CICERO, Marcus Tullius (106-43 B.C.). Officia, Laelius, et Cato: Paradoxa, et Somnium Scipionis. -De senectute and Somnium Scipionis, translated from Latin into Greek by Theodore Gaza. Edited by Desiderius Erasmus and Conrad Goclenius. Lyons: Melchior and Gaspard Trechsel, 1533.
8° (165 x 99m). Italic and Greek type. Contemporary illumination: capitals painted gold, woodcut title-device hand-coloured, woodcut initials in gold and colours. Numerous deckle edges. (Faint dampstain in upper margin.)
BINDING: Parisian binding by Jean Picard for Jean Grolier, c.1540; dark olive green morocco over pasteboard, sides with intersecting ribbons of blind and gilt fillets, Nixon tools CdP 1, 2, 3, and 8a-b, author and title lettered at centre of front cover, Grolier's motto on rear cover, his ownership inscription (GROLIERII ET AMICO RUM.) in second panel of spine, 5 double bands on spine between a single band at top and bottom, gilt fillet frame in compartments, gilt edges, 19th-century note on Grolier inserted at front (joints expertly repaired, endpapers renewed, lightly varnished); modern tan half morocco folding case. Austin 112; exhibited Brussels, Bibliothèque Royale, 1955, Reliures du Moyen Age au Premier Empire, no. 32; Cinq siècle d'ornements, no. 20; Hobson/Culot2 26; Musea Nostra, p. 29.
PROVENANCE: Jean Grolier (binding) -- Ibbetson Fenton (sale Sotheby's, 12 February 1812, lot 482) -- William Parr Greswell (sale Sotheby's, 28 February 1855, lot 382) -- Félix Solar
(booklabel; Catalogue no. 326, sale Paris, 9 November 1860, lot 439) -- Laurent Potier, bookseller at Paris (cat. 1863, no. 564) -- Chedeau of Saumur (sale Paris, 3 April 1865, lot 226) -- Joseph Renard (sale Paris, 12 May 1884, lot 178) -- [sale Paris, 2 May 1887, lot 26] -- Baron Lucien Double (Cabinet , no. 66; sale Paris, 22 February 1897, lot 59) -- [sale Sotheby's, 22 November 1897, lot 717, £31 to Barton] -- A. La Vigne (sale Paris, 7 February 1920, lot 29) -- Gérard Hupin, Brussels.
One of only three known works (five volumes) from Grolier's library with his ownership formula lettered on the spine. It appears more usually on the front cover except when the design did not leave room for it. The other two works with the 'et amicorum' formula on the spine are a 1518 Aldine Livy (Nixon 31) and a 1535-38 Aldine Pliny (Nixon 45-47), all bound by Picard. The Pliny (illus. Nixon pl. XLIII) shares the very dark green morocco and a virtually identical design with the Wittock Cicero. For another Grolier binding by Picard see lot (MS 27).
Erasmus rated Gaza's translations into Greek of Cicero's De senectute and Somnium Scipionis so highly that he included them in the present edition. Adams C-1746; Baudrier XII, 241, citing this (Grolier-Renard) copy; Brunet II: 22, citing this copy; not in the British Library.