The second English edition (1680) of The Works of the Famous Nicholas Machiavel, this copy from the library of Sir John Leveson-Gower of Trentham in Stafford Shire Baronet. Complicated Leveson-Gower arms, tooled in blind, on the front board, with the Order of the Garter circumscribing them.
About the Author's Work -
Niccolo Machiavelli was an Italian diplomat, author, philosopher and historian who lived during the Renaissance. He is best known for his political treatise The Prince (Il Principe), written around 1513 but not published until 1532. He has often been called the father of modern political philosophy and political science.
For many years he served as a senior official in the Florentine Republic with responsibilities in diplomatic and military affairs. He wrote comedies, carnival songs, and poetry. His personal correspondence is also important to historians and scholars of Italian correspondence. He worked as secretary to the Second Chancery of the Republic of Florence from 1498 to 1512, when the Medici were out of power.
After his death Machiavelli's name came to evoke unscrupulous acts of the sort he advised most famously in his work, The Prince. He claimed that his experience and reading of history showed him that politics have always been played with deception, treachery, and crime. He also notably said that a ruler who is establishing a kingdom or a republic, and is criticized for his deeds, including violence, should be excused when the intention and the result are beneficial to him. Machiavelli's Prince has been surrounded by controversy since its release. Some consider it to be a straightforward description of political reality. Others view the Prince as a manual, teaching would-be tyrants how they should seize and maintain power.
This edition of Machiavelli's "Works" includes the "letter to Zanobius Buondelmontius", what was by Neville, the translator, not Machiavelli.
1. The history of Florence
2. The Prince
3. The original of the Guelf and Ghibilin factions
4. The life of Castruccio Castracani
5. The Murther of Vitelli, &c. by Duke Valentino
6. The state of France
7. The state of Germany
8. The discourses on Titus Livius
9. The art of war
10. The marriage of Belphegor; a novel
11. Nicholas Machiavel's Letter in vindication of himself and his writings
Blind stamped on the front board is the arms of George Granville Leveson-Gower, 1st Duke of Sutherland. You can read a lengthy breakdown of these arms on the University of Toronto armorial bindings website, this being stamp 4. The University associates many known books with this stamp, assuredly Leveson-Gower had an impressive library.
Leveson-Gower's bookplate also adorns the pastedown.
John Leveson-Gower, 1st Earl Gower PC (1694 –1754), was an English Tory politician and peer who twice served as Lord Privy Seal from 1742 to 1743 and 1744 to 1754. Leveson-Gower is best known for his political career in the British Parliament, where he sat in the House of Lords as a leading member of the Tory Party before defecting to serve in various Whig-dominated government ministries until his death.
In consideration, this is a rather notable book for a leading (and sometimes controversial) 18th century English politician to hold in his library.
Bibliographic Details -
English Short Title Catalogue number R13145.
Wing (2nd ed.), M129
OCLC Worldcat catalogue number 83749111.
Physical Attributes -
Measures approx. 32 x 20 x 4 cm. Leather binding, front board with blind stamped armorial. Spine with six raised bands; six compartments with beautiful gilt flowering vine tooling and one compartment with Machiavel's Works in gilt on red morocco. Faded marbled edges.
Fun thing, front blank binder's endpaper has a very pronounced jester watermark.
The History of Florence, The Prince, The Discourses, and The Art of War have separate title pages.
Pages - xxiv, 528, (15 - unnumbered at end, last page blank)
263 misnumbered 256.
Collation - Title page leaf, Treatises leaf, Title page leaf, Aa3, b2, c2, d2, B-Z4, Aa2, Bb2, Cc-Zz4, Aaa4-Yyy4, *4, **4
Kkk4 mis-signed Kkk2
Bizarre signatures on preliminary leaves correlates to library catalogue entries of xxiv preliminary leaves. Page 1 begins at leaf signed B1.
See pictures. Old repair to front joint with brown cloth. Rear joint/hinge cracked, no repair, board held on by bands. 18th century leather very worn, with exposed edges and corners. Leather chipped at head and foot of spine. No headband. Some fading of gilt to spine. Marbling to text block edges faded.
Ex libris plate on pastedown, old shelfmarks written on endpaper "B 1. L", "4h", "203". Paper toned throughout, more towards edges. Occasional rust spot, dog-eared corner, thumb, candle ember spot, etc. 2" separation at gutter of front endpaper. Occasional chipping to page edge. Occasional moisture mark right at bottom corner (in margin). Wide margins. A little more toning/foxing towards end. Rear flyleaf endpaper largely disconnected at gutter, and with some inkspots on it.
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