MORLEY, Thomas


A plaine and easie introduction to practicall musicke.

London, Peter Short, 1597.


FIRST EDITION, folio, pp. (vi) 183 (xxxv). Roman letter, printed side notes. Title within elaborate woodcut border comprising representations of great scholars of antiquity such as Ptolmey and Strabo together with allegorical figures of the sciences, a globe and Father Time at head, Mercury with caduceus at foot (McKerrow & Ferguson 99); woodcut headpieces incorporating Royal arms, large woodcut initials. Very extensive printed music, in red and black in places, some woodcut music and diagrams. Title and verso of last dusty, water stain to upper fore edge of that and next mostly marginal, the odd little marginal mark; generally clean and good in fine speckled C18th calf, spine and borders gilt, armorial bookplate on front pastedown, in slipcase.

First edition of the most famous musical treatise in the English language, the first satisfactory musical treatise published in England and certainly the most enduring. A new edition was published in 1771 and the work was still in use into the C19th. Morley (1557-1604?) was a pupil of Byrd, to whom the present work is affectionately dedicated, and like him became a gentleman of the Chapel Royal, in 1592. In recognition of his services, Morley was granted the patent, previously held by his master, of printing books of music and selling ruled paper. In his day Morley was a celebrated composer in his own right (the present work contains a number of new songs) especially of madrigals where he was much admired for his grace and skill, but his fame rests principally on the present work which was practical, simple and eminently usable.

Divided into three parts that treat respectively of ‘teaching to sing’, descant, and setting and composing, it also includes whole pieces set out in ‘table format,’ i.e. a sort of version of a choir book where separate parts are laid out sideways on a double page so that the singers and players can use the volume sat around a table. Selling originally at four shillings the work was immensely popular, so much so that that perfect copies are now very rare.

“The ‘Plaine and Easie Introduction’ stands by itself. Written in dialogue form, it gives a pleasant impression of Morley’s personality and is of the greatest value for the side-lights which it throws on contemporary musical life, while for the English student of modal music it is indispensable, being still the most important English work on the subject.” Grove V p. 897.

STC 18133.  Lowndes IV 1615 ‘An ample and luminous general treatise’.  RISM p.598.  Gregory & Bartlett I 118.  Hirsch I 416.  Steele 161.


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The Order of My Lord Mayor, The Aldermen and the Sheriffes, for their meetings.

London, R. Young, 1629.


Small 8vo. pp. (iv) 32 (ii), without first blank. Mostly large black letter, small woodcut arms of the City of London at head of title page, a couple of decorative headpieces. Light age browning or yellowing, upper margin cut a bit short, generally a good copy in modern vellum.

An extremely rare publication of the orders and regulations governing meetings of the high officers of the City of London on special, public and ceremonial occasions. Most of these were annual events fixed by the liturgical calendar though some, such as a coronation, occurred only very occasionally. The orders do not regulate the conduct of business, or the administration of the meetings, but provide instructions on roles and duties, timings, and in particular dress codes. It is a sort of secular ‘ceremonialum’ for what was rapidly becoming the grandest and richest corporate government in the world which often provided a splendid show for the local populace.

The entertainment was not a mere matter of ‘panem et circenses’ but had a serious underlying social and political purpose. It is easy to forget today just how significant the symbolism of clothes and gestures was in the C17th (viz Malvolio) and how vitally important were the rules of precedence and procedure. This little work seems to have been designed principally for participants in these ceremonies, by the study of which deeply embarrassing (and perhaps worse) solecisms could be avoided. It opens with a paginated table of the principal ceremonies and closes with a list of the City corporations. Copies were discarded when the office holder retired or the regulations changed, and there were doubtless few to begin with, almost none of which survived to our day.

The earliest recorded edition of this sort was printed in 1568 and is known by a single copy at the Huntington; the Guildhall Library has the only recorded copy of an edition of 1604 and the Bodleian the unique 1610 as well as the only surviving quire of “c.1625?”. Then follows this title of which two copies are now known (apart from the present), at the British Library and Guildhall respectively; a different issue, partly reset, survives uniquely at Harvard.

STC 16730.


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GARISENDI, Antenore or VIZANI Pompeo


Torneo fatto sotto il Castello d’Argio Da’ SS Cavalieri Bolognesi il di IX. Febraio 1578.

Bologna, Giovanni Rossi, 1578.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. 112. Roman and Italic letter within printed line border, title with woodcut ornaments, woodcut historiated initials, discreet restoration at blank upper margin of title and gutter of last leaf, very light age yellowing in places. A very good copy in eighteenth century rose and gilt embossed paper boards, later eps.

Rare first edition of this fascinating description of a chivalric ‘tournament’ held in Bologna for the carnival of 1578, containing descriptions of the various scenes enacted for the occasion, including the names of the participants and details of the poems and songs recited. It is a blow by blow account with speeches, poems and songs reported verbatim. The local participants are identified by the stylised names of chivalric romance, ‘gli Cavalieri Ardenti, Fideli, placito’ and the rest by place of origin such as “Cavaliero di Scotia, Cavalieri Portoghesi”.

The ‘Knight of Scotland’ speech is of particular interest as he may be identified with the semi-mythical James Crichton better known as “The Admirable Crichton” who arrived in Italy at around this time having served in the French army. In his speech the ‘Scottish Knight’ makes many references to Merlin and to the ‘Great Queen of Scotland’ and his adventures and travels in France. The show was staged in the Piazza delle Scuole (now the Piazza Galvani) on a gigantic platform, which was built up above the heads of the surrounding onlookers.

This was the second and last tournament organized by the Accademia della Viola, initially founded in 1561 as the Academy dei Desti, by Ettore Ghisileri, Legnani Vincent and others, with the intention of reviving the ancient traditions of the knightly orders of Europe. The present account was compiled by Pompeo Vizani (1540-1607), also a member of the Academy of Viola, who signed the work under the pseudonym Antenor Garisendi. Vizani, a descendant of an important aristocratic Bolognese family, also helped organize the spectacle. At the end of the volume he recalls, not without some pride, that “questi signori Cavalieri per motivo proprio, et senza altra occasione, che del Carnovale, fanno quello, che a’ pena fanno altre Citta’ a’ contemplazione, et con l’aiuto de’ loro Principi, et con grandissime occasioni”.

A most interesting insight, and first hand account, of popular chivalric entertainment in late Renaissance Italy. This first edition is rare with few copies in libraries outside Italy. We were able to locate only three copies in the US.

Not in BM STC It. C16th or Adams Graesse or Brunet. Edit 16, CNC 20438. Cicognara. 1387.


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Il giuoco de gli scacchi di Rui Lopez, spagnuolo nuovamente tradotto in lingua italiana da M. Gio. Domenico Tarsia.

Venice, Cornelio Arrivabene, 1584.


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. (viii), 214, (ii). Italic letter with some Roman, small woodcut printer’s device to title, elegant historiated and foliated woodcut initials, head and tail-pieces; seven small woodcut figures of chess board and pieces in text, early marginal manuscript Italian annotations, underlinings and corrections sometimes making precise additions to the text. Title page a bit browned and dusty, small old repair to blank upper outer corner, some age browning and mostly marginal spotting, single worm hole to fore-edge of final leaf. A used but still good and interesting copy, in excellent modern natural morocco, covers bordered gilt, gilt olive branch corner and centre pieces, spine with raised bands and gilt fleurons, old yellow edges.

The first Italian translation, and second edition, of this fundamental treatise on chess by the Spanish Bishop Ruy Lopez de Segura. The very rare first Spanish text was published in Alcala de Henares in 1561. It was the first major chess book since Damiano’s of 1512. López de Segura was born in Zafra near Badajoz, probably of Marrano Jewish descent, and he studied and lived in Salamanca. Considered by many to be the first world chess champion, as he won the first modern chess tournament in Madrid, he was certainly one of the leading players of his day; there are still moves named after him such as the Ruy Lopez opening.

In 1559-60 he went to Rome to attend an ecclesiastical conference and whilst there he defeated all the best players, including Leonardo di Bona. In 1561 he proposed the 50-move rule to claim a draw and introduced the word gambit (specifically, the Damiano Gambit). It was an important time in the development of the game in Europe when Kings, Popes and gentlemen become patrons of chess players and organised matches at court.

In 1574-75 King Philip II of Spain organised a tournament and invited all the top Italian players. Although this time López de Segura lost to Leonardo da Curtie and Paolo Boi, he impressed the King by playing a simultaneous blindfold tournament. Curtie, who eventually won the tournament, received the princely prize of a thousand ducats.

Ruy López de Segura’s book starts with a basic description of the game and then gives detailed examples of plays and tactics. It has been the object of numerous studies and is considered one of the founding books of chess theory. It is also charmingly illustrated. An interesting copy of an important work.

BM STC It. C16. p. 393. Adams L1475. Palau 141991. Van der Linde 372.


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NOLPE, Pieter


Beschrivinge vande Blyde Inkoomste, Rechten van Zeege-bogen en ander toestel op de Wel-koomste van Haare Majesteyt van Groot-Britanien, Vrankryk, en Jerland.

Amsterdam, Nicolaes van Ravesteyn for Pieter Nolpe, 1642.


FIRST EDITION. Large folio, pp. (viii), 36 (11 engraved plates). Roman letter, verse in Italic. Large woodcut printer’s device of two lions flanking the arms of Amsterdam on title, six superb double page allegorical plates, five full page engraved plates of triumphal arches, and one very large folding engraved view of Amsterdam, all engraved by Pieter Nolpe after Peter Potter and others, autograph “S.S. Banks 1813” at head of dedication. Small tear in one leaf expertly restored, no loss and not affecting plate, one blank outer corner restored, some light damp staining towards head of last ten leaves (some leaf loosening). A superb, large copy, with excellent dark impressions of the plates, in contemporary polished vellum over boards.

Magnificent fête book attributed to Samuel Coster, commemorating the 1642 entry into Amsterdam of Henrietta Maria, superbly illustrated with a series of allegorical engravings celebrating her visit, and a wonderful large engraved view of Amsterdam (quite commonly missing). Henrietta Maria (1609 – 1669), Queen Consort of Charles I, arrived in Holland after a stormy crossing in March 1642. Ostensibly her journey was to offer Princess Mary’s hand, her daughter, to her future husband William II Prince of Orange, but she also used the occasion to try to obtain military and financial assistance for the King.

She received a less than enthusiastic welcome, since she was both Catholic and a queen, and the Protestant republic was reluctant to help. The Prince of Orange was apprehensive about assisting her for fear of jeopardizing his own position with the States, and hoping to maintain good relations with both sides. Despite this, the City of Amsterdam agreed to receive the royal guests. For the occasion of her arrival ‘tableau vivants’ of Arion, and the Dolphin and Perseus and Andromeda were planned in the Damrak (then still a canal), but were never actually performed. These scenes or fêtes, represented in allegorical engravings by Nolpe, had strong political overtones.

“In Dutch literature, the subject of Andromeda stands for the threatened country – the Netherlands – and Perseus for the noble hero who liberates it from tyranny. … In 1642 a tableau vivant (in the waters of the Rokin) was planned for the joyous entry of Henrietta Maria in Amsterdam, with Perseus symbolizing Frederick Henry.” Jan Suijter. Again the figure of Arion rescued by the dolphin in the next plate symbolized the Netherlands saved by William of Orange. The other four scenes represented: ‘The marriage of Peleus and Thetis’ (a prefiguration of the Marriage of William II and Mary Stuart), ‘The Treaty of Adolf van Nassau,’ ‘The Marriage of Reinout II of Egmond and Eleonora Plantagenet,’ and ‘The Marriage of James II of Scotland and Maria van Egmond.’ All were subjects chosen to allude to the importance of the Orange family in the well-being of the Dutch Republic, and to stress the connection between the Stuarts and the House of Orange.

The series is very finely engraved by Nolpe after oil sketches by the celebrated artist Peter Potter, one of which survives, in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. The other engravings show the stages or triumphal arches designed for the fêtes. The last engraving is a very finely engraved large sea view of Amsterdam showing the salut given by the fleet in welcome of Henrietta Maria. This view is particularly rare. A large copy, with all the plates retaining their full margins, of a rare work, especially complete.

Sarah Sophia Banks was an English collector of antiquities and sister to the celebrated naturalist Joseph Banks. Her important collection of theatrical ephemera containing playbills, broadsides, notices, and press-cuttings dealing with private theatrical performances, dating from 1750 to 1808, was presented to the British Museum Library on her death in 1818.

Landwehr, Splendid ceremonies, 1971, p. 111. Ruggieri 1088; Vinet 746.


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