An agenda-format portfolio or letter-holder of gold-tooled reddish-brown goatskin (334 x 135 mm.), both covers with dense pointillé tools surrounding a large coat of arms in the upper compartment, consisting of the Papal arms on the front cover (the original Papal shield overlaid by a brown morocco onlay with the arms of Pope Benedict XIV) and the arms of the city of Rome on the lower cover, and two small crowned coats of arms in the lower compartment; decorative tools including several small angels, flowers in vases, 8-petalled blossoms, small stars and blossoms, and pointillé arabesques, holes for a fore-edge strap with clasp (lacking), spine with scrolling floral tooling, turn-ins gold-tooled, liners of orange gilt floral Dutch-gilt paper (Brokatpapier) with carnations, poppies and other flowers, original tan reversed leather gussets. Some rubbing and a few small chips or holes, spine tooling faded, upper cover color faded, a few scrapes and some rubbing to paper liners. ***
A densely gold-tooled portfolio, used by patrician Curial officials under the reigns of two Popes. This uncommon and evocative object must have served to carry documents to and from pontifical offices. The original arms which are hidden beneath the onlaid shield of Pope Benedict XIV (1740-1758) are presumably those of an earlier Pope, possibly his immediate predecessor Clement XII (1730-1740), although the gold-tooling of the portfolio looks earlier. The four smaller coats of arms appear to all belong to prominent Roman families (two remain unidentified). In the lower left quadrant of the front cover are the arms of Carlo Camillo II Massimo (1620-1677), a wealthy and prominent politician and numismatist (and heir to an important art collection), named cleric of the Camera Apostolica in 1651 and Cardinal in 1670, or possibly of a younger member of his family. The unidentified coat of arms in the lower right quadrant contains a single branch with three leaves. On the rear cover, the unidentified coat of arms in the lower left quadrant incorporates in the right half the arms of the Amolara de Annibaldi family. The arms on the right, with the buffalo head and the word “Ordo,” are those of the family Bufalo Cancellieri.
Stylistically the pointillé tooling is reminiscent of 17th-century French bookbinding. The fine orange-on-gold block-printed “Brokatpapier” is almost certainly from the workshop of Georg Christoph Stoy of Augsburg, active from 1709: a very similar paper, signed by Stoy, is reproduced by Haemmerle, p. 21. Stoy (1670-1750) was “the most important and versatile producer of decorative paper in Europe ... The papers of his firm are of high or the highest quality...” (Haemmerle, Buntpapier, p. 129). Item #2946