Bound for Olimpia Maidalchini-Pamphilj, "La terribile Pimpaccia" (height 148 mm) View larger
Bound for Olimpia Maidalchini-Pamphilj, "La terribile Pimpaccia" (height 148 mm)
Francis de Sales, Saint, 1567-1622

I veri trattenimenti ò Discorsi spirituali… tradotti dal Franzese nell Italiano da D. Paolo Battista Vso di Mare

Rome, Francesco Cavalli, 1652
First edition in Italian translation of Les Vrays Entretiens spirituels, a series of twenty-one lectures (or Conferences) on the duties and virtues of the conventual life delivered to the Nuns of the Visitation by François de Sales, later written up from memory by his listeners, and published in an authorised edition at Lyon in 1629. The translator, Paolo Battista Uso di Mare, a Benedictine monk of the Cassinese congregation in the Basilica of San Paolo fuori di Mura in Rome, dedicates the edition to Cardinal Fabio Chigi, at whose instigation it was made. This copy was bound for Olimpia Maidalchini-Pamphilj (1594-1657), the confidant of Pope Innocent X, and the most powerful woman in Rome of her day. The tools decorating the binding are associated with the bindery operated by the brothers Gregorio and Giovanni Andreoli and also with another, as yet unidentified shop (the “Enigmatic Binder”).
Subjects
Bookbinding - Italy, 1601-1700 - Andreoli (Giovanni), 1631-1699
Bookbinding - Italy, 1601-1700 - Andreoli (Gregorio), active 17th century
Authors/Creators
Francis de Sales, Saint, 1567-1622
Printers/Publishers
Cavalli, Francesco, active 1627-1657
Owners
Pamphili, Olimpia Maidalchini, 1594-1656
Other names
Andreoli, Giovanni, 1631-1699
Andreoli, Gregorio, active 17th century
Usodimare, Paolo Battista, OSB, active 1652

Francis de Sales, Saint
Thorens (Duchy of Savoy) 1567 – 1622 Lyon

I veri trattenimenti ò Discorsi spirituali… tradotti dal Franzese nell Italiano da D. Paolo Battista Vso di Mare.

Rome, Francesco Cavalli, 1652

duodecimo (140 × 75 mm), (228) ff. signed a12 A–S12 (blanks S11, S12) and paginated (24) 1–411 (21). En­graved portrait printed on folio a3.

provenance Olimpia Maidalchini-Pamphilj (1594–1657), binding — Christie’s, ‘Libri, autografi e stampe’, Rome, 14 December 1999, lot 125

Text lightly foxed; slight abrasion to edges of the binding, headcap chipped, other minor defects, but overall a good copy in entirely original state of preservation.

binding contemporary Italian calf binding, covers and back elaborately decorated in gilt, armorial insignia on covers of Olimpia Maidalchini-Pamphilj; page edges gilt.

First edition in Italian translation of Les Vrays Entretiens spirituels, a series of twenty-one lectures (or Conferences) on the duties and virtues of the conventual life delivered to the Nuns of the Visita­tion by François de Sales, later written up from memory by his listeners, and published in an authorised edition at Lyon in 1629.1 The translator, Paolo Battista Uso di Mare, a Benedictine monk of the Cassinese congregation in the Basilica of San Paolo fuori di Mura in Rome, dedicates the edition to Cardinal Fabio Chigi, at whose instigation it was made.

Bound for Olimpia Maidalchini-Pamphilj, ‘La terribile Pimpaccia’ (height 148 mm)

This copy was bound for Olimpia Maidalchini-Pamphilj (1594–1657), the most powerful woman in Rome of her day. First married to Paolo Nini, Olimpia contracted a second mar­riage with Pope Innocent x’s elder brother Pamphilo Pamphilj, to whom she bore a son, Camillo, in 1622. She became the confidant of Innocent x and received enormous riches during his pontificate, including magnificent works of art. Innocent’s successor, Alexander vii, exiled her in 1655 to her palace in San Martino al Cimino, a small village north of Rome, where she died two years later.

Our binding is decorated by tools associated with a shop once designated the ‘Rospigliosi Bindery’ on account of the work it undertook (directly and on behalf of donors) for Giulio Rospigliosi as Cardinal and as Pope Clement ix (1667–1669).2 From about 1656, the shop worked continuously for the Biblioteca Vaticana. Recent scholarship has identified its pro­prietors as the brothers Gregorio (died 1696) and Giovanni Andreoli (died 1699).3 Another Roman shop (the so-called ‘Enigmatic Binder’) employed very similar tools, including the two cherubs supporting the shield, and the roll decorating the back of our binding. On pre­sent knowledge it is impossible to separate their production.4

Two bindings displaying Olimpia’s insignia were featured in the exhibition Legatura Romana Barocca, one (no. 49) executed in vellum on a quarto Officio del Patriarca S. Domenico (Rome 1644), the other (no. 59) in calf on a quarto manu­script ‘cartella vuota’ (undated). Neither binding is as ornate as ours, nor decorated by the same group of tools. The ‘Enigmatic Binder’ bound for Pope Alexander vii in a similar style Francis de Sales’ Introduzione alla vera divotione (Rome 1651).5

Four copies of this first edition can be located, all in Italian libraries

● Biella, Biblioteca diocesana del Seminario vescovile, A.8.111 ● Genoa, Biblioteca provinciale dei Cappuccini liguri, 1CHISPA XX0 70 ● Foligno, Biblioteca L. Jacobilli del Seminario Vescovile, FA Seic.159 ● Rome, Biblioteca Vallicelliana, S.BOR A.IV.91

1. Oeuvres de Saint François de Sales, edited by Dom Benedict Mackey osb (Annecy 1895), vi, pp.xxii–xxvi.

2. See Mirjam Foot, ‘The Borghese Bindery, the Rospigliosi Bindery and their Patrons’ in The Henry Davis Gift: a collection of bookbindings. Volume i: Studies in the history of bookbindings (London 1978), pp.323–336.

3. Several hundred tools associated with the Andreoli workshop are reproduced in Legatura Romana Barocca 15651700, exhibition catalogue, Palazzo Braschi (Rome 1991), pp.31–46, plates v–vii.

4. Guido Vianini Tolomei, ‘Un atelier de reliure à Rome au xviie siècle; l’atelier dit Enigmatique’ in Bulletin du Bibliophile 1993, no. 2, pp.322–344.

5. Vianini Tolomei, op. cit., no. 17 (reproduced p.326).

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