Testamenti Novi editio vulgata

Lyon, apud Guillaume Rouillé, 1558.


16mo. pp. 496; 336 [16]. a-z8, A-H8; aa-xx8, *8.Roman letter, some Italic. Rouillé’s eagle and serpent device on title, small historiated initials, woodcut and metal-cut headpieces and ornaments, a charming set of small woodcuts used at chapter headings and a hundred thee-quarter page woodcuts in text (many repeated) in two sets, one for the New testament and one for the Apocalypse ‘Ascanii Gamuccii’ in an early hand on title, repeated below in the imprint, price mark above, C16th woodcut Jesuit (?) label on front fly. Light age yellowing, the occasional marginal mark or spot. A good copy, crisp and clean, with woodcut in generally good impression, in early vellum over boards, corners, joints and spine very worn, with loss of vellum at head and tail, all edges blue.

Exceptionally rare edition of this near miniature illustrated New Testament, beautifully printed by Guillaume Rouillé, the prominent humanist bookseller-publisher who established himself in Lyon in 1543, with a beautiful, very charming, suite of woodcut illustrations. The woodcuts are unsigned and are in a slightly old fashioned style compared with the more mannerist woodcuts that Rouille would later commission from Pierre Eskrich, in the vein of those by Bernard Salomon for Jean de Tournes. They represent the last flourish of a medieval style of illustration in this type of Bible. Baudrier states they were made by the “le maitre archaisant.” and are in their seventh printing. The slightly smaller, and most beautiful cuts in the Apocalypse are marginally different in style. There were three other editions of the New Testament ‘editio vulgata’ printed at Lyon in the same year in a similar small format, by Frellon, Antoine Vincentius, and Sebastian Gryphius. This edition seems to be particularly rare. We have located no copies on worldcat, copac, or in French libraries, and neither do Gultlingen or Baudrier give locations. USTC locates two copies only, at Forlì, (Biblioteca del Seminario vescovile) and at Perugia, (Biblioteca comunale Augusta). Interestingly the provenance of this copy is also apparently Italian, which suggests that these near miniature Bibles were made for export for the Italian market. Guillaume Rouillé learned the art of printing in Venice before setting up his celebrated shop in Lyon, and he maintained close contacts there. Lyon printing shops had always had strong commercial relations with Italy with the Giunta, Gryphius and Petit also having strong ties there. “..the case of Guillaume Rouillé resembles that of Giunta in many respects, including the fact that Rouillé had strong connections with Italy and particularly with the Venetian printing world through his apprenticeship with Gabriele Giolito de Ferrari. In the cases of both Honorat and Rouillé, the difference lies on the side of their cultural choices: in addition to some classic works, they also found some success in terms of impact through authors who were particularly committed to the renewal of Catholic spirituality in the Counter-Reformation era, but their competitiveness in this field was seriously restricted by the efforts of the Venetian and Italian printing firms.” Matthew McLean. ‘International Exchange in the Early Modern Book World.’ Rouillé also printed on several occasions, including one in the same year as this, the Italian version of the New Testament by Brucioli who was closely linked to Giolito.

A very rare, most interesting and beautifully illustrated work.

USTC 200200. Gultlingen X p. 117 no. 399 (no locations). Baudrier IX:251. Not in Brunet, Mortimer or Darlow and Moule.


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