Plinius Secundus, Gaius (Pliny the elder)
Historia naturalis [Italian] Historia naturale (trans. Christophorus Landinus).
Analysis of Content
[a2r] Landinus, Christophorus: ‘Prohemio' [dedicated to] Ferdinand I of Aragon, King of Naples. Landino, Scritti critici, 155-8.
[a6r] Plinius Secundus, Gaius: Historia naturale. Translated by Christophorus Landinus. ‘Prefatione'. Incipit: ‘[D]iterminai o giocondissimo imperadore con epistola . . .’
[a7v] [Table of contents.]
[c2r] Plinius Secundus, Gaius: Historia naturale. ‘Sel mondo ha termini et se e uno. Capitolo primo.’ Incipit: ‘[E]l mondo et questo elquale per altro nome anoi piacie chiamare cielo . . .’ Explicit: excepto che le cose fabulose dellindia’ On the translation see R. Cardini, La critica del Landino, Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento. Studi e Testi, 4 (Florence, 1973), 155-91 and CTC IV 316. Jenson sent 24 copies to the commissioner Giambattista Ridolfi about the beginning of June 1476; Ridolfi had received 1003 copies (of the 1025 printed, each to be sold at seven ducats) by 20 Sept. See F. Edler de Roover, ‘Come furono stampati a Venezia tre dei primi libri in volgare', Bibliofilia, 55 (1953), 107-17, at 110-11.
Imprint: Venice: Nicolaus Jenson, 1476. Folio.
Collation: [a–x10 y z A–C8 D–N10 O8+1 P10 Q8 R S10 T8 V10].
Hain: H *13105;
Goff: Goff P‑801;
BMC: BMC V 176;
Proctor: Pr 4099;
Others: BSB‑Ink P‑611; CIBN P‑469; Oates 1640; Osler, IM 103; Sheppard 3272-4. Microfiche: Unit 2: Classics in translation.
Copy number: P-372(1)
Wanting the blank leaves [a1] and [V10].
Leaf [T3r], l. 11: ‘ . . . SCHISTO'.
Binding: Eighteenth/nineteenth-century gold-tooled diced russia; bound by H. Walther (ticket on the verso of the front endleaf) for the Bodleian Library; with the gold stamp of the Library on both covers. Gilt-edged leaves and marbled pastedowns.
Size: 428 × 290 × 90 mm.
Size of leaf: 415 × 255 mm.
On [a6r] an Italian (Venice) border of branch-work with roundels containing animals and a bird on a blue, red, and green ground with white dotting, edged in gold and orange, incorporating a 13-line initial ‘D' painted in gold; within the area defined by the letter a purple roundel containing a human profile in grey. Within a wreath supported by putti, a double-headed and crowned eagle displayed, having on its breast a shield, azure, a fess or, the arms of Giustiniani, of Venice; see Pächt and Alexander II, 111 no. pr. 82 and pl. lxxxviii. At the beginning of each book a large initial is supplied in red or blue with reserved white decoration. Other initials are supplied in red or blue.
Provenance: Giustiniani, of Venice (fifteenth century); coat of arms (see above). Unlikely to be the copy of Pietro-Antonio Bolongaro-Crevenna (1735-1792), lot 2129, marked down to van den Bergh and described as being more lavishly illuminated than this copy. Probably it is the copy of Maffeo Pinelli (1735-1785); Morelli (1787), III 416; sale (1789), lot 1121, sold at £10. 10. 0; the Bodleian paid £12. 6. 0, but the sale catalogue does not mention the name of the purchaser and it is possible that a dealer bought the item and soon after sold it to the Bodleian; the sale catalogue and Morelli merely describe the copy as ‘Essemplare di miravigliosa nitidezza'. Purchased for £12. 6. 0; see Books Purchased (1790), 7.
SHELFMARK: Auct. N 1.3.
Copy number: P-372(2)
For this copy see Wonderful Things, no. 25. On parchment.
Binding: The earliest Florentine binding in ‘humanistic' style. Illumination and binding were completed in 1483, and payment was made to Monte di Giovanni di Miniato del Fora and partners. Dark olive-green goatskin over thick wooden boards bevelled inwards. Four red textile clasps (lacking) hinged on the upper cover were secured by silver ornaments (sixteenth-century?) bearing the De Nobili arms. Four domed bosses with scalloped shell surrounds on each cover. Large silver catches on the lower cover with the Strozzi emblem, a lamb lying in a field with the motto ‘MITIS ESTO', on a niello plaque. Tooled in blind with three five-line frames, the second and third enclosing a border of a foliate tool in blind; the innermost frame is double, the two five-line sections divided by a single gilt line; gilt leaves at the outer corners of, and inside, the innermost frame; gilt fleurons in the central panel; oval ornament in blind around a silver roundel containing, gilt, the word ‘PLI | NIO' on the upper cover and ‘DENA. | ISTO.’ on the lower. Gilt edges. Multiple blind lines on the bevel of the boards. Triple blue and pink silk headbands. Parchment pastedown and conjoint free endleaf at each end. Sewn on six double split thongs. Bands divided and outlined by multiple blind lines. Four rosettes around a saltire in the compartments. Rebacked, with the original spine pasted on. Seventeenth/eighteenth-century manuscript title on a rectangular paper label at head of the spine. See Strickland Gibson, Some Notable Bodleian Bindings (Oxford, 1901-4), pls 9, 10; E. de Roover, ‘Come furono stampati a Venezia tre dei primi libri in volgare', Bibliofilia, 55 (1953), 107-17; De Marinis, Legatura, II no. 1574, pl. 266; Eve Borsook, ‘Documenti relativi alle Cappelle di Lecceto e delle selve di Filippo Strozzi', Antichità viva, IX, 3 (1979), 9; A. Hobson, Humanists and Bookbinders (Cambridge, 1989), 72-3, pl. 62.
Size: 435 × 295 × 110 mm.
Size of leaf: 415 × 280 mm.
Illuminated borders and historiated initials in gold and colours are supplied at the beginning of the translator's prefatory letter, the author's preface, and each book. Initials in gold and colours at the beginning of each chapter. The borders contain portraits and arms of Ferdinand I of Naples, to whom the translation is dedicated, of Filippo Strozzi, the owner of the volume, and a portrait of C. Landino, the translator; also the Strozzi emblem of a lamb lying in a field, accompanied by the motto ‘Mitis esto', and medallions of classical subjects. In some places over the Strozzi arms (or, on a fess gules three increscents argent) have been painted those of De' Nobili, heirs of the former owners (azure, two bendlets argent, the space between seme-de-lis or). The illumination is the work of Gherardo and Monte di Giovanni di Miniato (del Fora); see Italian Illuminated Manuscripts from 1400 to 1550. Catalogue of an Exhibition Held in the Bodleian Library (Oxford, 1948), no. 83 pls xviii–xix; Pächt and Alexander II, 109 no. pr. 48; Douce Legacy, 84, no. 129; The Painted Page: Italian Renaissance Book Illumination, 1450-1550, ed. Jonathan J. G. Alexander (Munich, 1994), 174-6 no. 85.
Provenance: Filippo Strozzi (1428-1491). Giulio d'Antonio de Nobili (sixteenth century); inscription on front endleaf and arms in the binding and decoration. Francis Douce (1757-1834); armorial book-plate. Bequeathed in 1834.
Former Bodleian shelfmark: Douce 310.
SHELFMARK: Arch. G b.6.
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