OVIDIUS NASO, Publius. Vita per Aldum ex ipsius libris excerpta. Heroidum epistolae. Amorum Lib.III [etc]. Venice: in aedibus haeredum Aldi, et Andreae Soceri, January 1533.
8° (163 x 96mm). Woodcut Aldine device on title and last page, with blanks Bb4 & pp4. (Some leaves slightly browned or soiled, a few minor marginal tears, small wormhole in lower margin of some leaves.) 19th-century morocco, the covers inset with 16th-century red calf stamped with gilt floral and foliate scrolls, the upper cover with title, the lower with 'Alex. Farn.', spine in compartments with gilt ornaments. Provenance: Alessandro Farnese (possibly the Cardinal, 1520-1589), name stamped on lower cover, possibly his annotations in De arte amandi; Salvator Imbert (inscription on title dated 1566). Adams O432.
The book was bound for Alessandro Farnese, perhaps just before he was created Cardinal in 1534 at the age of 14. Farnese is best known in bibliophile circles as the patron of the Renaissance book artist Giulio Clovio, who produced the sumptuous Farnese Hours and the Towneley Lectionary, and he was once considered the original owner of the Apollo and Pegasus bindings (see A.R.A. Hobson, Apollo and Pegasus, Amsterdam: 1975). As a patron of arts and letters, Farnese was at the centre of Roman humanism; his collection of Greek manuscripts is in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Naples. Bindings with Farnese's arms as Cardinal survive, but no other example of this simple but elegant style for the youthful Farnese appears to have been published. (Cf. T. de Marinis, La legatura artistica in Italia nei secoli XV e XVI, Florence: 1960, I:693ff.)