BARTOLOMEO dalli sonetti da Venezia (fl. 2nd half 15th century). Isolario. [Venice: Guglielmo Anima Mia da Trino, ca 1485-86].
Median half-sheet 4° (233 x 164 mm). Collation: [112 28 36 410 56 68 76] (1/1r-1/3r verse dedication to Doge Giovanni Mocenigo, the 3-line heading disguising his name in a number-acrostic, and introductory verse, 1/3v incipit: S. per linsula de cerigo / Questa insula mia quindece lontana, 7/6r map of Cyprus, 7/6v blank). 50 (of 56) leaves, varying numbers of lines; second state of pages 1/12v, 2/3v and 3/4v with sonnets added in a separate operation through the press. THE FIRST LEAF WITHIN ELABORATE ILLUMINATED BORDER AND THE MAPS COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND, AND WITH PLACE NAMES ADDED IN MANUSCRIPT. (Lacking [1/2, 1/5, 2/1-2, 2/6] and [4/3], including three maps in the second gathering, extensive marginal repairs renewing excised sections, affecting text or image on [1/6, 1/9, 2/3-4, 3/4, 7/2] and [7/4]. ) Gothic type 1:79A. 46 (of 49) WOODCUT MAP CHARTS of the Greek islands, two double-page (Crete and Euboea), the others full-page (lacking the maps on leaves 2/1r, 2/2r, and 2/6r). (Single word added in modern blue ballpoint on final leaf, some soiling.) 19th-century red morocco, covers with the gilt arms of Gerolamo, Marchese d'Adda Salvaterra at center, by Binda, Milan (some light rubbing to extremities). Provenance: Gerolamo, Marchese d'Adda Salvaterra (1815-1881), Milanese member of the noble guards, painter and print collector (binding, his? two-leaf manuscript index laid in, possibly one of the books sold to Charles Fairfax Murray who published Il Catalogo dei libri posseduti da Charles Fairfax Murray provenienti dalla biblioteca del marchese G. D. in 1902).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST PRINTED MARITIME ATLAS, the only incunable illustrated with nautical charts. It and the 1472 Verona Valturius are the two outstanding technical illustrated books of the Italian Renaissance. The author, about whom nothing else is known, mentions in the dedicatory verse that he collected his observations as a seaman, but while the verse is original the decorative charts of the Aegean archipelago clearly derive from the manuscript tradition of Cristoforo Buondelmonti's portolan, Liber insularum. The map of Mount Athos is the earliest print of the monasteries there; that of Patmos shows the abbey church of St. John the Divine (conflated by Bartolomeo with the Evangelist) and the cave of the Apocalypse, the view of Caloiero shows the huge crane for lifting boats up the sheer cliff, and the added verse on Rhodes ends with the Colossus ("un idol grande").
In a number of copies such as the present, the maps are colored and have manuscript place names added. As for many early woodcut books this may have been the intention of the publisher: “the barren woodcut was intended only as an outline to be finished by hand to resemble the manuscript portolans or island books of the time” (World Encompassed). But "an alternative explanation would be that Venetian craftsmen were not competent to deal with woodcut lettering. In particular, few would have had experience in cutting the cursive inscriptions needed for maps… Goff records that five of the forty-six known copies were coloured, but that one of these lacked the added place-names, while a further three copies had toponymy without colour. Since, in addition to this, the names were variously in Italian and Greek, and the colour was differently applied, it seems evident that any extra treatment was left to the owner himself" (Campbell, p. 91). Like all known copies except the second Morgan Library copy, this one is in the second state, with a total of four additional stanzas added, after printing, to pages 1/12v, 2/3v, and 3/4v.
The missing leaves contain: [1/2], f. 2, the central portion of introduction ; [1/5], f. 5, third to sixth sonnets for Crete; [2/1], f. 13, map of Stampalia and sonnet for Namphio ; [2/2], f. 14, map of Namphio and sonnet for Sancta Erini ; [2/6], f. 18, map of Siphano and sonnet for Serphino ; and [4/3], f.29, sonnet for Levante - Euro, etc. and sonnet for “Multe insulete.”
HCR 2538=H 14890; BMC V, 410; Goff B-183; CIBN B-119; IGI (and Suppl.) 1278; C.F. Bühler, 'Variants in the first atlas of the Mediterranean', Gutenberg Jahrbuch 1957, pp. 94-97; Bartolommeo dalli Sonetti, Isolario, Venice 1485, with an introduction by F.R. Goff (Theatrum Orbis Terrarum facsimile VI, Amsterdam 1972); T. Campbell, The earliest printed maps (London 1987) 16-64; The World Encompassed 82; Essling 1316; Sander 799.