5 December 2006
This lot is offered without a reserve
CICERO, Marcus Tullius (106-43 B.C.). Somnium scipionis. N.p., n.d.
12 leaves (150 x 96 mm on mounts 223 x 138 mm ). PRINTED IN GOLD ON BLACK-STAINED VELLUM, each leaf mounted on buff cartridge paper. (Lacks one leaf, and with one duplicate leaf substituted.) Early 19th-century English red straight-grained morocco, covers with filet and shell roll border, smooth spine gilt-lettered and -decorated, black morocco lettering piece, edges gilt (some light wear to joints). Provenance: presentation label mounted on front pastedown: "To Miss Gurney of Keswick, this little book is presented by William Dalrymple"; purchased from Emil Offenbacher, 11 April 1956.
A BEAUTIFULLY PRINTED AND APPARENTLY UNIQUE BOOK, printed throughout in gold on black-stained vellum. Though the work is undated, the type, binding and hand of Dalrymple's inscription indicate a date near 1800. Each page is a leaf of thin vellum stained black only on the side of printing, and then mounted with its succeeding page on its mount. It appears that the black surface of the vellum was covered in gold leaf, the page was then printed hot and the unprinted portions of the vellum wiped clean. Printing in gold is notoriously difficult, making this a remarkable technical achievement. The types in which it is printed are those in Fry's New Great Primer No. 2, first displayed and advertised in the 1785 type specimen of Joseph Fry & Son.
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This lot is offered without reserve.
Property from the Cornelius J. Hauck Collection of the Cincinnati Museum Center
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