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

Print This Item Print This Item

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)

Print This Item Print This Item

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

Print This Item Print This Item

WISHART, George

BY LE GASCON?

I.G. de rebus auspiciis serenissimi, & potentissimi Caroli gratia magnæ Britanniæ, &c. sub imperio illustrissimi Iacobi Montisrosarum marchionis…: Supremi Scotiæ gubernatoris anno 1644, & duobus sequentibus præclarè gestis, commentarius.

Paris, ex Typographia Ioannis Bessin, propè Collegium Remense. 1648.

£4,250

8vo. pp. (xxiv), 563 (i). Large paper, Roman letter, some Italic. Woodcut and typographical headpieces, small woodcut initials, printed label, ‘6506’ from the sale of Bolongaro-Crevenna at head of front pastedown, bookplate of Robert Maxtone Graham below. Light age yellowing, the very rare marginal spot. A fine, large paper copy in exceptional contemporary French red morocco in the style of Le Gascon, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, outer panel filled with a fine scrolled roll, middle panel with two fine dentelle scrolls elaborate fleurons to corners, central panel bordered with a small pointillé roll, elaborate corner pieces with scrolled and pointillé tools around a central oval worked to a lozenge form with fine scrolled tools, spine richly gilt with gilt ruled raised bands, double gilt ruled with further pontillé rules to compartments, richly gilt with scrolled tools and semé of small tools, edges with gilt dentelle roll, combed marble endpapers.

A fine, large paper copy of this most interesting contemporary biography of the feats of the great Scottish General, James Montrose, in a stunning contemporary morocco binding attributable or very close to the great French binder Le Gascon, from the exceptional library of Bolongaro-Crevenna. “Dr. George Wishart was born in 1599… In 1626 he moved to St. Andrews as second charge, and it has been conjectured that is was there that he first met the Earl of Montrose, who matriculated at the University of St. Andrews in 1627… When the Presbyterians obtained the ascendancy, Dr. Wishart fled to England with Archbishop Spottiswood. On 19th October 1639, he was appointed to a lectureship of All Saints Church, Newcastle, and in 1640 he was presented at St. Nicholas Church, Newcastle. When Leslie and the Scots army took Newcastle on 19th October 1644, Wishart was taken prisoner, and, on the charge of corresponding with royalists, was imprisoned in the Thieves’ Hole, Edinburgh. After 7 months in prison, Wishart was liberated when the Marquis of Montrose arrived in Edinburgh after his victory at Kilsyth on 15th August 1645. Wishart joined the royal army at Bothwell, and was appointed private chaplain to the Marquis of Montrose. In this capacity he accompanied the Marquis in his campaign both at home and abroad, and his narrative of Montrose’s campaign is that of an eye-witness and biographer. It was first published in Amsterdam … 1647. When the Scottish Parliament tried Montrose in abstentia in 1649, Wishart’s book was brought as evidence against him. A bounty was pledged by Parliament and the Church of Scotland for his capture, and he was sentenced in abstentia to be hanged with Wishart’s book around his neck. The sentence was carried out in the following year after Montrose was captured and brought to Edinburgh.” The Wishart Society.

“Les reliures de Le Gascon sont de veritables objets d’art.” Edouard Rouveyre. ‘Connaissances nécessaires à un bibliophile.’ This binding is very similar in style and the tools are nearly identical to a binding attributed to Le Gascon in a Sotheby’s sale at Paris,  2011, sale PF1113, lot 51, the 1595 edition of the works of Montaigne. It shares the same oval centre surrounded by near identical scrolled tools and pointillé work. “The style of Le Gascon, so-called, was in vogue between the years 1640, and 1665” Herbert P. Horne ‘An Essay in the History of Gold-Tooled Bindings’.

The binding is also very similar in design and tools to another binding attributed to Le Gascon in the Tenschert Catalogue ‘Biblia Sacra’ 2004, no. 59, a Greek New Testament. Many of the best binders of the period imitated the work of Le Gascon, who was then at the height of fashion, and if this binding is not by Le Gascon or his atelier, it is by someone who was imitating him as closely as possible. The gilding and use of pointillé tools is particularly fine, the morocco is of the highest quality. As this is a large paper copy in a very rich binding, it was almost certainly made for presentation, though there is no indication of to whom.

A wonderful copy from the extraordinary library of Bolongaro-Crevenna, the francophile Italian merchant from Amsterdam, whose magnificent collection was sold in Paris between 1775 and 1793. This work was in his sale of History books in 1789 lot 6506; see ‘Catalogue des livres de la bibliothèque de M. Pierre Antoine Bologaro-Crevenna … Volume 4” Amsterdam, chez Changuion 1789.

L2211

Print This Item Print This Item

THEOCRITUS

Eidullia…

Venice, Aldus Manutius, February 1495

£49,500

EDITIO PRINCEPS, Folio, 140 unnumbered ll, AA8 BB8 ΓC8 ΔD8 EE6 ZF6 ΘG6 ZZζζ10 AAαα8 BBββ8 ΓΓγγ8 ΔΔδδ8 EEεε6 αa8 βb8 γc10 δd8 εe8. Greek and Roman letter, woodcut initials and headpieces. Contemporary ms marginal Latin translation in a very neat hand of the Golden Song of Pythagoras and the Moral Precepts of Phocylides on ΔΔδδ8-ΕΕεε5. T-p and verso of last a little dusty, a very good, clean, copy with very wide margins, in beautiful contemporary calf over wooden boards, covers ruled, five borders surrounding a central panel. The borders alternate between repeated intricate designs formed by a single tool repeated – first, a cross, second, a curved and studded X shape, and third an acanthus-leaf – and widely spaced double-cross single tool designs. Central panel of three blind-ruled lozenges, double-cross design inside and outside the lozenges. The volume originally had four large metal clasps, two at the side and at top and bottom; gaps filled with a much smaller cross design, probably contemporary with the gilt dentelle outer border (c1600), edges and corners with small old repairs in 19th-century calf, rebacked to match, four raised bands, blind ruled. Some small wormholes to front and back covers. A very handsome and unusual Italian binding, similar to that of a Cicero ms ascribed to Naples, now in the Vatican.

FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE of this hugely important collection of Greek works, including the EDITIO PRINCEPS of Theocritus’ Idylls 19-30, Hesiod’s Theogony, [Hesiod’s] Shield of Heracles, Theognis’ Elegiacs, [Pythagoras’] Carmina Aurea, and [Phocylides’] Poema Admonitorium; the first Greek edition of Cato’s Distichs; the second edition of Theocritus’ Idylls 1-18 and Hesiod’s Works and Days (editio princeps Milan, 1480). The second issue of the present edition has reset text in the two outermost sheets of quire Z F, and all of Θ G; near the end of printing missing lines of Megara (attributed to Theocritus) were rediscovered in a manuscript and added. Thus, the verso of the last leaf of Θ G is blank in this present copy, as per Renouard. Aldus Manutius dedicated the work to his former teacher, Battista Guarino, professor at Ferrara, whom Manutius addresses in his epistolary dedication as ‘quidem aetate nostra Socrates’.

The combination of Greek texts printed in this compendium is interesting and, to modern eyes at least, surprising. It opens with the thirty hexameter Idylls of Theocritus, a Hellenistic poet writing in Alexandria at the Ptolemaic court (cf. Idylls 16 and 17). Theocritus is most famous as the ‘inventor’ of pastoral poetry (Virgil imitated the ‘bucolic’ Idylls 1-11 in his Eclogues), but, taken as a collection, the Idylls present pastoral, epic, romantic and realistic tropes, all with a characteristically Hellenistic lightness of touch (though a third or so of the Idylls are probably spurious). Not only does this volume embody for the first time all thirty Idylls together in print, it includes the editio princeps of Hesiod’s Theogony, the didactic poem, in epic hexameters, telling of the birth of the gods, and the ecphrastic Shield of Heracles, attributed to Hesiod in antiquity. With these narrative hexameters are a number of didactic Greek works, providing moral instruction as well as educational value. These encompass the Sententiae Elegiacae of Theognis – again, the editio princeps – an archaic poet whose lyric couplets provided gnomic maxims, and the first printed Greek translation of Cato’s Distichs: one of the most popular Medieval Latin school texts, the Distichs give practical and moral advice for leading a good life (e.g. ‘Be oft awake: from too much sleep abstain./ For vice from sloth doth ever nurture gain’). Most interesting in this copy in particular are the Aurea Carmina, attributed to Pythagoras, and Phocylides’ Poema admonitorum. The former consists of 71 hexameter lines of moral exhortations which, though adhering to Pythagorean philosophy, are believed to be fourth or fifth-century A.D.; the latter, a Hellenistic collection of Jewish moral teachings, also in hexameters, falsely attributed to the archaic poet Phocylides (cf. Walters, The Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides, pp 8-11): ‘Love of money is the mother of all evil. Gold and silver are always a lure for men’, 43-44. Fascinatingly, in the wide margins of the pages containing these two poems, their Latin translations have been painstakingly transcribed in a neat, clear humanist hand. Since the final ms letters of some lines on these pages have been cropped, and re-added beneath in the same hand, they were written before the book was bound – perhaps while it was still in its original wrappers. Why the annotator – doubtless the original owner – chose these two poems in particular remains a mystery; perhaps he felt the moral teachings especially applicable. Remarkably, the translations follow the 1494 Lascaris, the very first book issued by Aldus, and presumably were transcribed in the present copy for ease of reference.

A very fine copy with beautiful binding of an incunabular compendium of important Greek texts, offering a fascinating insight into contemporary tensions between Humanist and Medieval approaches to learning, combining the editiones principes of important Greek authors with works that were central to moral and educational learning in the Middles Ages.

BMC V 554 (IB. 24402-8); BMC STC It. C15 667; Renouard 5:3 “cette édition est très rare”; HC 15477; CIBN T-101; Hoffmann III, 373; Essling 888; Sander 7235; Goff T-144. For binding, cf. De Marinis I pl 9, 114.

L1834

Print This Item Print This Item

REUSNER, Nicolas and ZWINGER, Theodore

MOST UNUSUAL BINDING

Icones sive Imagines [with] Icones…clarorum virorum

Basle, Conrad Waldkich, 1589

£4,950

8vo, 2 works in 1, 144 + 32 unnumbered ll. *8, A-R8, Aa-Dd8. Separate t-p to each. Roman letter, text within ornamental topographical border, 90 full page woodcut portraits of celebrated, mainly intellectual figures of the C16, throughout. Autograph of T. P. Tomek (c. 1800) at foot of t-p and fly, earlier press mark and binder’s price or ref on rear pastedown. Light age yellowing, rather indifferent paper, a good copy in beautiful contemporary vellum over bds., covers semé gilt, interlacing patterns à la cire in red, green and black, outlines gilt, symbolic gilt ornament in centre of each cover, yapp fore-edges, central ornament design repeated on edges gauffered gilt.

Second and new edition of Reusner and FIRST EDITION of Zwinger’s portrait gallery of many of the great figures of Renaissance and Reformation Europe, together with their tombstone inscriptions, other epitaphs and commendatory verses; many of the first series of portraits come from the Museo Ioviano. Among those depicted and described are Gaza, Lascaris, Mirandula, Ficino, Bembo, Fracastoro, Iovio, Alciatus, Titian and Michelangelo, whilst Zwinger looks further afield to Dolet, Ramus, Bauhin and even Fisher, More and Pole.

The portraits were designed by Thomas Stimmer and are cut on wood, maybe by the printer, though none are signed. Stimmer was one of the most talented and industrious German painters and engravers of the second half of the C16 and Rubens is said to have learned much from him. He provides a highly individualised series of likenesses, generally both expressive and convincing. The series of figures is not the same in this edition as in the first. Reusner was initially and essentially a lawyer, but he was one of the period’s polymaths and the formidable range of his works includes history, travel, emblem books and other illustrated volumes.

In a beautiful mosaiqué binding, most unusual both on vellum and as late in the century, in excellent shape.

BM STC. Ger p 734. Adams R 409 [without the Zwinger]. Brunet IV 1255 “le corps de volume renferme 82 portraits pour les éloges de P. Jove. Il y a de plus un supplement…lequel ne contient que 8 portr.” Graesse VI 96. Passavant III 453.

L1907

Print This Item Print This Item

THUCYDIDES

BOOK HISTORY À LA GRECQUE

De bello Peloponnesiano.

Venice, aldus, May 1502.

£69,500

EDITIO PRINCEPS, Folio, 124 unnumbered ll. AA8, AA-ξO8 OP8. Greek letter, undecorated, guide letters, spaces blank. Contemporary 4-line Latin inscription signed “S.P” on pastedown, “15ff” (probably original price) in margin of t.p. and small inked symbols in title, a few tiny wormholes in early and final ll. Ink stain to extreme upper edge of early gatherings, verry light waterstain to upper blank margin of a few final ll. A very good clean copy, well margined, on extra thick quality paper, in striking contemporary calf over boards originally a la Grecque, covers with triple ruled outer borders, inner ropework with fine roundels gilt at each corner and centre, surrounding panel of richly decorated blind lattice work with gilt roundel at each corner, double and triple ruled panels within enclosing panel with roof vault border, gilt roundel in each vault space and in the middle, two ropework wheels surrounding ropework multiple knots; spine, joints, and all corners worn, covers with some surface abrasions, head and tail of spine shaved to stand upright. A handsome and historic quality binding, probably Venetian.

Editio princeps of the first and still most famous work in the Western historical tradition. Thucydides has been described as the father of ‘scientific history’ because of his strict standards of evidence gathering and analysis of events in terms of cause and effect. He has also been called the father of the school of political realism viewing relations between states as based more on might than right. His text is still studied in military colleges throughout the world. Thucydides also makes the interesting, if somewhat cynical, analysis of human nature in explaining human behaviour in the context of wars, plagues and all sorts of disasters. Viewed in the highest regard by subsequent Greek historians, then ignored throughout the Middle Ages, Thucydides had some influence on Machiavelli, but much more on Hobbes who translated him, and almost idolisation by Schiller, Schlegel, Nietzsche, Macauley and von Ranke. Woodrow Wilson read him on the way to the Versailles conference, and Thucydides’ influence was increasingly felt in international relations during the period of the cold war.

The Peleponnesian War of which Thucydides wrote was an epic 27 year struggle for supremacy between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies. It probably continued after Thucycides’ death. Thucydides is par excellence the political historian, a meticulous recorder of public events, in which he had fought and from which he was never far removed. He assiduously researched written documents and personally interviewed eye-witnesses whose testimonies he wrote up into somewhat stylistic speeches.

The first edition of the greatest work of one of the greatest historians in its original, unsophisticated state. This richly decorated contemporary binding was constructed à la Grecque probably in Venice, though the repeated use of gilt roundel motifs is more Neopolitan than Venetian. During the 16th century books began to be shelved vertically rather than horizontally and the head and spine  of à la Grecque bindings became hopelessly impractical. At that point here they were cut down though the base of their structure remains. A remarkably concrete example of a seismic change in the history of libraries.

BM STC IV p. 672. Ren 33:4 “Première et rare édition, avec deux vies de Thucydide, en grec: l’une d’un anonyme d’une page et demie, et l’autre, de cinq pages, d’un nommé Marcellinus”. Brunet V 844 “Edition rare”. Dibdin II p. 505 “The first edition of Thucydides is a beautiful book, though at present by no means rare: copies with a fine margin bear a tolerable price”. Printing and the Mind of Man p. 62.

L1470

Print This Item Print This Item

RONDELET, Guillaume

Libri de Piscibus Marinis

Lyon, apud Matthiam Bonhomme, 1554.

£12,750

FIRST EDITION. Folio. [xvi] 583 [xxv] Roman and Italic letter, historiated woodcut initials, head- and tail-pieces, t.p. with printer’s device of Perseus with the head of Medusa within architectural border, woodcut portrait of the author on verso of a8, 248 woodcut illustrations of fish and other sea creatures after the designs of Georges Reverdi. Light age yellowing, waterstaining to first and last few gatherings, single wormhole throughout at inner margin of book occasionally just touching text, wormtrail to upper margin of a few gatherings, very neatly restored. Near contemporary ms ex libris autography of “Jo[hann]is Dominici De San[?]y eq[itis] [aur]ati Cas Sti Andrea”, C19 Nordkirchen bookplate of the Dukes of Arenberg on inside cover, remains of ms vellum stubbs. A clean and well margined copy in contemporary calf over thick wooden boards, richly blind-rolled in ornate, deeply cut panels with corner pieces, a central diamond and blind stamp depiction of the three crosses at Golgotha, rolls in a floral motif with unnamed portrait medallions, spine triple-ruled in five compartments with raised bands, each stamped with ornaments, slight tearing at upper and lower joints, defective at head and tail, lacking clasps.

FIRST EDITION of Rondelet’s seminal work on all aquatic animals the most important published up to that time. The first four books are a general discussion about fish with comparative anatomy and specific treatment of anatomical anomalies such as gills, tentacles, stingers, etc. Through an experiment he argues that fish must take in some type of air from the water into their gills: he proves this by keeping a bowl sealed tight which causes the fish inside to suffocate. The rest of the book comprises of around 300 descriptions, the majority illustrated, of marine life, listing the names of each in local languages, its living and feeding habits, anatomical features, and for those fish he could observe and dissect personally, even more information on nutrition, reproduction, and natural habitats. An encyclopedia of sealife would be remiss if it were to by pass a good meal, but luckily Rondelet includes cooking tips and recipes for fish-based meals throughout the entries. For instance, Bream, a small freshwater fish, is good “‘boiled in water and wine as is done in France’, but it is equally good in a variety of other ways. It can be grilled after placing fennel and rosemary in its belly; it can be roasted or served cold; or can even be baked in a crust, [etc.].’ […] Not only has Rondelet given us a series of potential recipes for this fish but he has also revealed some regional culinary preferences.” (Fitzpatrick cit. infr.)

Guillaume Rondelet (1507-1566) studied medicine at Montpellier, but “although he was active in several branches of biology, Rondelet’s reputation effectively depends on his massive compendium on aquatic life, which covered far more species than any earlier work in that field. Despite its theoretical limitation, it laid the foundations for later ichthyological research and was the standard reference work for over a century.[…]In his own day Rondelet was almost as well known as an anatomist as a zoologist. A popular lecturer, Rondelet attracted scholars from all over Europe: Coiter and Bauhin; L’Écluse; L’Obel, who inherited his botanical manuscripts; and Daleschamps. Gesner and Aldrovandi also studied briefly under him.” (DSB cit. infr.)

Adams R-746. Baudrier X 239. DSB XI 527-528. Garrison-Morton 282. Osler 3821. Nissen I 3474. Joan Fitzpatrick, Renaissance Food from Rabelais to Shakespeare  , 33.

L1220

Print This Item Print This Item

[TEN COMMANDMENTS]

Ihesus. The floure of the commaundements of god.

London, Wynkyn de Worde, 1521.

£65,000

Folio. Ff (xxiv) 264 (misnumbered 260). Black letter, double column; woodcut initials in various styles (grotesque, naturalistic, etc.) decorative typographical tailpieces. Title within border of woodcuts, depicting Moses (Hodnett 491) and Aaron with followers (Hodnett 492) at the sides, the Pope enthroned with a bishop, friar, king, and laity supplicant before him, beneath (Hodnett 535), a church to the side. On the verso, a most expressive full-page cut of the Crucifixion (Hodnett 465), a fine large cut of the Trinity (Hodnett 451), another smaller with different imagery on folio xiv (Hodnett 362); Christ teaching the 12 Apostles the Lord’s Prayer, church and decorative border at side on fol. xxxvi (Hodnett 477). Lovely half-page cut on fol. cxxvii of the Saints in glory before God and the Virgin in architectural setting (Hodnett 538), tracery panels at sides; Caxton’s device with de Worde’s name inserted on verso of last leaf (McKerrow 46a), on verso covered wagon in landscape ‘Chertsey’ on the tilt, a curious coat of arms (Chertsey’s) above, surrounded by naturalistic panel borders, upper and lower bearing Caxton’s monogram (McKerrow 49 & 50).

Lower fore edge of t-p a bit frayed, four small clasp holes at outer and corresponding rust marks to that of next, a few small round wormholes to three or four ll., minor age yellowing in places. A very good, clean, well-margined copy in stunning contemp. London calf over oak bds., covers with blank outer border ruled to corners, surrounding double frame roll divided into compartments, containing a column between two half-moon faces, two columns with S-shaped leaves on either side, others conventional foliage & c. (Oldham Shrewsbury 5) enclosing central panel, reversed brass clasps (straps renewed), six raised bands, ruled spine. Alfred Ehrman’s, and other bookplates to front pastedown and fly, his monogram and case number on rear paste down, Broxbourne Lib. label beneath. A magnificent copy preserved in morocco folding case.

One of the final flowerings of the faith and culture of medieval Europe in Tudor England, translated from a French original by Andrew Chertsey (fl. 1502-27). Little is known of Chertsey’s life over than he supplied Wynkyn de Worde with a number of English translations of French devotional treatises and works of practical spiritual guidance. Chertsey added his own charming verse prologue to the present work – itself in prose (more largely) and verse – in which he declares his aim to have been one of common spiritual benefit rather than financial gain. The text is split into two parts, the first 126 numbered ll. comprise a very detailed practical commentary on the Ten Commandments, the Seven Deadly Sins, and the Cardinal Virtues; this is addressed to the ordinary reader, and provides a great deal of information on the state of both religious and lay society (as well as beliefs) of the time. The remainder of the work, apart from the very comprehensive opening table, constitutes the “Exemplayre” in which Chertsey gives hundred of examples of divine judgment, wrath, and mercy taken from the Legends of the Saints, the Lives of the Fathers, the Hony of Bees, the Promptuary, and contemporary events of everyday life. They vividly evoke the medieval world in which demons stalked the earth to battle with angels for human souls.

However, there is no affectation of piety about Chertsey’s English which is expressive, robust, and often colourful. It is much more modern than Chaucer’s but certainly not yet Shakespeare’s, rather occupying a lovely and much less well-known middle ground between the two. The text is well served too by the handsome and lively gothic illustrations and the binding is one of the most handsome, best quality and best preserved earlier Tudor bindings we have seen.

STC 23877. Ames II 186. Lowndes I 505. Wharton, History of English Poetry III 363-4. Hodnett p. 27. Not in Pforzheimer.

L1113

Print This Item Print This Item

CATHOLIC CHURCH, CURIA

A RENAISSANCE TREASURE STYLE BINDING


Bullae et statuta officii septem sedis apostolicae potonotariorum in Curia Romana participandum.

Rome, not before 1556, 1621-1661 and 1825.

£49,500

Manuscript on Vellum. Large 4to. pages 191/2cm x 27cm; 4 ruled and blank ll., 69 numbered pages of text, further 45 ll ruled and blank. Pp. 1-43 in elegant brown C16th cancellaresca formata, headings in red., 43-56 in C17th humanistic hand with separated letters, pp. 57-64 in more ornate vernacular variant, last in C19 copperplate, on uniform high quality vellum. In a stunning unrestored Roman binding, probably last quarter of the C16 in purple velvet over wooden boards, 8 large rectangular gilt metal corner pieces depicting scenes from the life of Christ, large central gilt oval on upper cover depicting a protonotary vested formally with quill and book within carved and chiselled floral surround, oval with similar border on lower ‘VII VIRORUM PROTONOTAR. BULLAE AC. STATUTA’ inscribed on central ornamental panel. Four richly carved gilt metal clasps, one loosening, catches lacking, velvet worn on spine and edges.

An exceptional manuscript copy of the papal bulls and statutes setting out the duties powers and privileges of the Apostolic Protonotaries of the Roman Church from the 1560’s until the early C19. This was the, or an official copy used either by the Protonotarial office or by one of their number, perhaps the figure depicted in the gilt oval on the upper cover. The papal Bulls forming and reforming the office from Callistus to Adrian VI occupy the first 21 pages, the relevant statutes pp. 23-43 and further Bulls of Urban VIII and Alexander VII from pp 43-59. Pp. 60-64 comprise the agreement of the protonotaries drafted 21st September 1661 concerning the division of their emoluments, signed by each of them and formally attested by the Curial pro-secretary Giovani Manfroni and the final pages the reforms of Gregory XVI.

The Protonotaries Apostolic were members of the highest college of prelates of the Roman Curia, deriving their office from the seven regional notaries of Rome in late antiquity, and the senior lawyer-administrators of the C16 Catholic church charged with the issue of Papal Bulls and other legislative or quasi legislative Papal documents. On the further development of Papal administration, secular and religious, they remained the supreme palace notaries of the Papal Chancery and in the middle ages were very high ranking officials. Sixtus V increased their number to 12, though ‘honories’ were also appointed, Gregory XVI re-established the college of real protonotaries with seven members in 1838. The pronotarial office is of particular interest as at the same time the precursor of the modern state bureaucracy and a functional link with the ancient world.

This remarkably beautiful almost ‘treasure’ binding is an extremely scarce survivor of a binding style typical of de luxe presentation copies from the mid C15 to mid C17 centuries . Unfortunately plush velvet is not a durable material and gilt ornaments tended to part company with their binding at the first opportunity. It is of the utmost rarity to find one on the market intact with all its ornaments in place. The eight corner pieces (approximately 4 x 4 1/2” including frame) recount sequentially the events of the Passion from the Garden of Gethsemane to Burial in the Tomb. The representations are life like, the action vivid and the relief and general condition is excellent. They were probably made for and are certainly contemporary with the binding. They are almost certainly Roman (cf Rossi Placchette 65-151) and may derive from the frescos of Sebastiano del Piombo in the church of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome, at least one of which according to Vasari is according to designs given him by Michelangelo. The four clasps are likely to form part of the same set.

The two central ornaments are somewhat lighter in style and of sharper execution on finer metal, the work of a gem carver or expert goldsmith. The designer was clearly influenced by Renaissance Mannerism but the approach of the baroque is sensible. The upper cover figure may well be modelled on a monumental sculpture of the period whilst the lower suggests a copy of a sculptural stemma, perhaps from the wall of the Protonotarial office itself. The feeling for the monumental and architectural combined with a fineness of detail points towards the body of work generally attributed to Guglielmo de la Porta 1490-1577. There is stylistic similarity too between the corner pieces and certain of De la Porta’s known work e.g. the silver plaque of the flagellation now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Interestingly De La Porta also worked under the influence of Michelangelo and his workshop specialised in the manufacture of bronzes of contemporary art.

L1159

Print This Item Print This Item