Italian Paleography


Chicago, Newberry Case Wing MS Z 46735 .916
Statutes of the Sienese Guild of Stationers and Booksellers
Siena, 1615

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This manuscript was commissioned in 1615 as a formal copy of the newly revised and approved statutes of the Sienese Arte dei Cartai e Librai, the city’s stationers’ and booksellers’ guild. The second revision of the sort (the first was in 1579), these statutes represent part of an attempt by the Grand Dukes of Tuscany to reform the guild system broadly and promote commerce. In the particular case of booksellers, the officials of the state also wished to exert control over the intellectual content of the printed matter that was the guild’s purview. The statutes themselves, however, mostly focus on matters of local concern. They outline the structure of the guild (officers, dues, fines), its professional claims (to market certain products exclusively both in shops and on the street), and its collegial nature (representing the trade at civic and religious functions, providing funeral services for its members, and giving aid to indigent members and their families). At the end of the manuscript, shown here, the scribe left several blank leaves intended for matriculation records. That is, each member in 1616 and each new member thereafter confirmed his adherence to the statutes with a signature. As such these leaves represent both a “who’s who” of the Sienese book trade and also a record of the scripts used for signing documents across nearly two centuries. Since booksellers and stationers were by and large among the more literate part of the public, we have here a record of the various script norms and personal styles of educated Sienese across several generations.


Numerose mani tutte facenti riferimento al polo grafico dell’italica ma con diverse capacità di esecuzione.
Da notare: l’esecuzione a piccoli tratti spezzati del camerlengo Francesco Bracanelli (23v, par. 2); l’esecuzione elementare dall’allineameno discendente di Antonio Bordoni (24r, par. 5); la padronanza, anche nell’uso di un numero maggiore di abbreviazioni, del Rettore Alessandro Landi (23v, par. 1).
-Maddalena Signorini

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