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Oil and Green Ginger. The Zornale of the Venetian Bookseller Francesco de Madiis, 1484–1488

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Chapter Summary

In 1810 a clear-out of old papers from the attic of either the Duomo or the Palazzo Ducale in Venice discovered a ledger containing a record of book sales from the end of the fifteenth century. It is interesting to note that Francesco de Madiis, as well as supplying all the paper, for which he was to obtain half the press-run, provides the type, for which he is to receive a further hundred copies. In physical terms the Zornale measures 430×160 mm and is an agenda folio on chancery sheets, in which the fold runs parallel to the long side. For its scale, for its detail, and for its importance as a fly-on-the-wall documentary of what happened in a Renaissance Venetian bookshop, the Zornale is unique. Although documents relating to the book trade in fifteenth-century Italy are not rare, they are on the whole different.

Keywords: book trade; Francesco de Madiis; Venice; Zornale



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