A FUTURE POPE READS A HISTORY BOOK

Historie di M. Marco Guazzo di tutti i fatti degni di memoria nel mondo successi dal 1524 sino a l’anno 1549. Nouamente reuiste & con somma diligenza corrette & in piu luoghi emendate, con la tauola di tutto quello, che si contiene ne l’opera.

Venice, Giolito, 1549.

8vo, ff. [8], 329, [1]; woodcut initial, large woodcut printer’s device around letterpress imprint on title, a variant device at end to register verso; title lightly browned, occasional light water-staining, but a very good copy in contemporary calf, boards panelled in blind with gilt fleurs-de-lis at corners, blind centre-piece, spine panelled in blind, edges stained red, manuscript paper label on spine, as well as a later paper library shelfmark label, vestigial ties, sewn on 3 pairs of thongs, spine lined in panels with manuscript waste; ownership inscription of Lorenzo Corsini (later Pope Clement XII) on title, several ink markings to the index, and late seventeenth-century marginalia in several places.

£3600

Approximately:
US $4014€4093

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Historie di M. Marco Guazzo di tutti i fatti degni di memoria nel mondo successi dal 1524 sino a l’anno 1549. Nouamente reuiste & con somma diligenza corrette & in piu luoghi emendate, con la tauola di tutto quello, che si contiene ne l’opera.

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First edition thus, this copy owned by the future Pope Clement XII, of a remarkable history of recent and contemporary events, first published in 1540 and here updated by almost ten years, resuming the account of world event and Italian politics and including references to American history from 1522.

What would a future pope want to read in a book about relatively recent history? This copy offers us a rare window for an insight. It bears the ownership inscription of Florentine nobleman Lorenzo Corsini (1652–1740), wealthy member (indeed head, had he not renounced his primogeniture) of one of the princely Florentine families, a keen bibliophile and art patron, who became Pope Clement XII in 1730. Corsini’s book collection, built on the nucleus assembled by his uncle Neri, and increased during Lorenzo’s time with the competent consultancy of Dominican scholar Dom Malachie d’Inguimbert, included both ancient manuscripts and modern books, and reached its apex during and after Lorenzo’s papacy in the hands of his nephew Cardinal Neri (see DBI).

This volume bears several marginalia in a hand consistent with Lorenzo’s chronology. They concentrate on events surrounding the conquests of Emperor Charles VIII through Italy, particularly Tuscany, picking out the ruler’s progress city by city, remarking on the people’s reaction and on the ceremonies set up to demonstrate submission and welcome; in addition, simple underlinings and markings in the index reveal an interest in passages relating to the Turks near Vienna, as well as in political events closer to home, and in the intricacies of Renaissance family alliances.

Adams G1456; Alden-Landis 540/14 (first edition); Harrisse 130, 124; Mortimer 227.

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