S otheby’s is pleased to announce our sale of Antiquarian Books including a series of views of Milan which will close for bidding on 4 October. The core of this sale is an extensive collection of incunabula, mostly from Italian workshops and some with fine illumination and contemporary bindings, including the 1470 de Spira Livy (lot 142), an unrecorded Italian Confessionale (lot 82), and Poggio and Bruni’s Florentine histories bound in one volume (lot 59). There are numerous Aldine imprints, in both Latin and Greek, including a rare copy of Scipione Forteguerri’s lecture on the superiority of Greek over Latin (lot 111). Greek printing is also represented in works produced by Alopa, Estienne and Bodoni, as well as a first edition of Crastonus’s Greek-Latin dictionary from 1478 (lot 83). The sale also includes one of the earliest printed books from Romania, a copy of the Gospels in Church Slavonic commissioned by the Prince of Wallachia from the monk Macarius, printed in Tîrgovişte in 1512, in a contemporary tooled binding (lot 43).
A Selection of Historic Bindings
Early Illustrated works
There are numerous illustrated works from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, from the elegant letters of St Jerome printed in Ferrara in 1497 (lot 125) to humbler popular works such as the Sienese pamphlet printed for the 1546 Palio (lot 217). The pilgrimage of Niccolò da Poggibonsi to the Holy Land features in two early editions, the first edition of 1500 (lot 162) and the smaller but rarer 1529 edition (lot 163), both with topographical illustrations. There are also numerous illustrated devotional texts, from a Parisian printed book of hours (lot 58) to Scalvo’s 1569 Rosariae Preces decorated in a similar style (lot 212).
Science, Natural History and Travel
Scientific works include a second edition of Pacioli’s arithmetical compendium (lot 171), Guido Bonati’s astronomical treatise in a fine contemporary binding (lot 54), and Regiomontanus’s epitome of Ptolemy (lot 200), accompanied by numerous military works on fortifications and architectural works by Scamozzi (lots 76 and 213) and Vitruvius (lots 240 and 241). Natural history works include Mattioli’s herbal (lot 154) and Bock’s Kreuterbuch (lot 51), and travel is represented by La Pérouse (lot 137), Zárate (lot 244) and Nicolas de Nicolay (lot 164). Later works include a first edition of Diderot and d’Alembert’s magisterial Encyclopédie (lot 90), a beautiful set of Blaeu’s townbooks of Italy and Piedmont (lot 49), Doppelmayr’s celestial atlas (lot 96) and the first edition of Pinocchio (lot 80).