Antonio Cavagna Sangiuliani, Collector

Cavagna was born in Alessandria, Italy, on August 15, 1843 to Giovanni Battista Cavagna, Count of Gualdana, and the noble Ida Fenini of Milan. In 1853 Cavagna was adopted by his cousin Antonio Sangiuliani, Count of Balbiano, who was without an heir, and incorporated the surname into his own. He volunteered to fight for unification in the 1866 war against Austria with the regiment “Lancieri d’Aosta.” He studied in universities in Bologna, Pavia, and Rome, and received his law degree in 1871. Cavagna started his book collection at the age of nineteen and over the course of his lifetime built his library through auctions—purchasing significant portions of other private collections and family archives—and close relationships with booksellers. As he became known as a prolific historian and collector, many colleagues and contemporaries would send him their works in homage. Cavagna was a member of hundreds of artistic, historical, and charitable associations, and served as councilor for the cities of Voghera and Pavia, and as mayor of Bereguardo for fourteen years. He died in Milan on April 5, 1913.

Works Included