2 Manual on fortification, TENSINI, F./ Virtual Book Fair 106


Description: Revolutionary ideas on fortification, with 48 splendid plates

TENSINI, Francesco.
La fortificatione guardia difesa et espugnatione delle fortezzi esperimentata in diverse guerre.

Venetia, Antonio Bariletti, 1630. Large folio (38 x 27.5 cm). Contemporary calf, sewn on 6 cords, gold-tooled fillets on boards, richly gold-tooled spine with label in 2nd of 7 compartments, red sprinkled edges. Rebacked, with the original backstrip laid down, later endpapers. With richly engraved allegorical frontispiece, engraved portrait of the author, and 48 fine engraved fortification plates (11 double-page), by Fillippo Sadeler (numbered 1-44 plus 23†, 32†, 35† and 36†), numerous woodcut decorated initials (at least 4 series) and cast fleurons. [16], 83, [1 blank]; 83, [1 blank]; 128 pp. plus plates.

Beautifully and extensively illustrated early work on the art and science of fortification, first published in 1624 and here in the 1630 issue of the 1624 edition. As the title indicates, it discusses the fortification, defence and conquest of fortresses used in various wars. Francesco Tensini (1581-1632 or later) had been a military engineer and officer in the service of the Duke of Bavaria, of the Spanish under Spinola against the Dutch before the Twelve Years' Truce of 1609, and of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. When he wrote the present work in 1624 he was in the government of the city of Venice. Jähns suggests Tensini's theories on fortification resemble those of his countryman Alessandro di Grotti, who had worked with him in the Bavarian army, suggesting they may have developed some of their innovative ideas together. But Van den Heuvel points out influences from Dutch fortification. The Dutch introduced many new ideas in fortification during their war of independence from Spain, and Tensini experienced them as an opponent in at least the years 1600 to 1605.
The book first appeared in Venice in 1624, in two different versions, both dated 1624 on the engraved title-page and both naming the printer Evangelista Deuchino in the colophon, but in one the colophon is dated 1623 and in other 1624. They seem likely to be two issues of a single edition, and the present 1630 version is a reissue of that with the 1624 colophon, with the date on the engraved title-page revised in the plate.
With the top 3 mm of the engraved title-page shaved, but otherwise in very good condition and with generous margins, with only an occasional marginal water stain. The binding has been rebacked, as noted, and shows some damage (particularly the lower right corner of the front board) and some restorations, but remains good. A classic practical treatise on fortification, with 48 splendid plates.
D'Ayala, Bibl. militare Italiana (1854), p. 123; ICCU (8 copies); Jähns, p. 1098; Jordan 3743; Riccardi I, II, col. 514 (Tensini 1.2); cf. Cockle 813 (1624 issue, noting only 44 plates); Van den Heuvel, "Papiere bolwercken" (1991), p. 158 (1624 issue); not in BAL; Millard architectural coll.
  • Number: 1060258
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum