Category: Cataloguing

A Greek anthology printed in Florence, a Yiddish subscription and a German binder

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By , 6 November 2010 1:35 pm
The Cambridge University Library copy of the Anthologia Graeca Planudea pubblished by Janus Lascaris and printed by Laurentius (Francisci) de Alopa Venetus in Florence on 11 August 1494 (ISTC ia00765000) comes from the Sandars Collection, which is particularly rich in original and de-luxe bindings (SSS.60.10) .  This book retains its original binding too.

upper cover

lower cover

The cover is made a of quarter blind-tooled pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, with two stubs of fastening pigskin straps at fore-edge of lower board and channeling and nail holes for two lost catches at fore-edge of the upper board.  It is clearly German and datable to the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century.

Upper guard

The parchment guards of the first and last gatherings A and KK are fragments from a 15th-century liturgical German manuscript in Gothic hand with rubrics and initials in red.

B1 recto

The margins bear some marginal manuscript notabilia both in Latin and Greek in cursive hand by a German reader of the early 16th century.

More intriguingly, the book is also inscribed with notes by different hands in Greek and Hebrew on the blank recto of its title page, i.e. leaf [A1] recto: a classical citation [?], an imploration to God, and a partly cropped note written by a less educated hand in the upper margin of the leaf.

A1 recto

This short note turned out to be the most interesting one.  Written in Yiddish in an Hebrew hand datable to the end of the 15th century, it reads “12 grozim Ingolstadt”, providing us with a price and the name of the German town in which the book was at the end of the 15th or the beginning of the 16th century (I am most grateful to my colleagues from the Geniza Project, and Dr Esther-Miriam Wagner in particular, who kindly helped me in reading and dating the Hebrew inscriptions).

Yiddish inscription

The cropping indicates that the note was written before the book was bound.  A quick provenance search for incunables from Ingolstadt in the BSB-Ink website (BSB-Ink, H-372) led to the discovery of another incunable bound in similar style and decorated with seemingly identical tools.  The book is a copy of Horatius’s Opera printed in Venice [by Philippus Pincius partly with Bevilaqua's types] and dated 13 July 1498 (ISTC ih00459000), now in the Bayerische StaatsBibliothek in Munich, 2 3652 m,  which was bound in Ingolstadt in the workshop of Johannes Ewring (for similar bindins in Ingolstadt, see E. Kyriss, Verzierte gotische Einbände im alten deutschen Sprachgebiet, 4 vols, Stuttgart, 1951-1958, no. 170).

The BSB-Ink record provides a link to a German Bindings Database, called Einbanddatenbank, with images and measures of all the tools used in Johannes Ewring’s workshop (EBDB w000030), six of which can also be found on the binding of the Greek anthology in Cambridge (Ewring’s tools).

K2 recto

According to the Einbanddatenbank, Johannes Ewring was active in Ingolstadt between 1475 and 1514.  One of the notabilia added by the German reader in Latin and Greek on the book margins of our anthology is dated “1513 die 2°” (leaf K2 recto), thus providing us with a certain “terminus ante quem” for the binding.

The book was therefore bound in Ingolstadt in the workshop of Johannes Ewring sometime between 1494, its printing date, and 1513, the date of the annotation.

Miriam also came up with an interesting idea: could the Yiddish inscription be a pawnshop remark?  Books were often used as pawn items within the Jewish community, and the Jewish lenders should therefore have been used to take books as pawn items from Christian customers.  If this was the case, the book must have been used as “collateral” in a lending transaction before the bookblock was cropped in preparation for its binding when part of the note in Yiddish was cut away.

It only befits the international nature of this book that international experts in Hebrew and Yiddish languages from the Geniza Project at Cambridge University Library, and international digital catalogues with images available on-line have made possible for me, and Italian incunabula cataloguer, to solve a little but intriguing busillis.

An unknown edition of the Liber de secundis intentionibus by Francesco da Prato ?

By , 19 October 2010 3:52 pm

s1 recto

The edition of Johannes Versoris’s Quaestiones librorum praedicabilium et praedicamentorum et posteriorum Aristotelis attributed to Leonardus Pachel and Uldericus Scinzenzeler in Milan around 1481-83 (ISTC iv00250000), includes an anonymous text entitled Liber de secundis intentionibus printed on leaves s1 recto-t4 verso (Inc.5.B.7.10[4004])

This text is seemingly identifiable with the Liber de intentionibus by the 14th-century Dominican friar Franciscus de Prato.

The readings of its incipit and explicit correspond to those published in Jean-Pierre Rothschild, Bibliographie annuelle du Moyen Age tardif, 11 (2001), no. 1129, as the beginning and the end of a treatise attribuited to Franciscus Pratensis in Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, MS. 3368, fols 70 recto-80 recto.  These readings also match the incipit and explicit of the already known edition of Franciscus’s text printed on leaves v2 verso-v6 recto of Johannes  Versoris, the  Dicta super septem tractatus Petri Hispani, edited by Petrus de Sancto Johanne and published in Venice by Hermannus Liechtenstein on 22 May 1487 (ISTC iv00238500; see GW M32404).

t4 verso

Franciscus’s treatise was later reprinted in Seville in 1530 and survives in four other 15th-century manuscripts.

If the identification of the anonymous text is correct, there are two more lingering questions: the attribution of the printing to Pachel and Scinzenzeler rather than to Johannes Antonius de Honate, and the dating of the book to around 1481-83 instead of circa 1488 (as suggested by BSB-Ink V-181).

Only the carefull consideration of the types used in the edition and the philological comparison of the text with the surviving manuscripts copies and the 1487 edition will answer the final question: it this the editio princeps of Franciscus’s Liber de intentionibus?

Bibliography for the text:

Fabrizio Amerini, “La Quaestio Utrum subiectum in logica sit ens rationis e la sua attribuzione a Francesco da Prato. Note sulla vita e gli scritti del domenicano Francesco da Prato”, Memorie Domenicane, n.s. 30 (1999), 147-217 (p. 211).

Fabrizio Amerini, “La figura e la filosofia di Francesco da Prato”, in Dal convento alla città. Filosofia e teologia in Francesco da Prato O.P. (XIV secolo), Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Storia della Filosofia Medievale, Prato, Palazzo Comunale, 18-19 maggio 2007, ed. Fabrizio Amerini, Firenze, 2008, 15-29 (p. 17 and n. 8).

Felice Feliciano annotator of Valturio, De re militari, 1472

By , 28 September 2010 12:23 pm
Cambridge University Library holds two copies of Roberto Valturio, De re militari, printed in Verona by Johannes Nicolai in 1472 (ISTC iv00088000).  The first copy, Inc.2.B.19.1[2158], fully rubricated and decorated by puzzle initials in red and blue and beautifully bound for Marie Elisabeth Auguste von Sulzbach, has already been mentioned in the post dedicated to William Mitchell, one of its later owners.

r10 recto

The second copy was donated to the library by Samuel Sandars in 1894 (SSS.4.14).  In rather worse physical condition than the other copy, this second exemplar is in fact more important in the history of the edition itself as the manuscript captions to the woodcut images of war machines are in the hand of Felice Feliciano (1433-ca. 1480), the “antiquarius”, humanist, scribe, artist, binder, alchemist, goldsmith, and typographer from Verona, who was one of the most eccentric and inventive protagonists of the Italian Renaissance.

r9 verso

The captions were added by Feliciano partly in epigraphic capitals and partly in humanistic cursive minuscule.

r9 verso

r10 recto

a1 recto

He also wrote the heading on the first page of the treatise in his characteristic epigraphic capitals of alternating blue and red [my attribution to Feliciano's hand of the manuscript additions was kindly confirmed by Stefano Zamponi in private correspondence].


Feliciano’s hitherto unnoticed contribution to the Cambridge University Library Valturio is less extensive but nevertheless comparable to his rubrications in the Vatican Library copy (Stampato Rossiano 1335), which was first discovered by Augusto Campana, who wrote about it in a famous article published in 1940 (“Felice Feliciano e la prima edizione del Valturio”, Maso Finiguerra, V.3 (1940), 211-222).

In the Vatican copy Feliciano also applied the same system of catchwords or symbols to signal the end of quires, and supplied coloured initials, titles and rubrics to the books and chapters, as well as running titles, whereas he left the rubrication of the Cambridge copy incomplete.

The captions to the woodcut images did not originate with Feliciano: they reproduce the captions devised by Valturio himself to accompany the drawings of the war machines in the seven manuscripts written under his direct supervision by the scribe Sigismundus Nicolai Alemannus, including Vat. Urb. lat. 281, the earliest manuscript signed by Sigismondus in 1462, and Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Pluteo xlvi.3, copied around 1472, i.e. the same year as the Verona edition:

The captions were therefore an essential part of Valturio’s original text.  Consequentially, they were also faithfully reproduced in the fourteen other extant manuscripts of his work signed by or attributed to other scribes, including a manuscript in the Riccardiana Library in Florence, Riccardiano 794 (cf., which has been identified by Teresa de’ Robertis as being in the hand of Feliciano himself and possibly produced in the late 1460s or the 1470s (Teresa De Robertis, “Feliciano copista di Valturio”, in Tra libri e carte. Studi in onore di Luciana Mosiici, ed. by T. De Robertis and G. Savino, Firenze, 1998, 73-97).

In the manuscripts the captions were added in colour, usually light purple ink, next to the technical drawings of the war machines at the same time as the decoration, i.e. after the copying of the text.  It is not surprising, therefore, that they came to be considered as part of the rubrication and, as a result, remained unprinted in the 1472 edition in order to be added by hand at a later stage.  In consequence, they are absent from surviving copies of the edition which were never rubricated.  In other copies, however, it was the rubricators supplying the titles to the individual books and the running titles who omitted them, as in the Sulzbach copy in the Cambridge University Library and in the exemplars held in the Bodleian Library in Oxford (Bod-Inc V-041).

c5 verso

c7 verso

These omissions were regarded as mistakes by Paolo Ramusio, the editor of the second edition of Valturius’s work, printed  in Verona by Bonino Bonini in 1483 (Inc.2.B.19.4[2163]).  In his introduction Ramusio stated that his aim was to restore Valturio’s text to its original form and integrity.  In Ramusio’s edition, therefore, the captions to the illustrations were duly printed as part of the text, as can be seen when we compare the images that illustrate how to measure the height of a tower in copies of the first and secon editions.

r8 verso

s6 verso

Ramusio’s complaints seem amply justified given Feliciano’s occasional carelessness in reproducing the woodcut captions: see the repetition and cancellation of a word on fols [r8] verso and [s6] verso of the incunable SSS.4.14 , and the omission of the letter “T” in the word “INSTRVMENTVM” on fol. 131v of the Riccardiano manuscript 194 .

The discovery of Feliciano’s hand in the Cambridge exemplar of the 1472 edition adds this book to the number of his known manuscripts.  However, we are still left with the open question whether he actively collaborated in the making of the printed edition and its illustrations.  Our knowledge of Feliciano’s life is still sketchy, but it seems that around 1471-1472, at the time the book was produced, he was not residing in Verona but in Bologna and Ferrara. It is of course possible that Feliciano was simply requested to annotate some copies of the edition during a short visit to his home town.  We do know, however, that in 1475 and again in 1476 he was directly involved in the production of printed books: in the autumn of 1475 he collaborated with the typographer Severino da Ferrara in the publication of Baldassare da Fossombrone’s poem Il menzognero ovvero Bosadrello, Albertus Trottus’s De vero et perfecto clerico, and  Angelus de Gambilionibus’s Tractatus de maleficiis, and Benevenutus Grassus’ s De oculis eorumque aegritudinibus et curis (ISTC ib00034200, ISTC it00478000, ISTC ig00060500, ISTC ig00352000).  He was also apparently involved in the printing of an antisemitical text in Verona on 22 May 1475.  Finally, on 1 October 1476, he and Innocente Ziletti put their joint names on the edition of Petrarch’s De viris illustribus in the Italian translation by Donato degli Albanzani (ISTC ip00415000).

Feliciano’s printing ventures are perhaps unsurprising when we consider that in 1460 he had been identified as aurifex, i.e. goldsmith, in his brother Andrea’s will:  it is a well known fact that goldsmiths, such as Gutenberg, Ratdolt and Jenson, played a pivotal role in the development of the printing industry in 15th-century Europe.  Nevertheless, no documentary evidence of his involvement in the production of the 1472 Valturius edition has surfaced so far.  The two rubricated copies in the Vatican and Cambridge University Library, are too small a sample to confirm this hypothesis and the question must remain for the moment unanswered.  Only a long overdue complete survey of all the 76 extant copies of the edition, possibly combined with a critical edition of the printed text in comparison with the manuscript tradition, and an analysis of Feliciano’s copy in particular, may provide us with an answer.

For the time being, I can only say with confidence that Feliciano’s hand is not present in the two Oxford exemplars, Douce 267 and 289, whose rubrication has been described as “in the style of Felice Feliciano” in the catalogue of the Bodleian incunables (Bod-Ink V-041; reproductions of the two books were kindly provided to me by Irene Ceccherini, courtesy of the Bodleian Library).  The illuminated initials in Douce 289 are very close in style to those found in the copies of the edition held in the Biblioteca Civica in Verona (Inc. 1084) and the Biblioteca Universitaria in Padova (Sec. XV. 677), where we also find the same rubricator, giving the impression that these copies were rubricated and illuminated “in series”.


Augusto Campana, “Felice Feliciano e la prima edizione del Valturio”, Maso Finiguerra, V.3 (1940), 211-222.

Daniela Fattori, “Spigolature su Felice Feliciano da Verona”, La Bibliofilia, XCIV.3 (1992), 263-269.

L’ ‘Antiquario’ Felice Feliciano 1995:  L’ ‘Antiquario’ Felice Feliciano veronese. Tra epigrafia antica, letteratura e arti del libro. Atti del Convegno di Studi, Verona 1993, ed. A. Contò and L. Quaquarelli, Padua, 1995 (Medioevo e Umanesimo, 89), in particular Agostino Contò, “Non scripto calamo. Felice Feliciano e la tipografia”, 289-312.

Agostino Contò in Mantegna e le Arti a Verona 2006:  Mantegna e le Arti a Verona 1450-1500, [exhibition catalogue], ed. S. Marinelli and P. Marini, Venice, 2006, 455-6, no. 188.

Donatella Frioli, “Per la tradizione manoscritta di Roberto Valturio. Appunti e spunti di ricerca”, in Roberto Valturio, De re military. Saggi critici, ed. by Paola Delbianco, Rimini and Milan, 2006, 69-93.

Agostino Conto’, “Da Rimini a Verona: le edizioni quattrocentesche del De re militari”, in Roberto Valturio, cit., 95-104.

Donatella Frioli, “Da Rimini a Verona: Roberto Valturio, Domenico Foschi e Felice Feliciano”, in Virtute et labore. Studi offerti a Giuseppe Avarucci per i suoi settant’anni, ed. by Rosa Maria Borraccini and Giammario Borri, II, Spoleto, 2008, 1073-1109.

Laurentius Canozius, Padua = Printer of Mesue: Ridolfi Revindicated, a post by Paul Needham

By , 19 July 2010 12:36 pm

In June I made a visit to Cambridge University Library, where I spoke to Laura Nuvoloni about the Library’s project of upgrading and publishing online the cataloguing of its incunables. Almost by chance, Laura mentioned a problem or puzzle that had just arisen with regard to three Alberti editions in Italian, his Ecatomfila, Deifira, and an anonymous prose version of his Storia de Ippolito Buondelmonti e Leonora de’ Bardi.


All are quartos, and the first two are explicitly dated to 1471. In Oates, they are entered as 2327-2329 respectively, under the heading “Florence: Printer of the 1471 Mesue.” The “title” work of this press is the folio edition of Johannes Mesue, Opera medicinalia, explicitly dated 9 June 1471 (Goff M-509, HC 11107, BMC VI 615: IB.29848). In 1898 Proctor grouped these four editions plus a quarto edition of pseudo-Phalaris Epistolae in Italian, 1471 (Goff P-566, H 12903*), all printed with the same type, under the heading “Without place or printer”, with a remark on the type: “resembling in many ways Venezia, clij., A § 1 [that is, the Printer of Basilius, De Vita solitaria]; but all the connections of this type point to Firenze” (Proctor 7344-7348). The type was shortly after reproduced by the Type Facsimile Society, pl. 1900z, from the British Museum copy of Phalaris, and the plate is captioned “Unknown press in Italy, perhaps at Firenze, 1471.” In 1905, in the catalogue of Pierpont Morgan’s early printed books edited by A. W. Pollard, the suggestion of Florence became positive, and so also in BMC VI, 1930, edited by Victor Scholderer.

But it is hardly unknown to incunabulists that Roberto Ridolfi’s La stampa in Firenze nel Secolo XV (1958) has a chapter “Lo Stampatore del Mesue e l’introduzione della stampa in Firenze”, in which he argued decisively against the “British Museum” position (this chapter being a revision of an article he published in La Bibliofilía, 1954). By Ridolfi’s evidence, the Printer of the 1471 Mesue was certainly not in Florence, and almost certainly was to be identified with the Padua printer, Laurentius Canozius, whose first explicitly signed and dated edition is an Aristotle text, printed with a rotunda type, completed 22 November 1472. That is, if Ridolfi is correct, Canozius precedes Bartholomaeus de Valdezocchi (first dated work Boccaccio, Fiammetta, 24 March 1472) as the prototypographer of Padua.  A powerful clue to the reassignment is a 1472-dated purchase inscription by one Eusebius de Chochis found in a copy of the Ippolito e Leonora: “… In patauia emi eum [or eundem?]. opus Magistri laurentii de lendenaria” — I purchased this in Padua: the work of Master Laurentius [Canozius] de Lendenaria.” (cf. Ridolfi, La stampa in Firenze…, cit., p. 39, fig. 8).

Among those who agreed with Ridolfi’s new evidence and interpretation was Victor Scholderer, who in the office copy of BMC used for the 1963 photolithographic reprint, wrote marginally, vol. vi, p. 615, “This printer was probably Canozius at Padua, q.v.,” — and then struck through the word “probably”. In fact, the Mesue-type editions would appear to be a long-settled problem.

The reassignment of the group to Canozius in Padua has been accepted by such major incunable catalogues as CIBN, BSB-Ink , and Bod-inc (many more catalogues could be cited, were there any purpose to doing so), and no evidence opposing it has ever been published.

And yet the settled problem seems to be no longer settled. The most up-to-date incunable resource, the online Incunable Short Title Catalogue (ISTC), currently assigns the two 1471-dated Alberti editions, Deifira and Ecatomfila, to [Milan: Antonius Zarotus], with a note “Also recorded as [Padua: Laurentius Canozius, de Lendenaria], and [Florence?: Printer of Mesue, ‘Opera’(H 11107)].”  (ISTC ia00212000, ISTC ia00213000) As for the undated Ippolito e Leonora, ISTC keeps it under [Padua: Laurentius Canozius, de Lendenaria, about 1471], with a note “Also recorded as [Florence: Printer of Mesue, ‘Opera’ (H 11107)].” (ISTC ii00173900)

For Laura, this created an unavoidable conundrum. All three editions sat together on her desk. They had arrived at the Library as the gift of Charles Fairfax Murray in 1916, and although each is now bound in uniform twentieth-century blue morocco, they had originally formed a Sammelband, with uniform decoration and consecutive foliation.

Nor does it take an unusually keen eye to see that all were printed with a single type, whoever and wherever the type’s owner may have been.  How could two of them possibly be Milanese productions, and the third Paduan?



Ippolito e Leonora

I had the pleasure of examining the three editions, and noticed that they were printed on a single paper stock, watermarked with a Crown in a circle. As was quickly discovered upon consulting Ridolfi, this was the chief among five paper stocks found in the Mesue, and Ridolfi had already recorded that this stock was used also in the three Alberti editions (cf. Ridolfi, La stampa in Firenze…, cit., p. 33, fig. 2).   A small addendum can be made to Ridolfi’s elegant, one could even say classic, study. The Mesue is a folio on Median (Mezzana) paper. The three Alberti editions and the pseudo-Phalaris are Median quartos, printed on divided half-sheets of paper.

In Studi offerti a Roberto Ridolfi (1973) Dennis Rhodes, “Ancora per lo Stampatore del Mesue,” added a sixth edition to the Mesue group, the Oratio ad Nicolaum Tronum of Jacobus Aragazonius, whose text is dated 23 November 1471. This rare quarto, printed on Chancery and not Median paper, had been lurking unnoticed in volume II of the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke since 1926 (GW 2308), and as Rhodes observed, the GW editors, long before Ridolfi brought full clarity to the problem, had noticed difficulties with the localization of the Mesue Press to Florence (cf. Rhodes, “Ancora per lo Stampatore del Mesue”, cit., p. 407-412, with reproduction of f. [a1] recto).

In the first volume of GW, 1925, Alberti’s Deifira and Ecatomfila (GW 576, 577) had been assigned: “[Florenz(?): Drucker von Mesue, Opera (Hain 11107)]”. But in the second volume, GW 2308 assigned the Aragazonius Oratio: “Oberitalien. Drucker des Mesue …”. No explanation was given, but the cause of the change of location is clear: Aragazonius was a professor of philosophy at Padua, and his Oratio congratulated Niccolò Tron on election as Doge of Venice, 23 November 1471. How could Florence plausibly be the place where this “local” writing was sent to press? In 1943, the first volume of IGI listed the Aragazonius edition as item 777, taking over GW’s localization: “Italia settentrionale”. IGI’s four Italian copies, not known to GW, strengthened the evidence for a north Italian printing place: one copy each in Milan, Brescia, Padua, and Venice. But IGI’s handling of the Mesue Press was not entirely sure-footed, for the same volume, items 150 and 151 (Alberti), located the same press to “[Firenze?]”, again following GW. Literally interpreted, both GW and IGI were asserting that the “Printer of Mesue” was probably a wanderer. It is more likely however that neither set of editors noticed their own inconsistencies. GW, at least, did not attempt to reconcile the differing attributions of place in the “Ergänzungen und Verbesserungen” to volume I that was issued with volume II.

In any case, ISTC’s press assignment of the two Alberti editions to Zarotus in Milan is incorrect, and needs rectification. The source of the error is obvious. Within its program of expanding bibliographical citations, ISTC has recently been incorporating references to Arnaldo Ganda’s 1984 Primordi della tipografia milanese: Antonio Zarotto da Parma (1471-1507). Ganda’s “Annali” of Zarotus’s editions includes the Deifira and Ecatomfila as items 4 and 3 respectively. They are placed in the group of items — the first six numbers of the list — assigned to the shop of Pamfilo Castaldi 1471 to early 1472, for whom Zarotus at this time worked. The inclusion of the Alberti editions in the Castaldi list is entirely mistaken. Specifically, Ganda claims that these six items are all printed with the same type, 115R, whose first dated use was in the edition of Festus, De verborum significatione, Milan, 3 August 1471 (Goff F-141, H 7038*, GW 9864; Inc.3.B.7.1[1873]).


And indeed items 1, 2, 5 and 6 of Ganda’s list are printed with this type, and may all be seen as printed in Castaldi’s shop. However, the two Alberti editions items 3 and 4 are printed not with this type, but with the 119R type of the Mesue Press, a type conspicuously different in appearance from Castaldi’s, character by character. The two Alberti editions are cuckoo’s eggs in the Castaldi nest.



The three editions can instead be securely assigned to the Printer of Mesue, i.e. Laurentius Canozius at Padua and have been accordingly catalogued by Laura for the online catalogue of Cambridge University Library (Inc.4.B.74.B.1[2263]; Inc.4.B.74.B.1[2264]Inc.4.B.74.B.1[2265]).

How did the Alberti editions come to be assigned to Castaldi-Zarotus? Courtesy of Ludwig Hain in 1828, it seems. For the Ecatomfila, Ganda gives the bibliographical citations as: “H 420 (A. Zarotto); BMC VI, 616 e IGI 151 (Padova, Lorenzo Canozio); GW 577 (Firenze, tip. del Mesue).” Thus, Hain was seen as a superior authority to GW, BMC, and IGI. In view of the massive reservoir of typographic classification and reproduction available to these twentieth-century catalogues (Proctor, Haebler, Type Facsimile Society, Gesellschaft für Typenkunde), this seemingly ultra-conservative preference was in fact extremely bold. If the type used to print the 1471 Alberti editions truly was Castaldi type 1, how probable is it that GW, BMC, and IGI would all, successively, have failed to notice this? And it may be worth noting that Ganda’s monograph does not include a reproduction of Castaldi type 1.

In fact, the attribution of the Albertis to Zarotus originated not with Hain, who was no typographic expert, but rather with F. X. Laire in his 1791 catalogue of the incunables of Cardinal Loménie de Brienne, Index librorum ab inventa typographia ad annum 1500 (vol. I, pp. 248-9). To summarize very briefly a complex situation: G. W. Panzer described the two 1471 Alberti editions both in vol. III (1795) and IV (1796) of his Annales typographici. In vol. III, he located the editions, and also the Mesue of 9 June 1471, to Venice, specifically to the shop of Clemens Patavinus, but he took note of Laire’s attribution of the same three editions to Zarotus in Milan. Hain had no independent opinion on the matter, but simply compressed these earlier opinions into a characteristically terse statement “(Venetiis vel Mediol. Ant. Zarotus.)”. The formulation needs to be interpreted: Hain did not mean “Zarotus, whether in Venice or Milan”, but rather “either in Venice, or by Zarotus in Milan.”

Ganda’s reference to BMC VI 616 as assigning the editions to Canozius in Padua shows that he consulted the reprint edition, with Scholderer’s revised opinion moving the editions from Florence to Padua. Scholderer’s two notes in BMC VI (pp. xii and 615) do not specifically refer to Ridolfi’s study; for that reference one must turn to Scholderer’s associated note in BMC VII, p. xxxix, where Canozius’s press is reviewed. This suggests that Ganda knew from BMC VI that an attribution to Canozius had been made, yet was unaware, because of not consulting BMC VII, that the attribution rested on evidence and analysis provided by one of Italy’s greatest bibliographical scholars. And so it is that in 2010 a press attribution made by Franciscus Xavier Laire in 1791 is, in the guise of updating, silently brought in to override an exemplary bibliographical analysis made in 1954, revised in 1958, and concurred in by a long series of incunabulists of the last two generations. In recompense we have an answer to a hitherto unasked question: where did the assignment of the Alberti editions to Zarotus come from?

When changes of press assignment are made by ISTC they run the risk of going lost and unnoticed within its immense pool of entries, and such might easily have happened with the “Zarotus” 1471 editions of Alberti’s Deifira and Ecatomfila, divorced from the other Mesue Press editions with which they inextricably belong on strongest typographic and paper-stock evidence. It is fortunate that because of Cambridge University Library’s incunable cataloguing project, and because of its possession of all three Alberti editions, two mistakenly reassigned and one not, ISTC’s error came to light so quickly. The shade of Henry Bradshaw must be nodding in approval, for he more than anyone realized how easily press assignments go astray when made in the absence of an accurate grasp of the typographic situation. Ridolfi’s shade must also, perhaps with a sardonic shake of the head, be pleased.         Paul Needham