APOLLO AND PEGASUS -- Forgeries and Fakes
APPIANUS Alexandrinus (fl. 2nd century). Romanorum Historiarum libri. Translated by S. Gelenius and others. Basel: Hieronymus Froben and Nicolaus Episcopius, 1554. 2° (309 x 203mm). Printer's device on title, a larger version on final verso, woodcut historiated initials. Without ?blank T8, sheet O3.4 in duplicate. (Spotting and browning, small repair in title). BINDING: early 20th-century gold-tooled brown morocco, possibly by Domenico Conti-Borbone of Milan, sides with upright Apollo and Pegasus medallion with traces of gold and silver, author and title lettered above, gilt edges; modern tan buckram folding case. PROVENANCE: George Michelmore & Co., London booksellers, cat. Two hundred extraordinarily important books, autographs and manuscripts [c.1928], no. 3, ill., catalogued as a genuine 'Canevari' binding.
GIUSTINIANI, Agostino (1470-1536). Castigatissimi annali ... della eccelsa et illustrissima republica di Genoa. Genoa: A. Bellono, 1537. 2° (282 x 200mm). Woodcut historiated initials. (Title remargined, spotted, some browning, a few neat repairs, small wormhole.) BINDING: early 20th-century gold-tooled red-brown morocco, sides with upright Apollo and Pegasus medallion with traces of gold, silver and black paint, 5 double spine bands outlined with fillets, plain edges. PROVENANCE: sale Sotheby's Milan, 19-20 December 1994, lot 844. FIRST EDITION. Adams G-751.
HOMER (?8th century B.C.). Odyssea, translated into Latin by Andrea Divo. -Batrachomiomachia, translated by Aldus Manutius. -Hymni deorum, translated by Georgius Dartona. Venice: [Melchior Sessa the elder?, not after 1555]. 8° (154 x 100mm). Woodcut Sessa cat device on title, historiated initials. (Small wormtrack in a few quires just touching a few letters.) BINDING: contemporary Italian olive-brown calf over pasteboard, gold tooling and horizontal Apollo and Pegasus medallion added in the late 19th century, probably by Vittorio Villa, red speckled edges (rubbed, somewhat worn at extremities). PROVENANCE: contemporary annotations in Latin and Greek, title written on bottom edges in Italian -- Franc[esco] Suave (early title inscription) -- Carlo Balzi, 1884 (inscription) -- 'G B' (ink stamp) -- Joseph [--] (flyleaf inscription) -- Giovanni Pini, Milan -- Libreria Antiquaria Rovello, Milan. EDIT on-line CNCE 22966.
SPANDUGINO, Theodoro. I commentari dell'origine de principi Turchi, & de' costumi di quella natione. Florence: Lorenzo Torrentino, August 1551. 8° (157 x 99mm). Woodcut device on title, woodcut initials. Blank N8 apparently used as rear pastedown. (First few fore-edges frayed, lower blank section of title cut away, a little dampstaining and spotting.) BINDING: contemporary Italian red morocco over pasteboard, gold-tooling and horizontal Apollo and Pegasus medallion added in the late 19th century probably by Vittorio Villa, 3 double and 4 single spine bands, the single decorated with diagonal fillets, old lettering in second compartment, missing two fore-edge ties (very light wear at extremities); modern green cloth folding case. PROVENANCE: H.M. Fletcher, London bookseller, cat. [November 1994], no. 27. FIRST ITALIAN EDITION of this account of the history and customs of the Turks. Adams S-1531; Göllner, Turcica, 912.
Bindings stamped with the distinctive Apollo and Pegasus medallion were celebrated long before their original Renaissance owner was identified as the Genoese Giovanni Battista Grimaldi. Their celebrity caused at least two and possibly more binders to produce forged or faked Apollo and Pegasus bindings from the end of the 19th century through the first quarter of the 20th. The best known of the late 19th-century Apollo and Pegasus forgers was Vittorio Villa of Bologna and Milan, acting in concert with Monte. As Nixon has pointed out, his were more usually fakes rather than forgeries, i.e. 16th-century bindings with little or plain decoration to which Villa added the medallion and other tooling. The two octavo volumes in the present lot typify Villa's work. Their tooling is strongly reminiscent of the work of Marcantonio Guillery, one of Grimaldi's binders.
Villa's tools passed to Domenico Conti-Borbone, bookbinder at Milan, and, although Conti-Borbone's use of the Apollo and Pegasus medallion is not documented, it is probable that the two folio volumes here are his work, not Villa's. They are forgeries, bound in the first quarter of the 20th century (Villa died in 1892). Together the four volumes represent four different versions of the Apollo and Pegasus medallion. For these bindings Villa and Conti-Borbone respected the visual distinction between modern and ancient literature in Grimaldi's Renaissance library; the modern literature (here, Giustiniani and Spandugino) was bound in red leather, and the ancient in darker colours. See H.M. Nixon, 'Binding Forgeries', Actes du VIe Congrès international des Bibliophiles, 1969, Vienna, 1971, pp. 73-76. Michel Wittock, 'À propos des reliures, vraies ou frelatées, au médaillon d'Apollon et Pégase. Une enquête à travers les sources bibliographiques', Bulletin du Bibliophile, pp. 330-365, nos. 5, 21, 23, 37; M. Wittock, 'Il medaglione di Apollo e Pegaso', L'oggetto libro 2000, pp. 88-113, nos. 5, 22, 25, 42.
For genuine Apollo and Pegasus bindings, see lots 3, 92 and 107. (4)