A first edition of ‘Compendium maleficarum’ (c.1608) by Francesco Maria Guazzo (1570-1640) – estimated at £700-1000 at Chiswick Auctions.

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The collector, who was an important figure in Vicenza’s industrial and economic recovery following the Second World War, filled his house with ‘memento mori’, vanitas imagery, dance of death motifs and prints from the 15th to the 20th centuries.

A portion of this collection is going under the hammer at Chiswick Auctions in a single-owner sale in London on December 14.

Titled Books from the Library of Giancarlo Beltrame, including Science, the Occult & Curiosa, the sale follows the three-part auction of Beltrame’s library of scientific instruments, astronomy and humanist literature, which took place at Christie’s in 2016 and earlier this year.

A highlight at Chiswick is this first edition of Compendium maleficarum (c.1608) (pictured above) by an Ambrosian friar, Francesco Maria Guazzo (1570-1640).

Originally written at the request of Cardinal Federico Borromeo, the Archbishop of Milan, the book was considered by Guazzo’s contemporaries as the authoritative manuscript on witchcraft. Known for its fine woodcut illustrations, it became a celebrated ‘hand-book’ on witchcraft, exorcism and demons.

The book carries an estimate of £700-1000.

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