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Auction: Valuable Books and Manuscripts
was auctioned on: 14 July 2021
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BOCCACCIO, Giovanni (1313-1375)

Estimate: £7,000 - £10,000
ca. US$9,706 - US$13,866
Price realised:  £27,500
ca. US$38,133
Lot number 87, Views: 3

BOCCACCIO, Giovanni (1313-1375) A Treatise excellent and compendious, shewing and declaring, in maner of Tragedye, the falls of sondry most notable Princes and Princesses. Translated by John Lydgate. -John LYDGATE (c.1370-c.1451). The daunce of Machabree. London: Richard Tottel, 10 September 1554. First edition in English of the Dance of Death, illustrated with woodcuts commissioned for this edition which ‘deserve to be ranked as among the best of English sixteenth century wood-engravings’ (Pforzheimer). The daunce of Machabree is appended to the third edition of Lydgate’s Fall of Princes, adapted from Boccaccio, and is often missing. The present edition of Lydate’s Boccaccio is considered ‘”by far the best of the printed editions” being …actually collated from several good manuscripts’ (Pforzheimer); it is illustrated by a series of striking woodcuts which first appeared in the 1527 edition and which in turn are free copies of the 1476 Bruges edition. Lydgate based his translation of the Dance on a mural from the Cimetière des Saints-Innocents in Paris—the earliest known example of the danse macabre tradition, now lost. It is a perfect coda to the Fall of Princes, which recounts the vagaries of fortune in the lives of famous characters. An incomplete version of Lydgate’s Dance of Death was included with a printed book of hours for Sarum use in 1521, surviving in a single copy. Pforzheimer 74; STC 3177; Luborsky & Ingram, English Illustrated Books, 3177; see Sophie Oosterwijk and Stefanie Knöll, Mixed Metaphors: The Danse Macabre in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Folio (282 x 185mm). Title with woodcut border, woodcut illustrations (a few leaves lightly soiled, small wormholes in a few quires, affecting letters in 2L and final quire). 17th-century speckled calf (somewhat rubbed, chipped at head of spine, hinges split and joints starting). Provenance: George Kenyon of Peel Hall, Lancashire (1666–1728; armorial bookplate, ‘Kenyon’ inscription beneath colophon).

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Valuable Books and Manuscripts
Date of the auction: 14 Jul 2021
Address: Christie's
King Street, St. James's 8
SW1Y 6QT London
United Kingdom
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