An Outstanding Copy of an Aldine from the Fine Library of Andrew Fountaine


(Venetiis [Venice]: In aedibus Aldi, et Andreae Soceri, 1522 [1521]). 222 x 136 mm. (8 3/4 x 5 1/2"). 4 p.l., 230 leaves. Second Aldine Edition.

HANDSOME 18TH CENTURY BROWN DICED RUSSIA, GILT, covers framed by unusual cresting floral roll, oblique fleurons at corners, raised bands, spine compartments with gilt elephant emblem of Sir Andrew Fountaine (see below), gilt titling, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt (near-invisible repairs to joints). With Aldine dolphin-and-anchor device on title and last page. Ahmanson-Murphy 168; Renouard 93:14; Kallendorf 184; Adams Q-56; EDIT16 CNCE 54149; STC Italian, p. 546; Brunet IV, 1025. For the binding: University of Toronto database of British Armorial Bindings,, Stamp #4. ◆Tiny, unobtrusive scratch near head of front board, trivial marginal smudging to first, last, and four other leaves, tiny wormhole to tail margin, extending to half-inch trail on two quires, but A BEAUTIFUL COPY, remarkably clean, fresh, and bright internally, with ample margins, and the binding lustrous.

Bound for a prominent connoisseur, this is a very lovely copy of a work that exerted considerable influence on humanist and Renaissance educational views. A rhetorician of Spanish origin living in Rome, Quintilian (ca. 35 - ca. 95 A.D.) was a respected teacher in Rome, where his pupils included Pliny the younger and the grandnephews of Emperor Domitian. After his retirement, he wrote this treatise as a manual for educating an orator, from early childhood through young adulthood; a complete manuscript of the work was discovered by Poggio Bracciolini, and it first appeared in print in 1470. The first Aldine printing was issued in 1514; our printing was done in 1521, according to the colophon and Renouard, although the title page is dated 1522. The bulk of the volume covers the matter and manner of oratory, while the first two books (of 12) contain important early comments on the theories of education; the final two books constitute a critical history of earlier classical literature, in which Quintilian ranks authors in their respective disciplines, setting Homer and Virgil at the top of Greek and Latin literature, respectively. The work was a bestseller in the Renaissance because, as the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature points out, "Quintilian's conception of the purpose of education--to produce not a pedant but a man of high character and general culture--was in harmony with that of the humanists of the 16th century." Former owner Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676-1753) was a well-travelled, Oxford-educated collector of antiquities. He served as Vice-Chamberlain to Princess (later Queen) Caroline, as tutor to William, Duke of Cumberland, and as Master of the Mint, in which position he succeeded Sir Isaac Newton. Books from Fountaine's library are invariably very well preserved, and this one is in an exceptionally fine state, with its untouched text remarkably fresh and bright.

Price: $4,500.00