|The Binding of Books
An Essay in the History of Gold-Tooled
Bindings by Herbert P. Horne
|Early Italian Bindings 10
| " Vatibus, historicis, addit calcaria; cunctos
Scriptores fovet, his fertque patrocinium.
Musurus, Stephanus Niger, atque Thylesius, Aldus,
Lascaris, Arpinus, sunt mihi firma fides."
His library, like that of Peiresc, appears to have been in no slight measure intended for the use
of the scholars in whose conversation he delighted. The legend, 10. GROLIERII ET AMICORVM,
which he stamped upon his bindings, expresses this generous notion of the use of books, at
that time not uncommon among the possessors of fine libraries. Brunet mentions a copy of the
Quaestiones Naturales, Morales, et de Fato, of Alexander Aphrodisaeus, Venice, 1541, the upper
board of which bore the similar legend, '10. Chevignardi et Amicorum': and in the British Museum,
there is a copy of the Castigatz"ones, by Hermolaus Barbarus, of the Natural Histories of Pliny,
Basle, 1534, on which is stamped, in a like manner, the words' RENATI THEVENYN ET AMICORVM'
[Co 48. f. 2.]. The books of Maiolus and Marc Lauwrin bore, also, a similar inscription. But there is
another document, which more clearly illustrates the use, for which Grolier intended his books.
M. Le Roux de Lincy, in his Recherches sur Jean Grolier, published at Paris, in 1866, has collected
with great care and erudition, all that is known 9f this illustrious person; and has added to his
work a catalogue of some 355 volumes, which once formed part of Grolier's library. Among this
small number of books, which is not a tenth part of his original collection, there are no fewer
than five copies of the Virgil printed at the Aldine Press, in 1527; and four copies each, both of
the Hypnerotomachz'a, and of the Juvenal, the former published in 1499, the latter in 1501, by
the same printers: while duplicate copies of the same edition of the same work frequently occur
in this catalogue. In an age, in which the instincts of the modern collector were happily unknown,
Grolier might honestly set forth upon the bindings of such a series of books, that it was intended
for the use and enjoyment not only of himself, but, also, of his friends.
The relation of Grolier with Aldus Manutius and his family, and the encouragement, which he
gave to their publications, are, also, illustrated in a very significant manner, by this catalogue; in
that more than one third of the printed books described in it, are the productions of the Aldine
presses. But there are yet more valuable documents extant, which relate to this patronage. In
1517, an edition of Terence was published at Venice, with a letter of dedication to Grolier, signed
by Franciscus Asulanus, the fatherin-law of Aldus Manutius; but which, there is reason to
suppose, was actually written by Naugerius. The indebtedness of Aldus and his family, to the
treasurer, is very graciously acknowledged in this dedication; 'Tu Aldum semper singulari quadam
benevolentia prosecutus es. Tu eo defuncto omnem in nos amorem illum contulisti; neque
unquam nova in nos quotidie beneficia congerere intermisisti.' In a Latin letter addressed to
Franciscus Asulanus, dated' pridie idus Mart. 1519,' Grolier advises that printer, that he may
shortly expect the receipt of a corrected copy of the treatise by Budaeus, De Asse, which he
wishes to be printed in the form,
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