Orationum Pars III.
Venice: Paulus Manutius,
During the 1540s and 1550s, Paulus Manutius, a Ciceronian scholar, prepared a number of unusual volumes, composed in octavo but imposed in quarto to create large-paper versions. Many survive in Venetian maroon or black goatskin, the bindings decorated with the Aldine device painted in gold and silver, gilt initials P M on the rear cover indicating their gift by Paulus to a distinguished person, and sometimes displaying the recipient’s heraldic charges. (One of these presentation copies is on display in the case Collecting Aldus.) The present copy is open to show the dramatic impact of this exorbitant use of space. Note the register pinholes (indicated by brass pointers, with a black background placed to highlight the holes), normally trimmed away in conventional format. The pins ensure the accurate alignment of the text blocks on both sides of a leaf during printing.
From the collection of H. George Fletcher.