A Roman binding for Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, ca 1560 View larger

A Roman binding for Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, ca 1560

The dedication copy of an album of writing samples and model alphabets, designed by a scriptor latinus at the Vatican, Giovanni Francesco Cresci (ca 1534-ca 1614), printed on vellum for him by the stampatore camerale Antonio Blado, and bound in red goatskin by the Vatican binder Niccolò Franzese with the insignia of the dedicatee, Cardinal Carlo Borromeo (1538-1584), painted within a cartouche on both covers.

In a series of introductory texts, Cresci offers practical instructions and critiques the scripts displayed by previous writers, notably those of Giovanni Battista Palatino, the leading figure among Roman calligraphers, and author of the most often reprinted of Roman calligraphy manuals. Each page is set within a woodcut passe-partout frame, of which there are four different designs. Then follow fifty-six examples of his own innovative scripts and roman capitals, cut in wood by Francesco Aureri da Crema, and bordered by scrollwork.1 These frames and borders and the book’s landscape format give each specimen the appearance of a monumental inscription. Like many sixteenth-century calligraphy manuals, the Essemplare is now a rare book: just nine copies are recorded, of which this is the only one known on vellum.2

Carlo Borromeo had studied in Milan and Pavia (doctorate in utroque iure, 6 December 1559), and when his maternal uncle, Cardinal Giovanni Angelo de’Medici, was installed as Pope Pius IV (6 January 1560), the 22-year-old was called to Rome, appointed Apostolic participantium and Referendary of the papal court (13 January 1560), created cardinal deacon in the first consistory (31 January 1560), and given the red hat and the deaconry of Ss. Vito e Modesto (14 February 1560).

In the dedication of the Essemplare, dated at Rome, 7 September 1560, Cresci informs Cardinal Borromeo that he was born and raised in Milan,
and had studied calligraphy there for many years (“mi sono affaticato molt’ anni”). Little else is known about the author. The few available details of his origins derive from a prefatory letter in Cresci’s subsequent book, Il perfetto scrittore, which is subscribed at Rome, 1 October 1570, by Silvestro Corsi, Canonico Pisano, and maggiordomo in Rome of Massimiliano Doria, bishop of Noli. Here Corsi identifies the author’s father as Bartolomeo Cresci, a citizen of Pistoia, who had served as agent in Milan in 1539-1541 of Cardinals Salviati and Cibo in their dealings with Alfonso d’Avalos d’Aquino, Marquis de Vasto; his mother is named as “Madonna Leonora”, “del sangue illustre de Landriani”.3 Corsi reports that Giovanni Francesco had arrived in Rome during the pontificate of Julius III (d. 23 March 1555), however it appears that his papal tenure only commenced under Paul IV (elected 23 May 1555).

There are entries in the registers of Mandati Camerali for payments to Cresci in 1556 and in 1558, for making copies of four manuscripts.4 In the latter year, Giovanni Francesco signed a copy of the Institutiones divinarum litterarum of Cassiodorus “Ioannes Franciscus Crescius Scriptor Bibliothecae Scribebat Anno Salutis 1558”.5 On 25 March 1560, he obtained by motu proprio a second appointment, as a scribe of the Pontifical Chapel, in the chair vacated by Giovanni Scobedo, whose assistant Giovanni Francesco had been for two years. On 14 February 1568, Cresci was paid for copying 375 folios of a new translation of the Byzantine historian Ioannes Curopalatus, and on 30 July 1568, for 600 folios of Eusebius and 100 folios of provincial synods.6 Cresci was occupied meanwhile as a writing-master and with the publication and promotion of two calligraphy manuals, his Essemplare (1560; reprinted by Blado in 1563, 1566, 1568),7 and Il perfetto scrittore (ca 1570-1571). The declining health of Bartolomeo Cresci drew Giovanni Francesco back to Milan, and in 1572 he relinquished his office, and never returned to the Vatican.8 Towards the end of his life, Cresci became dependant on Federico Borromeo (1564-1631), a cousin of Carlo Borromeo, who as Archbishop of Milan founded the Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Construction of the library began in 1603 and Cresci’s last, documented project (1606) is for an inscription on its façade.9

The covers of the red goatskin binding are decorated with a wide border created by repetition of a rectangular tool with a lotus flower motif. According to Franca Petrucci Nardelli, this tool was inspired by woodcuts in Niccolò Zoppino’s pattern book for lacemakers, Gli universali de i belli recami antichi, e moderni (Venice 1537).10 Ilse Schunke identified five versions of the rectangular tool then in use by Roman binders, crediting the one applied on this binding to the “Vatikanische Meister”.11 Arabesque cornerpieces are placed in the inner corners of this border; in the centres, within a cartouche,12 is the painted cardinalitial insignia of Carlo Borromeo (Inquartato, nel 1 (alto a sinistra) e 4 (basso a destra) dei Medici, nel 2 (alto a destra) e 3 (basso a sinistra) di rosso al morso di cavallo di nero posto in banda). A small escutcheon bearing a fleur-de-lys is placed on the centre of the shield and painted blue.13

The binding was executed in a shop which undertook official bindings for the Vatican, presided over by Niccolò Franzese (d. 1570/1571), who had been appointed to the post in 1556.14 The rectangular tool and cartouche appear in combination on another binding made for Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, with the same galero and tasselated strings as the Cresci, but with different cornerpieces, and with a gilt stamp of the Borromeo arms.15 The rectangular tool and cartouche appear in combination on a binding made for Charles V (accompanied by the imperial crown),16 on a binding with Ghislieri arms,17 and on another with an empty cartouche.18

This vellum copy has several erasures and corrections made in brown ink in a neat hand, which might be Cresci’s.
The last lines of the “Auuertimento sopra la stampa de l’Alfabeto delle Maiuscole Antiche’ (folio 5 recto) reads in other copies “Dello intaglio delle quali Maiuscole, e di tutte l’altre forme, che in questo mio libro sono, ne darete l’honore et la gloria alla diligenza di M. Gio. Francesco Aureri da Crema, intagliator in Roma”; here, Aureri’s name is scraped away. In other copies, a congratulatory sonnet by the humanist and poet Giovanni Battista Forteguerri (1508-1582), “Di M. Gio. Battista Forteguerri da Pistoia A M. Gio. Francesco Cresci” (folio 14 verso), concludes “Come hauete del Ciel le stelle amiche”. In this vellum copy, all fourteen lines of the sonnet are in manuscript, and the last reads “Come tutte vi son le gratie amiche”.

After his famous “conversion” in November 1562, Cardinal Borromeo was ordained to the priesthood (2 September 1563), and on 12 May 1564 was consecrated archbishop of Milan. He adopted a public persona of austere piety, and in September 1565, having resolved to conform his life to the image and ideal of a bishop, as outlined by the canons of the Council of Trent, and to fulfil the injunction of episcopal residence, he forsook the papal curia, and resided thereafter in his diocese. The Cardinal began to divest himself of most of his worldly possessions, which included collections of antiquities, medals, tapestries, silver, and sumptuary goods, located in Rome and in Milan, gifting some and selling others through agents in Rome, Milan, and Venice.19

Inventories of the Cardinal’s assets were prepared by his agents in Milan and in Rome, however one made of his Roman library ca 1566 is lost,20 and another made in 1568 has yet to be explored for any mention of books; it is uncertain whether the Cardinal disposed of luxuriously bound books such as the Essemplare - a symbol of self-glorification - at this juncture, or sent them to Milan. Despite the Archbishop’s testamentary instruction, that his library be kept intact in the Biblioteca Capitolare di Milano in perpetuity, and a papal bull (22 April 1585) imposing excommunication on anyone who dared remove books from it, volumes were soon extracted. Archbishop Federico Borromeo removed many between 1601 and 1605, for the foundation of the Bibioteca Ambrosiana;21 a more serious dispersion occurred at the time of the French occupation, when the Biblioteca Capitolare was confiscated.22

This copy of the Essemplare contains two inscriptions which provide indications to its later provenance. One reads “Il Libro del B[ea]to Carlo Borromeo Arcives[cov]o di Milano sopra il quale esso B[eat]o ha imparato a scrivere” and thus was written after the beatification of Carlo Borromeo (12 May 1602), but before his canonisation (1 November 1610). The other inscription reads “Donato a me Prete Giovanni Bianco dall’ Ill.mo sig.re Conte Giulio Cesare Borromeo il di 17 ap[ri]le 1609”.

Giulio Cesare Borromeo (16/27 September 1590-16 June 1638) was a younger son of Renato I Borromeo, Conte di Arona, and Ersilia Farnese. He became the favourite of his uncle, Cardinal Archbishop Federico Borromeo, who took Giulio under his protection after his father’s premature death (16 August 1608), guiding his studies,23 and negotiating his marriage in 1614 to Giovanna Cesi.24 In his testament (20 June 1630), the Archbishop bequeathed to Giulio Cesare (designated to succeed him in the marchesato di Angera) those assets to which he was most attached: the paintings which furnished his private rooms, and properties in Rome, Senago, Gallarate and Sesto Calende.25 The Essemplare perhaps was one of those volumes removed by Archbishop Borromeo from the Biblioteca Capitolare. The “Prete Giovanni Bianco” to whom Guilio Cesare in turn presented the book on 17 April 1609 remains for the moment unidentified.

1. Recent assessments of Cresci’s innovations and of his place in his history of calligraphy include James Mosely, “Giovan Francesco Cresci and the baroque letter in Rome” in Typograpy papers 6 (2005), pp.115-155; Jonathan Gibson, “From Palatino to Cresci: Italian writing books and the italic scripts of early modern English letters” in Cultures of Correspondence in Early Modern Britain (Philadelphia 2016), pp.29-47 [link].

2. ● Chicago, Newberry Library, Wing ZW 535.C86 (opac, imperfect [link]) ● Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Rossi Cassigoli, 1699 (opac, [link]) ● London, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Art Library, RC.G.36 (opac, [link]) ● Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, R/16752 (opac Anotación manuscrita en portada: “Contiene 34 hojas impresas pero està incompleto” [link]) ● New York, Columbia University, Plimpton 095 1560 C86 (opac, [link]) ● Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Rés V-1481 (opac Incomplet. Rel. v. f. du XVIe siècle [link]) ● Rome, Biblioteca nazionale centrale, 68.13.C.57 (opac Manca il fascicolo A². - Leg. in mezza perg. sec.20.; digitised, [link]) ● Vienna, MAK - Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst (opac Graues Papier über Pappe. Rücken mit dickem Papier verstärkt und hs. Titelschild. Hs. “Ex Libris [x] Ch[xxx] Lambenazzij Bon. Ic. R.” Im MAK seit 1873, erworben bei Santorelli um 11 Gulden und 10 Kreuzer [link]). A copy supposedly in Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, listed by the Le edizioni italiane del XVI Secolo: Censimento nazionale: Chiesa di S. Barnaba-Czernìus (Rome 1996), C-7124, and by the online Edit16 CNCE 13745 [link], was destroyed during the Second World War. Two variants of the edition are reported Mosely, op. cit., p.131 (“The title pages of the editions of 1560 in London (V&A) and Florence (BNC) bear the same text but are wholly different typographically.”).

3.  Il perfetto scrittore (folio M4 recto: Stampato in Roma in casa del proprio autore & intagliato per l’eccellente intagliator M. Francesco Aureri da Crema), folio ***1 recto/verso [link]. Two dedications are dated 1 November 1570; a privilege (not printed in the book) was granted by Pius V on 7 March 1571.

4. Cresci was paid in 1556 for copying the letters of Pope Sixtus II, a life of St Anthony the Hermit, and letters of Dionysius the Areopagite; in 1558, for copying the letters of Saint Ivo of Chartres. These manuscripts have yet to be identified. See James Wardrop, “The Vatican Scriptors: documents for Ruano and Cresci” in Signature, new series, 5 (1948), pp.3-28 (p.13: “it may be inferred, from the quantity and quality of the vellum used, that the first [life of St Anthony] at least was a codex of some magnificence” and p. 27).

5. Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. lat. 569 [link]. Wardrop, op. cit., Figs. 9, 10, 11. Folio 1r of this manuscript is illustrated by Christine M. Grafinger, “Servizi al pubblico e personale” in La Biblioteca Vaticana tra riforma cattolica, crescita delle collezioni e nuovo edificio (1535-1590) [Storia della Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2] (Vatican City 2012), pp.217-236 (p.223 Fig. 5; pp.225, 230-231).

6. Yvan Loskoutoff, “La copie de manuscrits pour la Bibliothèque Vaticane sous saint Pie V (1566-1572), d’après les comptes de la Chambre Apostolique” in La Bibliofilía 117 (2015), pp.159-180 (pp.172-173 & Fig. 1). The mandate dated 14 February 1568 is associated by Loskoutoff with BAV, Vat. lat. 4874.

7. On 5 July 1560, identified as “Ioannes Franciscus Crescius Mediolanensis nobis,” Cresci was granted a ten-year privilegio by Pius IV. The reprints of the Essemplare in 1563, 1566, and 1568 were likewise issued under the imprint of Blado. A motu proprio signed 10 March 1550 by the newly-elected Pope Julius III had named Antonio Blado printer of the Apostolic Chamber and Chancellery (Camera et Cancelleria impressor); he still held the appointment at his death in 1567, and it was passed on to his heirs, until 1594. Paolo Sachet, “The Rise of the Stampatore Camerale: Printers and power in early sixteenth-century Rome” in Print and Power in Early Modern Europe (1500-1800) (Leiden 2021), pp.181-201 (p.196).

8. In three letters sent from Milan between 1 June and 6 August 1572, Cresci gives thanks to Cardinal Guglielmo Sirleto for his patronage, and refers to Giovan Luigi Mercati as his replacement in the role of Latin writer (BAV, Vat. lat. 6185 [link]). Wardrop, op. cit., pp.20-21. 27-28.

9. Mosley, op. cit., pp.124-130.

10. F. Petrucci Nardelli, “Il fiore di loto in legatoria: da un ferro floreale ai meccanismi della produzione in Archivio della Società Romana di Storia Patria 111 (1988), pp.267-284 (p.279 no. 11 in a listing of 33 bindings thus decorated); reprinted in Fra stampa e legature (Rome 2000), pp.235-262 (p.45 no. 11).

11. I. Schunke, “Die vier Meister der Farnese-Plaketteneinbände” in La Bibliofilía 54 (1952), pp.59-91 (p.76). In an examination of six bindings in the British Library, Howard Nixon noted “three exceedingly similar but undoubtedly distinct” versions of this tool; see H. Nixon, Broxbourne Library: Styles and designs of bookbindings from the twelfth to the twentieth century (London 1956), p.74. See also G.D. Hobson, Maioli, Canevari and others (London 1926), pp.125-127 (listing 36 bindings with this type of border) & Pl. 58.

12. This cartouche enclosing the Cardinal’s insignia is recorded by Schunke, op. cit., p.75 & Taf. 5; and by Petrucci Nardelli, op. cit. 1988, p.273 Tav. 1 no. 2 (op. cit. 2000, Pl. 21 no. 2).

13. A cardinal elevated by a pope who was relative (cardinale nipote) could join those arms to his own on a quartered shield. Carlo Borromeo’s thirst for books during his student years is well-documented; see the petitions for books he made in letters calendared by Adolfo Rivolta, “Epistolario giovanile di S. Carlo Borromeo” in Aevum 12 (1938), pp.253-280, and A. Rivolta, “Corrispondenti di S. Carlo Borromeo (1550-1559)” in Aevum 12 (1938), pp.556-619. A book bound for Carlo Borromeo in the 1550s has an unquartered Borromeo armorial stamp (a horse’s bit), flanked by the initials C.B., on its upper cover, and on the lower cover the word “Humilitas” lettered in gold; once in the collections of Charles Fairfax Murray (1849-1919) and William King Richardson (1874-1951), it is now Cambridge, MA, Harvard University, Houghton Library, WKR 18.2.10 (opac, [link]). See William A. Jackson, “The William King Richardson Library” in Harvard Library Bulletin 5 (1951), pp.328-337 (p.336 & Pl. 7 no. 3 [link]).

14. Anthony Hobson, Apollo and Pegasus: an enquiry into the formation and dispersal of a Renaissance library (Amsterdam 1975), pp.77-80.

15. A twelfth century Psalter with commentary by Gilbert of Poitiers; Milan, Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, AF.XI.9. The arms were recognised as Carlo Borromeo’s by Gabriele Fantaguzzi, in Miniature a Brera, 1100-1422: manoscritti dalla Biblioteca nazionale braidense e da collezioni private (Milan 1997), pp.24-37 no. 2; but not by Federico Macchi, Arte della legatura a Brera: Storie di libri e biblioteche: secoli XV e XVI (Milan 2002), no. 53 (dating the binding “Verso il 1560”).

16. The dedication copy for the Emperor Charles V of Ippolito Salviani, Aquatilium animalium historiae (Rome [1554-1557]); Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 65.P.42 (opac, [link]; image, [link]). Otto Mazal, Europäische Einbandkunst aus Mittelalter und Neuzeit: 270 Einbände der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek (Graz 1970), no. 109; Petrucci Nardelli, op. cit. 1988/2000, no. 9.

Sacrarum cerimoniarum, sive rituum ecclesiasticorum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae libri tres (Rome: Valerio Dorico, 1560); Bologna, Biblioteca Archiginnasio, 16.f.IV.1 (opac Marocchino rosso su cartone, decorato a secco ed in oro con stemma centrale (Ghislieri?) sui piatti, taglio dorato cesellato e colorato [link]; image [link]). Petrucci Nardelli, op. cit. 1988/2000, no. 18.

Stanislaus Hosius, Confessio Catholicae Fidei Christiana, Velpotius Explicatio Quaedam Confessionis, In Synodo Petricoviensi A patribus provinciarum Gnesnensis, et Leopoliensis in regno Poloniae factae, Anno domini 1551 (Vienna: Michael Zimmerman, 1560). Petrucci Nardelli, op. cit. 1988/2000, no.14 & Pl. 3 (2000, Pl. 2), as “Roma, proprietà privata”.

19. Giulio Dalvit “Per Carlo Borromeo e la sua collezione di antichità” in Un Seminario sul manierismo in Lombardia (Milan 2017), pp.79-105.

20. An “inventario dei libri del Borromeo a Roma (perduto)” taken ca 1566 by the Roman agent Bernardo Carniglia is cited by Dalvit, op. cit., p.90.

21. Claudia Di Filippo Bareggi, “La Biblioteca di San Carlo” in Carlo Borromeo e l’opera della ‘Grande Riforma’ (Milan 1997), pp.337-350 (p.345).

Fausto Ruggeri, “Documenti per la storia della biblioteca del capitolo metropolitano di Milano” in Aevum 84 (2010), pp.839-888 (pp.842, 856).

23. A letter from Giulio Cesare to the Cardinal Archbishop, dated at Pavia 14 December 1608, might signify his matriculation at the Collegio Borromeo, founded in Pavia by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo, attended by Federico Borromeo, and subsequently administered by him; Card. Federico Borromeo, arciv. di Milano: Indice delle lettere a lui dirette, conservate all'Ambrosiana. Appendice: Opere manoscritte e a stampa del Card. Federico esistenti all'Ambrosiana (Milan 1960), p.67.

24. Samuel Weber, “Una mater litigans nella Roma chigiana: Giovanna Cesi in Borromeo (1598-1672) e il ‘misconoscimento’ del potere femminile nella corte pontificia di metà Seicento” Dimensioni e problemi della ricerca storica: Rivista del Dipartimento di studi storici dal medioevo all’età contemporanea dell'Università ‘La Sapienza’ di Roma, no. 2 (2021), pp.217-250 (pp.225-227 [online, link]).

25. Anna Elena Galli, “Tra l’Ambrosiana e la famiglia: disposizioni testamentarie del cardinale Federico Borromeo per la sua quadreria” in Studia Borromaica 32 (2019), pp.438-468 (pp.440-441).


Essemplare || di piv sorti lettere di M. Gio. || Francesco Cresci Milanese, Scrittore della || Libraria Apostolica. || Dove si dimostra la vera et nvova forma dello || Scriuere Cancellaresco Corsiuo, da lui ritrouata, & da molti hora communemente posta in vso. : Con vn breue trattato sopra le Maiuscole antiche Romane, per ilqual s’intende la vera || regola di formarle secondo l’arte, e’lgiuditio degli antichi. Si descriue ancora la || practica, che con la penna al buon Scrittore s’appartiene hduere in dette || Maiuscole, & altre sorte de letttere, nuouamente dal detto || Autore composto, & à commune vtilità || dato in luce. In Roma per Antonio Blado ad instanza || del avtore M D LX || Con Priuilegio per Anni X

● possibly Giovanni Francesco Cresci, numerous manuscript corrections, a sonnet “Di M. Giouan Battista Forteguerri da Pistoia. A. M. Gio: Francesco Cresci” on folio 14 verso in the same hand
Cardinal Carlo Borromeo (1538-1584), the dedicatee, armorial supralibros
possibly Cardinal Archbishop Federico Borromeo (1564-1631)
● Giulio Cesare Borromeo (1590-1638), the inscription “Il Libro del B[ea]to Carlo Borromeo Arcives[cov]o di Milano sopra il quale esso B[eat]o ha imparato a scrivere” possibly in his hand
● Prete Giovanni Bianco, inscription “Donato a me Prete Giovanni Bianco dall’ Ill.mo sig.re Conte Giulio Cesare Borromeo il di 17 ap(ri)le 1609” on first flyleaf
● Hippolyte Destailleur (1822-1893)
● Maurice Delestre & Librairie Damascène Morgand, Catalogue de livres rares et précieux composant la bibliothèque de M. Hippolyte Destailleur, Paris, 13-25 April 1891, lot 861 (“mar. rouge, large bande formée d’entrelacs, fleurons d’angles et pointillé, tr. dor … Précieux exemplaire de dédicace, imprimé sur vélin et présente par Cresci au Cardinal Charles Borromée. Riche et belle reliure italienne aux armes du Cardinal.” [link])
● unidentified owner - bought in sale
● Librairie Damascène Morgand, Bulletin mensuel, No. 31 - juin 1892 (Paris 1892), item 22130 (FF 400; “Précieux exemplaire de dédicace, imprimé sur vélin, présenté par Cresci au Cardinal Charles Borromée. Les feuillets préliminaires contiennent un sonnet de J.-B. Forteguerri, admirablement calligraphié par Cresci. Riche et belle reliure italienne aux armes du Cardinal.” [link]); Répertoire méthodique de la librairie Damascène Morgand, Première partie (Paris 1893), item 1093 (FF 350 [link])
● Libreria antiquaria T. De Marinis & C., Florence
● Libreria antiquaria Ulrico Hoepli, Vendita all’asta della preziosa collezione proveniente dalla cessata Libreria De Marinis. Prima parte, Milan, 6-9 May 1925, lot 261 & Pl. 51 (“Esemplare stampato su pergamena. Ricca legatura originale in marrocchino bruno alle armi di Carlo Borromeo, Arcivescovo di Milano, di esecuzione splendida e di conservazione perfetta. Nella 1a carta di guardia si legge d’antico mano: ‘Donato ame prete Giovanni Bianco dall’Ill mo sig Conte Giulio Cesare Borromeo il di 17 aprile 1609’; e nella 2a di guardia: ‘Libro del B.to Carlo Borromeo Arcives. di Milano…’” [link])
● unidentified owner - bought in sale (Lire 11,000) [link]
● Jacques Rosenthal, Munich; their Katalog 87: Seltene Drucke des XV. und XVI. Jahrhunderts (Munich 1927), item 206 (RM 5000; illustrated p.121; “Splendid copy, the precious binding in excellent condition. It seems to be of Roman origin, being decorated with a broad border, the Roman origin of which has been confirmed by Hobson in his publication on Maioli, p.125” [link])
● Walter Petschek (1899-1998), acquired in 1927 [according to the Rosenthal shop copy of Katalog 87, this book was sold “16.2.27 Petschek, Prag” [link]. The Rosenthal shop catalogue is also marked in red ink: “Besitzt: L’Art Ancien”, suggesting the book was either jointly-owned, or located with L’Art Ancien, at the time of sale. Cf. Stanley Morison, Early Italian writing books: Renaissance to Baroque (Verona & London 1990), p.97, as “sold to a Prague collector before the war”]
● Christie Manson & Woods International Inc., Medicine, science and travel books, New York, 9 June 1999, lot 26 (as “Property of an East Coast Estate” [link]) [RBH 9178-26]
● Joseph A. Freilich (b. 1952) - bought in sale ($244,500)
● T. Kimball Brooker, purchased from the above in 2002 [Bibliotheca Brookeriana #3145; to be offered by Sotheby’s in 2024]

G.D. Hobson, Maioli, Canevari and others (London 1926), p.126 no. 9
James Wardrop, “The Vatican scriptors: documents for Cresci and Ruano” in Signature, new series, 5 (1948), pp.3-28 (p.14 no. 6: “Some fifteen years ago the Lugano booksellers, L’Art Ancien, offered for sale a copy of the Essemplare, printed on vellum, in the original red morocco binding with the arms of St. Carlo Borromeo, to which Mr. A.F. Johnson first drew my attention. The book, which apparently contained a holograph sonnet by Cresci, was undoubtedly the author’s presentation copy to his patron and dedicatee.”)
A.F. Johnson, “A Catalogue of Italian writing books of the sixteenth century” in Signature, new series, 10 (1950), pp.22-48, (p.37: “L’Art Ancien, Lugano, copy on vellum, in a binding of Count Giulio Cesare Borromeo”); reprinted in Selected essays on books and printing (Amsterdam 1970), p.30
Ilse Schunke, “Die vier Meister der Farnese-Plaketteneinbände” in La Bibliofilía 54 (1952), pp.59-91 (p.81: Gruppe II. Mit der breiten Maureskenbordüre, no. 27)
Claudio Bonacini, Bibliografia delle arti scrittorie e della calligrafia (Florence 1953), p.85 no. 415 (“Art Ancien, Lugano, una copia su pergamena”)
Tammaro De Marinis, La Legatura artistica in Italia nei secoli XV e XVI (Florence 1960), no. 3008 & Pl. 51 (“Milano, asta Hoepli cessata libreria De Marinis, 1925, n. 262 [sic]”)
Franca Petrucci Nardelli, “Il fiore di loto in legatoria: da un ferro floreale ai meccanismi della produzione in Archivio della Società Romana di Storia Patria 111 (1988), pp.267-284 (p.279 no. 11, in a listing of 33 bindings thus decorated); reprinted in Fra stampa e legature (Rome 2000), pp.235-262 (p.45 no. 11)
James Mosely, “Giovan Francesco Cresci and the baroque letter in Rome” in Typograpy papers 6 (2005), pp.115-155 (p.131: “Its present location is not known.”)