Plutarchi Vitae: nuper quam diligentissime recognitae: quibus tres virorum illustrium vitae aditae fuerunt: & in fine voluminis apositae

Autore: PLUTARCHUS (ca. 46-120)

Tipografo: Donnino Pinzi

Dati tipografici: Venezia, 15 febbraio 1502



Two parts in one volume, folio (310x205 mm). [1], CXLV; CLI leaves. Collation: a-r8 s10; A-T8. Lacking the final blank T8. Half-page woodcut on l. a2r within an elaborate border on black ground. 19th-century gilt vellum over boards, double lettering piece on spine, panels with the gilt arms of Baron John Benjamin Heath (1790-1879) in the center within a double gilt fillet, marbled endleaves (front joint partly opened). On the front pastedown engraved bookplate of Sir John Leslie Bar[one]t Glaslough House (1822-1916). On the title page later ownership's inscription. Four round wormholes at the beginning of the volume, light marginal stain towards the end, some light foxing, but a very good, clean copy profusely annotated in the margins by more contemporary hands (the notes have not been trimmed).

Provenance. “John Benjamin Heath was the son of John Heath, merchant of Genoa, and a grandson of Benjamin Heath the great book collector. He was educated at Harrow School, where he is said to have fagged for Lord Byron. A merchant and foreign banker in London, he also served as Consul General for the Kingdom of Sardinia 1817 1861, and for the Kingdom of Italy 1861 1879. He was Director of the Bank of England 1823 1872, Deputy Governor 1843 1844, Governor 1846 1847, and Master of the Grocer's Company. He was created Baron Heath of the Kingdom of Italy 26 May 1867. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1832, and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1843. His collection of autographs was sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 24 April 1879, and part of the family library in the sale of part of the library of Amédee John Heath, Baron Heath by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge 7 November 1892” (University of Toronto Libraries, British Armorial Bindings).


Valuable edition edited by Girolamo Squarciafico, whose name appears on the verso of the title page. The large woodcut depicting Theseus fighting the Minotaur had already appeared in the 1491 Plutarch edition and again in 1496. Attributed by Rava to the artist of the Malermi Bible, according to F. Lippmann it also recalls in a certain way the graphic work of Pollaiolo: “In the Plutarch, a very fine woodcut occupies about half of the space within the border-frame work. This exhibits a picture of the combat between Theseus and the Minotaur, admirably designed and executed. It is quite in the manner of the unknown artist who designed the vignettes of the Malermi Bibles, and it is evidently in his hand. Indeed, it ranks among the best of his productions. The attitudes of the two combatants, and the conception of the subject, remind us to some extent of the work of Antonio Pollaiolo, in his known copper-engravings” (p. 96).


Sander, 5784; Essling, 596; Rava, p. 12; Edit 16, CNCE34849.