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Canzoniere and Trionfi


Petrarch; author
Salla, Antonio da; scribe
; production


illuminated manuscript




circa 1465 circa 1470
with sixteenth-century additions


fifteenth-century, third quarter


PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i paper flyleaf + 185 fols. (fol. 2 a later insertion) + i paper flyleaf, 240 x 150 mm (175 x 80 mm), 30 verse lines, ruled in hard point, vertical catchwords

BINDING: Eighteenth century, gold-tooled brown leather over wooden boards, with carta bassanese marbled endpapers, marbled edges.

fols. 3r-98v Petrarch, Canzoniere, 1-263
fol. 99r-99v Nota de Laura
fol. 99v Petrarch, Epistola to Giacomo da Colonna (Rerum familiarum, II, 9)
fol. 99v Petrarch, Epistole metrice 7
fols. 100v-140v Petrarch, Canzoniere, 264-366 with omissions
fols. 142r-178r Petrarch, Trionfi (Mann 1975, 165)
fols. 179r-185v Alphabetical index of first lines to the Canzoniere

DECORATION: Double-page architectural frontispiece (fols. 1v-2r) in the form of two steles, each on a gold plinth flanked on the left by an urn and on the right by a swan, with text FRANCISCI PETRARCAE POETAE CLARISS. VULGARIA FELICITER INCIPIUNT. DD. (fol. 1v) and SONETTI, & CANZONI DI Messer. FRANCESCHO PETRARCHA .DD. (fol. 2r), a full-page bust-length author portrait in an architectural frame on a gold ground housed in an arched frame with legend FRAN: PET: EFFIG: beneath (fol. 2r).

ORNAMENATION: Three faceted initials [6-9 ll.] in liquid gold and red on solid grounds of green or dark grey with foliate interlace in blue and gold or blue and red at the start of the Canzoniere and the Trionfi; plain initials [2 ll.] in blue, pink, green and purple for each canzoniere up to fol. 11v, thereafter blue only; rubrics in epigraphic capitals in gold, blue, pink, green and purple; scrolling blue, green and pink linefiller and partial border on fol. 1r.

Place (legacy):

Italy, production, region
Veneto, place


illumination; whole


parchment; support
gold; medium




presented; 1892; Sanders, Samuel


Possibly owned by Count Antoine Apponyi (d. 1817) of Vienna; to his son, Count Louis Apponyi of Nagy Appony, Hungary; his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 10-15 November 1892, lot 928; bought by Samuel Sanders (1837-1894); presented by him to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1892.


Sanders, Samuel; previous owner
Apponyi of Nagy Appony, Count Louis; previous owner
Apponyi, Count Antoine; previous owner


Alfred Fairbank identified the scribe of this manuscript as Antonio Tophio (Fairbank 1970, 162, 164; Fairbank 1971, 8), but Laura Nuvoloni’s research has demonstrated that the volume was copied by the Paduan Antonio da Salla (Nuvoloni 2008, 174, 177-78, 184 n. 40; de la Mare and Nuvoloni 2009, 376). In terms of layout and the selection of texts, the manuscript is modelled on a Petrarch copied by Bartolomeo Sanvito in Padua c.1460 (Rome, Biblioteca Casanantense, MS 924; de la Mare and Nuvoloni 2009, Addendum). The faceted initials with foliate interlace used to mark the major divisions in this manuscript are very close to those in the magnificent Strabo illuminated, probably by Giovanni Bellini, in 1458-1459 (Albi, Bibl. mun. MS 77; London and New York 1994-1995, no. 29; Padua 2006-2007, 66, fig. 7), and also used in Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 188, item 2, made in Venice in 1465-1466. Fairbank (1970, 162) connected the floral line-filler and border to manuscripts copied by Felice Feliciano (1433-1479), who was central to the revival of interest in classical epigraphy in the Veneto in the 1460s, and the rubrics here are written in the epigraphic initials that were fundamental to the classicizing ornamental vocabulary of humanistic manuscripts in the second half of the fifteenth century (Alexander 1988). The architectural frontispieces and an author-portrait were added, probably in the second half of the sixteenth century, as suggested by Jonathan Alexander (written communication kept on file), on the verso of a singleton (now fol. 2) and on both sides of the first folio of the original first gathering. They are part of a long tradition of illustrating the poet laureate (Trapp 1992-1993, 22-24).


secundo folio; fol. 4r; Quel chen finita providenza


Splendours of Italian Illumination: Romanesque - Gothic - Renaissance. 1989 - 1990
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Notes: unpublished handlist of exhibition held in Adeane gallery
Catalogue number: 54


James, Montague Rhodes, Dr. 1895. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the Fitzwilliam Museum.Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Pressp. 377-78

Mann, N.. 1975. Petrarch Manuscripts in the British Isles.Padua: p. 164-66

Fairbank, A.. Rhodes, D. E.. 1970. Antonio Tophio and Bartolomeo Sanvito.Mainz:
Source Title: Essays in Honour of Victor Scholderer(1970) : 159-64
p. 162, 164

Fairbank, A.. 1971. Sanvito and Tophio.
Source Title: Journal of the Society for Italic Handwriting 68 (1971) : 7-9
p. 8

de la Mare, A. C.. Nuvoloni, L. et al. 2009. Bartolomeo Sanvito: The Life and Work of a Renaissance Scribe..Paris:
Source Title: The Handwriting of the Italian Humanists II ()
p. 376

Nuvoloni, L.. Marchi, A. de. 2008. Pier Antonio Sallando o "il più excellente scriptore credo habia il mondo".Modena:
Source Title: Il libro d'Ore Durazzo. Volume di commento() : 145-88

pp. 174, 177-8, 184 n. 40


Object Number: MS 170
(Manuscripts and Printed Books)
(record id: 176670; input: 2010-05-28; modified: 2012-08-28)


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