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GRAPALDUS, Franciscus Marius.

De partibus aedium.

[Parma], Angelus Ugoletus, [1494] Stock Code: 86889

The ideal house

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First edition of this famous treatise on how the perfect house should be built, furnished and run. Organised as a thematic dictionary, it contains separate sections devoted to different parts of the house, including the kitchen, library, aviary, stable, and nursery, and moves on to more general discussion, elucidating terms relating to construction, gardening, and the domestic arts. Chapter 9 of Book II Bibliotheca includes a well-known description of the process of paper-making. Grapaldus's book was called a lexicon in later editions, and its organisation is an early example of the encyclopaedic tendency of many dictionaries in the Renaissance. As Jonathon Green points out, Grapaldus's discussion of the term apotheca, for example, moves from a discussion of wine shops to wine cellars to different types of wines and ultimately to the vessels that contain them (Chasing the Sun: Dictionary Makers and the Dictionary They Made, NY, Henry Holt, 1996, 50-1).
This first and only incunable edition is rare in commerce. The only listing in auction records is the Sexton copy (morocco gilt extra by Gozzi: last 13 leaves wormed; some dampstains; blank verso of last leaf soiled), sold at Christie's New York, 8 April 1981, for 5,500.

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Quarto (200 x 144 mm). Contemporary blind-stamped calf backing beech boards, clasps and catches (clasps gone), early spine label lettered by hand. Housed in a black quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Contemporary marginalia in a clear humanist hand, ink now somewhat faded. Some skilful repair to spine ends, headbands renewed, lower corners of beech boards renewed, some skilful paper repair to lower margins of first and last few leaves, not affecting text, light staining in lower margin, twin wormhole through last few leaves neatly closed, still a very good copy in its first binding.


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