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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PULCI, Luigi

S’ensuit l’histoire de Morgant le geant.

Paris, Alain Lotrian, [c. 1536]


FIRST EDITION thus. 4to. ff [clx]. ā4, a-­z4, cum4, rum4, A-­O4. Lettre Bâtarde. Title in red and black with three­ quarter page woodcut of a tournament and large floriated white on black criblé initial, 14 woodcuts in text of various sizes, full­-page on verso of title, woodcut floriated and grotesque white on black criblé initials in two or four lines, early shelf­marks on verso of front flyleaf, French ownership inscription on rear pastedown ‘Ce presendte libre appartin a moy Jhan Jaques demourant a annecy 1548. 2 Julliett’ small ink stamp ‘bibliotheca’ on verso of title. Light age yellowing, pale water­ stain on a few leaves, the rare mark or spot. A very good copy, crisp and clean in contemporary vellum wallet binding, recased, tie preserved, inked title to upper cover in an early hand, some stains to covers, repairs to head and tail of spine.

Rare, very charmingly illustrated, early edition of the French translation of the Morgante, a narrative account of the adventures of Orlando and the giant Morgante by Luigi Pulci in the form of a chivalric and ‘carnivalesque’ poem, composed in its final version of 28 cantos in octava rima, first published in Italian in 1478 in 23 cantos. Pulci returned to his poem, and the last five cantos appeared in 1483, including the narrative of the ‘Rotta di Roncisvalle’. The work met with great success and was translated into French prose in 1517 and published at Paris in 1519. The present edition (dated to about 1536) contains three added chapters, chapter 1, and after the end of the narrative, chapters 134 and 135. These added parts constitute a historical framework, relating to Charlemagne, added either by the translator or possibly the printers. The translator is anonymous but indicates the date of completion of his work at the end of the story: August 31, 1517. His work was more an adaptation of the comic narrative of the adventures of Morgan, Roland and Renaud in the time of Charlemagne than a direct translation (see Montorsi, 2011), suppressing for example the episode of Morgant and Margutte, the incredulous demi-giant (a passage judged undoubtedly too heterodox, whereas in Italy it was often reprinted separately). The prologue and the epilogue that he adds to the Italian narrative is made up of histories drawn from the legendary life of Charlemagne presented in quasi-narrative form without mentioning the Italian source. The name of Pulci does not appear on the title page either. The translation, which transposes the hendecasyllabic octaves of the twenty-eight songs into prose and divides the text into chapters, was a great success in France, with eleven editions in the sixteenth century and three in the seventeenth century.

“After enjoying considerable renown in the literary circles of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Morgante, almost totally forgotten in the following century, was harshly criticized by the men of letters of the eighteenth, who considered it to be an inferior burlesque poem, and accused its author of an immoderate lack of respect for religion. Pulci’s masterpiece was well known outside Italy long before the end of the eighteenth century. The florentine poet’s work is credited, in fact, with having influenced Rabelais and Goethe, as well as several English writers. In the introduction to his verse translation of canto I of Morgante ..Lord Byron not only states that Morgante ‘divides with Orlando Innamorato the honour of having informed and suggested the style of Ariosto’ but also recognises Pulci as the ‘founder’ of the new style of Poetry which was flourishing in England in his time.” Edoardo Lebano. Introduction ‘Morgante: The Epic Adventures of Orlando and His Giant Friend Morgante’.

Brunet. 974 ‘Cette edition est imprimée a longues lignes’ Not in BM STC Fr. C16th, Mortimer or Fairfax Murray.


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Des divines institutions, contre les gentilz & idolatres.

Paris, Benoist Prevost, par Estienne Rosset sur le pont sainct Michel, a l’enseigne de la Rose blanche, 1547.


8vo. ff. [xvi] 235 [i]. Roman letter side notes in Italic. Floraited woodcut initials, purchase note of ‘Martin du Rivaige’ on pastedown dated 1584, his autograph on fly, repeated on rear fly, early autograph of ‘Jean de Tieulain d’Arras’ beneath,   ‘Joanis Atrebas’ on rear pastedown, ‘Principe de Belgiojoso’ at head of title in later hand. Light age yellowing, small single worm hole through outer blank margin of first half of work just toughing a few side-notes, the odd marginal spot or mark. A very good, clean copy in contemporary French calf covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, fleurons gilt to corners, large fleuron gilt to centres, spine with blind ruled raised bands, gilt fleurons to centres, repair to tail of spine, corners a little worn.

Rare early edition of this popular and important first French translation of the Divine Institutes by the French humanist and prolific translator René Fame, secretary to François Ist, first published in 1542. This edition was printed by Prevost and shared by at least three publishers including Cavellat. Lactantius was a rhetorician and early Christian apologist who lived in Roman North Africa. He was a pupil of the early Christian scholar Arnobius of Sicca (d. c. 330), travelled widely teaching in the cities of the Eastern Empire, and was appointed to a professorship in Nicomedia by the Emperor Diocletian, entering the imperial circle. There he presumably met the future Emperor Constantine, and himself became a convert to Christianity. He destroyed his earlier pagan writings, resigned his post and fled, fearing Diocletian’s purge of Christians and the first imperial edict against the religion in 303. Jerome records that he then lived in poverty, until Constantine came to power and recalled him to the imperial court in 311/13, appointing him tutor to his son Crispus. He must have died in the 320s. His works were rediscovered during the Renaissance, and his elaborate rhetorical Latin style proved immensely popular, earning him the title the “Christian Cicero” from humanists such as Pico della Mirandola.

The Divine Institutes is his magnum opus, written during his period of court exile. It contains seven lengthy treatises which set out a comprehensive survey of Christian theology, and build an argument intended to show the reasonableness and truth of Christianity and the futility of pagan beliefs. More importantly for the Renaissance and modern readers, Lactantius frequently quotes Classical sources in this work, and in fact this was the principal vehicle through which Renaissance readers came into contact with the Latin Classics. Lactantius includes substantial quotations from two lost works by Cicero, the Hortensius and Consolatio, and all of our modern reconstructions of those texts are based on his excerpts. In addition, he knew a complete copy of Cicero’s De Legibus, a text which now survives only in a fragmentary state, and his quotations add substantially to our knowledge of it. His frequent citation of sources also has importance for early Biblical scholarship, in that his fourth book includes some seventy-three quotations from the Old Latin Bible, the Latin version of the first few centuries of Christian history, which was replaced by Jerome’s Vulgate in the late fourth century, and does not survive anywhere as a complete text. This edition, as all early translations of his works, is rare.

Martin du Riviage is probably the Magistrate and minister general of the Treasury at Lille, a lawyer and brother in law of the City’s mayor who was in office between 1591 and 1625.

Graesse V p. 68. Not in BM STC Fr. C16th, or Brunet.


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Le Demosterion de Roch le Baillif edelphe medecin spagiric. Sommaire veritable de la medecine Paracelsique, …Petit traite de lantiquite et singularites de Bretagne amorique.

Rennes, pour Pierre le Bret marchant libraire, demeurant audict lieu pres la porte S. Michel, 1578.

FIRST EDITION. Two parts in one. 4to. pp. [xvi], 190 [i.e. 202], without last blank. Two folding tables. ā4, ē4, A- M4, N8, O6, P-Z4, a4. Roman letter, some Italic. Small printer’s anchor device on both titles, floriated and grotesque woodcut initials, woodcut ornaments, chirographic woodcut, two large folding astrological tables, one on the 28 phases of the moon, the other on the conjunction of the planets, ms. exlibris on pastedown of B.E.J. Pagel, C19th bibliographical notes on fly. Light age yellowing, a few quires browned, some occasional spotting, original paper flaw in é4 with loss of a few letters in printing, tiny worm trail at gutter of second work. A good copy in early C19th half calf over blue paper boards, vellum corners, spine gilt ruled with tan morocco label, a little rubbed.

Very rare, first and only early edition of this most interesting alchemical treatise on spagyric medicine, complete with its second part, of particular interest in connection to the history of Brittany. Le Baillif was the personal physician to Henry I of Rohan in Brittany where he composed these two remarkable works. He was prosecuted by the Paris faculty of Medicine for his works, particularly the first work in this volume, the ‘Demosterion’, as they were not in conformity with the teachings of the Sorbonne. He was defended by Etienne Pasquier and finished by avoiding all condemnation. The faculty then published three works which called on the King to defend against charlatans. His works however were influential, particularly on the ‘Chimistes’ at the court of Henri IV.

In the first work Le Baillif ambitiously takes on the task of proposing a ‘sommaire véritable de la médecine paracelsique’. His dedication takes the form of a defence of Paraclesic medicine, not as a new form of medicine, but as medicine that rediscovers Hippocrates’ original intentions and methods. He gives a very methodical exposé of the fundamental principles of the doctrine, the four foundations of which are philosophy, astronomy, alchemy and virtue.He divides the work into five parts; three hundred aphorisms in French and Latin taken from Paraclesius, a brief discussion of magic, a dictionary of terms and finally a text on chiromancy.

The second work is of particular interest to the history of Brittany as in it Le Baillif gives the location of three ‘bains’ or sources containing minerals that, according to his theses, could cure a variety of illnesses. This was due to the particularly high mineral and metal content of these waters which Le Baillif claimed could cure such illnesses as paralysis or leprosy according to spagyric theory. He claims to have risked his life many times over in the search for these sources. The second source contained water that was so charged with ‘Taclh et amyanthe’ that when the sun shone it was difficult to keep yours eyes on it, so much it became mirror like. Its particularities make it a cure for contractions, and colic. He claims to have found traces of metals in the ‘Massif Armorican’ and that the waters from these hills would carry these metals and could cure illness because of their high metallic quality. He also made a study of the stones and fossils of the area including such things as ‘La dent Amorique’ or the ‘Crapudine’. These stones, it has been suggested, could have referred to fossilised teeth or even to neolithic arrowheads. Brunet ‘Livre rare et curieux, surtout a cause du dernier traite qu’on y trouve page 161 et suiv., et qui a pour titre Petit traite de l’antiquité et singularités de Bretagne amorique.’

Bernard Pagel FRS was a British astrophysicist, the son of physician and medical historian Walter Pagel and grandson of the renowned German physician Julius Pagel.

BM STC Fr. C16th p. 258. Brunet III 897. Welcome 3688. Durling 2746 (imperfect.) Caillet 6279. Not in Cantamessa or Osler.




BIBLE. Bibel das ist alle Bucher Alts und News Testaments ach alter in Christlicher kyrchen gehabter translation mit auslegung ettlicher dunckeler ort vn besserung vieler verruckter wort und spruche so bisher in andern vorhin ausgangen Teutschen Bibeln gespurt und gesehen.

Köln, Johann Quentel, 1550.

Folio. Two vols. in one. Ff. [xii] cccclxij cxxxviij. Gothic letter, double column. Both titles within elaborate woodcut borders depicting biblical scenes, many small column width woodcut illustrations, a larger more elaborate suite used in the Apocalypse, large gothic woodcut initials, “ad P.P. Franciscanos Ingolstadii.” with shelf mark at head of title, notes in an early nineteenth century hand with drawings in pencil loosely inserted in text, notes in the same hand with biblical drawings on both pastedowns. First two leaves restored at inner margin, light marginal water-staining in places, light age yellowing with a little browning and spotting, the occasional marginal mark or spot. A good copy in contemporary German pigskin over thick bevelled wooden boards, covers blind ruled to a panel design, outer panels filled with heads in medallion roll, central panel blind ruled to a lozenge form with foliated blind rolls, blind stamps to corners and centre, spine with blind ruled raised bands, covers worn and scratched, later brass clasps, early repairs to lower cover using blind-stamped pigskin from other bindings, spine with small tear restored. Curious designs to upper edges comprising 2 circles, one depicting the instruments of the passion and the other a face(?), partly erased initials or monogram in between.

Rare third edition of Dietenberger’s translation, based on the Vulgate, of the Bible into German, charmingly  illustrated; early editions of this important Catholic translation into German are rare. “Dietenberger’s Bible was printed by Peter Jordan at Mainz in 1534, appearing a few months before the first complete Wittenberg Bible. At first it could hardly hold its own against the genuine Lutheran version, and new editions of it were rare (1540 and1550 only). But in the period of the Counter-Reformation, when the purchase and possession of Lutheran Bibles were heavily punished, it served as a kind of substitute for the real thing – doubtless because of its close adherence to the text and style of the linguistically successful Lutheran version. In consequence it found a considerable market, then and in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In the second half of the sixteenth century alone it was reprinted at Cologne no less than seventeen times.”. S. L. Greenslade “The Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 3, The West from the Reformation”.

“This work, repeatedly corrected, especially by Caspar Ulenberg (Cologne, 1630) and the Jesuit theologians of Mainz (1661), was destined to become for the German people “Die Katholische Bibel”, a title bespeaking its excellence. Dietenberger has been frequently charged with having purloined Luther’s version. True, he used freely the New Testament of Emser (1527), of whom Luther was wont to say that “he had ploughed with his heifers”; he used likewise other translations compiled in pre-Reformation times, and so did Luther. These facts may account for many similarities; moreover, he was well acquainted with the versions of Luther and of Leo of Juda, and confessedly profited by them to improve his own.” Catholic Encyclopaedia.

The woodcuts in this edition are charming, especially those of the title borders. “Johann Quentel made a somewhat awkward adaptation of this (Woensam) border for the title page of the 1550 printing of Johann Dietenberger’s (1475-1537) German New Testament (third edition). Dietenberger’s translation was first issued in 1534 and went through fifty-eight editions to become the premiere Catholic Bible in the German language for two centuries. Quentel’s addition to the Woensam title border (here on the New Testament) was a new (and a bit too large) upper panel that depicted Jesus’ transfiguration. In the scene Moses and Elijah appear in the clouds above Jesus, and Peter, James, and John below. God reigns above all and bears the globus cruciger in his left hand, declaring in Latin, “This is my beloved son, listen to him.” Here, the transfiguration of Jesus (head) and the story of redemption through Christ (base) bracket those who wrote the New Testament books and interpreted them for the church through the centuries. This provides, therefore, the hermeneutical key for understanding the New Testament: Christ supersedes the authorities of the Old Testament and has redeemed humanity, as those who recorded his witness, interpreted it for the church, and confessed it through their devotion.” M. Patrick Graham. ‘Framing Books and Reading: An Exploration of Sixteenth Century Title Borders.’

BM STC Ger. C16th. USTC 616419. Darlow and Moule 4200. (1st edn. only)







LE FLUX DISSENTERIQUE des bourses financieres, ou, La dissenterie des financiers : ensemble le Salué regine desdits financiers à la royne mere.

[Paris?] np., npr., 1624.

RESPONSORIUM au Salve Regina des financiers

Paris [npr., nd. 1624?]


FIRST EDITIONS. 8vo. Two works. 8vo. 1) pp 16. A-B8. 2) pp. 8. A4. Roman and Italic letter. Light age yellowing, title of first a little dusty. Both works mounted as pamphlets within larger sheets of paper.

Exceptionally rare and interesting polemical pamphlets concerning financiers, one in the form a allegorical medical satire, and the other a direct response to a previous pamphlet issued on behalf on financiers calling for help from the Queen after they had incurred heavy losses to their investments. The financiers plight was also closely linked to the extraordinary struggle for power taking place in France that culminated in Cardinal Richelieu becoming de facto ruler of France. Richelieu had supported the Marquis de la Vieuville to a place on the council and obtained a position for him as ‘Surintendent des Finances’. De Vieuville had the support of the major financiers of France, and headed “the first government of the financial plutocracy in the History of France”.A. D. Lublinskaya ‘French Absolutism: The Crucial Phase, 1620-1629’. His position on the council lasted less that a year, Richelieu joining the council himself in April 1624, within three months ousteding La Vieuville,  and taking the role as head of the council in August. It is possible that these pamphlets were also written as part of a propaganda campaign against the financiers organised by Richelieu.

The first work takes the form of an allegorical medical satire in which the Financiers, suffering from terrible indigestion having gorged themselves excessively, find a cure thanks to the intervention of the “grand Operateur’, the reparation of the abuses they have committed, and the intercession of “Marie” (the Queen Mother) to whom they address a Salve Regina. “Apres avoir mangé tant de raisins & de figues durnat les vendanges dernieres que la dissenterie si est mise á la malheure, ce ne sont pas figues d’Esope, mais bien d’autres en plus grande quantité dont la fieuvre leas en a pris , d’une tel facon que la pluspart avec de grans efforts vomissent les grappes de raisin & les figues encore toutes entieres”. The pamphlet goes on to state that the cure for such an illness does not require much medical intervention, simply the adoption of a reasonable and healthy diet, that does not over abuse. The work ends with a the poem “La prierre ou Salve Regine des Financiers” in which the financiers admit their fault and demand pardon for their crimes, that merit either hanging or imprisonment, but hope for clemency from the Queen.

The second work is a direct rebuttal of the clemency and bailout demanded by the financiers in the “Salve Regina” stating that that financiers themselves showed no mercy for the orphans, widows and the people of France that they bled dry. In it an adversary of Tax collectors declares “Vous demandez qu’on aye compassion de vos misseres, & des calamitez qui vous pendent sur le Chef: Et que seront donc les clameurs de tant de pauvres Orphelins, desquels vous avez succé la substance? A quoy les plainctes de tant de Veufues que vous avez rongez iusques aux os? & les cris de tout le peuple qui gemit soubs le faix pesant de vos extorsions & pilleries? Non, non n’esperez aucune misericorde du Roy, ny de la Reyne Mere; il ne vous peut pardonner sans faire une injustice à toute la France, qui veut voir le fonds de vos bourses, puis que vous avez voulu voir le fonds de ses coffres”.

Both these pamphlets are exceptionally rare. We have found only one copy of the second at the BNF and two of the first at Newberry and Yale. Most interesting and most topical works.

1) Lindsay & Neu. French political pamphlets, 5104. Alain Mercier. ‘La littérature facétieuse sous Louis XIII: 1610-1643 : une blibiographie.’ 298 2) Alain Mercier. ‘La littérature facétieuse sous Louis XIII: 1610-1643 : une blibiographie.’ 298


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Paris, Cinqieme jour de Octobre, 1594.


Single vellum leaf, [ cm. x  cm.] folded in two. Ten lines of manuscript, in a fine C16th French secretarial hand, autograph of Henry IV below, another illegible beneath, title of document on outer fold, with autograph ‘Marssl.’ beneath, for whom the debt was paid. Original paper flaw, sewn up in upper blank margin, small stain across manuscript not affecting script, light yellowing in places. Very good.

Most interesting document signed by Henri IV of France, the year of his coronation and legitimisation as King of France, in which he settles the debt, of 70,254 sols or sous, of his former councillor, the celebrated jurist and author, the protestant Francois Hotman. Francois Hotman was one of the most important Jurists of his age, and some have described him as an early revolutionary, for his legal treatises which proposed curtailing the power of the monarchy, and introducing greater democracy to court. In 1580 he was appointed councillor of state to Henry, as King of Navarre and was admitted to the Privy Council of King Henry (of France) in December 1585. In 1589 he retired to Basel, where he died, leaving two sons and four daughters; he was buried in the cathedral. His most important work, the Franco-Gallia (1573), found favour neither with Catholics nor with Huguenots in its day (except when it suited their purposes); yet its vogue has been compared to that obtained later by Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s, Contrat Social. It presented an ideal of Protestant statesmanship, pleading for a representative government and an elective monarchy. It served the purpose of the Jesuits in their pamphlet war against Henry. He intervened directly in support of Henry IV in his writings on many occasions such as when Pope, Sixtus V, appalled that France was going to fall into Protestant hands, wrote the Declaratio, freeing all Frenchmen from obedience to his authority in the event of Henri’s becoming King. Hotman was incensed at this intervention in France’s internal affairs and responded with a polemical and scholarly attack on the Declaratio, the temporal authority and political pretensions of the Papacy.

In October 1594 when this document was created, Henri had been crowned and legitimised as King of France, only seven months earlier, suggesting it was given some priority. It is witnessed by Philippe Hurault, comte de Cheverny (1528 – 1599) the leading minister and lawyer who was Chancellor of France from 1583 to 1588 and again reinstated by Henri IV in 1590. During his term as chancellor under Henry III he was considered de facto head of government.

This document does not state why this sum of money was being paid four years after Hotman’s death; it may have been a  royal acknowledgement of Hotman’s long term and invaluable defence of Henri’s right to the French throne, now finally achieved.


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