Dysart Memorial Collection Virtual Exhibition - Item 13
Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Dysart Memorial Collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts - Item 13

[Francesco de Colonna], d. 1527.  Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, vbi hvmana omnia non nisi somnivm esse docet.  Atque obiter plvrima scitvsane quam digna commemorat.  [Venice, Aldus, 1499]

A romance written by the Dominican friar Francesco Colonna printed by the greatest printer of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Venice, Aldus Manutius, this is judged to be the most beautiful of all woodcut books.  It is alsothe only profusely illustrated volume which Aldus issued.  The designer, who has not been identified, displays a knowledge of classic decoration, a sense of beauty in architectural design, and a skill in figure drawing.  Francesco Griffo of Bologna was Aldus' type-designer.  His capital letters are large and light and his italics narrow and condensed to make the fullest use of available space.  There are decorated initial letters.

Binding and restoration of this copy has been done by Douglas Cockerell.  The binding is modern white morocco in antique style with brass clasps.  The sides are panelled in squares with blind centre tool of an eagle.  The calf of the original binding has been mounted in the inner cover linings.

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Dysart Memorial Collection Virtual Exhibition