(Venetia [Venice]: Combi & LaNou, 1669). 137 x 75 mm. (5 3/8 x 3"). 8 p.l., 581,  pp.,  leaf (blank); 106 pp.,  leaf (blank).Translated by Alessandro Cenami.
SUPERB CONTEMPORARY ROMAN BROWN MOROCCO, LAVISHLY GILT, BY THE ANDREOLI-ROSPIGLIOSI BINDERY, covers with decorative gilt roll frame enclosing central panel with elaborate cornerpieces of fleurons, scrolls, and small tools, the arms of the Machiavelli and Baccelli families at center surrounded by gilt filigree and flanked by two putti holding a crown above it, flat spine with repeating lozenges composed of floral tools, all edges gilt (very expert repairs to head of joints). Printer's "Minerva" device on title pages, first work with engraved allegorical frontispiece by Antonio Bosio; second work with engraved frontispiece of the author at his desk and seven engraved plates depicting subjects for contemplation (death, Purgatory, Hell, etc.). For the binding: "Legatura romana barocca," plate 66 (diamond stamp) and plate 68 (outer border). Small wormholes to pastedowns and rear flyleaves, occasional minor browning or foxing, two pages in first work with loss of a couple of words, likely due to old wax stain, but an excellent copy internally, generally clean and fresh with comfortable margins, IN A SPARKLING BINDING, its leather lustrous and its gilt undimmed by time.
This is a lovely example of the celebrated work produced in the heyday of the bindery operated by Gregorio and Giovanni Andreoli, dubbed the "Rospigliosi Bindery" by Hobson because it was the favored atelier of Cardinal Giulio Rospigliosi (1600-69), later Pope Clement IX. In addition to work done for Rospigliosi and other princes of the Church, the Andreolis bound books for merchant princes like the Medici and Borghese, and for real royalty, notably Queen Christina of Sweden, who called on them to bind books for the library she created at her Roman palazzo. Our volumes were bound for a couple from two prominent Florentine families: the Machiavelli, who gave us the great political philosopher Niccolò, and the Bacelli, a family of skilled stonemasons that achieved sufficient prosperity and social position to receive a coat of arms in the 16th century. Active from about 1630 until the early years of the 18th century, the bindery was at its zenith of production and design in the 1650s through the 1680s. Their symmetrically arranged, tasteful designs featured much ornate tooling and repetition of small stamps. Bindings done for a noble or ecclesiastical client would often have, as here, the patron's coat of arms at center. In 1665, Gregorio was given a lifetime appointment as binder to the Vatican Library. The two works in this volume, both translated from the French, are "The Interior Christian" by the mystic Jean de Bernieres-Louvigny (1602-59) and "Think About It" ["Pensez-y-bien"] by Jesuit Paul de Barry (1587-1661), both of which emphasize the importance of contemplation in the Christian life. Bernieres-Louvigny notes that it is easy to perform charitable works, for which one receives respect from others, but much more difficult to turn one's emotional suffering and humiliations into opportunities for spiritual growth; he offers a series of meditations to assist with this task. Barry's work is less comforting, prescribing sobering reflections on death, sin, Judgement Day, Hell, and Purgatory, along with prayers to the Blessed Virgin—although the Italian title describes it as “an easy way to ensure your salvation.” The fine condition of our volume suggests its noble owners spent little time contemplating the hereafter. (ST15484b)
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PJP Catalog: CA20BF.010