7 July 2004
MILAN -- Constitutiones et decreta condita in provinciali synodo Mediolanensi. Venice: [Paulus Manutius], 1566.
8° (151 x 102mm). Woodcut Aldine dolphin-and-anchor device on title, woodcut ornamental headpieces and initials. (Occasional very light spotting, upper corner of first few leaves very slightly worn.)
BINDING: Venetian binding c.1566; gold-tooled red morocco, blind and gilt fillet borders, shaped central and corner compartments cut-away and lined with dark green silk with gold-painted gesso filigree, multiple blind fillets outlining spine bands, gilt edges, original pastedown and two free endleaves at each end, one marked with fleur-de-lis (expert repairs at corners, spine ends and short section of upper hinge); modern green cloth folding case. Cinq siècles d'ornements, 14; Hobson, Humanists and Bookbinders, p.150, no. 11; Hobson/Culot2 19; Musea Nostra p.23.
FIRST EDITION. This fine filigree binding reflects Venice's position as a gateway to the Near East. A technique practised since at least the 8th century in Coptic Egypt and again in the Timurid empire at the beginning of the 15th century, filigree binding was revived in 15th-century Italy. Requiring exceptional skill on the part of the binder, it was however always rare and executed by a small number of workshops specialising in the technique. Only eleven Venetian examples of the 16th century, including the present one, are recorded by Hobson (Humanists, p.150); most appear to have been produced 'on spec', not on commission. The shop that bound the present book also bound a 1559 Petrarch and a 1563 Spinola Opera (cf. Hobson/Culot2 19). Adams M-1442; Renouard, Alde, 199:2.
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