The Bookseller of Florence

The Bookseller of Florence

Vespasiano da Bisticci and the Manuscripts that Illuminated the Renaissance

Summary

'A marvel of storytelling and a masterclass in the history of the book' WALL STREET JOURNAL

The Renaissance in Florence conjures images of beautiful frescoes and elegant buildings - the dazzling handiwork of the city's artists and architects. But equally important were geniuses of another kind: Florence's manuscript hunters, scribes, scholars and booksellers. At a time where all books were made by hand, these people helped imagine a new and enlightened world.

At the heart of this activity was a remarkable bookseller: Vespasiano da Bisticci. His books were works of art in their own right, copied by talented scribes and illuminated by the finest miniaturists. With a client list that included popes and royalty, Vespasiano became the 'king of the world's booksellers'. But by 1480 a new invention had appeared: the printed book, and Europe's most prolific merchant of knowledge faced a formidable new challenge.

'A spectacular life of the book trade's Renaissance man' JOHN CAREY, SUNDAY TIMES

Reviews

  • If you want to celebrate the place that bookmaking and bookselling still have in our lives . . . immerse yourself in Ross King's rich history of Vespasiano da Bisticci, "the king of the world's booksellers," in 15th-century Florence . . . wonderful
    Simon Schama, New York Times

About the author

Ross King

Ross King is a renowned expert in the Italian Renaissance. He is the author of numerous bestselling and acclaimed books include Brunelleschi’s Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, Leonardo and the Last Supper and Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies. His love of Renaissance Florence, which he has been studying, writing and lecturing about for over twenty years, made Vespasiano’s long-forgotten story – never written about before – an irresistible next subject. He lives just outside Oxford.
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