Rare separate edition of Mabillon’s collecting and research journey throughout Italy, 1687 – SOLD

Jean MABILLON: ITER ITALICUM LITTERARIUM. With 12 engraved plates. Paris: 1687.

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Jean MABILLON; Michel GERMAIN: ITER ITALICUM LITTERARIUM. Annis MDCLXXXV & MDCLXXXVI. [Separate edition of »Museum Italicum«]. With 12 engraved plates, of which 4 folded, as well as 7 headpieces and text illustrations, where of 3 engraved. Paris: Edmond Martin's Widow, Jean Boudot and Stephane Martin, 1687.

4to. [1 l. (pre-title)], 244 pp. Etching and copper engraving, woodcut, letterpress, bound in a half vellum binding from around 1800, with gilt spine title printing on a mounted leather label and marbled cardboard covers.

Rare separate edition of Mabillon's collecting and research journey throughout Italy, with all plates an a distinct title leaf.

Contents: »Museum italicum sev Collectio veterum scriptorum ex bibliothecis italicis« (The Italian Museum, or Collection of old scriptures from Italian libraries) contains the results of a two-year collecting and research trip throughout Italy undertaken by the French Benedictine monk and scholar Jean Mabillon (1632-1707) and his assistant, Michel Germain (1645-94), on behalf of King Louis XIV.

Mabillon's mission was it to purchase or to document manuscripts, rare books and artefacts of historical, literary, artistic or scientific importance. "Mabillon visited almost every library, art collection and church which offered something remarkable, and everywhere he found the most honourable and cordial reception. After 15 months of exploring the religious and scientific treasures, bringing to light forgotten works of literature, collecting precious books and transcribing manuscripts that could not have been bought at any price, he returned to France in 1686 and enriched the royal library with more than 3000 rare books and manuscripts." (Wetzer/Welte)

Edition, Illustration: The »Museum italicum« was published in 2 volumes (1687, 1689). Vol. 1 consists of 2 parts, of which the 2nd part contains copies of religious writings Mabillon discovered and no illustrations. The 1st part however contains the actual travelogue and is profusely illustrated, moreover with 12 engraved and partly etched plates, of which 3 folded. The plates show skilfully drawn and printed maps (e.g. Montecassino and Vallombrosa and surroundings), as well as details of striking artefacts, paintings and sculptures Mabillon found in churches, collections and libraries. As part 1 of the 1st vol. covers the journey itself the Paris publisher Martin obviously decided to publish it separately with a distinct title page, but simultaneously with the main edition.

Provenance: Owner's ink stamp of „Vincentius Columna“ (or Vincenzo Colonna, bearing a coat of arms) and ink hand-writing with the name „Blanchard“ on the title page.

Condition: Covers at corners and edges occasionally worn, some pages occasionally foxy, with stains and time-stained, otherwise in good condition.

Rarity: Copies of present separate edition of Mabillon's account are hard to find in trade, as of August 8th 2022 JBP/JAP/APO and RBH show only 1 auction result (1976, probably present copy).

Reference: Brunet III, 1261, Graesse IV, 317, Ebert 12587 (for »Museum Italicum«); Wetzer/Welte, VIII, 399f.