Venice: Aldus Manutius,
During his initial extended stay in Italy, as Treasurer of French forces in the Duchy of Milan from 1509 to 1512, Jean Grolier assembled his first library. This collection included upwards of a dozen Aldine octavos. Some of that first library was part of the ransom that freed him from prisoner-of-war captivity, and the survivors are widely scattered. Grolier had the books bound in Milan, but all but four of the octavos were rebound for bibliophiles in England and on the Continent during the 19th century, replacing seriously deteriorated original bindings. This set contains Grolier’s early arms with the “Aeque difficulter” device, and is illuminated throughout in gold and colors. The present books are in English bindings of green goatskin gilt in an elaborate border-and-centerpiece design with Greek-key turn-ins, probably attributable to Charles Lewis or, less likely, Dawson & Lewis.
From the collections of The Grolier Club.