(Vicenza: per Gio. Battista Vendramini Mosca, 1774). 305 x 216 mm. (12 x 8 1/2"). lxxvi pp. FIRST EDITION.
Original paste paper boards covered in red and green block-printed patterned paper. In a modern red cloth folding box. Frontispiece engraving of the arms of bride and groom, engraved allegorical vignettes on title page and at end, woodcut head- and tailpieces and foliated initials, all done with considerable charm. Spine and head edge just slightly faded, a couple of very small snags in backstrip, one page with mild thumbing, but A SUPERB COPY, EXCEPTIONALLY CLEAN, FRESH, AND BRIGHT, both the text and original printed paper wrappers in an almost unbelievable state of preservation.
This is a remarkably well-preserved Italian "wedding book," a souvenir produced for friends and guests of a noble bride and groom. It contains a collection of romantic poems by 28 different authors, along with engravings of the newlyweds' arms. This kind of book was popular in Italy, particularly in the north during the second half of the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries. Such occasional works were produced by printers in the major cities like Venice, Vicenza, Padua, Trento, and Milan for assorted noble patrons. Copies of these fête books are to be found today in Italian and Swiss libraries, but only two copies of any such volumes are held in North America (one by the New York Public Library and one by the Getty). KVK locates four copies of our work (one of them damaged) in three Italian libraries. The groom here, Count Lodovico Tiene or Thiene, was a scion of one of Vicenza's most important families. His ancestor, also named Lodovico, built the Palazzo Thiene that was memorably remodelled by Vicenza's most famous son, Andrea Palladio. Our volume was obviously a treasured keepsake that was carefully stored away from light and dust, and it looks amazingly like it must have on the day of the happy nuptials. (ST12037)