State Library Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 51 & 52 1993


Lorenzo's Book: a Medicean manuscript of the “Augustan History”

Asplendid volume of Roman history written and illuminated in fifteenth-century Florence for Lorenzo de' Medici (1449–1492) is now housed in the Rare Book Collection of the State Library of Victoria.1 This Renaissance manuscript contains three Latin texts composed in late antiquity: the Augustan History which is a series of biographies of emperors composed or, to put it more precisely, concocted around 360 A.D., the Breviarium ab urbe condita of Eutropius (active c. 370 A.D.) and Paul the Deacon's His-toria Romana.2 These texts have been copied in a very fine humanist script by a nameless scribe, now dubbed “the Omnium rerum scribe” because he concluded his manuscripts with the biblical motto “Omnium rerum vicissitudo est”.3 Twenty-four manuscripts copied by this scribe between 1469 and 1493 are known today. Many of these were written for Lorenzo de' Medici. The colophon on f. 213r of the State Library's Augustan History records that the scribe finished his work on 21 January 1479 (NS).4
The manuscript is finely illuminated. Its title page has a three-sided border in which winged putti frolic on ground strewn with leaves and fully blown roses (Plate 24). The same border contains three crests each bearing the Medici arms of red palle surrounding a central blue palla adorned with gold fleurs-de-lys.5 The lily also surmounts each of the three armorial shields. Further Medicean symbols occur in the border which is filled with a pruned green branch (or broncone) sprouting new branches. This is encircled by scrolls bearing the French words Le Tems Revient (“the times return”). These are personal heraldic devices — or imprese — used by Lorenzo the Magnificent.6
Finely painted historiated initials commence each chapter. In all there are eighty-one of them. They contain half-length renderings of figures in “antique” attire which are presumably meant to represent Roman emperors. On the title page the profile of the emperor Hadrian is based on a coin — a denarius — of his reign.7 However most of the “portraits” in the manuscript bear no resemblance to any known portrait or physical description of the particular emperor in question. Indeed these figures are variations on certain stock types (Plate 25). These same generic types re-appear in other manuscripts8 illuminated in Florence around the same time by the artist Mariano del Buono di Jacopo (1433–1504).9 Like the Omnium rerum scribe, Mariano undertook a number of Medici commissions.10
Both the artistic form and textual contents of the Augustan History exemplify Lorenzo's tastes and interests. Many of the decorative elements used in the border of the title page evoke aspects of the magnificent tournament held on 7 February 1469 to celebrate Lorenzo's marriage to the Roman aristocrat, Clarice Orsini.11 Luigi Pulci left an eye-witness description of this splendid event in his poem La Giostra di Lorenzo de' Medici. Lorenzo, dressed in scarlet and white silk and velvet, entered the Piazza Santa Croce on a white horse covered in red and white velvet sewn with pearls. His scarf was embroidered with wilting and blooming roses and his cap was covered in pearls, rubies and diamonds. Along with wreaths of laurel Lorenzo'simpresa of the broncone, the withered and reviving bay tree (Laurus nobilis), appeared on his battle standard, while the motto le Tems Revient was spelt out in pearls on his scarf and in gold on his standard.
The roses, jewels, laurel wreath and Laurention motto all appear on the title page of this Augustan History. In the centre of the lower border a laurel wreath surrounds the Medici crest. It was widely understood by his contemporaries that laurel was a pun on the name Lorenzo (Laurentino in Latin). In antique myth the laurel was an evergreen plant sacred to Apollo, god of poetic inspiration. In Quattrocento poetry Lorenzo was evoked as the “laurel” under whom Florentine learning and culture would flourish.12 The commonplace use of the laurel/ Lorenzo pun accounts for the enigmatic presence
of bay leaves in a number of paintings commissioned in the Medici circle. Sprigs of laurel appear above idealized portraits of Lorenzo as Magus in both Gozzoli'sProcession of the Magi (Florence, Palazzo Medici. 1459) (Plate 26) and in Botticelli's Adoration of the Magi.13
In ancient Rome the laurel had been associated with imperial triumphs and this aspect of laurel symbolism was revived in Renaissance Italy in Petrarch's Coronation Ode of 1341.14 In the Augustan History the majority of the emperors are crowned with a laurel wreath (Plate 27). This is archaeologically inaccurate as many emperors actually wore radiate crowns, not laurel wreaths. They were depicted thus on ancient coins and medals well known to Renaissance artists. In the Augustan History the artist is not attempting to be historically precise but rather to honour his patron. The frequent depiction of laurel is a perfect way of making subtle references to Lorenzo and tacitly acknowledging his imperial pretensions on nearly every page of the manuscript.
Lorenzo's emblem, the broncone or the pruned laurel branch with shoots, occupies a large part of the title page's decorative border. The use of a broncone device in a book of Roman history was especially apt, for reviving and dying trees were held to portend good and bad imperial reigns.15 Again the use of the motif implies some connection between Lorenzo and the imperial past. The image of an ever rejuvenating laurel encompassed a potent symbolism well known to the educated Renaissance viewer. It was an ancient Christian symbol of resurrection.16 In Christian legend Christ's cross was said to have been made from a barren tree which mysteriously re-flowered.17 Dante secularised this Christian motif and for him the image of the barren yet fecund tree was an allegorical figure of political and cultural renewal or “renovatio”. Renaissance scholars were also aware that pagan writers like Ovid had associated evergreen trees with the return to a mythical Golden Age where wise rulership ushered in an age of peace, fecundity and eternal spring.
The Le Tems Revient motto which accompanies Lorenzo's broncone explicitly adverts to the concept of renovatio in a Medicean Golden Age. According to Pulci's Giostra poem:
Le tens revient: che puo interpretarsi,
Tornare il tempo, e'l secol rinnovarsi
In Medicean poetry and art roses were commonly associated with the motto, providing a “touchstone for a complex of imagery in the which the coming of spring was a metaphor of the ever renewing, eternal rule of the Medici”.18 In medieval Europe the season of spring was especially connected with the courtly activities of love-making and jousting. Therefore it is significant that Lorenzo first employed these devices in such a joust, where he, like all knights, championed a beautiful lady -Lucrezia Donati.19 Mitchell has spoken of,
a general European moment of revival inspired by the true Renaissance urge to recapture and restore the moral virtues of the classic past. The ancient Romans, it was believed, were the founders and exemplars of chivalry.20
the conflation of the Golden Age of Classical myth with the courtly values of the North informed the ritual culture of Florence during the early years of Lorenzo's “rule”. This chivalric world is also subtly evoked in the decoration of the Augustan History. In 1465 King Louis XI had granted the Medici the right to use the fleur-de-lys of the French royal family.21 In the Augustan History this royal lily is omnipresent. It surmounts not just the armourial shields on the title page but the golden sceptres of most of the emperors depicted in the book (Plate 25). It also appears as ornament on some of the armour worn by the emperors. Once again, the decoration subtly infers a link between the Medici patron and the accoutrements of ruler-ship — both feudal and imperial.
Much money and effort was spent on the staging of religious, civic and secular ritual in Florence and it was through the subtle manipulation of the ritual space of Florence that Lorenzo exercised control.22 Cassone paintings showing processions and jousts mutely attest to the visual splendour of renaissance pageantry. Likewise the images of the emperors in the Augustan History echo aspects of the ritual life of Quattrocento Florence. The emperors wear fantastic helmets and intricately ornamented armour. While this armour.owes little to antique Roman prototypes, it conforms with the taste for intricately and richly decorated costume displayed in many Florentine festivals.23
The illuminator seems to have taken into account Lorenzo's own dictum that the themes and subject
matter of an art work should be “in harmony with the nature of the person who is to see it”.24 The manuscript's visual emphasis on triumphant emperors, on vernal symbols, and on ornamental costume and armour accords perfectly with what we know of Lorenzo's artistic taste. His collection was full of costly and luxurious art objects, and he seems to have had a particular liking for chivalric, indeed martial themes.25 This is revealed in the following extracts from the inventory of his possessions made after his death:
A tapestry cloth to hang on the wall, 40 feet by 12 high, on it a hunt of the Duke of Burgundy …
A tapestry cloth with figures of dogs and horse, 20 feet long, 16 feet high …
In the large ground-floor bedroom called Lorenzo's Chamber, 6 framed pictures … three painted with the Rout of san Romano and one with a battle of Dragons and Lions, and one with the story of Paris.26
Lorenzo's art patronage had an undeniably political dimension, for it served to bolster the prestige of his illegitimate regime.27 Certainly the precious and rare art objects housed in Lorenzo's palace contributed to his mystique and standing among fellow citizens and foreigners alike.28 To increase this prestige Medici patronage and collecting of the arts was deliberately modelled on that practised in the courts of Northern Italy, Burgundy and France. In forming their collections the early Medici did not conform to the norms of Florentine bourgeois taste nor were they strictly governed by humanist theories of art practice which privileged the antique.
Lorenzo's tastes seem to have changed over the years, and his later architectural projects show an increasing awareness of antique treatises and humanist theories.29 In the last few years of his life Lorenzo attempted to acquire a comprehensive library of classical texts.30 However in the 1470's Lorenzo's activities as a book collector were spasmodic and his reasons for wanting a fully illustrated copy of the Augustan History in 1478 are not known. The text was quite rare in manuscript form but the Medici library already held two copies of the text written in the 1450s.31 It is possible that Lorenzo felt these were out of date and that his desire for a new manuscript of the text was prompted by the publication of the editio princeps in 1475.32 However as the actual text of the manuscript is not copied or emended in a scholarly way it seems that philological concerns were not a paramount motive for the commission.33
It would seem that Lorenzo's interest was not in the text per se but in acquiring a fully illustrated version of it. Two possible motives for such a commission can be adduced.
First the commissioning of the Augustan History followed and possibly commemorated a momentous event in Lorenzo's life. On 26 April 1478 Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano attended High Mass in the Florence Duomo, where they were set upon by assassins.34 Lorenzo survived, but his brother was stabbed to death.35 Lorenzo eschewed the light-hearted activities of his youth and turned his attention to the governance of Florence and initiated legal and judicial reforms.36 This new legislation is preserved in a presentation manuscript (Firenze. Archivio di Stato, Libro degli Otto di Guardia) bearing the Medici arms and commissioned from Mariano del Buono on 27 February 1479. Its frontispiece symbolises the justice of Medicean rule.37 Likewise Lorenzo's Augustan History with its visual allusions to rulership, renewal and the flowering of the Medici dynasty alludes to his new political concerns.
An additional motive for the commission can be surmised. Any examination of Lorenzo's patronage amply demonstrates that he had a competitive and acquisitive streak. Lorenzo may have wanted his very own replica of a famous and lavishly decorated manuscript of the text owned by the Gonaga — a magnificent Augustan History which had been illuminated for Ludovico Gonzaga in the 1450s.38 In the Gonzaga Augustan History also each biography of an emperor is prefaced by a portrait (Plate 28). However these differ from those in Lorenzo's book because they are in the main real portraits drawn from antique coins and medals of the emperors.
The Gonzaga manuscript was widely admired and its text was copied at least three times: Vatican Library, Vat. lat. 1903; Vatican Library, Ottob. 1304 and Rome, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS Vitt. EM. 1004.39 Two of these copies are also fully illustrated with imperial portraits. Now there are only four fully illustrated Renaissance manuscripts of the text which survive, three of them are closely related to the Gonzaga manuscript. Lorenzo's manuscript is the odd one out: its text is a substantially different version supplemented with later histories and its illuminations
are not archaeologically accurate. However it is possible that Lorenzo's book, while not a direct copy of the Gonzaga manuscript, was inspired by it. Lorenzo and his secretary Poliziano had dealings with members of the Gonzaga family in the 1470s. Lorenzo probably heard of the magnificent book and coveted a similar one for his own library.40
Till his death Lorenzo's treasure-filled palace remained the charismatic focus of the Florentine world. Lorenzo played out his last rituals with the same aplomb demonstrated in his youth. He died the exemplary death of a good Christian, kissing his crucifix and image of the Madonna before breathing his last.41 According to Poliziano who recorded his last words. Lorenzo's one regret was that his library remained incomplete.42 Yet fate was kinder to Lorenzo than to most Renaissance bibliophiles, for his library remains substantially intact and is today housed in the Biblioteca Laurenziana, Florence. However Lorenzo's death ushered in a period of political instability. The Medici were expelled from Florence in 1494 and their possessions, including Lorenzo's library, were confiscated by the commune.43 The books were bought by the friars of San Marco and on the reinstatement of the Medici they eventually passed into the magnificent library named for Lorenzo and designed by his protégé Michelangelo.
By what quirk of fortune then did Lorenzo's Augustan History reach the State Library of Victoria? For various reasons some of Lorenzo's manuscripts found their way into collections outside Italy. It would seem that the city and the friars only retained “literary” books suitable for a library. Therefore a number of Lorenzo's personal prayer books are now housed in other European libraries, as are some of the beautiful Books of Hours commissioned by Lorenzo as marriage gifts for his daughters.44 The Florentine commune also gave away some of the library. For example, a luxurious manuscript which had belonged to Lorenzo was presented to King Charles VIII by the city of Florence which had narrowly escaped being sacked by the French invaders in 1494.45 Appropriately enough the manuscript offered to the triumphant monarch was a richly illuminated version of Petrarch's Triumphs; it is now in the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale, Ital. 548.
It is not clear how and why the Augustan History left Florence. There are a number of possibilities. The manuscript is not mentioned in the 1495 inventory of the library made by the friars of San Marco.46 Lorenzo had been a liberal patron of learning and had lent many of his books.47 Nearly two hundred manuscripts were missing from the library at the date of inventory. The city of Florence decreed that all borrowed books must be returned and that “anyone retaining Medici codices would be fined”. Letters of demand were sent to suspected culprits but the yield was small. It is possible that the State library's manuscript is one of these overdue books.
However another scenario is more likely. On the inside of the manuscript's front cover the number 269 has been written in a sixteenth-century hand; a blurred wax seal with papal insignia also appears.48 This suggests that the manuscript was in a papal collection during the sixteenth century. Further more palle appear as heraldic devices on this crest indicating that it was still owned by a member of the Medici family. It is possible that before Lorenzo's death the manuscript had been given to either Giuliano's illegitimate son Giulio (1478–1534) who became Pope Clement VII or to Lorenzo's son Giovanni (1475–1521) who became Pope Leo X. one of whom had the manuscript in Rome. The Florentine government was unable to seize Medici assets housed outside Florence.
The manuscript disappeared for three centuries, eventually coming to light again in Lucca. In 1816 Abate L. Celotti acquired the whole collection of one Don Tomaso de Lucca which included the Augustan History. Celotti was an adventurer who took advantage of the conditions of the time to become a dealer and beneficiary of the looting of Continental collections which accompanied the Napoleonic wars.49 Celotti sold the manuscript at Sotheby's in 1825. In the catalogue of the sale it is described as beautiful and invaluable, and is attributed to Attavante.50 The ledger records that Thorpe, a bookseller, paid the large sum of £61.8.6 for the manuscript. This same transaction is described in a nineteenth-century note in another Augustan History now in the British Library.51 On its flyleaf, an anonymous bibliophile has written: “MSS of this collection very rarely occur. I saw Mr Aeber in 1825 give £42 for one bearing a date after printing in Sotheby's rooms”. The author of
the memorandum seems to have remembered the date and place of the sale but not its exact details.52
Thorpe quickly sold our Augustan History to Payne and Foss who, in 1826, re-sold it to Sir Thomas Phillipps.53 Phillipps was an eccentric and omnivorous bibliomaniac.54 He acquired thousands upon thousands of manuscripts with which he proceeded to fill his ancestral home of Middle Hall to overflowing.55 Phillipps' vast library was left to his son-in-law, Rev. John F. A. Fenwick. Idiosyncratic to the last Phillipps bequeathed the library on terms with which it was extremely difficult for any heir to comply.56 Understandably Fenwick proceeded to start selling the collection.57 The manuscript, along with thousands more, remained in the Fenwick estate until 1945, when the entire collection was bought by Lionel and Phillip Robinson.
In 1947 the State Library of Victoria purchased the manuscript. And once more the Augustan History has found a home in a great library.
Cecilia O'Brien

Plate 28. The Two Maximi. Augustan History. Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS E-111–19.f. 85.


State Library of Victoria. *f096. l/Au 4. Catalogued in K. V. Sinclair, Descriptive Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Western Manuscripts in Australia. Sydney. 1969, pp. 370–3, and M. Manion and V. Vines, Medieval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts in Australian Collections, Melbourne, 1984, pp. 89–91.


Editions are: Scriptores Historiae Augustae, ed. David Magie, Loeh Classics, London, 1921–1932, 3 vols: Eutropius, Breviarium ab Urbe Condita cum versionibus graecis Paulus Landolfique additamentis, ed. H. Drosen, Berlin, 1879: Paulus Diaconus, Historia Romana, ed. A. Crivellucci, Rome 1914. On the Augustan History as a forgery see, N. Barnes, “History and Fiction”, Chapter 2 in his The Sources of the Historia Augusta, Brussels, 1978.


For an identification of the scribe as Neri di Filippo Rinuccini (1435–1506) and a discussion of his oeuvre see: A. C. de la Mare, “New Research on Humanistic Scribes in Florence”, in A. Garzelli (ed.), Miniatura Fiorentina del Rinascimento 1440–1525, 2 vols, 1, pp. 395–592, at pp. 471–3, and 521–3.


That is by our calendar — the Florentine civic year began on 25 March.


The central shield, encircled by a laurel wreath is charged: or, six palles gules and one azure charged with three fleur-de-lys. The eight-sided shields on the left and right are charged: or, eight palles gules and one azure.


Franceso Cardini, “Le Insegne Laurenziane”, in Paola Ven-trone (ed.), Le Tems Revient 'l Tempo si Rinuova: Feste e Spettacoli nella Firenze di Lorenzo il Magnifico, Florence, 1992, pp. 55–74.


This particular issue of Hadrianic coinage was widely known in Renaissance Italy and it was used by other Florentine artists as a model: J. A. Dobrick, “Ghirlandaio and Roman Coins”, Burlington Magazine, 1981, pp. 356–7.


For example in a Josephus, Firenze, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, pl. 66.7 and a Breviary, Firenze, Museo Nazionale, ms 68.


Mirella Levi D'Ancona, Miniature e miniatori a Firenze dal XIV a XVI secolo, Florence, 1962, pp. 175–7.


These are catalogued by Garzelli. (as in n. 3), Vol. 1, pp. 187–216.


For the recent scholarship and re-creation of this event see the essays and catalogue in Le Tems Revient, (as in n. 6).


For this symbolism see: Janet Cox-Rearick, Dynasty and Destiny in Medici Art: Pontormo, Leo X, and the Two Cosimos, Princeton, 1984, pp. 18–20. Rab Hatfield, Botticelli's Uffizi “Adoration” A Study in Pictorial Content, Princeton University Press, 1976, p. 79, n. 41. Gehardt B. Ladner, “Vegetations Symbolism and the Concept of the Renaissance”, in De Artibus Opuscula Essays in honor of Erwin Panofsky, New York, 1961, pp. 303–22, 316, n. 59. Many examples of the symbolic use of the laurel and its identification with Lorenzo can be found in the exhibition catalogue, Anna Lenzuni (ed.), All'Ombra del Lauro: Documenti Librari della Cultura in Eta Laurenziana, Florence. 1992.


For the first painting see Cox-Rearick (as in n. 12) p. 19. For an extended study of the latter painting see, Hatfield (as in n. 12).


Sara Sturm-Maddox, “La pianta più gradita in cielo: Petrarch's Laurel and Jove”, in Aldo Bernardo and Anthony Pellegrini (eds.), Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio Studies in the Italian Trecento in Honor of Charles S. Singelton, New York, 1983, pp. 255–71.


For example, Suetonius in his Twelve Caesars recounts that a dying oak revived in the peaceful reign of Augustus, while a sacred laurel died under the tyranny of Nero. The motif of the Golden Bough, a tree which although lopped continued to replenish itself, was in Virgil's Aeneid (Chapter vi) inextricably linked with the legendary founding of Rome.


Hatfield (as in n. 12) p. 61 n. 116.


The following discussion is based on the detailed examination of the symbol undertaken by Ladner (as in n. 12).


Janet Cox-Rearick (as in n. 12) p. 78.


“One cannot help suspecting that love conventions and political aspiration were fused in his mind when he selected for his joust the motto ‘Le Tems revient’, the French and Chivalrous version of Dante's ‘il tempo si rinnuova’: E. H. Gombrich, “Renaissance and Golden Age”, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, XXIV, 1961, pp. 306–9.


Charles Mitchell, A Fifteenth Century Italian Plutarch, London, 1962, p. 6.


Cardini (as in n. 6) p. 58.


The seminal study of Florentine ritual and Lorenzo's part in it is Richard Trexler's Public Life in Renaissance Florence, New York, 1980.


Examples of such armour are catalogued and illustrated in Le Tems revient (as in n. 6) pp. 167–206.


Lorenzo de' Medici, Opere, ed. A. Simoni, Bari, 1939, Vol. 1, p. 68.


This aspect of Lorenzo's taste was explored in a paper delivered by Dr. Robert Gaston — “Lorenzo il Magnifico and the Visual Arts: Paradigm or Hyperbole”, The Age of Lorenzo de' Medici Colloquium, The Italian Institute of Culture, Melbourne, 23 October 1992.


Reproduced in Creighton Gilbert, Italian Art 1400–1500: Sources and Documents, New Jersey, 1980, p. 137.


E. H. Gombrich. “The Early Medici as Patrons of Art”, in his Norm and Form, London, 1968, pp. 35–67.


Trexler (as in n. 19) has argued that the Medici Palace was viewed as an Aladdin's cave which contained a magical treasure trove, p. 446.


See the urban projects discussed by Caroline Elam. “Lorenzo de' Medici and the Urban Development of Renaissance Florence”, Art History 1, 1978, pp. 43–66.


“In the years from about 1489 to 1492 Lorenzo seems to have taken a new and active interest in his library” — A. C. de la Mare (as in n. 3). See also Angela Bussi and Anna Fantoni, “La Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana Negli Ultimi Anni del Quattrocento”, in All’ Ombra del Lauro (as in n. 12) pp. 135–47. For full documentation of the library: E. Piccolomini, “Intorno alle condizioni ed alle vicende della libreria medicea privata”, Archivio Storicc italiano, s. III, XIX (1974) pp. 101–29, 254–81; XX (1984) pp. 51–94: XXI (1875) pp. 102–12, 282–96.


They are Firenze, Biblioteca Mediciae Laurenziana. pl. 63. 31 (with the arms of Piero de Cosimo de' Medici, cited in the 1456, 1464 and 1495 [Item 479] inventories) and Firenze, Bibliotecca Medicea Laurenziana, pl. 63.32. (Item 490 in the 1495 inventory published by Piccolomini (as in n. 30).


Like Lorenzo's manuscript, the editio princeps (ed. B. Accursius) also contained the works of Eutropius and Paul the Deacon.


The text of the manuscript is very corrupt. Indeed it Lorenzo had wanted a good text of Augustan History, his secretary Agnolo Poliziano who had a documented interest in this particular text would have been the obvious choice as editor. For instance, the text is cited in Poliziano's Miscellania printed in Venice in 1489. I have compared the text of this manuscript with Poliziano's autograph emendations in his own copy of the printed edition (Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale,** Inc. B Rari 91) and there appear to be no links between the manuscript's text and Poliziano's scholarly activities.


Accounts of the incident vary, they are discussed in detail in: James Draper, Bertoldo di Giovanni: Sculptor of the Medici Household, Columbia and London, 1991, pp. 86–95.


It is significant that in the present manuscript, apart from the title-page, the broncone only appears in one other place. It features as a support for the ‘V’ initial which begins the life of Marius f, 117v who was, like Giuliano, cut down in the prime of life.


Trexler, (as in n. 22) p. 441, argues that this shift in ritual culture had begun in the early seventies after Lorenzo's marriage.


Andrew Butterfield, “Verrochio's Christ and St Thomas: Chronology, Iconography and Political Context”, Burlington Magazine, April 1992, pp. 220–33, at p. 232.


The manuscript is now, Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS E III. It was damaged in the tragic fire of 1904, and has been attributed to Pisanello. Catalogued and described in Mostra dei Codici Gonzageschi: La Biblioteca dei Gonzaga da Luigi ad Isabella, Mantua. 1966, p. 78: B. Degenhart, “Ludovico II Gonzaga in einer Miniatur Pisanello's”, Pantheon, XXX, 1972, pp. 193–210 and in G. Paccagnini, Pisanello, Phaidon, 1973, pp. 221–2, and pp. 250–1.


Degenhart (as in n. 38) reproduces a letter in which Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga praises the beauty of its illuminations and asks for a loan of the manuscript in order to have it copied.


For Lorenzo's and Poliziano's dealings with Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga: D. S. Chambers, A Renaissance Cardinal and his Worldly Goods: The Will and Inventory of Francesco Gonzaga (1444–1483), Warburg Institute, p.71–4.


Trexler (as in n. 22) p. 459.


Poliziano cited by A. C. de la Mare (as in n. 3) p. 470.


This is thoroughly documented in Piccolomini (as in n. 30).


These are listed in A. C. del Mare(as in n. 3) p. 452. Some are discussed by Anna Lenzuni, “Tre Libri D'Ore per le Figlie di Lorenzo”, in All'Ombra del Lauro, pp. 165–8.


Marie Pierre Laffitte, “II Codice Italiano 548 della Biblioteca Nazionale di Parigi”, in All'Ombra del Lauro, pp. 161–5.


Published by Piccolomini (as in n. 30).


The following account is based on the synopsis of the Piccolomini's information (as in n. 30) found in Dorothy M. Robothan, “Libraries of the Italian Renaissance”, in J. Thompson (ed.), The Medieval Library, New York, 1957, pp. 509–88, at pp. 548–52.


A shield with mantel surmounted by a crown and blazoned quarterly and 4 with six palle, 2 and 3 per pale a plain cross and a two-headed splayed eagle, over alla shield per pale, the sinister also pale, the dexter indistinct, surmounted by a papal tiara and ombrellino.


J. J. G. Alexander, Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscript Cuttings, London, 1980, pp. 9–10.


Sotheby & Company, Catalogue of Sale, 26 July 1825, lot No. 1671, p. 69.


British Library. Add. MS 12015.


The State Library manuscript is the only Augustan History which actually bears a date after 1475 and certainly the only one to have changed hands in England at the time.


A. N. L. Munby, Phillipps Studies, Cambridge, 1951–60, Vol. 3, Appendix A. p. 149.


For his activities see, Frank Davies, Victorian Patrons of the Arts London, 1963 and Alan G. Thomas, Great Books and Book Collectors, London, 1975, pp. 261–5.


Even so Phillipps appreciated the value of the Augustan History, and inside the manuscript's front cover he noted that the manuscript bore the Medici arms and that “the paintings are supposed to be done by Julio Clovio”. The work of this sixteenth-century mannerist illuminator and friend of Michelangelo was highly regarded at the time.


These included the stipulation that no Roman Catholic “shall ever be admitted to the inspection of my library of books and manuscripts” and the complete lack of any provision capital or income for maintenance of the collection. Thomas (as in n. 54) p. 264.


The fact that Sotheby's Phillipps' sales began in 1886 and continued annually for a century is one measure of the immense scale of Phillipps' library.