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Details & Cataloguing

Western Manuscripts & Miniatures

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Collection of Renaissance documents, including the Will of Paolo Giovio and a letter of Galeazzo Maria Sforza, in Latin and Italian, manuscripts on paper [fifteenth and sixteenth century]
a booklet and three single sheet documents: (a) Will of Paolo Giovio, 18 leaves (last 2 blank), 290mm. by 195mm., complete, collation: i18, single column, c.22 lines in light brown ink in a cursive hand, some water-damage causing weakness in some leaves (those at front of volume with repairs), small holes in first leaf and last two blank leaves, small stains on fols.10-11, else fair condition, loose in nineteenth-century gilt-tooled leather folder, northern Italy (probably Florence or Ferrara), c.1552; (b) letter from Galeazzo Maria Sforza (1444-76) perhaps to Alphonso of Aragon, endorsed in Pavia in 1470, 259mm. by 195mm., with near-contemporary copy of the same on a bifolium, each leaf 275mm. by 185mm.; and a single leaf with accounts for Giovanni Simonetta, the secretary of Francesco Sforza, 190mm. by 210mm., all Milan, fifteenth and sixteenth century
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Provenance

Paolo Giovio (1483-1552) was educated as a physician, served a papal advisor to both Pope Leo X and Clement VII, lectured in natural philosophy in the university of Rome and became the bishop of Como, but is chiefly remembered as a historian and art collector. He received the patronage of the Medici family, and grew to be wealthy and powerful, constructing a villa on Lake Como and filling it with paintings, antiquities, medals and books. This is an early copy of his will dating to his lifetime, or the years immediately following. The text claims that it was written in Florence on 4 August 1552 when Giovio was “sanus corpore quantumque etas et podagra patiunt, et mentis et animi compos”. He died there four months later. It is endorsed on its initial leaf with the date 1557, and the watermark is a close variant of Briquet 3088 and near-identical to 3090 (both Ferrara, 1558). Apart from the present manuscript, only two other manuscripts survive: that in the State Archives of Como and that in the archives of Florence (G. Bordoli, ‘L’Ultimo Testamento di Paolo Giovio’, Periodico della Società Storica Comense 50, 1983, pp.87-116).

Western Manuscripts & Miniatures

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London