ‘archisesto’ comes from the words ‘archi[tettura]’ and ‘sesto’ (compass). This work is a ‘do-it-yourself’ aid for architects; the tool became quite popular between C17th and C18th, especially in Britain, where it was known as the architectonic sector. A nobleman from the area of Vicenza, Revese Bruto was educated at the prestigious Accademia Olimpica, where he had the opportunity to study the legacy of some of the greatest Italian architects of the Renaissance, such as Andrea Palladio, Sebastiano Serlio, and Vincenzo Scamozzi. To mention but one, the triumphal arch of Campo Marzo (destroyed in 1938) was among his most important achievements, and his 1620’s fine engraving of the stage of the Teatro Olimpico became soon a widespread and well-known illustration of the most celebrated theatre of Vicenza. His interests spanned from theatrical art to the technique of perspective. He is given as the author of treatises on these subjects, even though Archisesto appears to be his only published work. As the title has it, the architectonic sector’s aim is to facilitate the mathematics behind the design of the five orders of architecture: the Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Composite, and the Corinthian.

The book is divided in five sections which focus on these styles, and it is strongly informed by earlier paramount works on Classical architecture and proportion (above all, Vignola 1562; Palladio 1570). Revese Bruto illustrates how to design arches, architraves, columns, pedestals, capitals and balustrades according to the canons of each one of the five orders. His addressee is Federico Cornaro, Bishop of Vicenza, who is praised in verse at the beginning. It is known that Cornaro commissioned the re-styling of the façade of the Vicenza bishop’s palace to Revese Bruto in the same period in which Archisesto was published. The five sections are preceded by the advice to the reader. Instructions on how to make an architectonic sector follow, together with the folding plate that illustrates its components. In the advice, the author states that the design of ornaments has always been the most delightful part of his profession. However, he knows the decoration of buildings is no easy task, since the attainment of right proportions often requires complex calculations. His architectonic sector offers a shortcut in this respect, making the burden of mathematics lighter. Revese Bruto’s only regret, he confesses, is not to have succeeded in showing how to divide the lines of the arch.

In addition to the practitioners of architecture, the author makes clear that anybody dealing with geometry, arithmetic, and music, will benefit from the use of this multifunctional object. Not only will his ‘scherzo matematico’ (mathematical joke) help one to design archways and divide the lines of the arcade, but also it will allow the architect to plan ‘temples, theatres, amphitheatres, circles, towers, pyramids, colossai, mausoleums, and so on.’ Most interestingly, Revese Bruto instructs the reader on how to build an architectonic sector. By cutting the components out of the large folding plate, and gluing them on either card board or plywood, one can start to assemble a model of the tool, which however is way longer and more complicated a process. Revese Bruto explains it in detail, advising on materials to use, such as German brass foil, without neglecting the entrepreneurial aspect of his invention. He leaves the reader suggesting the purchase of a good metal architectonic sector in Padua’s Piazza della Signoria at the shop premises of the craftsman Aquilin Serena Giovine.

BM STC IT. C17th., pp. 742-743; Graesse, VI, p. 97; Riccardi, p. 351. Not in Fowler.


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Il Duomo di Milano.

Milan, Francesco Paganello [Antonio degli Antoni], 1597.


FIRST EDITION. 16mo, pp. (16), 142, (ii). Roman and Italic letter, printed side notes, printer’s woodcut device on title page, decorated initials and typographical head- and tailpieces, beautiful engraved medallions representing the Virgin surrounded by putti under a baldachin on recto of fol. 8 and a portrait of the author on verso. Light age yellowing, the odd marginal spot or mark, slight water stain in first couple of gatherings; small marginal worm trail to a few leaves, ink corrections to verso of *7, small repair to lower margin of p. 29, small tear from blank lower corner of p. 91, a few leaves untrimmed. A good, clean, wide, copy in contemporary limp vellum, early title to spine, remains of ties, worn at corners. Inscriptions in early hands on t-p (“Mediolanum”) and rear pastedown.

Rare first edition of the earliest historical guide to Milan by the Jesuit and historian Paolo Morigia (1525-1604), describing the Cathedral of Milan and a few other religious monuments, and extensively dealing with art theory. It is enriched by two beautiful engravings, not appearing in later issues. Morigia was Superior of the Jesuit house of San Girolamo and wrote numerous works of religious history, in particular on his own order. His most important works known are “Historia dell’antichità di Milano” (1592), providing invaluable sources on life and work of the painter Arcimboldo, and “La nobiltà di Milano” (1595).

The dedication to the Cardinal Federico Borromeo (1564-1631), archbishop of Milan from 1595, defines the Cathedral of Milan as the “eighth wonder of the universe” and summarises the contents, mainly concerning location, size and appearance of the building, as well as its relics and list of cardinals and archbishops. The work consist of 25 chapters: 1-6 deal with the foundation of the Cathedral (1386), devoted to the Virgin, under Giovanni Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, and describe external and internal architectural features, particularly its layout (nave, transept and chancel, pulpits, altars and glass windows), with reference to materials, decoration and iconography; 8 concerns the Archbishop’s palace; 8-9 the sepulchres of important cardinals and archbishops (Carlo Borromeo and others) and notable contemporaries, such as Marino Caracciolo, Governor of Milan, and Giovanni Giacomo Medici, Marquise of Melegnano, by the well-known Milanese artists Agostino Busti (Agosto Zabaraia) and Leone Leoni; 10 about the consecration of the Main Altar by Pope Martin V; 11-12, 19 are about the bodies of Saints and the Holy relics of Mary and Christ, especially the fragments from the Cross and the nails, which the Emperor Constantine received as a gift from his mother Helena; 15 contains a list of silver items, canonicals and other precious vestments used during the ceremonies; a number of chapters are dedicated to the organisation and political role of the Church of Milan from its origin under the apostle St. Barnabas and bishop St. Ambrose, to the history and works of the archbishops, amongst the others, Pietro Oldrato and Valberto Medici, who rescued Italy from the tyranny of the Longobardians and Arab peoples with the intervention of Charlemagne and the German Emperors. Morigia’s book is a detailed description of the history and heritage of Milan revealing many of its hidden treasures and providing names of the artists (above all, the architect Giovanni Battista Clarici) and valuable information from Milan’s old archives, including a detailed list of the expenses related to the construction of the Cathedral.

Only the National Art Library recorded in the UK. Only 4 copies in the US (Amherst College Library; Notre Dame, Indiana; Illinois and Yale University). Not in Adams; not in BM STC It; not in Brunet or Graesse.


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PANSA, Muzio

Della libraria vaticana ragionamenti.

Rome, Giovanni Martinelli, 1590.


FIRST EDITION. 4to, pp. (8), 331, (29). Roman and italic letter, little Greek; few historiated initials and vignettes, large woodcut device on title and colophon; remarkable and detailed xylographic depiction of the porticoed façade of Belvedere palace in Vatican in 1588 at 126; numerous engraved samples of Hebrew, Syriac, Coptic, Phoenician, Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Armenian, Illyrian, Gothic and Arabic alphabets at 254-318; occasional light foxing, small oilspots to 81. A very good copy in elegant seventeenth-century calf, a bit worn and cracked; gilt panels, double and triple fillet, floriated corners to the central frame; rebacked.

First edition of this important and engaging work, depicting the new location of the Vatican Library erected by Sixtus V in 1588. Muzio Pansa (1565-1628) was a physician and man of letters. He graduated in both philosophy and medicine at the Roman University and joined several erudite academies. A skilled poet, he celebrated with his pen, cardinals, sovereigns and pontiffs, especially the numerous achievements of Sixtus V (1585-1590).

His Ragionamenti offers the first printed historical account of the papal library and illustrates the ambitious iconographic programme still adorning its rooms. The latter embraces the history of human knowledge, sublimating the role played by the papacy as the sole custodian of truth and orthodox faith. Describing frescoes and statues in order of appearance, Pansa writes on the origins of the book and paper, the ecumenical councils and famous libraries of the past, as well as on the ancient alphabets and their mythical inventors, from Adam to St Cyril. At pp. 14-15, one can find an interesting account of the invention of printing in China, the later discovery by Gutenberg and the arrival in Italy of the typographers Sweynheim and Pannartz in 1465. The recent establishment of the Vatican Press is also recorded, along with other stunning private libraries of the Counter-Reformation.

BM STC It., 487; Adams, P 172; Graesse, V 121.


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DE L’ORME, Philibert


Nouvelles inventions pour bien bastir.

Paris, Hierosme de Marnef et Guillaume Cauellat, au mont S. Hilaire à l’enseigne du Pelican, 1576.


Folio. pp. (xii), 94, (vi). A-H6, I8. “De Marnef’s pelican device (similar to Renouard 738) on the title page. Architectural title-border, the border used on the 1572 Vitruvius. The thirty four (full-page) woodcuts are the blocks designed for Fédéric Morel’s first edition of this text, printed in 1561. The emblematic headpiece from Morel’s 1567 edition of L’Orme’s Le Premier tome de L’architecture was also used here by de Marnef, along with an armorial headpiece of his own (Renouard 744). Arabesque tail-pieces. A number of the initials are close copies of those used by Morel in 1561. Large initials in other styles. The colophon on the recto of leaf I8 is printed within a border of type ornaments, with another Marnef pelican device (Renouard 729) on the verso. Roman letter, small Roman marginalia” Mortimer Harvard. Beautiful full page woodcut portrait of De L’Orme on verso of A6, (lacking in Harvard copy), ex dono of the heirs of Henri Corbault to the Jesuit College at Mons, Hannovi (Hanover) added at a later date, small elegant masonic stamp, with monogram C.K., incorporating artists paraphernalia in lower blank margin of title. Small light oil stain in title and next, margins a little thumb marked or dusty in places, verso of last a little dusty. A good, crisp copy, in early nineteenth three quarter vellum over marbled paper boards.

The third edition, using all the woodcuts of the first (1561), of this important and beautifully printed and illustrated treatise. De L’Orme (c.1510-1570), was one of the great Renaissance architects of the 16th century, the first French architect to possess the universal outlook of the Italian masters without merely imitating them. Mindful that French architectural requirements differed from the Italian, and respectful of native materials, he founded his designs on sound engineering principles, fusing the orders with a delicacy of invention, restraint, and harmony characteristic of purest French classicism. “The simple woodcuts are excellent examples of perfectly understood and clearly presented structural details and show De Lorme’s system of built up timber roofs, requiring no ties or heavy timbers, which was successfully used as late as the end of the eighteenth century in the Halle-aux-Bles in Paris. Indeed, De Lorme is unique among the early writers on architecture for the emphasis he placed upon construction. A copy of the 1576 edition was in the library of Thomas Jefferson (Sowerby, No. 4183).” Fowler (on the first edition).

“Of the leading early French architectural writers, De Lorme is the most interesting and original, but is less distinguished an artist than Jean Bullant and is less versatile as a draughtsman than Du Cerceau. De Lorme has been called the first modern architect because of his original contributions to construction and his skill as an organizer, but Blomfield says that ‘It was by his strong individuality rather than by his art that De Lorme won, and has maintained, his place among the great Frenchmen of the sixteenth century’ (Blomfeld French Arch. I Vol. I p. 92)” Fowler. “First published in 1561 the ‘Nouvelles inventions (the treatise on roofs) describes ingenious techniques which replace the use of large rectilinear pieces of square section, with small flat and curved elements assembled like keystones. This new invention appears to comply with a rational approach in industrial terms, in that it keeps costs down, standardizes construction and means that a relatively unqualified workforce can be employed. These innovative ideas, which were too revolutionary to achieve much success despite the persuasive force of the author, were not put into practice properly until after 1750, the date when the modern science of building properly emerged.” Vaughan Hart ‘Paper Palaces.’

“The treatise “Le nouvelles inventions” (…) is a milestone in the history of wood inventions as it contains different conceptions of how wood can be used. Anyone who wishes to study wooden roofing has to consider the theories of this French architect.” Maria Rita Campa.

BM STC Fr. C16th p. 287. Brunet, II 578. Brun p. 182. Harvard I Fowler 98 (1st edn.) Not in Murray or Rothschild.


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BARDI, Girolamo

Dichiaratione di tutte le istorie, che si contengono nei quadri posti nouamente nelle Sale dello Scrutinio, & del Gran Consiglio, del Palagio Ducale della Serenissima Republica di Vinegia.

Venice, Felix Valgrisio, 1587.


FIRST EDITION 8vo. ff. [viii] 64. Italic letter, some Roman. Woodcut printer’s device of hands grasping a caduceus to t-p, woodcut initials. Very light foxing to first few leaves. A very good, clean copy in C17 Italian vellum, ms title to spine, edges speckled red.

First edition of Girolamo Bardi’s important guide to the paintings in the Palazzo Ducale in Venice; the work is very rare, only one copy (Cambridge UL) is recorded in Adams. Little is known of Bardi’s life, save that he came from a prominent Florentine family, which produced a number of authors and scholars. The present work is dedicated to Giovanni I Cornaro (1551-1629; Doge from 1625).

In 1577, a huge fire damaged the Sala dello Scrutinio and the Great Council Chamber in the Palazzo Ducale, causing serious structural damage and destroying numerous important paintings. Architectural reconstruction work was completed by 1579-1580, and a committee was formed to commission new works of art and devise the iconographic programme which they should follow. Bardi was a member of this committee; the present work reveals not only his ‘insider knowledge’ of the practical implementation of the restoration project, but also his deep appreciation of art and the care with which the new decorative schema was devised. Many of the paintings from this mass commissioning were inevitably workmanlike, never wholly adequate replacements for the lost works by artists such as Gentile da Fabriano, Pisanello, Alvise Vivarini, Carpaccio, Bellini, Pordenone and Titian. But there were also inspired and innovative choices, such as the new works by Tintorretto, Bassano and Paolo Veronese. (The restoration programme lasted many years, and some famous works, such as Tintorretto’s Paradise, were produced long after Bardi’s preliminary report.)

In the present work, Bardi describes the circumstances of the fire, and the reorganisation of the two rooms worst affected, the Sala dello Scrutinio and the Great Council Chamber. His detailed description of the new pictures, recording celebrated Venetian victories, essentially provides a potted version of the key events of Venetian history, as conceived by the rulers of the late sixteenth century. In addition to the historical paintings, Bardi also describes the portraits of the Doges, a permanent record of whose likeness was a consequence of office. The art historical interest of the account is increased by the fact that Bardi explains the physical layout of the rooms, with details of where each painting was hung in relation to its fellows, allowing us to reconstruct the precise appearance and disposition of the galleries at this period.

Not in BM STC Italian; Adams B 195; Edit-on line 35765; Cicogna 4669; Schlosser-Magnino 369; not in Fowler.


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