RELIGIOUS ATTIRE OF THE MIDDLE AGES, FROM THE LIBRARY OF COUNT BRIENNE

Cleri totius Romanae Ecclesiae subiecti, seu, Pontificiorum ordinum omnium omnino vtriusque sexus, habitus … nunc primum a Iudoco Ammanno expressi.

Frankfurt, Sigismund Feyrabend, 1585.

£5,950

FIRST EDITION. 8vo. ff. (114). A6, B-Z4, a-e4. Italic letter. Woodcut of the Pope on title page, woodcut printer’s device on recto of last leaf of first part, second title and recto of last, 103 half-page woodcuts, floriated initials and tail pieces in second part, “Ex libris Joannis Triludani, ex dono Dni. magistri guillimi legros. DelaMari” in contemporary manuscript on title page. Light age yellowing, title page slightly dusty, small tear with old repair in blank margin, minor marginal water stains, occasional thumb marks. A very good copy in C17th French calf, covers bordered with triple gilt rule, large arms of Louis-Henri de Loménie, Comte de Brienne gilt at center, spine with raised bands richly gilt in compartments, red morocco title label, all edges red. Tail band missing, joints slightly scratched and rubbed.

First edition of this important work on the costumes of the clergy and religious orders, the fruit of the creative partnership of Jost Amman and publisher Sigismund Feyrabend, illustrated with over one hundred woodcuts, among the finest examples of the use of the woodcut for illustration. There is a short text by Franciscus Modius which traces the origins of the Religious Orders, and each cut is accompanied by Latin verses, which include descriptions of the colours of the various monastic garments, and details of the orders.

The costumes represent the most important figures of the Roman Catholic Church (Pope, cardinal, patriarch, bishop, deacon, legate, canon, priest), and the medieval and modern Religious Orders, counting among the most significant the Theatines, Benedictines, Vallombrosians, Celestines, Templars, Camaldulians, Hieronymites, Carthusians, Cistercians, Premonstratenses, Augustinians, Dominicans, Carmelites, Capuchins etc. The illustrations depict the main monastic Order (the Benedictines being the largest), mendicant Orders (e.g. the Dominican Order, founded in 1215 by St. Dominic), and regular Clerics (e.g. the Theatines, founded in 1524 by St. Cajetan and Caraffa, later Pope Paul IV). They also include nuns (e.g. Dominicans, Poor Clares, Brigittines), women who, hardly less than men, played a great part in monasticism. All are standing, apart from the first four figures (Pope, cardinal, patriarch and bishop), who sit on a throne.

The costumes are depicted in considerable detail with great verve and realism. Amman, whose career flourished after his move to Nuremburg in 1561, succeeded Virgil Solis as artist for the printer Carl Sigmund Feyerabend. He was hugely prolific; one of his pupils stated that the drawings he made over four years would have filled a hay wagon, and about 1,500 prints are attributed to him. He was one of the last major artists to produce woodcuts for book illustration, as during his lifetime engravings started to gradually take over. Like most woodcut artists, he normally let a specialist ‘formschneider’ cut the block to its drawing, although he sometimes included both a cutter’s knife and a quill pen in his signature on prints, suggesting he sometimes cut his own blocks.

From the extraordinary collection of Louis-Henri de Loménie, Comte de Brienne (1635 – 1698). His madness, brought on by the death of his wife, and relieved by periods of lucidity, did not prevent him from writing memoirs which present much invaluable historical information, or from assembling a fine library, on which he spent almost 80,000 livres. “Presque tous ses livres sortait des mains de Dusseuil.” Guigard. After his death, the collection was dispersed by his son, also named Louis-Henri. “Au grand détriment de la bibliophilie française” (Guigard, 328), it was sold by the London bookseller James Woodman in 1724. Books on the market with Loménie de Brienne’s arms are now rare.

BM STC Ger. C16. p. 623. Fairfax Murray. I 33. Adams A966 & M1535. Colas 120 Guigard II p. 327.

L1184

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