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2002 articles 1977 articles

Two sixteenth-century Italian devices

Dennis E. Rhodes


THE two devices here discussed have nothing in common except that they arc both Italian of the sixteenth century, occur in books in the British Library, and have not been satisfactorily explained or identified hitherto. Much work remains to be done on Italian printers' and publishers' devices, and indeed there is no comprehensive book devoted to the subject. In the years leading up to the Second World War Mr. L. A. Sheppard, Assistant Keeper and later Deputy Keeper in the Department of Printed Books of the British Museum, did a vast amount of work on this subject; and his tracings of several hundred of such devices, as wefl as his notes on them, have always been of immense value to me, as they would be to any other researcher in the field: but they remain unfinished and unpublished, and are not readily accessible to the public. This is a major task which, if completed and published, would be of incalculable assistance to all those who are concerned with the cataloguing of Italian books of the sixteenth century. I take this opportunity of recording my deep indebtedness to Mr. Sheppard's unpublished work.

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