7 July 2004
CICERO, Marcus Tullius (106-43 B.C.). Orationes [Volume II of the Opera], edited by Petrus Victorius. Paris: Robert Estienne, 13 August 1539.
2° (376 x 249mm). Ruled in red. Woodcut title device. Metalcut 9-line criblé opening initials. (Title stained and slightly frayed at margins, occasional soiling and staining elsewhere, some light browning, clean tears to fff4 and iii8, sss5 repaired, without final ?blank, sss6.)
BINDING: contemporary brown Parisian calf by Jean Picard, sides with frame of blind and gilt fillets enclosing a repeated double ornament, a lozenge within a rectangle at centre with smaller tools in pairs, spine gilt-lettered in one compartment, others ornamented with one of the smaller tools from sides, gilt edges (upper joints slightly cracked, chipping and scuff marks on covers, some repairs, free endpapers lacking); modern cloth box. Hobson/Culot2 36.
PROVENANCE: annotations in a contemporary hand within the white space of some opening initials and erased ownership inscription on title -- a Jesuit seminary (inscription on title) -- M. Cournault (ex libris) -- 'Bibliotheca Remensis' (stamp on title and verso of final leaf).
Volume II of Estienne's 4-volume edition of Cicero's works, bound by Jean Picard. The geometrical theme, combining lozenge and rectangle, was popular and had many variants. But the eternal knot and palmette used at the outer corners of the inner frame appear on many of Picard's bindings for Grolier. Picard was Grolier's principal binder from 1540 until he decamped in 1547 heavily in debt to Francesco Torresani (see Hobson, Humanists and Bookbinders, pp. 267-271). For the border cf. Grolier's Flavius Blondus (Austin 60) and his Nicolò Franco (Austin 203.1). Adams C-1640.
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