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Digital Library

The John Rylands Library has an extraordinary collection of early printed Petrarch material, including the 1470 editio princeps of the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta  and the Triumphi, no less than three copies of the landmark 1501 Aldine edition Le cose vulgari edited by Pietro Bembo, including one printed on vellum, editions of all the major commentaries written in the period covered by the project, and numerous further lezioni, dialogues, and treatises. Many of the Rylands editions have significant individual provenance history, as for example the vellum Aldine which contains marginal commentary sometimes ascribed to the text’s editor, Pietro Bembo; others have significant features such as hand-illumination, marginal notes and other marks of use, and bindings of interest. 

All the Rylands books have been photographed to the highest preservation standards by the Library’s specialist imaging team, and all images are IIIF-compliant. The digital editions will be presented in a new online University of Manchester image viewer, which will launch in late 2019. This offers a split-screen presentation of the individual book images, alongside the textual description and supporting information. The image viewer also includes a Mirador viewer, which will enable comparison of the Manchester-hosted images with images from other repositories around the world. When completed, this will be the first dedicated online digital library of early printed Petrarch editions and commentary material in the world, and will provide a fully searchable and free online repository of 30, 000 individual images taken from more than one hundred publications made in the first two centuries of his print reception.