Rome, Francesco Minizio Calvo May 1524.
4to (210 x 151 mm.). [ii], , p.
PRINTED ON VELLUM. Roman type, occasional shoulder notes.
CONTEMPORARY ROMAN BINDING OF BLIND- AND GILT-TOOLED BROWN MOROCCO over soft paper boards (rubbed, corners slightly defective), quadruple-rule outer and inner blind frames, gilt straight and curved rules between the frames, larger gilt branches in the outer corners, smaller ones in the inner corners and flames in the middle, a gilt daisy above and below the gilt circular central medallion decorated with ropework and four impressions of the larger branch tool, blind decorated spine (crown and base slightly damaged), vellum pastedowns and their conjugate free endleaf stubs (see below), evidence of eight green fabric ties, all edges gilt.
First Edition of the color theorist, classical scholar and playwright’s first book of verse. From teaching Greek and Latin in Milan, Telesio (1482-1534) was called to Rome in late 1523. Within a month of his arrival, he published praise of the newly elected Pope Clement VII, quickly joined the humanist circles of Giovio, Trissino and Vida, befriended Gian Pietro Carafa (the future Pope Paul IV) and found a patron in Gian Matteo Giberti, this book’s dedicatee.
The present collection includes two pieces, “Cyclops” and “Galatea”, that first sound themes central to Telesio’s 1527 tragedy, Imber aureus. In other poems, a sailor laments the travails and dangers of the sea, and the author plays with with nomen omen in describing the gift from a Milanese nobleman named Lampius of an elaborately sculpted bronze lamp. Telesio likely composed verses on the destruction by lightning in 1521 of a tower used as a depot for weapons and gunpowder in the Castello Sforzesco immediately after the event. The verses on the Archinto Gardens must also have been written in Milan. The final contribution harnesses the cyclical imposition of six different meters to create witty shaped poetry (unknown to Higgins, Pattern Poetry).
Something of Calvo’s production methods are revealed by the final leaf (H4), which bears only the errata. On the recto, below the errata, he used the final six lines of type from the last page of the preceding quire (G4v) to fill up the page in the chase. We can see their blind impression well enough to identify the text. For the bearer type on the verso, he took the entire page of text from the preceding verso (H3v). The headline and the first six lines of verse were inadvertently inked, and, though effaced in-house by abrasion, remain legible.
The binding was not made far from from Calvo’s shop. The front pastedown and its conjugate free endleaf stub are printer’s waste: the extreme inner margin of the stub preserves poorly inked ghosts of Ms, As and other majuscules.
The present example, probably given by the author, belonged to Francesco Antonio D’Amico, who, like Telesio, was a native of Cosenza, a fellow member of its Accademia Parrisiana (later Telesiana) and a poet. His signature appears both on the title and on the front pastedown. One O?ff?di signed the book in the late 16th or early 17th century. It later passed to astronomer and mathematician Agostino Ariani (1672-1748), who served the Kingdom of Naples, taught at the university there and compiled celestial tables based on his own observations and calculations; illegible 19th-century signature (Ferrai?). From the library of Georges Petit de Grandvoir (1878-1956) with his pencil note dated November 1947. I have not located another example on vellum. In good condition.
¶Conforti, Antonio Telesio umanista e poeta Online http://centrumlatinitatis.it/chisiamo/Rende/telesio.2.doc; Osborne, Telesio and Morato on the Meaning of Colours (Renaissance Colour Symbolism II) (2018) 1-7; Barberi, Tipografi romani del Cinquecento…Calvo 90; Ottaviani, “Da Antonio Telesio a Marco Aurelio Severino: fra storia naturale e antiquaria” in Bruniana & Campanelliana XVI (2010) 139-48; Brunet V: 854 “rare”; EDIT16 CNCE 53286.