PAUSANIAS (fl. mid-2nd century A.D.) Veteris Graeciae descriptio. Translated from the Greek by Romulus Amasaeus of Udine (1489-1552). Florence: Lorenzo Torrentino, 1551.
Median 2° (352 x 220mm). Collation: A4 (title, table, translator's dedication); a-z 2A-M6 N8 (text, N7r index of Pausanias' sources); A-E6 F-G4 (subject indices). Roman and cursive type. Woodcut title-border incorporating Greek allegorical figures and Medici arms, woodcut historiated initials. (Top edges dust-soiled.)
TURKISH-STYLE BINDING OF C.1555-60 FOR JEAN GROLIER BY THE ROYAL BINDER, GOMMAR ESTIENNE: Parisian gold-tooled polished brown calf, decorated to an oriental centre-and-corner design with straight and curved fillets or gouges, some two dozen hatched and other tools as rubbed and reproduced by Nixon (including the shamrock), two arabesque tools in the outer border, the field semé with triple dots, central compartment of front cover lettered with the book's title, back cover with Grolier's motto, the owner's formula IO GROLIERII/ET AMICO/RUM lettered on smooth spine, one of the arabesque tools repeated at head and foot of spine (fanfare-style ornament tooled all over the spine at a somewhat later date, obscuring the inscription, rebacked with the original strip laid down, corners repaired, rubbed in places), original endpapers and flyleaves, gilt edges. Provenance: Jean Grolier (binding) -- J. Bridges (1715 Latin purchase inscription; 7 Feb. 1726 sale, lot 799) -- Martin Folkes, numismatist (1 March 1756 sale, lot 3220) -- Stephen Weston (1795 inscription, bookplate, 7 May 1830 sale, lot 630, to) -- Beriah Botfield.
FIRST EDITION of this Latin translation by the teacher of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, papal legate, to whom the edition is dedicated. The binding is apparently the only one executed for Grolier in Estienne's oriental manner. For a long time it was thought that the Royal Binder, who did his grandest work for Henri II but also splendid bindings for Grolier and Mahieu, was Claude Picques. It was Annie Charon who discovered the true identity of the Royal Binder in the 1550s, Gommar Estienne (Picques was in fact his successor). Estienne was also an important bookseller and, after Jean Picard's bankruptcy and flight, he took over as Aldine Press agent in 1548 when he signed a 3-year contract, which was renewed in 1550. The reason why he did less work for Grolier than his predecessor had done, must be sought in the ambitious (re)binding programme for the Fontainebleau library, which no doubt kept him fully occupied. Adams P-524; Austin 377; Nixon 102; A. Hobson, Humanists and Bookbinders app. 7 (this binding discussed on p. 271); Hobson, Renaissance Book Collectors app. 1.