University of Virginia Library


Page 85


Conor Fahy [*]

The question of royal-paper copies of Aldine editions, of which the bulk of
the surviving copies are printed on smaller paper, first impinged on my
consciousness a few years ago, in the course of a collaborative research project on
the first edition of Baldassar Castiglione's Il libro del Cortegiano, a folio printed by
the Aldine press between the end of November 1527 and the beginning of April
1528. In a letter sent from Spain in April 1527 to his factor, Cristoforo Tirabosco,
Castiglione expressed the wish to have an edition of 1000 copies, for which he did
not specify a paper size, plus thirty copies to be printed on the best quality royal
paper available in Venice at the time. In a further letter to Tirabosco, written
in April 1528, after the publication of the edition, Castiglione again referred to
the thirty copies on royal paper, indicating that some at least were intended as
presentation copies to important figures, such as the marquis of Mantua, Isabella
d'Este and Elisabetta Gonzaga, "quelli più principali", as he explained.[1]

Our census of surviving copies of this edition brought to light 147 copies,[2]
none of which was distinguished by its leaf height, but which were printed on
two different paper stocks, 136 on stocks (predominantly anchor paper) which


Page 86
we know from the evidence of an uncut copy in the library of the Diocesan
Seminary, Padua, to be super-chancery, and eleven, all bound and trimmed,
on another sort of anchor paper, easily distinguishable from the stocks used in
the majority of copies by having no countermark.[3] It was tempting to assume
that these eleven copies were the survivors of the thirty copies on royal paper
ordered by Castiglione, but to have been reduced to their present size all eleven
must have undergone a savage trimming over the centuries, reducing the leaf
size of an untrimmed royal folio (c.445 × 307 mm) to that of a trimmed super-
chancery folio (c.315 × 220 mm). Since the royal-paper copies, or some of them,
were destined originally for illustrious personages, it seemed odd that not one
of our eleven should have leaf dimensions which indicated that it might have
been printed on royal paper. But because of the pressure of other work I put the
problem to one side.

My interest in the question was rekindled recently by the chance encounter,
in the pages of the catalogue of the Aldine collection of the Harry Ransom Hu-
manities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin, of an entry relat-
ing to the 1536 folio edition of the commentary by the Byzantine philosopher and
theologian Eustratius of Nicea on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. Alongside a
first copy of the edition, for which, in accordance with the general practice of the
catalogue, no leaf size was given, the collection also contained a second copy, on
"very large paper", measuring 425 × 270 mm.[4] The discovery of a folio edition
published by the Aldine press less than ten years after the Cortegiano, containing
a copy printed on what seemed like royal paper, led me to reopen the question
of the eleven copies of the Cortegiano printed on paper different from that used
in the main run. And the first step was clearly that of finding out whether, in the
production of the Aldine press, there were other known examples of this usage.

In the last fifty years many important studies have been published on the
press, particularly for the period from 1494 to 1515, when it was directed by
the great Aldus. These studies have given us a much deeper knowledge of the cultural importance of Aldus's publication programme, of his relations with the
international world of scholarship, of the commercial organization of the press,
of the various series of types created by and for him, and of the links between


Page 87
the press and the Venetian art world. But in all this activity there has been a
notable absentee—a serious interest in the descriptive bibliography of the Aldine
press. One of the obstacles is, no doubt, the high survival rate of Aldine editions,
which have been collectors' items from the date of their publication. Accord-
ing to the Incunable Short-Title Catalogue fourteen of the thirty-eight Aldines
recorded therein have survived in more than 100 copies, seven in more than
200. No comparable figures are available for the sixteenth century, but our 147
copies of the Cortegiano surviving in libraries open to scholars are unlikely to be
exceptional. In the only comparative study of a sixteenth-century Aldine edition
to have been published in the last half-century Cecil Clough identified 83 copies
of Pietro Bembo's Gli Asolani (1505); on a smaller scale Giuseppe Frasso listed
eleven surviving vellum copies of the 1501 Petrarch.[5] Any attempt to survey the
publishing history of an Aldine edition is likely to involve the enquirer in the sort
of wide-ranging study illustrated by the Castiglione project.[6] I do not deny the
usefulness of recent catalogues of Aldine exhibitions and collections, but for our
purpose their scope is limited—it does not go beyond the description (often to
the highest standards of bibliographical precision) of a single copy, or at most of
two or three copies, of an edition. Many of these publications, too, are limited to
the production of the Aldine press in the period 1494–1515.

So it is not as surprising as it might first appear that for a general enquiry
into the composition of Aldine editions, covering not only the deeply studied
twenty-one years of Aldus's leadership of the press, but also its production in sub-
sequent decades, one is still forced to have recourse to a work of bibliographical
scholarship which appeared in its final form more than 175 years ago, Antoine-
Augustin Renouard's Annales de l'imprimerie des Alde (3rd ed. 1834). The purpose
of Renouard's Annales was "fixer l'existence et l'état de chacune des productions
de cette célèbre Imprimerie", for the benefit of potential customers. For years, in
his antiquarian bookshop in Paris and during his business trips to other countries,
Renouard had brought together information about the various copies of Aldine
editions which had passed through his hands, or which he had seen on the shelves
of many of the great European libraries, public and private. So he was in a posi-
tion to provide a description of the editions recorded in his Annales which, though
incomplete in many respects, was often full of precise detail and frequently took
account of differences between copies. All the research on which this article is
based has its origins in the perusal of this remarkable book.

In his descriptions of Aldine editions Renouard mentions four types of special copies. They are:

(1) Copies on vellum

Vellum copies are certainly the best known of these special copies, particu-
larly for the famous series of octavo editions of Latin, Greek and Italian classics


Page 88
which Aldus began to publish in 1501. Vellum copies are known of almost all the
texts published in this series between 1501 and 1505. From the letters exchanged
between Isabella d'Este and Lorenzo da Pavia in the summer of 1501, when the
first titles in the series began to appear on the market, we know that about fifteen
vellum copies of the Petrarch were printed, a total limited only by the scarcity
in Venice at that time of vellum of a suitable quality. Further information about
other surviving vellum copies of Aldine octavos of this period has come to light
thanks to the attention recently given to illuminated copies of Aldine editions.[7]
The vellum copies were not intended, or were not all intended, as presentation
copies for patrons or powerful friends; as the correspondence between Isabella
and Lorenzo makes clear, they could also be bought. From the information in
Renouard's Annales it is clear that the practice of including vellum copies in the
print run of Aldine octavos continued long after the death of Aldus, certainly
at least until the series of octavo editions of the works of Cicero with which, in
1540 and 1541, Aldus's son Paulus sought to re-establish the firm as a cultural
force at international level.[8] As for folio and quarto editions, the Aldine press
continued the practice widespread in the incunable period of including vellum
copies in the print run of certain editions. Vellum copies survive of the great five-
volume edition of the works of Aristotle, published in the years 1495–1498, and
of several other folio and quarto editions, such as the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
of 1499, Bembo's Gli Asolani of 1505, the Celsus of 1528 and the Eustratius of

(2) Copies of folio and quarto editions "en (sur) grand papier"

Renouard gives only a negative indication of the size of these copies: they
are not as large as those of a group of four editions of Greek texts published
between 1525 and 1536 with some copies printed on paper "d'une grandeur
exagérée". Fortunately, as we shall see, Renouard gives precise measurements for
these copies, from which it is clear that the paper "d'une grandeur exagérée" is
royal paper. So the paper of copies "en grand papier" is, in his opinion, smaller
than royal. Unfortunately, the other information Renouard gives about copies


Page 89
"en grand papier" and in general about the paper of other Aldine folios and
quartos is bedevilled by the total absence of any reference to the watermarks oc-
curring in the papers of the copies he is discussing. The subject clearly requires
further exploration. From my few soundings in this direction I offer the following

(a) in the first fifty years of the Aldine press there are at least three edi-
tions, the first a folio and the other two quartos, in which the main print run—
possibly the whole of the print run—would seem to have been on royal paper.
These are the two-volume Valla of 1501, the Plutarch of 1509 and the reprint
(1520?) of the Demosthenes of 1504.[10] The Cambridge copy of the Valla (CUL
Sel.1.2–3) has leaf measurements of 407 × 274 mm; recent catalogues give the
leaf measurements of two other copies as 416 × 273 mm (Centi, p. 595) and 427 ×
281 mm (vol.1) (Ahmanson-Murphy, p. 71). For the Plutarch, Renouard had sup-
posed that the book had been printed on half-sheets, "le plus grand des livres
Aldins, le Georgius Valla, 1501, n'approchant point de la grandeur qu'auroit eue le
papier du Plutarque tiré entier" (p. 56), but he was wrong. Had he noticed the evi-
dence provided by the watermarks, regularly present in each gathering of this edi-
tion, he would have realised that it had been printed on whole sheets. In the only
copy I have been able to consult (CUL 524.i.4, leaf measurements 287 × 177 mm)
the sheet size deducible from these dimensions (at least 354 × 574 mm) clearly falls
within the category of royal paper (c.450 × 615 mm). As for the Demosthenes—a
quarto, and not a folio, as generally stated—the dimensions of the Cambridge
copy (CUL Tb.52.56, 273 × 168 mm) also show the use of royal paper, but there
is an irregular distribution of watermarks in individual gatherings suggesting that
parts, if not all, of the book were printed by half-sheet imposition;[11]

(b) Renouard (p. 76) speaks explicitly of copies "sur un papier plus grand,
plus fort, et d'une beauté remarquable" of a group of folio editions of Greek texts
published between 1514 and 1518. The paper used was "le même qui avoit été
employé pour les éditions entières d'Hérodote, Thucydide, &c." As these two
editions were printed in 1502, the matter deserves further investigation, if only
for the possibility that the press had kept for many years, or had replenished its
holdings of, a paper stock of superior quality to be used only in the printing of
folio editions of Greek texts;

(c) in various places Renouard speaks of other editions with copies "en grand
papier", "en papier fort", or "en papier plus beau". These observations, too, par-
ticularly those referring to the earliest Aldine editions, deserve further investiga-
tion. But Renouard's remarks, lacking as they do any reference to the watermarks
of the paper in individual copies, run the risk of being merely impressionistic, as


Page 90
is illustrated by the words he dedicated in 1834 to the folio edition of Philostratus
published in 1501:
In my first edition I said that some copies of this edition could be found on large paper.
I have since discovered that the whole edition is printed on the same strong and very
beautiful paper. The difference in size is merely the result of the greater or lesser degree
of conservation of the copies.[12]

However, the only test I have been able to make in this area suggests that the
category does really exist. Renouard's copy "en grand papier" of the Johannes
Grammaticus of 1527 is now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. Its
paper is too large to have been super-chancery; moreover its watermark is com-
pletely different from that of the four other copies of the edition which I have

(3A) Royal-paper copies of folio editions

These are the copies printed on paper "d'une grandeur exagérée" to which
I have already referred. Writing of a copy of the Themistius of 1534, Renouard

To give an exact idea of the difference in size between these large copies and those on
ordinary paper, I note here that this volume, which I bought from Williams, is 14 inches
high by 9 inches 2 lines wide. The Galen which I owned until 1828 was 15 inches 5 lines
high by 10 inches 5 lines wide. The greatest height of the ordinary-paper copies of this
edition, as also of the Isocrates of 1534, and others of the same period, is 11 ½inches for
the best preserved bound copies, 12 inches for the very small number of those which have
come down to us in their original condition, that is, without having suffered the binder's
knife. All this in mesure de France, ancien pied du roi.[14]

Translating into metric measurements those given by Renouard (1 inch =
27.06 mm, 1 line = 2.25 mm) we have, for the Themistius, a leaf with dimensions
of 379 × 248.5 mm, too tall to have been printed even on median paper. For the
Galen the dimensions are bigger still: the size of a leaf of the copy described by
Renouard would be 417 × 282 mm. As for the paper used in the smaller copies,
an uncut leaf would be 325 mm tall, precisely the height of an uncut sheet of
super-chancery. Despite the fact that for his innovative octavo editions, as Paul
Needham has shown, Aldus had used sheets of a new size, as tall as median, but


Page 91
less wide, I do not think we need postulate a new paper size for these very large
folio copies; the paper used (unless evidence appears to the contrary, of course)
was the Bolognese royal, or its Renaissance variant the super-royal. The folio
editions with copies on royal paper are discussed in more detail below; here I will
only say that those known to me in this category are the same as those mentioned
by Renouard, namely the Galen of 1525, the Themistius and Isocrates of 1534
and the Eustratius of 1536.[15]

(3B) Royal-paper copies of octavo editions

There are numerous Aldine octavo editions published before 1550—almost
fifty, according to my information, but the figure is undoubtedly greater than
that—which, in addition to copies on narrow median, and in many cases to cop-
ies on vellum, also have copies on royal paper. These editions, too, are discussed
further below. In his Annales Renouard refers to members of this group as printed
"en grand papier"; it seems that he did not realize that the paper used was as tall
as the paper "d'une grandeur exagérée" on which the large-paper folio copies
were printed. Yet in many copies of these large octavos the leaf height is more
than 200 mm, giving a sheet height of at least 400 mm.

(4) Copies on blue paper

Blue paper was used for engravings before the end of the fifteenth century,
but for the printing of books it seems that the earliest examples of its use are
those provided by editions of the Aldine press. Renouard records the existence
of blue-paper copies of six editions, three quartos (Cato, 1514; Quintilian, 1514;
Cato, 1533) and three octavos (Sannazaro, Arcadia, 1514; Petrarch, 1521; Libur-
nio 1547). According to Renouard the blue paper used in the three octavos was
"en grand papier" (i.e. royal paper), a fact that I have been able to verify only
for the Liburnio.[16]

Aldine Folios with Copies on Royal Paper

I know of the whereabouts of four royal-paper copies of the 1525 Galen, one
in the British Library (G7873, 409 × 260 mm), one in the Cambridge University
Library (K.1.1–5, 419 × 257 mm), one in the John Rylands University Library
of Manchester (1447, 403 × 277 mm) and one in the Bibliotheque Nationale de
France (Rés. T23.55, dimensions of binding 430 × 285 mm); three of the The-
mistius of 1534, one in the British Library (C.48.l.2, 421 × 273 mm), one in the


Page 92
library of St Catharine's College, Cambridge (C.I.2, 410 × 272 mm), and one in
the John Rylands University Library of Manchester (6950, 410 × 268 mm); and
one each of the Isocrates of 1534, in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Rés.
X.276, 404 × 265 mm), and of the Eustratius of 1536, the copy already men-
tioned in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin, Texas (Uzielli
236, 425 × 270 mm). It is probable that further royal-paper copies of these edi-
tions exist in other collections, public and private. But there are also many other
surviving copies of these editions, with leaf dimensions which come within the
range of median or super-chancery paper. Only by a comparative examination
of the papers used can we be sure that these smaller copies are not heavily
trimmed versions of the royal-paper group. Unfortunately, I have only been able
to examine the copies located in Cambridge and London. I begin therefore with
the Themistius of 1534, leaving the 1525 Galen until later.

The two royal-paper copies of the Themistius that I have seen are printed al
most entirely on two papers, one watermarked with crossed arrows, surmounted
by a six-pointed star, the other with a bilateral anchor inscribed in a circle,
also surmounted by a six-pointed star, detached from the circle.[17] But the dis-
position of these two marks in each copy is not identical. In the London copy
there are two uninterrupted sequences (A-O and Q,-Y) of each of the two marks,
separated by a single gathering (P) whose papers have a third mark, a crossbow
inscribed in a circle, surmounted by a cross. In the Cambridge copy this third
mark does not appear, only the arrow and the anchor marks, but from gathering
N disposed differently from the London copy. Anyone who has examined the
paper used in different copies of Aldines of the period will be familiar with this
situation; it seems that from time to time the pile of paper placed on the table
for the pressman's use in the running off of a sheet could contain a mixture of
papers from the stocks in use for that edition, or present in what Paul Needham
has called the "blank-paper archive" of the printing-house.[18] The three water-
marks are large: the arrows and star mark measures 85 × 37 mm, the anchor
and star 83 × 47 mm, while the circle inscribing the crossbow is 48 mm in
diameter. As for the structure of the formes used in the manufacture of these
royal papers, while the average distance between chains is greater than 35 mm
(in the case of the arrows and the crossbow papers it approximates to 40 mm), the
distance between the chain to which the mark is attached and the two adjacent
chains is significantly less. This structure is different from that found in formes
used in the manufacture of Venetian super-chancery paper of the period, as we
shall see.


Page 93

In addition to these two royal-paper copies, I have examined five other copies
of the Themistius with leaf measurements which suggest that they were printed
on super-chancery paper.[19] In all these copies the paper is very opaque, making
watermark identification difficult; the predominant one seems to be a balance
inscribed in a circle, surmounted by two rings, one on top of the other—similar,
perhaps identical, to a mark found in paper much used in folio Aldine editions
of the period 1527–1528.[20] What can be clearly seen, however, thanks to the
format, is the structure of the forme on which the paper was made, with chains
disposed at more or less regular intervals of less than 35 mm for its entire width,
and with the watermark placed on one of these chains.[21] These differences in
forme structure make it easy to decide to which category to assign other copies
of this edition.

The press completed the printing of the Isocrates of 1534 only two months
after that of the Themistius. So it is no surprise to find, in the five copies I have
examined,[22] the same paper stock with balance watermark as that found in the
super-chancery copies of the Themistius, together with another paper water-
marked with a six-petalled flower, which regularly occurs in the final gatherings
of the edition, and occasionally in a few sheets of the early ones. Like the balance,
the six-petalled flower is a watermark which features in Aldine super-chancery
folios in the years 1527 and 1528.[23] The forme used in the fabrication of this
paper is similar in structure to that used to make the balance paper described
above, with chains regularly occurring at intervals of less than 35 mm, and with
the watermark centred on one of the chains.

In the six copies of the Eustratius which I have examined[24] there are two new
watermarks, an angel inscribed in a circle, with the countermark AI, and a bull's
head surmounted by a cinquefoil, also with a countermark, comprising the letter Z
and a second letter which I have not succeeded in identifying. The structure of


Page 94
the formes used in the fabrication of these two papers corresponds to that of the
balance mark described above.

The five-volume edition of Galen (1525) is one of the largest to have been
published by the Aldine press, second only in size to the five-volume Aristode
of 1495–1498, and, like that edition, presenting for the first time in a single
compass, and in the original language, all the works then known or believed to
be by their respective authors. The two royal-paper copies of the first volume
of the Galen which I have examined are printed on three papers. One, with the
watermark of a fleur-de-lys inscribed in a circle, was made on a pair of formes
whose structure corresponds to that used in the royal–paper copies of the The-
mistius, with intervals between chains varying from 35 mm to 40 mm, except
in the vicinity of the watermark, where the interval between the chain to which
the mark is attached and the adjacent chains is c.27 mm. But in the other two
papers, one with a cardinal's hat mark and the other with a mark which I was not
able to identify, the interval between the chains is less than 35 mm and more or
less constant, even in proximity to the watermark, as in contemporary Venetian
super-chancery paper. Obviously forme structure is not always a decisive element
in the identification of royal-paper copies.

But the Galen edition also contains another group of copies, clearly identifi-
able by paper evidence. In the first volume of these copies three main paper stocks
are used. The first two have no watermark, only a countermark, occurring, as is
normal in Venetian paper of the period, in the bottom outside corner of the sheet.
In one paper the countermark comprises the letter-forms ZM, in the other the
single letter-form Z. The twin formes on which these papers were made are easily
identifiable by having their countermarks in opposite corners. The third paper
is watermarked with a unilateral anchor inscribed in a circle, surmounted by a
ring, and accompanied by two countermarks, A and B, which occur in opposite
corners of the paper. Here too the twins are easily identifiable by the presence,
in the same half of the sheet as the watermark, of one or other of the counter-
marks. In all these papers the chains occur at regular intervals of less than 35
mm: indeed in the paper with the ZM countermark the interval is c.30 mm, with
a consequent increase in the number of chains. Only the evidence of an uncut
copy would establish with certainty the structure of the formes used in making
these papers. On the evidence of the six cut copies I have examined it seems that
the formes used to make the ZM paper had sixteen chains, on average 30.7 mm
apart. Even making no allowance for any distance between the outermost chain
and the edge of the forme, it is clear that sheets made on such formes would be
at least 460 mm wide. These figures suggest that this group of copies is printed,
not on super-chancery, but on median paper (345 × 515 mm). This suggestion is
supported both by the leaf dimensions of the copies known to me and by the size
of the typepage, which comprises 1+58+1 lines, in comparison with the 1 + 54 +
1 lines of the Themistius and of the other two editions discussed above.[25]


Page 95

In one of the median-paper copies of the Galen in the Gambridge University
Library (PET D.7.10) the binding has come away from the spine, making it pos-
sible to measure the entire inner margin of conjugate leaves (32.5 mm) and thus
to establish the space between the two pages of type in the forme (65 mm). Both
royal-paper copies of the edition which I have seen are tightly bound, making it
impossible to establish an exact figure for the inner margin of the pages, but mea-
surements with a thin metal ruler consistently yield a figure less than 32.5 mm.
It seems reasonable to suppose that the royal–paper copies were printed using
the same imposition of type as that used for the median-paper ones. With an
edition of the size of the Galen, comprising 744 edition sheets, it would have
needed a disproportionate effort to impose twice each of the 1488 formes, just
to print a small number of copies on royal paper. I have no doubt that the same
system was used to print all the copies of the other three editions discussed. As
we shall see, such was also the case with the two sorts of royal-paper copies of
Aldine octavos.

One result of this procedure for the folio editions in question was to produce
copies with very large margins. In the Austin Eustratius (figure 1) the upper
margin measures c.74 mm, the outer c.94 mm and the lower c.120 mm, giving a
white space approximately three times the size of the type page. The relation of
white to black is smaller in the Galen, the type page being larger than in the other
three editions (c.265 × 153 mm, compared to c.245 × 138 mm), but still notable,
at approximately two to one. In the smaller-paper copies of these editions, the
relationship is approximately one to one, giving the impression of a page full of
text. As a rule, large-paper copies are regarded as luxury copies, destined for
the bookshelves of the rich and powerful. But in the case of these four editions
there is another possibility. All contain rare Greek texts of great cultural weight,
destined to be read and consulted by scholars and academics for many decades;
in the university and college libraries of Cambridge no fewer than thirty copies
of these four editions survive. Perhaps the reason for the printing of royal-paper
copies of these editions was to provide copies with wide margins for the use of

As already noted, the module for the type page of the editions of Themistius,
Isocrates and Eustratius is 1 + 54 + 1 lines, all printed with the same Greek
fount. It was a module often used by Gian Francesco Torresani for the folio edi-
tions of Greek texts printed by the Aldine press from 1516 onwards, and constant
in the nine such editions published between the 1525 Galen and the Eustratius
of 1536. It may be that this group contains other examples of folio editions with
copies on royal paper.


Page 96

FIGURE 1. Eustratius of Nicea, Commentaria, 1536, HRHRC Uzielli 236, pp. 86v–87r.


Briquet, I, p. 361, comments that the crossed arrows mark is exclusively Italian, and
was used in the middle of the sixteenth century in the manufacture of large paper. I take the
terms bilateral and unilateral from Moᘁin (bilateral anchor marks have barbs on each side of
the fluke, unilateral marks only on the inside; for digital images of these two types see also Fahy
1999, plates VII–XII).


For example, in the forty-seven copies of the Cortegiano of 1528 whose paper I have
examined, only thirty of the sixty-one edition sheets have the same paper in every copy. For the
concept of "blank-paper archive" see Needham 2000, p. 4.


They are: BL 72.g.15, 308 × 201 mm; CUL M.2.37, 305 × 211 mm; CUL Cc.9.25,
311 × 204 mm; CUL R*.2.25, 306 × 211 mm; TCC N.5.37, 299 × 198 mm. I have note of
the dimensions of three other copies: BLaur D'Elci 700, 300 × 196 mm; BLaur 22.2.17, 298 ×
205 mm; UCLA *Z 233 A4T34, 305 × 215 mm; see Centi, p. 559; Ahmanson-Murphy,
pp. 193–194.


See Fahy 2001, pp. 272–273.


For super-chancery formes with a similar structure see Fahy 1999, plates I–VI. The
paper illustrated in these plates was used in the printing of the definitive edition of Ariosto's
Orlando furioso (Ferrara, 1532) and was purchased on Venetian territory, at Salò, near the
Toscolano area, a major centre of paper production for the Venetian printing industry. As will
be seen, such formes have no tranchefiles, the absence of which, in my experience, is a feature
of most Venetian super-chancery papers used in the Aldine press in this period.


They are: BL 72.g.19, 294 × 195 mm; BL 656.d.3, 313 × 205 mm; BL G8517, 307 ×
205 mm; CUL W.1.27, 301 × 195 mm; TCC N.5.41, 313 × 213 mm. I have note also of the
dimensions of three other copies: BLaur D'Elci 36, 310 × 208; BLaur 22.2.60, 310 × 215 mm;
UCLA, *Z 233 A4I85 1534, 308 × 198 mm (see Centi, p. 313; Ahmanson-Murphy, p. 194).


See Fahy 2001, pp. 279–280.


They are: BL C.19.d.24, 311 × 205 mm; BL 30.f.1, 309 × 204 mm; BL G7846, 316 ×
212 mm; CUL M.2.40l, 298 × 203 mm; CUL Cc.9.32, 308 × 200 mm; TCC N.5.45l, 292 ×
195 mm. I have note also of the dimensions of two other copies: BLaur D'Elci 33, 294 × 196 mm;
UCLA *Z 233 A4E92, 317 × 224 mm (see Centi, p. 234; Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 199–200).


Leaf dimensions of copies of Volume I known to me are BL.45.i.7,330 × 225 mm; CUL
N*.3.5, 337 × 233 mm; CUL PET.D.7.IO, 326 × 231 mm; CUL Path.a.72, 331 × 206 mm;
TCG Grylls.11.403, 329 × 217 mm; TGG N.5.20, 337 × 232 mm. The leaf dimensions of
Volume I of BLaur D'Elci 158–162 are 332 × 228 mm, and of UCLA Z* 233 A4G13, 339 ×
225 mm (see Centi, p. 250; Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 172–173). All of the editions discused,
together with almost all the other folio and quarto editions of Greek texts printed by the Aldine
press between 1504 and 1550, use the same type, measuring 89–90 mm for twenty lines; see
Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 22–23, 25 (Gk3, second casting).


In this context it is worth noting that vellum copies are recorded of the Eustratius edi-
tion; see Renouard, p. 116; Hobson, p. 166, n. 477.

Aldine Octavos with Copies on Royal Paper

Numerous Aldine octavo editions survive with copies on royal paper—nearly
fifty, to my knowledge, though this figure is surely too low. Those editions known
to me are listed in the Appendix. The date 1550 was chosen as term to keep
the research programme within reasonable bounds; undoubtedly the practice of
producing octavo editions with royal-paper copies continued at the Aldine press
in the second half of the century. The list is divided into two parts because in
1535 the method of printing these copies changed, and with it their external ap-
pearance. The list is based in the main on information contained in Renouard's
Annales concerning copies which had passed through his hands, or which he had
seen in public and private collections; to this material I have added informa-
tion from recent catalogues and studies by scholars conscious of the importance
for bibliographical research of information concerning leaf dimensions. Where
possible, Renouard's information has been checked against copies now in librar-
ies open to the public, or in private hands. His few errors are recorded in the


Page 97

With one exception I have only been able to inspect personally royal-paper
copies of Aldine octavos now in the British Library. Large-paper copies are in-
dicated in the General Catalogue of the British Library by the letters "L.P.", but
this indication is not all-inclusive. I found it more expeditious to examine the
Aldines included in the books left to the British Museum in 1799 by the Rev.
Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode. In terms of quantity, his bequest, numbering
about 4,500 printed books, cannot compare with the thousands of incunables and
sixteenth-century editions which came to the library in the nineteenth century
with the King's Library (1823) and the Grenville Collection (1846), but in terms
of quality the Cracherode books are exceptional: seven of the eleven royal-paper
copies of Aldine editions which I saw at the British Library have a Cracherode provenance.[27]

Royal-paper copies of Aldine octavos can usually be distinguished by their leaf
height. The height of a sheet of narrow median is c.350 mm; thus the maximum
height of a leaf of an uncut octavo printed on such paper is c.175 mm. Copies of
Aldine octavos with leaf heights greater than that have perforce been printed on
larger paper. But only from the paper evidence of several copies can one arrive
at a clear picture of the edition in question, or at least of its paper element, since
many such Aldine octavos also have vellum copies. Thus the Cracherode copy
of the 1519 Horace (BL C.19.C.5, 210 × 99 mm) is printed on two papers, one of
which has a crossed-arrows watermark, similar to, perhaps identical with, one
of the papers found in royal-paper copies of the 1534 Themistius, and the other
the watermark of a crossbow inscribed in a circle, surmounted by a fleur-de-lys.
Both show the structural features of the royal-paper formes used to produce the
Themistius papers, that is, chain intervals in excess of 35 mm, except on either
side of the watermark, where the intervals are less. Four other copies of this edi-
tion which I have examined (leaf measurements of the largest, 165 × 99 mm)
are printed on two papers with different versions of the cardinal's hat mark, one
with and one without countermark, and with chains disposed regularly at inter
vals of less than 35 mm. The two British Library royal-paper copies of the Virgil
of 1514 (1519?) (C.19.C.2, 215 × 102 mm; G9696, 202 × 95 mm), in addition to
paper with the crossed-arrows mark, contain a second paper also occurring in
the royal-paper copies of the 1534 Themistius, with the watermark of a bilateral
anchor inscribed in a circle. However, in the Trinity College Cambridge copy of
this edition (Grylls 11.25, 152 × 94 mm) we find only paper with the cardinal's
hat mark, with characteristics similar to those of the smaller-paper copies of the
1519 Horace.

And only paper evidence can unmask copies originally printed on royal pa-
per, but trimmed so severely over time as now to resemble in dimension copies
on narrow median. Such is the case of the Cambridge Ausonius of 1517 (CUL
Sel.6.55). Despite its present leaf measurements (171 × 97 mm), its origin as a
royal-paper copy can be confidently asserted because it is printed from beginning


Page 98

FIGURE 2. Virgil, Opera, 1514 (1519?), BL C.19.c.22, pp. 112v–113r.

to end on the same crossed-arrows paper used in the royal-paper copies of the
1519 Horace and the 1514 (1519?) Virgil, while four other coppies of the edition
which I have examined are printed on two papers with the cardinal's hat mark.

The pages of the typical royal-paper Aldine octavo are characterized by the
size of the lower margin, which in the Cracherode Virgil of 1514 (1519?) measures
84 mm (figure 2). At the same time, in those belonging to editions published
prior to 1535 the outer margin is always narrow, like that of a copy on narrow-
median paper. This combination of featuers gives these royal-paper octavos a
singular appearance, judged by Renouard "trop allongée et bizarre" (p. 141).
But it can be readily explained by supposing that the same formes were used in
printing the royal-paper copies and the ordinary-paper ones. Figure 3 shows a
sheet of chancery paper printed on one side with the outer forme of an octavo
imposition scheme called by Gaskell "common" but which, adopting a terminol-


Page 99

FIGURE 3. Sheet of centripetal octavo, outer forme; Gaskell, fig. 50 (by permission of Oak
Knoll Press).

ogy suggested by the German bibliographer Martin Boghardt, I prefer to call
centripetal. This is the imposition scheme used to print Aldine octavos until
1536; subsequently, until the mid 1550s, the press used the centrifugal scheme
(Gaskell's "inverted"), with pages 1, 2, 3 and 4 on the inside of the forme.[28] In
this diagram the rectangle surrounding the sheet represents (approximately) the
outlines of a sheet of royal paper, centred on the forme. If this sheet is printed
on formes imposed thus, all the leaves will have large lower margins, but only
ff. 1, 2, 3 and 4 will also have large outer margins. The outer margins of the
other four leaves will be limited to half the distance between the pages of type in
the forme. Without some intervention in the printing house a copy consisting of
sheets printed thus would not be viable. The answer was to trim the large outer


Page 100

FIGURE 4. Cicero, Epistolae ad Atticum, 1540, BL Davis 763, pp. 184v–185r.

margins so as to reduce them to the same width as the small ones, an operation
which must have been done prior to binding, and was probably done prior to
printing, to facilitate the folding of the sheet.[29]

For editions published from 1535 onwards the procedure was different. The
royal-paper copies of these editions are as tall as those of an earlier date, but
the outer margin of each leaf is greater. While for editions prior to 1535 the
maximum outer margin width of copies in our list is 102 mm, for those after that
date it is 134 mm, a feature which gives these copies a more normal appearance
(figure 4). At the same time, from the position of the type page it is clear that


Page 101
here too the royal-paper copies were printed from the same imposition of type
as that used for copies on smaller paper. But obviously the method of producing
these large copies had changed. What this method was was demonstrated more
than twenty years ago by the Belgian scholars Jean-François Gilmont and Émile
van Balberghe. Having examined the royal-paper copy of Paulus Manutius's
Commentarius on Cicero's letters Ad Atticum (1547) which once belonged to Ren-
ouard, they pointed out that the second of the two suggestions he had advanced
to explain how this copy had been produced—namely that it had been printed
on half-sheets of royal paper—could be demonstrated by a detail which had
escaped him. This was the presence of a pinhole towards the bottom of the in-
ner margin of ff. 1, 2, 3 and 4 of each gathering.[30] Their article was illustrated
by several diagrams, one of which is reproduced here, with their kind permis-
sion (figure 5). Superimposed on the image of an octavo forme intended for the
printing of chancery paper are the outlines of a half-sheet of royal paper, with
the pins represented by black spots. Comparing figures 3 and 5, one can see
that with the second system the outer margin of the inner leaves of royal-paper
copies (in this case ff. 1, 2, 3 and 4, the press having adopted in the meantime
the centrifugal octavo imposition scheme) could be as wide as the entire distance
between the pages of type in the forme, thus doubling their width with respect to
the earlier system. It would still have been necessary to trim the sides of the sheet
before printing, but not so drastically as in the earlier system. Pinholes are visible
towards the bottom of the inner margin of the first four leaves of each gather-
ing of the three royal-paper copies of Aldine octavos from this period which I
have examined in the British Library, thus confirming the general applicability
of Gilmont's and Van Balberghe's reconstruction. In copies of Aldine octavos of
this second period the presence of pinholes provides an additional clue to their
origin as royal-paper copies. Indeed, the holes can still be visible even when the
copy has been so heavily trimmed as not to be recognizable as a royal-paper
copy from its leaf height.[31] To form a gathering of a royal-paper octavo printed
on half-sheets in the way described, a method of folding is required commonly
used in Italy in the first years of printing for quartos in eights, in which the two
half-sheets are folded together, with the sheet containing f. 1 on the outside, and
with the first fold along the short axis, forming a gathering in which the two
conjugate leaves of the second half-sheet are positioned between, and not after,
the two conjugate leaves of the first.[32]

The date 1514, that of the first instance which I have been able to document
of an Aldine octavo with royal-paper copies, shows that the practice goes back
to the days of the great Aldus. In his Supplément aux listes chronologiques Renouard
reports (p. 484) that Samuel Butler, Bishop of Lichfield (1774–1839), had once
had "à sa disposition", but without apparently acquiring it, a copy "en grand
papier" of the Euripides of 1503. If this was a royal-paper copy, it would be the


Page 102

FIGURE 5. Half-sheet of royal, superimposed on outer forme of centrifugal octavo; Gilmont,
fig. VIII.

only instance known to me of such a copy of a Greek octavo.[33] More promising
is Renouard's reference to the appearance in a sale catalogue of a copy of the
1509 Horace "de cette forme allongée par le bas, dont on connoît plusieurs autres
éditions Aldines de ces mêmes temps".[34] Many of the Aldine octavos with royal-


Page 103
paper copies published between 1514 and 1541 also have vellum copies. The in-
formation given here on this point is surely incomplete: even in the course of the
relatively limited research which it was possible to undertake in the preparation of
this article a vellum copy came to light of the 1514 (1519?) Virgil (CUL SSS.39.8),
an edition of which, according to Renouard, "on ne connoît aucun exemplaire
sur vélin" (p. 69). One of the explanations offered for the Greek royal-paper folios
of 1525–1536, namely that they were provided with large margins for the use of
scholars, is much less plausible when applied to the royal-paper octavos. More
likely is that the latter were intended as special copies for discerning readers, less
expensive than vellum copies, but still in their way extra-ordinary. It is probably
no coincidence that the change in the shape of royal-paper Aldine octavos took
place at the time when Aldus's third son, Paulus, was assuming control of the
press, leaving his Torresani relations to operate as publishers and booksellers.
And this change may, in its turn, have been due to Paulus's intention to mark his
arrival at the helm of his father's press by the presentation to important person-
ages of beautifully bound copies of his earliest publications, beginning with the
octavo Pliny of 1535–1536 and continuing with the series of octavo editions of
Cicero's works edited by Paulus, which the press published in 1540 and 1541.
For these presentation copies he may well have wanted a book less "bizarre" in
appearance than the earlier Aldine royal-paper octavos.[35]

Even from these incomplete data it is possible to draw some provisional
conclusions concerning the production of royal-paper Aldine octavos. From the
beginning many octavo editions comprised more than one type of copy. For the
earliest editions we have reliable information only of copies on narrow-median
paper and on vellum.[36] But before the death of Aldus two other types of copies
appear, those on royal paper and those on blue paper. For the 1514 Arcadia ex-
amples of all four types are known to survive. The success, or at least the succès
, of the first group of octavo classics—a risky initiative, in which Aldus
had invested heavily—must have convinced the press to continue to offer readers
alternatives to the copies on narrow-median paper, but of more than one sort.
The positioning of the pinholes on leaves 1–4 of the second series of Aldine
royal-paper octavos suggests that the same tympan, and probably therefore the


Page 104
same press, was used for narrow-median and royal-paper copies; I assume that
this practice was also adopted for the earlier series.

Despite the likelihood of further instances coming to light of Aldine octavo
editions with copies on royal paper, it would seem, on the evidence at present
available, that not all Aldine octavos printed between 1501 and 1550 contained
such copies. Given the attention devoted for centuries by scholars, collectors and
librarians to the first group of octavo editions, those printed between 1501 and
1505, it is significant that no sure information is available about the existence of
royal-paper copies of these editions. Leaving aside the Sannazaro of 1514, in our
list the editions published before 1535 form two chronologically distinct groups,
those published between 1517 and 1522 (fourteen) and those published in 1533
and 1534 (nine). Yet in the first of these periods the press published a total of
forty-two octavo editions, and it published another thirteen between 1522 and
1528, a period for which we do not know of a single example of an octavo edition
with royal-paper copies. In 1533 and 1534 it published a total of twelve octavo
editions; perhaps the three editions of this period in which royal-paper copies
have not been found (Petrarch, 1533; Pontanus, Carmina, 1533; Poetae tres, 1534)
would provide a good starting-point for further work.[37] Between 1535 and 1550
the firm, adapting itself to prevailing trends in the Venetian publishing industry,
increased substantially its production of octavo editions of vernacular works, but
these, some forty in number, are poorly represented in our list.

At the moment it is not possible to say whether the practice of printing royal-
paper copies of editions of which the main print-run was on smaller paper was
yet another of Aldus's innovations. While there are many fifteenth-century edi-
tions with vellum as well as paper copies, none is known with copies printed on
paper of different sizes. The practice seems to have originated, at least as far
as Italy is concerned, in the early years of the sixteenth century. But there is
already evidence to show that it was not exclusive to the Aldine press. At some
time between 1504 and 1517 there appeared a quarto edition of Sannazaro's
Arcadia, based textually on the Neapolitan princeps of 1504. The edition has no
date, printer's name or place of publication, but on the basis of its types has been
attributed by F. J. Norton to Bernardino dei Vitali, a printer active from time to
time in Venice between 1495 and 1539, but who also printed in other centres,
including Rome. Norton's copy, now in Cambridge (CUL Norton c.66), with leaf
dimensions of 205 × 130 mm, consistent with its having been printed on chancery
paper, uses for the most part paper with two different versions of the balance wa-
termark.[38] But in the British Library there is another copy (BL 81.h.16; figure 6),
with leaf dimensions of 278 × 202 mm, and large outer and lower margins


Page 105

FIGURE 6. Jacopo Sannazaro, Arcadia, after 1504, BL 81.h.16, sig. B1r.


Page 106
(100 mm and 111 mm respectively), printed on paper most of which has the wa-
termark of a ladder in a circle; from its size this paper is clearly royal paper. The
position of the type page in the London copy shows that the type was imposed
for the chancery paper copies and the same imposition was used for royal-paper
copies, as in the Aldine editions. Evidence has also come to light recently of the
existence towards the end of our period of royal-paper copies of an octavo edition
not printed by the Aldine press. Dr Sara Centi kindly informs me that she has
found in the Biblioteca Comunale of San Gimignano a royal-paper copy of the
Carmina quinque illustrium poetarum, a chancery octavo edition published in Venice in
1548 by Vincenzo Valgrisi. The copy has leaf dimensions of 193 × 120 mm; it also
has pinholes in the lower margin of the first four leaves of each gathering, just as in
the royal-paper copies of Aldine octavos of the same period. It is likely that other
royal-paper copies of Italian sixteenth-century chancery editions, Aldine and oth-
ers, await discovery in the many Italian libraries with sixteenth-century holdings,
most of which are without published catalogues, and without specific information,
even within the library itself, about the leaf dimensions of individual copies.


Cracherode's books can be found in the British Library at pressmarks running
from 671 … to 688 …, and from C.17 … to C.24…. For Cracherode see Oxford DNB,
vol. 13, pp. 909–911 and in the online edition; for the three collections see Harris 1998,
pp. 29–32, 207.


See Gaskell, figures 50 and 51. For Boghardt's terminology see Hornschuch,
pp. 22–25. Boghardt objects to Gaskell's terminology because it begs the question of the
historical relationship between the two schemes. His own terms are purely descriptive. Scant
documentation is available on the use of octavo imposition schemes in sixteenth-century Italian
printing; what little there is suggests that in this period Gaskell's "inverted" scheme was no less
common than his "common" scheme; see Fahy 1994 and 1995. As far as sixteenth-century Ital-
ian printing is concerned, Gaskell is wrong in suggesting (p. 106, note C) that sheets printed on
formes using the "inverted" scheme were perfected by turning them on their longer axis.


This possibility was hinted at many years ago by Foxon, p. 173, who suggested that
these large copies of Aldine octavos "are printed from the normal imposition of type on a
square sheet of paper, giving very deep bottom margins." That the sheet of royal paper was
centred on the forme is shown by the position of its watermarks, fragments of which, when vis-
ible, are found in the leaves positioned on the outside of the formes. In the royal-paper copies
of the 1519 Horace the mispagination of the outer forme of gathering m, an error not present
in the narrow-median copies, suggests that the larger copies of this edition were run off before
the smaller ones.


See Renouard, pp. 140–141; Gilmont, pp. 49–54. The copy in question is now in the
Ahmanson-Murphy collection in California (entry 45 in our list).


See entry 38 in our list, where the leaf height is only 170 mm. I am grateful to Neil
Harris for examining this copy for me.


For quartos in eights folded in this way see Hellinga, p. 11; Zappella, p. 121, fig. 33.


I have not been able to investigate a copy of the 1517 edition of Oppian, De piscibus, in
Latin and Greek, in the library of the Earl of Leicester, Holkham Hall, Norfolk, which, as the
Earl's librarian, D. P. Mortlock, kindly informs me, has a binding height of 178 mm.


See Renouard, p. 57. The sale catalogue is Catalogo della biblioteca della ch. me. di
monsignore Natale Saliceti
, Rome, 1789. I am grateful to Neil Harris for transcribing the entry
therein concerning the 1509 Horace. The relevant part reads: "Exemplar nitidum in majori,
& solidiori charta excusum, formaque oblonga praeditum from which it will be seen that
Renouard's description is an interpretation rather than a translation of the original. An ele-
ment of doubt persists because, in comparison with the octavos of other printers, early Aldine
octavos on narow-median paper could also be described as "forma oblonga"; see Needham
1994, pp. 302–305.


For the bindings see Hobson, pp. 113–116, and Brooker, passim and ff. 1–15. They
were largely the work of the greatest binder active in Venice at that time, called by Hobson
the "Mendoza Binder" because of the numerous bindings carried out for Diego Hurtado de
Mendoza, Imperial Ambassador to Venice from 1539 to 1546, and tentatively identified by him
as Andrea di Lorenzo of Verona.


In need of checking are Renouard's comments on octavos from 1501 onwards printed
"sur papier fort" or "sur beau papier fort". The results of a survey of the paper used in a few
copies of the 1501 Martial, the 1502 Dante and the 1503 Greek Anthology—all editions which
Renouard claims contain copies of this sort (indeed, in the case of the Greek Anthology, was
printed in its entirety on this sort of paper)—cast doubt on the objectivity of these remarks:
Martial, three copies examined (BL C.4.f.2; C.19.b.4; CUL Sel.6.45), twenty-four sheets, all
of the same paper, unwatermarked, but with the countermark A, placed between two chains;
Dante, four copies examined (CUL CCE.1.1; Norton d.185; Young 253; Sel.6.20), thirty and
a half sheets, twenty-nine of which are watermarked with a balance inscribed in a circle, with
a cinquefoil countermark, plus one sheet of the same paper as that used in the Martial; Greek
Anthology, four copies examined (BL 672.a.1; C.4.C.8; TCC M.12.17; M.12.18), thirty-seven
sheets, all of the same paper as that used in the Martial.


In a letter to Paulus Manutius, dated 3 November 1535, the Benedictine monk On-
orato Fascitelli writes of a consignment of copies of the octavo edition of Sannazaro's Latin
works (September 1535) sent to him at Rome by the Aldine press. The consignment contained
a few copies which Fascitelli describes as being on median paper ("in carta mezzana"), much
sought after by their Roman friends (Lettere, pp. 348–349).


On Bernardino dei Vitali see Norton, pp. 62, 160–161; Ascarelli and Menato 1989,
p. 336. The edition is also described, on the basis of four copies in Italian libraries, in Villani,
p. 16; all are on paper with the balance watermark, like the Cambridge copy. Villani claims that
the types used are identical to those of the 1504 princeps; in fact, the two fonts are different, as
can be seen by the treatment of the group "Qu", rendered by a ligature in the princeps, and by
two distinct typographical characters in the anonymous edition.


Returning to our point of departure, the folio Cortegiano of 1528, it is now
clear that in April 1527, when Castiglione wrote to his factor Cristoforo Ti-
rabosco with details of the edition he wished the Aldine press to publish, there
were already many Aldine editions with royal-paper copies, a fact of which he
was doubtless aware. However, as far as our present knowledge goes, with a
single exception they were all octavos. This exception was the monumental folio
edition in five volumes of the works of Galen, a classic of ancient culture which
was still fundamental in the practice of Renaissance medicine. Castiglione's pro-
posal concerned something completely different, the first edition of a new work in
the vernacular, which in the rich history of the Aldine press had few precedents,
the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili of 1499, Bembo's Asolani (1505) and Le vulgari elo-
of Niccolò Liburnio (1521). Nevertheless, in the counter-proposal of the
Aldine press, reported to the author in November 1527 in a letter from Tirabosco
which has only recently come to light, the possibility of including in the print run
copies on royal paper is not specifically excluded, and Castiglione was certainly
expecting them when he wrote to his factor again in April 1528, after the edition
had been published.[39] The strongest evidence that the eleven copies in our survey
printed on different paper are indeed heavily trimmed royal-paper copies comes


Page 107
from the paper itself, which exhibits the features which we can now recognize as
characteristic of Venetian royal paper of this period. It has a large anchor water-
mark (74 × 51 mm in one twin; 73 × 48 mm in the other) and intervals of 35 mm
or more between chains, except on either side of the mark, where the intervals
are c.30 mm. The implications are evident: while it would be an exaggeration to
describe the information set forth in this article as the tip of an iceberg, it seems
likely that other instances of Aldine editions with royal-paper copies lie hidden,
awaiting the bibliographer aware of the importance of a thorough bibliographi-
cal analysis of multiple copies.


For Tirabosco's letter of November 1527 see Bertolo, pp. 136–137; Quondam,
pp. 539–540. The counter-proposal of the press involved doubling the print-run to 2000, and
assuming the whole financial burden of the edition (instead of the fifty-fifty arrangement origi-
nally suggested by Castiglione), except for 130 copies, which were to be at the expense of the
author. In Castiglione's letter of April 1528 he wrote that he was expecting 100 copies, including
thirty on royal paper (Quondam, 542–543). Whatever the eventual print run of the Cortegiano,
the counter-proposal of the press is extremely interesting in illustrating what it thought was an
appropriate size for this rather experimental edition.


Royal-paper Copies of Aldine Octavo Editions [40]

Library Abbreviations

BES  Biblioteca de El Escorial, Madrid 
BL  British Library, London 
BLaur  Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence 
BMV  Biblioteca Marciana, Venice 
BN  Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris 
BNCF  Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence 
BTriv  Biblioteca Trivulziana, Milan 
CUL  Cambridge University Library 
DSB  Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin 
HLH  Houghton Library, Harvard University 
HRHRC  Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin, TX 
JRULM  John Rylands University Library of Manchester 
MC  Musée Condé, Château de Chantilly, France 
MCO  Merton College, Oxford 
NYPL  New York Public Library 
ONW  Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna 
PML  Pierpont Morgan Library, New York 
TCC  Trinity College, Cambridge 
TCD  Trinity College, Dublin 
UCLA  Library of University of California, Los Angeles 
YUL  Yale University Library 

A. Editions Published from 1514 to 1534

  • 1. 1514 ¶ Sannazaro, Arcadia
    BN Rés.p.Yc 1277, 210 × 101 mm (Grolier binding)
    Renouard, p. 68

  • 108

    Page 108
  • 2. 1514 (1519?) ¶ Virgil
    BL C.19.C.22, 215 × 102 mm (figure 2); BL G9696, 202 × 95 mm; JRULM 3361, 197 ×
    97 mm
    Renouard, p. 64[41]
  • 3. 1517 Ausonius
    BN Rés.p.Yc.896, 195 × 94 mm; CUL Sel.6.55, 171 × 97 mm
    Renouard, pp. 80–81
  • 4. 1517 Martial
    BLaur D'Elci 1083, 180 × 94 mm
    Centi, p. 371[42]
  • 5. 1518 Pontanus, Amorum libri
    PML 1564, 186 × 95 mm
    Fletcher, p. 113; Needham 1994, p. 135
  • 6. 1518 ¶ Pomponius Mela
    PML 1559, 176 × 90 mm
    Fletcher, p. 113
  • 7. 1518–1521 Livy, 4 vols
    JRULM 20953, 208 × 100 mm[43]
    Renouard, p. 84
  • 8. 1519 ¶ Cicero, Orationes, 3 vols
    BLaur D'Elci 1178–1180, 208 × 95 mm; JRULM 5371, 200 × 98 mm, 205 × 98 mm,
    203 × 98 mm
    Renouard, p. 86; Centi, p. 160
  • 9. 1519 ¶ Horace
    BL C.19.c.5, 210 × 99 mm
    Renouard, p. 88[44]
  • 10. 1520 Quintus Curtius
    T. Kimball Brooker, Chicago, 184 × 97 mm
    Brooker (letter of 7/7/2003)
  • 11. 1521 ¶ Terence
    Renouard, pp. 91–92
  • 12. 1521 ¶ Petrarch
    BTriv Triv.Petr.34, 171 × 93 mm[45]
    Renouard, pp. 92–93
  • 13. 1521 Longolius
    PML 1424, 178 × 102 mm
    Fletcher, p. 114

  • 109

    Page 109
  • 14. 1521 ¶ Sallust
    BTriv Triv.H608, 212 × 97 mm
    Renouard, p. 93
  • 15. 1522 Asconius Pedianus
    Renouard, p. 96
  • 16. 1533 Castilgione
    BL C.16.g.10, 177 × 94 mm; PML 28071, 181 × 92 mm
    Renouard, pp. 107–108; Fletcher, p. 115
  • 17. 1533 Cicero, Epistolae familiares
    BL 1454.d.6, 210 × 101 mm
    Renouard, p. 108
  • 18. 1533 Sannazaro, De partu virginis
    BLaur D'Elci 291, 202 × 94 mm; BN Rés.p.Yc.1276, 200 × 98 mm (Grolier binding);
    Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth, 187 × 97 mm (Grolier binding)
    Renouard, p. 110; Centi, p. 514; Nixon, p. 53
  • 19. 1533 ¶ Capella
    BLaur D'Elci 826, 190 × 100 mm (Grolier binding); JRULM 20942, 201 × 97 mm (Grolier
    Renouard, p. 110; Centi, p. 124
  • 20. 1533–1534 ¶ Ovid, 3 vols
    DSB Ald.Ren.109,8–1 (vol.1), 197 × 95 mm; HLH WKR 16.4.2, 200 × 100 mm (Grolier
    binding); TCD Quin 66, 210 × 98 mm
    Renouard, p. 109; Needham 1994, p. 135
  • 21. 1534 ¶ Priapaea
    BL C.19.c.6, 215 × 96 mm
    Renouard, p. 110[46]
  • 22. 1534 ¶ Valerius Maximus
    BN Rés.Z.4607, 188 × 96 mm (Grolier binding); ONW 22.0.12-Alt.Einb, 200 ×
    100 mm
    Renouard, pp. 110–111
  • 23. 1534 Sannazaro, Arcadia
    Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth, 188 × 105 mm (Grolier binding)
    Renouard, p. 112[47]
  • 24. 1534 Sannazaro, Sonetti
    Renouard, p. 112; Nixon, pp. 37–38

According to Renouard there is another copy "en grand papier" of this edition in the
Quin collection, Trinity College, Dublin. In fact, the Quin copy, which measures 170 × 106
mm, is printed on paper with the cardinal's hat watermark and so belongs to the main print
run on narrow-median paper.


For a possible royal-paper copy of another 1517 octavo, Oppian's De piscibus, see
above, n. 33.


The copy is bound in eight volumes. At the same press-mark there is also a narrow-
median copy of the fifth volume, published in 1533.


The Bibliothèque Nationale de France does not possess a copy "en grand papier" of
this edition, as Renouard states.


The copy is printed on white paper as far as f. 103, and then on blue paper. As Ren-
ouard observes, it is obviously made up from two different copies. I include the copy in my list,
not without misgivings, because it has large bottom margins.


Renouard (p. 81) mistakenly attributes this royal-paper copy, of Cracherode prov-
enance, to the 1517 edition.


Renouard wrongly states that there is a copy of this edition "en grand papier" and
with a Grolier binding in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Presumably he confused it with
their copy of the 1514 edition (see entry 1).

B. Editions Published between 1535 and 1550

  • 25. 1535–1536 Pliny, 3 vols
    BN Rés.S.904–906, 199 × 118 mm, 198 × 111 mm, 198 × 118 mm; BNCF Banco Rari
    161–163, 207 × 117 mm, 205 × 116 mm, 208 × 116 mm; BES, 210 × 120 mm;
    T. Kimball Brooker, Chicago, 200 × 122 mm; JRULM 5369a (vol. III), 207 ×
    120 mm
    Renouard, pp. 114–115; Brooker, p. 33, n. 17 and fig. 13

  • 110

    Page 110
  • 26. 1536 ¶ Aristotle
    PML 1169, 181 × 113 mm
    Renouard, p. 115; Fletcher, p. 116
  • 27. 1540 ¶ Cicero, Epistolae familiares
    BL C.19.c.19, 199 × 121 mm; BN Rés.Z.2128, 192 × 107 mm
    Renouard, p. 120[48]
  • 28. 1540 ¶ Cicero, Epistolae ad Atticum
    BL Davis 763, 208 × 118 (figure 4); NYPL *KB 1540, 197 × 113 mm
    Brooker, pp. 65–66
  • 29. 1540–1541 Cicero, Orationes, 3 vols
    BN Rés.X.2376–2378, 208 × 122 mm, 204 × 118 mm, 204 × 118 mm; T. Kimball
    Brooker, Chicago (vol. I), 215 × 125 mm
    Renouard, p. 121; Brooker, p. 66 and letter of 27/9/2000
  • 30. 1541 Cicero, De philosophia, 2 vols
    BN Rés.R.1824–1825, 204 × 116 mm, 206 × 116 mm; JRULM 18561, 203 × 117 mm,
    200 × 117 mm; YUL Gnc60.A541 (vol. I)
    Renouard, p. 122; Brooker, pp. 66-67 and fig. 7
  • 31. 1541 ¶ Cicero, De officiis
    MCO 27.c.20, 191 × 117 mm; NYPL *KB 1541, 201 × 121 mm
    Julia Walworth (letter of 17/2/2005); Brooker, p. 66 and fig. 6
  • 32. 1541 Virgil
    DSB Ald.Ren.123,7, 204 × 116 mm
    Renouard, p. 123; Brooker, p. 67
  • 33. 1541 ¶ Terence
    DSB Ald.Ren.123,8, 206 × 115 mm; JRULM 8614, 213 × 123 mm
    Renouard, p. 123; Hobson, p. 115, pl. 66; Brooker, p. 67 and fig. 8
  • 34. 1544 Cicero, Epistolae ad Atticum
    BEM Esc.36.V.18, 211 × 130 mm;[49] JRULM 17418, 202 × 134 mm; UCLA 138084 ALD
    V.7, 192 × 124 mm[50]
    Renouard, p. 129; Hobson, p. 118, pl. 68; Ahmanson-Murphy, p. 215
  • 35. 1545 Cicero, De officiis
    BL C.19.c.17, 200 × 122 mm; JRULM 7891, 197 × 133 mm
    Renouard, pp. 131–132
  • 36. 1545 Virgil
    Renouard, pp. 132–133
  • 37. 1545 Terence
    PML 1632, 193 × 118 mm; UCLA Z233A4T27 1545, 196 × 118 mm
    Renouard, p. 133 (Grolier binding); Fletcher, p. 118; Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 216–217
  • 38. 1546 Ammonius, 3 vols
    BNV 395.D.226 1–3.Stamp: Legato Molin, 170 × 110 mm
    Renouard, p. 135

  • 111

    Page 111
  • 39. 1546 Liburnio
    DSB Ald.Ren.135,5, 205 × 125 mm; JRULM 10899, 190 × 120 mm; ONW 22.0.13 Alt.
    Einb, 193 × 116 mm;[51] T. Kimball Brooker, Chicago, 206 × 125 (Grolier binding)
    Renouard, p. 135;[52] Brooker (letter of 24/10/2000)
  • 40. 1546 Cicero, Rhetorica
    BN Rés.X.2242–2245 (4 vols), 203 × 121 mm;[53] PML 3114, 203 × 127 mm; MC XI.G.14,
    200 × 135 mm (De oratore only)
    Renouard, p. 136; Fletcher, p. 118
  • 41. 1546 Cicero, Orationes, 3 vols
    DSB Ald.Ren.136,9–1.3, 203 × 130 mm, 201 × 130 mm (vols 1 and 3); JRULM 17295,
    204 × 134 mm, 201 × 134 mm (vols 1 and 3)
    Renouard, pp. 136–137
  • 42. 1546 Cicero, Epistolae familiares
    JRULM 18713, 205 × 134 mm; PML 1286, 205 × 134 mm
    Renouard, p. 137; Fletcher, p. 118
  • 43. 1546 Cicero, De philosophia, 2 vols
    UCLA 138084 ALD v.8–9, 190 × 122 mm[54]
    Ahmanson-Murphy, p. 231
  • 44. 1546 Capece
    T. Kimball Brooker, Chicago, 197 × 122 mm
    Brooker (letter of 24/10/2000)
  • 45. 1547 Paulus Manutius, Commentarius
    UCLA Z233 A4M324i 1547 c.2, 203 × 128 mm
    Renouard, pp. 140–141; Gilmont, pl. V; Ahmanson-Murphy, p. 235
  • 46. 1548 Cicero, Epistolae ad Atticum
    BN Rés.Z.2137, 183 × 109 mm
    Renouard, p. 143
  • 47. 1548 Cicero, De officiis
    UCLA 138084 ALD v.10, 190 × 122 mm
    Ahmanson-Murphy, p. 240

According to Renouard there is another copy "en grand papier" of this edition "dans
la bibliothèque Brera de Milan". However, as the Director of the Biblioteca Braidense, Milan,
kindly informs me, the height of their copy is 161 mm.


The dimensions are those of the binding.


This copy, together with other copies of works by Cicero in the same library (see en-
tries 43 and 47), belongs to a group of Aldine octavos of works by Cicero bound in a uniform
manner. The first four volumes of the group are royal-paper copies of Cicero's Rhetorica ad
(1 vol.) and of his Orationes (3 vols), both published in 1554, and so outside the scope
of this article (see Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 279-281). They witness to the continuation in the
Aldine press after 1550 of the practice of printing royal-paper copies of octavo editions.


The copy is printed entirely on blue paper.


Another copy "en grand papier" which, according to Renouard, had been given to "la
Bibliothèque de Trévise", cannot now be found. I am grateful to Dr. Mariachiara Mazzariol,
who searched the libraries of Treviso on my behalf for this volume, but in vain.


All four parts were bound by the Mendoza Binder for Ottavio Pantagato, whose arms
appear on the upper cover; see Le Bars, pp. 53–55 (her items 9 and 10).


T. Kimball Brooker owns a royal-paper copy (202 × 135 mm) of the Tusculanae Dispu-
, part of the first volume of this edition (Brooker, letter of 7/7/2003).


¶ indicates editions known to include vellum copies. The author would be pleased to
hear of other instances of royal-paper copies of Aldines published between 1495 and 1550. Ad-
dress: 23 St Mary's St, Ely, Cambs CB7 4ER, G.B.; email: <<.


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    Press in the Library of the University of California, Los Angeles Incorporating Works Recorded
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    liografia Italiana 116. Florence: Olschki, 1989.
  • Bernoni, Domenico. Dei Torresani, Blado e Ragazzoni, celebri stampatori a Venezia e Roma nel
    XV e XVI secoli.
    Milan: Hoepli, 1890.
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    Florence: Octavo, 1994.

  • 112

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    ed. Allan Stevenson. Monumenta Chartae Papyraceae
    Historiam Illustrantia 4. 4 vols. Amsterdam: Paper Publications Society, 1968.
  • Brooker, T. Kimball. "Paolo Manutio's Use of Fore-Edge Titles for Presentation Copies
    (1540–1541)", The Book Collector 46 (1997), 27–68, 193–207.
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    Culture in Renaissance Mantua.
    Travaux d'Humanisme et Renaissance 189. Geneva:
    Droz, 1982.
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    biblioteca dell'Asolano.
    Genoa: SAGEP, 1998.
  • Centi, Sara. Le cinquecentine della Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana di Firenze. Ministero per i
    Beni e le Attività Culturali, Indici e Cataloghi nuova ser. 14. 2 vols. Rome: Istituto
    Poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 2002.
  • Clough, Cecil H. "Pietro Bembo's Gli Asolani of 1505", Modern Language Notes 84 (1969),
  • —. "The Printings of the First Edition of Pietro Bembo's Gli Asolani", Modern Language
    87 (1972), 134–139.
  • Fahy, Conor. "Notes on Centrifugal Octavo Imposition in Sixteenth-Century Italian Print-
    ing", Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society 10 part 4 (1994), 489–504.
  • —. "Centripetal and Centrifugal Imposition in Aldine Octavos", Transactions of the
    Cambridge Bibliographical Society 10 part 5 (1995), 591–602.
  • —. "La carta dell'esemplare veronese del Furioso 1532", in Anatomie bibliologiche: saggi
    di storia del libro per il centenario de ĐLa BibliofilíaĐ, ed. Luigi Balsamo and Pierangelo
    Bellettini. Florence: Olschki, 1999, 283–300 (= La Bibliofilía 100 [1998]).
  • —. "Collecting an Aldine: Castiglione's Libro del Cortegiano (1528) through the Cen-
    turies in Libraries and the Book Trade: The Formation of Collections from the Sixteenth to the
    Twentieth Century,
    ed. Robin Myers, Michael Harris and Giles Mandelbrote. New
    Castle, DE: Oak Knoll, 2000, 147–170.
  • —. "La carta nelle edizioni aldine del 1527 e del 1528", La Bibliofilía 103 (2001),
  • Fletcher, H. George. In Praise of Aldus Manutius: A Quincentenary Exhibition. New York:
    Pierpont Morgan Library; Los Angeles: University Research Library, University of
    California, 1995.
  • Foxon, David F. "Some Notes on Agenda Format", The Library 5th ser. 8 (1953),
  • Frasso, Giuseppe. "Appunti sul Petrarca aldino del 1501", in Vestigia: studi in onore di Gi-
    useppe Billanovich,
    ed. Rino Avesani, Mirella Ferrari, Tino Foffano, Giuseppe Frasso
    and Agostino Sottili. Storia e Letteratura: Raccolta di Studi e Testi 162. 2 vols. Rome:
    Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 1984, I, 315–335.
  • Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. Oxford: Clarendon, 1972.
  • Gilmont, Jean-François and Émile Van Balberghe. "Une édition aldine sur grand papier:
    à propos de l'ancien exemplaire de Renouard d'un commentaire de Paul Manuce
    (1547)", in Calames et Cahiers: Mélanges de codicologie et de paléographie offerts à Léon Gilissen,
    ed. Jacques Lemaire and émile Van Balberghe. Brussels: Centre d'étude des Manu-
    scrits, 1985, 49–54 and plates V–VIII (also in Gilmont, Jean-François. Le livre et ses
    Geneva: Droz; Louvain: Université Catholique de Louvain, 2003, 141–150).
  • Harris, Neil. "The Blind Impressions in the Aldine Hypnerotomachia Poliphili", Gutenberg-
    (2004), 93–146.
  • —. "Nine Reset Sheets in the Aldine Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499)", Gutenberg-
    Jahrbuch (2006), 245–275.
  • Harris, Philip R. A History of the British Museum Library 1753–1973. London: British Li-
    brary, 1998.
  • Hellinga, Lotte. "Press and Text in the First Decades of Printing", in Libri tipografi biblio-
    teche: ricerche storiche dedicate a Luigi Balsamo,
    ed. Istituto di Biblioteconomia e Paleo-
    grafia, Università degli Studi di Parma. Biblioteca di Bibliografia Italiana 148. 2 vols.
    Florence: Olschki, 1997, I, 1–23.

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  • Hobson, Anthony. Renaissance Book Collecting: Jean Grolier and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza,
    Their Books and Bindings.
    Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Hornschuch, Hieronymus. Orthotypografia lateinisch/deutsch 1608 Leipzig 1634, ed. Martin
    Boghardt, Frans A. Janssen and Walter Wilkes. Darmstadt: Lehrdruckerei der Tech-
    nischen Hochschule Darmstadt, 1983.
  • Kallendorf, Craig W. and Maria X. Wells. Aldine Press Books at the Harry Ransom Humani-
    ties Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin: A Descriptive Catalogue.
    Austin, TX:
    Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, 1998.
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    relieures vénitiennes du xvie siècle inédites", Bulletin du bibliophile (2004), 7–62.
  • Lettere di Paolo Manuzio copiate sugli autografi esistenti nella biblioteca Ambrosiana. Paris: Giulio
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    trantia 13. Amsterdam: Paper Publications Society, 1973.
  • Needham, Paul. "Aldus Manutius's Paper Stocks: The Evidence of Two Uncut Books",
    Princeton University Library Chronicle 55 (1993–94), 287–307.
  • —. "Res papirea: Sizes and Formats of the Late Medieval Book", in Rationalisierung
    der Buchherstellung im Mittelalter und in der frühen Neuzeit: Ergebnisse eines buchgeschichtli-
    chen Seminars, Wolfenbüttel 12–14 November 1990.
    Marburg an der Lahn: Institut für
    Historische Hilfswissenschaften, 1994, 123–145.
  • —. "Concepts of Paper Study", in Puzzles in Paper: Concepts in Historical Watermarks,
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    September-31 October 1965.
    London: British Museum, 1965.
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    bridge Bibliographical Society Monograph 3. London: Bowes and Bowes, 1958.
  • Ornato, Ezio, Paola Busonero, Paola F. Munafò, M. Speranza Storace. La carta occidentale
    nel tardo medioevo.
    2 tomes. Rome: Istituto Centrale per la Patologia del Libro, 2001.
  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, in Association with the British Academy: From the Earliest
    Times to the Year 2000,
    ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. Oxford:
    Oxford University Press, 2004.
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    Cinquecento 100. Rome: Bulzoni, 2000.
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    de leurs éditions: troisième édition.
    Paris: Jules Renouard, 1834 (repr. New Castle, DE:
    Oak Knoll, 1991).
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    cine Clark Art Institute.
    Williamstown, MA: Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute,
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    Diss., Cornell University, 1991.
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Page 114

This article is an English version, with some adaptations, of "Esemplari su carta reale di
edizioni aldine, 1494–1550", published in La Bibliofilía 106 (2004), 135–172. I am grateful to
Luigi Balsamo, Direttore of La Bibliofilía, for permission to use the same material here. I have
incorporated into the present article the "Addenda" published at the end of the Italian version,
together with some other additional information. Both are annotated and enlarged versions of
the third Sandars Lecture in Bibliography, which I delivered in the University of Cambridge
on 20 March 2002. Lecture and articles formed part of a research project which for reasons of
health I was unable to complete. However the results achieved seemed of sufficient interest to
warrant their publication. In the circumstances I have incurred more than the usual number
of debts towards friends and colleagues, without whose help it would have been impossible
to bring this work to its present state. My greatest debt is to Neil Harris, who has responded
with unfailing generosity and despatch to my repeated requests for information and help. I am
deeply grateful also to the following, who have given me valuable information about individual
copies on royal paper of Aldine editions, or helped me in other ways: Ursula Baurmeister,
Charles Benson, John Bidwell, T. Kimball Brooker, Sara Centi, Maurizio Festanti, H. George
Fletcher, Jean-François Gilmont, Paul Naiditch, Charles Noble, Getrud Oswald, Stephen Par-
kin, Paul Quarrie, Francesco Radaeli, Julie Ramwell, Chiara Razzolini, Susan Roeper, Paola
Rucci, Fred Schreiber, Emmanuelle Toulet, Julia Walworth and Andreas Wittenberg.

Figure 1 is published by permission of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center,
University of Texas at Austin; figures 2, 4 and 6 by permission of the British Library.


For the text of the letters see Quondam, pp. 538–539, 542–543; for an English transla-
tion of the relevant part of the first letter see Fahy 2000, p. 150 (for full details of these and other
works mentioned in the notes, see the list of "Works Cited" at the end of the article).


For a list see Fahy 2000, pp. 161–164. The census was limited to copies in libraries
open to scholars.


In the Venetian printing industry of the first half of the sixteenth century three paper
sizes predominated, all represented in the famous fourteenth-century Bolognese tablet of forme
sizes, for which see Briquet, I, p. 3. These are royal: c.445 × 615 mm; median: c.345 × 515
mm; chancery: c.315 × 450 mm. Towards the end of the fifteenth century, however, slightly
taller versions of royal and chancery appeared, christened by Paul Needham, in a seminal essay
(Needham 1993–-94), super-royal and super-chancery. In the same essay Needham also showed
that for his octavo editions Aldus used a new paper size, measuring c.350 × 420mm, which
Needham named narrow median (see also Needham 1994). The widespread use in the Venetian
printing industry of the 1490s of a chancery sheet sligtly taller than the Bologna standard was
also one of the findings of the researchers of Progetto carta; see Ornato, ii, pp. 270–279 (regret-
tably this lengthy work, full of information about paper and paper-making in fifteenth-century
Italy and its neighbours, and about the paper of Venetian incunables, has no analytical index).
In my experience, in the period up to 1550 the Aldine press consistendy Used super-chancery
for the ordinary-paper copies of its folio editions.


See Kallendorf and Wells, p. 254. The dimensions given are those of the binding; leaf
measurements will be slightly smaller. For the edition see Renouard, p. 116; Cataldi Palau,
pp. 664–665.


See Clough 1969 and 1972; Frasso, pp. 326–334.


In this context mention must be made of Neil Harris's on-going work on physical fea-
tures of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (1499). Harris 2004 contains the results of the analysis
of sixty-seven copies of the edition; see also Harris 2006.


For the Petrarch see Brown, pp. 55–56, doc. 40. Forty-five vellum copies of Aldine
editions, for the most part octavos, illuminated in Italy between 1496 and 1502, are listed by Sz�pe, pp. 165–193. To the eleven vellum copies of the 1501 Petrarch listed by Frasso she
adds a further three, two in the DSB and one in the HRHRC; for the latter see Kallendorf
and Wells, p. 80 (library abbreviations used in this contribution are listed at the beginning of
the Appendix).


Of the more than sixty editions with vellum copies listed by Renouard for the period
1494–1550, about fifty are octavos; see also, for the period 1540–1541, Brooker, p. 68.


The list is indicative, not exhaustive. For the whereabouts of some copies, see the rel-
evant information in Renouard, and also Bigliazzi, p. 255, scheda 137; Harris 2004, p. 134;
Clough 1969, p. 39; Hobson, p. 166, n. 477; Szépe, pp. 165–193. From the second letter of
Castiglione to Cristoforo Tirabosco, written after the Cortegiano had been published, it seems
that the friends who were supervising its publication in Venice had at least contemplated the
possibility of printing a copy on vellum. In the event of this vellum copy having been printed,
Castiglione gave detailed instructions about its binding. In 1890, according to Domenico
Bemoni, there was a copy on vellum of the 1528 Cortegiano in the Biblioteca Comunale (now
Civica), Verona (see Bemoni, p. 307). This copy, if it ever existed, is now lost.


I am indebted to Neil Harris for drawing my attention to the Demosthenes reprint. An-
other candidate for a print run wholly or mainly on royal paper, which I have not investigated,
is the two-volume Rhetores Graeci of 1508–1509, in quarto. The leaf measurements of the two
volumes of this edition in the UCLA copy are 273 × 175 mm and 276 × 176 mm respectively
(Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 98, 101).


Dimensions of other copies of the Plutarch are: BLaur D'Elci 187, 280 × 170 mm
(Centi, p. 457); UCLA *Z 233 A4P74m, 272 × 185 mm (Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 99–100); and
of the Demosthenes: BLaur D'Elci 887, 272 × 175 mm (Centi, pp. 194–195); UCLA *Z 233
A4D390, 276 × 173 mm (Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 151–152).


"Dans ma première édition j'ai dit che l'on trouvoit de ce livre quelques exemplaires
en grand papier. J'ai vérifié depuis che toute l'édition est sur un même papier fort, et d'une
grande beauté. La différence de dimension n'est que le résultat du plus ou moins de conserva-
tion des exemplaires" (p. 26).


See Fahy 2001, p. 277. The possibility cannot be excluded that it is a cut-down royal-
paper copy.


"Pour donner une exacte idée du rapport de dimension entre ces grands exemplaires
et ceux du papier ordinaire, je noterai ici que ce volume, acheté chez Williams, a 14 pouces
de haut, sur 9 pouces 2 lignes de largeur. Le Galien che j'ai possédé jusqu'en 1828, a 15 p. 5 l.
La plus grande hauteur des papiers ordinaires de ces éditions, ainsi che de l'Isocrate de 1534,
et autres de ces mêmes temps, est 11 p. ½pour les volumes reliés, les mieux conservés, et 12
pouces pour le très petit nombre de ceux qui sont parvenus jusqu'à nous dans leur état primitif,
c'est-a-dire, sans avoir passé sous le couteau du relieur. Le tout, mesure de France, ancien pied
du roi" (p. 111).


For the Galen, the Themistius and the Isocrates see respectively Renouard, pp. 101–102,
111, 111–112; Cataldi Palau, pp. 639–640, 659, 659–670. For the Eustratius see above, n. 4.


See Weiss, p. 30; Fletcher, pp. 102–104. Ahmanson-Murphy, p. 115, lists a copy on
blue paper of another octavo, the Virgil of 1514 (=1519?); leaf dimensions 144 × 88 mm.
H. George Fletcher has kindly drawn my attention to the existence of a further blue-paper copy
of this edition in the library of the Stirling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown (see
Roeper, p. 14). I am grateful to Susan Roeper for informing me that the leaf dimensions of this
copy are 167 × 97 mm.