COSTA, Cesare (1530-1602). Variarum ambiguitatum iuris libri tres. Naples: Horatius Salvianus, 17 May 1573.
4° (225 x 156mm). Roman and italic type. Title with woodcut arms of the dedicatee, Pope Gregory XIII. Woodcut initials and tailpieces. With final imprimatur and colophon leaf. Extra-illustrated with etched plate of the arms of Cardinal Girolamo Boncompagni, with the three chamber pots of Pignatelli in pretence, mounted as frontispiece. (Margins dampstained, earlier quires wormed at upper margin.)
BINDING: contemporary Roman red morocco for Gregory XIII, wide border of repeated lacework tool within double fillets, the papal arms blocked at the centre with arabesque decoration above and below, tie stubs, gilt and gauffeured edges (rebacked and restored at edges and corners of covers).
PROVENANCE: Pope Gregory XIII (1502-1585; binding) -- Giacomo Boncompagni, Duke of Sora and Acri (stamp on title) -- Cardinal Girolamo Boncompagni (1652-1731; arms mounted as frontispiece) -- 'VdG' (bookplate, c. 1900).
EXHIBITED: Società Amici di Castel S. Angelo, Rome, 'Mostra della rilegatura artistica,' June-July 1929 (exhibition label).
THE ARMS OF THE DEDICATEE, POPE GREGORY XIII, MAKE THIS AN IMPORTANT BINDING. Ugo Boncompagni, pope from 1572 to 1585, was in his second year as pontiff when Cesare Costa, bishop of Capua, published this legal treatise dedicated to him. The Pope's natural son, Giacomo, was appointed castellan of St. Angelo, where this binding was to be exhibited in 1929, but not given high ecclesiastical office. However, there were several cardinals in the Boncompagni family: Filippo (1548-1586), nephew of Gregory XIII; Francesco (1592-1641), son of Giacomo and grandson of the pope; and Giacomo Boncompagni (1652-1731), later owner of this book, Francesco's grand-nephew, who was appointed cardinal by Innocent XII (Antonio Pignatelli) on 12 December, 1695. Anthony Hobson notes that florid borders of the type found on this binding were frequently used by Apollonio Filareto and other Roman binders of a slightly later period (Apollo and Pegasus, Amsterdam, 1975, p. 95); the border is said to have derived from a lacework design in a book by Zopino. Edit CNCE 13625 (only recorded edition); not in Adams or BLSTC 16th-century Italian.