Nov. 21: Books, Manuscripts and Engravings at Il Ponte Casa d'Aste in Milan

- by Thomas C. McKinney


Highlight lots from Il Ponte Casa d'Aste's Nov. 21 sale

Il Ponte Casa d’Aste, based in Milan, is putting on an impressive sale on November 21st containing 253 lots of Books, Manuscripts and Engravings. This is a sale composed primarily of European material, though lots span six centuries nonetheless.


Here are some highlights with their complete descriptions:


1. Lot 2434. Authentic and fascinating collection of important incunables and medicine treatise preserved in its original early 16th-century binding with contemporary annotations.

[MEDICINE] - A collection of important medical incunables and treatises including: DE VILLANOVA, Arnaldo (1240-1312) - Breviarium practicae medicinae. Venice: Otinus de Luna, Papiensis, 21 ottobre, 1497. [Bound with:] BAVIERA, Baverio (c. 1405-1480) - Consilia medica. Bologna: Franciscus (Plato) de Benedictis, per i figli dell’autore, 5 novembre 1489. [And:] PORCASTRIS, Sigismundus de (1384-1473) - De restauratione humidi. Venezia: Peregrinus de Pasqualibus, Bononiensis, 25 ottobre 1490. [And:] CORDO, Simone (m. c.1300) - Opusculum cui nomen clauis sanationis simplicia medicinalia Latina greca e arabica. Venezia: Gregorio de Gregoris, 1514. [And:] BENZI, Ugo (1360-1439) - Preclara prestantissimi viri totoque orbe terrarum. Venezia: Giorgio Arrivabene e stampato dagli eredi di Ottaviano Scoto, 1515.

5 works in one volume, folio (299 x 210mm). With blanks, woodcut initials and printer's devices to some works. At the end of the second work a bifolium with a text by Lodovico Ricchieri with in between the 6 leaves of Porcastris (in general some light soiling and waterstains, one just visible at outer edge, few small tiny wormholes) [number of copies held in Italian libraries recorded in ISTC and SBN: Villanova 6, Baviera 17, Porcastris 6, Cordo 7 e Benzi 12]. Early 16th-century vellum, manuscript title in red on spine (spine with loss, some staining, lacking ties). Provenance: At least three different hands are recognizable in the book and all are near contemporary to the printing of the various text. Some are written in the margins of the texts while others are more extensive and located between Porcastris (1490) and Cordo (1514). Among these a note (then copied a second time) is dated: "Ferrara 1507" and it would appear to be a letter whose recipient is Bartolomeo Crotti (a poet from Reggio). On Cordo's frontispiece an onwership note by Antonio Pictor (?), doctor of medicine in Reggio, states he paid 50 "soldi" for the book for his sons. The note is dated 2 march 1517, just after the publication of the work. HC 1802*-2712; Klebs 103.4-163.1-791.2; BMC VI 824; BSB-Ink A-742, B-242; GW 2529-3739-M35052; Goff A1074-B283-P936.



2. Lot 2463. A good copy of an important work by a key figure in the early history of photography of Mecca and one of the first non-Arab photographers of the Hijaz. 

HURGRONJE, Christian Snouck (1857-1936) - Mekka. The Hague: [s.e.], 1888-1889.

A respected Dutch orientalist, Hurgronje spent 1884-5 in Arabia, and published the result of his travels in Mekka and the accompanying atlas of photographs Bilder-Atlas zu Mekka in 1888-1889. Compiled on the eve of Western modernisation of Arabia, this important work is the largest single illustrated monograph on Mecca of its time. The first volume contains an historical survey of Mecca, the second describes the daily life of the inhabitants, based for the most part on the notes compiled by Snouck Hurgronje's Muslim informant from the East Indies, Abu Bakar. The plates are amongst the earliest published photographs illustrating Mecca and pilgrims from all parts of the Islamic world. The photographs were taken by Al-Sayyid Abd al-Ghaffar, a doctor in Mecca who was taught photography by Snouck Hurgronje in 1885.

Folio and 8vo. (245 x 163mm; 365 x 273mm). Text with half-titles, 2 folding plans, errata leaf at end of volume 1, modern black cloth (few leaves on modern guards, few occasional light small stains); atlas with printed contents leaf and 40 plates, comprising 65 mounted photographs on 30 leaves, 6 tinted lithographs, one double-page, and 4 chromolithographs, loose as issued in modern black cloth portfolio and preserving original cover (some plates with light foxing, contents leaf with tiny clean tear, few plates with small marginal repairs)



3. Lot 2428. First editions of the first systematic study of the structure, distribution and position of venous valves, of the first record of the dissection of embryos, of the first printed illustrations of the development of the chick and of the author's earliest surviving treatise on embryology. 

AQUAPENDENTE, Girolamo Fabrici d' (1533-1619) - De formatione ovi, et pulli tractatus accuratissimus. Padua: ex officina Aloisio Bencio, 1621. [Bound with:] De formato foetu. Padova: ex typographia Lorenzo Pasquat, 1600 (ma 1604 al colophon). [And:] De venarum ostiolis. Padova: ex typographia Lorenzo Pasquat, 1603. [And:] De brutorum. Padova: ex typographia Lorenzo Pasquat, 1603.

De venarum ostiolis became Fabrizzi's most influential work, inspiring Harvey to conceptualize the circulation of the blood, and providing a model for the best-known plate in Harvey's De motu cordis (1628). De formatione foetu "illustrates the way in which nature provides for the necessities of the foetus during its interuterine life" (DSB).

4 works in one volume, folio (410 x 270mm). Woodcut devices on titles, woodcut initials, De formatione ovi with 3 (of 7) plates, De formato Foetu with 35 (of 33) plates, De venarum ostiolis complete with the 8 plates, De brutorum with pagination (6), 27, (1) (few tiny marginal wormholes and light waterstaining, few repairs and reinforcements without loss, De formatione ovi: without *3-*4 and final unsigned gathering with 4 plates, lacking errata, title repaired in top corner; De formato foetu without title and blank π2, without D1-D4 with plates IV-VI and O1-O2, P1-P4 with plates XXIII-XXV, lacking errata). Modern half vellum. Provenance: Stanescu family (3 generations: Alessandro, George and Cristian Stanescu; monogram ink stamps). Bib. Walleriana 136.



4. Lot 2325. The first or second Breviarium ever printed, this copy on vellum. Cristina Dondi calls it the first but others (Pell, GW) give precedence to the one printed the same year in Turin. 

[CURIA ROMANA - Breviario] - [Breviarium secundum consuetudinem Romanae Curiae. Venezia: Jacobus Rubeus, 1474]. 

The incunable contains 1) Calendar (ll. 2recto-7verso); 2) Ordinarium divini Officii (ll. 8recto-101recto); 3) Psalterium Breviarii Romani (ll. 102recto-312verso; 4) Proprium Sanctorum (ll. 313recto-371verso). The decorations have been completed immediately after the printing. Decorated initials on gold (ll. 8v, 102r) and other backgrounds (ll. 25recto, 32verso, 39recto, 45recto, 53verso, 61recto, 70recto, 313verso). Large and medium initials decorated in blue or red (from l. 192verso to l. 312verso the illuminator didn't decorate the initials); small initials in blue and red by another illuminator; touches of yellow to capital letters. Double floral frieze to ll. 8verso, 102recto. Incunable on vellum (ll. I, 1-371, I’, with blank l. 101verso [the Gregory law has been respected]; lacking 226 leaves; 170 x 122mm). Collation: 1 (4), 2-8 (12), 9 (8), 10 (2), 11-22 (12), 23 (8), 24-25 (12), 26 (8), 27-28 (12), 29 (8-1 [without final blank]), 30-34 (12). Small gothic script. Black ink (main text) and red (rubrications). Traces of early manuscript collation in Latin letters cropped during later bindings (ll. recto 8, 70, 84, 92, 94, 104, 127, 139, 152, 188, 236, 242, 254, 266, 274, 276, 290, 298, 306, 308, 315, 325, 341, 348, 350, ); no catchwords. 29 lines of text in two columns. L. I (reused) with a manuscript text from the Moralia in Iob if Gregorio Magno. (Waterstaining to ll. 346-371). Later calf decorated in gilt (light wear). Provenance: Seminaire? (small red stamp at first leaf of Calendar). Cristina Dondi. The Liturgical Policies of the Ospitallers between the Invention of Printing and the Council of Trent: The Evidence of the Early Printed Breviaries and Missals, in The Military Orders Volume III: History and Heritage, Routledge 2008, pp. 63-71: 63; Pell 2920; GW 05125

The lot is accompanied by a regular import certificate.



5. Lot 2531. A complete copy of the first graphical representation of Lucio Fontana's "Concetti Spaziali" containing 7 lithographic plates signed and dated by the artist.

FONTANA, Lucio (1899-1968) - Concetto spaziale. Presentazione di Beniamino Joppolo. Uomo e Donna, racconto di Milena Milani. Milan: Edizioni d'Arte Moneta, 1951. 

Following the exhibition at Galleria Salto in 1949 Fontana worked on this publication reproducing the original works exhibited at Salto. Copy n. 18 of a limited edition of 100 with the plates hand-printed at the Moneta press. "Credo a Van Gog: colore e luce. Credo a Boccioni: dinamismo plastico. Credo a Kandiski: astratismo concreto. Credo agli spaziali: tempo spazio" is the artist' important statement at the beginning of the work.

Folio (490 x 345mm). 7 lithographic plates each signed and dated by the artist and with its protective tissue guard (very few and light spots, light crease at top margin of a plate far from the illustration). Plates and text looses as issued and preserved in the original cream portfolio printed in red and black on front cover. Harry Ruhé e Camillo Rigo, Lucio Fontana, L-1/L-7.



The complete online catalog can be viewed here.