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Adorned by Picart

TELLES DA SILVA, Manuel. POEMATUM LIBER PRIMUS, et epigrammatum centuria prima.... Juxtà Editionum Ulyssiponensem. Hagae-Comitum: Apud Adrianum Moetjens, MDCCXXIII [1723]. £1350

4to, pp. [iv], 47, [1] blank, [23], [1] blank; title printed in red and black, with engraved vignette, text entirely within decorative border, each poem with engraved initial, two headpieces and six tailpieces engraved by Bernard Picart; repaired paper flaw to head of K1, not affecting text and a few other small marginal restorations; otherwise clean and fresh; ownership signature of José Ignacio da St Ferra(ra?) Gaio in a contemporary hand on title-page; in nineteenth-century burgundy calf, boards bordered in gilt, spine with raised bands ruled and lettered in gilt; some light wear and rubbing to extremities, but a sound copy with later book-plate of Ruben J. Dussaut on front paste-down.

The only Netherlands printing, a year after the Lisbon first and here embellished with engraved initials, head-, and tailpieces by Bernard Picart, of this collection of Latin verses by the Portuguese nobleman Emmanuel Telles da Silva (1682-1736).

The collection is dedicated to José, Prince of Portugal (later José I, 1714-1777), and contains one hundred short poems, some just of two lines, on topics ranging from advice to the poet’s son on the usefulness of studying geography to the fourth birthday of the dedicatee; there are verses in praise of the Virgin Mary and on Eve and the Serpent, and a poem addressed to Nuno da Silva Teles, who had recently laid the foundation stone of the new library (the Joanina Library) at the University of Coimbra.

The first edition of these poems appeared in Lisbon the previous year, but the present printing, elaborately bordered and with Picart’s engravings and initials, is a much more luxurious production. Picart (1673-1733) had moved to Amsterdam in 1711 after a year in the Hague. Telles da Silva was the first secretary of the Academia Real da História Portuguesa, founded by João V in 1720, and was noted for his expertise in both mathematics and horsemanship. His history of the Academia Real was published in Lisbon in 1727.

Outside Continental Europe, OCLC records six copies, at the Library of Congress, Harvard, John Carter Brown, BL, National Library of Scotland, and Aberdeen; the Lisbon edition of 1722 not recorded by OCLC.

[ref: 2185 ]

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