Category Archives: TB

Type Under Siege


In late 1544, Henry VIII’s forces were defending the English possession of Boulogne in a series of brutal battles against the French as part of the Italian War (1542-1546). They were aided by Giovacchino da Coniano, a sergeant-major in charge of the Italians fighting on the side of the English. The king had been present in France earlier in the conflict, but he later returned to England, leaving the dukes of Norfolk and Suffolk to lead his troops in defending Boulogne. The two leaders disobeyed Henry’s orders, leaving several thousand men at Boulogne and withdrawing the remainder of the army to Calais. The French forces, however, were eventually beaten back from Boulogne, gaining victory for the English. Although an otherwise minor figure in military history, da Coniano left behind a manuscript containing diagrams of battle formations employed during his time in France which would eventually come in to the hands of Girolamo Maggi, who would publish a portion of it two decades later.


Maggi (circa 1523-1572) was born at Anghiari, near Arezzo in Tuscany. He studied at Perugia and Pisa, where he developed a keen interest in ancient languages and architecture, as well as Roman law. He was also a student of old sarcophagi and funerary monuments, and used his expertise to argue against the then-common belief that giants had once roamed the earth. His first work, a poem on the war being fought by the Italians in Flanders, was published in 1551. In the same year, he completed the manuscript of his Ingegni et invenzioni militari, a work on military engineering, and dedicated it to Cosimo de’ Medici. Maggi’s Della fortificatione delle città (On the fortification of cities), was printed by Rutilio Borgominiero in Venice in 1564. In reality a compendium of works on fortification and defense, the volume contains five works: (1) the eponymous treatise, actually a coproduction between Maggi and Jacopo Fusti Castriotto, a military engineer who had died in 1563; (2) a discourse by Maggi on fortifying barracks; (3) a work by Francesco Montemellino on the fortification of the Borgo district of Rome; (4) da Coniano’s treatise on military logistics and battle formations; (5) and a work by Castriotto on the fortresses of France. The Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds a later edition of the Della fortificatione in its Cavagna Collection, printed in Venice by Camillo Borgominiero, brother of Rutilio, in 1584.


Novel illustrations accompany Coniano’s text, made up of combinations of small woodcut elements, depicting cannons, standard-bearers, and other military figures, and individual letters, each representing a different kind of soldier: o stands for archibugieri (musketeers); a for archieri (archers); r for acabie or ronche (halberdiers); p for picchieri (pikemen); and C for cavalli (cavalry). These formations must have challenged the typesetter, as they sometimes involve oblique orientations, the tight packing of type, and the careful layout of various sections of “troops.” (Even more burdened by this system of notation is modern optical character recognition, or OCR, technology, whose limits are revealed in some online versions of the text.) Other portions of the compendium are also visually rich. Maggi and Castriotto’s treatise has scores of illustrations of fortification methods, many containing text within the “frame” of the woodcut itself.


A note to the reader appended by Maggi to the end of the work admits that the text is incomplete, but that he has been informed by a Venetian friend that the text in its entirety would cover such topics as defensive trenches, tunnels, bridges, and firearms. Maggi ends with an expression of hope that these lost passages could be recovered and shared with the world. As far as is known, the complete text remains lost to history.


Maggi’s life ended in a dramatic fashion. Around 1570, he became a military engineer to the Republic of Venice. Soon afterwards, he went to Cyprus, where he acted as a judge and advised on the defenses of Famagusta, which was held by Venice. After the Turks laid siege to the city, Maggi was captured, enslaved, and taken to Constantinople. He was made to work on a merchant ship and later wrote two further works while in prison, without the aid of a consulting library. These were the De tintinnabulis, on bells, and the De equuleo, on an instrument of torture similar to the rack. These works attracted the attention of the French and Italian ambassadors to the Ottoman Empire, who were impressed by Maggi and sought to have him released. As Maggi was being taken to the Italian ambassador, however, the prison captain ordered him to be brought back. Upon his return to the prison, Maggi was strangled to death; he left behind many manuscripts on literary and military topics, some of which were published posthumously, including his two works penned in prison. TAWB

Della fortificatione delle città / di M. Girolamo Maggi, e del capitan Iacomo Castriotto, ingegniero del christianiss. re di Francia ; libri III. Venice: Camillo Borgominiero, 1584. Q. 623.1 M272d.


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A Well-Traveled Atlas


Portrait of David Garrick by Thomas Gainsborough, 1770 (National Portrait Gallery, London).

As I was beginning to work on a two-volume atlas from the Cavagna Collection printed in Venice between 1740 and 1750, I noticed from the rather rudimentary catalog record that a second copy was listed as containing the bookplate of David Garrick (1717-1779), the most famous Shakespearean actor of the eighteenth-century, whose legacy is still very much present today – there are many Garrick Theatres in cities around the world, as well as the Garrick Club, founded in 1831 in London’s Covent Garden. This connection seemed almost too good to be true, so I set out in to the vault to inspect the item for myself. To my surprise, there had been no mistake; I opened the front cover of each volume to see Garrick’s bookplate, engraved by John Wood, complete with a bust of Shakespeare and other theatrical paraphernalia.


Garrick’s bookplate. The quotation underneath is from the French author Gilles Menage (1613-1692), and roughly translates as, “The first thing that you must do when you have borrowed a book is to read it so that you may soon be able to return it.”

Above Garrick’s ex-libris, however, was another, this time announcing the volumes as having belonged to “Joseph Smith, British consul at Venice.” Though this name did not ring a bell with me, a few minutes’ research revealed Joseph Smith (circa 1682-1770) to have been one of the most celebrated bibliophiles of his generation, responsible for contributing to what would become the King’s Library at the British Museum, now in today’s British Library. First travelling to Venice around 1700 as a merchant banker, Smith held the position of British consul to Venice from 1744 to 1760, and died in that city in 1770.


Smith’s bookplate, engraved by Antonio Visentini.

King George III had come to the throne in 1760, only to find the Royal Library more or less depleted, its contents, dating back to the reign of Henry VII, having been donated by his predecessor, George II, to the newly-founded British Museum. In 1762, the cash-strapped Smith sold the king his massive collection of important books, prints, and paintings, acquired over his many decades as a collector, although his urge to amass more did not stop there. In fact, upon his death ten years later, he had so many books in his possession that it took nearly two weeks to auction off that second library.


It seems that this copy of Atlante novissimo must have been a part of Smith’s second library, either at Venice or Mogliano, his summer house, though I have been unable to locate it in any of the catalogues of his collection assembled after the sale to the crown in 1762. Some time in the next few years it came in to Garrick’s possession, though he would not have had long to enjoy it, as he would die in 1779. Though best known as an actor and theater manager, Garrick was an avid book collector, amassing over 3000 volumes, and he is especially revered today as a collector and thus early preserver of many items relating to Shakespeare and his seventeenth- and eighteenth-century legacy. Oddly, our Atlante novissimo is not to listed in the 1823 sale catalogue of his library.

A third bookplate was placed above Smith’s in the first volume, and bears the following text: “The gift of her father to his daughter Eva, May 1, 1843.” The identity of Eva is a mystery, as Garrick had no children, and I was unable to locate any other book bearing this same bookplate anywhere online. (Any leads in this area would be greatly appreciated.) The University of Illinois acquired this copy in 1941.


We are excited to announce the rediscovery of this item’s extraordinary provenance, even more so as the tercentenary of Garrick’s birth was only last month. The Victoria and Albert Museum celebrated this occasion with an exhibition of its own, “David Garrick: Book Collector,” showing off a selection of the Garrick items owned by nineteenth-century Shakespeare scholar Alexander Dyce, and subsequently donated to the museum. TAWB


For more information about Smith’s collection, please see

Morrison, Stuart. “Records of a Bibliophile: The catalogues of consul Joseph Smith and some aspects of his collecting.” The Book Collector, 43:1 (Spring 1994), 27-58.

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A Christmas Carol and Its Corresponding Collector

Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present, by Solomon Eytinge, junior, and engraved by A.V.S. Anthony.

Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present, by Solomon Eytinge, junior, and engraved by A.V.S. Anthony.

While updating the catalogue record for an 1869 edition of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, I came across a letter inside the front cover. Dated 3 April 1867, it was written from Andrew Varick Stout Anthony (1835-1906) to Alexander Farnum (1830-1884) regarding William James Linton (1812-1897), an English engraver who had recently immigrated to the United States. Farnum was a Providence, Rhode Island, book collector and engraving aficionado, whose library has been described as one of “extraordinary excellence, sumptuous character and superb condition.”

The illustrations in the book were drawn by Solomon Eytinge, junior (1833-1905), and engraved by A.V.S. Anthony himself. As a book collector ever aware of matters of provenance and association, no doubt Farnum, upon acquiring the volume and remembering his correspondence with Anthony, pasted the letter into the book so as to preserve this connection.

Anthony letter 1

Anthony letter 2

694 Broadway Room 11
N.Y.  April 3d 1867

A. Farnum Esq.

Dear Sir:

W.J. Linton, the eminent English engraver – in fact the best engraver of the past or present, is in New York now, and contemplates getting up a “History of Wood Engraving,” sketching its rise and progress, but giving the larger portions of his volume to modern engraving and Engravers.

I mentioned your collection of rare old engravings to him and he is very anxious to look over them.

Would it be agreeable to you to have him drop in upon you when on his way to Boston?

He is an accomplished gentleman and has some little reputation on the other side as Poet and Journalist, and probably knows more about engraving than any other living man.

I hope to go on to Boston with him, but should I fail to make my business suit, may I give him a note to you?

Very truly yours

A.V.S. Anthony.

In 1882, Linton’s A History of Wood-Engraving in America was published in Boston and London.

Upon Farnum’s death, his collection was auctioned off by George A. Leavitt & Co. from the 9th to the 11th of June 1884. The sale was held at their headquarters at Clinton Hall (formerly the Astor Opera House) on Astor Place in Manhattan, also home to the New York Mercantile Library. Interestingly, Astor Place is only a few blocks from the location on Broadway where Anthony had written to Farnum 17 years earlier. Something of the atmosphere of this auction is surely conveyed in Spanish painter Ignacio de León y Escosura’s canvas, “Auction Sale in Clinton Hall, New York, 1876.” The building was razed in 1890 and replaced by an 11-story construction also called Clinton Hall, which stands to this day.

The catalogue of the Farnum sale naturally spoke very highly of its offerings: “Of such a class are the lots in this catalogue that the compiler honestly believes that instead of the necessity of American bibliopolists […] going to Europe of purchase from the English booksellers with whom they deal, all would find it in their best interests this Summer to buy from the Farnum Library, in Clinton Hall – books which, although printed in this century, are daily becoming of greater rarity in the old country over the sea.”

The volume was given to the Library by Mrs. Charles B. Watkins (Lucile A. Booker), class of 1899, in 1938. TB

Update (29 March 2017) — Transcription corrected thanks to Nigel Tattersfield’s observation.



Filed under Charles Dickens, Engravings & Etchings, Letters, Provenance, TB

The Rambler’s Magazine: A Puzzlingly Popular Periodical

The rambler’s magazine, or, The annals of gallantry, glee, pleasure and the bon ton. London: Printed for the authors, and sold by G. Lister, no. 46, Old Bailey; Mr. Jackson, at Oxford; Mr. Hodson, at Cambridge; Mr. Frobisher, at York; Mr. Slack, at Newcastle; Messrs. Peason and Rawlinson, at Birmingham; Mr. Crutwell, at Bath; and all other booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland, [1783-1791]

I recently cataloged an eight-volume set of The Rambler’s Magazine, or, The Annals of Gallantry, Glee, Pleasure, and the Bon Ton (not to be confused with Samuel Johnson’s The Rambler), which was published from 1784 to 1791. The magazine’s publishers boast that it is “calculated for the entertainment of the polite world, and to furnish the man of pleasure with a most delicious banquet of amorous, bacchanalian, whimsical, humorous, theatrical and polite entertainment.” The issues appeared monthly, with a supplement at the end of the year, and were each around 40 pages. These pages were packed to the gills with lectures, anecdotes, letters, poems, theatrical vignettes, songs, and general gossip — all of a very lowbrow nature. The Rambler’s Magazine is a true predecessor of those unavoidable tabloid publications that are to be found at nearly every supermarket checkout today. The lewdness of the content is often echoed in the accompanying engravings, which bear such humorous and suggestive titles as “Lady C—e preparing to be refreshed by Mr N—y” or “Abelard studying the use of Eloisa’s Globes.”

At times, the subject matter aims at the intellectual, discussing and illustrating contemporary political events (the general election of 1784) or scientific advancements (the hot air balloon pioneers Gustavus Katterfelto and the Montgolfier brothers), but always from a satirical and sensationalist point-of-view.

I looked in depth at the first four volumes, collecting some the most notable headlines and columns to share with readers of Non Solus. Memorable headlines include:

“On ogling; or, The language of the eyes” [1783 supplement]

 “Analysis of female attractions” [March 1784] – focuses on the phenomenon of blushing

 “Dissertation upon beards and whiskers” [June 1784]

“Memoirs of the Marquis de la Bizarre” [June 1784]

“Female boxing match” [August 1784]

“Capt. Cook cured of the Rheumatism, in the Otaheitean mode, by friction” [September 1784]

“Kissed to death” [October 1784]

“The history and adventures of a bedstead” [December 1784]

“On the necessary qualifications for lying, with illustratory specimens” [December 1784]

“Dissertation on breeches” [1784 supplement]

“Experiments on female inflammability” [1784 supplement]

In a March 1783 article entitled “A remarkable discovery; or, Mrs. General Washington, displayed in proper articles,” it is claimed that evidence was published in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 11 November 1782 revealing that the Revolutionary War hero and future president was “actually discovered to be of the FEMALE SEX.” The column is accompanied by an engraving showing a whip-wielding “Mrs. General Washington, Bestowing thirteen Stripes on Britania [sic].” Clearly some Britons were still sore about the recent events in the colonies.

Here are a few other anecdotes of note from The Rambler’s Magazine:

A Hint. If a certain old gentleman, not an hundred miles from Cavendish-square, would wish to make a secret of his frequent visits to a lady in the neighbourhood of Mortimer-street, he is advised not to leave his furious little terriers at the door, as the inscription upon their collars may lead to a discovery of an amour, which can be of no credit to a man of his age! [January 1783]

The inconveniencies attending large hoops are to be remedied, it is said, by constructing them with a sort of side wings, which yield upon resistance; but if the wings are made to give way so easily, pray what is to become of the middle? [February 1783]

Marriages in the Month of September, omitted by all the news-writers … 4. Mr. Flint to Miss Steel. N.B. As this is a striking couple, many sparks will, no doubt, be produced between them, by conjugal collision. [October 1783]

Bibliophiles will certainly derive a smile from the following letter to the editor from one “Lothario,” who claims that he has a copy of an interesting letter in his possession, which is then printed in full.

Epistle from a Bookbinder to a most enchanting subject.

My dear,

I long to fold you in my arms, and to gather the honey from your ambrosial lips. I could fill whole pages in expatiating upon your perfections, and nothing can ever cancel my esteem for you! Oh, that I had you but in sheets! I would be bound to give you satisfaction; and, if any man should attempt to oppose our union, his eyes should instantaneously be sewed up, and his body put in boards at the undertakers. Though I am neither guilt [sic] nor lettered, I understand collating. I have stitched Mrs. Newton (her trial I mean) many an hundred times; and he ought to be bound in calf who could not enjoy such a subject. Perhaps, Madam, you may object to my size. I confess that I am rather diminutive, but, give me leave to observe to you, Madam, that a good octavo is better than a bad folio. A fine foolscap is superior to a coarse royal. If I should be so fortunate as to obtain you for a wife, you may depend upon being well covered, not with sheep or blue-paper, but elegantly in Morocco. Oh, if I had you upon the margin of a limpid stream! The contents of my purse shall ever be at your service; and you may rely upon my sincerity, for my tongue is always an index to my heart. You may probably have heard, that I have been connected with unbound subjects, but I am now determined to turn over a new leaf and put a finis to all my follies.

I am, my dearest Duodecimo,

Your affectionate servant,

Timothy Catchword.

Similar to our modern-day crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other mental exercises so often found in popular print media, The Rambler’s Magazine regularly included rebuses and riddles for the entertainment of its readers. Below are two to try your hand at.

The first is a cryptologic puzzle from the February 1783 issue, which is a dedication to “the doctor himself,” purported author of a multi-part piece entitled, “An eccentric lecture on the art of propagating the human species, and producing a numerous and healthy offspring, &c.” Can you decipher it?

The second is a rebus from February 1786. While most of the objects which here signify letters, syllables, or whole words are recognizable by 21st-century readers, some are not so obvious. For some clues, see here. The solution can be found here. (Note: a fox was misplaced where a donkey should be in line six of the second page.)

According to the British Library’s English Short Title Catalogue, this is the only copy of the run of these magazines in this country outside of Harvard University, though our copy is missing the January 1790 and February 1791 issues.

Volumes 3-8 bear the armorial bookplate of Sir Edward Denny Bacon (1860-1938), a famous British stamp collector and curator of the Royal Philatelic Collection. The Library’s copy was acquired from Hill in October 1961. TB

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“Endlesse fame shall crowne thy well-ment actions with applause”: An Olimpick Curiosity, 400 Years On

Michael Drayton, et al. Annalia Dubrensia: vpon the yearly celebration of Mr. Robert Dovers Olimpick Games vpon Cotswold-Hills. London: Robert Raworth, for Mathewe Walbancke [i.e. Printed for Dr. Thomas Dover], 1636 [i.e. 1720?]

While working on a project to create detailed catalog records for items of interesting provenance, I came across an 18th-century type-facsimile of a charming collection of poetry from 1636 called the Annalia Dubrensia (“Annals of Dover”), one of only two documented copies in this country. The poems are dedicated to Robert Dover (1582-1652) and were contributed by more than thirty poets, among whom are such luminaries as Ben Jonson, Thomas Randolph, Michael Drayton, and Thomas Heywood. The volume includes a humble response in verse by Dover himself. An attorney and former scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, Dover is most famous as the founder, or more likely the resuscitator, of the Cotswold Games, a two-day sporting festival held in a valley (sometimes called a “natural amphitheater”) in the Cotswold Hills near Chipping Camden in Gloucestershire, England, starting around 1612. This was only one of many such regular events which are documented from this period, but it became distinguished under the management of Dover, who saw the rise of Puritanism in England as standing in opposition to the freer and more playful spirit which seemed to be in the nature of the English people. Dover believed that physical strength gained through exercise was necessary for the defense of the realm, but he also wished to unite rich and poor in a sporting atmosphere. The games were quite popular and received the approval of King James I. Some scholars believe that Shakespeare (who may have known Dover) makes reference to them in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The frontispiece illustration from the 1636 edition reprinted in our copy shows an assortment of the activities which went on during the games. At middle-ground in the center of this woodcut is a curious edifice known as Dover Castle, a portable wooden structure balanced on a single pedestal, from which a standard bearing the motto “Heigh for Cotswold!” was flown and cannon were fired during the events. Across the landscape, participants are depicted engaged in several of the events, including sword fighting, wrestling, leaping, coursing with hounds, quarterstaff, casting the hammer, and spear throwing. One man even stands on his head. In the upper left-hand corner of the woodcut, three women in ruffs and long dresses dance, accompanied by a piper.

The games were as famous for their accommodations and refreshments as for their activitie. Poet Nicholas Wallington writes in this work that “None ever hungry from these games come home, / or ere made plaint of viands, or of roome.” At the foot of the hill on which the castle stood (or teetered) are tents set up for competitors, in front of which a group of men are having a meal at a long table. From the style of the illustration, it is hard to tell whether this party are seating on a mat or other covering on the ground as if at a picnic, or if a hole was dug into the ground, at the edge of which they sat enjoying their meal. The square ornamental device at the middle-right may be one of the yellow “ribbands” which Dover famously awarded to all participants. In the midst of all of this revelry and sport rides Dover himself, whose importance is indicated by his size in relation to the other figures. He is elaborately dressed in a feathered hat, ruff, coat, and boots which were a gift from King James out of his personal wardrobe.

Dover’s games continued annually, with the support of the Royal Family, until it was suppressed during the English Civil War in 1642. After the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660, the games were revived and continued on and off until 1852. In 1966, they returned as a regular event under the patronage of the Robert Dover’s Games Society, and are still enacted today in the same location as the original games, near what has come to be called Dover’s Hill, featuring such popular events as shin-kicking and tug-of-war.

The rediscovery of this work in the vault of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library is a timely one, considering the start of the 2012 Olympics in late July. In fact, Dover’s Cotswold Games themselves came to be known as “Olimpick” – a term which was the product of the age’s renewed interest in Classical mythology and culture. The British Olympic Association has acknowledged these games as the “first stirrings” of the British Olympic heritage. Furthermore, it seems that the first Cotswold Games celebrated under Dover’s administration were probably held in June, 1612, exactly 400 years ago. Sources say that the Games took place on the Thursday and Friday after Whitsunday (a traditional name for the festival of Pentecost), which is the seventh Sunday after Easter. This would place the date of the inaugural games on the 14th and 15th of June, 1612.

This circa 1720 edition of the Annalia Dubrensia is differentiated from the 1636 version by the addition of an anonymous poem and the inclusion of a note at the end of the dedicatory epistle on leaf A2 verso, stating that this new edition was undertaken because “Dr. Dover [i.e. John Dover, d. 1725] thought it his Duty to perpetuate the Memory of that Good Man his Grandfather.” An armorial bookplate, with the motto “Do ever good,” was pasted onto one of the fly-leaves, with the name of Dover’s father, John Dover of Norfolk, written in what may be a nineteenth-century hand. Below this is a coat-of-arms incorporating the above crest, drawn in pen and accompanied by notes in the same hand, indicating that “These Supporters and other Additions were granted to Robert Dover his Son the Institutor of the Cotswold Games, who died 1652.” It is believed that King James I himself may have been the grantor of these arms. A nineteenth- or early twentieth-century owner of this volume (perhaps Ernest E. Baker, F.S.A., whose bookplate appears on the front paste-down) pasted clippings and copied several quotations related to the games or the Annalia Dubrensia onto the rear fly-leaves. This copy was acquired by the Library in January of 1941. TB

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Distinctive Ownership Inscriptions in an Incunable (Incunabula Q. 473 M28p 1482)

Guiniano Maggio. De priscorum proprietate verborum. Venice : Octavianus Scotus, 3 June 1482.

While cataloging a copy of De priscorum proprietate verborum (“On the propriety of ancient words”) by the 15th-century Neopolitan grammarian Guiniano Maggio, I came across two contemporary or near-contemporary ownership inscriptions by one Ludovicus de Galliardis.

One inscription is on the first front fly-leaf recto and comprises the name “Galliardis”, embellished with swoops and curves of pen-work. A face is incorporated into the descender of the capital “G”, and through this clever addition, the initial letter is transformed into a large and ostentatious piece of head-gear, similar to those seen in late medieval panel and manuscript paintings. Another elaborate symbol follows, but I have been unable to determine what this signifies, if anything. It could be another sign of ownership, perhaps incorporating the letters “r” and “t” within a larger initial “I”, but it is hard to tell.

Galliardis made his mark again, this time on the last printed leaf in this volume (M5 recto). Here he chose the odd course of writing the Latin phrase “Ludovicus de Galliardis possidet istum librum” (“Louis de Galliardis owns this book”) in Greek characters. The writer did not mind that several of the Greek letters do not transliterate properly into the Roman alphabet. Instead, he chose letters that looked like their Roman counterparts. For instance, the letter “e” appears twice in this inscription and both times it is represented by the lower-case form of the letter “zeta”, which, of course, corresponds to the Roman “z”, not “e”. Obviously, this Galliardis was an artistically-inclined man who had a grasp on classical languages as well as a quaint sense of humor.

These characteristics may be accounted for if he is one and the same with an “egregius Ludovicus Galliardi, notarius” (“the distinguished Louis Galliardi, notary”), named as a citizen of the town of Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region in south-eastern France. This comes from an entry, dated 6 October 1538, in the minutes of Pierre Deserveta now in the Archives du Départment de la Haute-Savoie. This date fits with the type and style of the inscriptions found in the incunabulum. If indeed the owner of this volume was a notary, then this would explain the elaborate script and the knowledge of Latin, as well as at least some Greek. This also justifies the calligraphic inscription “Juniani Mai[i]” (“Guiniano Maggio”) on the upper wooden board, which has an elegant “J”.

Further documentary evidence points to the possible existence of a family of notaries by the name of Galliard or Galliardi in the area spanning several centuries. The same Pierre Deserveta, in a passage from his minutes dated 12 February 1557, says that one Marin Ruffi was taken into a two-year apprenticeship by Jacques Galliard, notary and citizen of Annecy, to be taught “l’art d’escripture”. Additionally, there was a Johannes or Jean/Jehan Galliardi, also a notary, who is named in two documents from Geneva (some 40 kilometers from Annecy), dated 1464 and 1473, respectively. A manuscript on parchment, dated 20 May 1709, documenting the donation of 10 écus by Jean Dupont to the chapel of Sainte-Marie-aux-neiges in the hamlet of Les Jeurs in exchange for an annual mass to be celebrated there, was drawn up and signed by “Petrus Georgius Galliard, notarius publicus” (“Pierre-Georges Galliard, notary public”) at his home in the town of Martigny-Bourg in the modern-day canton of Valais in Switzerland. His signature is elegant and flowing, reminiscent of those in the 1482 Guiniano Maggio, though indeed these are in the same style as was used by many notaries, secretaries, and other “professional writers” over the centuries.

Geneva and Martigny-Bourg are just over 100 kilometers apart, and so it seems that, over the course of around 250 years or more, there were at least four notaries (Jean/Jehan, Louis, Jacques, and Pierre-Georges) with the name of Galliard or Galliardi in the Haute-Savoie/Geneva/Valais area. How these men were related, if they were at all, is unknown and would take a great deal of investigation to determine.

We are seeking any information that might help to shed light on the Galliard family or on the significance of the mysterious flourish in the first inscription. If you have any suggestions please contact the Non Solus blog moderators or the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. TB

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Contemporary Line-Drawing and Couplet in an Incunable (Incunabula 475 Z42l 1490)

Wilhelmus Zenders de Wert. Lilium grammaticae. Cologne: Heinrich Quentell, 1490

While cataloging a quarto edition of the Lilium grammaticae of Wilhelmus Zenders de Wert, I ran across an interesting drawing on the title-page.  This quaint illustration in black ink shows a man in armor with a head of curly hair, clutching a small sword or dagger in his right hand and extending an unrolled scroll from his left.  The artist has even included what seems to be chain mail below the armor on the figure’s upper body.  While the proportions are far from realistic and the left hand seems to be in an uncomfortably awkward position, this is a fascinating instance of a drawing that makes reference to the work that it accompanies.

The text on the scroll is difficult to make out, but it seems to run thus:  “Eyn schirmer[?] by[n] ich gena[n]t, an dem Lilium grammatice mal[?] beka[n]t” (roughly “A swordsman am I called; in the Lilium grammatice [am I] well-versed”).  Although the word “schirmer” is only conjectured here, it would be in accordance with the presence of the sword.  Judging by the spelling in these verses, the drawing must be contemporary or near-contemporary with the printed text.  Perhaps it was drawn by a schoolboy seeking to alleviate his boredom during a lesson.  Taking this even further, perhaps he or someone he knew (his instructor?) had the surname Schirmer or Schyrmer and this drawing is a visual pun.  One can only guess, since the artist’s identity may never be uncovered.

Our copy is half-bound in modern vellum with decorative paper over paste-boards.  It was acquired from Stonehill Books in 1950.

We are seeking any additions or corrections to the text in the scroll or any thoughts about the illustration itself.  If you have any suggestions please contact the Non Solus blog moderators or the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. TB


Filed under Incunabula, Inscriptions, Provenance, TB