09 March, 2009

The Trieste leaf: a Bodoni forgery?

Last edited 7 August 2010

This leaf is from the facsimile edition of Giambattista Bodoni’s first comprehensive specimen of his own types, his Manuale tipografico dated 1788, printed by Giovanni Mardersteig at the Officina Bodoni, Verona, in 1968.

The original work, which was printed in several formats, is one of the rarest of the Bodoni specimens, and its production was the outcome of some years of activity during which Bodoni cut many new types, of which he printed specimen pages with different typographical treatments. It appears, moreover, to have been produced in two parts, and Bodoni’s close confidant in Rome, José Nicolás de Azara, who acknowledged the receipt of leaves 1 to 50 in January 1788, complained two years later that he had still not had the rest of the specimen (A. Ciavarella, ed. De Azara–Bodoni, Parma: Museo Bodoniano, 1979).

The types that are shown in Bodoni’s early specimens have never been examined systematically, which is something that needs to be done, since many of them were not included in the more formal specimens. And although the inventory of his materials drawn up in 1843 includes an extensive list of ‘Punzoni e matrici de’ primi lavori i quali facevano parte del Manuale del 1788, molti dei quali sono servibili’ (punches and matrices of the early works that appear in the Manuale of 1788, many of which are usable), it is not known for certain whether all of them survive among the collections at Parma. There are collections of these early leaves in several places, and there is a summary of them in the list of Italian type specimens that was published in La Bibliofilía in 2000. (For the reference, see Sources, below.)

This proof for one of these trial leaves, annotated by Bodoni himself, is from a volume that was in the collection of the Marchese Saporiti della Sforzesca, at the sale of which in London in 1886 William Blades and Talbot Baines Reed bought many items that are now in the St Bride Library.

The texts used for all these specimens are short descriptions of cities. Some of the earlier examples include the names of foreign cities – Leipzig, Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Madrid – as well as Italian ones. But the cities that are named on the leaves of the Manuale tipografico dated 1788 are all Italian, and they provided an identity for each type and its punches and matrices when several designs were made for the same body. Roman and italic types in the smaller sizes are shown on the same leaf, but after leaf 50 the roman is shown on one leaf, with the text in Italian, and the italic, with the text in French, is on another leaf, bearing the same number but in roman numerals. Three types appear in two states, one later in style than the other, and Mardersteig includes examples of these in his facsimile.

Here, below, is a leaf showing a type for the body of Canoncino (about 28 points) with a text describing Crema, a town near Milan which at this date formed a detached part of the Venetian Republic. And below it is the leaf numbered 72 in the Manuale tipografico, showing not only a revised state of the type, but a setting in which the long s has been discarded. (But note that this is not the type that bears the name of Crema in the Manuale tipografico of 1818, which is a very different design.)

The specimen begins with a narrative of the history of Parma, showing the tiny size that Bodoni had called Parigina but renamed at about this date as Parmigianina. It ends with an example of the largest size, Papale, a leaf numbered 100, which has the text for Saluzzo in Piemonte, Bodoni’s birthplace: Saluzzo mia amata patria (Saluzzo, my beloved home). This image is from the second half of the Manuale tipografico on vellum in the St Bride Library.

Leaf 71, which is shown at the head of this post, is missing from all known copies of the Manuale, but it is present in Mardersteig’s facsimile. So how was it possible for him to include it?

As far as we know the leaf that Mardersteig reproduced was first described and illustrated in a work by Giampiero Giani, Catalogo delle autentiche edizioni Bodoniane (Milan, 1948), published under the imprint of Edizioni la Conchiglia. Giani had produced a brief monograph on Bodoni in 1946, Saggio di bibliografia bodoniana, and he published some works on contemporary painting during the same decade. His book of 1948 lists a number of rare items printed by Bodoni, including what he describes as a proof for this leaf.

Giani wrote that he had found it in a copy of the Manuale tipografico of 1788 which was annotated in Bodoni’s own hand. The absence of the leaf from the published specimen, he explains, was accounted for by the wording of its text:

‘Trieste, in the age of Augustus, with Venice and Istria, made up the tenth region of the [Roman] Empire. In 1719 Carlo VI declared this beautiful and ancient Italian city of ours a free port.’

A porto franco or free port was one that was free of many of the taxes and duties that were commonly levied. ‘Carlo VI’ was Karl VI, the Hapsburg Emperor in Vienna, and the father of Maria-Teresa (died 1780), who followed his initiative in developing the city as Austria’s major mercantile seaport, a role that it would keep, with a brief interlude in the hands of Napoleonic France, until 1920. Although Italians continued to form a large proportion of its population, Trieste had opted for Hapsburg protection in the 13th century in order to escape domination by the Venetian Republic, which did acquire a substantial part of the peninsula of Istria, just to the south. The city was assigned to Italy after the First World War, but at the end of the Second it was claimed by Yugoslavia, and fierce disputes continued for many years. Trieste did not become an internationally recognized part of modern Italy until 1975.

Giani suggested that that the term ‘Italian’, implying a unifying identity, was potentially a politically charged one in the separate states that made up the peninsula, in many of which France, Spain and Austria, not to mention the Papal authorities, had an interest. He remarked that Ferdinando, Duke of Parma (whose consort was one of the daughters of Maria Teresa) was especially unlikely to have welcomed the suggestion that Trieste was an Italian city. This term, said Giani, explained the suppression of the leaf. He cited a passage by Bodoni which appears to express love of his Italian identity and his pride in having done something to restore, against ‘foreign’ competition, the almost abandoned honour of Italian typography. (The passage, of which the source was not given, had been quoted in the biography of Bodoni by Piero Trevisani published in 1940.) Giani concluded that the manner in which Bodoni issued the specimen, with its pagination jumping conspicuously from leaf 70 to 72, was intended as his protest against a veto prohibiting the inclusion of the Trieste leaf.

When Mardersteig reproduced the Trieste leaf in his facsimile, it was in the possession of the Biblioteca Cantonale in Lugano, in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino in Switzerland. In 1976, when its director Adriana Ramelli described the treasures of the library, which in 1945 had acquired the major Bodoni collection assembled many years earlier by Richard Hadl, this single leaf was the item that she counted among the most notable:

‘We are proud to possess this courageous declaration by Bodoni, the servant of princes who was obliged always to be respectful and obedient, of his Italian identity. Our Bodoni collection has many fine folio volumes, but the Trieste Leaf (la Carta di Trieste) is the most precious item we have, not only because of its absolute rarity, but because his voice – silenced for political reasons – is kept alive in this unique document that is jealously preserved in the library of the Italian part of Switzerland.’

The pride is sincere and eloquently expressed. But it was misplaced. The leaf was not printed by Bodoni. It is set in a type designed and made in the 20th century, the ‘Bodoni’ of the American Type Founders Company, of 1911, based indeed on late types made by Bodoni but redrawn for making with the pantographic matrix-cutting machine of L. B. Benton and realised as a design by his son Morris Fuller Benton. It is one of the first revivals of a historical model by one of the major ‘type directors’ of the 20th century.

The version of the 24-point type that was used on the sheet was probably the ‘Giambattista Bodoni’ of the Società Augusta of Turin (a typefoundry soon to become merged with the Società Nebiolo), who first made the type under licence from ATF in 1913. It appears in many of the publications produced in 1913 to mark the centenary of the death of Bodoni, including the monograph L’arte di G. B. Bodoni, by Raffaello Bertieri, and it was used by the trade journal Il Risorgimento grafico throughout the year.

Giovanni Mardersteig evidently accepted the ‘Trieste leaf’ as wholly authentic. Having presumably acquired a photograph from Lugano, he prepared it for publication in his facsimile.

The quality of the impression in the original being very uneven, Mardersteig produced an image that was suitable for reproduction by retouching a film positive, to an extent that involved redrawing some of the detail of the original. The image above is from an article by Vanni Scheiwiller in the volume published to accompany an exhibition in Verona, Giovanni Mardersteig: stampatore, editore, umanista (Verona: Edizioni Valdonega, 1989). Moreover, since the original leaf lacked a leaf number within the characteristic frame that is on the others (a motif often used by Bodoni, based on the tabula ansata that is the form of many small Roman inscriptions), he made one up for leaf 71 and added it to the page to make it uniform with the others, as he freely admits in his introduction.

Thus far, but no further, Mardersteig can be held responsible for some slight complicity in what one can only describe as a 20th-century forgery. Although he ‘improved’ the original image in a manner that later makers of facsimiles might not have followed, he gave its source and stated openly what he had done to it. He clearly accepted the genuineness of the ‘proof’ itself in perfect good faith, as did Adriana Ramelli and the authorities of the Biblioteca Cantonale. But there are more questions to be asked about the role of Giani. He said little about the annotated copy of the Manuale in which he ‘found’ the leaf. He quoted from a confidential letter of 1790 written by one Mazza, which implied that the national sentiment that pervades the whole work (as demonstrated by the use of texts that list only Italian cities) did Bodoni no favours at the court of Ferdinando, whose consort, Maria Amalia, as noted above, was a daughter of Maria Teresa of Austria. The writer of the letter was presumably Andrea Mazza, who was briefly director of the Biblioteca Palatina in Parma during the temporary eclipse of its founder, Paciaudi, as a consequence of the dismissal and disgrace of the prime minister, Guillaume Du Tillot (an act in which Maria Amalia is believed to have had a part), and he was likely to be no friend to other protegés of Du Tillot’s like Bodoni. Giani gave no precise location for the letter, writing only that it was ‘in a private collection in Milan.’

Giani’s lack of frankness about his sources did not impress the distinguished scholar Sergio Samek Ludovici when he wrote his own account in 1964 – one of the few that are of lasting value – of the type specimens of Bodoni (‘I Manuali Tipografici di G. B. Bodoni’). But Samek Ludovici voiced no doubts concerning the genuineness of the Trieste leaf. Indeed he endorsed it and, in an article on the connection of the Bodoni family with Saluzzo in the journal Accademie e Biblioteche d’Italia that was published in the same year, he repeats, but without attributing it to him, Giani’s story of the suspicion relating to Bodoni that the printing of the names of so many Italian cities had aroused. (An extract is given among the Sources below.) In the introduction to his facsimile, Mardersteig similarly touches on the story of the suppression of the Trieste leaf, and of the consequent slight cloud on Bodoni’s reputation, treating it as common knowledge; but he does so briefly and without mentioning the name of Giani. In fact all the sources that appear to corroborate Giani’s version of the story independently appear to be derived from it.

Having failed to locate the original of the first-named essay by Samek Ludovici, which was published in the volume strenna for 1964 of the journal Italia grafica, I found it reprinted in the useful volume of collected essays on Bodoni by several authors that was put together in 1990 under the title Conoscere Bodoni by Luigi Cesare Maletto and Stefano Ajani. Another piece in the same collection is an Italian version of a short note that Mardersteig had written in 1968 about the Bodoni types he had used at the Officina Bodoni, reprinted from the volume of his collected essays published in Milan in 1988. In Conoscere Bodoni (where the title of the essay is for some reason reworded), an editorial hand added a note to the passage where Mardersteig – referring to his decision to have Bodoni’s original types recast in 1926 – observed that ‘the Bodoni types then in commercial use were very different from Bodoni’s own creations.’ The editorial note reads, ‘This probably refers to those drawn in America by Benton in 1910, which were universally accepted as “the” Bodoni.’ And then it adds: ‘Mardersteig also used the Benton types to set page 71, “Trieste,” the page missing from the Manuale of 1788, in his reprint. In our opinion this was a very odd thing to do, since the authentic original was in the Biblioteca Cantonale di Lugano.’ To have spotted the use of the ATF type in Mardersteig’s facsimile was acute (I was unaware of this note when I wrote my own first account of this affair), but the suggestion that Mardersteig had set the leaf himself in the modern type was highly implausible, and was in any case incompatible with the account in his introduction to the facsimile, where he gave the document at Lugano as the source of his image.

‘Forgery’ is a strong term to use, but in this case it cannot really be avoided. Someone created the Trieste leaf using 20th century materials, and someone, possibly the same person or someone else who may have been aware that its authenticity was not above suspicion, must have persuaded the Biblioteca Cantonale, which was systematically adding to its already distinguished Bodoni collection, that this was a document worth acquiring.

Even if the paper of the Trieste leaf may have seemed right for the date claimed for it by Giani, unprinted leaves of any date are not impossible to get hold of. In any case, that is something that remains to be ascertained, since the original is not currently accessible, nor do there appear to be records showing from whom the leaf was acquired, and when. Type is different. Anyone with a quite basic knowledge of typography should have recognized the ATF Bodoni used for the Trieste leaf, one of the most familiar of modern typefaces. The machine-cut quality of the type design, the lining figures for the date ‘1719’ (compare those in leaf 72, ‘Crema’), and the letter-spacing of the line beginning ‘l’Istria’, all point unmistakeably to type and typesetting practice of the 20th century. Moreover Bodoni never used the flat-topped letter t (a French innovation) that was added to the ATF typeface. Mardersteig’s blindness in this instance is unaccountable, but it is perhaps a useful reminder that we are none of us infallible.

Lastly, we need to consider other relevant evidence. Even if Giani did find the leaf, as he claimed, in an unidentified copy of the Manuale bearing notes in Bodoni’s own hand (did it, too, go to Lugano?), the sheet itself bears no leaf number, and his assumption that it was the missing leaf 71 of the Manuale appears to be pure guesswork. There seems to be no evidence at all that a leaf bearing a reference to Trieste was ever set for inclusion in the Manuale. It is possible that all the descriptions of cities used for these specimens are derived from some contemporary published account, and if so, it would of course be very useful if it could be identified, and to discover whether it does indeed include Trieste, and in what terms.

As for Trieste as an ‘Italian’ city, the heading for it in the Encyclopédie of Diderot and D’Alembert is indeed Trieste, ville d’Italie, a city that was located in the area that traditionally, to use Metternich’s neutral and widely-misapplied words, had the ‘geographical name’ of Italy. But the text of the article makes it clear that it was politically a part of Austria, as it had been for centuries. A contemporary guide for travellers in Italy, the Guida per il viaggio d’Italia in posta that was published in 1786 by the Fratelli Reycends in Turin, includes the journey from Venice to Trieste, città della Germania, ‘Trieste, a city of Germany’, which was a term that included Austria.

With the new status of free port that greatly enhanced its prosperity, Trieste was currently regarded as a major asset of Austria, in which substantial funds were invested by the imperial authorities during the later 18th century, when provision was made for dredging the harbour, removing the old city walls and lighting the streets. The Encyclopédie noted that the Empress (Maria Teresa) had improved the fortifications and established shipyards. For any work printed in Italy in the late 1780s, and especially one issued from a press with the ducal protection that was conferred on Bodoni’s, to call Trieste ‘this ancient and beautiful Italian city of ours’ (thus begging the question of what was meant by ‘Italian’, and who ‘we’ might be in this context) might indeed have seemed provocative. But it should be noted that, while many of the cities that are the subject of the text of each leaf in the Manuale are described as città d’Italia, a city of Italy, or città del Piemonte, or some other region of Italy, the text relating to Trieste is the only one that uses the term città italiana (an Italian city). In writing that is claimed to be of the 1780s, the use of words such as nostra and italiana, with their overtones of the patriotic movements that belong to a much later period, seems oddly anachronistic. The text of leaf 72 shown above, with its description of Crema, is scrupulously precise in giving its status as a part of the Venetian Republic located near Milan.

During a lifetime spent during a period of constant political upheaval, from the loss of his patron Du Tillot within three years of his arrival in Parma in 1768 to living with the Napoleonic French administration of the region during the last years of his life (to which one could add the tensions that can be detected in his environment in Rome), Bodoni demonstrated one supreme talent: that of surviving. For him to print the text presented by Giani, even as a proof, would have been an act that seems wholly out of character.

The term carta (paper), used for ‘leaf’ by both Giani and Ramelli, rather than the more ordinary foglio, can also have political associations not unlike those of ‘charter’ in English, and the choice may have been deliberate. As suggested above, the tone of its words is reminiscent of the later irredentist rhetoric that supported the rights of the Italian-speaking citizens of neighbouring states, in France and Switzerland as well as Austria, and which aimed at territorial annexation. But this issue hardly entered wide political consciousness much before the latter part of the 19th century, when a number of different events, but most notably the dissatisfaction felt in Italy with the national settlements resulting from the Congress of Berlin in 1878, fuelled irredentismo as a popular cause. Thus the wording of the leaf is suspect, as well as its physical properties.

Resentment of Austria and sympathy for the Italian-speaking citizens of Trieste were feelings that gained greatly in strength just before and during the First World War, when the ATF Bodoni type produced by the Augusta/Nebiolo typefoundry was introduced and quite widely used, almost as a ‘national’ typeface. It is not inconceivable that someone forged both the leaf and its words at that time, and placed it in the copy of the Manuale tipografico of 1788 where Giani said he found it, in order to provide a fictitious early instance of the movement. But awareness of the antagonisms associated with the more recent history of Trieste and fears for its future were also widely and acutely present in Italy during the years just after the Second World War, and they perhaps help to account for the lack of any critical examination of the leaf at this time and the general acceptance of Giani’s account of its discovery. On the whole it seems more likely that the leaf belongs to this later date. The writer of the text and its printer remain to be identified.


In the Bodoni Collection of the Biblioteca Palatina, Parma, there is a bound set of pairs of identical printed leaves annotated in Bodoni’s own hand (Coll. Bod. 8/ 8 es.) which appears to provide a synopsis of the characters in the founts of roman and italic types that were to be used for the Manuale tipografico of 1788, together with the name and leaf number to be assigned to them and the bodies on which they were to be cast. It lists all the types that appear on the pairs of leaves numbered 51 to 100, with just one exception: there is no type for leaf 71. The first half of this volume, showing synopses of the types for leaves 1 to 50, appears to be the item that that was described by Giani on page 24 of his work of 1948 as a ‘plan’ (stesura) for the Manuale. It is in the Mortara collection of the Biblioteca Braidense, Milan. A leaf from it is shown above, with details of the characters in the roman type under the name of Assisi, for the body of Testo (about 16 points), which appears on leaf 50 of the Manuale. Another volume at Parma, which includes a copy of the Manuale tipografico, 1788, and some other works (Coll. Bod. 9/ 1 es.), contains a note apparently in the hand of Angelo Pezzana, the long-serving librarian of the Palatina (1804 to 1862) under whose direction the punches and matrices were acquired and the holdings of examples of Bodoni's own printing were greatly expanded. Discussing the make-up of the Manuale tipografico of 1788 the writer observes: ‘Il No. 71 Ital[ian]o & Franc[ese] non si trova in alcuno e dicesi che non fosse impresso.’ That is, ‘[Leaf] 71 in Italian and French is not found in any copy, and it is said that it was not printed.’ There is no mention of Trieste.


Texts in Italian that are quoted below without translation are summarized above.

James Mosley, ‘Italian type specimens to 1860’, in ‘Sources for Italian typefounding’, La Bibliofilía, anno CII (2000), pp. 56–102. Revised reprint in: Cento anni di Bibliofilía: atti del convegno internazionale, Biblioteca nazionale Firenze, 22–24 aprile 1999 (Firenze: Olschki, 2001), pp. 299–354. The present text is a revised and expanded version of a footnote that appears in the section of this article dealing with the Manuale tipografico of 1788.

Conoscere Bodoni, a cura di Stefano Ajani e Luigi Cesare Maletto nel 250. anniversario della nascita: contributi di G. Spadolini [etc] (Collegno, Torino, 1989).

Giampiero Giani, Catalogo delle autentiche edizioni Bodoniani (Milano: Conchiglia, 1948), pp. 18–20, [30].

‘L’edizione [Manuale tipografico, 1788] … non ha prefazione e volutamente si diede ad essa un valore del tutto tecnico perchè l’intima ragione di questo lavoro (sfuggita fino ad ora agli esperti) piaque assai poco alla Corte di Ferdinando, come annota il Mazza in una lettera confidenziale (1790) da me vista in una collezione privata milanese: «… da questo capo d’opera, ove si ammirano li più svariati caratteri, traspira una certa aura di romanità al di là d’ogni tolleranza…» È infatti all’ideale di una Unità Italiana che si respira questa sua fatica incisoria! Presenta cento Città italiane che ai suoi tempi erano dominate da Governi stranieri e che solo molti anni dopo diedero i primi segni di una sospirata libertà. Ecco l’elenco: «Parma, Roma, Torino […] Tivoli, Saluzzo.» La forma dello «Stivale rovinatissimo» nasce evidente da questo elenco confermato poi dalle sue stesse parole: «È stato sopratutto l’amore che io porto al nome italiano e all’Italia a cui mi compiaccio e reco ad onore di appartenere e la lusinghiera speranza che dalle mie improbe fatiche qualche gloria di più refulga su questa bella regione d’Europa che per la prima emerse dalle tenebre dell’ignoranza, che per la prima salì al più alto grado di celebrità e di splendore nelle arti, nelle scienze e nelle lettere, che mi ha spinto a rivendicarle per quanto era in me quanto era in me quell’onore tipografico che ella aveva alle straniere sue rivali pressochè totalmente abbandonato». L’ultima carta (la centesima) porta questa scritta: Saluzzo, mia adorata patria. In tutti gli esemplari da me visti (nove in tutto) manca una carta, la settantunesima, e in sua vece, qualche volta, si trova ripetuta la settantesima (Terracina). La carta che manca è stata da me trovata, in bozza, in un esemplare in-4° (postillato da Bodoni stesso) e presenta la città di Trieste (!), con la scritta: «Trieste, ai tempi di Augusto fece parte parte con la Venezia e l’Istria della decima regione dell’Impero. Nel 1719 Carlo VI dichiarò questa nostra bella ed antica città italiana, Porto Franco-». Una frase del genere doveva essere alquanto ardita ai tempi di Maria Teresa e certo fu la ragione del veto di stampa posto a questa carta; veto che Bodoni volle risultasse evidente transcurando di sostituire la scritta e numerando 70/72.’

Giani was born in Milan in 1912. He was the author of several monographs on contemporary painting, some of which appeared under his publishing imprint Edizioni della Conchiglia. He was art critic of the journal Avanti! A brief obituary that appears in Corriere della Sera for 14 January 1964 describes him in these terms: ‘uomo dell’arte e della tecnica fra i più vivi, pronti, practici, intelligenti e popolari assieme che mai fosse dato d’incontrare. Era abile, era magari furbo...’ His earlier monograph on Bodoni, Saggio di bibliografia bodoniana (1946), which included some additions and corrections to the lists of Bodoni's printing published by Passerini, De Lama and Brooks, was produced on the occasion of an exhibition of Bodoni’s work at the Libreria Antiquaria Cantoni, the dealers from whom the ‘Carta di Trieste’ was acquired by the Biblioteca Cantonale, Lugano. The passage by Bodoni cited in the passage above, expressing his love of the name of ‘Italian’, is quoted rather inaccurately from the Italian language version of his preface to the volume with the Lord’s Prayer in 155 languages, Oratio Dominica in CLV linguas, printed in 1806.

Adriana Ramelli, ‘Raccolte particolari e rarità della Biblioteca Cantonale di Lugano’, in Storia di biblioteconomia e storia del libro in onore di Francesco Barberi (Roma, 1976), p. 454, tav. 41.

‘Abbandoniamo ora i letterati di casa per citare una stampa rarissima, una stampa bodoniana, probabilmente un «unicum». Si tratta di un foglio acquistato alcuni anni fa, la cosiddetta Carta di Trieste che Bodoni aveva composto per il suo Manuale tipografico del 1788. Vi si legge: «Trieste … questa nostra bella e antica città italiana …», ecco il motivo per cui il foglio – che avrebbe dovuto recare il N. 71 – non potè essere incluso nel Manuale. Noi siamo fieri di possederlo, questo foglio, che è una coraggiosa dichiarazione d’italianità da parte del Bodoni, il quale, al servizio dei principi, doveva sempre essere pronto a omaggi e a obbedienze. La nostra raccolta bodoniana è ricca di imponenti celebri in-folio, ma la Carta di Trieste è per noi il pezzo più prezioso non solo a motivo della sua assoluta rarità, ma perché è una voce che – ridotta al silenzio per motivi politici – è rimasta viva in questo «unicum» conservato gelosamente proprio nella Biblioteca della Svizzera italiana.’

Sergio Samek Ludovici, ‘I Bodoni e Saluzzo’, Accademie e Biblioteche d’Italia, vol. 32 (1964), pp. 333–8 (at p. 335).

«SALUZZO — si legge nel Manuale del 1788 — MIA ADORATA PATRIA » ripetuto con varianti in altri manuali e prove. Leggenda che ha il sapore di una dichiarazione di innamorato e nel quale non gioca soltanto il naturale e tradizionale amor di campanile, ma qualche cosa di più, se la dichiarazione va ad aggiungersi alle belle piccole storie delle città italiane. Tra le quali celeberrima quella dedicata a Trieste ed espunta poi dal Manuale. Bozza rarissima, posseduta dalla Biblioteca Cantonale di Lugano che l’acquistò in Milano orsono vent’anni.
Questo spirito cavourriano avanti-lettera, com’è noto, lo fece sospetto, anche se egli fu leale servitore della Corte di Parma …

Here is a free translation:

In the Manuale of 1788 we read, ‘Saluzzo, my beloved home’, a phrase repeated with variations in other specimens, a text that has the flavour of a lover’s declaration, and which goes beyond a natural attachment to one’s birthplace to something more intense, if we add it to the charming brief histories of the cities of Italy. The most celebrated of these is the text relating to Trieste, which was removed from the Manuale, [and which survives in the form of] a very rare proof sheet, owned by the Biblioteca Cantonale of Lugano, which acquired it in Milan some twenty years ago.
This premature voicing of the sentiments of Cavour, as is well-known, made Bodoni suspect, even if he was a loyal servant of the Court of Parma …

Samek Ludovici is quoting here the version of the phrase concerning Saluzzo (Saluzzo mia amata patria) in the mistaken form of words given by Giani in 1948 (see above). It is not in fact known to appear in this form in any other specimen of Bodoni’s types, although a more sober text, reproduced by Giani in his book of 1946, does appear in one of the early single-leaf specimens of the italic of the Canone size: Saluzzo, Città del Piemonte, feconda di uomini celebri nelle Lettere, nelle Armi, e nelle Arti belle, ed amene. It is worth noting that the names of Trieste, and of many Italian and non-Italian cities, including London (‘Londra’) and Oxford, are attached to specimens of roman and italic types in the two-volume Manuale tipografico of 1818, but the text of each specimen in this part of the work is uniformly Quousque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? from the speech of Cicero In Catilinam that was used by Caslon and some other typefounders of the 18th century.

Last edited 7 August 2010