NotabiliaThere are 50 items

Notes on inscriptions, bindings, bookplates and other evidence of ownership in rare books
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  • In 1991, Anthony Hobson drew attention to five bindings made in the shop of the “Fugger Binder” for an unidentified collector whose initials are “A. A.”.1 Hobson added two bindings to the group in 1999, when he presented a census of bindings made by the Fugger Binder.2 Another binding and two provisional additions to that list are added here (nos. 1, 6, 10 in List below).

  • In describing what he calls the most beautiful palace in Italy, the Montefeltro palace in Urbino, Baldassare Castiglione proceeds from a description of the fertile surrounding countryside, to the building itself, then descriptions of its opulent furnishings and precious objects, paintings and statuary, reaching finally the library, the climax of this tour: “con grandissima spesa [Federico] adunò un gran numero di eccellentissimi e rarissimi libri greci, latini ed ebraici, quali tutti ornò d’oro e d’argento, estimando che questa fusse la suprema eccellenzia del suo magno palazzo” (Il libro del cortegiano, Book I, 2).

    Our knowledge of these richly bound volumes depends largely on a post-mortem inventory. In August 1540, about a month after Federico’s death, the duchess Margherita Paleologa and Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, who were named in Federico’s testament as guardians of his four children, instructed a notary from Rimini, Odoardo Stivini, to take an inventory of Federico’s assets, and also those of his mother, Isabella d’Este (d. 13 February 1539). Stivini completed the work in October 1542, presenting his inventory in a series of loose fascicules, organised according to the location and category of the goods. The fascicule for Federico’s books has 179 entries, however many entries mention two or more books, and the total number of volumes is at least 211. Stivini’s inventory of Isabella’s library (133 entries) reveals no internal arrangement: books and manuscripts are mixed together, also formats, and there is no organisation by language. In contrast, Federico’s books are organised both by language (Latin, Italian, Spanish, French) and by format (folio, quarto, octavo), and the inventory perhaps documents how they were arranged.1 Federico’s inventory reveals an interest in the Latin classics in the original language; a taste for history, with numerous chronicles in Italian, French, and Spanish; for literature, particularly chivalric romances;2 and for books relating to the various arts of the court: horsemanship, fencing, falconry, etc. Overall, it is orientated more toward entertainment than for study.

  • Two bindings by the English “Morocco Binder” ornamented by plaquettes of classical authors are known. One binding (in the Bibliotheca Brookeriana) features four plaquettes on each cover, depicting Cato, Cicero, Plato, and Xenocrates; the other (British Library, C24c14) has two plaquettes, impressed twice on each cover, of Cato and Cicero. The latter volume entered the British Museum via the old Royal Library, and was published by Fletcher, Wheatley, and Davenport. It was studied again by Anthony Hobson, in 1989, however Hobson failed to identify graphic or metallic prototypes for its two plaquettes, and speculated that the “English tool-cutter [had] invented his own images”.1

    All four plaquettes appear to be based on engravings by René Boyvin, published at Paris in 1566, as Illvstrivm philosophorvm et poetarvm vetervm effigies XII. Ex antiquis tum marmoreis tum aeneis signis ad viuum expresse & nunc primum in lucem aeditae,2 and diffused by other printmakers.3 In the 1566 issue of Boyvin’s suite, the prints are numbered in the matrices: 7 (Xenocrates), 8 (Plato), 10 (Cato), 11 (Cicero). René Boyvin was born at Angers about 1520, and settled in Paris about 1545, joining the workshop of the printmaker Pierre Milan. He was closely involved in Protestant circles, became the portrait engraver for leading reformers, and in 1569 was imprisoned in Paris for his religious beliefs. Boyvin’s print series provided models for craftsmen in several media,4 and also for medallists.5

  • In 1989, Anthony Hobson relocated from Verona to Padua a small group of bindings decorated with tools of varied character, including a lozenge-shaped ropework or everlasting knot tool, a rectangular ropework tool repeated to form a border, a foliage roll, a large fleur-de-lis, and a distinctive medallion stamp of a helmeted warrior, facing right, with lettering around “*D* ALSO*”, encircled by a wreath.1 On several occasions, this modest kit of tools was used with great ingenuity. Hobson considered the binder “a craftsman of outstanding originality,”2 with “a classical sense of design wholly in the Paduan tradition.”3 Judging by the texts contained within the bindings, Hobson supposed that he was a bookseller-binder specialised in medical books and works of Aristotelian philosophy. From the near absence of gilt decoration, and the economical use of materials - many are half-bindings of wooden boards with goatskin spines (cheaper than full leather), with waste-sheets from other publications employed as endleaves and pastedowns4 - Hobson deduced that he was catering for impecunious students at the university.

  • This binding covering the 1535 Aldine edition of Lactantius and Tertullianus features the name of its owner, Gas De La Hoz,” within a roundel on the upper cover. The name of the author, “Lectantii Firmiani,” is lettered in gold up the spine. The binding is evidence of how the new fashion for shelving books upright, side-by-side, with backs facing out, was then spreading across Rome. This practice had probably originated with Hernando Colón (Ferdinand Columbus), whose large library in Seville was organised in this way, and who mandated the continuance of the arrangement in his testament (3 July 1539).1 Several Spaniards residing in Rome, notably Luis de Torres and Fernando de Torres (see the entries in this Notabilia file, link and link), and the diplomat Cardinal Giovanni Salviati, who commuted between Rome and the court in Toledo and Seville, promptly adopted it, but with a particular innovation: gilt spine titles. Their Roman bindings are the earliest anywhere to have titles tooled in gilt on the spine.2 This binding for Gaspar de la Hoz, the only known survivor of his library, is probably a decade later.

  • E.P. Goldschmidt first drew attention to an owner whose impresa was a zodiacal armillary sphere with the motto “Co’ L Tempo” (Con Il Tempo, “With Time”), publishing in 1928 a binding in his own collection,1 and referring to another in a private collection.2 The material of both bindings is brown goatskin, tooled in gold, with an interlacing ribbon border forming a centre compartment, in which sits an astrolabe on a finely modelled sculptural stand, a banderole bearing the words “Co’ L Tempo” flutters in between. A longitudinal spine title identifies the text inside each volume.

  • Three bindings are known with the initials of an owner “.V.C.A.” and a date, respectively “.M.D. XXIIII .II. April.” (2 April 1524), "Anno Dñi .M.D. XXIIII XXXI Avgv.” (31 August 1524), and “M.D. XXVI” (1526), lettered within a cartouche in the centres of the lower covers. A title appears inside a matching cartouche in the centres of the upper covers. Anthony Hobson attributed these three bindings to a Bolognese shop, which he designated the “The German Students’ Binder” on account of the work it undertook from about 1520 to 1535 for Germans attending the university. Ilse Schunke had identified the shop and suggested that it was managed by Heinrich Riger, beadle of the Natio Germanica. Hobson disagreed, maintaining that it almost certainly belonged to a bookseller who was working also as a binder, perhaps the learned “Arnold of Cologne” (Arnoldus Coloniensis), said to have been proprietor in Bologna of the “most elegant bookshop of the Germans” (in elegantissimo Germanorum, cui videlicet tum is praeerat, bibliopolio).1 Most of its bindings cover Aldine editions, and are decorated to similar patterns, with the centre of the upper cover left empty for a title in gilt, and the lower cover for an owner’s name. Hobson thus presumed that books could be bought there ready-bound, and the purchaser's name added at the time of sale.

    The three volumes owned by V.C.A. are Aldines: the 1522 Asconius Pedianus, 1495 Theodorus Gaza, and 1523 Georgius Trapezuntius. Neither Hobson nor Tammaro De Marinis, who published one of the three bindings, speculated about the identity of V.C.A. The inscription “P. Vorstius Epus. Aquen.” on the front endleaf of the Asconius Pedianus may be a clue to his identity.

  • Seventeen volumes are known with covers decorated by the motto “Quiesco Tandem” and a monogram, variously interpreted as the letters A M and V. One surfaced in 1861 in the sale of the Lyonnaise bibliophile Joseph Renard (1822-1882), migrating thereafter into the stock of the booksellers Bernard Quaritch, who presented it in 1888, along with another book, similarly decorated, as from the library of the French humanist Marc Antoine Muret (1526-1585). Thirty-five years later, E.P. Goldschmidt acquired the Renard-Quaritch volume, placing it in his celebrated collection of “Gothic & Renaissance Bookbindings” (1928), then into stock (1934), where it attracted the attention of the New York collector Lucius Wilmerding (1880-1949). Goldschmidt’s own investigation of the binding had been fruitless, however Wilmerding soon drew Goldschmidt’s attention to a book published in 1554, Le Premier livre du nouveau Tristan, a rewriting of the 13th century text, in which a woodcut headpiece with the identical motto and monogram is placed above the author’s two-page prose dedication “A mon Seigneur, Monsieur de Maupas, Abe de saint Ian de laon, Conseiller, & Aumonier du Roy”.1 With satisfaction, Goldschmidt published Wilmerding’s discovery in 1937, identifying the owner of the binding as Claude Cauchon de Maupas.2

  • Philipp von Maugis is a recent addition to a growing list of German students identified as patrons of bookbinding in Italy (see Table below). Philipp had travelled from Vienna to Padua in 1536 to study law, and the following year presented to an anonymous binder in Venice ten books, mostly legal and humanistic texts, published north of the Alps in the years 1521-1537. Two of these texts were by mentors of the young student, Claudius Cantiuncula (Claude Chansonnette) and Johann Fichard.1 The books were gathered in three volumes, and bound uniformly in russet goatskin, their covers decorated by a rectangular frame formed by a single gilt and multiple blind fillets, with a gilt rosette placed at the outer angles, and a gilt ivy leaf at the inner corners. On the upper covers, the binder lettered a title, Philipp’s name, and the date 1537.

  • Some thirty-two volumes (4 manuscripts, 20 incunables, and 8 later books) are reported with the ownership inscription in a proud hand “Quis mihi sit Dominus lector si forte requiris, Ingolstattensis Carnerius Daniel” and often a date. If the dates in these inscriptions should be the actual dates of acquisition, then Daniel Karner began to build his library around 1495, and ceased to add to it – or ceased to inscribe his name – around 1521.1 From the style of his inscriptions, and the steady pace of acquisition, Daniel Karner appears to have been a determined collector in possession of a sizeable library.

    Daniel Karner matriculated at Heidelberg university on 5 October 1496, as a citizen of Donauwörth (Werdea, Werd, Wörth) in the diocese of Augsburg; he became baccalaureus in artibus on 10 July 1498.2 He may have been a son of the “Kunrad Karner, Bürger zu Werd,” who on 21 February 1451 donated a perpetual altar light for the Kapelle St Lazarus, in Hl. Dreifaltigkeit im Bürgerspital, Donauwörth,3 and died around 1487.4 One of Daniel’s books (a copy of the 1477 Johannes de Turrecremata, with an ownership entry dated 1507) displays his initials “D C” and armorial insignia within a border decorating the opening page.5 In 1510, Daniel became a secular canon in the collegiate monastery of St Andreas, Freising, and in 1522 was its dean. He was a Lektor in Ingolstadt and is recorded in tax records as living in there in 1516.6 Daniel died on 15 May 1534 and was interred in the Stiftskirche St. Andreas in Freising.

  • Jean Courtier is an obscure figure, in early life a tutor to the four children of Charles de La Rochefoucauld, Comte de Rendan (d. 1562), and Fulvia Pico della Mirandola, later an accomplished Hellenist, publishing the first editions of two Greek authors: the commentary on Isaiah by Procopius of Gaza (1580),1 and Hierocles’ commentary on The Golden Verses of Pythagoras (1583).2 He dedicated those works respectively to Jean de La Rochefoucauld, abbé du monastère de Marmoutier (1525-1583), and to his former pupil, François de La Rochefoucauld, then Abbé de Tournus, and afterwards bishop of Clermont, made cardinal, and bishop of Senlis (1558-1645).

  • Some sixteen volumes bearing the ownership inscription of Claude Rabot are presently known. Claude Rabot was one of five sons of Bertrand Rabot and Agnès Peccat. The Rabot were an ancient family settled in the Dauphiné in south-eastern France. Claude’s grandfather, Jean Rabot (d. 1500), Conseiller au parlement de Dauphiné, had accompanied Charles VIII on his Italian expedition, and was briefly Chancellor of the Kingdom of Naples; his father was Conseiller au parlement de Dauphiné from 1495-1537.2 Claude studied at Padua 1534-1536, where he was accused of possessing heretical books (“libros illicitos et magicos”).3 After his father’s death (7 December 1537), Claude acquired the seigneurie de Bussières, and became the ward and tutor of his younger brothers, Guillaume and Bertrand. He married Jeanne de Chaponay, and by 1540 was Auditeur à la Chambre des comptes de Dauphiné. Claude made his testament on 28 December 1564, appointing Joachim, his only son, as universal heir;4 he died on 14 January 1569.5

  • Three bindings made for Georg Zollner von Brand (vom Brandt, im Brant, auf dem Brand, uf dem Prandt) are known. Each is lettered on the lower cover with his initials G.Z.V.B. and “Dimidium plus toto” (the half is more than the whole, a Hesiodic maxim adapted by Erasmus into an adage), and on the upper cover with a title. They cover Aldine editions of Cicero published in 1522-1523. The three volumes entered the library of the Cistercian Kloster Bronnbach, diocese of Würzburg, passing after its suppression, in 1802, into ownership of the princely house of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. In 1985, the remnants of the Bronnbach library, together with books from the Benedictine abbey of Neustadt am Main, and from the Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg Hofbibliothek, were consigned to auction in Munich. The three Zollner von Brand bindings were offered together in lot 61.1

  • Nine bindings by the “Mendoza Binder” (Andrea di Lorenzo?) for “Alex. Rha.” are known. They cover eight Aldine Press books and one Giunta imprint, the earliest printed in 1513 and the last in 1524. All are in dark olive (nearly black) goatskin, decorated with a gilt rectangular frame, gilt rosettes and leaves at the outer and inner corners, a title lettered in gilt at the head of the upper covers and beneath “Alex. Rha.” (on four, “Alex. Rhav.”).

  • Eight bindings are known decorated with a plaquette of Diana, shown facing left (cut off just below the shoulders), with an elaborate coiffure and diadem, the tips of her bow and quiver visible behind her left shoulder. Plaquette ornament was customarily produced on bindings by intaglio stamps, applied by hand or with the use of a press. Multiple stamps could be made of the same subject and sold to binders from different towns. Anthony Hobson, who investigated the adoption of plaquette ornament as an incident in the development of “humanistic bookbinding,” recorded seven bindings using this plaquette of Diana, from four binding centres: Venice, Florence, Milan, and Rome.1 An additional binding made in Rome is added here to Hobson’s census.

  • Medallion and plaquette ornament on bindings had been conceived by Paduan antiquaries in the 1460s, as a style of binding appropriate for humanistic works. The models were Roman imperial coins, antique intaglios, and Renaissance medals, and the decoration was achieved by impressing the covers with an intaglio stamp, leaving an impression in relief. In Anthony Hobson’s words, such decoration “denoted an author’s or an owner’s faithfulness to the spirit of the ancient world”. Infrequently, a cameo was applied to a binding to proclaim ownership (such bindings were therefore excluded from Hobson’s census of medallion and plaquette bindings).1 Six bindings are known which feature on both covers the distinctive heraldic device of a Saracen in profile, wearing a white headband, insignia associated with the Pucci family of Florence (D’argento, alla testa di moro di nero, attortigliata del primo, il tortiglio in genere caricato di tre).

  • Six bindings are known with the names and arms on covers of the Roman noblemen Giovanni Battista Crescenzi (1577-1635) and Torquato de Cupis (Cuppis; 1578-1657). On four volumes (nos. 1, 4-6 in the List below), Crescenzi’s name and family arms (tre crescenti d’oro) appear on the upper covers, and De Cupis’s name and the impaled De Cupis-Conti arms (un camoscio rampante; aquila scaccata d’oro e di nero) on the lower covers. On two (nos. 2-3), these positions are reversed.

    In a previous post, reference was made to comparable bindings featuring the names and arms of the Roman patricians Domenico Massimo and Gaspare Ruggeri, Scipio Orlandini and Giulio Della Fonte, and the initials and arms of two as yet unidentified members of the Jacobilli and Capranica families (see “Roman friendship bindings: Domenico Massimo & Gaspare Ruggeri” on this website, Notabilia [link]). Towards the end of the sixteenth century it had become fashionable for Roman patricians to exchange books as mementos of their friendship, with the giver’s name and arms customarily placed on the lower cover, and those of the recipient on the upper cover. The Soresini Bindery, a prominent Roman shop, working for the Vatican from 1575 until about 1634, produced many of these bindings, including all six of the Crescenzi-Cupis volumes. Judging from bindings examined and from photographs, the Crescenzi-Cupis bindings were executed ca 1595-1605.

  • Towards the end of the sixteenth century it became fashionable for Roman patricians to exchange books as mementos of their friendship. The giver’s name and arms customarily were placed on the lower cover, and those of the recipient on the upper cover. The earlier of such Roman “friendship bindings” are simply decorated, for instance two with the Jacobilli family arms and initials G. I. on their lower covers, and Capranica arms and initials C. C. on upper covers.Later bindings are more explicit and more decorative, as for example two bound in the Soresini workshop having the Orlandini arms and name “Scipio Orlandi” lettered on lower covers, and Della Fonte arms and name “Ivliani Fontivs” on upper covers,2 and six also bound in the Soresini workshop with the arms and names on covers of Torquato de Cupis and Giovanni Battista Crescenzi. On four of the latter, De Cupis’s name and the impaled De Cupis-Conti arms appear on the lower covers, and Crescenzi’s name and family arms on the upper covers. On the other two, these positions are reversed (see “Roman friendship bindings: Torquato de Cupis & Giovanni Battista Crescenzi” on this website, Notabilia [link]).

    Three “friendship bindings” of Domenico Massimo and Gaspare Ruggeri are known. Two presumably were gifts from Domenico to Gaspare, as Domenico’s name “Dominicus Maximus” and family arms appear on the lower cover, and Gaspare’s name “Gaspar Roggerius” and family arms on the upper cover. The third volume apparently was a gift from Gaspare to Domenico, as Gaspare’s name and arms appear on the lower cover.

  • Two of the three volumes of the first Aldine edition of Cicero’s Orations (published January-August 1519) are known with the cypher of their owner, Gerhard von Aich, on lower covers. Volume I was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1882 and published by W.H. Weale in 1895, with a line drawing of the cypher.1 Volume III appeared on the market in 2010, when it was acquired for the Bibliotheca Brookeriana.

    Gerhard von Aich was one of two sons of Johannes von Aich (1468-1519), Bürgermeister of Cologne, and Sybilla (Beilgen) von Reidt (1483-1553).2 The Aich (also known as Aquis, Aquitanus) were an old and prominent family of Cologne. In 1509, Gerhard’s father donated an altarpiece to the Romanesque church of Groß St Martin;3 in 1516, he was ennobled by the Emperor Maximilian, and he also became a Knight of Jerusalem. The medallist Friedrich Hagenauer produced large cast portrait medals of Gerhard’s father and mother, his brother Johannes (1510-1549), sister Sibylla (d. 1584) and her husband Adolf von Straelen.4 Gerhard is depicted together with his father and brother on the male side of a tryptych painted by Bartholomäus Bruyn d. Ä.5

  • Jakob von Mosheim (Moshaim, Mosham, Moßhaimb) was one of three sons of the Austrian nobleman Benedikt von Mosheim and Catharina Gründner.1 Jakob matriculated at Vienna in 1514 (Bacc. art. 1516; Mag. art. 1518),2 and in 1522 followed his elder brother, Ruprecht (1493-1543), to Bologna. A relative, Ambros von Mosheim, matriculated beside Jakob on the same day.3 Jakob was nominated Procurator of the Natio Germanica in 1523, and reputedly promoted doctor juris utriusque in 1529.4

    It was customary for foreign students at Bologna university to have their schoolbooks specially bound by local bookbinders, to keep as mementos of their student years. The binder usually lettered the book’s title in the centre of the upper cover, in some sort of frame, and the owner’s name and often a date in the same place on the lower cover. For about ten years, from the early 1520s to about 1534, one bookbinding shop monopolised the custom of the German students. Ilse Schunke suggested that he was the bedellus Heinrich Riger,5 but Anthony Hobson disagreed, maintaining that the binder was almost certainly a bookseller, perhaps “Arnold of Cologne” (Arnoldus Coloniensis), the manager of the “most elegant bookshop of the Germans”.6

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