DORÉ, Gustave (illus.); ARIOSTO, Ludovico.

Orlando Furioso.

Con prefazione di Giosuè Carducci.

Milan: Fratelli Treves, 1881 Stock Code: 144199
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"Many fantastic conceptions"

First Italian edition of the last of the great Doré folios devised by Hachette, this copy presented in a most imposing binding, with a gift dedication on the front cover "Al Caro Carlo Tito"; it was preceded by the Paris edition of 1879, and unusually there was no edition in English.

Ariosto's "sprawling poetic epic relating the intricate tales of Christian and pagan knights and various sorceresses and temptresses" was first published in 1516 (Zafran, p. 105). For many of the smaller illustrations Doré employed a new reproduction technique that meant he could work with more than his usual fecundity: "he was able here for the first time to present his wiry and exuberant pen style directly to the public without recourse to the intermediate services of his team of wood-engravers. The reproductive process used was gillotage, a zinc-engraving technique invented by Firman Gillot (1820-1878)" (preface to Dover reprint, 1980). The preface to this Milan edition was by Giosuè Carducci, "one of the most influential literary figures on his age" (Encyclopaedia Britannica) and winner of the 1906 Nobel Prize for Literature.

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Small folio (423 x 300 mm). Contemporary brown morocco, spine with four raised bands decorated with brass studs, gilt lettered direct in second and fourth compartments, others decorated with scrolling foliate motifs, sides with raised panels bordered with brass studs, gilt single fillets and dot rolls enclosing blind ornamental panels, gilt quadraglyph-and-metope edge roll, red top edge gauffered with a reticulated pattern enclosing floral sprigs at the interstices, gilt foliate turn-ins, Bouquet pattern marbled endpapers, red pebble-grain cloth inner hinges.


Frontispiece, 81 plates and 536 illustrations in the text, comprising head- and tailpieces and vignettes, engraved by Adolf Closs, Charles Barbant, Paul Jonnard and others or by gillotage, after Doré; title page printed in red and black.


Spine a little sunned and mottled, a few old marks to sides, some show-through to frontispiece from lengthy presentation inscription on recto (dated 1921), scattered foxing, closed tear at fore margin of one leaf of index, old tape repair to another. A handsomely bound copy.


Ray 254 (for the Paris edition: "many fantastic conceptions"); Eric Zafran, Fantasy and Faith: The Art of Gustave Dore (2007).


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