One of five known copies printed on blue paper
Ariosto (Lodovico), 1474-1533

Orlando Furioso di M. Lodovico Ariosto [with Giovanni Andrea Barotti’s ‘Vita di Msr. Lodovico Ariosto. Riveduta, e accresciuta per la terza volta, e di Annotazioni non poco aumentata, che si sono portate in fine d’essa’; and ‘I Cinque Canti di M. Lodovico Ariosto. Tutti di nuovo revisti, e ricorretti da molti importantissimi errori’]. Tomo I [-IV]

Venice, Antonio Zatta, 1772
A remarkable copy, printed on blue paper, of Zatta’s lavishly illustrated and ornamented edition of Ariosto, one of “les chefs-d’œuvre du livre illustré vénitien du XVIIIe siècle” (Maria Teresa Caracciolo). All copies of the edition feature a suite of sixty-six full-page engraved plates and in addition fifty-one engraved “Argomenti”, numerous initials, head- and tail-pieces. Only a small number of special copies – we are aware of about twenty besides our own, printed on vellum, carta azzura, or two sizes of carta d’Olanda – were further embellished by figurative engraved borders enclosing every page of text. These special copies are prized by collectors, who have paid dearly for them from almost the moment of publication to our own time.
Subjects
Book illustration - Artists, Italian - Novelli (Pietro Antonio), 1729-1804
Literature, Italian - Early works to 1800
Printing on blue paper - Early works to 1800
Authors/Creators
Ariosto, Lodovico, 1474-1533
Artists/Illustrators
Baratti, Tomaso, active 1772
Crivellari, Bartolomeo, 1725-1777
Daniotto, Giuseppe, active 1772
Fambrini, Ferdinando, active 1764-c. 1780
Giampiccoli, Giuliano, 1703-1759
Leonardis, Jacopo, 1723-1797
Magnini, Giovanni, active 1772
Malosso, Giacomo, active 1772
Novelli, Pietro Antonio, 1729-1804
Passega, Luigi, active 1772
Zais, Giuseppe, 1709-1784
Zuliani, Giuliano, c. 1730-c. 1814
Printers/Publishers
Zatta, Antonio, active 1757?-1797?
Owners
Peyrefitte, Roger, 1907-2000
Wehrli, Jos., active 1930?
Other names
Ariosto, Virginio, 1509-1560
Barotti, Giovanni Andrea, 1701-1772
Bute, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of, 1713-1792

Ariosto, Lodovico
Reggio Emilia 1474 – 1533 Ferrara

Orlando Furioso di M. Lodovico Ariosto [with Giovanni Andrea Barotti’s ‘Vita di Msr. Lodovico Ariosto. Riveduta, e accresciuta per la terza volta, e di Annotazioni non poco aumentata, che si sono portate in fine d’essa’; and ‘I Cinque Canti di M. Lodovico Ariosto. Tutti di nuovo revisti, e ricorretti da molti importantissimi errori’]. Tomo I [–IV].

Venice, Antonio Zatta, 1772

Four volumes, quarto (334 × 230 mm), printed throughout on blue paper.

i: (188) ff. signed *4 **4 a–g4 h2 A–Z4 Aa–Oo4 Pp2 and paginated (16) 1–60 (300), plus eight engraved plates inserted among preliminaries (frontispiece signed P.A. Novelli inv. e dis., title signed Pie. Ant. Nov. in. | Giu. Z. s., portrait of Ariosto signed G. Daniotto s., elevation and plan of his house signed Jo: Carri Ferrar. del. | G. Zuliani inc., of his tomb signed Aloys Passega Ferrar del. | G. Zuliani inc., of his chair signed Jo. Carri Ferrar. del | G. Zuliani inc., of his ‘Calamajo’ signed Jo: Carri Ferrar. delin. | G. Zuliani incid., and a specimen of his handwrit­ing signed Jo: Carri Ferrar. delin., all these plates called for in an ‘Avviso al legatore’ on folio *1 verso), engraved subtitle (from the matrice used for the title, with ‘Parte ii’ added), twelve plates illustrating the text (one inserted before each of Cantos ixii), of which v signed P.A. Novelli. d. | G. Zuliani s. and xixii signed F. Fanbrini. s. | A.N. inv., the remainder anonymous. Each illustration and page of text enclosed by engraved figurative borders by repetition of twenty-two designs, engraved ‘Argomento’ at head of each Canto, engraved tail-pieces, initials, and other orna­ments, including arms of the dedicatee John Stuart, third Earl of Bute, most of these matrices anonymous, eight with signatures G. Zompini inv. – B. Crivellari inc. (folio a2), Zuane Magnini in. e sc. (*4v), G.M. scul. (**1r) B. Crivellari s. (**4v), B. Crivellari (C3v), B. Crivellari s. (P2v), B.Crivellari (X2v), Giov. Magnini s. (Pp2v).

ii: (214) ff. signed A–Z4 Aa–Zz4 Aaa–Fff4 Ggg6 without pagination, plus engraved title (from the matrice used for the previous volume, altered to read ‘Tomo ii’), engraved sub-title (from the same matrice, appropriately altered), and thirteen plates (one inserted before each of Cantos xiii–xxv), of which xiii, xxii–xxv signed P.A. Nov. inv.| G. Zuliani s. (or version thereof), xiv signed M.P. in. | G. Zuliani. s., xv–xviii signed F. Fanbrin s. | A.N. inv. (or version thereof), xix–xx signed A.N. inv. | G. Zuliani sc., xxi signed J. Leonardis sc. Each illustration and page of text enclosed by figurative borders selected from the group used in the previous volume, plus two new designs, en­graved ‘Argomento’ at head of each Canto, engraved tail-pieces, and initials (all of these matrices anonymous).

iii: (206) ff. signed A–Z4 Aa–Zz4 Aaa–Ddd4 Eee6 without pagination, plus engraved title (from the matrice used for the previous volume, altered to read ‘Tomo iii’), engraved sub-title (from the same matrice, appropriately altered), and fourteen plates (one inserted before each of Cantos xxvi–xxxix), of which xxvi–xxxii, xxxv–xxxvii signed P. Ant. Novelli inv. | G. Zuliani s. (or version thereof), xxxiii signed Giuseppe Zaise inv. | Giuseppe Danioto scol., xxxiv signed Giu. Zaise in. | Giu. Zuliani s., xxxviii signed P.A. Novelli inv. | G. Danioto scul., and xxxix signed Pier. Ant. Novelli inv. | Tomaso Baratti s. Each illustration and page of text enclosed by figurative borders selected from the group used in the previous vol­umes, engraved ‘Argomento’ at head of each Canto, en­graved tail-pieces, and initials, most of these matrices anonymous, three with signatures Nicol. Lindemann sc., Z. Magnini F., M. Giampiccoli inc.

iv: (268) ff. signed A–Z4 Aa–Zz4 Aaa–Xxx4 without pagination, plus engraved title (from the unaltered matrice used for the previous volume, a pen-stroke added to ‘Tomo iii’), engraved sub-title (from the same matrice, now read­ing correctly ‘Tomo iv. Parte ii’), and a series of seven plates (one inserted before each of Cantos xl–xlvi), of which xl, xliii, xlv signed P. Ant.o Novelli. inv. | Giacomo Maloso. Sc. (or version thereof), xli, xliv signed Pietro Novelli. inv. | Tomaso Baratti s., and xlii, xlvi signed P.A. Nov. inv. | Giu. Zuliani s. (or version thereof), and another series of five plates (one inserted before each of the Cinque canti), of which i–ii signed Pietro Novelli. inv. | Tomaso Baratti s. (or version thereof), and iii, v signed P. Ant. Novelli inv. | Giu. Zuliani s. (or version thereof), and iv signed Giacomo Maloso. Sc. | P.o Ant.o Novelli. inv. Each illustration and page of text enclosed by figurative borders selected from the group used in the previous volumes, engraved ‘Argomento’ at head of each Canto, engraved tail-pieces, and initials, one ornament signed Giampiccoli inc.

This copy is extra-illustrated by a portrait of Ariosto signed G. Garavaglia dis. ed inc. (printed on ordinary paper).

provenance Jos Wehrli, exlibris Ex libris Jos. Wehrli (designed by Jean Hentzen) on front paste-downs of all volumes — [possibly in Wehrli’s sale, by F. Fiévez, Brussels, 28–31 March 1930] — Roger Peyrefitte (1907–2000), typographical label Exlibris Roger Peyrefitte on front pastedown of first volume — Guy Loudmer & Hervé Poulain (Claude Guérin & Marc Loliée, experts), ‘Bibliothèque Roger Peyrefitte, première partie. Livres anciens, antiquités, décoration, numismatique, voyages’, Paris, 20 December 1976, lot 9 (FF 22,100) — Pierre Berès, his sale by Pierre Bergé & Associés, ‘Pierre Berès. 80 ans de passion. 4ème vente. Le Cabinet des Livres’, Paris, 20 June 2006, lot 67

uniformly bound in eighteenth-century Italian half-vellum, orange paste-paper on covers, the flat backs divided into six compartments by gilt rolls, green and orange leather lettering-pieces.

A remarkable copy, printed on blue paper, of Zatta’s lavishly illustrated and orna­mented edition of Ariosto, one of  ‘les chefs-d’œuvre du livre illustré vénitien du xviiie siècle’.1 The book is the first and only published part of a projected raccolta of Italian poetry, financed by the dedicatee, John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute (1713–1792), an ill-fated continuation of the publishing activities of the lately-deceased Consul Smith.2

All copies of the edition feature a suite of sixty-six full-page engraved plates (frontis­piece, portrait, four titles, four sub-titles, five plates in the ‘Vita’, forty-six for Orlando furioso, five plates for Cinque canti) and in addition fifty-one engraved ‘Argomenti’, numerous initials, head- and tail-pieces. Only a small number of special copies – we are aware of about twenty besides our own, printed on vellum, carta azzura, or two sizes of carta d’Olanda (quarto and folio, the latter usually bound in eight rather than four volumes) – were fur­ther embellished by figu­rative engraved borders enclosing each page of text. These special copies are prized by collectors, who have paid dearly for them from almost the moment of publica­tion to our own time.3

The creation of these special copies was ex­pensive of effort as well as of materials. Each sheet had to be fed through a press two or three times: once to print the engraved frames which enclose each page of text, again to print the text, sometimes yet again to add the engraved ‘Argomento’ or an engraved ornament. In the special copies, the full-page plates which adorn the ‘Vita’ and illustrate each Canto are sur­rounded by the same frames as the text pages (by repetition of twenty-four different matri­ces, each about 330 × 230 mm, sev­eral lettered p[resso] il Zatta con Priv. Ec.mo. Senato).4 The intent of these page borders is to allow the pictorial element to invade the text and the happy result is ‘one of the most rococo of Venetian books’.5

The layout of the edition probably was inspired by Giambattista Albrizzi’s edition of Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, published in 1745, in which a full-page engraving appears at the beginning of each Canto, a decorative border surrounds each ‘Argomento’, and deco­rative ornaments are employed profusely. The twenty large plates in Albrizzi’s Tasso (engraved after designs by Piazzetta) had broken with tradi­tion: in­stead of being crowded with incident and an­ticipating a number of events in the relevant Canto, they concentrated on an indi­vidual scene. Zatta’s Ariosto followed this new model; its forty-six large plates ‘apportent une innovation importante à l’illustration traditionnelle du poème, pratiquée encore à cette époque: elles constituent le frontispice de chaque nouveau chant et représen­tent une scène unique, narrative et précise, qui introduit l’action ou le passage considéré comme le plus significatif du poème. Elles se définissent donc non seulement comme un élément décoratif destiné, selon la tradition, à embellir le livre, mais déjà comme une approche interprétative du texte, une clef de lecture.’6

The full-page illustrations to Orlando furioso and the Cinque canti were engraved by Tomaso Baratti, Giuseppe Daniotto, Ferdinando Fambrini,7 Giacomo Leonardis,8 Giacomo Malosso, and Giuliano Zuliani, after designs supplied by Pier Antonio Novelli (1729–1804), the monogrammists ‘A.N.’ (probably Pier Antonio Novelli) and ‘M.P.’, and Giuseppe Zais (1709–1784). The five plates illustrating the ‘Vita’ were engraved by Zuliani from designs supplied by two Ferrarese draughtsmen, Luigi Passega and G. Carri. The ornaments are signed by Bartolommeo Crivellari, Giuliano Giampiccoli, Nicolas Lindemann, and Giovanni Magnini, or are anonymous.

The texts are presented in the recension of Giovanni Andrea Barotti (first published in 1741), accompanied by Barotti’s prefatory ‘Vita’ with ‘Appunti’ by Virginio Ariosti (evi­dently reprinted from the Prose italiane of Barotti, Ferrara 1770, ii, pp.137–208).9 Zatta’s proofreaders are identified in each volume as ‘Sig. Ab. D. Leonardo Marcellotto, e dal Sig. Antonio Cilis’.

Chief among the twenty-odd special copies known to us are two printed on vellum

● Mount Stuart House, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, the copy presented to the dedicatee John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute10 ● London, British Library, C.7.d.7–10, a copy perhaps pre­sented to George iii (page dimensions 339 × 230 mm).11

Besides the copy here offered for sale, four others printed on blue paper can be traced

● Cambridge, ma, Harvard University, Houghton Library, Department of Printing and Graphic Arts, Typ 725.72 158 F (de­scribed in the library opac as an ‘uncut copy on blue paper’, yet the height stated is im­probably short: 290 mm)12 ● Ferrara, Biblio­teca comunale Ariostea, Inven­tario 19276–19279, s B.6. 24–31 (bound as eight volumes, page dimensions 315 × 223 mm)13 ● Florence, Biblioteca nazionale centrale14 ● Washington, dc, Library of Congress, Rosenwald Collec­tion, PQ 4567.A2 1772.15

One of these or perhaps yet another copy printed on blue paper was offered for sale by the Leipzig booksellers T.O. Weigel, probably in the 1850s.16

Among special copies printed on large sheets of white carta ad uso d’Olanda we note

● Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University, Eisenhower Library, PG 1567.A2 1772 (height stated in library opac: 46 cm) ● Chicago, Newberry Library, Y 712. A 7077 (height stated in library opac: 34 cm) ● London, British Library, 81.l.4–7, a copy from the Royal Library of George iii (page dimensions: 363 × 240 mm)17 ● New York, New York Public Library, Spencer Collection, Ital. 1772 (height stated in library opac: 40 cm) ● Unlocated, a copy bound for the 3rd Earl of Bute’s grandson, Charles, 1st Lord Stuart de Rothesay (1779–1845), later in Major J.R. Abbey’s library (dimensions stated in auction sale catalogue: 396 × 275 mm).18

Ordinary copies with the narrow page borders are common, and no census is necessary; we note

● London, British Library, 637.k.10 (page di­men­sions: 276 × 200 mm) ● Rome, Biblioteca Angelica, SS.6.65–57 (height: 29 cm)19 ● Venice, Biblioteca Marciana, 79.C.20–2320 ● Venice, Museo Civico Correr di Venezia (di­mensions: 284 × 209 mm).21

In such copies the title-page of the fourth volume is dated 1773; however it is not certain that the special copies were printed first.

references Giuseppe Agnelli and Giuseppe Ravegnani, Annali delle edizioni Ariostee (Bologna 1933), i, pp.202–204; Giuseppe Morazzoni, Il Libro illustrato veneziano del settecento (Milan 1943), p.213, pl. 80 (reproducing fron­tispiece and title-page from an ordinary copy); Maria Lanckorońska, Die Veneziani­sche Buchgraphik des xviii. Jahrhunderts (Hamburg 1950), no. 14, figs. 59–60 (reproducing Cantos xix, xxii from an ordinary copy); Marino De Grassi, Libri illustrati del Settecento veneziano, catalogue of an exhibi­tion, Cormòns, 29 November–15 December 1996 (Monfalcone 1996), p.169

1. Maria Teresa Caracciolo, ‘Lectures de l’Arioste au xviiie siècle: du livre illustré au cycle peint’ in Gazette de Beaux-arts 123 (issue 1502, March 1994), p.123.

2. Francis Russell, John, 3rd Earl of Bute: Patron & Collec­tor (London 2004), p.115. The copies of the edition in­tended for subscribers (‘Signori Associati’) were priced ‘L[ire] 19 : 10 [centesimi]’ (state­ment printed below the tail-piece on last page of volume i in appropriate copies; in other copies no price is given).

3. See for example, Louis César de La Baume Le Blanc, Catalo­gue des livres de la Bibliothèque de feu M. le Duc de la Vallière (Paris 1783), ii, lot 3663, ‘8 vol. in fol. fig. m.r.’ (sold for 270 Fr, according to J.-C. Brunet, Manuel du Libraire et de l’amateur de livres, Paris 1860, i, col. 437); Catalogue des livres de la Bibliothèque de M.*** [Potor, héritier de M. Lemarié] dont la vente se fera le jeudi 20 juillet 1786… dans une des salles de l’hôtel Bullion (Paris 1786), lot 328 (320 Fr, according to J.G. Graesse, Trésor de Livres Rares et Précieux, Dresden 1858, i, p.199); Étienne Charles de Loménie de Brienne, Catalo­gue d’une partie des livres de la Bibliothèque (Paris 1797), lot 1486, ‘8 vol. in-fol. cart. fig. & cadres en vignettes’ (141 Fr, according to Brunet); Sotheby & Co., ‘Catalogue of valuable printed books and fine bindings… the property of Major J.R. Abbey’, London, 21–23 June 1965, lot 42, bound as four volumes in late eighteenth-century vellum, gilt insig­nia of Charles Stuart, Baron de Rothesay (1779–1845), on covers, described as ‘one of a few copies with the text printed within rococo borders’ (sold £1050 to Vigevani).

4. In ordinary copies, evidently printed after the special copies, these full-page plates are enclosed by narrower en­graved frames, featuring putti with trophies, birds, flower, and shell ornaments. The origi­nal captions were erased from the matrices and new captions with plate numbers and the privilege statement ‘p. A. Zatta c.p.e.s.’ added. For reproductions of the narrow borders and re-lettered plates, see Ugo Bellocchi and Bruno Fava, L’interpretazione grafica dell’Orlando Furioso (Reggio Emilia 1961), pp.30–31, figs. 35–37 (Cantos xxix, xl, xlvi); Caracciolo, op. cit. (note 1), figs. 11, 15, 21 (Cantos i, iv, v).

5. Eleanor Garvey, ‘Some Venetian illustrated books of the eighteenth century in the Harvard College Library’ in Bulletin du Bibliophile (1999), p.304.

6. Caracciolo, op. cit. (note 1), pp.123–124.

7. A native of Tuscany, Fambrini may be identified as Zatta’s ‘best workman’, who ‘ran away some months ago [i.e., during the Spring of 1772] to Leghorn’, the probable cause of delay in production of the book; see Russell, op. cit. (note 2), pp.232–233 (transcribing a letter of Robert Richie to the 3rd Earl of Bute, dated ‘Venice 12th June 1772’).

8. Canto xxi only; see Dario Succi, Da Carlevarijs ai Tiepolo. Incisori veneti e friulani del Settecento (Venice 1983), no. 259 (reproduced from an ordinary copy).

9. In volume iv (folios Eee1r to Xxx4v), these texts are printed ▪ Illustrazioni al Furioso di m. Lodouico Ariosto. Allegorie de i nomi proprij, e principali di quest’opera, poste per ordine di Alfabeto da Orazio Toscanella ▪ Paragone di tutti i luoghi d’istorie, di favole, di nomi proprij, d’abbattimenti, e d’altre cose, che l’Ariosto per via d’imitazione ha tolto da gli antichi Greci, e Latini; con la dichiarazione di tutti i nomi delle Persone principali, che sono nel Furioso. Tratta dal sig. Fausto da Longiano ▪ Allusioni, che si veggono nell’Orlando Furioso, sopra molte cose, o ne’ nostri, o ne’ più antichi tempi accadute ▪ Osservazione di Orazio Toscanella intorno la vera storia della quale si servì l’Ariosto nella composi­zione del suo Poema ▪ Catalogo delle migliori edizioni dell’Orlando Furioso coll’ordine cronologico, tratto dall’edizione dell’Orlandini 1730. Con aggiunte, e supplementi fino al giorno presente ▪ Scontri de’ luoghi i quali m. Lodovico Ariosto mutò dopo la prima impressione del Furioso, e la cagione perché lo facesse di luogo in luogo. Raccolti ed esaminati dal signor Giambattista Pigna ▪ Mutazioni, e miglioramenti, che M. Lodovico Ariosto avea fatti metter nell’ultima impressione del Furioso, raccolti da Girolamo Ruscelli ▪ Dichiarazione delle istorie più importanti, antiche, e moderne toccate nel Furioso. Con una breue esposizione delle Fauole raccolte da m. Niccolò Eugenico ▪ Breue esposizione di tutte le Fauole raccolte dal medesimo ▪ Indice delle materie del Furioso. Il più abbondante, e il più universale di tutti gli altri fino ad ora stampati.

10. William Clarke, Repertorium bibliographicum (London 1819), i, p.239 (‘supposed to be the only copy struck off upon vellum’, located in the Bute Library at Luton Park, Bedfordshire, although not seen there by Clarke); Catalogue de livres imprimés sur vélin (Paris 1824), ii, pp.111–112, no. 197 (‘un exemplaire de format in-folio, qu’on croit être le seul qui ait été tiré sur vélin, se conserve dans la Bibl. du marquis de Bute’); Russell, op. cit. (note 2), p.115 (located at Mount Stuart). Two copies in the Bute library printed on ordinary and large paper were sold by Leigh & Sotheby, ‘A Catalogue of a valuable and well-known library’, London, 30 May 1785, lots 2534–2535.

11. Frederick A. Barnard, Bibliothecae Regiae Catalogus (London 1820), i, p.123; Robin C. Alston, Books printed on vellum in the collec­tions of the British Library (London 1996), p.24. The copy is bound as four volumes in eight­eenth-century red morocco, with royal insignia on covers, but no other identi­fiable marks of ownership.

12. See also Garvey, op. cit. (note 5), p.304. The four vol­umes are bound as eight in calf-backed brown boards.

13. According to the local polo (Bibliotecario ferrarese), bound as eight volumes ‘in pelle marm.; sul dorso tass. in pelle con tit. e n. del v. impr. in oro’ (page height not stated). This copy has been twice exhibited in Reggio Emilia: Bruno Fava and Dino Prandi, Celebrazione Ariostesche. Catalogo della Mostra Bibliografica (Reggio Emilia 1951), p.34, no. 132; Giorgio Cagnolati, Mostra di edizioni Ario­stesche, Biblioteca Antonio Panizzi (Reggio Emilia 1974), p.47, no. 176.

14. Copy cited by Giuseppe Agnelli and Giuseppe Ravegnani, Annali delle edizioni Ariostee (Bologna 1933), i, p.204.

15. The Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection: A Catalog of the Gifts of Lessing J. Rosenwald to the Library of Congress, 1943 to 1975 (Washington, dc 1977), p.289, no. 1586.

16. See Graesse, op. cit. (note 3), i, p.119.

17. The opening to Canto ix in this copy is reproduced by Alan Bartram, Five hundred years of book design (London 2001), pp.80–81.

18. See above (note 3).

19. Mostra Bibliografica Ariostea nel v. centenario della nascita di Ludovico Ariosto. Catalogo, Biblio­teca Statale Angelica (Rome 1974), p.28, no. 65, fig. 4 (Canto xxiv).

20. Tullia Gasparrini Leporace, Il libro illustrato nel sette­cento a Venezia, catalogue of an exhibition, Biblioteca nazionale Marciana (Venice 1955), no. 8, with three repro­ductions: frontispiece in volume i, plate illus­trating Canto viii, and page of text opposite.

21. Rodolfo Pallucchini, Gli incisori veneti del settecento, catalogue of an exhibition (Venice 1941), no. 536.

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