BINDING -- MEMMO, Giovanni Maria. Dialogo del ragionevole Amore et vera Amicitia, in Italian, THE DEDICATION MANUSCRIPT TO CARDINAL BONELLI
8° (70 x 160mm). 51 written leaves, with two-page dedication to Cardinal Michele Bonelli preceding the Dialogo, from the collection of Frederick North, 5th Earl of Guilford (1766-1827, succeeded 1817): Sir Thomas Phillipps, Ms 4960.
'Dottor et Cavallier Giovanni Maria Memmo Nobile Veneto' sought Bonelli's patronage and offered him this work out of reverence for the memory of the Cardinal's great-uncle, Pope Pius V, and with fulsome praise for Bonelli's own achievements in the service of the Church. The Dialogue was a favoured form of Memmo, others had been published in Venice between 1545 and 1564.
Bonelli (1541-1598), a Dominican, was appointed by his great-uncle as legate to Spain, Portugal and France in an attempt to raise a league against the Turks. He was equally successful in the service of Pius's successors and won the respect of all the princes that he treated with. He was richly rewarded: Charles IX of France presented him with a diamond 'de prix' and Phillip II of Spain with an enamelled buffet, a pension of 7000 crowns, Bosco and a marquisate. He was clearly a patron worth securing. He was buried under a splendid mausoleum in Sta Maria sopra Minerva in Rome.
ORIGINAL VENETIAN PRESENTATION BINDING of c.1570, fine gold-tooled rose morocco over pasteboard, the sides with blocked arabesque cornerpieces, the cardinal's arms in the centre (painting effaced), the field decorated with gouges, hatched tools, a bird tool, a cherub's head, roundels and stars, lettering pieces added in second compartment of spine, gilt edges with title lettered in ink, (foot of spine repaired).
This is a handsome and unusual binding, undoubtedly by a Venetian workshop; the corner blocks of arabesque ornament ultimately derive from Turkish models, the sinuous gouging and assured tooling are inspired by Parisian work. Another binding executed for Cardinal Bonelli is at the Forbes Library in the Episcopal Theological College Library, Edinburgh (T. De Marinis, La Legatura Artistica in Italia nei secoli XV and XVI, 1960, ii, p.103, no 1940 bis, unillustrated).