History is a collective effort. Though working on a project such as this sometimes seems a lonely quest, very often exchanges of references, snippets of information, hunches, ideas, full-fledged theories, fill the desert one is traversing with freshly sparkling waters. This study owes much to the many publications I have been able to consult in the course of my research—many of which can be found in the bibliography—and specific insights I have found there I have as much as possible acknowledged in the footnotes. Here I only wish to mention the late Renate von Busch, author of the first sustained investigation into Strada’s career, in her exemplary Studien zu deutschen Antikensammlungen des 16. Jahrhunderts of 1973.

I have worked so long on this project, off and on, that over the years I have been able to discuss aspects of it with many, many colleagues, whose information, insights and ideas all in some way contributed to its development; so many in fact, that I must limit myself to mentioning by name only those to whom I owe the most. First among these are Willemijn Fock, who first introduced me to Jacopo Strada; Jan van Dorsten, whose untimely death in 1985 deprived me of a very interested and stimulating critic, who has in many ways contributed to the development of my ideas; and Anton Boschloo, who has supervised my research both from near by and from far away over many years: it is a great sadness to me that he is not there anymore to see the result at last. At the European University Institute in Florence, where I began the project, it has been supervised by Denys Hay and Anthony Pagden; Robert Evans was a generous and hospitable exterior supervisor from Oxford. Gigliola Fragnito gave me many hints and had me invited to give my first conference paper at the conference of Europa delle Corti convened by Cesare Mozzarelli in Urbino in 1985. I gratefully acknowledge similar invitations by André Chastel, Manfredo Tafuri, Clifford Malcolm Brown, Eliška Fučíková, Hubertus Günther, Michael Crawford and, more recently, Duncan Bull, Ivan Prokop Muchka and John Cunnally. Debora Meijers, Mieke Reinders and Madelon Simons, editors of the handbook on the history of collecting of the Open Universiteit, provided an important stimulus in that field, as did Mark Meadow and Bruce Robertson. Thanks to a Frances Yates Fellowship I could for some time work in the Census of Works of Art Known in the Renaissance, at the time still located at the Warburg Institute: Ruth Rubinstein was a kind and very generous guide to this particular field, both there and in Florence. My research into the Neugebäude was greatly facilitated by Hilda Lietzmann’s monograph, and I owe much to her as a sparring partner in my further research into this splendid complex. Mario Carpo’s help in the reconstruction of Strada’s house and on Strada’s relationship with Serlio has been invaluable. Duncan Bull made me realize the relative importance of the document which probably represents a partial inventory of Strada’s collection—or dealer’s stock; his enthusiasm greatly stimulated my decision to take up my project again after a long interval of other work. Veronica Dirksen, at that time my boss at POSG Hedel, not only allowed, but encouraged me to spend some of my working time in research for this project. Finally, for sustained and continuous interest, support, suggestions, and encouragement I owe a big debt to Elišká Fučíková and to Thomas daCosta Kaufmann. Specific information or insights due to specific individuals I have acknowledged in the footnotes as much as possible, hoping that those whom I may inadvertently have forgotten will forgive me.

The present book is a slightly revised version of what was my belated doctoral dissertation at Leiden University, 2015. It is satisfaction that here I am no longer barred by Leiden custom to acknowledge the critical contribution of the members of the reading committee, Jeroen Duindam, Robert Evans and Koen Ottenheim, and the patience, precision, wise counsel and encouragement of Nicolette Mout, under whose guidance the project was finally brought to fruition. The revision has profited from my continuing work on Strada, as a research-fellow in the project Jacopo Strada’s Magnum ac Novum Opus: A Sixteenth-Century Numismatic Corpus at the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt; I am indebted to many discussions and exchanges of information with my colleagues, Martin Mulsow and Volker Heenes, and for their patience with my distraction during the last phase of the revision. I am particularly indebted to Bernd Kulawik, an invaluable associate of the project, who has taken the trouble to read and comment the text in great detail.

My thanks are due, moreover, to the publisher, Brill at Leiden, for their decision to include the book in the Series Rulers and Elites. I am particularly obliged to the editor of the series, Jeroen Duindam, whose insistent stimulus proved essential to overcome the last hurdles in finishing the project.

The book is richly illustrated: this would not have been possible without the generosity and public spirit of the many institutions who made the images of the objects in their care available for free or at a nominal charge, and the individual photographers who have released their work in the public domain or share it under a Creative Commons licence. I am indebted to my sister Jeske Jansen, who helped organize the administration of the illustrations, and to my Gotha colleagues Erdmut Jost, who helped prepare the definitive image files and list of illustrations with indefatigable patience and acumen, and Jens Nagel, who checked and revised the bibliography. Hugo Meyer proved again invaluable in revising the index of persons and compiling an additional index of places.

Many other colleagues and friends and my family over the years have contributed to my work, by listening and responding to my stories, by providing hospitality and by other practical assistance. I hope they do not need to be told how much I have always appreciated their help.

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