Ratdolt Eusebius from Pinelli Library identified

By , 28 May 2010 4:40 pm

A copy of Eusebius’s Chronicon printed in Venice by Erhardus Ratdolt and dated 13 September 1483 (Inc.4.B.3.23c[1464]; Oates 1755;  ISTC ie00117000) can be securely identified with the copy formerly in the library of Maffeo Pinelli (1736-1785), director of the official Venetian press and book collector.

Pinelli’s copy was described as no. 2494 in Jacopo Morelli, Bibliotheca Maphaei Pinelli Veneti magno jam studio collecta… (Venetiis, Typis Carolii Palesii, 1787), vol. II, p. 34.  Following Pinelli’s death, the book was bought with the rest of his library by the London bookseller James Edwards (1757-1816), to be sold at auction in London.  It was included in the Pinelli sale catalogue of March 1789 as lot 7395, and again in the catalogue of the “Appendix Pinelliana” sale in February 1790, as lot 68.  As surviving copies of the “Appendix Pinelliana” catalogue in the British Library and the Bodleian Library don’t record the name of a buyer, the book was tentatively identified with a copy of the edition held in the Bodleian Library (Auct. K 3.20, for which see Bod-inc, E-040).

Manuscript evidence allows us to identify the Pinelli Eusebius with the exemplar in the Cambridge University Library, instead.  A manuscript

Pinelli's number

number “2494” in black ink on the upper pastedown matches Morelli’s catalogue number.  An autograph note on the recto of the upper free endpaper records the purchase of the book on 26 February 1790 for £ 2.3.6 by the poet and book collector Michael Wodhull (1740-1816), already known as an active buyer at the Pinelli’s sales.

The book is also identifiable as lot 1050 at Wodhull sale at Sotheby’s, 11-21 January 1886. The British Library copy of the sale catalogue records that the book was purchased for £ 1.1.0 by the London bookseller William Ridler (fl. 1877-1904).  A price code readable as “t/t/” is written in pencil at the centre

Ridler's code

of the fore-edge of the upper pastedown, sloping upwards, and a retail price of “£ 2.2.0” in pencil at the centre of the upper pastedown, the codes and their location corresponding to Ridler’s usual practice (for Ridler’s practice and price code as possibly based on the word “taxidermis”, see Peter Kidd’s note at http://www.rsl.ox.ac.uk/dept/scwmss/wmss/online/medieval/buchanan/buchanan.html).

Unfortunately Cambridge University Library holds no record of the arrival of the book, but a purchase from Ridler shortly after the Wodhull sale is a likely possibility.

9 Responses to “Ratdolt Eusebius from Pinelli Library identified”

  1. Eric White says:

    This blog looks like it will be very interesting. Please keep up the good work.

  2. Laura: I couldn’t agree more with Eric. Congratulations. Best wishes, Falk

  3. Paul Needham says:

    By the way, Bod-inc. E-40 probably should not have suggested a Pinelli prov. for its copy, for Oates 1755 already gives Pinelli prov. for the ULC copy. Bod-inc.’s suggestion would only have been possible if there were 2 copies in the Pinelli sales. I’m rather doubtful that this book was bought shortly after the Wodhull sale, viz. in last few weeks of Bradshaw’s life. Note the Wodhull acquisitions he did make: all German and Low Countries. Many/most of the other Wodhull books at ULC came by various later donations and bequests: Jenkinson, Sandars, Fairfax Murray, Gaselee, et al.

  4. Paul Needham says:

    A postscript: when I wrote yesterday, it was mostly from memory. Today at home, I see that David McKitterick made just the same comment about the character of Bradshaw’s Wodhull sale acquisitions: see Cambridge Univ. Lib., A History, The 18th and 19th Centuries (1986), p. 677, referring to HB’s analysis of the sale, Ms. Add. 4323; and to H. R. Luard’s marked copy of the sale. David adds two Wodhull sale direct acquisitions not cited as such by Oates: viz. Oates 2902 (Paris: Au Soufflet Vert) and 3764 (Louvain: Joh. de Westfalia); and gives other significant information re ULC, HB, and the Wodhull sale.

  5. Laura Nuvoloni says:

    Dear Paul,

    Many thanks for your comments and most useful information. I will certainly go back to David McKitterick’s book and re-think about the possible acquisition of the book. With all the very best wishes, Laura

  6. Peter Kidd says:

    Does anyone know if the Morelli numbers were written in *all* the Pinelli books? (I have seen them in medieval MSS such as this:
    And are there any other tell-tale signs of a Pinelli provenance that one can look for when the flyleaves bearing such numbers have been replaced?

  7. Laura Nuvoloni says:

    Dear Peter,
    Many thanks for your comment! Unfortunately your link to the BL Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts does not seem to work.
    I have only catalogued 3 incunables from the library of Maffeo Pinelli so far. Oates listed 13 of them in his catalogue. However, Oates did not noticed one of the incunables that I have identified as a Pinelli book, the “Vita et transitus Sancti Hieronymi” (Inc.4.B.3.11a[1406]: http://ul-newton.lib.cam.ac.uk/vwebv/holdingsInfo?bibId=4829301; Oates 1691). I therefore think that there might be other incunables and later books from the Pinelli library in the CUL collections, waiting to be identified. I will look for them and for other signs of Pinelli provenance and keep you and everybody else informed.
    With all best wishes,

  8. John Lancaster says:

    The volumes found by a keyword search on “Pinelli” in the BL catalogue of illuminated mss. (http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/searchsimple.asp) have Pinelli provenance, a couple offer images of pages that show the numbers, but rather more crudely written than the one here. This link seems to be the one Peter Kidd was aiming at: http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=big&IllID=2366.

  9. John Lancaster says:

    The Ridler price code word suggested by Kidd is “taxidermys” (not “taxidermis”, which would not work because of the double “i”). Further evidence for it is given by a copy of the Hexameron of St. Ambrosius (Augsburg: Johann Schüssler, 1472) at Harvard’s Houghton Library (Walsh 534; Inc 1595) – an annotated copy of the Wodhull sale catalogue at Harvard lists the purchaser as Ridler and the price as 7s. – Ridler’s code in the book is “R/”, and r = 7 in taxidermys.