EMBROIDERED BINDING -- [MORTELLARI, Michele de (1750-1807)]. Semiramide. Milan: Giovanni Battista Bianchi, .
4° (242 x 180mm). Title, dedication to Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and the Archduchess Maria Beatrice d'Este, woodcut headpieces. Bound for the dedicatees, cloth of silver on yellow silk foundation over thin pasteboard, the sides worked in couched silk and metal threads with the adorsed coats of arms of the dedicatees on ermine mantling with the imperial crown above, framed by scrolling foliage with spangles and coloured foil highlights, spine decorated with interlaced border, orange silk liners, gilt edges (some slight fading, some fraying with small losses), modern black cloth box. Provenance: sold at Rauch, 23 November 1953, lot 447.
DEDICATION COPY in a specially embroidered binding for presentation with the arms of Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and Duke of Modena, (1754-1806) and Maria Beatrice d'Este (1750-1829), on the occasion of the performance in 1785 of Semiramide at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in their honour. Mortellari, a pupil of Piccinni, produced around twenty opera performances in Italy between 1771 and 1784, before moving to London in 1785.
Fabric bindings regained their popularity in Italy during the 18th century and were produced for presentation copies by workshops in Rome and many other towns including Milan. Interestingly, this binding is similar in style to those produced in Paris in the 1780s and 1790s (see Livres en broderie, BnF/Bibliotheque de L'Arsenal, Paris: 1995, p.95). Eitner VII, 74.