Engraved throughout, Bound in Silver and Gold, and Owned by the Founder of the Bulgari Luxury Jewelers


(Vienna: Joseph Anton Lidl and Johann Jacob Lidl, [1753]). 138 x 100 mm. (5 1/2 x 4"). 10 p.l., 266 pp, [4] leaves.

BEAUTIFUL 19TH CENTURY SILVER AND GILT BINDING, covers with zigzag-engraved frame with floral bosses at corners and acorn ornament at the center of head and foot, the panel filled with lushed pierced and engraved foliage, upper cover with silver engraved cross at center bearing a molded gilt crucified Christ, lower cover with a gilt molded Madonna and Child atop a crescent moon, flat spine with vertical row of pierced circles resembling Gothic rose windows, engraved and pierced scrolling, two floral clasps, red velvet inner boards, white moiré-patterned endpapers, all edges gilt. In a Bulgari box meant for some (other) kind of jewel (see below for Bulgari). ENGRAVED THROUGHOUT. Frontispiece, imprimatur leaf, and four section title leaves with allegorical designs printed in green and orange, engraved coat of arms of dedicatee, decorative headings and initials, those appearing in the first 95 pages hand-colored at a later (early 20th century?) date. Lower cover with round metal library label of Collezione S. Bulgari Roma attached at head of panel. ◆Dedication leaf reattached at hinge with cloth archival tape, occasional mild foxing to first and last couple of quires, margins in the first section (containing morning and evening prayers) a little thumbed; a copy showing mild signs of use, but still very nearly fine, the interior with nothing approaching a serious defect, and the lovely binding essentially unworn.

Handsomely engraved and illustrated, this gem of a book is elegantly bound in silver and comes, appropriately, from the collection of a silversmith who founded one of the most celebrated luxury jewelers in the world. The binding was probably created in Germany in the early part of the 19th century; such silver covers were popular for religious works of the period like this prayer book. "Goldener Gnaden Fluss" ("Golden Flow of Grace") is the only book OCLC finds by Joseph Anton Lidl and Johann Jacob Lidl. Johann (1696-1771) was a cartographer in Vienna; OCLC lists more than 30 maps engraved by him. His partner on the project may have been his father or brother. It seems likely this was a "passion project," perhaps for presentation to patrons, as each of the recorded copies is dedicated to a different person. Our volume has the arms of Veit Eusebius von Trautson, Graf zu Falckenstein (1688-1760), canon of Passau and Olmütz. Subsequent owner Sotirios Voulgaris (1857-1932) was a silversmith in Greece before immigrating to Italy in his twenties, opening a jewelry store in Naples, and changing his last name to Bulgari. In 1881, he moved to Rome and founded his eponymous store, which became world famous and continues to flourish today. His sons Constantino (1889-1973) and Giorgio (1890-1966) joined the firm in the new century, and helped their father establish Bulgari's celebrated flagship store on Via Condotti, where it remains today. The Bulgari name became synonymous with opulence and startlingly original designs, the firm being quick to embrace the Art Deco aesthetic. The hand coloring in this volume was perhaps done by Sotirios or one of his craftsmen. The bold color choices and juxtapositions have a distinctly Art Deco look, and the paint is very expertly applied.

Price: $8,500.00