A copy of Rolevinck’s Fasciculus Temporum from the Pillone Library (Incunabula Q. 902 R64f 1484)

Rolevinck, Werner. Fasciculus temporum omnes antiquorum chronicas complectens incipit feliciter. Venice: Erhard Ratdolt, 28 May 1484.

This copy of Rolevinck’s Fasciculus temporum is one of 172 volumes with fore-edge paintings originating from the Pillone Library. The Pillone Library was started in Renaissance Italy by Antonio Pillone (d. 1533) and was added to by his descendants throughout the sixteenth century.  The library survived complete in its original location near Belluno, Italy well into the nineteenth century, when it was sold to Paolo Maresio Bazolle, a Venetian antiques dealer, in 1874.  The English book collector and antiquarian Sir Thomas Brooke (1830-1908) purchased all the Pillone Library books that featured fore-edge paintings. Brooke’s descendant sold the books to the Paris dealer Pierre Berès (1913-2008) in 1957.  Berès subsequently issued a catalog of the 168 Pillone Library books still extant and then the books were sold and further dispersed. This copy was sold to the University of Illinois Rare Book & Manuscript Library by the Los Angeles firm of Zeitlin & Ver Brugge in 1966.  17 volumes of Pillone Library books were recently offered for sale at Christie’s in Summer 2011. Only a single volume met the reserve price and was sold.

The fore-edge paintings of the Pillone Library were executed by Cesare Vecellio (1521-1601), a cousin of Titian and a member of his workshop. These paintings often depict some aspect of the work on which they appear.  The Illinois copy of the Fasciculus temporum has a fore-edge painting depicting Adam and three richly-dressed men.  Rolevinck’s work is a history of the world from Creation to the fifteenth century and so the painting may be seen as representing man from Adam to the present day.


The contemporary binding is also representative of other Pillone Library copies. It is quarter leather over exposed wooden boards and has three clasps: one at each edge of the book.  The book also retains the vellum wrapper, which now serves as an endpaper to the bound book; this feature is typical of the Pillone Library. AD