PLUTARCH (c.46-c.120). Opera, in Greek and Latin. [Geneva:] Henri Estienne, 1572.
13 volumes, 8º (158 x 96mm). With the 66-leaf index, often lacking, bound here at the end of volume 12. (A few small marginal repairs, including to a worm-track in some gatherings of vol. 1, occasional light browning and light spotting, occasional light dampstaining, a few headlines just shaved.) 18th-century red morocco, covers with gilt rule border, spines gilt in compartments à la grotesque, lettered and numbered directly in gilt with ‘B’ at spine foot, marbled and gilt edges, gilt turn-ins (spines numbered incorrectly by the binder, lower board of vol. 1 spotted, minor wear). Provenance: Charles de Baschi, marquis d’Aubais (1686-1777; binding) – Aubry Vitet (bookplate) – Francois Louis, duc d’Orleans (stamp on each title-page).
THE FIRST EDITION OF PLUTARCH’S COMPLETE WORKS PUBLISHED BY THE GREAT HENRI ESTIENNE (1528-1598).
Brunet praised this famous edition, which includes the Lives and the Moralia, for its ‘beautiful execution and accuracy’. Estienne produced this edition ‘avec correction et elegance’ (Renouard). Many of the most prominent humanists cooperated on the Latin translations, including Xylander, Erasmus, Turnebus, and Bude.
A handsome set bound for Charles de Baschi, marquis d'Aubais (1686-1777), with his initial B in gilt at the foot of the spines. An historian, collector and great bibliophile, Charles de Baschi formed a very large library of about 30,000 books and manuscripts in his castle at Aubais, in the Gard. Most of the library was dispersed after his death, and the remainder was destroyed in a fire at the castle in 1789.
Renouard, Estienne, 134, n.2 (‘cette édition est supérieure aux précédentes Aldines, Juntines, et même à celle de Basle, 1533-42-1560, qui lui ont servi de fondement’); Schweiger I, 259 (‘complete sets are of the utmost rarity. This edition is printed in the famous Grec du Roi font designed by Garamond’); Schreiber, Estienne 179 (‘complete sets are extremely uncommon… By far the least common volume is the 13th, which was already rare in Renouard’s day’).