MIRANDULA, Octavianus (FIORAVANTI, Ottavio)
[BINDING] Illustrium poetarum flores.
Argentorati [i.e. Strasbourg] : in Aedibus Vuendelini Rihelij [Wendelin Rihel], 1549. Duodecimo (175 x 100 mm), fine contemporary German calf blind-tooled by the Meister NP (initialed and dated 1549 in roll), boards framed by a roll featuring portrait busts of Old Testament figures Joshua and Solomon, and goddesses from Classical mythology Diana and Persephone; central panels with repeating floral motifs, stamped above and below on upper board “Illvst.” and “Poeta”; spine in compartments with floral motif, rebacked, preserving most of the original backstrip, fore-edges with remnants of two brass clasps; expert repairs at head and foot of spine at corners of boards; ff. , 400; printer’s device on last page; six sheets of 20th century paper bound in, three blank, three with English translations (written in brown and red ink) of poetry on the facing page; a few of the first and last leaves with mild damp stains at top and fore-edge margins, one leaf with small loss at fore-edge due to a paper flaw, but a fine copy with generous margins, the binding with rolls showing clear and striking impressions.
First printed in 1507, this anthology of poetry by Classical Roman writers collected by Italian Augustinian canon and humanist Ottavio Fioravanti became one of the most popular poetical common-place books of the period. The floral metaphor of the title is extended in the preface, in which Philip Beroaldus describes the volume as a selection of ‘sweet-smelling and never-fading flowers gathered from the woods and fields of poetry’. The anthlogy includes works by Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Juvenal, Lucan, Terence, Lucretius, Martial, Propertius, Catullus, and Tibullus.
The roll on the binding was, according to Schunke, produced by the workshop of one of the most skilled and prolific roll cutters in 16th century Germany, the so-called Meister NP. This particular workshop specialised in the creation of stamps and tools for use by other binders, which appear to have found their way to bookbinders across the central Holy Roman Empire: Haebler has identified well over 30 rolls dated between 1549 and 1564 which have the NP monogram, some signed by binders in towns as far apart as Augsburg and Utrecht.
VD16 F 1114; not in Adams.
Binding: Haebler I, 337, #4. See also: Ilse Schunke, Das Werk des Meisters NP, in: Studien zum Bilderschmuck der deutschen Renaissance-Einbände (1959), p. 122.