The Schiff Copy

PRINCIPUM ET ILLUSTRIUM VIRORUM EPISTOLAE.

(Amsterdam: [Georgius vander Marse for] Ludovic Elzevir, 1644). 136 x 72 mm. (5 3/8 x 2 3/4"). 4 p.l., 432 pp., [6] leaves.

Contemporary olive brown morocco, covers with gilt-ruled border, flat spine divided into panels with rows of gilt ovals, red morocco label, gilt-rolled turn-ins, endpapers printed with gilt stars, all edges gilt. Engraved allegorical title page. Verso of front free endpaper with morocco bookplate of Mortimer Schiff; front flyleaf with bookplate of Robert J. Hayhurst. Motteley, p. 30; Rahir 1013; Willems 1014. Spine sunned to a pleasing honey color, a scattering of small spots to boards, but AN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE COPY, clean and crisp internally, in a lustrous binding showing virtually no wear.

Beautifully preserved and with a distinguished provenance, this is a collection of letters written by "leaders and illustrious men" of both ancient times and Renaissance Italy. First printed in Venice in 1574, it is the work of the Protestant Italian physician Girolamo Donzellini (1513-87), whose Lutheran leanings eventually led to his execution at the hands of the Inquisition. The letters on virtue and leadership collected here include correspondence by Cicero and Julius Caesar, various popes, and Italian nobles, among them the doge of Venice, the king of Naples and the duke of Milan. Although it bears the name and insignia of Louis Elzevier, Willems tells us that the "quite pretty" edition is "a stranger to the Elzevier presses." Motteley attributes it to vander Marse, noting that it is a "beautiful edition, superior to some of those printed by Louis Elzevier himself." Our copy has seen little use over the years, and is barely changed from the days it graced a 17th century bookshelf. Its extraordinary condition is characteristic of books coming from the library of American banker and bibliophile Mortimer Schiff (1877-1931), recognized by the Bibliothèque nationale de France for assembling "one of the most important inter-war libraries," which Dickinson notes, "brought together an unrivaled collection of decorative bindings."
(ST15773)

Add to Cart Price: $750.00

PJP Catalog: ABAAvfMay20.022

PRINCIPUM ET ILLUSTRIUM VIRORUM EPISTOLAE. ELZEVIER IMPRINTS, GIROLAMO DONZELLINI.
PRINCIPUM ET ILLUSTRIUM VIRORUM EPISTOLAE.