SUETONIUS TRANQUILLUS, Gaius (69-after 122) and BEROALDO, Filippo (1453-1505).
Commentationes conditae a Philippo Beroaldo in Suetonium Tranquillum. Venice: Philippus Pincius, 18 February 1510. Hand-colored, illustrated edition of Beroaldo's commentary on Suetonius from the library of Swiss humanist Peter Falck.This is the second illustrated Suetonius, whose Lives of the Twelve Caesars was an important albeit lurid source of Roman Imperial history, with woodcuts originally cut for Rubeus's 1506 edition, including the first known woodcut to depict a Caesarian section. This copy is from the library of the humanist Peter Falck, a native of Fribourg who served as papal diplomat to Pope Julius II, allowing him to build one of the finest libraries of the Swiss Renaissance. This book was bound for him at the Franciscan convent by Fr. Rolet Stos with his arms stamped on the boards, as well as notes by him, including his signature, "Petri Falck & Amicorum." The verses by Ausonius written on the flyleaf, possibly in the hand of Falck, belong to the tradition of Suetonius in print. Although they did not appear in the first edition printed by Lignamine in 1470, they were printed in the Sweynheym and Pannartz edition of 1470 and appeared regularly in Suetonius editions thereafter, although not attributed in print to Ausonius until the Bologna edition of about 1477 Falck's library passed to his daughter Ursula before being divided by her two sons. Each half then descended through the family (including to the d' Estavayer de Mollondins) until the late 17th century when many, but not all, books were given to the Capuchin convent in Fribourg. This copy was later owned by Charles Harold St John Hornby, founder of the Ashendene Press, which like the Kelmscott Press aspired to revive the spirit of 15th-century printing in contemporary book arts. A wonderful example of a hand-colored and illustrated text from antiquity, from the libraries of important collectors of both the Renaissance and the Victorian period. Adams S-2028; Essling 209; Sander 7144; Flodr Suetonius 5. See A. Wagner, Peter Falcks Bibliothek, 1926, for a list of 131 volumes containing 269 works, primarily those in the Capuchin convent. Folio (320 x 212mm). Greek and Roman types. Title woodcut depicting birth of Julius Caesar and other woodcuts throughout, all with contemporary hand-coloring; woodcut initials (occasional light browning, a few blank corners torn away). Contemporary Swiss blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards with two armorial stamps of Peter Falck on sides and clasps, probably executed in Fribourg at the Franciscan convent by Fr. Rolet Stos or his successors (joints neatly repaired). Provenance: Peter Falck, 1468-1519 (binding and inscription, by descent to:) – François-Pierre-Louis, chevalier de Mollondin, 1681-1736 (signature) – Charles Harold St John Hornby, 1867-1946 (bookplate) – Charles Clive Bigham, 2nd Viscount Mersey, 1872-1956 (Bignor Park bookplate) – Giannalisa Feltrinelli (bookplate, her sale, 7 October 1997, lot 104).