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Roxburghe Club publications are produced in two states. Each member of the Club receives a copy bound in half calf. In the list of members of the Club, each recipient's name is printed in red ink. Normally, not more than 42 copies are printed in this form. Additionally a member can print up to 300 copies of the title usually bound in cloth. These are available for sale, usually through the antiquarian bookdealers listed below.

Maggs Bros., 48 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DR
Telephone: + 44 (0) 20 7493 7160
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7499 2007
Attention of: Robert Harding

Bernard Quaritch Limited, 36 Bedford Row, Holborn, London WC1R 4JH
Telephone: + 44 (0) 20 7297 4888
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7297 4866

The AMORES of Sigismondo Boldoni

Sale Notes

This text has been set and printed with expert care by the Merrion Press, the facsimile prduced by John Parfitt at the Westerham Press, and bound in quarter-morocco by Smith Settle. The volume was commissioned by John Sparrow's executors and presented in his memory to the members of The Roxburghe Club. 60 copies only are available for sale, price £85 plus postage and packing, from Maggs Bros. Ltd.

Sale Vendor

Maggs Bros Ltd.


In 1955 the late John Sparrow (1906-92), Warden of All Souls' College, Oxford (1952-77) and a distinguished bibliophile who had been elected to the Roxburghe Club in 1953, bought from Maggs Bros. an unassuming little seventeenth-century manuscript of Latin verse, entitled 'Amores Amyntae et Leucidis' and subscribed 'Auctore Sigismondo Boldonio Mediolanensi', with the date 1630. It had passed through distinguished hands - from Queen Christina of Sweden to Cardinals Decio Azzolini and Angelo-Maria Durini, and then to Richard Monckton-Milnes, Lord Houghton and his heirs.

A selection from it was printed by Durini in 1776. But otherwise, both book and author had been little known, the author's name only as the writer of vivid letters borrowed by Manzoni and used in 'I Promessi Sposi'. Sparrow set to work and by diligent search in archival and printed records traced the little book in its complicated travels over three centuries. He also discovered much about the life and other writings of Sigismondo Boldoni.

Born in 1597 at Bellano on the eastern shore of Lake Como, Boldoni was an infant prodigy of learning, and was sent to the University of Padua, where he achieved a considerable reputation for his studies in medicine and philosophy. Exiled from Milan about 1615, he went from Padua to Urbino and thence to Rome, whence he was allowed to return to become first lecturer and then professor of philosophy at the University of Pavia. The rest of his short life (he died in 1630 of the plague epidemic recorded in Manzoni's 'I Promessi Sposi') was spent between Pavia and a villa near Bellano. The delights of the lake, on which he sailed with his friends, were the background to the Latin poetry that he wrote, its elegiac couplets recalling those of Ovid. Like Ovid he celebrated love and the beauties of nature in mythic style, which bears out the admiration in which his verses were held by his friends.

These verses, in Sparrow's book, were written in homespun calligraphy that must surely be from the author's own hand. The pages, picked out in red and gold, have been reproduced in their entirety for the first time (the first two leaves in colour, the rest in black-and-white), together with Sparrow's essay recounting the history of the book and its author (first printed in 'The Library' in 1962). This is accompanied by a preface giving an account of Sparrow's interests as a bibliophile and the genesis of this volume and two further short chapters, 'Boldoni in Padua' and 'Who is Leucis?', all by Nicolas Barker.

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