Important Manuscripts, Continental Books and Music

Important Manuscripts, Continental Books and Music

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 153. Calandri, Aritmetica, Florence, 1491, later vellum.

Calandri, Aritmetica, Florence, 1491, later vellum

Auction Closed

June 11, 02:50 PM GMT


24,000 - 30,000 GBP

Lot Details



[Aritmetica] Pictagoras arithmetrice introductor. Philippi Calandri ad nobilem et studiosum Julianum Laurentii Medicem de arimethrica opusculum. Florence: Lorenzo Morgiani and Johannes Petri, 1 January 1491/92

8vo (141 x 95mm.), 104 leaves, partly double column, 26 lines, 3- and 4-line initial spaces with printed guides, gothic type, woodcut illustrations (some full-page), later Italian vellum, several signatures shaved, first few leaves with marginal repairs, l7-8 repaired

FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ILLUSTRATED ITALIAN BOOK ON ARITHMETIC containing woodcuts to demonstrate the problems; it also contains the first appearance in print of long division and of the word "zero". It was dedicated to Giuliano de' Medici, the 12-year-old son of Lorenzo the Magnificent who later became Pope Leo X. Calandri complains in his preface to Giuliano about the problems of printing the work, most likely because the use of woodcut illustrations was new to Florentine printing (the first incunable with woodcuts was produced in Florence in 1490). It was reprinted in Florence in 1518.

The woodcuts comprise not just decorative borders but also a portrait of Pythagoras in his study, hand signals for various numbers, and engaging representations of various problems such as ascertaining the volume of barrels and water troughs, how much of a broken tree has fallen and how much is still standing, and how long it takes various big cats to eat a sheep.

Lorenzo Morgiani was a prolific printer who began in Florence in 1490 and probably died in the early sixteenth century. He worked in association with a German printer, Johannes Petri of Mainz, who had been active as a printer in Florence since 1472, partly in association with the San Jacopo a Ripoli press.


ISTC ic00034000; Dyson Perrins 56; Hoock & Jeannin C2; Sander 1523; Smith, Rara arithmetica pp.47-49; Tomash & Williams C9


Edouard Rahir (1862-1924), gilt book label, sale, Paris, 6 May 1931, lot 273, Libreria Hoepli; Piero Ginori Conti (1865-1939), bookplate; Christie's, 27 November 1991, £10,000; Erwin Tomash, booklabel