Antwerp: Ex officina Plantiniana, Apud viduam, & Ioannem Moretum, 1591. Oblong 16mo, measuring 3.5 x 4.5 inches: 361, , . Eighteenth-century calf, spine and boards delicately paneled in gilt, all edges gilt. Engraved pictorial title page; engraved portrait of Ovid; 178 numbered full-page engravings by Petrus van der Borcht; Plantin device to verso of page 361; index and various imprimaturs at rear. Early ink ownership inscription to title page; nineteenth-century stamps of Jules Prost-Lacuzon to first two leaves; lacking final blank (a8). Faint tidemark to upper corner of opening signatures, light general shelfwear.
First edition of this richly illustrated pocket Ovid for young readers, featuring simple retellings of tales from the Metamorphoses, printed by Jan Moretus for the Plantin Press. The dramatic full-page engravings, the work of Petrus van der Borcht the Elder, include Daphne transformed into a laurel, Actaeon transformed into a stag, Cadmus and Hermione transformed into serpents, Andromeda facing the sea monster, Theseus facing the Minotaur, the fall of Icarus, the shipwreck of Ceyx, and Vulcan forging the shield of Achilles. The original sixteenth-century mock-up of this edition, with manuscript text and notes to the pressman to change the imposition of the plates, survives at the Museum Plantin-Moretus in Antwerp. Adams, O-504. Text in Latin. A very good example of a captivating book.