21 March 2005
BODONI, Giambattista (1740-1813). Autograph printer's, bookseller's and binder's bill addressed to the last Bishop of Antwerp, Cornelis Franciscus de Nelis. [Parma, 1795].
Part sheet of laid paper (unwatermarked, 248 x 184 mm). One page, 19 entries on 20 lines, headed: Per S. E. Revd Monsignor Francesco Di Nelis, Vescovo di Anversa, complete; contemporary endorsement at foot: "1795 Carattere autografo del celebre tipografo e letterato Gbatta Bodoni di Parma, Cittadella."
Before he was created Bishop of Antwerp in 1785, De Nelis (1736-98) had been librarian of Louvain University. He was known as one of the most learned antiquaries of the Southern Low Countries, particularly for his idea of publishing the collected works of early Belgian historians and unpublished chronicles, which was later taken up by the Imperial and Royal Academy of Brussels. De Nelis' trial balloon, Belgicarum rerum liber prodromus (1795), was printed by Bodoni in Parma (Brooks 589), and 58 copies of the work appear on this bill, variously priced according to the binding provided (morocco, calf, half calf or boards). Two other works printed by Bodoni for De Nelis are billed: 300 copies of L'Adoration ou la Prière (Brooks 638) and the bindings for L'Aveugle de la Montagne (Brooks 609), the latter being the costliest item on the bill.
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