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Books Fit for a Portuguese Queen: The Lost Library of Catherine of Austria and the Milan Connection (1540)

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Chapter Summary

On 29 January 1540 the Milanese bookseller Andrea Calvo and a Portuguese nobleman living in Milan, one Gonzalo Gomes, met in Calvo's house to formalize in writing the terms of a business contract. Historians have seen Catherine as a pawn living in the shadow of the Habsburg court, dutifully promoting its policies from Lisbon. This Chapter explores unknown side of Catherine's collecting her library, and how it came to Lisbon from Milan in 1540. Catherine's 1540 collection of books is strikingly different from her library of 1534. On 24 November 1542, according to the account book of Catherine's treasurer, one of her agents, Francisco Roiz, received 10,400 reais as reimbursement for a payment he made to 'Gonzalo Gomes from Milan'. Catherine of Austria's library of 227 books, documented in writing in Milan in late January 1540 and presumably sent to her in Lisbon later that year, is lost without trace.

Keywords: Andrea Calvo; Austria; Catherine; Habsburg court; Lisbon; Milan



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