Florence: Giulio Giannini & Son, 1923. Sixteenmo pamphlet, measuring 5.75 x 3.75 inches: . Original red and green patterned paper wrappers, pastedown label to upper wrapper. Black-and-white frontispiece portrait; four halftone reproductions of paintings printed on rectos only. Lightest toning.
Florentine pocket edition of Robert Browning’s 1855 dramatic monologue, produced by printer Giulio Giannini, who specialized in attractive souvenirs of Italy for English tourists abroad. Narrated from the perspective of quattrocento painter Fra Filippo Lippi, Browning’s poem depicts the struggle of a worldly artist frustrated by the demands of his Church fathers and his Medici patrons: “we’re made so that we love / First when we see them painted, things we have passed / Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see; / And so they are better, painted -- better to us, / Which is the same thing. Art was given for that; / God uses us to help each other so, / Lending our minds out.” A near-fine example of an ephemeral production, bound in patterned Florentine paper.