[Marlborough, Wiltshire, England:]: Libanus Press, 1985. One of a limited edition of 150 copies, including fifteen copies with an extra set of signed prints. This is one of the regular copies, numbered and signed by the artist in pencil on the colophon. The letters from Lucrezia Borgia to Cardinal Bembo were published in 1859 under the title Lettere di Lucrezia Borgia a Messer Pietro Bembo. Six were in Italian, three were in Spanish. Wood engravings by Richard Shirley Smith. Engraved title page. Decorative initial letters. A fine copy in a cloth slipcase. Quarter tan pigskin over marbled cream boards with title stamped in blind on spine. Octavo. . 46, , [+1, colophon] pp. Item #16270
According to Shankland, "In the Ambrosian Library in Milan are a few papers carefully preserved by Bembo during his long life, and all are mementos of his friendship with Lucrezia. Among them are the nine letters from her that can be read in this volume, the sole record we have of how she wrote to him...Written between 1503 and the very last years of her short life, most are little more than brief communications but collectively they are probably more revealing than anything else that remains of her generally very non-committal correspondence" (p. 22). In addition to the letters, Messer Pietro Mio contains six poems (one in Spanish, five in Italian) that have been translated into English. As noted in the prospectus, Smith's engravings "reflect the metaphorical, heraldic and surreal elements contained in the letters." These were the last major engravings the artist created before a medical condition forced him to work with drawn images instead.