February 2022 Catalogue

“Of All The Houses… Not One There Is That Has Been Reduc’d To Stranger Extremities Than That Of The Medicis”: First Edition In English Of Varillas’ Secret History Of The Medicis, 1686 46. VARILLAS, Antoine. Anekdota Heterouiaka or, the Secret History of the House of Medicis. London, 1686. Small octavo (4-1/2 by 7 inches), contemporary three-quarter brown calf gilt. $2400. Click for more info First edition in English of Varillas’ fascinating anecdotal history of the Medicis, issued only one year after the first, a work also seen by the English as alluding to the controversial reign of King James II, definitive in a genre of court secret histories that peered into how “sex, favoritism and politics… produced intrigues” with often murderous effect. French historian Varillas published his Les Anecdotes de Florence, ou l’Histoire secrette de la Maison de Medicis at the Hague in 1685, and the next year it “was promptly translated for English readers by Ferrand Spence as Anecdotes of Florence, or the Secret History of the House of Medicis (1686)” (Kelley & Sacks, 162). To English readers of this first publication in English, Varillas’ Secret History was seen not only as an account of the Medicis, but also a veiled history of the England’s James II (16858), whose court appeared similarly awash in “the arts of convenience, political as well as sexual” (Schama II:306). Wing 111B. Trace of bookplate removal. Text very fresh, rubbing to marbled boards, expert repairs to calf-gilt spine and calf corners. Extremely good. February 2022 – 47 – Bauman Rare Books