(Lugd[uni] Batavorum [Leyden]: Ex Officina Elzeviriana, 1629). 120 x 71 mm. (4 3/4 x 2 3/4"). Three volumes. Edited by Daniel Heinsius. First Elzevir Edition.

VERY CHARMING 18TH CENTURY RED MOROCCO, GILT, covers with French fillet border, raised bands with gilt lettering, spine compartments with central floral sprig framed with curling brackets terminating in ivy leaves, spray of daisies on either side, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Title page of first volume with engraved ornate frame containing a tondo portrait of Ovid at head, woodcut printer's device, and decorative initials. A few leaves printed in red and black. Willems 317; Rahir 288; Dibdin II, 266-67; Brunet IV, 272 ("bonne édition"); Graesse V, 70. ◆Spine of first two volumes a bit sunned and very lightly rubbed, boards with trivial soiling and chafing, but the very prettily decorated unrestored bindings bright with gilt and still altogether pleasing. First volume with tiny hole to first leaf of text, volumes I and II with head margin of A1 trimmed away (doubtless to remove previous owner inscription), affecting headline in volume I and a handful of words in volume II, title page of volume III similarly trimmed with no loss and with later repair, third volume with narrow margin at the top (an occasional headline cut into); possible to imagine a finer copy internally, but nothing here to distract significantly from the pleasure the set provides.

This is a delightful copy of the first Elzevir printing of Ovid, a new recension by Daniel Heinsius based on the 1578 Plantin edition and with notes at the end of each of the three volumes. The leading scholar of the Dutch Renaissance, Heinsius (1580-1655) was a professor of Greek, director of the library at the University of Leyden, and a prolific editor of Greek and Latin classics acclaimed by scholars all over Europe. Louis Elzevir began the family publishing dynasty in the 1580s, when he set up as a bookseller and publisher in Leyden. Five of his seven sons became printers; the most distinguished of these was Bonaventure (1583-1652), who opened his Leyden press in 1608, and took his nephew Abraham into partnership in 1626. The press enjoyed its greatest success during their nearly 30-year collaboration, becoming especially noted for their fine editions of the classics, as here. Britannica notes that "their small editions in 12mo, 16mo and 24mo, for elegance of design, neatness, clearness and regularity of type, and beauty of paper, cannot be surpassed." Having this finely printed Ovid in such charmingly decorated antique bindings sets the present copy apart in quite an engaging way.

Price: $2,250.00