CASTIGLIONE, Baldassare. ~ Il Cortegiano, or the Courtier: written by Conte Baldassar Castiglione. And a new Version of the same into English. Together with several of his celebrated Pieces, as well Latin as Italian, both in Prose and Verse. To which is prefix’d, the Life of the Author. By A. P. Castiglione, of the same Family. London: W. Bowyer, for the editor, 1727.
4to (237 × 190 mm), , 480, 473-508, plus engraved portrait. Contemporary panelled calf, expertly rebacked to style. A very good copy.
First edition of this parallel text edition, which is the third edition in English, after Hoby’s translation of 1561 and Samber’s of 1724. For a translator of such a substantial text, very little attention has been paid to the identity of ‘A.P. Castiglione’ and not much is known about him. He appears to have been a political refugee and a language tutor, to judge by the wording of his dedication to the King: ‘Your Majesty’s happy Realm, which has long been an Asylum to the distressed in every Nation, will now become so much their Countrey, that the Peace they enjoy in it, can alone incline them to think it not so. When your gracious Intention to establish Professors of the Modern Languages was made public I embrac’d with Pleasure the first Opportunity for expressing my Gratitude towards a generous People, among whom, as at first I was brought by Conscience, I am likely ever to remain by Inclination.’
He evidently enjoyed the patronage of Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, who is thanked in ‘To the Reader’ and who appears among the subscribers (taking 12 copies). The fine engraved portrait of Castiglione in his edition is by George Vertue after the portrait in the Louvre by Raphael. The work concludes with a fine woodcut tailpiece with a medallion portrait., perhaps cut especially for this edition.