1836 · Turin
A splendid Piedmontese gilt-embroidered textile binding, on a printed thesis for the laureate or bachelor's degree in theology, awarded to Vittorio Emanuele Stellardi at the University (Ateneo) of Turin on 14 May 1836. The lavish use of gold in low relief produces appropriately celebratory bling. Wealthy noble families would distribute these slender volumes on the occasion of their offsprings' graduations. The crowned monogram on the front cover honors Maria Teresa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany, Queen of Sardinia, and mother of Victor-Emmanuel II, the future first King of a unified Italy. It is not clear whether the monogram indicates that this was a presentation copy to the Princess, or whether the bindings of all copies of this privately printed thesis would have been similarly decorated.
An embroidered binding with an identically formed monogram, held by the Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon, is reproduced in the exhibit catalogue Livres en broderie (Paris, BnF, 1995), no. 190. The present book was exhibited in Turin in 1998: cf. Francesco Malaguzzi, Legature romantiche piemontese: legature del periodo romantico in raccolte private no. 57, and p. 29. (Inventory #: 4043)