JONI, Icilio Federico (1866-1946). Painted 'tavolette' book covers in Biccherna syle. [Siena: late 19th-century.] Each panel 232 x 166mm. Two wooden book covers joined by a leather spine, the front cover with a bust-length portrait of a male, the back cover with a female saint within shaped roundel, characteristic scroll-work borders and punched decoration, four bosses on each cover (missing fore-edge clasp, cracks on front cover, probably intentional, with small area of damage, lower part of leather spine missing).
A Joni binding, by the self-professed forger, I.C. Joni, in imitation of the wooden panel bindings (Tavolette della biccherna) used to cover the accounts of Siena from the middle of the 13th to the end of the 17th centuries. Joni bindings entered undetected some of the greatest book collections, including those of Borghese, Hoe and Wilmerding, but he openly described his forgery work in his 1932 autobiography. Cf. H.M. Nixon, 'Binding Forgeries', Transactions of the VIth International Congress of Bibliophiles, 1969, Vienna: 1971, pp. 69-83; and M. Foot, 'A Pair of Bookcovers of the late 19th Century by I.F. Joni', The Book Collector, 1985, pp. 488-9.