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 250.  Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano, Venice, Aldus, 1528, contemporary Italian morocco gilt, Accolti-Landau copy.

Castiglione, Il libro del cortegiano, Venice, Aldus, 1528, contemporary Italian morocco gilt, Accolti-Landau copy

Auction Closed

October 12, 08:25 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 USD

Lot Details


Castiglione, Baldassarre. Il libro del cortegiano del conte Baldesar Castiglione. (Venice: in the house of of Aldo Manuzio & Andrea Torresano, April 1528)

A rare large paper copy of the first edition of The Courtier, in a fine contemporary morocco binding for Benedetto Accolti. The thickness of the paper means that the textblock is 3mm thicker than in copies on ordinary paper (see lot 251). Castiglione’s correspondence of 1527-1528 refers to his plans to have the Aldine press print 1,000 copies of his Cortigiano plus 30 copies on Royal paper. In a census of nearly 150 surviving copies, Conor Fahy (below) found eleven on thicker paper with the Anchor in circle watermark of this copy, but all in bindings with the paper cut down to ordinary (Super-Chancery) size of ca. 31 cm or less. This may be the only fine paper with the leaves in their natural size of Median paper; and the placement of the watermarks suggests that this is Median paper, and not massively cut down Royal paper. Perhaps the Aldine shop realized that using Royal paper to print folio pages of these dimensions would have resulted in truly absurd margins.

Benedetto Accolti was a man of letters, acquainted with writers such as Ariosto, Bembo and Varchi, as well as a career ecclesiastic. Nephew of Cardinal Pietro Accolti, he became secretary to his fellow Florentine Clement VII in 1523, who made him a cardinal just before he turned 30.

The binding could plausibly be attributed to the Mendoza Binder, who also used these corner pieces and small flower stamps.

Median folio (331 x 230 mm). Roman type, 40 lines plus headline. collation: *4 a-o8 p6: 122 leaves. Woodcut Aldine device on title-page and final verso (otherwise blank). Manuscript annotations in a neat nineteenth-century Italian hand and a few early annotations. (Repaired tear to title-page, lower right corner replaced, not touching text; occasional light foxing.)

binding: Contemporary Italian red morocco gilt (338 x 242 mm), concentric frames of gilt and blind fillets, small leafy stamps at inner corners of frame, central leafy roundel (composed of four of the quarter-circle corner stamps) surrounded by small flower stamps, with title IL CORTEGIANO at head of upper cover in faded gold, modern spine with matching spine decoration, blue edges, stubs from four pairs of ties, in modern drop-backed box with perspex lid. (Some repairs to edges.)

provenance: Benedetto Accolti (1497-1549), inscription on title-page "Be. Car. Raven" (as cardinal of Ravenna, so after May 1527) — Gustavo Galletti, of Florence (1805-1868), ink stamp on a2 — Horace Landau (1824-1903), bookplate (there were various sales from this library in the mid-20th century) — Libreria antiquaria Hoepli, Milan, catalogue for 1949, item 6 — Nicolas Rauch, Geneva, sale, 29-30 March 1954, lot 78. acquisition: Purchased from Librairie Thomas-Scheler, Paris, 2010. references: UCLA 252; Cataldi Palau 115; Edit16 10055; Renouard 105/3. Conor Fahy, "Royal paper copies of Aldine editions, 1494-1550", Studies in Bibliography 57 (2005-2006), 85-113; G. Scott Clemons & H. George Fletcher, Aldus Manutius: A legacy more lasting than bronze (New York 2015), no. 78