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Lot 18


COMOEDIAE. Commentries of Donatus and Guido Juvenalis, edited by Jodocus Badius Ascensius.
Lyon: Johann Trechsel, 29 August 1493.

Estimate: £500 - £1,000
Hammer price: £2,600
Bidding ended. Lot has been sold.

Collation: [lacking a-b1] , b2-i7 [lacking i8], k8-P8, Q1-Q5 [lacking Q6-8]. 157 of 159 half-page woodcuts of scenes, lacking full page woodcut frontispiece and title page. Rubricated in red and blue ink throughout and heavily annotated in English and Latin in early hands, many of which were written before re-binding in the 17th century as several of the marginal annotations have been chopped down by the binder. p1 is torn with some loss to text and woodcut, tear to d8, expert repairs to d7 and K7, some soiling in gutters and margins.

In a 17th century binding of full polished calf with blind roll and floral stamps on both sides, very worn with loss to the spine and the remains of the spine label but intact. Booklabel of Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex (1773-1843), the 6th son of George III, but not included in the sale of his library at Evans auction house. With stamp of John Brymer (1805-1870), ‘Heirloom’ no. 925.

FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION, of great importance for the Renaissance interpretation of classical theatre. The woodcuts represent the work of at least two artists in Trechsel’s employ and have been called “the high-watermark of book-illustration at Lyon in the XVth century” (Hind).

HEAVILY ANNOTATED – the copy has remarkable evidence of readership with copious annotations in ink on the margins of most pages in several hands of different eras.

As the book was not in the Duke of Sussex’s posthumous sale we can assume that this book was given or lent during his lifetime later ending up in the collection of John Brymer. The Brymer family owned Islington House in Puddletown from 1861 until 1946. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the house was let to General Thomas Garth, an equerry to George III who took it to be near the King when he came to Weymouth.

It is believed that members of the Royal Family, including Princess Sophia and probably the Duke of Sussex, regularly stayed with Garth at Ilsington. [Garth is reputed to have had an affair with Princess Sophia and to have fathered an illegitimate son with her, Thomas Garth, whom Garth subsequently adopted and treated as his own].

Our copy shows remarkable evidence of readership with numerous annotations in the margin on most pages in several hands of different eras.

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