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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BOOK OF HOURS

THE HOURS OF THE NOBLE FRASIA DA SIENA

Book of Hours, Use of Rome, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum

probably Ferrara, Italy, 1460-1480.

£28,500

81 x 61 mm, 382 leaves on parchment: I-IX10, X10 (with quires XI and XII inserted between leaves sixth and seventh), XI10, XII4, XIII-XXXI10, XXXII8, XXXIII-XXXVIII10, XXXIX4, XL6 (3 blanks), catchwords in lower margin of last verso of quires and trace of manuscript leaf-signatures on quires I-X and XIII-XXXVIII, repeating signature D on quire XXXIII; parchment flyleaf with conjoint pastedown at the beginning and end. Regular Italian Gothic script [Southern Textualis Rotunda] in red and black by two hands, the second copying the additional text in the Hours of the Virgin and the Italian prayers at the end. Rubrics in red and initials (1-2 line high) in alternating red and blue throughout. 14 initials (2-4 lines high), in blue or green set against a gold-leaf ground with foliate decoration and/or extensions in purple and green with gold bezants, marking the Hours within the Hours of the Virgin and of the Cross, and the beginning of Litany. 4 illuminated historiated initials, in blue, in foliate design with white tracery, set against gold-leaf grounds with foliate extensions in green and purple, and 4 full borders decorated with scrolling green leaves and flowers in blue, purple, green and yellow interspersed with gold bezants, on fols 21r, 165r, 269r and 313r: 1 six-line initial “D”[omine] (fol. 21r) historiated with the Virgin and Child, the original arms within the wreath at centre of the bas-de-page erased [gules, a central charge per pale with traces of one small object at either side and repainted as arms of same tincture with a column argent]; 1 six-line initial “V”[enite] (fol. 165r) historiated with the image of a skull set against a green field and blue sky; 1 six-line initial “D”[omine] (fol. 269r) historiated with David in prayer; 1 six-line initial “D”[omine] (fol. 313r) historiated with Christ as the Man of Sorrows.  Good quality parchment, well preserved, with large, clean margins. Thin wood boards sewn on three double-split spine bands of alum-tawed skin, two endbands with decorative sewing in alternating gold and red threads, and bookblock edges gilt and gauffered, all datable to the early sixteenth century. Red-velvet cover with fastening copper-alloy catch, inscribed “AVE”, red-velvet strap and fastening pin, with quatrefoil-shape base, at centre of lower cover (19th-century).

The volume includes the text necessary for the daily private devotion of religious and lay individuals according to the use of Rome.

Manuscript Books of Hours produced in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance were often beautifully produced and illuminated to reflect the wealth and sophistication of their patrons. The present book is no exception. It was written in a pleasing elegant and regular Italian Rotunda hand on white and supple parchment of the highest quality and decorated with charming initials and borders in bright colours and gold. The simple and yet elegant appearance and the small proportions suggest it was made for a cultivated female patron.

The four patron saints of Siena, Ansano, Savino, Crescenzio e Vittore, listed in the calendar at the beginning of the book (fols 1r-18v) and even more prominently among the martyrs in the Litany (fol. 297r-v), point to the Tuscan town as the place of origin. The palette of deep hues of blue, purple, green and yellow, the dark outlining of the figures, and the shapes of foliage and flowers in the borders identify the unknown artist as a close follower of the Sienese illuminator Bernardino Cignoni (d. 1496). Cignoni decorated manuscripts and documents for the Siena Cathedral and Chancery, and a number of local religious confraternities and aristocratic families, such as the Piccolomini and the Bichi (see M. Cignoni, “Bernardino Cignoni di Siena miniatore di libri (m. 1496)”, in Honos alit artes: Studi per il settantesimo compleanno di Mario Aschieri, Firenze, 2014, vol. 2, pp. 269-73). The depiction of the skull in the historiated initial at the beginning of the Office of the Dead (fol. 165r) is particularly close to Cignoni’s opening of the same Office in the Hours for Filitiana Bichi (now New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M 311, fol. 85 r). The patron of the present Hours also belonged to a prominent Sienese family, but her arms have been erased from the bas-de-page of fol. 21 recto. The original tincture was seemingly gules, with a charge in pale, now overpainted argent, and an unidentified object at either side of it.

Early in the early sixteenth century, the text for Terce and Sext in the Hours of the Virgin was replaced and a final quire containing three additional prayers in Italian added, the bookblock edges were slightly trimmed, gilt and gauffered, and the book possibly newly bound in a delicate velvet [?] binding. These changes probably occurred when the manuscript was passed on to a new owner, possibly a daughter or a niece, her name “Frasia” (for Eufrasia) recurring at the beginning of two of the Italian prayers (fols 377r with marginal maniculae and 379r), in which she is portrayed as a “misera peccatrice”. The book also shows a sample of her own writing in the words “o pecatrice frasia” added at the end of the last prayer by an unprofessional, yet educated early sixteenth-century hand (fol. 382v).

Frasia was a common name at the time among Sienese women and the literature relating to the cultural life in Siena in the first half of the century records the names of at least three Sienese noblewomen, Frasia Agazzari, Frasia Placidi de’ Ventury and Frasia Marzi, who wrote poetry and participated in the reunions – the so-called veglie – of the new Academia degli Intronati (founded in 1525; see Giovanni Paolo Ubaldini, Paradossa Quinta of his Dieci paradosse degli Academici Intronati da Siena, Milan, Gio. Antonio degli Antonii, 1564)

Despite a seemingly matching tincture (gules), none of the family arms of these gentlewomen can be identified with the original owner; a possible match is to be found in the arms of the di Niccoluccio family (gules, a ladder of four rounds per pale or between two estoiles of the same), with the gold ladder now substituted with a white column.

L2003

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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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