PETRARCA, Francesco (1303-1374). Opera Latina. Edited by Sebastian Brant(?). Basel: Johann Amerbach, 1496.
Chancery 2o (274 x 194 mm) Collation: A8 B6 C8 (A1r general title, A1v commendatory poem by Sebastian Brant, A2r Bucolicum Carmen, C8v blank); A8 B-D6 E8 F4 (A1r De vita solitaria, F1r pseudo-Petrarca, De vera sapientia); a-f8.6 g10 h8 i-l6 m8 n-p6 q8 (De remediis utriusque fortunae); a8 b-c6 (Secretum); a10(2+1) b6 c8 d-e6 f-g8 (De rebus memorandis); aa8 bb10 (Invectivae contra medicum obiurgantem); A-K8.6 L8 M10 (Epistolae familiares, Epistolae sine nomine, Epistola ad Carolum IV, Epistola de studiorum suorum successibus ad posteritatem, Psalmi poenitentiales); a6 b10 (a1r De viris illustribus, with the continuation of Lombardus a Serico, b5v Benvenetus de Rambaldis, Libellus Augustalis); A8 B6 C8 (A1r alphabetical index of Petrarch's sententiae, C8 blank). 389 leaves. 55 lines and headline, printed marginal letter-indexing. Types: 8:115R (headlines and titles of most separate works), 23:110R (general title, title of the Invectivae, and principal headings), 25:87*R (poems, small headings in the prose works), 24:75R (text of prose works and marginalia). 7- to 2-line initial spaces with printed guide-letters. Blind impression of bearer type (quads or rules) on m8. (First leaf slightly soiled and frayed, a few small marginal tears or wormholes, occasional light foxing to extreme outer margins, dampstain to title of De vita solitaria.)
Binding: contemporary German half blind-stamped alum-tawed pigskin over wooden boards, the uncovered boards of upper cover tooled with intersecting triple fillets forming a saltire pattern, the leather with repeated impressions of two different artichoke tools and a ropework tool, the tools not in Kyriss or Schwenke-Sammlung, two fore-edge clasps with lettered brass catches and catchplates, front cover with remains of a contemporary manuscript paper label and 16th-century manuscript title written directly on boards, later paper label on spine, wide quire guards wrapped around first and last quires from a single bifolium of a fourteenth-century manuscript on vellum of Latin sermons interspersed with some texts in German (minor wear); several deckle edges preserved.
Provenance: Johann Protzer (ca. 1450-1528): 1503 purchase inscription noting that he bought the book in Germany: inscription inside front board (Johannes Protzer i[uris] u[triusque] Lic[entia]tus M V III conp[ar]avit in Germania xi Lib.) -- a few contemporary marginalia -- 19th-century English(?) armorial bookplate, motto "Virtus in haeredes" -- later booklabel with image of the sun (largely deleted) -- [Quaritch 1994].
FIRST COLLECTED EDITION of Petrarch's Latin works. Brant's role in Amerbach's edition has not been clearly determined. Each work or section is separately titled and signed, permitting some variation in the order of binding; in this copy the Secretum is bound before De remediis. This copy bears the purchase note of the important early German book collector Johannes Protzer. A native of Nördlingen in Bavaria, Protzer studied law at Ingolstadt and spent the years 1490-97 in Italy, probably continuing his legal studies and acquiring many books, all of which he inscribed with the date of purchase and often the price. He bequeathed 290 books, mostly incunables, to the Hospital of the Holy Ghost at Nördlingen. Many were sold in 1859, but in 1927 over 100 incunables and 24 sixteenth-century books remained in the Nördlingen Stadtbibliothek, the remainder having been widely dispersed. (Cf. A. Schmid, "Die Bibliotheken der Stadt Nördlingen," in Zeitschrift des Historischen Vereins für Schwaben u. Neuburg, 47, 1927, pp. 106-178; and D. Rhodes, "A fifteenth-century German book-collector in Italy: Johannes Protzer," [Wytze] Hellinga Festschrift, Amsterdam 1980, pp. 435-39.)
Complete copies of this edition in contemporary, unrestored bindings are rare on the market, and none comparable to the present large and fresh copy have appeared at auction in recent decades. HC 12749; BMC III, 757 (IB. 37389, 37391); BSB-Ink. P-276; CIBN P-150; Harvard/Walsh 1191-92; Goff P-365.