BIBLE

IN A TAPESTRY WORK BINDING AND THE ONLY COPY

BIBLE. The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, newly translated out of the original Greek: and with the former translations diligently compared and revised by His Majesties speciall command.

Edinburgh, printed by Robert Bryson, and are to be sold at his shop …, 1641

[with]

PSALMS. The Whole Booke of Psalmes. Collected Into English meter by Tho. Sternhold, Jo. Hopkins, W. Whittingham and others, conferred with the Hebrew.

London, imprinted by I. L. for the Company of Stationers., 1643.

£8,500

24mo. Two vols. in one. 1) 264 unnumbered leaves, A-Y12. 2) pp. 282 [vi]. A-M12. Roman letter. First title with typographical border within line border, second title with typographical border, woodcut initials and other woodcut and typographical ornaments in both vols. Early woodcut bookplate of Edwards or Edwardes, baronets, of Shrewsbury on pastedown, “Mary Edwards, 1759” ms. below, autograph Margarett Haynes on front fly. Light age yellowing, X6 with tiny tear with slight loss to a few letters, a few creases in places, the rare marginal spot or mark. Very good copies, crisp and clean, in a charming contemporary tapestry-work embroidered binding on fine canvas, covers and turn ins with a sliver thread border, all over designs of two large flowers, with birds and insects interspersed, on covers, spines with embroidered bands with small flowers in compartments, all edges gilt. Extremities a little worn, upper joint with small crack, small losses to the silver thread border.

Exceptionally rare; most probably the unique surviving copy of the second work, which is not recorded in ESTC, and the only complete surviving copy of the first, in a fine contemporary embroidered binding worked in colours with tapestry-stitch. It is in itself a rare example of a near miniature tapestry work binding.“English books bound in embroidered canvas range over a period of about two hundred and fifty years, the earliest known specimen dating from the fourteenth century, and instances of the work occurring with some frequency from this time until the middle of the seventeenth century. The majority of these bindings are worked in tapestry-stitch, or tent-stitch, in designs illustrating Scriptural subjects in differently coloured threads.” Davenport. English Embroidered Bookbindings.

This copy has been finely worked with minute stitching, with flowers on both covers in blues, greens, yellows, browns and reds, the delicate stitching creating subtle grades of colour. The spine has been worked in bands with small embroidered flowers in imitation of an normal binding. It is possible that the binding was made in Scotland, though the later provenance is English.

“In the sixteenth century embroidered work was very popular with the Tudor princesses, gold and silver thread and pearls being largely used, often with very decorative effect. The simplest of these covers are also the best—but great elaboration was often employed …..Under the Stuarts the lighter feather-stitch was preferred, and there seems to have been a regular trade in embroidered Bibles and Prayer-books of small size, sometimes with floral patterns, sometimes with portraits of the King, or Scriptural scenes.” Davenport.

Davenport also notes that ladies often made embroidered gloves to match the binding “in hands thus gloved these little bindings, always pretty, often really artistic, must have looked exactly right, while their vivid colours must have been admirably in harmony with the gay Cavalier dresses.” Embroidery or needlework had been employed on ms. service books in medieval times but almost no English examples survive. The majority of surviving examples, and the only ones appearing on the market, date from the first half of the C17 when they again became fashionable on small service books or works of piety, particularly among ladies of rank. Few have endured in anything like their original condition. Fragile at best, many have become dilapidated through usage and later neglect, some were defaced or completely destroyed by disapproving Puritans during the Civil War, whilst the richest were invariably looted for their gold and silver threads. Where as here, they have  survived virtually intact, few artefacts are more redolent of the feminine culture and society of Stuart England.

The only institutional copy recorded of this edition of the New Testament is in the National Library of Scotland (imperfect). For the second work ESTC records a 32mo edition of the Psalms by the same printer in 1643 (Wing B2394) but no copy of this 24mo. edition.

  1. ESTC R172929 One copy only at National Library of Scotland (incomplete lacking three leaves). Wing B2645A.
  2. Unrecorded.

L2264

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BIBLIA

Biblia utriusque Testamenti.

[Geneva], Robert Estienne, 1556-1557.

£65,000

In 2 vols. Fol., ff. [10], 188, 316, [2], 436, 336, 41, [1]. Predominantly Roman letter, some Greek and Hebrew; large printer’s device and decorative head-piece with vine and peasants on title and half-title, a few detailed illustrations, one full-page; title slightly dust-soiled with torn outer lower corner, a few leaves age yellowed, occasional light foxing mainly to margins, small marginal waterstain to final gatherings of vol. 2. A stunning, well-margined copy in exceptional morocco by the King’s binder of Geneva (cf. M. M. Foot, The Henry Davis Gift, pp. 279-285, nos 226-229), elegantly tooled with gilt and painted black border with panel of interlacing ribbons, painted black, and gouges, unpainted, on background powdered with dots, one mask at head and one at foot, some elements carved after gilding; spine similarly tooled, all board edges gilt with horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, all edges gauffered with gilt floral and grotesque motifs; joints possibly strengthened, a little rubbed at corners; eighteenth-century English annotation on front pastedown of vol. 1, quoting from the 1732 English translation of Calmet’s Dictionnaire historique, critique, chronologique, géographique et littéral de la Bible; c19 stamp of ‘G. W. Oxenham’ on front pastedown of both vols, Magg’s acquisition labels (March 1940) on rear pastedown of vol. 2.

Splendidly bound copy of the fifth edition of the renowned Latin Bible of Robert Estienne (1503-1559). It was the first to include Theodor Beza’s translation and commentaries on the New Testament, following Estienne’s conversion to Calvinism and subsequent move to Geneva. The book retains the detailed woodcut illustrations of the 1540 edition and the Latin version of the Old Testament by Sante Pagnini. Although this was not exactly the first attempt to separate and number biblical verses, the vast influence of the edition made this practice accepted once and for all.

The extraordinarily rich and detailed binding on both volumes can be attributed with certainty to the King’s binder, who was arguably the best in Geneva in the second half of the sixteenth century and probably a Parisian craftsman who emigrated due to unorthodox religious belief (I. Schunke, ‘Die Genfer Einbände in U. Fuggers Bibliothek’, in Die Einbände der Palatina, I, Vatican, 1962, pp. 218-236 and M. M. Foot, ‘The Geneva King’s binder and other 16th-century bindings decorated with masks’, Association International de Bibiliophilie: XXIVe Congrès 2005, pp. 17-29). His elaborate style, influenced by Parisian models, is characterised by lavish gauffering and use of grotesque and bizarre masks (here a sad-looking king and a staring ram) as decorative elements at head and foot of covers, from which the rest of the interlacing decoration usually springs.

BM STC Fr., Supplement, 11; Adams, B 1055 ; Darlow & Moule, 614; Renouard, 87 (‘depuis long-temp fort rare’); Schreiber, 113; Brunet, I, 876; Graesse, I, 394.

K94

LATIN (WITH SOME GREEK AND HEBREW)

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BIBLE

GENEVA MARRIAGE BINDING

La Bible (with) Les CL. Pseaumes de David, … mis en rime francoise par Clément Marot, & Théodore de Besze. Avec la forme des prières ecclésiastiques, et la manière d’administrer les sacremens, & célébrer le mariage…

Geneva, de l’imprimerie de Matthieu Berjon, 1605

£9,500

8vo. 2 vols in 1. 1)ff. [iv], 412, 96, 130, [ii]. *⁴ a-z⁸ A-Z⁸ Aa-Ee⁸ Ff⁴, aa-mm⁸, AA-QQ⁸ RR⁴ 2) 80 unnumbered leaves. Aa-Kk8. Entirely ruled in red. Roman letter, some Italic, double column, copious woodcut musical notation in second work, bookplate of Madeleine and René Junod and label of the exhibition ‘Dix siècles de livres français’ organised by the Musée des Beaux-Arts at Lucerne on the 9 July to 2 October 1949 (cat., n°357) on pastedown. Light age yellowing, some water staining to title and last leaf, the odd marginal spot or mark. A very good copy in a stunning, exceptionally preserved, contemporary mosaique binding of tan morocco with darker morocco inlays, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, outer dentelle border made with a series of repeated gilt tools, outer panel with inlaid ovals at corners, gilt fleurons, and small inlaid circles with gilt fleurons repeated with semé of gilt pointillée tools around, central panel with corners of small inlaid ovals and circles with gilt fleurons finely worked with small tools, central arabesques of inlaid circles around a large central oval, gilt, worked in gilt fine small fleurons, pointillée tools, and leafy sprays, spine worked to a very similar panel design with the same use of inlays and fine tools, very finely worked silver clasps and catches, catches with grotesques heads and clasps with small musicians and grotesque heads, ‘Louis Du Four 1616’ stamped on verso of upper clasp, “Catherine Franconis” to lower, all edges gilt and finely gauffered, later endpapers.

A rare edition of this finely printed Protestant bible in a beautiful and richly worked contemporary mosaique morocco binding, immaculately preserved, with its original silvers clasps and catches, a most handsome present commissioned for the wedding of in Geneva in1617 of Louis Dufour and Catherine Franconis. The Société Genevoise de Généalogie states that Catherine Franconis married, on 2nd February 1617, at the Temple of Saint-Gervais in Geneva, Louis Dufour and they later had a daughter Madeleine Dufour which confirms that this bible must have been made as a wedding gift. Their names are jointly stamped on the verso of the catches with the date 1616. The lovely Geneva binding is a very fine example of the best bindings of the period, extremely finely and delicately worked for its small size, with tiny inlays of darker morocco, making for a subtle all over design. The shape of the Bible with its large flat spine allowed the binder to create a most unusual panel design on the spine mirroring those of the covers. The silver clasps and catches are very beautifully worked in very fine grotesques and survive in perfect condition, as does the rest of the binding. This Bible was exhibited in the exhibition ‘Ten centuries of the French Book’ (Dix siècles de livres français) organised by the Musée des Beaux-Arts at Lucerne on the 9 July to 2 October 1949 (cat., n°357)

This Geneva Bible, beautifully printed in a very fine minuscule Roman type, imitates, on a small scale, the great Estienne folio Bibles of the previous century. It is completed with the addition of a Psalter, by the same printer, probably intended to accompany this Bible, though they are not always found together. The Psalter is followed with the ‘forme des prières ecclésiastiques’, the catechism, and the confession of faith in 40 articles by the Reformed Church of France. (“Confession de foi faite d’un commun accord par les François qui désirent vivre selon la pureté de l’Evangile de Nostre Seigneur Jésus-Christ”). A finely printed Bible remarkably preserved in a most beautiful contemporary binding.

BM STC Fr. C17th p. 50, B791. Darlowe and Moule. 3744 ‘French Geneva version. A close reprint of the edition of 1588”.

L2196

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BIBLE, Cistercian

A MONUMENTAL 12TH-CENTURY CISTERCIAN LATIN BIBLE

BOOKS OF ISAIAH, JEREMIAH, EZEKIEL, DANIEL, EPISTLES, ACTS, APOCALYPSE AND GOSPELS

Illuminated manuscript on vellum.

Italy, Lombardy, circa 1170-1190.

£240,000

460 x 310 mm, 251 leaves on parchment, substantially complete: I8-1 (i excised, probably blank), II-XIII8, XIV8+2 (bifolium added between vi and vii), XV-XVII8 (iii and vi as singletons), XVIII-XXXI8), wanting a quire after VIII (fol. 63), two after XXIV (fol. 194), and quire XXXII but for fol. 251, Catchwords at lower margin of last verso of quires; paper flyleaf and conjoint pastedown at beginning and end. 325 x 204 (93, 21, 90) mm; ruled for two columns and 34 lines of text in lead point, pricking at upper and lower margins and fore-edge (from recto), additional vertical line between the bounders dividing the two columns. North-Italian transitional caroline script (Littera carolina) in brown, corrections and additions in black throughout and text on additional leaves 110-111 provided by a second contemporary North-Italian Cistercian hand (Littera protogothica textualis); marginal notes referring to readings in the refectory in the Gospels: “Hic dimittatur legere in refectorio” (fols 201r,  215r, 239r) and “Hic incipiatur legere” (fols 217v, 242r); marginal chapter references in an Italian hand in grey ink throughout, c.1400. Rubrics, often with notes in small hand (littera glossularis), in lower (occasionally upper) margin as on fol. 109v, providing guidance to the rubricator, chapter numbers and marginal numbering of the biblical readings (Lc .I. , Lc .II. etc) in red throughout; running titles by rubricator in red at beginning and end of gatherings up to fol. 103r, otherwise in dark brown or grey ink by different hands to the end of the Epistles (fol. 166v). Two large initials (9-15 lines), the first in blue, the second blue and red, both with penwork decoration in red, blue and green and followed by first words of text in red capitals touched in blue (fols 2r and 35v); one large 7 line initial in blue with reserved blank and penwork decoration in red and yellow (fol. 95v); similar large initials (6-13 lines) in red, occasionally extending into the margin, at beginning of texts (fols 119v-242v); minor initials (2-4 lines) in red, green and red (fol. 15v) or blue and red (fol. 107v) throughout. Three large initials (16-25 lines) in red with reserved red and black penwork decoration supplied to the additional text on fols 110r, 111r and 111v. Strong Italian parchment, with a number of natural flaws and some cuts with medieval repairs (see fol. 20); fol. 119 with a long horizontal cut, but complete; lower margin of fols 232-233 and 237 and fore-edge of fol. 238 cut away; overall in good condition. In later brown sheepskin over unbevelled wooden boards, some scuffmarks, sewn on four double-split spine bands of alum-tawed skin, two endbands on parchment core with yellow sewing thread, now loose, and title “Quat. [?] Proph. mai / et / Plus [?].Lib.N.Test.” on spine, shelfmark “229” in black ink on upper pastedown; shelfmarks “35” and “67” on spine, all 17th/18th century.

This splendid volume was produced in Northern Italy in the second half of the twelfth century for the use of a monastery of the Cistercian order, established in 1098 by Robert of Molesme at Cîteaux. The unusual order of the biblical texts (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel; Epistles, Acts and Apocalypse; the Gospels), reflects a programme of reading in the Night Office carried out in Cistercian communities from Advent to Epiphany, Lent, and Easter to Pentecost (ordo librorum ad legendum; Reilly 2005, pp. 169-170). The Cistercians included the reading of the four Gospels into the refectory element of their annual cycle, but excluded the Passion narratives as highlighted in the manuscript by the marginal notes “Hic dimittatur legere in refectorio” (fols 201r,  215r, 239r) (Webber 2010, pp. 20 n. 47, 32). The large size of the volume, the two-column layout, well-spaced lettering and use of red minor initials throughout were designed to assure legibility for reading aloud. The additional punctuation supplied by the second hand in a darker ink in accordance with the Cistercian practice of indicating short, medium and long pauses in the reading, supplied further helpful guidance (Parkes 1992, pp. 195, 197). The textual corrections by this second hand testify to the attention paid to the correctness of biblical texts in accordance with St Bernard of Clairvaux’s wishes.

The sober yet elegant decoration of the initials also follows the Cistercian practice of austerity, including restrained decoration in their manuscripts. The initials to Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel are similar in style to those found in a 12th-century manuscript Bible now in the Biblioteca Civica “Angelo Mai” at Bergamo, MA 600 (olim Alpha V 17; see Zizzo), with an almost certain Cistercian origin. The three initials in red with reserved and red and black penwork decoration on leaves 110r-111v are consistent with the decoration of Cistercian manuscripts produced in Italy, as in two 12th-century codices; an Office lectionary at Harvard, Houghton Library, Typ 223 online at http://hcl.harvard.edu/libraries/houghton/collections/early_manuscripts/bibliographies/Typ.cfm, from the Abbey of Morimondo (Ferrari 1993, p. 299) and from Acquafredda Abbey (see Ferrari 1993, p. 295) a 12th century Commentary on The Old Testament-Pentateuch by Isidore of Seville and Hugh of St Victor’s Rex Salomon, now at Berkeley, Bancroft Library, MS UCB 16.

Both these manuscripts have covers almost identical to the present, and bear similar titles on the second spine compartment, also found on Jerome’s Commentary on the Minor Prophets, now Milan, Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense, Gerli MS 12, identified by Ferrari (Ferrari 1999, pp. 36, 41-42, 44) as one of the manuscripts mentioned in the twelfth-century book list from the Abbey of Morimondo found on the last verso of the Abbey’s Office lectionary mentioned above (Houghton Library, Typ 223).

The present manuscript shares the same 18th-century provenance, if not origin, as those three manuscripts now at Milan, Berkeley and Cambridge. From the beginning of the eighteenth century many manuscripts from Cistercian abbeys in Lombardy were collected at the monastery of S. Ambrogio in Milan to support the programme of cultural reform promoted by the Congregation of St Bernard in Italy and the Austrian government. On arrival at S. Ambrogio, they may have been supplied with new covers and a manuscript title on the spine. The present manuscript must have arrived about the same time, when the influx increased exponentially with the suppressions of the monasteries in the last quarter of the century; many of these codices were then dispersed onto the open market. A good number were acquired by the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, but many entered private collections, such as those of the marchesi Trivulzio of Milan, Count Francesco Giovio (1796 – 1873) of Como, and Matteo Luigi Canonici (1727 – 1805), Jesuit and antiquarian of Venice, further dispersed through later sales.

A twentieth-century note in English pencilled on the upper flyleaf suggests that this manuscript may have passed through the hands of the bookseller Giuseppe (Joseph) Martini of Lugano between 1913 and 1942, though it is not mentioned by Ferrari in her list of Cistercian manuscripts described in Martini’s catalogues (Ferrari 1999, pp. 34-35). It was Martini who probably invented the myth of provenance from the library of the celebrated humanist Paolo Giovio (1483 – 1552) still recorded in the literature of some Italian Cistercian manuscripts (see Berkeley, University of California, Bancroft Library, MS UCB 16, in Digital Scriptorium).

K56

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BIBLE

ENGLISH BIBLE AND PSALTERIUM IN ORIGINAL BINDING

BIBLE. The Booke of Common Prayer (with) The Holy Bible (and) The Whole Book of Psalms

London, Robert Barker, 1635, 1636, and G.M. for the Companie of Stationers, 1636.

£2,750

Thick 8vo., Roman letter, double column. Title pages to the Book of Common Prayer, Bible, and New Testament within fine woodcut borders, first architectural, others figurative, part title page to Genealogies and Psalms within ornate typographical border. Extensive woodcut illustrations and double page map to Genealogies, printed music to Psalms, woodcut ornaments and initials. Minor ink marks to first title page, the odd splash, a few leaves lightly browned. A good, clean copy in contemporary English calf, large gilt ornament to each cover, initials ‘M.C.’ either side, a bit worn, lacking clasps. Autograph of Andrew Bachan c. 1800 on inside front cover. A handsome and well preserved English Bible, comprising all parts, unusually complete. We have not yet been able to identify the original owner. Cf. Darlow & Moule I 391.

STC 16402 and 2322 (one copy in the US).

L2197

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BIBLE

ENGLISH BIBLE IN STAMPED AND EMBOSSED CALF COVER

BIBLE. The Holy Bible including Genealogies

London, Bonham Norton and John Bill, 1628.

£2,750

4to. in 8s, mostly black letter, double column. Bible and New Testament title pages within ornate woodcut figurative borders, part title page to Genealogies within typographical border, extensive woodcuts and double-page map to Genealogies, woodcut ornaments. First title page (Genealogies) a bit dusty, light water stain to upper inner part of same leaf, a few splashes and marks. One lower outer corner torn, with loss to printed frame only. A good clean copy in contemporary blind stamped calf, in a somewhat archaic design, six of eight brass corner-pieces, both central brass bosses present, lacking clasps, re-backed. Public library stamp on fly. Not large, but an imposing and attractive volume, interestingly, similarly bound to the copy described at Darlow & Moule I 315.

STC 2281.

L2184

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BIBLIA

MINIATURE EDITION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

Testamenti Novi editio vulgata.

Lyon, Apud héritiers Sébastien Gryphe, 1564.

£2,250

16mo. pp. 496, 343 (xvii). a-z8, A-H8, aa-xx8, yy4, zz8 (gatherings x and y transposed). Roman and Italic letter. Gryphius’ griffin device on title page, 96 metal-cuts, some repeated, historiated woodcut initials, woodcut headpieces, early autograph, illegible at foot of title page, C20th armorial bookplate on pastedown, C18th library stamps on verso of title page. Light age yellowing, title page fractionally dusty, the marginal mark or spot. A very good copy in contemporary vellum over thin boards, yapp edges remains of pigskin ties, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine blind ruled in compartments.

A very good copy of this charming, finely illustrated and well printed, near miniature New Testament, with 96 cuts by Jacob Faber or Jacques Lefévre, the last in a series printed by Sebastien Gryphius since 1542. “This is the second of two New Testament sets based on the woodcuts owned by Francois Gryphius at Paris, both sets attributed to Jacques le Févre. Three of these subjects – Matthew, Luke, and James – are signed “IF”, James probably by identification with Le Févres own forename. The series was cut for Sébastien Gryphius, brother of Francois, and is recorded by Baudrier (vol. 8 p. 171-172, 4 cuts reproduced) from 1542. This set is farther from the Paris originals in both style and composition than the first “IF’ series. The background scenes which are such a distinctive feature of the earlier blocks have generally been removed and enlarged into new subjects in the regular sequence. This Lyons set is of importance chiefly because of its influence on Bernard Salomon’s New Testament cuts. From 1542 until his death and in 1556, Sébastian Gryphius continually reprinted and reissued 16mo editions of the Old Testament in five parts, providing as companion volumes both this New Testament and editions of the Erasmus version of the New Testament” Mortimer French I 90 on the edition of 1560.

On Sebastian Gryphius’ death he left the entirety of his business to his wife Francoise Miraillet but installed his son Antoine (who was the result of an adulterous relationship between Sebastian Gryphius and his wife’s sister Marion Miraillet) as head of the atelier, and he eventually, in 1561, took over the running of the business himself until Francoise’ death in 1565 when the whole business was taken over by Antoine and liquidated. This is thus one of the last works printed by the internationally celebrated atelier of Sebastian Gryphius’ at Lyon.

A very good copy in a good contemporary binding.

USTC 153605. Gultlingen V 1479. Baudrier VIII p. 309. Brunet V 745. Brun  p. 270 , 1542 edn. Mortimer Fr. I, 90 on the edition of 1560. Not in Darlow and Moule.

L2109

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BIBLE in Arabic

ARABIC TYPE IN ITALIAN PRINT

Evangelium Sanctum, in Arabic

Rome, Medici Oriental Press, 1591.

£25,000

FIRST EDITION. Folio, ff. 368. Arabic letter, a few lines in Latin on title and colophon, all neatly impressed on thick paper; double-fillet border on each page and some Arabesque head- and tail-pieces, a hundred and forty-nine large and charming woodcuts illustrations of Christ’s life and passion partially by Antonio Tempesta and Leonardo Parasole, with sixty-seven blocks repeated; oil splash on mid-outer margin, clean marginal tear to 192; a few leaves slightly aged browned, couple of pages slightly foxed. A good copy in modern dark morocco over boards; occasional contemporary marginalia in Armenian, red ink mark at beginning of chapters; small blue stamp of the Dr. Caro Minasian’s library in Isfahan on title, final leaf and few other blank spaces; contemporary Arabic note (title?) on upper-edge. Original fly leaves preserved.

Rare Arabic edition of the Gospels and first publication of the renowned Medici Oriental Press, established in Rome in 1584 with the endorsement of Pope Gregory XIII and Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici (later Gran Duke of Tuscany). The main aim of this enterprise, run by the famous Oriental scholar Giovanni Battista Raimondi, was to print religious books in the most common Oriental languages (i.e., Arabic, Syriac, Hebrew, Ethiopic and Persian) and distribute them in the East so as to encourage the spread of the Gospels. The splendid Arabic font employed in this edition was designed by Robert Granjon, the official type-cutter of the press. In 1591, the Medici press published also the interlinear edition with the Latin original text, also edited by Raimondi. This bilingual version was used in Europe for teaching Arabic and thus survives in a much greater number of copies than the pure Arabic edition, which was distributed (and almost certainly not warmly welcomed) in the Middle East for (literally speaking) evangelisation. It seems likely that the beautiful illustrations included in the book as an aid for readers were not at all appreciated by Muslims, who, according to the Koran, forbid contemplation of images of God. A large part of the print-run may have been quickly destroyed.

Curiously, this copy bears a few contemporary annotations in Armenian, possibly written by a member of some Armenian (thus Christian) minority settled either in the Ottoman or Persian Empires (where the edition was shipped to). It comes from the valuable collection of Caro Minasian, ‘an Armenian physician from Isfahan, Iran, who began collecting in 1935 and spent his life amassing manuscripts and antiquities of varied provenance and background. In many ways, he is symbolic of the Armenian community of Isfahan, largely associated with the distinct suburb of New Julfa, where they were settled by Shah Abbas I in 1604. The community has developed a unique socio-cultural ambience based on historical Armenian traditions accented with elements from its Persian setting and from its important interactions with the significant European presence in the city during Safavid times. By 1968, when his private library was acquired by UCLA, it included several hundred Armenian medieval manuscripts, including the Gladzor Gospels (the prime example of a medieval Armenian biblical codex), a substantial collection of Armenian printed incunabula and rare editions, a small group of Sumerian artifacts and other archeological treasures, and approximately 1,500 single works and majmuas (manuscript collections).’ http://minasian.library.ucla.edu/minasianaboutCollection.html

‘The editio princeps of the Gospels in Arabic … The early editions of the Arabic Gospels are all forms of the ‘Alexandrian Vulgate’’. Darlow, II/1, p. 63.

Not in BM STC It. Adams, B 1822; Brunet, II, 1123; Graesse, II, 531; Darlow, 1636; Mortimer, Italian, 64.

L2002

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BIBLE

A COMPLETE EARLY-THIRTEENTH CENTURY PORTABLE PARISIAN BIBLE

Illuminated manuscript on vellum

France, Paris or Amiens, 13th century (2nd quarter).

£150,000

146 x 95 mm, 656 leaves on parchment: I12, II-XII24, XIII26, XIV-XVII24, XVIII18, with no catchwords or leaf signatures; flyleaves at the beginning and end, the first and last used as pastedowns; modern foliation in pencil “1-655” repeating no. 521 (followed here). Justification 98 x 66/67 (30/31 x 5/6 x 30/31) mm ruled in lead point with two vertical bounding lines for two columns and 42 horizontal lines for 41 lines of text, with two extra horizontal lines; pricking holes for vertical bounders showing occasionally in the lower margins; two extra horizontal lines (3 mm apart) at circa 9-11 mm from upper ruled horizontal line and circa 15-19 mm from lower. Very small Gothic French bookhand (Textualis) deriving from glossing script, often called ‘pearl script’ (Perlschrift), in dark brown ink; less formal small Gothic hand influenced by documentary script for the added index of liturgical readings at end (fols. 653v-656v) (apparently unfinished); headings and highlighting of capitals in red, running-titles and chapter numbers in alternating red and blue capitals, versal initials in Psalms (fols 276r-303v) and Interpretationes (fols. 591r-653v; capitals not executed and dedicated space left blank from letter E onwards), chapter initials (2-15 lines high) in alternating red and blue with contrasting pen-flourished decoration throughout, 66 large puzzle initials (3-39 lines high, mostly 4-6 lines) in red and blue with pen-flourished decoration in red or red and blue, 78 large illuminated initials (from 3-line to column high, mostly 7-9 lines), in designs of spiralling foliage, occasionally inhabited by small dragons or other grotesque animals, in colours (blue, red, pink, green and white) and shell-gold. A few marginal 15th-century notes in light brown ink (see fols 248v, 425r and 425v, the latter by a Northern continental hand) and manicula in red (fol. 144v). Parchment (?) tabs marking the beginning of books removed. Thin parchment of good quality, with slight cockling, and a short cut at the fore-edge of some leaves caused by the removal of parchment tabs marking the beginning of books. Running titles occasionally cropped by the binder. C. 1500 binding, probably Flemish, light brown calf over bevelled wooden boards, sewn on four raised double-split spine bands, covers tooled in blind to a panel design, outer panel filled with a blind tooled heads-in-medallion roll, second panel with blind fleuron, rosette and leaves tools, and central panel semé with blind-tooled fleurons, with two long decorated brass catches at fore-edge of upper cover, and two stubs of calf-leather straps for fastening clasps (missing) secured at fore-edge of lower cover by two brass plaquettes; spine, edges and corners restored. 18th-century shelf marks on verso of third upper flyleaf and corner of lower pastedown; 19th century shelf mark “105/ 100_9 [or 1] i” in pencil at lower edge of upper pastedown. Preserved in wooden book box.

This charming and prettily decorated portable Bible is an untouched and unspoiled early example of the Parisian Bible of the 13th century. It was copied and decorated in the second quarter of the century, shortly after university theologians completed the standardization of the biblical texts. The new Vulgate had been created to facilitate university teachers and members of the preaching orders, who often travelled between universities, monasteries and church congregations in different parts of the country. It was therefore conceived as a text that could be copied in volumes of diminutive format, written on very fine parchment in the tiny formal Gothic script mostly used until then for marginal glosses. The new biblical vulgate started circulating in its final form about 1230. The present manuscript is therefore an early representative of the Parisian Vulgate. The text is complete and all the canonical prologues, each rubricated in full and decorated with an illuminated or a pen-flourished initial.

The initials are elegantly decorated with twirling rinceaux in colour and gold, and sometime include small dragons or other grotesque winged animals intertwined with the scrolling foliage. The puzzle initials, formed of interlocked scalloped segments in red and blue separated by a thin white line, are filled with curling pen-work decoration dotted in blue. A similarly curling and dotted decoration surrounds them and elongates into the margins in elegant pen strokes of red and blue. The style of the painted decoration resembles closely to works of the Parisian workshop known as the “Vie de saint Denis Atelier” (active 1230-1250) for the Benedictines of the Priory of Saint-Martin-des-Champs in Paris and the Cistercians of Clairvaux Abbey (see Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de france, MS latin 233). It also closely recalls the style of manuscripts produced at the same time in Amiens, Northern France for the Benedictine Abbeys of Anchin, and Marchiennes (see Douai, Bibliothèque Municipale, MSS 18, 20 and 21). The small codicological feature of parchment tabs marking the beginning of books, now removed from the present manuscript, adds a further link to manuscript Bibles produced at Amiens for monastic use (see R. Branner, Manuscript Paintings in Paris during the Reign of Saint Louis; a Study of Styles, Berkeley, 1977, cat. 210, pl. X).

In the 13th century the manuscript was used in a monastic or ecclesiastical institution as indicated by the index of liturgical readings added at the end of the volume by a 13th-century hand which was more used to writing monastic cartularies or ecclesiastical deeds than liturgical books. The prominence given to the feast of St Vincent of Saragossa (22 January) at the beginning of the readings for the Proper of the Saints, suggests a particular devotion to the saint.  St Vincent is the patron saint of Macon and Viviers in France, Berne in Switzerland and Soignies in Belgium. A particular veneration for St Vincent and the probable Flemish origin of the fifteenth century binding combine to point to the collegiate church of St Vincent at Soignies as the probable 13th-century owner. St Vincent’s was built as the church of the Benedictine Abbey founded by St Vincent Madelgarius (d. 677), a Flemish nobleman. Soignies Abbey was dissolved and transformed in secular Chapter in the 11th century.

In the 17th century the book was in Prussia, in the possession of Johann Friedrich Bessel, a philologist of Tilsit, respondent and praeses at the Universities of Wittenberg and Helmstedt between 1654 and 1667. Left after Bessel’s death with others of his book to Christopher Horch Senior, possibly the father of the German physician Christopher Horch (1667-1754) of Berlin, it was given by Horch to an unidentifed individual on 13 February 1682 (“Hac Biblia manuscripta donata / mihi fuit à Dn. Christophero / Horch Sen. ex libris relictis / B. Dn. M. Besselj / Anno 1682 .d. 13 Febr.” on upper pastedown). The unnamed recipient of the book was probably either Heinrich Bartsch (1627-1702), councillor, treasurer and vice-mayor of Könisberg, who gave his collection to Könisberg Stadtbibliothek, or his son Heinrich Bartsch Jr (1667-1728), a jurist at the University of Wittenberg. In 1718 the library was opened to the public by Bartsch Junior, who donated his collection of Bibles.

In the 19th century the book was stamped “Stadtbibliothek Koenigsberg” twice in the lower margin of fol. 1 recto. The Bible is mentioned in the library catalogue A. Seraphim, Handschriften-Katalog der Stadtbibliothek Königsberg i.Pr., Königsberg i.Pr., 1909, p. 300. The library was destroyed by a bomb in August 1944. Since 1946 Königsberg has been part of Russia.

K36

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BIBLE

IN BEAUTIFUL ENGLISH BLACK MOROCCO

Psalterium Davidis.

London, Apud R. Young, 1640.

£3,250

8vo. pp. (264). A2, A-Q8, R2. Roman letter. Engraved title of King David, highlighted in red ink in a contemporary hand, calendar printed in red and black, woodcut initials in various sizes, occasional contemporary marginal note. Light age yellowing. A very good copy in beautiful English black morocco, c. 1670, covers blind ruled to a panel design, outer panel with blind tooled sprays of tulips and floral motifs with small bird tools, central panel entirely filled with finely worked blind tooled floral sprays, semé of small tools and birds, spine with blind ruled raised bands, blind tooled with small leaf tools, comb-marbled end papers, all edges black, joints, spine head and tail and corners somewhat worn.

Rare edition of this book of Psalms beautifully bound in a London “sombre” binding of finely worked blind tooling on black morocco. This binding is very similar in style to a binding by the “Sombre binder” illustrated in the Henry Davis gift Catalogue (vol II, 116) and shares the same tools as another “Sombre” binding in the online British library catalogue of bindings, BL Shelfmark c72e7, an Eikon Basilike printed in London in 1649. These bindings were most often made in Puritan London where ostentation was frowned upon though a dislike of display did not deter people from wanting to own sumptuous bindings on books that they would use in public. The richness of the binding was effectively disguised with this ‘black on black’ work. It is also thought that Restoration period, “sombre” bindings, using only blind stamps, were produced for periods of mourning at Court; with the great plague of 1665 and the fire of London a year later many were mourning in London.

The design, tooling, work and materials on this copy are of the highest quality. The style of the binding heavily influenced the arts and crafts movement and the tooling on this binding is reminiscent of the work of Cobbden Sanderson at the Doves Press bindery at the end of the C19. “Another fashion which first begins to be notable around 1670, and which remained in Vogue well into the first half of the eighteenth century, was a taste for ‘Sombre’ bindings, typically found on bibles, prayer books and other devotional texts.” Pearson English Bookbinding Styles, 1450-1800. A rare book of Psalms; containing the prose text of psalms and canticles without commentary and includes the “Canticum D. Ambrosii et Augustini” at the end. The engraved title page, with a portrait of King David, is altered from a plate occasionally used as a frontispiece to the Sternhold and Hopkins psalms where it has 4 lines of text below the portrait.

The Psalter was published to the order and probably at the cost of the chapel of Peterhouse, where Cosin, Master of the College, was engaged in the reformation of worship in the newly built chapel; Young was also his publisher. Dispersals of chapel furnishings were made in the 1650s, presumably as a result of religious changes following the Civil War. A number of copies bear similar annotations.

Our thanks to Scott Mandelbrote, Fellow of Peterhouse for providing this information.

STC 2367. Recording no copies outside the UK. Darlow and Moule.

L1118

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