Posts tagged: Pinelli

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

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.