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    Taddeo Adimari and Bernardo del Serra. [Vita di sam [sic] Giovanni Gualberto]. [with:] Compendio Delli Abbati... Venice: 1510-[1511].

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    Taddeo Adimari and Bernardo del Serra (Monaco di Vallombrosa). [Vita di sam [sic] Giovanni Gualberto glorioso confessore et institutore del ordine di Valeombrosa]. [bound with:] del Serra. Compendio Delli Abbati Generali di Valembrosa. Venice: Luc Antonio Giunta, 1510-[1511], 6 March and 10 September.

    First Editions. Two volumes in one. Quarto, 216 x 155mm. Printed on Vellum. [Lacks 1-3: title page register & 1st leaf of preface] 4, A1-3 [lacks A4&5], A6-8, B8, [lacks C1] C2-8, D8, E4; AA-BB8, [lacks CC1] CC2-3 [lacks last leaf CC4]. All missing leaves are replaced with vellum blanks. [4], 1-3, 6-16, 18-35, [1 blank]; 1-16, 18-19 folios. Early nineteenth-century English romantic binding, blue morocco gilt, sides decorated with a border of leafy scrolls, spine gilt in compartments, gilt edges. Some edge rubbing; a few small wormholes (some repaired) in lower margin of first and last few leaves, some light soiling in margins, stain in D1 (first work), contemporary repair to margin of B4 before printing. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.

    PROVENANCE: Earl of Powis, signature inside upper cover. Pencil note "bought Harlech." 19th c. description on first vellum blank including the note that a copy sold in the sale of Sir Mark Sykes's library for £24 [1824. about £1800 today]

    The first work is a life of St John Gualbert who founded the Vallombrosan Order, based on the Benedictine rule but with a greater emphasis on contemplation, in about 1036. The order underwent various reforms over the centuries, and for a time counted amongst its novices Galileo. It was eventally suppressed in 1866.

    The second work, a compendium of the abbots general of the same order, was issued with the first work and thus has been incorrectly ascribed to Adimari. The order's woodcut device on the title-page was originally used in a Vallombrosan missal of 1503.

    Camerini assets that the Adimari volume is 1511 rather than the 1510 date in the colophon.

    "St. John Gualbert, son of the noble Florentine Gualbert Visdomini, was born in 985 (or 995), and died at Passignano, 12 July, 1073, on which day his feast is kept; he was canonized in 1193... John Gualbert became a Benedictine at San Miniato, but left that monastery to lead a more perfect life. His attraction was for the cenobitic not eremitic life, so after staying for some time with the monks at Camaldoli, he settled at Vallombrosa, where he founded his monastery...The holy lives of the first monks at Vallombrosa attracted considerable attention and brought many requests for new foundations, but there were few postulants, since few could endure the extraordinary austerity of the life...After the founder's death the order spread rapidly... St. John adopted the Rule of St. Benedict but added greatly to its austerity and penitential character. His idea was to unite the ascetic advantages of the eremitic life to a life in community, while avoiding the dangers of the former. Severe scourging was inflicted for any breach of rule, silence was perpetual, poverty most severely enforced. The rule of enclosure was so strict that the monks might not go out even on an errand of mercy. The main point of divergence lay in the prohibition of the manual work, which is prescribed by St. Benedict. St. John's choir monks were to be pure contemplatives and to this end he introduced the system of lay-brothers who were to attend to the secular business. He was among the first to systematize this institution, and it is probable that it was largely popularized by the Vallumbrosans. The term conversi (lay brothers) occurs for the first time in Abbot Andrew of Strumi's Life of St. John, written at the beginning of the twelfth century. The Vallumbrosans do not, strictly speaking, form a separate order, but a Benedictine congregation, though they are not united to the confederated congregations of the Black Monks." [Catholic Ency.] 

    EDIT 267. Camerini, Giunta Venezia, Vol.1: 140 & 145. Bandini I, xviii. Sander 23. Essling 1670 & 1683. Van Praet, VŽlins du Roi, v, 26 & 39. Adams A149 & B735.Alston, Books on Vellum in the BL, 28 [only Bernardo.] 

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