20 books recovered
From the library of the Father of the Netherlands, 20 copies from the Paris period have been found to date, present in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek The Hague, University Library Amsterdam and no fewer than fifteen copies are in the possession of the State Library in Berlin.
The copy on display on this website is the only one that is still privately owned. Professor Herman de la Fontaine Verwey, former head librarian of the UB-Amsterdam devoted an extensive chapter to 'The bookbindings of Willem van Oranje', in: part IV of 'From the World of the Book: Boeken, Banden en Bibliophiles', H&S publishers , nj, p. 113-154. originally published as "The Bookbindings of William of Orange", in: Quaerendo, 14, 1984, pp. 81-124. In addition to the Parisian bindings, they also discuss the Antwerp books (Plantin; Charles de Navières) as well as the Haarlem King's Bible (the well-known Poliglotte Bible of Plantin, also referred to as Biblia Regia or the Arias Montana Bible; present in eight volumes) and the Amsterdam Guicciardini (Antwerp, Plantin 1581, present in UB Amsterdam).
Under the supervision of Lotte Hellinga-Queriode, then curator at the British Library, the report and research appeared in 1971 as an edition of the Haarlem City Library and the Institute for Neophilology and for Neolatin of the University of Amsterdam; "The Prince's King's Bible in the City Library in Haarlem". Other publications in which the books of William of Orange are discussed include: – Books by and around William of Orange. Exhibition Koninklijke Bibliotheek. The Hague, 1984. In it the contribution of C.de Wolf; The Library of William of Orange: Contemporary Printed Works, p. 29–40; – the Oranje-Nassau library at the time of William III, published on the occasion of an exhibition in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek. The Hague, 1988; -Jan Storm van Leeuwen. An unknown book of William of Orange discovered, in: Quaerendo 8 (1998), p. 113-114. Quote from "Book binding of William of Orange", dealing with Julius Caesar, the Roman ruler, acquired by the KB in 1998.
A characteristic feature of the book cover is the heraldic coat of arms of the prince, around which hangs the chain of the Golden Fleece. In this selective Order he had been appointed by Charles the Fifth, father of the Spanish king Philip II .: '(…) William of Orange also worked on a library of “the perfect courtier”, with books on history and martial arts, but also some titles about love. However, he left his books in much more austere bindings: brown calf leather with a line frame along the edges and his coat of arms in the center with a part of the title in gold above. It is unclear why the prince did not choose the splendor of the French court. Perhaps a lack of money or was he too preoccupied with his intended marriage to Anna of Saxony and other diplomatic developments? The 48 books he had bound in this way must have been more dear to him, because along with several others, he takes them with him when he moves to Germany in 1568. Twenty copies from this collection, which are very important to Dutch history, have now been found.
In 1499 Aldus Manutius in Venice published the (anonymous) book "Hypnerotomachia Poliphili", anonymously, but quite certainly written by the monk Francesco Collonna. After the French translation, the love novel would become popular in higher circles around the middle of the next century. Illustration from Fontaine Verwey I, page 17, which book historian refers to as the book "the bible of the Renaissance." With the so-called Malermi Bible, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili is one of the most important illustrated books of Venice in the Renaissance.
The most beautiful printed matter in the history of the book
The anonymously published love novel is attributed to Francesco Colonna (circa 1433 – circa 1527). This Italian studied theology at the University of Padua and became a brother of the Venetian Dominican monastery Sante Giovanni e Paolo. He was expelled in 1477 because of his turbulent life. He is said to have written his book as early as 1467, which was only published in 1499, printed by the famous Aldus Manutius on behalf of and paid for by Leonardo Grassi of Verona. It contains 172 woodcuts possibly designed by Andrea Mantegna, though Giovanni Bellini, Alberti and even the author are also mentioned, while Prof. Fr. A. Janssen thinks of Benedetto Bordone, who worked more for Manutius. Colonna is said to have entered a monastery again in 1515, only to die there at a very old age. What has been referred to as “the most beautiful printed matter in the history of the book” and became a popular book in translation in French court circles from the 16th century, did not appear for the first time in a Dutch translation until 2006, 'The dream of Poliphilus'. , published by Atheneum Polak & Van Gennep.