JACOBUS PHILIPPUS FORESTI BERGOMENSIS (1434-1520). De claris selectisque mulieribus. Edited by Albertus de Placentia and Augustunes de Casali Maiori. Ferrara: Laurentius de Rubeis, de Valentia, 29 April 1479. Super-chancery 2o (298 x 196 mm). Collation: A4 a-e8 f6 g-p8 q-x6.8 y-z8 (A1r xylographic title, A1v woodcut portrait of Beatrice of Aragon within border, A2r dedicatory prologue to Beatrice, A4r index of names, a1r table of women's accomplishments, a1v woodcut scenes from the life of the Virgin within repeated border, a2r text, z6r register and colophon, z6v blank). 176 leaves. 45 lines and headline with marginalia, a3-z6 foliated III-CLXX on rectos. Types: 4:105G (text), 1:81G and 2:63G (index and marginalia), 5:105R (foliation). Two large blocks (144 x 102 mm), the first showing the author presenting his book to Queen Beatrice of Aragon, the second of eight scenes showing the life of the Virgin, cut to fit within the same architectural and historiated border (2a, signed S and dated 1493), second woodcut border (3a) around opening page of text and 8-line historiated initial 'M' of the Virgin with Child (BMC set 3), 172 woodcut portraits of famous women in a variety of landscapes printed from 56 blocks, numerous white-on-black 4-line initials (set 2), woodcut printer's device C (Kristeller 38). (Some leaves trimmed closely, some occasional light darkening or marginal soiling.) Modern morocco by Trautz-Bauzonnet, sides gilt stamped, gilt edges (rubbing to joints). Provenance: Edouard Rahir (bookplate); Sinclair Hamilton (bookplate). FIRST EDITION. AN OUTSTANDING EXAMPLE OF ITALIAN RENAISSANCE BOOK ILLUSTRATION, in which the mainly white-line woodcuts achieve a fine balance with Laurentius's large plain text type. An Augustinian hermit, Jacobus Philippus had probably compiled his work, and perhaps even assembled the woodcuts portraying women of history and fable, a significant time before its actual printing. The work's dedicatee, Beatrice of Aragon, wife of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, died in 1491, eight years before the date of publication. The repeated woodcut border is dated 1493 although it appears here for the first time, as do all the woodcuts. The two delicate borders in Venetian style (one repeated) are noticeably different to the vignette portraits which are in a more robust Florentine manner. It is also clear that, whereas the same cut could represent more than one female saint, there has been an attempt to portray seven contemporary Italian women realistically in cuts that were not repeated: five of the seven have been identified as Bianca Maria Sforza, Catherina Countess of Forli and Imola, Leonora of Aragon, wife of Ercole d'Este, Danisella Trivulzia, and Cassandra Fidelis. Sander observes that these contemporary portraits are to be valued as one of the first attempts in graphic art to achieve a natural likeness. BMC VI, 613; BSB-Ink. I-120; CIBN J-140; HC *2813; Goff J-204; Hind II, pp. 510-12; IDL 2608; IGI 5071; Pellechet 2069; Schaefer/Arnim 186; Sander 915.