Woodcuts 150 × 105 mm View larger
Woodcuts 150 × 105 mm

Bound in Italianate style for the Augsburg Stadtbibliothek

Palatino (Giovanni Battista), c. 1510-c. 1575

Libro nuovo da imparare a scrivere tutte sorte lettere antiche et moderne di tutte nationi, con nuove regole, misure, et essempi

Rome, Girolama Cartolari, 1543 (2 October)
Second edition of Palatino’s enormously popular calligraphy book, noted for its examples of cursive chancery scripts, mercantile hands, and national hands, but including non-western scripts (Hebrew, Chaldean, Arabic, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian, Indian, Cyrillic, etc.), a rebus, and cipher alphabets, as well as “Lettera Mancina” (right-to-left handwriting, of the kind practised by Leonardo). Only four other copies of the edition can be located ● Bergamo, Biblioteca civica “Angelo Mai” ● Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum ● Rome, Biblioteca nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele II ● Turin, Biblioteca Reale. The present copy was bound at Augsburg about 1560 in a style inspired by Italian models. On the upper cover, displayed within a double-ruled-lozenge, is a stamp (height 19 mm) of the civic insignia of Augsburg, the “Stadtpyr” or “Zirbelnuss” (pine cone) set on a column base.
Subjects
Art books - Early works to 1800
Book illustration - Pattern books - Early works to 1800
Writing and calligraphy books - Early works to 1800
Authors/Creators
Palatino, Giovanni Battista, c. 1510-c. 1575
Printers/Publishers
Cartolari, Girolama, active 1543-1559
Owners
Augsburg, Stadtbibliothek

Palatino , Giovanni Battista
Rossano (Calabria) circa 1510 – Rome? circa 1575

Libro nuovo da imparare a scrivere tutte sorte lettere antiche et moderne di tutte nationi, con nuove regole, misure, et essempi.

Rome, Girolama Cartolari, 1543 (2 October)

quarto (182 × 132 mm), (52) ff. signed A–F8 G4, not foli­ated or paginated. Woodcut portrait of the author on title-page, sixty-nine full-page woodcuts by an anonymous block­cutter, author’s emblematical device (a moth fluttering over a candle flame, accompanied by a verse from Petrarch) on final leaf.

provenance [Stadtbibliothek Augsburg] — Günther Leisten, his sale by Venator & Hanstein, ‘Auktion 82: Wertvolle und Kostbare Bücher… Nachlass Günther Leisten, Teil i’, Cologne, 20 October 2000, lot 644

Wormholes in margins of nine leaves, occasional ink spot and other signs of use. Repairs to binding, front free-endpaper renewed.

binding contemporary South German brown calf over thin paper boards, decorated in blind, on both covers a rectangular panel orna­mented at each outside angles by a fleur-de-lis and along each side by twin lotus leaf scrolls, the panel on the upper cover enclosing the civic insignia of Augsburg (a pine cone on a pedestal) between a pair of medallion heads; the undeco­rated back divided into five compartments by four raised bands; plain page edges; cloth ties lacking.

Second edition of Palatino’s enormously popular calligraphy book, noted for its examples of cursive chancery scripts, mercantile hands, and national hands, but including non-western scripts (Hebrew, Chaldean, Arabic, Greek, Egyptian, Syrian, Indian, Cyrillic, etc.), a rebus, and cipher alphabets, as well as ‘Lettera Mancina’ (right-to-left handwriting, of the kind practised by Leonardo). There are in addition two brief texts, ‘Delle Cifre’, a ‘genuine contribution to cryptography’, and ‘De gli instrumenti’, on practical aspects of writing, including recipes for inks, advice about pens, and learning to write.1

Woodcut 150 × 105 mm

Palatino, a notary ‘by Apostolic authority’, played an active part in Roman intellec­tual life as secretary of the Academy of the Sdegnati, an informal association of humanists founded by Girolamo Ruscelli, where he befriended Francesco Molza and Claudio Tolomei (both mentioned here in the dedicatory address to Cardinal Robert de Lenoncourt).2 The first edition, printed in Rome by Bernardo Giunta for Baldassare Cartolari, is dated 12 August 1540; our second edition, as well as the third, were anonymously printed for his widow Girolama Cartolari (‘nella Contrada del Pellegrino per la Moglie che fu di Baldassarre de Cartolari Perugino’) and are dated 2 October 1543, and May 1544, respectively.3 The blocks passed in 1545 to Antonio Blado, who brought out an enlarged version in numerous editions; then in 1561 to Valerio Dorico, who revised the book again; and in 1578 into the hands of Venetian printers.

Woodcut 150 × 105 mm

The two editions issued by Girolama Cartolari are both rare: four copies only of her 1543 edition can be located4

● Bergamo, Biblioteca civica ‘Angelo Mai’5 ● Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum6 ● Rome, Biblioteca nazionale Centrale Vittorio Emanuele ii7 ● Turin, Biblioteca Reale8

and nine copies of her 1544 edition9

● Albi, Bibliotheque municipale ● Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, AV Caps. 139/1610 ● Canterbury, Cathedral Library11 ● New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library12 ● New York, Columbia University Libraries ● Oxford, Bodleian Library13 ● Perugia, Biblioteca comunale Augusta ● Turin, Biblioteca Reale ● Vicenza, Biblioteca civica Bertoliana

Bound at Augsburg ‘vf welsche Manier’. Height of binding 190mm
Detail The civic insignia of Augsburg, the ‘Stadtpyr’ or ‘Zirbelnuss’ (pine cone), set on a column base

The present copy was bound at Augsburg about 1560 in a style inspired by Italian models. The covers are ornamented by twin impressions of a lotus leaf stamp of a type popularised by the Venetian ‘Fugger Binder’. His tools were copied by Anthoni Lodewijk, a binder sent to Venice by Johann Jacob Fugger to learn to gild, who produced on his return to Augsburg in 1557 bindings entirely Venetian in appearance.14 Lodewijk is said to have inspired an ‘Italian irruption at Augsburg’;15 his tools in turn were copied by the ‘Leovitius-Meister’, by Jakob Krause, and by a shop working for Hans Jakob Fugger.16

On the upper cover, displayed within a double-ruled-lozenge, is a stamp (height 19 mm) of the civic insignia of Augsburg, the ‘Stadtpyr’ or ‘Zirbelnuss’ (pine cone) set on a column base.17 It is flanked by two heads in profile encircled by laurel wreaths, impressed by ordinary finishing tools: on the left, a man with a pointed beard, and two ribbons hanging down over his nape (perhaps Henri ii); on the right, an unidentified emperor, crowned, also with a ribbon in his hair.

A faint glue stain on the front pastedown (165 × 95 mm) indicates the removal of an exlibris, probably one of the larger versions of the woodcut armorial exlibris (by Christoph Amberger) employed in Augsburg during the 1540s to denote ‘nicht nur das Eigentum der Stadtbibliothek, sondern den Besitzstand der Stadt schlechthin’.18

references Giacomo Manzoni, Studi di bibliografia analytica (Bologna 1882), p.161; A.F. Johnson, ‘A Catalogue of Italian writing-books of the sixteenth century’ in Signature, new series, 10 (1950), p.32; Claudio Bonacini, Bibliografia delle arti scrittorie e della calligrafia (Florence 1953), no. 1330; Carlo Enrico Rava, Supplement a Max Sander Le Livre à figures italien de la Renaissance (Milan 1969), no. 5392a; Francesco Barberi, Tipografi romani del Cinquecento (Florence 1983), p.157

1. Arthur Osley, Luminario. An introduction to the Italian writing-books of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Nieuwkoop 1972), p.50; see further, Arthur Osley, The tools of hand­writing: from Palatino's writing manual of 1540, Un nuovo modo d’imparare Giovambattista Palatino (Wormley 1972).

2. James Wardrop, ‘Civis romanus sum: Giovanbattista Palatino and his circle’ in Signature, new series, 14 (1952) pp.3–39.

3. Deborah Parker, ‘Women in the Book Trade in Italy, 1475–1620’ in Renaissance Quarterly 49 (1996) pp.527–528.

4. These copies are lost or unidentified: Bernard Quaritch, ‘Catalogue of the Monuments of the Early Printers’, London 1888, no. 36534 (‘vellum, £5’); Jacques Rosenthal, ‘Catalogue of a part of the valuable and extensive Library of Cavaliere Andrea Tessier (removed from Venice)’, Munich, 21–23 May 1900, lot 912 (‘Br.’); James Tregaskis and Son, Catalogue 973, London, [circa 1928?] (copy cited by A.F. Johnson, op. cit., p.32).

5. Luigi Chiodi, ‘Le cinquecentine della Biblioteca Civica “A. Mai” di Bergamo’ in Bergomvm 67 (1973), p.254.

6. J. Stockbauer, ‘Die Bücher der Schreibmeister des 16.–18. Jahrhunderts im germanischen Museum: Nachtrag’ in Mitteilungen aus dem germanischen Nationalmuseum 1 (1884–1886), p.101.

7. Fernanda Ascarelli, Le Cinquecentine romane: ‘Censi­mento delle edizioni romane del xvi secolo possedute dalle biblioteche di Roma’ (Milan 1972), p.187.

8. Located by Edit 16 (Censimento nazionale delle edizioni italiane del xvi secolo: http://edit16.iccu.sbn.it).

9. This copy is unlocated: Laurent Coulet, ‘Catalogue 45: Livres anciens et modernes’ (Paris 2010), item 13 (‘reliure moderne faite avec un vélin ancien’, €8000).

10. ‘Donne tipografe’ tra xv e xix secolo, catalogue of an exhibition in the Aula magna, Biblioteca universitaria, Bologna, 8 March–10 May 2003 ([Bologna] 2003), p.20.

11. The Cathedral libraries catalogue. Books printed on the continent of Europe before 1701 in the libraries of the Anglican cathedrals of England and Wales, edited by David J. Shaw (London 1998), P–61.

12. Axel Erdmann, My gracious silence: women in the mirror of 16th century printing in Western Europe (Lucerne 1999), pp.143–144 no. 137.

13. Catalogue of printed books and manuscripts bequeathed by Francis Douce to the Bodleian Library (Oxford 1840), p.206 (shelfmark Douce PP 262).

14. Anthony Hobson, Renaissance book collecting: Jean Grolier and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, their books and bindings (New York 1999), p.129.

15. G.D. Hobson, ‘German Renaissance patrons of bookbinding’ in The Book Collector 3 (1954), p.252.

16. Ferdinand Geldner, ‘Unbekannte Fuggerbände, die Fuggerschen Supralibros und die anonymen Augsburger Fugger-Meister’ in Archiv für die Geschichte des Buchwesens 5 (1964), col. 1222, Abb. 21.

17. Other versions of this tool appear on an elaborately gold-tooled binding presented by Jakob Krause to the Stadtrat in 1564 (Ilse Schunke, Leben und Werk Jakob Krauses, Leipzig 1943, p.42) and on a binding of circa 1569 (Ingebord Salzbrunn, Die Einbandsammlung der Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg, Gläshutten im Taunus 1976, nos. 22–23).

18. Ilse O’Dell, Deutsche und Österreichische Exlibris 1500–1599 im Britischen Museum (London 2003), nos. 15–27.

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