This print belongs to the first version (conventionally designated E-series) of a group of fifty engravings known as the “Tarocchi Cards of Mantegna” – despite being neither true tarocchi nor related to Mantegna. “Rhetorica” is one of ten images in the third group of the set (marked with the letter C and numbered 21-30) personifying ten “Liberal Arts”: the classical seven known as the trivium (Grammar, Dialectic or Logic, Rhetoric) and quadrivium (Geometry, Arithmetic, Music, Astronomy or Astrology), raised to ten by the addition of Poetry, Philosophy and Theology. Many critics place the “Tarocchi” among the most important of the incunabula of printmaking in Italy. It appears that the fifty matrices were repeatedly struck, without alterations, perhaps over a period of twenty or thirty years, during which various colours of ink were employed: grey, bluish green, greenish grey, greenish brown, with the ink always watery and thin in quality, often with enhancements in gold. The present impression is softly printed in a delicate grey ink. It was acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in November 1897 (Henry Foster Sewall bequest), and deaccessioned in 1918, since when it has been in private collections.
Venice, Giovanni Antonio dei Nicolini da Sabbio, 1534
Very rare volume of verse in praise of the noblewomen of Venice, loosely organised in four parts, commencing with thirteen stanzas of ottava rima on Venetian women in general, then (after a pictorial sub-title) twenty-two stanzas of ottava rima with headings associating specific women with the tarocchi trumps (Major Arcana), next twenty-one stanzas of ottava rima addressed to the author’s “Fenice”, and lastly two quatrains and two stanzas of terza rima. No other publication of the author is known.
A volume from the celebrated chess library of Giacomo Boncompagni, duke of Sora (1548-1612), the natural son of Pope Gregory xiii, described by H.J.R. Murray as “the Maecenas of Italian chess”. Many of the great players of the period, including Ruy Lopez, Giulio Cesare Polerio, Girolamo Cascio, and Gioachino Greco, were members of his Roman household, or received benefices from him. This first edition of Salvio’s treatise comprises thirty-one chapters with openings, eleven with games at odds, and twenty-one giochi di partiti, or problems, some being supplied from actual play. Italian players thereafter “were generally content to rely on Salvio for their openings, and made no attempt to advance the theory of play until the rise of the Modenese masters in 1750” (Murray).
Paris & London, H[enri]. Gache éditeur, 58 rue de la Victoire; London, pub. by C. Barbe, 60, Regent’s quadrant (Imp. [Joseph] Lemercier a Paris), c. 1846-1848
A rare series of prints depicting women in the harem, loosely draped, drawn by the English artist Augustus Jules Bouvier, while he was a student in Paris. The prints were first issued individually (or in pairs) in 1846; this collected edition under the title Le Sérail illustré seems to be unknown.
Two works in one volume (25 cm), I (Gelli sale, 18 March 1912): (4) 76 pp., text illustrations. Lots numbered 1-378. II (Garcia Donnell sale, 14-18 June 1926): 214 (4) pp. Lots numbered 1-953. Morocco-backed boards, a collector’s binding (original wrappers bound in). - Rare auction sale catalogue of the collection of books on fencing and duelling assembled by Jacopo Gelli (1858-1935), author of Bibliografia generale della scherma (Florence 1890; second edition Milan 1895).
Bound with the sale catalogue of the collection assembled by the Cuban collector J.R. Garcia Donnell, a resident of Buenos Aires, founded on the library of Pedro Vindel (1865-1921). ¶ Paper of both catalogues becoming brittle, but at present in excellent state of preservation
(34 cm), x, 569 pp., 56 illustrations on 38 plates. Publisher’s printed wrappers. - Bibliography of books on hunting and fishing in the Italian language (wherever printed). ¶ Copy 129, printed on Carta Fabriano Raffaello (edition limited to 600 copies, printed on various papers). Clean, unmarked copy. Wrapper slightly damaged (without loss).
(28 cm), xxi (1), 838 columns, illustrations. Publisher’s red cloth, original plain card slipcase (no dust jacket issued). - The author’s collection was sold by Zisska & Kistner, “Jagdbibliothek Prof. Dr h.c. Dr Kurt Lindner”, Munich, 6-7 May 2003. ¶ Excellent copy.
(24.5 cm),  pp., folding plate (printed recto only), colour illustrations. 1 lot. Publisher’s printed wrappers. - Offprint for lot 70 in Sotheby’s sale of Western Illuminated Manuscripts, 6 December 1983, offering “the oldest known complete set of hand-painted playing cards” created in South Flanders (possibly Lille) c. 1470-1485. The deck was sold for £90,000 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Cloisters Collection, Accession Number: 1983.515.1-.52). ¶ Unmarked copy.
(32 × 32 cm), 95 (1) pp., illustrations (some in colour). 69 catalogue entries. Publisher’s pictorial wrappers. - Exhibition of printed board games, 17th-19th centuries, “in possesso della Biblioteca Classense di Ravenna”. Essay by Donatino Domini (I giochi di percorso). ¶ Wrappers worn; otherwise a very good, unmarked copy.
Two volumes (27.5 cm), I (28 February-1 March 1987): 515 (5) pp., illustrations (some in colour). Lots numbered 1-598. II (16 June 1988): 205 (13) pp., illustrations (some in colour). Lots numbered 1-392. Lists of prices realised and buyers’ names are loosely inserted. Uniform publisher’s printed green cloth, dust jacket (Deuxième partie, only). - Subsequent sales offered Jeanson’s collections of natural history drawings: Part III: French ornithological watercolours of the 17th-19th centuries (Sotheby’s, London, 13 December 1996), Part IV: Important ornithological watercolour drawings (Christie’s, London 22 March 2000), and [Part V]: Natural history: including important ornithological watercolours from the collection of Marcel Jeanson (Christie’s, London, 8 November 2000). Thereafter, books and manuscripts were offered in both London and Paris, and the numeration of the sales becomes confusing: Sotheby’s offered in London Jeanson’s illuminated manuscript of Sydrach’s Fontaine de toutes Sciences (12 December 2000), “ninth” and “tenth” sales of books were conducted by Aguttes in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Livres de chasse et d’histoire naturelle: bibliothèque Marcel Jeanson: neuvième vente, et à divers, 10 Octobre 2001; Livres de chasse, d’histoire naturelle et d’équitation: bibliothèque Marcel Jeanson: dixième vente, et à divers, 16 January 2003); and Sotheby’s France SA offered more books in Paris (Livres et manuscrits: incluant des livres provenant du Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte et de la bibliothèque Marcel Jeanson, 16 June 2005, lots 109-152). ¶ Good, unmarked copies.
(26 cm), 62 (4) pp., illustrations (most in colour). 208 lots. Publisher’s printed wrappers. - The sale of more than 1000 books was advertised as the finest of its kind since Sotheby’s dispersal of the J.W. Rimington-Wilson (1822-1877) collection in 1928. Among the most active bidders were the agent for the M.V. Anderson Collection, State Library of Victoria, Melbourne; and the collectors Lothar Schmid, Harald Ballo, Michael Mark, and Peter Halfmann. ¶ Annotated copy. No Price list.
(28 cm), 191 (1) pp., 168 illustrations (1 in colour). Publisher’s printed boards. - A well-annotated catalogue of books on gymnastics and acrobatics, fencing, the dance, and related subjects, including medicine. It ends with the official programme for the fifth Olympic Games held in Stockholm in 1912. “A book which can be read with enjoyment from cover to cover at one sitting, or dipped into. It is also an essential reference work for anyone concerned with any one of its varied themes” (from a review by Roger Gaskell, in The Book Collector, Autumn 1997, pp.462-465). ¶ Light shelf-wear. Very good, unmarked copy.
(28 cm), 36 pp., illustrations. Publisher’s pictorial wrappers. - The earliest item is the Met’s sixteenth-century manuscript copy of Hans Talhoffer’s “Fechtbuch”, written in 1443 (Acc. No. 26.236); the latest is a copy of Guillaume Danet’s L’art des armes (Paris 1766). Swords, rapiers, parrying daggers, and related objects are also described. ¶ Very good, unmarked copy.
(24 cm), 47 (1) pp., illustrations. Publisher’s pictorial wrappers. - Discussion of the iconography of the playing cards designed by Santamaria, based on the cards conserved in the Raccolta Bertarelli and in the author’s own collection. Offprint from Rassegna di studi e notizie : Raccolta delle stampe A. Bertarelli. Raccolta di arte applicata : Museo degli strumenti musicali, volume 22 (1998), pp.277-322. ¶ As issued.
(27 cm), 605 (1) pp., illustrations. 787 lots. Publisher’s pictorial wrappers. - Included among royal memorabilia, silver, furniture, works of art and household objects was Prince Henry’s magnificent sporting library (lots 501-787), largely gathered in the dispersals of the F.E. Dixon (1936) and C.F.G.R. Schwerdt (1946) libraries. Preceding the sporting library was a small collection (seventeen lots) of children’s books, including presentation copies to Alice Liddell of the first English and first French edition of Lewis Carroll Through the Looking-Glass. “An attractive combination of some extremely rare books, with excellent provenance, the majority in fine condition, coupled with enticing estimates, ensured that prices spiralled well beyond the expected or possibly even hoped for” (from a saleroom report in The Book Collector, Summer 2006, pp.238-239). Two jewels of the collection, the Kerdeston Hawking Book (Phillipps Ms 9437) and the related Kerdeston Hunting Book (ex-Schwerdt, his sale by Sotheby’s, 11 March 1946, lot 2255), were accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of inheritance tax, and allocated to the British Library in February 2007 (now Add Mss 82949 and 82948). ¶ Copiously annotated copy, partly priced
(27 cm), 258 (2) pp., illustrations (most in colour). 376 lots. Publisher’s pictorial wrappers. - The library of Allan Heywood Bright (1862-1941), incorporating gifts from Henry Yates Thompson (1837-1928), Samuel Ashton Thompson Yates (1843-1903), and other relations. ¶ Copiously annotated in pencil and ink.