Item Details

Price: $11,000
PJP Catalog: 68.015

Refined and Luxurious in Every Way, And with Fine Provenance


(Parmae: Ex Regio Typographeio, 1785]). 308 x 216 mm (12 1/8 x 8 1/2"). 2 p.l., xciv, 100 pp., [1] leaf. ONE OF 50 COPIES ON FINE PAPER (of a total of 310 copies).

VERY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY CRIMSON STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, spine beautifully gilt in compartments between green stylized pentaglyph and metope strips flanked by double raised bands, the plain-ruled compartments densely stippled with gold dots surrounding a small central medallion from which emanate a number of wavy vines bearing flowers and small leaves, anular dot cornerpieces, elaborately gilt turn-ins, blue watered silk endpapers, the pastedowns framed with elegant gilt garlands and bead-and-lozenge roll, free endleaves with cresting gilt frame, leather hinges (these expertly renewed at top and bottom), all edges gilt. In a modern brown cloth chemise and morocco-backed slipcase. Small author portrait tondo on title page, large and elaborate armorial vignette on dedication page engraved by Cagnoni. Text of poems in Greek, commentary in Latin, both printed entirely in majuscules. Front pastedown with morocco monogram bookplate of Charles C. Kalbfleisch, engraved bookplate of Hugh Morriston Davies, and book label of Charles Whibley (see below). Brooks 287; Dibdin I, 265; Schweiger 25; Brunet I, 252; Graesse I, 111. Spine probably a bit sunned (though difficult to tell, with so much gilt), four tiny wormholes to joints, extremities with a hint of rubbing, but the binding solid, lustrous, and attractive; A SPECTACULAR COPY INTERNALLY, entirely clean, fresh, and bright, and with enormous margins.

This is a superb copy of the luxury paper printing of one of the loveliest books of the 18th century. Produced by Giambatista Bodoni (1740-1813), the most celebrated European printer of his era, this remarkable piece of work is called "magnificent" by Brooks, and Dibdin says that a "more elegant and exquisitely finished production . . . cannot be conceived." The appearance of the page, printed only with capitals and offered here in a copy with vast margins, is simply as stately and powerful as one could ever hope for. Bodoni was not only a great printer, but also the most important type designer and punchcutter in Italy during his day. He was responsible for some of the most graceful and immaculate books to be printed during the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century, and the present item is certainly to be counted among his most beautiful productions. Our copy has a distinguished provenance. Charles C. Kalbfleisch was a discriminating American collector whose collection featured a great many beautiful bindings and who was known for choosing only the finest copies available. Parke-Bernet sold much of his collection in January of 1944 in a sale entitled "The Arts of the Book . . . the Splendid Library Formed by the Late Charles C. Kalbfleisch, New York." Hugh Morriston Davies (1879-1965) was a pioneering surgeon (known as "The Doyen of Thoracic Surgery") who collected fine bindings, especially those of the 18th century. Charles Whibley (1859-1930) authored important books and wrote popular periodical columns of literary interest, edited a number of works in the substantial and distinguished "Tudor Translations" series, was at the center of a British literary circle with links to the Symbolist poets of France, and made an enormous contribution to literature by recommending T. S. Eliot to Faber & Faber.