Historiae Florentini populi, 1476

Bruni, Leonardo [Leonardus Brunus Aretinus]. Historiae Florentini populi. Trans. Donato Acciaiuoli [Donatus Acciaiolus]. Venice: Jacobus Rubeus, 12 February 1476.

With a bibliographical note by Sydney Cockerell, and a note by Emery Walker on flyleaf about Morris’s ownership of the book.

According to Cockerell, in about 1889 Morris began collecting older books “with the definite purpose of studying the type & methods of the early printers. Among the first books so acquired was a copy of Leonard of Arezzo’s History of Florence, printed at Venice by Jacobus Rubeus in 1476, in a Roman type very similar to that of Nicholas Jenson. Parts of this book and of Jenson’s Pliny of 1476 were enlarged by photography in order to bring out more clearly the characteristics of the various letters; and having mastered both their virtues and defects, William Morris proceeded to design the fount of type which, in the list of December, 1892, he named the Golden type . . .” (A Note by William Morris on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press [Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1898], pp. 11–12). The Doves type, later created under the supervision of Walker, was also based on the font used in this book.

Provenance: Christoph Schuerl. — Frederick Perkins. — Bernard Quaritch. — Morris (purchased from Quaritch for £2 10s.). — Richard Bennett. — Sotheby 1898, lot 132 (sold to Leighton for £6). — Emery Walker. — Meisei University Library.

References: Ellis valuation, fol. 32 (£5). — ISTC (ib01247000). — MS catalogue (2), no. 686.

Digital version: BSB.