"La prima edizione assoluta"

Dante, Alighieri. La Commedia. Comm. Jacopo della Lana.

[Venice], Vindelinus de Spira, 1477.

Folio (240 x 342 mm). 375 leaves (of 376, without initial blank). Double column, 49 lines plus headline, gothic type, 3- to 12-line initial spaces. Contemporary blind-tooled full leather over wooden boards; traces of brass clasps and catches.


"La prima edizione commentata della Divina Commedia" (Mambelli), published only five years after the editio princeps (Foligno 1472). An exceptionally large and crisp copy, completely unsophisticated in its first binding.

This seventh edition altogether is the first to contain extensive commentary, "a heavyweight volume both literally and metaphorically, edited by Cristoforo Berardi of Pesaro. The text does not follow a single previous edition, and it seems likely that Berardi's independence (as a Pesarese) from northern Italy led him to use a manuscript". The editor also included supplementary information, such as Boccaccio's Life of Dante (its first appearance in print) and rubriche at the start of every cantica. "Berardi's edition thus marked a new approach to the presentation in print of the major literary works in the vernacular" (B. Richardson, Print Culture in Renaissance Italy, 1994, p. 37).

Binding somewhat stained and rubbed; covers re-attached with professional repairs to inner hinges; some traces of worming. Fore-edge has manuscript title "DANTES". First and last few leaves a little foxed and soiled.

Provenance: duplicate of the Austrian National Library with their deaccession stamp to terminal blank PP12v ("Aus der National Bibliothek in Wien als Doublette ausgeschieden ..."). Pencil collation mark of B. Quaritch Ltd. on recto of the same leaf. Later sold by the Libreria Antiquaria Hoepli, Milan, with their description tipped in to terminal blank ("E' la prima edizione assoluta della Divina Commedia commentata [...] Bellissimo esemplare, integralmente originale"), their seller's bookplate to inside front cover and their certificate of authenticity, dated 31 October 1961, to inside lower cover. Bookplate of the Swiss art collector Albert Natural (1918-1959) to inside upper cover.

Rare: only three complete copies recorded at auction, all in considerably later bindings. According to Rarebookhub and ABPC, the present volume is the only incunabular edition of Dante's "Commedia" still preserved in its first binding to have appeared on the market since 1960.


HC 5942. Goff D-27. GW 7964. Proctor 4414. Pellechet 4112. Stillwell D 21. Sheppard 3546. BMC V, 248. BSB-Ink D-8. Delisle 586. Mambelli, 7. Cf. PMM 8.

Stock Code: BN#57827 Tags: , , ,