Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut.89 sup.117

Treatise on the Art of Silk Facsimile Edition

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Since the Middle Ages the silk craft had given renown to Florence among merchants all over the world then known. This caused a proliferation, particularly during the fifteenth century, of treatises, written in polished and lively style, often embellished with magnificent illustrations, shedding light on every aspect of this fascinating artistic practice.

The codex is preserved in Florence's Laurentian Library and contains exquisitely accurate reproductions of the 59 leaves of a richly decorated manuscript dated February 1487, once the property of Emperor Francis III, who donated it to the prestigious Florentine library in 1755. The water-colour illustrations provide charming vignettes of each phase of silk manufacture, following the text step by step. This ends with an interesting book of accounts with marginal sketches showing merchants and book-keepers.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Treatise on the Art of Silk": Trattato dell'arte della seta e L'arte della seta in Firenze facsimile edition, published by Giunti Editore, 1995

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Trattato dell'arte della seta e L'arte della seta in Firenze

Florence: Giunti Editore, 1995

  • Commentary (Italian)
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Treatise on the Art of Silk: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

The facsimile edition includes a famous, antique illustrated codex, and the anastatic edition, put into type for the first time in Florence in 1868 by Barbera, of another fifteenth-century treatise on a parallel subject.

The small volume of 1868 on the other hand is the reproduction of another fifteenth-century Florentine treatise on the subject of silk craft (Riccardi codex 2580) that was publicized and annotated by the learned Girolamo Gargiolli who, on sending it to press for the first time in about 1868, endowed it with a documentary appendix, a glossary and a useful index of special words and expressions.

A box (size 235 x 325 mm, also available with silk-binding) contains the two volumes.

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