Item Details

Price: $6,500
PJP Catalog: 66.066


(Parma: Nel Regal Palazzo, co' tipi Bodiani, 1792). 311 x 229 mm (12 1/4 x 9"). 13 p.l., IV pp., [1] leaf, 76 pp., [1] leaf, IV pp., [1] leaf, 100 pp., [2] leaves. Italian translation by L. A. Pagnini.

Handsome early 19th century red straight-grain morocco by Charles Hering (his ticket on verso of front free endpaper), covers with thick and thin gilt rule border, raised bands flanked by gilt rules, gilt titling and turn-ins, all edges gilt. Front pastedown with book label of Steven St. Clair Smallwood. Brooks 443; Schweiger I, 76. Joints a bit rubbed and flaked (though refurbished with considerable success), two corners a little bumped, spine faded toward rose, a few minor marks in the morocco, isolated faint marginal foxing, but still an extremely pleasing copy, the high quality binding with no serious defects, and the text printed on thick, creamy paper with enormous margins.

This volume represents a very pleasing combination of fine printing and binding: our edition showcases three of Bodoni's elegant typefaces, and our binding is a simple but obviously sophisticated piece of work by the most distinguished and influential English binder of the first decade of the 19th century. Giambatista Bodoni (1740-1813), the outstanding European printer of his era, produced four editions of this work in 1792, using three distinct types and two different formats; ours is the only version printed in both upper- and lowercase type. The stately, masculine roman type used for the Italian text here is perfectly complemented by the delicate Greek minuscules with their more feminine roundness--a balance and variety not available in the versions printed entirely in majuscules. The text is framed by vast margins, and the high-quality paper used is a pleasure for both sight and touch. Although the career of Charles Hering was brief (from about 1795-1812), Ramsden considers his work as a memorable representation of the transition in binding styles from those of the German émigrés of the late 18th century to the new generation of binders headed by Charles Lewis. Dibdin states that "there was a strength, squareness, and a good style of work about his volumes which rendered him deservedly a great favourite." The Greek poet and scholar Callimachus (ca. 310-240 B.C.) was born in Libya but spent his professional life in Alexandria, where he produced the "Pinakes," a listing of the holdings of the celebrated library there and one of the first catalogues of its kind. His poetry was much admired by the Romans, and was an important influence on Ovid and Catullus. We have encountered our previous owner, Steven St. Clair Smallwood, as a very adept fore-edge painter, having owned a fine grisaille painting of St. Augustine's Abbey in Canterbury that he painted in 2004 on a volume of Tennyson's "The Princess" (and which he signed on a flyleaf at the back: "Fore edge painting by S. St. C. S. IX/MMIV. / Market Rasen [in Lincolnshire]).