Letterpress & Binding Studio

Francesco Griffo da Bologna – Fragments & Glimpses

The life and work of the man who cut types for Aldus Manutius
(Heavenly Monkey 2020)

The first half of this book is a biography of Griffo’s life and work, assembled from quotations taken from over four dozen sources spanning the 15th to 20th centuries, structured both thematically (i.e. The Roman Types, The Greek Types, After Aldus) and chronologically.

The second half contains translations of four 19th century texts at the heart of Griffo’s rediscovery, after being lost to history and then mis-identified as the artist Francesco Raibolini. These translations, by Emma Mandley, were commissioned by HM, and we believe it is the first time these texts have been published in English. They include the New Appendix added to Antonio Panizzi’s second (1873) edition of his pamphlet Chi era Francesco da Bologna?; excerpts from Giacomo Manzoni’s introduction in Studii di bibliografia analitica (1882); Adamo Rossi’s “The Last Word on the Question of Francesco da Bologna's Surname;” and an excerpt from Emilio Orioli’s “Contribution to the History of Printing in Bologna” (1899).

At the center of the book is an original leaf from Aldus’s 1502 edition of Heroidvm. A broken copy of that volume, the second of three Aldus published collecting Ovid’s works, provided enough leaves for an edition of 50 numbered (and eight hors commerce) copies, issued in three states:

Five copies (1 – 5) in a full morocco Aldine-style binding, tooled in gilt and blind, by Natasha Herman at her Redbone Bindery in the Netherlands. These copies include, as a frontis, a manuscript page with Francesco’s preface from his Petrarch of 1516, the Italian text written in an italic hand by calligrapher Martin Jackson; marginal annotations (unique to each copy) added by Barbara Hodgson; and proofs on F.J. Head handmade paper of the book’s illustrations.

Fifteen copies (6 – 20) bound by Claudia Cohen in limp vellum, with a matching box. These copies include proofs of the book’s illustrations printed on F.J. Head paper.

Thirty copies (21 – 50) sewn and cased at HM in quarter cloth with painted paper over boards.

Fragments & Glimpses (6 x 9 inches, 114 pp.) is set in roman and italic Bembo, with initial letters adapted from the ones attributed to Griffo in Paulus de Middelburgh’s Paulina de recta Paschae (1512). Copies bound by Natasha Herman were printed on dampened Golden Hind, an English laid paper made in the 1950s; the rest of the edition was printed on dampened Arches wove paper.

Francesco Griffo

Francesco Griffo

Francesco Griffo

Francesco Griffo