Bibliographic history: First edition. The most famous of Venetian illustrated books. Printed by Aldus at the expense of and for LeonardoCrasso, a jurisconsult of Verona who owned the copyright and secured a prolongation in 1508-9 as he "had drawn no profit from it, nor had been able to sell it owing to the wars."--Horatio F. Brown. The Venetian printing press, London, 1891. p. 58. This, the only illustrated book printed by Aldus, was on a more elaborate scale and not inthe style of his own publications. The authorship is generally credited to Francesco Colonna, a Dominican friar,who had been a teacher of rhetoric at Treviso and Padua.
Citation/reference: Hain * 5501. Essling 1198. Renouard, p. 21-22. BMC v. 561.IB.24500. Van Praet, part 2, iv, p. 98.
Content: Illustrations: 170 woodcuts of various sizes: ornamental initials of three styles in two sizes, strapwork on shadedbackground, and plain on floral backgrounds, and three large initials--P, strapwork, -- L, floral, -- E, interlaced branches. "As regards the authorship of the wonderful illustrations the sig. nature .b. on the third has led to their being attributed to numerous celebrated artists, but it is now fairly well recognized that celebrated artists in Italy did not concern themselves with bookwork, and that .b. is probably the signature of awoodcutter's workshop. Attempts to make a list of other books illustrated by the same hand are baffled by the dualpersonality which has to be dealt with. The present writeris inclined to doubt whether the same designer and the same illustrator worked together in any other book." DysonPerrins 139: see also Josef Poppelreuter. Der anonyme Meister des Poliphilo, Strassburg, 1904.
Ownership: The Bishop Butler-Lord Vernon-Sir George Holford copy.
Source note: The second title on l. 5a, line 5, has SANEQVE. In two paper copies examined, as in BMC IB.24500, the last two letters appear to have been erased and AM stamped in to read: SANEQVAM. The last leaf, with errata and colophon onthe recto, verso blank, is different printing from that inmost paper copies.