Parma: Bodoni, 1786. 4to (300 x 218 mm). Engraved title-vignette and head-piece, , lxxiii, , 164 pp. Preliminary leaves: title-page with engraved vignette, verso blank + dedication leaf to Jose Nicolas de Nibiano, verso blank + 2 unnumbered leaves dedication to Anton Raphael Mengs with half-page engraving signed "Lucatelli inv. et delin., Cagnoni sc." ADDED: "Valorissimo signor Marchese" (4 ff. - see below). Contemporary Viennese tree calf by Georg Friedrich Krauss with his gilt binder’s stamp impressed in gold at the top of the front pastedown ("Krauss Buchbinder in Wien"), smooth spine richly gilt with green gilt morocco label, foot of spine with narrow rectangular red morocco onlay with black initial "T" (for Teschen?), both covers framed by gilt multiple rules and ornamental borders, doublures gilt. Endpapers of light blue colored paper. Later engraved armorial bookplate to front pastedown (see below) with residue opposite. Dedication leaf with erased manuscript ownership inscription in upper right corner (the only blemish in an otherwise immaculate book). Binding with 1" scrap mark on front cover, other unimportant scuffing. In splendid state. Very good. Item #3726
A beautiful and justly famous Greek Bodoni imprint; our copy is fresh and broad-margined, and preserved in an excellent Neo-Classical binding by the great Viennese Hof-Buchbinder Georg Friedrich Krauss.
LONGUS: First Bodoni edition of the Greek Longus, beautifully printed, one of 10 large and thick paper copies (printed on papier d’Annonay) from a total edition of 170. Our copy is preserved in the FRESHEST POSSIBLE CONDITION, and indeed it does not seem possible that the book was printed 236 years ago. The prologue in Bodoni's Roman Italic type, the Longus text in Greek.
ADDED: "Valorissimo signor Marchese" (Italian text, 4 ff.). One of 6 large paper copies (papier d’Annonay) from a total edition of 69. The text is a letter by Bodoni to the Marquis de Cubières, printed separately in 1785 in both Italian (as here) and also in French. Here Bodoni presents his ideas on the CREATION OF A TYPOGRAPHICAL MANUAL. This important letter is not present in other copies of Bodoni's 1786 Longus, and was added to ours by the first owner.
BINDER: "Georg Friedrich Krauss is considered the best classicist Viennese bookbinder, indeed one of the most important representatives of the new binding art in the German-speaking area. Despite the high reputation he enjoys, very little biographical information about his is known, except that he worked from around 1791 to the beginning of the 19th century century, perhaps even until 1824" (Manfred von Arnim). We do know, however, that Krauss was appointed Hof-Buchbinder to the Habsburg court in Vienna (and deservedly so). His most important client was Prince Albert Casimir of Saxony, Duke of Sachsen-Teschen (1738-1822), founder of the great Albertina in Vienna. As a binder working in the neoclassical style, Krauss was seldom rivalled, although among his equals we include the London binders Staggemeier & Welcher, and Christian Kalthoeber -- all German emigrants. Arnim (following Breslauer) knew of only ten signed Krauss bindings, to which ours -- published here for the first time -- makes eleven.
PROVENANCE: First owner unidentified, though the initial "T" at the foot of the spine may indicate the Teschen noble family headed by Albert of Sachsen-Teschen who as we have seen was Krauss's greatest patron. -- Alfonso Arborio Gattinara, Marquis of Breme and 2nd Duke of Sartirana (1831-1903), with his armorial bookplate: per fess, 1. ente en point azure an eagle displayed or (incidentally these are the same arms of the house of Teschen); 2. (croix saltire [not bottonny]), with motto "Arb. Gatt. Sart. Dux." (Arborio Gattinara Duke of Sartirana; we are grateful to Oliver Bott, Darmstadt, for this reference).
REFERENCES: Brooks 314. Brunet III, 1155 ("Belle edition"). Schweiger I, 191. De Lama II, 40/41 (a ridiculous collation: "124" leaves, a figure at which he arrived by conflating the preliminary pages and the text pages together). For Krauss, see Arnim, Europaische Einbandkunst aus Sechs Jahrhunderten 156.