Cornelius Nepos: Vitae imperatorum, sive De vita illustrium virorum.

Venice:  Nicolaus Jenson, 8 Mar. 1471.
4to.   [1-610.8].   [54] leaves (1/1, 6/8 blank).
With illuminated woodcut borders and initials;  see F.R. Goff, ‘Illuminated woodcut borders and initials in early Venetian books (1469-1475)’, Gutenberg Jahrbuch (1962) pp. 380-389.
ISTC ic00915000;  GW M25944;  Goff C915;  BMC V 167 (IB. 19620);  Bod-inc C-460;  CIBN C-587;  BSB-Ink N-14.

For a note on the text, see CIBN C-587. 

Two copies held by the University of Glasgow.

Copy 1 

GIP number: C82/1
Shelf-mark: Sp Coll BD9-d.10 (see main library entry for this item)
Note: Printer's pin-holes visible.
Provenance: Strozzi family of Florence (15th-16th century):  painted coat of arms on 1/2r (see Decoration).
William Euing (1788-1874), insurance broker, Glasgow:  source unknown;  bibliographical note by Euing tipped onto front free endpaper;  his inventory number "15" in pencil also on front free endpaper.
University of Glasgow:  Euing bequest, 1874.
Binding: 19th-century calf;  covers decorated with a blind-tooled border;  gilt spine title;  brown endpapers;  gilt-edged leaves.   Size:  287 x 197 mm.
Leaf size: 282 x 190 mm.
Annotations: Evidence of frequent early marginal annotations in red ink, all heavily erased;  manuscript index in a humanist hand on the recto of the first blank leaf with names in black ink and chapter references in red;  leaves foliated “1” - “53” in ink in an 18th-century(?) hand (entirely or partially cropped by binder in the early quires);  on the verso of the front free endpaper an annotation “v.2 Dibdin’s Spenceriana (182) - for a full Description of this rare and estimable Production of Jenson’s Press” signed “I.H.” and continuing “The first Edition with a Date £11.11.0d (value) says the Bibliog. Dictionary - vol. 3. 56”, below which is a note of the supplier and price - presumably of the above copy - “Thorpe 6.6.0”;  frequent 19th-century marginal annotations in pencil in the same hand.
Decoration: On 1/2r a six-line woodcut initial “N” is decorated in silver (now oxidized) and embellished with white-vine decoration defined in blue and green and with a pattern of white dots;  the initial is set on a square purple ground with a pattern of white dots;  similarly decorated woodcut borders at top and bottom of the same page;  the lower border incorporates a reserved white shield with the arms in brown ink of the Strozzi family of Florence (three increscents on a fess);  the same page has an inner border of two vertical lines painted in red and in (oxidized) silver and an outer border of a band of green laurel leaves.  Similarly decorated woodcut initials in (oxidized) silver on a square blue ground at the beginning of each Vita.
Imperfections: Wanting the blank leaf 6/8.


Decorated page from Cornelius Nepos: Vitae imperatorum, sive De vita illustrium virorum

Copy 2

GIP number: C82/2
Shelf-mark: Sp Coll Hunterian Be.3.2 (see main library entry for this item)
Note: This copy does not have woodcut borders and initials.
Note: Printer's pin-holes visible.
Provenance: William Hunter (1718-1783), physician and anatomist:  source unknown.
University of Glasgow:  Hunterian bequest 1807;  Hunterian Museum bookplate on front pastedown, with former shelfmark “Au.5.14”.
Binding: 18th-century diced russia;  covers decorated with a single gold-fillet border;  gold-tooled spine;  marbled endpapers;  sprinkled red and green-edged leaves.   Size:  285 x 203 mm.
Leaf size: 278 x 196 mm.
Annotations: Frequent marginal annotations in more than one humanist hand - mostly in black ink, occasionally in red (the annotations in quire 1 are heavily washed but mainly legible);  frequent interlinear corrections or additions;  occasional faintly printed letters strengthened by hand in ink;  early ink foliation “1” - “51” in top right-hand corner of recto leaves (2/5 i.e. f. 15 overlooked);  18th-century price “2-2-” in pencil on front flyleaf.
Decoration: None.
Imperfections: Wanting the blank leaves 1/1 and 6/8.


Annotations in Cornelius Nepos: Vitae imperatorum, sive De vita illustrium virorum