11 - 13 July 2000
[COLONNA, Francesco (1433-1527)]. Hypnerotomachie, ou Discours du songe de Poliphile. Edited by Jean Martin. Paris: J. Le Blanc for Jacques Kerver, 11 July 1561.
2° (316 x 214mm). Woodcut architectural frame on title, 181 woodcuts, including 13 full-page, large woodcut printer's device (Renouard 515) on final verso, ornamental headpieces, criblé and white foliate initials. (Occasional light marginal dampstain.) Early 20th-century brown crushed morocco tooled in gilt and blind, sides panelled and with corner fleurons, gilt edges, signed by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Provenance: English love verses written in a 17th-century hand on final verso; J.E. Smith (18th-century title inscription).
THIRD EDITION IN FRENCH. The woodcuts are free copies from those used to illustrate the celebrated first edition, printed by Aldus Manutius in 1499. The artist of the blocks for the French editions has 'translated' them to a French style by elongating the figures and elaborating the landscape and architecture. They first appeared in Kerver's 1546 edition and were subsequently used in his 1554 edition, the present 1561 edition, and later in 17th-century editions. The full-page diagram on B6v was newly cut for the 1554 edition. The artist remains anonymous, although Jean Goujon is a likely candidate. The large arabesque initials, the first purely arabesque alphabet at Paris (Johnson, Decorative initial letters), were cut specifically for Kerver's first edition of the Hypnerotomachia. They, like those of the Aldine Italian editions, spell the name of the author as an acrostic. Adams C-2413; Mortimer, Harvard French 147; Davies, Murray French, 100.
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