Ten Little Elzevirs, All in a (Charming) Row


(Lugd[uni]. Batavorum [Leyden]: Ex Officina Elzeviriana, 1642). 133 x 75 mm. (5 1/4 x 3"). 10 volumes.

VERY PRETTY 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. Frontispiece portrait and engraved title in "De Rhetorica," woodcut printer's devices on titles of other volumes, woodcut headpieces, tailpieces, and decorative initials. Engraved title with contemporary ink signature of "Arn. [illegible due to ink blot]"; another title page with evidence of removal of early inscription; four titles or flyleaves with 18th century ink signature of "Nicoll"; two volumes with two or three marginal notations in an 18th century hand. Willems 535; Rahir 530; Schweiger II, 106; Dibdin I, 400; Brunet II, 8; Graesse II, 157. ◆A couple of rust spots in one volume, occasional mild foxing or faint corner creases, other insignificant defects, but very close to fine internally. Spines a bit sunned and slightly rubbed, minor wear to joints, boards with trivial chafing and soiling, but none of these problems of significance, and the delightful set very well preserved and making an especially pleasing appearance on the shelf.

This is a particularly pleasing set of what Dibdin deems "a very beautiful and correct edition" of Cicero. Dibdin states further that "bibliographers . . . dwell with rapture on the beauty of the paper and brilliancy of the type; and critics allow that its correctness is equal to its beauty." It is one of the highlights of that golden period (1622-52) when the chief glories of the vast Elzevir corpus of works was produced in Leyden by Louis Elzevir's son, Bonaventure, in partnership with a grandson, Abraham. Britannica says that this partnership's "small editions in 12mo, 16mo, and 24mo, for elegance of design, neatness, clearness and regularity of type, and beauty of paper, cannot be surpassed." The bibliographers are unanimous in their praise of this sought-after "Works" of Cicero. And these 10 exceptionally pretty volumes would enhance a small space on any library shelf.

Price: $4,500.00