Important Manuscripts, Continental Books and Music

Important Manuscripts, Continental Books and Music

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 124. Ovid (and Pseudo-Ovid), Opera, Venice, c. 1470-1475, 2 volumes, manuscript on vellum, later green morocco.

Property of the Trustees of the Sandys Trust removed from Ombersley Court, Worcestershire

Ovid (and Pseudo-Ovid), Opera, Venice, c. 1470-1475, 2 volumes, manuscript on vellum, later green morocco

Auction Closed

June 11, 02:50 PM GMT


30,000 - 50,000 GBP

Lot Details



Opera, in Latin [Italy (Venice), 15th century (c.1470–75)]

2 volumes, c.145x97mm, manuscript on vellum, iii+205+iii and iii+242+iii leaves, COMPLETE, not foliated, ff.84v, 131v and 177v in vol.I and ff.445v–448v in vol.II are blank, probably originally written as a single volume of 47 quires of 10 leaves each, except ix4, xiv10-3 (last 3 blanks cancelled), xix6, xxii10 (the end of vol. I; the last 2 leaves bound at the beginning of vol.II), xxiv8, xxvii8, xlvi8, xlvii6, quire signatures and catchwords suggest that the book was written in several sections: (1) quires i–ix (ff.1–84) with 26 lines per page written above top line (the remainder with 27 written below top line) and quire signatures [A]–H, (2) quires x–xiv (ff.85–131) with quire signatures I–[N], (3) quires xv–xix (ff.132–177) in a slightly different script, with vertical catchwords, (4) xx–xlvii (ff.178–205 and vol.II) signed in red O–Z, AA–[SS], ruled in very pale ink, the ruled space c.95x60mm (ff.1-84) or c.100x60mm (the remainder), written in very fine semi-cursive italic humanistic script, illuminated with TWO FULL BORDERS INCORPORATING ARMS, THIRTEEN HISTORIATED INITIALS typically each with a two-sided border, and MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ILLUMINATED VINE-STEM INITIALS and partial borders, many incorporating one or more putti in various poses or activities, others with a two-tailed mermaid, fish, bird, leopard?, rabbit, frog, snail, butterfly, grasshopper, etc., the extremities of the marginal decoration sometimes slightly cropped in the upper or lower margin, a little thumbing and occasional minor offsets of pigment; the volumes uniformly and ELEGANTLY BOUND IN LATE EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY GREEN MOROCCO with gilt panels on the covers and flat spines, the spines lettered "Ovidii / Opera // Tom. I [or II]", gilt edges, marbled endleaves, minor wear, dark stain in the lower margin of vol.II f.182, small marginal hole in vol.II ff.202–3, minor darkening of the spine, otherwise very fine

The long-lost companion volume to the Rimini Ovid; written by 'The Badoer Scribe', a scribe close to Bartolomeo Sanvito, and illuminated by the Master of the Rimini Ovid.

The present manuscript has the same scribe, artist, patron, and dimensions as the manuscript in Rimini, and their texts are precisely complementary: the present manuscript has all Ovid’s works except the Metamorphoses, while the Rimini manuscript contains only the Metamorphoses. There is no doubt that they were made as a matching pair.


(1) Made for a member of the patrician Badoer family of Venice, with their arms in two borders (bendy of six gules and argent, a lion rampant or; ff.1r, 85r). (2) Edwin Sandys (d. 1797), 2nd Baron Sandys, MP and Lord of the Admiralty, with his armorial bookplate (or a fess dancetty between three cross crosslets fitchy gules, with coronet, supporters, motto "Produm non poenitet" on a scroll, and "Lord Sandys"; Franks, Bookplates, no. 26091); by descent within the family. An early member of the family, George Sandys (d.1644), produced one of the first translations of Ovid into English (1621–26), but we have found no evidence that he owned the present manuscript.


The text begins "PV. OVIDII. NASONIS. SVLMONENSIS. HEROID. SIVE EPISTOLAR. LIB. I. INCIPIT. Hanc tua Penelope lento tibi mittit …", and comprises: Vol.I: Heroides (f.1r); the epistles attributed to Aulus Sabinus (f.77v); Elegiarum, sive amorum (f.85r); De arte amandi (f.132r); De remedio amoris (f.178r), In Ibin (f.193v); Vol.II: Fasti (f.1r), De tristibus (f.93v); De Ponto (f.161r), De medicamine faciei (f.222v), De nuce (f.224v), Ad Liviam Augustam de morte Drusi Neronis filii eius (f.228r), De pulice (f.237r), and De Philomena (f.237r).


The subjects of the historiated initials are: (1) A woman (Penelope?) reading a letter (vol.I, f.1r); (2) A man (Caesar Augustus?) (vol.II, f.108r), (3) A book in the gateway of a city (f.118v), (4) A man and woman (f.134r), (5) A man holding a book (f.146v), (6) A man with a book, his hand to his face, three putti below (f.161r), (7) A man with a book (f.176r), (8) A man with closed eyes and hands clasped (f.190v), (9) A man with a book in dialogue with a king (f.205v), (10) One woman combing the hair of another (f.222v), (11) Two cherubs knocking walnuts from a tree (f.224v), (12) A man with a book (f.228r), (13) A woman holding a sheet with a flea on it (f.237r).

The artist of these volumes is the so-called Master of the Rimini Ovid, who was first defined and discussed by L. Armstrong, "The Master of the Rimini Ovid: A Miniaturist and Woodcut Designer in Renaissance Venice", Print Quarterly 10 no.4 (1993), pp.327–63; of approximately twenty books that he decorated, he is named after a copy of Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Biblioteca Civica Gambalunga, SC-MS 108, on which see G. Mariani Canova et al., I codici miniati della Gambalunghiana di Rimini, 1988, pp.192–95). A.C. de la Mare named the scribe the ‘Badoer’ scribe on the basis of the Rimini manuscript, as well as BL, MSS Kings 27 and 28, all of which have the Badoer arms.