Oregon House, CA: The Petrarch Press, 2004. Limited Edition. Leather bound. No. XIX of XX copies on vellum, octavo size, 152 pp., with postcard announcement. Fine. Item #21120823
Petrarch (1304-1374 CE) is considered one of the earliest humanists, "which led to the intellectual flowering of the Renaissance" (n.b., quote from Wiki). While leafing through this volume in order to catalogue, I was stopped time and again, captured by the thoughts and wisdom on the pages before me. One quote in particular bears repeating here, as it is the one chosen by the Press for their announcement: "Time is fleeting and does not return, fortune is unstable, life is short, the hour of death uncertain. There is but one remedy against those evils: Make good use of your time; do not put your trust in fortune; prolong your life by your works; always be prepared, both in body and soul, to meet death."
The translation used for this publication is based upon a translation done by Johanna Lohse (1839-1911) and published in 1900. This translation, now scarce, was chosen by the publisher as the first work of the Press in its second incarnation; Petrarch Press was originally founded in 1985 by Peter Bishop (1948-2003), to whom this volume is dedicated. Loosely laid into the book is a black-and-white photograph of a young Peter Bishop, impishly smiling.
The publication itself is stunning; three editions were made: 100 copies on mouldmade paper, 30 copies on handmade paper, and 20 copies on sheepskin parchment (vellum), this being one of those twenty volumes. Not only does the vellum provide a richness to the text, but the volume is bound in full leather, decorated in gilt, and is housed in a slipcase also covered in leather. Three large, red, flowing capital letters open the three sections of the text ("Familiar Letters", "Miscellaneous Letters", and "Letters of Old Age") and are reminiscent of early Italian manuscripts. Altogether, the work is a feast both for the intellect, as well as the hand and eyes.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full navy leather over boards, both boards with a decorated ruled border in gilt and a decorative lozenge in the middle in gilt with a red center, the spine with gilt lettering and rules both plain and decorative, patterned endpapers in navy, tan and taupe, decorated title page in blue, green and red, dedication page with the black-and-white photograph of Peter Bishop loosely laid in (as set forth above), each of the three sections opens with a red decorative initial captial which flows into the margins, Errata slip loosely laid in at the "Notes" section, this copy no. 19 of 20 printed on sheepskin parchment (vellum) and bound in full leather, total edition 150 copies; Dante text with Goudy Lombardic Caps, printed by hand on an 1851 Super Royal Albion press, book design, ornaments, and binding by Peter Cohen, the binding executed in collaboration with the Italian bookbinder Tiziano Codina, octavo size (7 7/8" by 5 1/2"), pagination: [i-xii] xiii, [xiv, erroneously printed as "xvi"] [2, sectional title with blank verso]  2-131 [1 blank] [colophon] [3 blanks]. Housed in the publisher's slipcase also covered in full navy leather, lined with navy suede. Accompanying the volume is the publisher's postcard announcement, a picture on the front of the half-leather binding with handmade paper, summary of the work and details on the verso.
___CONDITION: Fine: the leather binding smooth and supple, utterly without wear, the corners straight and unrubbed, solid hinges with a strong, square text block, the vellum pages are clean and without wear, and entirely free of prior owner markings. The slipcase also fine, again, the leather smooth and supple, without wear or any blemishes. The postcard announcement fine also, clean and without wear. The entire production is as new, although just released from the Press.
___POSTAGE: International customers, please note that additional postage may apply as the standard does not always cover costs; please inquire for details.
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