BOCCACCIO, Giovanni (1313-1375). De claris mulieribus, in Spanish: Las mujeres illustres. Zaragoza: Paul Hurus, 24 October 1494.
Chancery 2° (278 x 190mm) Collation: a8 b-i8.6 k-l8 m5 n-p8 (a1r xylographic title, a1v blank, a2r author's prologue, a5r text, p4r printer's device, p4v blank, p5r table, p8v blank). 108 (of 110, lacking p1, as often [containing biography of Pope Joan] and p8) leaves. 42 lines and headline, double column. Type: 2:145G; 3:100G. 75 (of 76) woodcuts (77 x 116mm) within 4-part floral border, a number of the woodcuts partly coloured in green or red, printer's device I flanked by narrow cuts of SS James and Sebastian, set within 4-part border, woodcut initials, a few initial spaces with guide-letter. (Two neat repaired tears into text without loss, one neat repaired marginal tear, repaired internal tear in p7, small erasure on one woodcut, small stain in one leaf, small wormholes in first 8 quires and small marginal wormhole in final 2 quires.) Early 20th-century crimson morocco tooled in blind to a retrospective mudejar design, spine lettered in gilt, gilt edges, by Leighton of Brewer St., Soho. Provenance: a few contemporary and early notes, initials 'P.F.C.' on a4v; C.W. Dyson Perrins (sale Sotheby's, 4 November 1946, lot 301, £170 to Sawyer).
FIRST EDITION IN SPANISH of Boccaccio's compilation of biographies of famous women.The woodcuts are those first used to illustrate Sorg's German edition of 1479, which are in turn close copies in reverse of woodcuts by the 'Boccaccio master', created for the first German edition printed at Ulm by Zainer in 1473; they were the earliest series of woodcuts printed at Ulm. Paul Hurus travelled to Germany on several occasions, and it is possible that he returned from his trip to southern Germany and Lyons in 1483-84 with Sorg's woodcuts, among others; his 1491 edition of Rodericus Zamorensis re-used woodcuts which first appeared in Bämler's Augsburg edition of 1479. The biography of Pope Joan, a story reputedly disseminated by Boccaccio more than any other writer, is often excised, as it is here. RARE; no copy in the British Library or the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, the largest repositories of incunabula. The last copy sold at auction was the Sexton copy in 1981. H(Add) 3337a; CIBN B-518; Haebler(BI) 52; GW 4491; Pellechet 2479; Vindel(A) IV, 190; cf. Davies, Murray, German 79 on the Sorg cuts.