Buc. Geor. Aeneis P. Virgilii Maronis Mantuani doctiss. virorum notationibus illustrata opera et industria Io. A. Meyen Bergizomii Belgae

Venice, apud Aldum, 1580


8vo. pp. [xlviii], 947 [i.e. 927], [i]. Italic letter, some Roman. Title within architectural woodcut border, medallion portrait of Aldus the elder below, floriated woodcut initials in several sizes, “D. Claulii Albertini Archip” in slightly later hand on lower blank margin of t-p., C19th engraved armorial bookplate of Henri Bordes of Bordeaux on pastedown. Light age yellowing, t-p fractionally dusty, rare marginal mark or spot. A very good copy in early C19th straight grained green morocco, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine with raised bands triple gilt ruled in compartments, titles lettered in gilt, edges and inner dentelles gilt, a.e.g.

An excellent edition of the three major works of Virgil, the Eclogues, the Georgics, and the  Aeneid, with the extensive notes and prefatory material by Paulus Manutius, of great influence in the dissemination of the works of Virgil throughout renaissance Europe. The work is prefaced with a letter from J. Meyen to Vincenzo Gonzaga, dated Dec.1575, a preface by Paulus Manutius to Torquato Bembo, 1558, a letter from Aldus the Elder to Pietro Bembo, and a letter from Aldus the younger to the reader. Paulo Manutius’s edition of Virgil with his notes was a bestseller in Europe, and was often reprinted by other publishers; three editions appeared in England. “The Metamorphoses showed Marlowe how nature had framed the cosmos in four elements. Virgil’s pastorals introduced him to Silenus, the bard who ‘sang how, through the great void, were brought together the seeds of earth, and air, and sea, and streaming fire withal; how from these elements came all beginnings’. (6.31-6). When Marlowe encountered this seminal passage in Paulus Manutius’s standard edition of Virgil, the headnote told him that Silenus’s song contained Epicurus’s opinion about the nature of things and showed the way from the lesser genre of pastoral to the greater space of poetic fables” J.R. Mulryne. ‘Shakespeare, Marlowe, Jonson: New Directions in Biography.’

BM STC It. C16th p. 731. Renouard 227:4. Adams V510.


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MINUCCI, Minuccio [with] [SARPI, Paolo]

MINUCCI, Minuccio. Historia degli Uscochi …… Co i progressi di quella gente fino all’Anno 1602.,, n.d. [Venice, 1606?]

[SARPI, Paolo]. Aggionta all’Historia degli Uscochi …… Continuata sin’ all’anno 1613.,, n.d. [Venice, 1617?]

[SARPI, Paolo]. Supplimento dell’historia degli Uscochi., n. pr., n.d. [Venice, 1617?]


4to. Three works in one. 1): FIRST EDITION, third issue, pp. 63 (1); 2): FIRST EDITION, pp. 58 (2); 3) FIRST EDITION, pp. 58 (2). Italic letter, engraved vase of flowers on title pages, autograph in C17 hand on first, two floriated initials. Occasional spots or marginal mark, very tiny worm hole to first couple on gatherings, a few leaves untrimmed at end, small tear to blank corner of p. 9 in first work and outer margin of p. 21 in last. A very good, crisp and clean copy in contemporary limp vellum, lightly wormed, edges sprinkled red, old label to spine, remains of ties. Case marks in early hand to front pastedown.

A rare miscellany including the early account on the history of the Uskoks, pirates of the Adriatic sea, by Minuccio Minucci (1551-1604), with Aggionta and Supplemento by Paolo Sarpi (1552-1623).

Minucci was an Italian priest from an aristocratic family. He read canon law in Padua where he met Antonio Possevino. In 1585 he was appointed prothonotary apostolic by Pope Sixtus V and in 1595 became archbishop of Zadar in Croatia. His numerous theologian and historical-political works show his wide knowledge. The addition by Paolo Sarpi, describing historical events until 1617, was first published anonymously. Important Venetian author, scholar and theologian, Sarpi was a learned monk of the Servite order living during Venice’s conflict with Pope Paul V. After becoming the Provincial of Venice (1579) he spent time in Rome studying the decrees of the Council of Trent. Then, back to Venice, he became procurator General of the Venetian province of this order and served as a Vicar General.

In the sixteenth century the Uskoks of Senj became the heroes of one of the cycles of the South Slav folk epic (M. Zoric, Gli scrittori italiani del ‘600 e gli slavi del Sud, 1983). Through their story it is possible to examine the power struggle between Venice, the Hapsburgs and the Ottoman Empire. They were a community who crossed the Balkan frontier during the Ottoman invasions to take refuge in the territories of neighbouring states. Some of them formed units of defence against the Turks in Klis fortress, near Split – before it fell in 1537 – and then in the impregnable Senj, on the Mountains of Carnia (Friuli). However, after the Battle of Lepanto on 7 October 1571 and the peace treaty between Venice and the Turks, under Hapsburg control the Uskoks started scouring the Adriatic and the Dalmatian hinterland with their fast boats, pillaging Venetian possessions, and causing the Venetian-Habsburg war (1615-17). The war ended with the Treaty of Madrid, according to which the Austrians agreed to destroy the Uskoks’ fleet and to move them to Otočac or Žumberak.

A witness of the events up to 1602, Minucci was especially interested in the peace of Christian states and in the fight against heresy, focusing on the origins and main aspects of the Uskok issue. The addition by Sarpi was instead an officially authorised defence of Venetian policy, aimed at investigating the reasons for the war. Both express negative opinions toward the Uskoks’ exploits (piracy, profanation of churches, violence against Christians, etc.).

The book is divided into three parts. The first by Minucci starts with the geographical provenance of the Uskoks and the explanation of the etymology of their name. There follows the description of their defence of Klis and Senj and of their alliance with the Emperor Ferdinand I until the murder of Giuseppe Rabatta, Governor of Carniola in 1601. Although Minucci’s account is mostly based on primary sources, the language is rhetorical and some legendary episodes might have been included to amaze the audience, in particular the fight between the Turkish soldier Bagora and the young Christian Milosh – who served the governor Crusich as a page – resembling the biblical contest of David against Goliath.

The second and third part by Sarpi contain a detailed historical account on the Uskok War. They recall speeches given by the religious Ippolito Chizzola from Brescia and emphasise Uskok atrocities, such as the beheading of the Venetian admiral Cristoforo Venier in Pago island on 12 May 1613.

1) USTC 4029524, 4036747, 4036775 . Not in Brunet or Graesse. BL It., II, p. 581. Not in Blackmer or Göllner. 2) Not in Brunet or Graesse. BL. It., II, p. 581. Not in Blackmer or Göllner. 3) Not Brunet or Graesse. BL. It., II, p. 581. Not in Blackmer or Göllner.


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RAZZI, Serafino

La storia di Raugia.

Lucca, Vincenzio Busdraghi, 1595.


4to, pp. (4) 52, (4) 53-120, (4) 121-184, (12). Roman and Italic letter, printed side notes. Woodcut architectural title border with figures of putti, masks, garlands and shield inscribed “Libertas”; floriated and historiated initials, typographical ornaments; colophon with printer’s woodcut device on p. 184. Light age yellowing and foxing, some spotting, small paper flaws to a couple of leaves, minor browning to first ll. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, edges sprinkled red, early case mark inked to spine in compartments, remains of ties, text block loosening, “Del’ Cont’Ugo della Gherardesca” in early hand on front endpaper and family library stamp (C19) to lower corner of t-p.

Rare, apparently second, extended edition of this first interesting account of the history of Ragusa (Dubrovnik), original city of the Eastern Adriatic coast. There are no recorded copies of the first ed., supposedly published in 1588 (L. Matteucci, Saggio di un catalogo delle edizioni lucchesi di Vincenzo Busdrago, 1917-1918). Fra Serafino Razzi (1531-1611) was a Florentine scholar and Dominican monk. After travelling in Italy and France, between 1577 and 1578 he was Head of the Dominican monastery of Ragusa, in Dalmatia. He also wrote on theology, philosophy and hagiography, and composed liturgical music.

Between the 15th and 16th centuries the merchants and the city squares of the flourishing republic of Dubrovnik inspired numerous literary works. For instance, in the “Discourses on Livy” (Book 1) Machiavelli included Dubrovnik in his political analysis, as a model of aristocratic republicanism. From 1358 to 1808 Ragusa existed as a free town and state. Although it was surrounded by enemies (the South-Slavic states, the Turks and Venice), the city retained its independence thanks to proficient diplomacy with the Hungarian-Croatian state, the Ottoman empire, the Roman Pope and the Spanish and Austrian Habsburgs.

Taking the model of Nicolò Ragnina’s chronicle, Razzi wrote an account providing valuable information on commerce, religion, architecture and language, especially Venetian and Slavic. The work reveals an ambivalent image of the “Serenissima”. If on one side Venetians are depicted as plotters against Dubrovnik’s independence, on the other the Venetian republic is praised as an ideal government, along the lines of the famous “myth of Venice”.

The first part of the work includes a letter from the author to Dubrovnik’s rulers with thanksgiving for their support and a list of the 132 aristocratic families. The second part consists of three books, preceded by prefaces. After an introduction regarding the origins of the Dalmatian people from Noah and his descendants, and the geographical features of the region, the first book describes the events until 1400, from the foundation of the city (526) on the ruins of Epidaurus, to the countless battles against the Venetians from 871 to the end of the 14th century, and the intervention of the Byzantine and Hungarian Emperors. The deadly plague of 1348 is briefly mentioned and several pages are dedicated to the erection of the churches and to miraculous events from the lives of Saints (the eremite Ilarione, Saint Blaise, etc.). The second book deals with the period from 1400 to 1540, especially focusing on the Ottoman wars and the action taken by the Pope and the Spanish governors, until the alliance between Dubrovnik and the Hungarian Empire. Razzi shows his interest in the Uskoks issue, negatively reporting their terrible exploits (robberies and rapes) during the war against the Turks (1537-40), when they operated under the Venetian authority. The third book is a wide overview of the geography (particularly the islands), the cities, buildings and religious celebrations.

The last part contains a prayer for the city, a letter addressed to the archdeacon of Ragusa, Maurizio Bucchia (18 March 1595) and the “Description of the Gulf and City of Cattaro” by the noble Giovanni Bona de Boliris, a composition of 331 Latin hexameters glorifying the Bay of Cattaro and other localities of the fabulous Gulf.

This copy probably belonged to the Comte Ugo della Gherardesca (1588-1646) from the ancient Tuscan family, who married the noble Lucrezia Capponi. He was a writer of military history and a courtier to Cosimo II, a knight of San Stefano and a senator.

Only the New York Public Library and Forger copies recorded in the US. Not in Adams, BM STC IT, p. 551; Brunet, IV, 1129. Not in Blackmer and Göllner.


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GORDON, Bernard de

Tabula Practice Dicte Lilium Medicine.

Venice, Giovanni & Gregorio de Gregori Fratelli [Benedetto Fontana], 1496/97


4to, ff. (4), 271, (1). Gothic letter, text in double column. Charming title page with large publisher’s woodcut device representing a fountain, floriated initials. Light age yellowing, occasional spotting, minor water stains in throughout, larger in a few places at end, a few leaves oil stained; small paper flaws at extremities and tiny worm holes on t-p and last gathering, small tears to outer lower corners of ff. 17, 234, rear free endpapers slightly torn with no loss, some leaves untrimmed. A good, crisp and well margined copy in later ¼ vellum over original carta rustica, a bit wormed and soiled, early faded ms. and later printed title to flat spine, recased. Four lines inscription to t-p including date and owner’s name in Italian – “Anno Domini 1643, il giorno di San Pelegrino”, “questo libro è di Io. Benedetti” – sparse Latin marginalia by contemporary and later hands throughout and to pastedowns; remains of ms. stubs (C14th), two and a half lines in Hebrew on early vellum (C13th) on front pastedown.

Rare fourth edition of one of the most important medieval medical texts which had wide circulation in manuscript – in translation from Latin into different languages – and then appeared in several printed editions, from the 1480’s in Naples by Francesco del Tuppo for Bernardinus Gerardinus, onwards (W. Osler, Incunabula medica. A study of the earliest printed medical books, 1467-1480, Oxford, 1923, p. 119, n. 198).

From a noble family with roots in Gourdon, a town in the former French province of Quercy (L. Demaitre, “Bernard de Gordon: Professor and Practitioner”, Toronto, 1980, pp. 3, 11), Bernard de Gordon (1260 ca.-1318 ca.) taught at the University of Montpellier in its golden age from the 1250s to at least 1308. Between 1303 and 1305 he wrote his best known work, “Lilium Medicinae”. Fragmentary details of his life and medical influence are known from his seven books and from Chaucer’s prologue to the “Canterbury’s Tales”, where Bernard is listed among the most eminent physicians. He was one of the pioneering pre-Renaissance medical experimentalists who challenged the method of Hippocrates, Galen and Holy Ibn Abbas, focusing on the connection between practice and theory.

The “Lilium Medicine” is an encyclopaedia of diseases with their symptoms, causes, effects and treatments. It summarised all the theoretical and practical medical knowledge then available, showing familiarity with Judeo-Arabic medical treatises and containing original material. It constitutes a valuable source for investigating the changing traditions in Montpellier during its transition from a Salernitan inheritance, with its dependence on Arabic authorities, to Anglo-Norman empiricism and dogmatic scholasticism. The subject matter of the work is arranged in 7 books, each preceded by a table of contents and structured in 163 chapters, divided into 6 sections, covering diseases from the head to toe in order. Each chapter begins with the definition of the disease and its elaboration, also describing the anatomical changes it produces in affected organs. In the second and third sections a list of causes and symptoms accompanying the disease is provided. The fifth and sixth sections discuss the natural history of the disease and the best medical and surgical treatment. The final section of each chapter, called “clarification”, deals with contemporary controversies relating to the questioning of Galenic dogma. Nevertheless, Galen is considered a model, quoted more than 600 times as “God’s servant”. A wide range of diseases is considered, from the acute fever (malaria and bubonic plague), to exanthemata, phthisis, epilepsy, scabies, “ignis sacer”, anthrax, trachoma and leprosy, all described as contagious. The text is especially notable for including one of the first descriptions of hernia truss, of the syndrome of obsessive infatuation and of the use of spectacles. A section contains information on bloodletting, uroscopy and pulse taking; even diseases of the ears and observations in dentistry are embraced. Particularly interesting also is the advice on ethical practice which refers to the essential qualities needed in a doctor: good vision, manual deftness, dexterity, a good memory and clear judgment.

Only BL, Glasgow (Royal College of Physicians and Hunterian) and Wellcome Library copies recorded in the UK. BM STC It. and Brunet list other editions, as well as Dürling and Osler. Not in Heirs of Hippocrates. Goff, B450; GW, 4083; Hain, 7799; Klebs, 177.4; Poynter, 129-131; Wellcome, I, 798.


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SGAMBATO, Giovanni Andrea

De pestilente faucium affectu Neapoli saviente opusculum.

Naples, Tarquinio Longo, 1620.


FIRST and ONLY EDITION. 4to, pp. (8), 71, (1). Roman and Italic letter, printed side notes. Woodcut floriated initials and ornaments representing flowers, birds and other animals. Light age yellowing and slight foxing, upper margin of first two leaves a bit soiled; pastedowns and front endpaper slightly torn, minor paper flaws on a couple of ll., small tear to lower blank margin of p. 67. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, spine in compartments, remains of ties, rubbed. “Bonnet M. R. ord. 1682” in early hand on front pastedown and shelf mark to front endpaper. Four lines early ms. note in French, faded but largely legible, on lower board, directing or recording the delivery of a package of a dozen books, including this one, to a lady, at a particular address (not legible), with their weight and/or price.

Rare medical work on early epidemiology, including its relationship with astrology, by the Neapolitan physician and philosopher Giovanni Andrea Sgambato, a fellow of the important Academy of the Oziosi, founded by the scholar Giambattista Manso (1560-1645).

Over the centuries diphtheria was the cause of many deadly epidemics. Physicians in the Renaissance started its systematisation distinguishing it from other sore throat types and using various Latin names, such as “angina”, “morbus suffocans”, “morbus strangulatorius”, etc. They analysed some important features of the disease, especially the specificity of the pseudomembranes, the infective potential of salivary drops and the palsy of the soft palate. Sgambato is listed among those who first wrote on this acute contagious disease which raged in Spain in 1613 and passed over to the Reign of Naples in the space of a few years. It was called “garrotillo” because the suffocation which ended the patient’s life resembled garrotting, the Spanish method of executing criminals.

Addressed to Francesco Pignatelli (1601-1645), duke of Bisaccia and Comte of Montagano, the dedicatory letter recalls the glorious deeds of Captain Gisulfo Pignatelli during the Byzantine wars (C12) and provides an introduction on the purpose of the work. There follows a preface – anticipating the 27 chapters – which describes the origins of epidemiology through examples from ancient literature, and outlines natural (weather and astronomical events) and supernatural (Pagan God’s wrath) causes of the disease.

According to Sgambato the epidemic occurred in 1617 after the appearance of three comets in the sky which were followed by evident climatic changes in both hemispheres. It was murderous, accompanied by respiratory infections and fever, and physicians were powerless. By an analytical approach Sgambato describes genesis, symptoms, prevention and care method (surgery and drugs) of the disease, also giving a broad overview of the contemporary disputes in relation to its name and nature appealing to different authorities, especially Thucydides, Hippocrates, Galen and Avicenna.

This copy probably belonged to the well-known Swiss physician Théofile Bonnet (1620-1689) who received the MD degree from Bologna University in 1643, later becoming physician to the Duc de Longueville at Neu-Chatel. He wrote various medical works, such as the “Sepulchretum sive anatomia practicea” (1679, 2 vols.) – collecting the results of about 3000 autopsies – which was considered the first complete treatise on pathologic anatomy and anticipated Giovanni Morgagni’s (1682 – 1771) studies.

Not in USTC. Only 6 copies recorded in Europe (Civic Berio, Genoa; Vittorio Emanuele and Società Napoletana di Storia Patria, Naples; BNC – Rome; BnF – Paris; Wellcome and BL, London) and 3 in the US (Academy of Medicine, New York, Yale; University of California; University of Minnesota). Not in Brunet or Graesse. BL., It., II, p. 847; Wellcome, I, 316: 5960. Not in Durling, Osler or Heirs of Hippocrates.


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FREIG, Johannes Thomas


Basel, Sebastian Henric Petri, 1582


FIRST EDITION. 8vo, pp. (16), 366, (2). Roman, Italic, Greek and Hebrew letter. Large printer’s woodcut device on title and last verso, one decorated initial representing a rabbit; folding table after p. 162, woodcut illustration on p. 262 representing a bridge, printed music. Light age yellowing, very rare spotting and staining, paper flaws at head of p. 161 partly affecting half a dozen lines of text, small worm trail to lower margin of last gathering. A very good and clean copy in quarter vellum over boards C1900.

First edition of this interesting and popular early school book, intended as  an introduction to all the subjects of humanist education.

German philosopher and jurist, the Calvinist Johannes Thomas Freig (1543-1583) was a pupil and the first biographer of the famous teacher and educational reformer Pierre de La Ramée (Ramus). Freig was professor of logic and rhetoric in Freiburg and Basel, later becoming rector of the school at Altdorf. He studied Cicero’s works and extensively wrote on philosophy. He also was responsible for the influential “Latina grammatica pro schola Altorfina Noribergensium” (1580).

Freig was inspired by the Ramist logical method according to which discourse is founded on arguments or commonplaces. The “Paedagogus” summarises the ideal curriculum focused on classical learning and religious education in the biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew and Latin), by means of dichotomous tables and an analysis expounded in the form of question and answer. The work starts with Freig’s dedicatory letter to the prince of Marche (Italy) Giovanni Martino Amelio, providing information on the work’s contents and recalling the friendship between the noble Amelio and his father, Nicholas Freig. Then, after a classification of the liberal arts, including a reference list of the most important authors – mainly classical – and a Latin epigram by the French poet Bartelon Pantaleón from Ravières (Bourgogne), the work is divided into 24 chapters each dealing with a different subject. They concern Latin, Greek and Hebrew grammar, with particular attention to classical and biblical (Psalms) texts; French conversation on various cultural topics (wine,  food, places of the house); rhetoric (figures of speech); poetics; logic; geometry (the axis and its use in astronomy and measuring of land; coining); architecture (materials, buildings and their arrangement, with a paragraph on the library); physics, based on Tolomeus’ model; then ethics, economics, politics, military activities (armies, armour, encampment); history; law and medicine (diseases and their symptoms, with a section on the plague).

The chapter on music is the largest and highlights the distance between theory and musical practice. It especially concerns vocal music together with vernacular psalmody and Latin hymns. Recommended books are Boethius’s and Heinrich Glarean’s Dodecachordon (1547).

Adams, F 1013; BM STC Ger., p. 320. Not in Brunet or Graesse.


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Horae beate marie virginis secundum usum Romanum.

[Paris], [Philippe Pigouchet pour Simon Vostre], (1506 ?) [Calendar 1502-1520]


8vo. ff. [140]. [a]8, b-c8, d4, e-s8. Gothic letter, on vellum, 21 lines. 18 full-page metalcuts within metalcut architectural borders, 28 smaller metalcuts in text, and several hundred border metalcuts, many white on black, criblé, rubricated, with liquid-gold initials and line-filler on alternate red and blue grounds of 1 or 2 lines, front vellum fly with contemporary manuscript prayer, ‘Ave Maria’, A1r Title page full page white on black woodcut of Vostre’s device of two leopards (Renouard 1107), A1v almanac for 1502-1520, A2r Skeleton (Zodiacal Man) with four small cuts and text in French, A2v-A8r calendar, a8r-b4r Gospel sequence, b4v-c2v Passion according to St. John, c3v-f3v Hours of the Virgin, f4r-s6r, Seven Penitential Psalms followed by the Hours of the Cross and the Hours of the Holy Spirit, suffrages, mass of St. Gabriel, the hours of the conception, the seven prayers of St. Gregory, s6v-s7r Prayer to God the Father in French, s7v-18v table in French. Vellum very fractionally yellowed in places, very rare marginal mark or very minor thumb soiling, small patch offsetting from one page onto the cut of the Shepherds. A very good copy, in contemporary Parisian calf over thin wooden boards, covers quintuple blind ruled with a central Gril de St Laurent design with floral and lozenge blind rolls, spine with raised bands, well rebacked to match.

A lovely copy of this very rare book of hours finely printed on vellum by Simon Vostre, stunningly and profusely illustrated with two suites of full page woodcuts, a smaller set of woodcuts in the text and a remarkable set of woodcut borders including a complete dance of death (masculine and feminine) all based on designs by Jean Pichore and Jean d’Ypres [also known as the Master of Anne de Bretagne]. Printed Books of Hours beautifully demonstrate the transition between the medieval manuscript the printed they  follow the tradition of the medieval illuminated Book of Hours with all the  new techniques of print. The beautiful detailed metalcuts still follow the traditional iconography of the manuscript Book of Hours, and replace traditional manuscript components, including painted initials, line fillers, and borders on every text page, with further sets of metalcuts.

This example contains illustrations designed by two of the most prolific artists of late-fifteenth- and early-sixteenth-century Paris, both of whom actively supplied designs for the printing trade. “Jean Pichore (active c. 1502–22) who, like the Apocalypse Master, [also known as the Master d’Anne de Bretagne] was a prolific illuminator of manuscripts. Together these two artists were the principal designers of illustrations in Parisian printed books of hours. Pichore also ventured at least once into publishing; together with Rémi de Laistre he published a book of hours, dated 5 April 1503 (1504 n.s.), which he had illustrated with his own printed designs. His designs were subsequently used by publishers Simon Vostre, Thielman Kerver Guillaume Eustache, Germain and Gillet Hardouyn and Anthoine Vérard, among others. Compared to the Apocalypse Master’s essentially French Gothic art, Pichore’s looser, more fluid style is indebted to French and German Renaissance artists such as Poyet, Dürer and Schongauer.” Hilary Maddocks “A book of hours by Anthoine Vérard in the University of Melbourne Library”

The Master of the Très Petites Heures d’Anne de Bretagne played an important role in the production of printed Books of Hours suppling several series of woodcuts for various editions, based on designs that are also found in manuscripts he painted. His style is slightly more antiquated than that of Pichore and usually framed within Gothic architectural elements. His work, particularly the dance of death borders, are particularly charming and his use of white on black criblé grounds very effective and visually striking.

The binding shares a near identical design with one in the British Library, Shelfmark c27e2, which uses the same floral roll, also over wooden boards, also on a book of hours printed on Vellum circa 1507 by Simon Vostre, uncoloured with border illustration, in a 140 leaves of 21 lines, though with a slightly different collation. This might indicate that the binding was made for the editor. It is certainly strictly contemporary.

Bohatta 752, (three copies only) not in Lacombe, or Brunet.


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Lettre de la chine de l’an 1601

Paris, Claude Chappelet, 1605


FIRST EDITION thus. 12mo., ff. 53. a-d12, e5 [lacking blank e6]. Roman letter some Italic. Small woodcut printers unicorn device on title, small grotesque woodcut initials and headpieces, c1700 autograph of Louis Demet on title, modern engraved bookplate on pastedown in Chinese. Light age yellowing, the occasional mark or spot. A very good copy in modern marbled boards, title gilt lettered direct on spine.

Very rare first French translation of this important account of China by the rector of the Jesuit college at Macao, Valentin Carvalho, dealing with the Jesuit activities in the interior and giving a detailed account of Chinese society, first published at Rome in 1603.

“The Society of Jesus insisted from its very beginnings on the production of reports on the activities of its members. These annual letters (Annuae) and other specific reports on events and apostolic activities were primarily intended for the centre—the superior general and his assistants—but from very early began to be copied and circulated, often in printed form. ..Their writers were well educated in the canons of Renaissance humanist history writing. They are more than chronicles or in-house newsletters and although they stray into hagiography at times this is not more marked than in many other histories of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They are generally not uncritical or naïve. ..Such published mission letters were often reprinted in local editions, translated into languages other than the original Latin, included in collections of voyages and the new scholarly periodicals that were read by the educated and well-informed. .. Regarding China, a few of the earliest ones achieved particular notoriety and wide circulation, probably as much for what they reported on a Chinese empire hitherto hardly known to Europeans as for their appeal to a devout European Catholic public. Such, for example, was the annual letter, published in Rome in 1603, of the rector of the Macao college, Valentim Carvalho (1559–1630).  Although the format is a report on what were then the three centres of the mission in 1601, some twenty years after the opening of China proper, and so treated Macau, Nanjing, and Shaozhou, it contains in its 108 pages much “curious” as well as “edifying” information to use the illuminating distinction of the later French Jesuit collections. It is particularly significant for its account of the second and successful attempt by Matteo Ricci (1552–1610), to establish a residence in Beijing. It is, of course, second-hand regarding events inside China but contains much interesting detail not found in other extant writings. It provides, for example, a graphic account of a typhoon which hit Macao, it discusses travel by waterways through China, the Chinese system of government, and the impact of European scientific ideas on Chinese scholars. It would be hard to deny it the label of “history,” nor “mission history” since mission by definition involves what is being “missioned.”.” Paul Rule. ‘The Historiography of the Jesuits in China.”

This French translation is particularly rare, we have found only four copies in libraries, three at Paris; the BNF the Bibliothèque Mazarine and the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, and one other at the BL.

BM STC Fr. C17th p. 268, J169. Cordier Sinica 801.


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Les annales du japon, de la chine, et de mogor.

Liege, chez Art de Coerfvvarem Imp. juré. l’an, 1601


FIRST EDITION thus. 12mo. ff. [lxxxiv] A-G12. Roman letter some Italic. Woodcut printer’s device on title, floriated woodcut initial, grotesque woodcut tailpieces,  typographical headpieces, autograph ‘V. Foster’ on fly, C19th bookseller’s ticket on title, ‘Graham and Son, Dublin’. Light age yellowing, title page a little dusty, the rare marginal spot. A very good copy in C19th three-quarter calf over marble boards, spine triple gilt ruled in compartments morocco label gilt lettered, all edges blue.

Exceptionally rare translation into French of these important Jesuit letters from Japan, China and India; we can find no copies in libraries, the only reference from Cordier Japonica, which cites an incomplete copy. It was the work of the Liegois Jean’Heur who published simultaneously a latin translation with the same publisher, either from the Italian translation or the Portuguese original. He dedicated the work to Prince Ferdinand of Cologne, Duc of Bavaria and the Jesuit Jean Oranus. The Jesuits were officially exiled from Paris from 1595 to 1604 so mission letters in French were often published in Antwerp, Louvain or more rarely Liege. The first two letters are from Japan at a crucial moment in its history and are by Francois Pasie and Pierre Gomer. Both report on the changing political conditions in Japan following Hideyoshi’s death in 1598. “Jesuit documentation is particularly useful for this turbulent period. The missionaries knew the country well enough to be able to express their personal opinions. Nevertheless, when explaining the evolution of the political situation in Japan to the outside world, they transmitted expectations that were very similar to those of the Japanese population in general. Thus, their accounts are particularly interesting and useful for our understanding of these decisive years that preceded the coming to power of the Tokugawa dynasty.” Joao Paulo Oliveira e Costa, ‘Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Christian Daimya During the Crisis of 1600.’  The annual letters, apart from their political and religious information, also constituted the only up-to-date first-hand account of Japan, its cities, economy, industries, armed forces, geography, climate and people, that was then available in western Europe.

The second letter is an early letter from Nicholas Lombard (Niccolo Longobardo) from China also addressed to Claude Aquaviva, which is full of detail observations of the Chinese mission including important insights into how the Jesuits were learning the Chinese language. “Longobardo arrived at Shaozhou from Macau in 1591 and served as Lazarus Cattaneo’s assistant, taking charge of the Shaozhou residence when Cattaneo went north the following year. Longobardo preached in the countryside, winning many converts among the villagers. In 1610, Matteo Ricci summoned him to Beijing, and, when Ricci died, Longobardo succeeded him. Longobardo was among a minority of Jesuit missionaries who objected to Ricci’s adoption of Tian and Shangdi (terms found in the Confucian classics) as translations for the Latin Deus (God)… He died at age 95, having worked about 58 years in China. Upon news of his death, Emperor Shunzhi sent government officials to attend his funeral and donated 300 taels of silver for his burial expenses.” Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity.

The final letter is from the Jesuit mission in Mughal India at the court of Akbar and is from the Jesuit Jerome Xavier, (grand-nephew of Saint Francis Xavier). It gives a remarkable description of the region of Kashmir which he compares favourably to that of Tibet. During the reign of Akbar, Father Jerome accompanied the Emperor on various expeditions throughout the Mughal Empire. He was sent, by popular election, to Lahore in 1595 and his stay there was marked by the hospitality of Akbar who provided Xavier and his two companions, Father Emmanuel Pinheiro and Brother Bento de Góis, with lodgings in his own palace and assigned a Muslim doctor to instruct them in Persian.

A very good copy of this important set of Jesuit letters, the only complete copy we have found in records.

Cordier, Bibliotheca Japonica. p. 234 (incomplete.)


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Commentaires … sur la Concordance ou Harmonie composée de trois Évangélistes, Item sur S. Jehan

[Geneva], Imprimé par Conrad Badius, 1561.


FIRST EDITION thus. 8vo. pp. [xvi] 608. ff. 609-960, [xvi] [last blank]. Text in Italic, commentary in Roman, entirely ruled in red. In the first part the text is in triple column, commentary in double and in the second, commentary is in double column, text single. Title page within four-part grotesque woodcut border, with Badius’ woodcut device, floriated woodcut initials and headpieces. Light age yellowing. A very good copy, crisp and clean in C19th vellum, yapp edges, covers bordered with a red rule, title manuscript on spine, a.e.r.

First edition uniting the two commentaries of Calvin on the New Testament in French translation, beautifully printed by Conrad Badius; a typographical chef d’oeuvre. These two works by Calvin profoundly influenced the Reformed Church. It the first part Calvin provides a commentary on the gospels of Mathew, Mark and Luke. “In the commentary on the Synoptics, Calvin discusses the text primarily on the basis of the sequence in Mathew, but within this framework he also deals with Mark and Luke. In doing so he is following in the footsteps of Martin Bucer, who published a commentary on the Synoptic Gospels in 1527. In the introduction to the commentary, Calvin writes that at first glance many will probably not agree with the way he treats the material. But it is clear, he adds, that none of the three Gospels can be interpreted without comparison with the other two. To prevent having to page back and forth, therefore, it seemed to him that it would be helpful to place the three Gospels side by side in a table, as it were, so that one could clearly see where they do and do not agree with each other.” Wulfert Greef. ‘The Writings of John Calvin.’ The second part contains his Commentary on John which incorporates some of Calvin’s most important views.

“Calvin rapidly became a popular author, enabling him to seek out high-quality printer’s. Calvin made his choices of printer’s based on quality issues and ties of friendship. His preference for Robert Estienne and Conrad Badius was due to the high level of intellectual and printing skills displayed by these two famous representatives of Parisian Humanist printing. While Calvin appeared to be less impressed by the efficiency of the small format editions intended for clandestine networks in Catholic countries, he was very attracted to Estienne’s beautiful folio editions. Clearly Calvin was a bibliophile. However, he knew that to spread his ideas on a wider scale, he needed to rely on smaller sized volumes, especially for works intended for Catholic lands.” Jean François Gilmont. John Calvin and the Printed Book. Conrad Bade is justly recognised as a hugely important publisher just for the publication of his friend Calvin’s works but was also a satirical author in his own right. He published his most famous satirical work the ‘Alcoran des Cordeliers’ in 1556 and followed this with another attack on the abuses of the Church with his ‘Satyres Chrestienes de la Cuisine Papale’.

Brunet I 1502. BM STC Fr. C16th.


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