MAXIMUS OF TYRE (fl. 2nd century A.D.). Sermones. Translated by Cosimo de' Pazzi and edited by G. Albertus Pictus and Pietro Pazzi. Paris: Guillaume Cavellat, 1554.
12° (118 x 75mm). Woodcut printer's device on title [P. Renouard Marques 124]. Woodcut headpieces and initials. Ruled in red throughout. Retaining final blank H8. (A few leaves lightly marked or browned.)
BINDING: Parisian late 16th-century olive morocco gilt, boards with grounds of oval tools of different flowers interspersed with smaller flower tools, enclosed within borders of leafy sprays, upper board with gilt armorial [Olivier 65], lower board with gilt flower device enclosed by motto [Olivier 65], board edges gilt, spine decorated with floral tools, lettered in central cartouche, raised headbands, gilt edges (extremities very lightly rubbed, minor superficial cracking on joints); 20th-century black morocco box. E. Quentin Bauchart Les femmes bibliophiles de France, I, Marguerite de Valois, 18; Cinque siècles d'ornement no. 50; Hobson/Culot2 68A; Musea Nostra p.40.
PROVENANCE: Pietro Duodo (1554-1611, armorials on binding) -- Sir John Hayford Thorold (1773-1831, his sale, Sotheby's, 12-20 December 1884, lot 1337, to:) -- [Bernard Quaritch, London] -- Matthew Challoner Durfee Borden (1842-1912, engraved bookplate on upper pastedown; M.C.D. Borden A Catalogue of the Printed Books, Manuscripts, Autograph Letters (New York: 1910), II, p.83 ) -- Cortlandt Field Bishop (1870-1935, gilt morocco bookplate, sale, Kende Galleries, New York, 25-27 April 1938, lot 1481).
A BINDING FROM THE FRENCH LIBRARY OF THE SCHOLAR AND DIPLOMAT PIETRO DUODO, LATER IN THE COLLECTIONS OF THOROLD, BORDEN AND BISHOP. Duodo was born to a patrician family in Padua, where he studied under the celebrated philosopher Francesco Piccolomini and composed a work upon the soul, Peripateticarum de anima disputationum (Venice: 1575; revised and enlarged edition, Venice: 1587). Duodo then turned to a diplomatic career, as the Venetian Republic's ambassador to (amongst others), Rudolf II, Henri IV and James I, before becoming governor of Padua in 1607, where he founded the Accademia Delia. Fascinated by all branches of knowledge and well-versed in not only the humanities but also science and mathematics--indeed he was both a friend and defender of Galileo during the latter's residence in Padua and while ambassador to Rudolf II in Prague knew Tycho Brahe and was given a copy of his Astronomiae instauratae mechanica (Wandesbeck: 1598), bound in blue silk--Duodo assembled a library of both printed books and greek manuscripts.
The three volumes offered here (the present lot, lot 2 and lot 86), form part of a library assembled during his ambassadorship to King Henri IV, between late 1594 and 1597; of this library some 90 works in 133 volumes are known (cf. E. Quentin Blanchart Les femmes bibliophiles de France (Paris: 1886) for a listing, attributing the volumes to the library of Marguerite de Valois). Duodo's French library appears to have been assembled as a portable collection (presumably duplicating key texts in an ur-collection in Padua), since the format of all the volumes known is either octavo or smaller. Interestingly, the different subjects within the collection were distinguished by the colour of their bindings: olive morocco for literature (as here); red morocco for theology, philosophy, history and law (cf. lot 2, Leo I's De bellico apparatu); citron for medicine and botany (cf. lot 86, Oribasius Sardinius' Synopseus ad Eustathium filium). These bindings are remarkable for the richness of their decoration; a series of six elliptical floral tools form a ground around a central device--Duodo's arms of a bend charged with three fleurs de lis on the upper board and his device of three flowers on one stem enclosed by the motto 'Expectata non eludet' ['She whom I await with longing will not elude me'] on the lower--and are repeated in a specific sequence, while the spines are decorated with flower tools, at either the same size as those on the boards, or in a smaller format, the central cartouche lettered while the remainder are decorated with smaller versions of the flower tools employed upon the boards. These bindings have been attributed to Clovis Eve, binder to Henri IV, by Raphaël Esmerian (cf. his sale, Georges Blaizot and Claude Guérin, 6 June 1972, note to lots 59-61), but this attribution appears to be over-optimistic. The travelling library seems to have remained within family ownership--well looked after, since the books are still in remarkably fresh condition, possibly preserved thus in a custom-made case or cases--until the 1780s. It was then bought, presumably by an English bookseller, and brought to this country, where many volumes found their way into the distinguished collections of Thorold (including this), Beckford and the Rev. C.M. Cracherode, who acquired books from Duodo's library in 1788.
The greek text of Maximus' Sermones was taken by Janus Lascaris from Greece to the library of Lorenzo de' Medici, who commissioned a translation into latin from Cosimo de' Pazzi; however, Cosimo's death left the translation unfinished, so, with the approval of Lascaris and Zenobio Acciaiuoli, his brother Pietro Pazzi completed the work, which was first published in Rome in 1517. Adams M-937; P. Renouard Imprimeurs & Libraires Parisiens du XVIe siècle, fasc. Cavellat, Marnef & Cavellat, 74.