[Wotton’s Binder] WOLF, Hieronymus (trans.). Demosthenis & Aeschinis Orationes Basel: Johannes Oporinus, 
8vo (12 x 18.5cm), the first two volumes bound together, lacking the last two. Bound in a superb strapwork smooth brown calf binding, double blind ruled, triple gilt ruled, fleurons at corners, an interlocked geometric strapwork design, bands in black contained by gilt outline, organic shapes and swirls towards the corners, gilt hatching pattern in small areas, black ink fading and worn at edges and corners, lacking ties, four raised bands, each compartment triple ruled, with gilt floral ornament, surface cracking, hinges worn, all edges gilt, intricately gauffered in wave and circular patterns adorned with stars and dots; no endpapers, remains of earlier manuscript used for binding, the label of Charles M. Hull to front board; slightly soiled around margins, numerous historiated and decorated initials.
A stunning binding in the style of Thomas Wotton’s binder, which copies the contemporary entrelac bindings made popular by the collector Jean Grolier. “The vogue of these bindings was short lived; almost all were made between 1548 and 1558, and most during Edward’s reign. The few later examples of the style are very inferior in design, and the distinctive black colouring is absent. There can be little doubt that most were produced, or at any rate inspired, by the skilled French workmen who came over as refugees.” (Duff, The Bindings of Thomas Wotton, 347). Thomas Wotton (1521-1587) was the collector of an impressive library, a Protestant gentleman who served a term in prison during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary. Most of Wotton’s books, of which some 130 to 140 are extant, descended through one female line to the Earls of Chesterfield, who moved them from Kent to Derbyshire in 1747, and eventually to the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who sold the collection in 1919.
The text is a compilation of Demosthenes’ orations, speeches and letters translated and revised by the German historian Hieronymus Wolf and printed in the workshop of the humanist Johannes Oporinus. A scholar and translator of Greek, Hieronymus Wolf (d. 1580) was a pupil of Melanchton and Camerarius. The translation Demosthenes’ works won him the attention of the Fugger Family, with whom Wolf received a post as secretary and librarian of the Bibliotheca Palatina.