SPAGNOLI, Giovanni Battista (1448-1516, also known as Baptista Mantuanus). Ultima pars operis. Lyons: Bernard Lescuyer for Stephanus Basignanas Gorgonius, 1516.
8° (166 x 100mm). Collation: a-q8. Title in red and black with woodcut portrait of the author. Imprimatur on q8v with woodcut arms of Cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga. With blank q7. (Title browned and with repaired worm holes affecting a few letters on verso, some browning and staining of text, particularly affecting quire d, q8 slightly wormed and almost detached.)
BINDING: later 16th-century Italian calf gilt, frame of multiple blind and gilt fillets, inner panel tooled with a pattern of linked acorns, at centre repeated tool of the 'everlasting knot' within narrow blind lines, gilt and gauffeured edges (spine worn, lower cover almost detached, some restoration to spine bands and edges of covers, endpapers replaced); modern cloth box.
PROVENANCE: Carolus Hippolitus Tedeschius (contemporary signature on blank q7) -- '1219' (bookseller's stock number on title).
The 'everlasting knot' is a form of tool commonly found on Italian renaissance bindings, used either as a decorative centre-piece or frame or both; De Marinis I, D10 no. 1213 illustrates a morocco binding from J.R. Abbey's collection where the knot forms a narrow perpendicular ornament at the centre of a gilt panel. Actually Chinese, then Islamic, and found in Islamic art at least as early as the 13th century, it was used all over Italy. Even more standard perhaps are stamped or tooled panels with acorn cresting. These are, in E. Ph. Goldschmidt's words, 'among the most frequently found of all designs' existing 'in numerous variants' (Gothic and Renaissance Bookbindings, 1928, I, p. 226). However, the combination of the two motifs on the present binding is unusual and unquestionably striking. cf. Adams M-389 who cites a much enlarged edition in the same year and under the same imprint, the first part conforming in collation to the present edition.