I Marmi.

DONI Anton Francesco (1552-3)


Please contact us in advance if you would like to view this book at our Curzon Street shop.


Copious woodcut frames, ornaments, headpieces and historiated initials, along with: I. Woodcut on title page from I Mondi; portrait of Doni; 8 woodcuts of philosophers Ferecide, Anassimandro, Pittaco and Simone, and four allegories Time, Vanity, Kindness and Industry; woodcut printer's device within frame on verso of final leaf. II.  Woodcut on title page; 2 allegorical woodcuts of Matrimony and Melancholy; portrait of Petrarch; woodcut depiction of three Florentine crowns with the Arno, personified, leaning on a lion; four cavalier scenes in woodcut frames; (different) printers device in scrolled frame on verso of final leaf. III. Woodcut printer's device on title page (matching that in Part I); portrait of Doni; eighteen woodcuts, seventeen of which a series of scenes on horseback, one an allegory of Fortune; final printer's device, matching that at rear of Part II. IV. Architectural armorial device with lion on title page; 8 woodcuts of which two are portraits of philosophers, one a scene of book burning in the style of the allegories in Part I, one a fool riding a lobster, four of horseback scenes; with further woodcut of books on title page of Inferni; and woodcut printers device on verso of final leaf. Italic letter in two sizes. 

4 volumes in 1. 4to (210 x 155mm). 167, [1]; 119, [1]; 166, [2]; 93, [3]pp (pagination of Inferni continuous). Eighteenth-century cats-paw sheepskin, armorial binding with arms on upper and lower boards, triple gilt fillet, panelled in gilt with ornamental cornerpieces, spine gilt in compartments with label in second, place and date of printing at foot, inside gilt dentelles (extremities worn and rubbed).  

Venice: Francesco Marcolini, 1552-3

A handsome first edition of Antonfrancesco Doni's I Marmi, abundantly illustrated with an extraordinary array of woodcuts, with distinguished provenance.

Prolific writer, editor, satirist, printer and polymath Antonfrancesco Doni's (1513-74) Marmi, literally 'the marbles', are a series of conversations invented and imagined by Doni to have taken place on the marble steps of Florence's new duomo. Imagining himself as a bird, Doni describes the 'belle cose' he sees and hears while watching those seeking the coolth of the shaded marble in the heat of the day. Subjects covered by the more than 100 interlocutors, both real and fictional, accademici pellegrini and ordinary Florentines, range from printing to poetry, food and politics, all with a satirical gaze with which Doni critiques contemporary Florentine politics, society and morality. Doni himself was both within and outside the intellectual, religious and political establishments of Renaissance Italy over the course of his life and career; he took religious orders and promptly left; pursued the patronage of various powerful men across the Italian states only to be rebuffed in many cases; was in and out, and founder of, several intellectual Accademie and moved in distinguished intellectual circles, counting Pietro Aretino as a friend (but also, in the final years of Aretino's life, a bitter rival); established his own printing shop in Florence; worked with other printers (including the Gioliti); and translated, edited and wrote voraciously. Alongside I Marmi, I Mondi, La Zucca and La Libreria are his best-known works.

The illustrations in this volume are striking. Testament to the collaboration between Doni and the Venice-based printer, Francesco Marcolini, the interaction of text and image here is typical both of Marcolini's output and Doni's oeuvre of work, and manner of working. Reportedly setting up camp in Marcolini's printshop, according to one of the printer's typesetters, Doni would himself give the compositor his copy to be set, and select the blocks himself from Marcolini's stock (Fanfani). The multiple series of woodcuts printed here were not created new for I Marmi and their use can be traced in other of the author's and the printer's output; the portrait of Doni in Vol. I, for example, can be found in Doni's Medaglie (Giolito, 1550) and his La Zucca (Marcolini, 1551) as well as other of his works; the others in Vol. I and the allegorical woodcuts of Matrimony and Melancholy in Vol. II, are in the Ingegnosi Sorti di Francesco Marcolini da Forli (1540); the three Florentine Crowns in Vol. II are also in Le Prose Antiche di Dante, Petrarca et Boccaccio edited by Doni in 1547; various of the 'cavalier' scenes that recur throughout have been identified in Orlando Innamorato (Venice, Scotto, 1545), the second edition of Brusantini's Angelica Innamorata (Venice, Marcolini, 1553), and Bartolomeo's 1549 edition of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (Rizzarelli) as well as Rampazetto's 1565 edition (Mortimer). The woodcuts themselves are not evenly distributed throughout the text, and vary quite significantly in style and subject, from finely composed allegorical depictions to the image of a fool riding a lobster (unrelated to any of the other blocks); yet all interact with the text, embodying Doni's aim, stated in one of the ragionamenti here, that 'le parole si accordano all'intaglio' - that words agree with image. 

The designs of some of the woodcuts have been credited to Marcolini himself, in one instance, the allegory of Matrimonio in volume one, by Doni in La Zucca. Marcolini's connection with Titian, and the presence of designs attributed to Titian in other of the printer's work - see the frontispiece to Aretino's Stanze (1537) - raise the tempting possibility that some of the woodcuts here are also attributable to him, though this is not mentioned by Mortimer; certainly Philip Hofer in his pencilled note on the front flyleaf seemed to think so, writing 'the woodcuts are school of Titian at the least, Marcolini's printers mark and his [presumably Doni's] portrait probably being by Titian. PH.' Leaf LL1R is a specimen title page for 'Inferni', the second book of I Mondi, then at press (Mortimer). 

Provenance: 1. Arms of Tinseau family on upper and lower boards, with their motto 'Humilia tene'; likely Charles de Tinseau (1748-1822), mathematical engineer, anti-Revolutionary and fugitive from the Revolution in Worms and London, where he published political pamphlets. He returned to France in 1816. 2. Exlibris of Philip Hofer (1898-1984) collector of eighteenth-century Italian, German and Iberian books and manuscripts, and founder & curator of the department of printing and graphic arts at Harvard University, with his presentation inscription 'To Michael Jaffé, in friendship, and remembering August 1961 in Cambridge (USA)' on front free endpaper, in the event of 3. his gift to Michael Jaffé (1923-97), art historian and curator, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge. 

Sporadic annotations in French and Italian in eighteenth-century hand, brown ink. Hofer's notes on front free endpaper. Inked manuscript guide to woodcut illustration on title page of Vol.I, offset on front free endpaper. 

Giovanna Rizzarelli, 'Doni e Ariosto: Illustrazioni per il Furioso riusate nei Marmi', Italianistica 37.3 (September/December 2008), pp.103-117. Pietro Fanfani (ed), I Marmi di Anton Francesco Doni (Firenze, 1863). 

 Adams I, D824. Ascarelli/Menato, 369-70. Gamba, 1368. Mortimer, 165. BMSTC I (C16th Italian), 225. 

Stock Code: 233474

close zoom-in zoom-out close zoom