AESOP (a slave from Samos, ?early 6th century B.C., attributed to). Vita, Franciscus Rinucius Aretinus, translator , et Fabulae, Lib. I-IV, Latin prose version of Romulus, with the metrical version of Anonymous Neveletti, i.e., Aesopus Moralisatus) ....
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AESOP (a slave from Samos, ?early 6th century B.C., attributed to). Vita, Franciscus Rinucius Aretinus, translator , et Fabulae, Lib. I-IV, Latin prose version of Romulus, with the metrical version of Anonymous Neveletti, i.e., Aesopus Moralisatus) . [Augsburg: Anton Sorg, c. 1480]. Chancery folio, 270 x 190 mm. (10 5/8 x 7 1/2 in.), red crushed levant morocco, covers panelled with triple gilt fillet, spine gilt in six compartments, board edges and turn-ins gilt, edges marbled and gilt, by CHAMBOLLE-DURU, slight scuffing to tail of spine and lower board edges, without final blank leaf, six-inch repaired tear to h1, a few mostly marginal small wormholes, most filled, 5 leaves with short marginal tears or repairs, occasional mostly marginal soiling or light staining, mainly to first and last few leaves, lightly washed and pressed . Collation: a-p8 q10. Contents : a1r blank, a1v full-page woodcut of Aesop, a2r-d1v Vita , d1v-k1r Fabulae Lib. I-IV, k1v-m2r Fabulae extravagantes , m2r-n2r Fabulae novae by Remigius, Latin translation by Rinucius, n2v-o7r Fabulae Aviani , o7v-q9v Fabulae collectae , q10 blank. 129 (of 130) leaves, lacking q10 blank. Types: 3:140 (heading on a2r), 4:109 (text). 35 lines. Space for large opening initial on a2r, a few four-line woodcut capitals in the Vita , spaces for initials with guide-letters in the rest of the book. Frontispiece full-page woodcut and 193 smaller woodcuts (80 x 107 mm.), a few repeated. Fourth or fifth edition (but see below) to contain the original woodcuts from Johannes Zainer's Ulm c. 1476-77 edition, the first illustrated edition of the group of Greek fables generally ascribed to Aesop. With the exception of the large frontispiece cut, a slightly reduced copy of that of the Ulm edition, all of the woodcuts were printed from Zainer's much-copied original blocks. An undated German edition printed by Sorg, illustrated with the same woodcuts, is also dated c. 1480 by the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke (354); the priority of the two editions would thus appear uncertain. However, whereas the type used for the German edition, 2:118, was regularly used by Sorg from 1478 to 1482, the types used for the present Latin edition do not appear together in dated Sorg editions until 1486. The title type 3:140 was used continuously from 1481, while the text type 4:109 superseded 2:118 in 1485. (This is the only Latin work printed with this text type; the Latin contractions used are from a slightly larger typeface.) It is therefore likely that the present edition was actually printed between 1485 and 1493, the year of the last known dated edition from Sorg's press; the question is slightly complicated by the fact that Sorg did possess the Zainer woodcuts by 1483, when he used them for a second German Aesop, dated 10 February 1483. Three other editions of Aesop illustrated with the original Zainer blocks were published before 1493, by different Augsburg presses (Schöffer: GW 358 and 359, and Schönsperger: GW 361, printed respectively in 1485, 1487 and 1491). While the precise chronology of the nine editions illustrated with the Zainer woodcuts -- called by Schreiber "perhaps the finest illustrations of any 15th century German book" (3020) -- is still uncertain, their rarity is indisputable. Of the present edition ISTC records 11 copies; most of the other editions are known in fewer than five copies. None have appeared on the market since 1973, when a copy of the present edition, lacking 14 leaves, was sold at Sotheby's London on 2 April (lot 8). H 326*; Proctor 1723; BMC II 356 (IB 6075); GW 347; Schreiber 3022; Fairfax Murray German 18 (dated c. 1486); Goff A-112 (4 copies). Provenance : "Constat Lxxxv"[?], contemporary inscription on a1r -- A few annotations in a seventeenth-century German hand -- Louis Lebeuf de Montgermont (sale, Paris.... [1911-1913] -- Édouard Rahir, bookplate (sale, part 5, 19 May 1937, lot 1347 [one of two Rahir copies; the second was sold in part II of his sale, 6
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