4to, roman letter, Tibullus: ff. , [1 (blank)], Propertius: ff. , Catullus: ff. ; together 127 ff., without the 60 ff. of Statius’s Silvae, not present in this copy, and the final blank of the third part; opening initial ‘D’ in green with intertwining white-vine decoration against a greenish-yellow wash background, other initials alternately in red or blue; a few contemporary and later annotations; light marginal dampstain in a few leaves at beginning and end (just entering text in one leaf at end), single marginal wormhole in last leaves, but a large and very crisp copy in early eighteenth-century English red morocco, covers panelled in gilt, spine gilt and lettered direct, edges gilt, marbled endpapers; extremities lightly rubbed, a few scrapes on upper cover, short cracks in joints at head.
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A handsome copy of the second edition of Catullus, Tibullus and Propertius, a close reprint of the edition by Vindelinus de Spira, 1472. Statius’s Silvae also formed part of the edition, but it is not present here; the parts are sometimes found separately, as ISTC notes, and almost half the surviving copies contain only three (or fewer) of the four.
Catullus was the greatest lyric poet of Rome. He exercised an enormous influence on his Roman successors, including the elegiac poets Tibullus and Propertius who are printed here with him.
Although the colophon states that de Colonia and Manthen printed the book, the types are those of Philippus de Lavagnia and the paper stocks are from the region of Milan. As in several other of Lavagnia’s editions of this period, stamped signatures were placed in the lower right corner of the page; they are cut away or only partially preserved in most copies (in this copy, they are wholly or partly visible in eleven of the quires). ‘The signatures for Tibullus have not survived in any copy so far described (BMC) and its position in the volume is therefore uncertain. The contents in general follow Vindelinus de Spira’s 1472 edition page for page, though the order of the poets differs’ (ISTC).
Of the thirty-six copies recorded worldwide in ISTC, only twenty-one apparently contain all four works, and of these at least five are imperfect.
1. The celebrated Dutch soldier and scholar Joan van Broekhuizen (Janus Broukhusius, 1649–1707) with his ownership inscription on first leaf and with two notes in his hand at the end of the Propertius (in one of which he remarks that Vossius, in his De arte grammatica, often praises the 1481 Reggio Emilia edition and must therefore have been unaware of the present one). Van Broekhuizen ‘never ceased to read and to imitate the Latin poets, and especially Propertius and Tibullus, and also to prove himself an original poet in his lyric as well as his elegiac pieces’ (Sandys, A history of classical scholarship II p. 329). Indeed, his classical reputation rests on his elaborate editions of Propertius (1702) and Tibullus (1708).
2. The marquesses of Lothian, almost certainly from the library at Blickling Hall put together by the Greek scholar and friend of Michel Maittaire, Sir Richard Ellys (1688–1742); their sale, American Art Association/Anderson Galleries, New York, 27 January 1932, lot 45, where bought by Barnet J. Beyer for Thomas F. Woods; thence by descent.
HC 4759; BMC VI 702; GW 6387; IGI 2614; Goff C-322 and S-699; Bod-inc. C-139; ISTC ic00322000.