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Symonds Rare Books Ltd

Les Satyres de Guillaume Hogarth

Les Satyres de Guillaume Hogarth, uvre Morale et Comique en LXIX Sujets

HOGARTH, William FIRST EDITION. 2° (456 x 286mm). pp. (1), 83, (1). French title, index to the plates in English, 81 engraved plates after Hogarth, comprising 79 plates called for (including Before and After ) and the additional March of the Medical Militants and a reduced plate of The Roast Beef printed above the verse. Some light yellowing and offsetting throughout. Small neat tear in title repaired. Contemporary marbled-paper boards, rebacked in calf. This is one of the first authorised editions of Hogarth s works after his death in 1764. For the first time, this edition brought together the complete satyrical works by the great painter and engraver in a wide format including the series Marriage à la Mode (1745), A Harlot s Progress (1731), Gin Lane and Beer Lane (1751), and the licentious Before and After that was omitted in many copies and following editions. After Hogarth s death, his widow Jane Thornhill had to request a special Act of Parliament in order to have her rights recognised against counterfeiters and unauthorised copyists of his late husband s works. Her case brought the Parliament to approve the first modern legislation about copyright. As she received the exclusivity on Hogarth s works, she entrusted publisher Robert Sayer to curate this edition of his famous moralising series from his husband s original metal plates. The plates were subsequently used for a number of later publications, therefore resulting in a progressive loss of definition and quality of the impressions. Being so close to the artist s death, the engravings of this edition display an exceptional level of detail and accuracy to the originals. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the almost completely faded plates were restored by engraver Thomas Cook (1744 1818) and republished in high-quality print. The editorial venture was completed by a volume of anecdotes about William Hogarth and a full description of each plate. We offer Cook s volume together with this marvellous collection of prints by Hogarth, as a complement to the comprehension of this veritable master-piece of social art.
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The Journal to a Tour of the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson LL. D.

BOSWELL, James FIRST EDITION. 8.vo. (1), vii, 524, (1). Roman letters with some italics. With title-page and erratum at the end of the volume. Bound in a modern leather binding with gilt borders, incorporating the original spine. The spine is made of six compartments divided by five raised bands, with floral motifs and label in gilt letters, partially detached. Date inscribed at foot of spine. Stamped bookplate of previous owner on pastedown. A clean copy with some yellowing and mild foxing throughout. An excellent copy. Although James Boswell’s journey to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson was made in 1773, this account was only published one year after Johnson’s death. The book was intended to be a preview of the largest and much-anticipated biography of Johnson by Boswell, which was concluded in 1791. The narrative is based on a diary that Boswell kept during the journey with Johnson. Compared to Johnson’s own ‘Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland’ (1775), Boswell’s report is more anecdotal and focused on describing the different society he and Johnson were immersed in during their travel. This highly-enjoyable account of this journey is the first of many publications promoted by Johnson’s closest friends to celebrate his life and fiery personality. Posthumous publications of this kind include the ‘Anecdotes’ of Mrs Thrale-Piozzi; and the edited volume of Johnson’s ‘Prayers and Meditations’ by George Strahan. During the following years, a number of publications about Johnson’s life will appear in order to counter the ‘Johnson-mania’ (as it is called in one such publication) that was rapidly diffusing throughout the United Kingdom. Because of his eccentric character and unique wit, Johnson’s fame was such that he became the epitome of the learned man among the embryonic British bourgeoisie. Remarkably, some of his closest friends seemed to be very much aware of Johnson’s destiny as the favourite author of the newly-educated middle class and deliberatedly mocked this fashion by publishing ‘The Anecdotes of the Learned Pig’, where Johnson was compared to one equally successful pig who could grunt at command; and the comic ‘Bozzy and Piozzi, or the English Biographers’, where Boswell (a.k.a. Bozzy) and Hester Piozzi are portrayed while remembering their friend in verses. Published along with the reprint of Johnson’s own ‘Journey’, Boswell’s ‘Tour’ is an invaluable document for knowing Johnson’s incomparable spirit. From these pages, the most vivid impression of one of the most formidable minds of 18th-century British literature could be found at his best. Bibliography: Lowndes, p. 1032. ACGB (1984), pp. 140 – 141. Courtney & Smith, pp. 122 – 124
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Prayers and Meditations

JOHNSON, Samuel; STRAHAN, George (ed.) FIRST EDITION. 8.vo; xvi, 227, ad. Title-page inscribed with name of previous owner. Bound in contemporary one quarter ivory cloth over green paper boards. Printed label to spine. No sign of wear or soiling on the outside. On the inside, this is a very clean copy with only a few pencil marks throughout; t-p lightly browned; a worm track not affecting the text runs through pp. xv to 15. An exceptionally well-preserved copy of the very rare first edition of this work by Dr. Johnson. Before his death in 1784, the great writer and literate Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) gave the manuscript containing his religious writings to his publisher George Strahan with the request of publishing them after his death. [1] These invocations written by Johnson for important events were sided by autobiographical notes giving an account of the contingencies, which have prompted him to write them. However, Strahan decided to censor some of the passages of the manuscripts, where Johnson’s Protestant orthodoxy could have been put into doubt. In his preface to this first edition, Strahan warns the reader of his hesitation in publishing – for instance – prayers that Johnson had written for deceased friends, as this did not conform to the Protestant doctrine. At the same time, he also provided the reader with the exact location of the manuscript (Pembroke College Library, Oxford), in order to make the handwritten prayers available to those who wanted to access them more freely. A set of four more prayers from 1752 was published by Strahan in the second edition of this book, following the receipt of new manuscript material. [1] Johnson further required that the profit from the first edition were devolved to Dr. Bray’s associtation for the diffusion of the Gospel in the English territories around the world Bibliography: OCLC 2168976; ESTC T115787; Courtney & Smith, p. 158 – 159; ACGB, ‘Samuel Johnson. A Bicentenary Exhibition’, pp. 136 – 137. ‘To the Correspondents’ in The English Review (VI, 1785), p. 400.
Debates in Parliament

Debates in Parliament

JOHNSON, Samuel FIRST EDITION. 2 volumes, 8.vo. With title-page and table of contents. Bound in a C19th leather binding, re-backed with a more recent spine in seven compartments divided by double-filets; gilt lettering to spine and boards’ edges. Perfectly clean throughout with very light tanning due to age and no foxing at all, a few occasional thumbmarks. A fine copy. Appearing on ‘The Gentleman’s Magazine’ from 1732 as the proceedings of the House of Commons, these debates were originally written by historian William Guthrie (1708 – 1770) and revised by Johnson, who was appointed to this by the magazine’s chief editor Edward Cave (1691 – 1754). After the House of Commons passed a resolution against the publication of their proceedings, there became necessary providing a fictitious frame to the real debates by changing the names of people and places without changing the general sense of the debate itself. Through this stratagem, the column changed its name in ‘Debates in the Senate of Magna Lilliputia’ and allegedly reported on the voyage of Gulliver’s grandson. It is not certain who first came up with the idea of borrowing Swift’s narrative to circumvent the law. In fact, the articles started to be written by Johnson alone from November 1740 to February 1743. The speeches, allegedly recorded by Johnson, were in fact almost entirely invented by him as he could only have access to some sketchy notes by employees of the House of Parliament and the order of the speakers with an indication of their vote: these were written ‘from no material at all – the mere coinage of his own imagination’ (Boswell, p. 150). Therefore, these fictitious speeches have no historical value. However, they certainly throw light on the utter ease, with which Johnson could speak authoritatively of almost every topic. It was when Johnson found out that these articles were translated and diffused abroad as authentic, that he stopped this commitment with the Gentleman’s Magazine. The ‘Debates’ were issued both as an addition to Hawkins’ second edition of his ‘Works of Samuel Johnson LL. D.’; and as two separate volumes, as it is the case of our copy. The editor of this work (George Chalmers, according to Boswell; or Hawkins himself), attributed the idea of ‘Magna Lilliputia’ to Edward Cave and decided to restore the correct names of people and place whilst providing us with a useful table to decrypt the anagrams hiding the parliamentary identities. Although this would not give any further credibility to the text, it would show Johnson’s political intelligence in perfect detail. Bibliography: Courtney & Smith, pp. 5 – 6, 162.
The Life of Samuel Johnson LL. D.

The Life of Samuel Johnson LL. D.

BOSWELL, James FIRST EDITION. Large 4to. 2 vols. pp. xii, (16), 516; 588, (2) Engraved frontispiece by J. Heath after Reynolds’ portrait of Johnson. A very fresh, clean and crisp copy with only some spotting and light browning to flyleaves and first and final leaves. Marginal damp staining mostly visible on the back of the frontispiece. Light ink offsetting from frontispiece to title. A long list of ms. owners from the French Huguenot family of the Duvals. A number of handwritten notes, giving the impression that the compiler was present at some of the moments described in the text. Modern red morocco gilt, spine faded, marbled pastedowns. A fine copy. The recognised masterpiece of English biography, the Life of Samuel Johnson is a monument to both its protagonist and its author. Following the death of Johnson and in order to satisfy the enormous demand for Johnson’s anecdotes, this biography made extensive use of dialogues and it was noteworthy for the Boswell’s ability in describing the human characters surrounding Johnson and Johnson’s itself. Although many of the facts reported here are not accurate; and the continuity of its narrative is often interrupted, this book remains a precious source of information about the cultural world of the late eighteenth century. This copy comes from the Duval family, a notable family of French expats who came to London after the persecution against the Protestants of the late seventeenth century. The handwritten notes that could be found in these two volumes would suggest that the compiler of these notes was actually present at some of the events described by Boswell in the text. The compiler also invites the reader to look for the facts in the Gentleman’s Magazine, the magazine with which Johnsons has collaborated for years and that routinely reported on the London cultural scene.
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Fabularum liber eiusdem poeticon astronomicon.

HYGINUS, PALEPHATUS, FULGENTIUS, ARATUS, PROCLUS FIRST EDITION. Folio, pp. [xxiv], 246, [ii], α-γ6 b-d6 e8 f-k6 l4 m-p6 q4 r-x6. Roman letter, a little Italic, the sporadic Greek type. Printer’s device on t-p and verso of final blank leaf. 48 astrological woodcut illustrations and numerous decorated initials. Title page with early autograph (“Presbiteri Georgii ”), partially erased. Printed on thick paper, nice wide margins, some very light browning or spotting. Wrapped with transparent plastic film, bound in C19th quarter orange paper, with boards covered in marbled paper, ms. title to worn spine, upper part of fore-edge with negligible signs of gnawing. Fragile joints, however very clean and complete. A very good copy. This is the first edition of this famous collection of late antique works on astronomy and mythography. This edition comes from Herwagen’s Basel press, which included a number of important texts about ancient myths in its catalogue. Gaius Julius Hyginus was prefect of the Palatine Library between the first century BC and the first century AD. This Latin author is famous for this collection of some 300 fables about constellations and their mythological origins. The Phaenomena of Aratos (fl. 275 A.D.) are of particular importance for their influence on Roman and Renaissance culture. Similarly, Fulgentius’s Mythologicon, a C6th work, had a great influence especially on the iconography of Renaissance art. At the end of the book is Proclus’s (410-85 A.D.) work on the sphere. The beautiful woodcut illustrations, in the manner of Weiditz, represent the Planets and the Zodiac. BM, German Books S. 427. Zinner 1592.
Notice Historique

Notice Historique

INSTITUTION ROYALE DES JEUNES AVEUGLES] FIRST EDITION. 8.vo. 32 pages, including title-page. Printed with embossed Italianate type on thick paper doubled by glueing two leaves together. Handwritten note ‘4172’ on p. 5. A clean copy with only some browning to the last page and some (inevitable) soiling due to thumb marks. Original hardback covers with blue marbled paper over boards. Label to foot of spine with shelf number inscribed therein. Some wear at top front right corner and to lower edge, but overall in excellent conditions. The Royal Institute of Blind Youth of Paris was the first institute in the world to be specifically founded with the intention of providing the blind with equal access to education and a real possibility of developing their working skills. It was founded in 1785 by Valentin Haüy (1745 – 1822), a court interpreter and linguist. After witnessing the humiliation of a group of blind people by the crowd during a city festival, he was determined to give them an opportunity to improve their lives. He then met the young beggar François Lesueur, who became his first student. In order to teach Lesueur to read and write, Haüy invented the system of embossed letters, which was used in this copy. This system was based on the idea of substituting sight with touch through the creation of a special font and printing technique, which would enable him to print on both sides of the page, whilst keeping the necessary relief for tactile recognition. The results of his techniques were so brilliant that he received the official endorsement of the Royal family and the financial support of the Philanthropic Society to open the Institute. Besides teaching them to read and write, the Institute aimed to offer its students training on manual works such as spinning and letterpress. A special place was occupied by the teaching of music, in which many of the former students later excelled. The present publication explains in details the pedagogical aim of the Institute and the different classes that the students were required to take. This exemplar might have been used in one of the public demonstrations that the Institute routinely organised to promote its activity. After the Revolution, the Institute returned to be a royal institution and was therefore housed into the former seminar of Saint-Firmin. Haüy, who was politically involved in the Revolution and had to flee because of his status of ‘terrorist’, returned to Paris in the same year this book was published. Only two years later, in 1819, a young boy who lost his sight for an accident at the age of four started to attend Haüy’s school. He was Louis Braille (1809 – 1852), the inventor of the Braille alphabet, a much easier reading system in continuous use until today. This ‘Notice Historique’ is the earliest publication of this kind to survive and is the first book to be printed especially for the use of the blind. There are only six copies of this first issue in public libraries worldwide and no other known copy is currently available on the private market. This copy pre-dates an 1819 edition of this same work – with the indication of the infamous Director Sebastien Guillé as the author of the text on the title-page -, which has been sold at auction in 2006 as a first edition. Bibliography: BLL01002773918; Bibliothèque Diderot de Lyon 1R 139264; OCLC 8451757; Weygand, Z., Vivre sans voir, les aveugles dans la société française du Moyen-Age au siècle de Louis Braille, Paris, 2003.
Naturalis Historiae Libri XXXVII

Naturalis Historiae Libri XXXVII

Pliny Royal Folio. (40.2 x 28.1 cm.), A8 B6 C-E8 F6 G-H8 I-L6 M-Y8 Z6 &4 a-f8 g6 2a-2d8 2e6, lacking blanks at beginning and end. Roman letter in two sizes. First page of text (A2r) with a very large contemporary lavishly illuminated initial “L” (liquid gold and vivid green, blue and purple colours: a Venetian atelier?), spanning the width of 15 lines of text, without taking into account the extensive marginal foliation; at the foot of the same page, an illuminated heraldic shield, unidentified (noble Florentine family of Acciaiuoli? a rampant lion, slightly erased, within a shield at the centre of a laurel wreath on a shell-like blue background with two intertwined cornucopias containing fruits and plant leaves). C1r also carries an illuminated initial from the same time. Some light foxing, spotting and staining, particularly to margins, light scattering of wormholes towards beginning, mended snag to bottom margin of last leaf of text, owner’s inscription almost completely removed from sig. a4r and very faded old stamp on recto of rear endpaper. A very good, clean and wide-margined copy, many pages of remarkable freshness, in early vellum (soiled, ties removed, top joint mended). Early shelf mark in ink on verso of initial blank. Contemporary or early marginalia in two hands, especially on the first page of the text. A perfect copy of the third Parma edition of Pliny’s Natural History. In his work on natural science, Pliny discusses geography, ethnography, anthropology, human physiology, zoology, botany, mineralogy, sculpture and painting. As “a purveyor of information both scientific and non-scientific, Pliny holds a place of exceptional importance in the tradition and diffusion of culture” (DSB). This book was illuminated for an aristocratic owner and includes early annotations by two different hands. The first belonged to a scientist commentinf on natural phenomena; the second hand drew notes of a philological or historical nature. Chapter 10 of Book 28 dealing with the obtainment of medicines from animals, shows the interest in this topic by one of the owners, who left plenty of annotations about this subject. At bb8r (Book 35) is a reference to the humanist Lorenzo Valla (1405–1457), concerning Pliny’s arguments regarding the deceptive power of painting in relation to birds. The editor of this incunable is Filippo Beroaldo the Elder, who was a teacher in humanities at the University of Bologna and an editor of classical texts. Beroardo normally edited works for the Bolognese publisher Ugo Ruggeri. BMC VII, 937; BSB-Ink P-604; Goff P 793; Hain 13094*; HC 13094; ISTC ip00793000; Oates 2573; Rush Hawkins 339.
Sermon des grosz gelarten in gnade[n] erlauchte[n] doctoris Iohannis Thauleri predigerr ordens. Weisende auff den neheste[n] waren wegk. yn geiste czu wa[n]dern durch uberschwebe[n]den syn. Vnuoracht vo[n] geistes ynnige[n] worva[n]delt i[n] deutsch ma[n]che[n] me[n]sche[n] zu selikeit. [with]] Hystoria Thauleri

Sermon des grosz gelarten in gnade[n] erlauchte[n] doctoris Iohannis Thauleri predigerr ordens. Weisende auff den neheste[n] waren wegk. yn geiste czu wa[n]dern durch uberschwebe[n]den syn. Vnuoracht vo[n] geistes ynnige[n] worva[n]delt i[n] deutsch ma[n]che[n] me[n]sche[n] zu selikeit. [with]] Hystoria Thauleri

Tauler, Johannes [with] Maister Eckhart [with] [Merswin, Rulman]] FIRST EDITION. Quarto. 290 leaves: 281 numbered leaves (ff. I CCLXXXI); 8 unnumbered leaves (title-page and index). Gothic letter. Two 36-line columns. 8-line opening title on upper half of first leaf; 7-line capital space with a large rubricated initial at the beginning of the first sermon, several 3-line capital spaces with small printed guide-letters throughout. Completely rubricated with numerous painted Lombard initials, which were added on top of the printed guide-letters in bright red ink. Some occasional offsetting of red ink. Occasional marginalia in an early hand. Bound in contemporary blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards, spine with three low-raised bands covering thick double sewing supports. Original brass clasp and catch, closing on the left board, both decorated with etched sphinxes. Geometrical frames on covers, lines arranged in a hatched or lozenge design within central panels, and imperial eagles tooled within the four-square sections at the corners. A nicely rubricated and clean incunabulum; only two small repairs to blank foot margins of title and second leaf. A fine copy. This is the first printed edition of the Sermons of Johann Tauler (c. 1300 1361), one of the great Rhineland mystics of the fourteenth century. He was educated in the Dominican convent of Strasbourg, where Maister Eckhart was giving lessons in theology in the same years. After completing his studies, he returned to Strasbourg and started his career as a preacher for the Dominican convents of the city. As a result of the tensions between the papacy and the Emperor Louis IV, the Dominicans were forced to leave Strasbourg and Tauler found refuge in Basel. Here, he became acquainted with the Friends of God (Gottesfreunde), a movement of priests and laymen for the spiritual renewal of the Church. Their teachings were taken from Eckhart s sermons and other mystics such as Henry Suso and Mechthild of Magdeburg and they were deeply influenced by the Beghard movement, which was later regarded as heretic. This book collects the complete sermons of Tauler, including four sermons by Maister Eckhart, also printed for the first time.[1] The sermons are followed by an account of Tauler s life probably written by Rulman Merswin (c. 1307 1382), the leader of the Friends of God.[2] In this short biography, the anecdote of the learned man s conversion to the more experiential spirituality of the Friends of God by the mysterious Layman from the Oberland is told for the first time. This will be later repeated in Merswin s autobiography The Story of the First Four Years of a New Life. Tauler s teachings remained popular throughout the fifteenth century and his undogmatic approach to spirituality was later taken up by Martin Luther. His writings are widely considered to be one of the best achievements in German prose of the fourteenth century. His sermons encouraged the faithful to find God s presence within themselves rather than looking outwards. He further implied that the adoption of a perfect lifestyle could lead to experiencing unity with God in this life. HC *15346; GW M45246; BMC III, 628 (IA. 12345); Goff T-48; BSB-Ink T-62; ISTC it00048000. [1] Cf. GW, M45246 [2] Cf. A. Chiquot, Jean Tauler et le Meisters-Buoch (Strasbourg, 1922)
Biblia Latina

Biblia Latina

Royal folio (369 x 256mm). Single leaf, on thick paper; 42-lines, double column; type: 1:140G. Bull s head watermark. Two initial I s, book headers and chapter numbers rubricated in alternating red and blue ink. Capitals highlighted with red strokes. Rubricator s guidelines in black-brown ink to upper blank margins in a neat German hand. Minimally dusty, very minor spotting to upper blank margin, tiny interlinear hole (f. 83r, lines 16-17); faint fading caused by the mount in the frame covering the outer margins by about 1 cm. A remarkably clean, well-margined and rubricated leaf from the 1455 Biblia Latina the first substantial European book to be printed with movable types and the symbol of the printing revolution. This Bible was produced in the course of five years, from 1450 to 1455, at the workshop of Johann Gutenberg and Johann Fust in Mainz, Germany. Each of the two volumes featured over 300 leaves of text in double column, the majority of which has 42 lines per page. Only 64 copies (several of which fragmentary) have survived out of approximately 158 to 180 originally produced, a quarter of which were probably printed on vellum. These copies all required the addition of initials and book headers by the hands of rubricators. In 1455, the then papal legate, and future Pope Julius II, wrote to the Cardinal Juan de Carvajal that he had seen quires from the Bible exhibited by Gutenberg in Frankfurt: The script is extremely neat and legible, not at all difficult to follow. Your grace would be able to read it without effort, and indeed without glasses. [ ] buyers were said to be lined up even before the books were finished .[1] The present leaf features a section from the Old Testament of St Jerome s Vulgate: Jeremiah 25:19 to 27:6, mentioning the Seventy Years of Captivity of the tribe of Judah, Jeremiah being threatened with death and God s command that the tribe of Judah serve King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. The leaf has been identified as vol. II, quire 9 (leaf 3), fol. 83; the Bull s Head (type I or II) watermark suggests this was a first setting. This leaf one of the Noble Fragments , so named by the book collector A. Edward Newton (1864-1940) comes from an imperfect copy once in the Mannheim library of Carl Theodor von Pfalz-Sulzbach (1721-94), Electoral Prince of Palatinate and later Bavaria. In 1803, the copy was transferred, with Carl Thedor s other books, to the Royal Library of Munich. It was thence sold as a duplicate in 1832 and purchased by Robert Curzon, Baron Zouche (1810-73). Next sold at Sotheby s in 1920, the copy was acquired by Joseph Sabin and, subsequently, by the bookdealer Gabriel Wells. Wells removed the eighteenth-century binding with the gilt Palatine arms and subdivided the copy into smaller fragments or individual leaves. He sold these separately (several with initials replaced in facsimile), the great majority bound in gilt dark blue morocco and accompanied by A. Edward Newton s bibliographical essay, A Noble Fragment: Being a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible . Many are now preserved in institutional libraries [2] (see White, Editio Princeps, p. 135). In the past few years, individual leaves, rather than longer excerpts, have been offered for sale. The Noble Fragments are the closest a dedicated bibliophile can get to acquiring of this monument of Western printing. Bibliography: H *3031; BMC I, 17; GW 4201; Needham P-18; Goff B-526. [1] E. M. White, Editio Princeps: A History of the Gutenberg Bible (2017), p. 135 [2] M. Davies, Juan de Caravajal and Early Printing on The Library XVIII, 3 (1996), p. 196.
Discorsi Militari dell Eccellentiss. Sig. Francesco Maria I. dalla Rovere Duca di Urbino. Ne i quali si discorrono molti avantaggi

Discorsi Militari dell Eccellentiss. Sig. Francesco Maria I. dalla Rovere Duca di Urbino. Ne i quali si discorrono molti avantaggi, & disavantaggi della guerra, utilissimi a ogni soldato

Della Rovere, Francesco Maria I 8vo (14.5 x 9.5 cm), 32 numbered leaves: ([6], [8], 1 32, [6]). Text in Italics, except for the opening dedicatory pages. Title-page with printer s device and handwritten signature of Scottish bibliophile Andrew Fletcher de Saltoun (1653 1716) to head of page. Some floriated initials; tail- and end-pieces; two schematic illustrations of battlefields. Bound in seventeenth-century calf, gilt to borders and spine, with minor wear to joints and corners. This is the first edition of the military memoirs of Francesco Maria I della Rovere (1490 1538), Duke of Urbino and one of the great condottieri of the Renaissance. The Duke s account refers to the years after his exile from the Papal States, when he went under the service of the Venetian Republic as General Governor of the Militias. Under his leadership, Venice secured its independence on the mainland, during the turbulent times of the wars opposing the Empire and the Kingdom of France for the dominion of Northern Italy. After returning from the exile, he spent the last years of his reign promoting the arts and combining personal unions between his and other notable families of the Marche. He died in 1538 after being poisoned by a servant through injection of the poison into his ear. It is believed that his death has been an inspiration for Shakespeare s Hamlet. This copy comes from the famous library of Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a pre-eminent Scottish patriot and writer, who opposed the 1707 Act of Union and supported the failed Darién Scheme aiming to give to Scotland a free-trade port in Panama. Nonetheless, Fletcher was an expert in military tactics and he was commander in chief of the chivalry of the rebel army of the Duke of Monmouth against James II, during the years before the Glorious Revolution. In his treatise A Discourse of Government regarding Militias (1698) he stresses the importance of organising local-based, self-governing military units as the best way to ensure a real presence of well-regulated militias throughout the land. Della Rovere s account of the division of his army into smaller units in order to face threats coming from multiple sides might have been a source for Fletcher s arguments. Bibliography: BM Catalogue of Italian Books, p. 278; P. J. Willems, Bibliotheca Fletcheriana (1999)