7 July 2004
CONGREGATIO DE PROPAGANDA FIDE -- Alphabetum Cophtum sive Aegyptiacum. [Rome: Congregatio de Propaganda Fide, second quarter of the 17th century]
Half-sheet 8° (160 x 102mm). 4 leaves. Drop-title. Coptic and roman types. (Second leaf wormed affecting text, stained.)
BINDING: Roman gold-tooled red morocco c. 1655 by the Andreoli atelier, roll-tooled border enclosing shaped compartments filled with small tools, papal arms for Pope Alexander VII (Fabio Chigi, d. 1667) in the centre, (rebacked, perhaps a remboîtage).
PROVENANCE: engraved gift-label from Pope Benedict XIV to Pietro Bartolommeo Millo -- Guido Vanini-Tolomei.
The binding's decor is similar to those illustrated on plates XIII and XIV of José Ruysschaert's monograph on the Andreoli brothers as binders to the Chigis, except that this binding does not show the Pope's complete arms. This Coptic alphabet is one of the rarest and one of the earliest exotic alphabets published by the Roman press established by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 for propaganda among the Eastern people. Brunet I, 197; Graesse I, 85; Birrell & Garnett 9.
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