Bibliothecae Marii Compagnonii Marefusci S.R.E. Cardinalis Catalogus. Mario Compagnoni AUCTION CATALOGUE: MAREFOSCHI, Mariano de Romanis.

Bibliothecae Marii Compagnonii Marefusci S.R.E. Cardinalis Catalogus.

2 p.l., 232 pp. Small 4to, cont. marbled boards (some wear, title a little soiled & dampstained), orig. printed label on spine. Rome: J.A. Monaldini, 1786.

A very rare and early Italian catalogue (I believe it to be an auction catalogue); “there were very few auctions in Italy before the nineteenth century, where inventory sales at fixed prices seem to have been the normal custom.”–Pollard & Ehrman, p. 204–(Pollard thinks this catalogue is an inventory catalogue). This catalogue has far greater characteristics of auction catalogues than inventory catalogues: each item is numbered, it is not arranged by shelf, and there are no printed prices.

Cardinal Marefoschi (1714-80), Secretary of the Propaganda Fide, was known for his philo-Jansenist leanings and his friendship with Pietro Tamburini, a noted Jansenist author and celebrated professor of the University of Paris, and for having recommended the removal of the Jesuits from staffing the Pontifical Irish College, Rome. Marefoschi formed a large and fine library which was well-known in scholarly circles; the neurologist Domenico Cotugno (1736-1822), who discovered the cerebro-spinal fluid, is known to have used the collection (see Dorothy Schullian’s article in The Journal of the History of Medicine & Allied Sciences, Vol. XVII (1962), pp. 168-81).

There were two catalogues of the Marefoschi library, the present one issued in 1786 and a second appearing a year later. Our 1786 auction catalogue contains 6105 lots divided into five classes. Most of the books are 17th and 18th century; there are a sprinkling of 16th-century books. Marefoschi’s collection was strong in theology and history and he also had good holdings of bibliographies and public and private library catalogues.

The auction (?) clearly did not do well and the following year Monaldini issued another named catalogue with 3848 lots of unsold books, this time with fixed prices and in one author alphabet.

Very good copy.

❧ Nicolini 72. Ottino & Fumagalli 4046. Pollard & Ehrman, p. 204 & Table XXV–(but listing it as an inventory catalogue). See Ceccarelli 94 for the 1787 catalogue.

Price: $4,000.00

Item ID: 2572