JOHN SKENE'S COPY

Commentarii … tradotti di latino in volgar lingua per Agostino Ortica della Porta Genovese, nuovamente in piu luoghi al vero senso dell’auttore ridotti, & con diligentia ricorretti, con la tavola di tutte le cose piu notabili.

Venice, Heirs of Aldus, 1547.

8vo, ff. [7], 6–256, with woodcut publisher’s device to title-page, five full-page woodcut illustrations and two double-page woodcut maps; small wormhole up to Y4 (sense recoverable), else a very good copy in nineteenth-century stiff vellum; early ownership inscription to title of John Skene (1549–1617), armorial bookplate of Thomas Hamilton, seventh Earl of Hadinton [Haddington], nineteenth-century gift inscription of a later Earl of Haddington to J.P. Lacaita, bookplate of Charles and Maria Lacaita; round booklabel ‘FS Bibliotheca Aldina’ (i.e. Fiammetta Soave and Michel Wittock).

£2250

Approximately:
US $2860€2634

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Commentarii … tradotti di latino in volgar lingua per Agostino Ortica della Porta Genovese, nuovamente in piu luoghi al vero senso dell’auttore ridotti, & con diligentia ricorretti, con la tavola di tutte le cose piu notabili.

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Best edition in Italian of Caesar’s Commentaries, a copy with attractive Scottish provenance.

After studying at St Mary’s College in St Andrews, the Scottish jurist John Skene (1549–1617) spent seven years on the Continent, studying in Paris and then Wittenberg. He became an advocate in 1575, was involved in the marriage negotiations of James VI of Scotland and Anne of Denmark in 1589, then served as ambassador to Denmark in 1590 and Holland in 1591, before his appointment as Lord Clerk Register and Lord Advocate in 1594 (it is as Cl[ericus] Reg[iste]ri that he signs the title-page here). From 1596 he was one of the ‘Octavians’ who managed Scotland’s finances under James VI. One of his fellow Octavians was Thomas Hamilton, first Earl of Haddington – this volume was later in the possession of the seventh Earl (though as with other material we have encountered from that library it likely entered at an earlier date). A later Earl, probably the ninth, has inscribed the volume to the Italian scholar and politician Sir James Philip (Giacomo Phillipo) Lacaita (1813–1895), a friend of Gladstone who came to Britain in 1850s, settling first in Edinburgh and then London.

Adams C-84; Ahmanson-Murphy 372; Renouard 142:10

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