Lot 12
  • 12

Ariosto, Ludovico

60,000 - 80,000 USD
47,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Ariosto, Ludovico
  • Orlando Furioso In English Heroical Verse, By John Harington. (London: Richard Field dwelling in the Black-friers by Ludgate, 1591)
  • paper
4to (10 1/2 x 7 3/4 in.; 266 x 196 mm). Engraved architectural title incorporating portraits of the author and translator by Thomas Cockson [Johnson, p. 7],  46 full-page engraved and etched plates derived from Girolamo Porro's series of illustrations (Venice 1584); engraved title trimmed at bottom, occasional marginal spotting or soiling. Nineteenth-century dark-blue straight-grain morocco, tooled in gilt and blind, edges gilt; hinges mended, other minor restorations to spine.


John Berners (signature on title) — Sir Francis Freeling — S.R. Christie-Miller, Britwell Court (sale 1924, lot 18) — Philip Hofer (bookplate) — Frances Hofer (bookplate)


STC 746; ESTC S106637; Pforzheimer 447 (citing this copy in "double-dagger" footnote)

Catalogue Note

First edition, one of four known copies imposed in quarto on thick paper, all others are in folio format. Presentation copy from Harington to the Countess of Southampton; on the title is a note in his hand: "for the Lady of Southampton" which is scored through but still discernible (this was Mary, mother of Henry Wriothesley, the third Earl).

"A special landmark of the history of engraving in England ... the title page or frontispiece is the earliest instance signed by an Englishman of the combination of literary portrait with architectural and emblematic decoration, and the prototype of all those entertaining decorations in the same kind, executed during the next fifty years for English printers" (Sidney Colvin). Incidents in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest were adopted from this poem.