STATVTA HOSPITALIS HIERVSALEM – [Ed. Giovanni Battista Rondinelli]. [Rome, [1588] – RARE COPY

  • Statutes of the Hospital of Jerusalem Knights of Malta. 1588


Statuta Hospitalis Hierusalem. [Ed. Giovanni Battista Rondinelli]. [Rome, Tipografia del popolo Romano, [1588] –

STATVTA HOSPITALIS HIERVSALEM – [Statutes of the Hospital of Jerusalem Knights of Malta.]

Revised edition of the statutes of the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, first published by A. Blado in Rome 1556. The new edition was sumptuously printed on the occasion of Grand Master Hugues de Loubens-Verdale’s installation as a cardinal on Dec. 18, 1587. “Comparison of six copies at the British Museum shows an extraordinary variety of settings, states, binding variants, and added copperplates” (Mortimer). The present copy contains 39 engraved illustrations of 40 known and has a total of 125 leaves (Harvard 130, Cambridge 129/130, Schäfer 133, another copy 135). Contents: 1. engr. general title; 2.-4. engr. portraits of Louben-Verdale (1 medallion within historiated border, 2 depicting award of the insignia); 5. engr. divisional title “Effigies Magistrorum Hospitalis” with musicians; 6.-17. 12 engr. plates by Ph. Thomassin with 4 medallion portraits of Grand Masters each; 18. engr. divisional title “Excandido et propinquo” with 12 engr. plates by Ph. Thomassin with heraldic border; 19.-39. The first of a series of 21 full-page engravings on versos of text-leaves (10 verso blanc) within 4 repeated woodcut-borders; main text on p. 1-203 (without ‘Index materium…’); 2 leaves ‘nova statuta’ bound inbetween last quire. Text engravings mostly refer to Loubens-Verdale officiating at various ceremonies, illustration to B5v, however, depicts a fine map of Malta (ca 14:17,5 cm), and on R4v there is a plan of Valletta (ca 18:13,7 cm), both within woodcut borders. – Browning and watermarking in places, slight foxing, some marginal tears, inner hinges cracked but sound.

This copy does not contain the index of Tolomeo Veltroni, dated 1588, which is not found in all copies. The index title  appears to be in an earlier state with the imprint and privilege omitted and the heading after “Militem” reading “Nuper adiectus” instead of “Cum picturis, e arundemque sententiis, ac Magistrorum Imaginibus, nuper adiectus”. However, Loubens-Verdale was made a cardinal on 18 December 1587, and copies containing the plates of his installation cannot be dated earlier than that.



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