Bibliotheca Brookeriana: A Renaissance Library. The Aldine Collection A–C

Bibliotheca Brookeriana: A Renaissance Library. The Aldine Collection A–C

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 123.  Anthologia graeca, Venice, Aldus, 1503, printed on vellum, Masterman Sykes-Syston Park copy.

Anthologia graeca, Venice, Aldus, 1503, printed on vellum, Masterman Sykes-Syston Park copy

Auction Closed

October 12, 08:25 PM GMT


150,000 - 200,000 USD

Lot Details


Anthologia Graeca. Florilegium diversorum epigrammatum in septem libros. [Device] Ανθολογια διαφορων επιγραμματων... (Venice: Aldo Manuzio, October 1503)

Second edition of the Anthologia graeca Planudea, the primary collection of ancient Greek poetry gathered and arranged into seven books by the Byzantine scholar Maximos Planudes, whose autograph text, dated 1301, is in the Biblioteca Marciana, Venice. The first edition was printed in Florence, 1494, by Laurentius de Alopa (Goff A-765). It has recently been recognized that a copy of that edition at Trinity College Cambridge was the setting copy for the Aldine edition. It contains annotations by Aldo and by Johannes Cuno, a Nuremberg Dominican who studied Greek in Venice and Padua in the first decade of the 16th century. MM3r and after of Aldo’s edition contains epigrams additional to the Florence edition, notes of variants and errata for each quire, and a commendatory letter in Greek by Scipione Fortiguerra. The earlier and more substantial collection of Greek poetry known as the Anthologia Palatina did not begin to be known to scholars until the 17th century, but Planudes’ collection contains almost 400 brief epigrams not in the Palatina.

Printed on vellum, one of six copies, as recorded by Van Praet; IV, 1822, p.66 (Orsini (two), Magliabecchi, Spencer, Askew); VI, 1828, no. 82 (Sykes). Copies are now recorded at Glasgow (Hunterian Bd.2.20), Florence (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana), Paris (BnF, Vélins-2058), Manchester (John Rylands Library, 5421), and Austin (University of Texas, Uzielli 58.5).

8vo (160 x 98 mm). Greek type, 30 lines plus headline, printed on vellum. collation: A-Z8 AA-MM8 NN10: 290 leaves. Woodcut Aldine device on title-page and final verso. A2 with contemporary illuminated inhabited initial (of a man in a Byzantine hat holding a book) and contemporary marginal decoration along three sides of the page, with putti holding a shield at foot, other smaller initials in gold on a green ground, paraphs supplied in blue and gold. (Occasional staining along page edges, a few small wormholes in first and last few leaves.)

binding: Late eighteenth-century straight-grained red morocco with gilt and blind decoration attributed to Roger Payne (167 x 100 mm), letter S in gilt outline on covers, spine gilt in compartments, edges painted and gilt, brown morocco doublure with elaborate gilt tooling, central Aldine device stamped in gilt over the S (added later by Storr of Grantham, cf. lot 179), in red morocco pull-off case. (Upper joint cracked at foot.)

provenance: Sir Mark Masterman Sykes (1771-1823), S stamped on binding, sale, Evans, 11-23 May 1824, lot 58, £52-10s, to Thomas Thorpe — Sir John Hayford Thorold, Syston Park bookplate, sale, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 12-19 December 1884, lot 102, £95, to B.F. Stevens — William Loring Andrews (1837-1920), pencil inscription — Francis Kettaneh (1897- 1976), sale, Ader Picard Tajan & Claude Guérin, Paris, 20 May 1980, lot 39, FF 120,000. acquisition: Purchased from Martin Breslauer Inc., New York, 1981. references: UCLA 79; Aldo Manuzio tipografo 81; Edit16 1970; Renouard 42/9; Adams A1181; Van Praet, Vélins du roi IV, Belles-lettres 82; Grolier/Legacy no. 40 (this copy). On the copy-text, see Guillermo Galán Vloque, “On two rediscovered witnesses of the scholia on the Anthologia Planudea,” Museum Helveticum 77 (2020), pp. 221- 28