Bibliotheca Brookeriana III: Art, architecture and illustrated books

Bibliotheca Brookeriana III: Art, architecture and illustrated books

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 653. Vitruvius, I dieci libri dell' architettura, Venice, 1556, morocco gilt by the Atelier au Vase, Laubespine copy.

Vitruvius, I dieci libri dell' architettura, Venice, 1556, morocco gilt by the Atelier au Vase, Laubespine copy

Auction Closed

July 9, 02:57 PM GMT


100,000 - 150,000 GBP

Lot Details


Vitruvius Pollio, Marcus. I dieci libri dell'architettura di M. Vitruvio tradutti et commentati da monsignor Barbaro eletto patriarca d'Aquileggia. Con due tavole, l'una di tutto quello si contiene per i capi nell'opera, l'altra per dechiaratione di tutte le cose d'importanza. Venice: Francesco Marcolini, 1556

Sumptuously bound in a "primitive" fanfare binding attributed to the Atelier au Vase for the French courtier Claude III de Laubespine (1545-1570), secretary of state and foreign diplomat for Charles IX. Within his short lifetime, Laubespine assembled a magnificent library, which is known to have included "at least thirty bindings produced by the Atelier au Vase in... early iterations of the fanfare style" (Morgan Library). A key marker of provenance is the distinctive Laubespine inventory number in brown ink on the front free endpaper. Without knowledge of the significance of this inventory number, a nineteenth-century annotator wrongly asserts that this volume hails "From the Library of Jean Grolier | the celebrated book collector | of the 16th century. | A very fine binding". This mistake was easily made, however, since Grolier and Laubespine were patrons to many of the same binders, including the Atelier au Vase. Laubespine is now recognised as a leading bibliophile in his own right, and in 2020, the Morgan Library held a landmark exhibition reuniting books from the Laubespine-Villeroy Library, including the present volume. Other architectural volumes were similarly bound, including Vignola and a French translation of Vitruvius.

For bindings made for other members of the Laubespine family, see lots 439 and 515.

Folio (433 x 292 mm). Roman and italic type, 76 lines plus headline. collation: A8 B6 C6 χ1 D-G8 H6 I8 K-L9 M-Q8 R6 S-T8 V4: 149 leaves (of 151, without additional bifolium to be inserted between I4 and 5). Title within historiated woodcut architectural border, 131 woodcut architectural illustrations and diagrams (8 double-page, many full-page), 6 illustrations with woodcut overslips or extensions, 3 complete volvelles, 12 eleven-line woodcut initials ornamented with city views, more than 100 six-line woodcut historiated initials, 2 pages with music, woodcut printer's device on final page, pasted cancel illustrations on E8v and F7r. (Slight worming at inner margin, B1 with repaired marginal closed tear, a few leaves slightly browned.)

binding: Parisian tan morocco binding (440 x 300 mm), attributed to the Atelier du Vase, richly gilt, primitive fanfare style with interlaced strapwork compartments of double (in some cases triple) gilt fillets, surrounded and intersected by swirling azured leaves and tendrils, flat spine carrying over cover decoration, 2 line title "IL | VITRVVIO", gilt edges. (Spine ends restored and with slight worming, lower joint starting.)

provenance: Claude III de Laubespine (1544-1570), shelfmark in brown ink (cote brune) "A1202" on upper endleaf — Librairie Damascène Morgand, Livres dans de riches reliures, Paris, 1910, item 51 — Marquis de La Baume-Pluvinel, sale, Paris, 18-19 June 1981, lot 49 — Pierre Berès (1913-2008), his private collection, sale, Pierre Bergé Auctions, Paris, 20 June 2006, lot 19. acquisition: Purchased at the preceding sale. references: BAL RIBA 3522; Edit16 28623; Mortimer, Harvard Italian 547; binding: Isabelle de Conihout, Poetry & Patronage: The Laubespine-Villeroy Library Rediscovered (Morgan Library, 2020), number 9; G.D. Hobson, Reliures à la fanfare, p. 4, no. 8; Davis Gift Ip. 166, appendix III no. 6; Needham, Twelve Centuries, no. 82, p. 254; I. de Conihout, "Ni Grolier, ni Mahieu: Laubespine", Bulletin du Bibliophile (2004), pp. 63-88 (reproduced opposite p. 83)

Please note that the collation in the printed catalogue is incorrect; this copy contains 149 leaves, without the additional bifolium sometimes inserted between l4 and 5.