BODONI, Giovanni Battista (1740-1813). Two autograph letters signed to 'Eccellenza R[everendissi]ma' [Corneille-François de Nélis, bishop of Antwerp], Parma, 28 April and 2 October 1795, together 3 pages, 4to (some spotting; wear to centre fold of letter of 2 October).
Two letters on printing matters to a patron. In the first, Bodoni expresses pleasure that de Nélis has received copies of the 'Prodromo' [Belgicarum Rerum Liber Prodromus. Brooks 589. (1795)] and of the 'Trattenimenti Filosofici' [presumably L'Aveugle de la Montaigne. Brooks 609 (1795)]; he will send further copies if required, and proofs. He is pleased with De Nélis's note to this edition, 'and I wish it would encourage and stimulate lovers of elegant editions to speed such a commendable enterprise'. The approach of peace [the Peace of Basel on 5 April between Prussia and Revolutionary France] will soon permit de Nélis's return to Antwerp; for himself, if de Nélis could find him fifty or so more subscribers for his Cicero and Plato, he would take on the printing, though he still needs De Nélis's help with the costs of printing the first volume, as he is without funds; also enclosing a bill, leaving some prices to De Nélis's discretion, with an implicit request for prompt and generous payment, as the war has much damaged his 'not insignificant book-selling business'. In the second letter, Bodoni has just returned to Parma, and hastens to arrange the dispatch of the books his correspondent has ordered; he has sent six copies of the 'trattenimenti' to the binders for binding in morocco, and so cannot send them off before the following week, though he will make every effort to speed the process; before the following day he will also smooth the few copies of the 'Adorazione' which he has in his possession. The letter closes with discussions of financial documentation.
The recipient, Corneille-François de Nélis, librarian of the University of Louvain and bishop of Antwerp from 1784, had been forced to flee his native Belgium with the approach of the French revolutionary armies in 1794; his exile took him, in the course of 1795, from Rotterdam through Germany to Italy; he died near Florence in 1798. More than 60 letters from de Nélis to Bodoni survive. (2)