[BODONI]. Pel solenne battesimo di S.A.R. Ludovico Principe primogenito di Parma tenuto al sacro fonte da Sua Maestà Cristianissima e dalla Reale Principessa delle Austrie. Iscrizioni esotiche a caratteri novellamente incisi e fusi

Parma, regia stamperia., 1774

Quarto (290 x 190 mm.), [2], 50 pages. A very fine copy in orange boards

Bodoni’s first attempt to display his exotic characters. ‘The Duchess had given birth to a son, Ludovico, in July 1773, an event that offered Bodoni the perfect opportunity to create a gorgeous presentation book for the baby’s baptism, Pel solenne battesimo di S.A.R. Ludovico Principe primogenito di Parma … (published on 18 April 1774). In it he displayed, in quarto, twenty of his newly cut exotic faces, and confirmed his position as a frontrunner among European typographers. At the same time, it gave him an opportunity to show his gratitude for his education at the Propaganda Fide and to celebrate the memory of Cardinale Spinelli [Prefetto della Congregazione di Propaganda Fide when Bodoni was in Rome]. As usual, he had fun congratulating himself, even while thanking others. He wrote in his introduction: “Having exposed to the public my specimen of Latin type, adorned with as many unusual decorations and adornments as lovers of perfect printing could possibly desire, I decided to make punches and matrices for 20 exotic typefaces and to cast them with the same accuracy … To bring my enterprise to its desired end, I did not have to beg for help from abroad … everything was provided for me by the munificence of his Royal Highness [the duke of Parma], who can be justly called the father of letters. The sumptuousness of his library … has provided me with reliable examples from which to draw and then to cut and to cast so many different faces.” Finally, with a rare dose of modesty, he launched himself into paroxysms of praise for the Propaganda Fide and Cardinale Spinelli: “… there I learned what little I know; there were born in me the first ideas to cut and to cast; there rose up in me fondness for this kind of types, and this kind of study, which encouraged me to undertake the most difficult designs, and to prevail with strength over all the most serious challenges. I do not believe I am able to show myself more grateful for the kindness received than to record it here, in the face of the public.” (V. Lester, Giambattista Bodoni, his life and his world. Boston, 2015, pp. 90-91).

Brooks 50.

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