The Missal of the Chapel of Saint-Pierre in Saint-Germain-Laval, near Lyon, Use of diocese of Lyon, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum

[France (Lyon), 1401]


285 by 200 mm., 262 leaves (plus 2 original endleaves at each end), complete, collation: i10, ii-xxxii8, xxxiii4, catchwords (many with line drawn human faces and animals), contemporary foliation and modern pencil foliation (the latter followed here). Double column, 28 lines in the angular gothic bookhand of Geraldus Lombardus (see below), capitals touched in yellow or red (crucial capitals following decorated initials enclosing human faces, and one on fol. 141v topped with a squirrel), red rubrics, red and dark blue initials with ornate penwork in red and purple, 3-line initials in gold on red and burgundy grounds heightened with white penwork, larger initials in blue or pink heightened with white penwork, enclosing sprays of coloured foliage or tessellated shapes, on coloured and burnished gold grounds, terminating in coloured and gold foliage bars in margin (that on fol. 195v with a coloured dragon biting a bezant), initials on fol. 130r enclosing a coat-of-arms (those of Pierre Vernin: gueles with three trefoil crosses, on a chef argent charged with an onde azur) and an agnus dei, frontispiece with very large initial in same with full border of simple foliage with a dragon in upper outer corner, enclosing a coat-of-arms in bas-de-page (as before), eighteenth-century devotional print of Crucifixion pasted by modern owner to fol. 129v, trimming to edges of leaves with losses to edges of borders of frontispiece, some wear to edges of leaves with occasional damage to edges of borders, some small areas of text overwritten later, minor spots and stains, but overall in good and solid condition, modern binding of leather over wooden boards tooled in faux-medieval style.

This is a large and imposing codex, and a crucially important record of the liturgy and life of the towns of Saint-Germain-Laval and Lyon. While the quality of its decoration is not that of the very greatest artistic centres such as Paris or Rouen, it has significant charm, and without doubt this codex was the focal point of worship for the town of Saint-Germain-Laval throughout the late Middle Ages. It will have acted as one of the key symbols of Christianity and local identity to the worshippers there, and is almost certainly the sole surviving record of the liturgy of the community. Sachet had only room to print a brief codicological description and the contents of its calendar, much remains to be studied by specialists here.

Saint-Germain-Laval lay in the hinterland of Lyon in the late Middle Ages, and the latter was of equal importance and wealth to Paris. The position of Lyon at the hub of several overland routes leading out of northern Italy into mainland Europe ensured that the town would become the focal point for the trade of various luxury goods entering the main European market, such as silk, and Italian merchants had regular and permanent trade fairs there throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. These trades placed a substantial amount of moveable wealth into the economy of the region, and created the need for a sophisticated banking system. Thus, Lyon became not only wealthy, but also the banking capital of France. The facts that the colophon records about this particular volume accord well with this: perhaps only in the hinterland of such a prosperous site as Lyon could a local lawyer and judge acquire enough wealth to found such a substantial expression of his devotion as an entire chapel, apparently also donning it out with the vestments and books needed for its use as place of worship. Moreover, the name of the scribe (and perhaps artist) of this volume, Geraldus Lombardus, points at a northern Italian origin and the source of this wealth. He was probably a member of one of the region’s prominent immigrant mercantile families.

The contents comprise: prayers and readings from Church Fathers; a Calendar; and Masses for the entire year, with lists of saints crucial for certain Masses and a Litany.


1. This manuscript stands among the tiny handful of surviving books from the Middle Ages which make explicit almost all parts of their creation through the addition of lengthy descriptive colophons. On fol. 262r, an inscription in red ink in the main hand at the end of the text records that it follows the Use of Lyon, and was made on the order of the nobleman Petrus Verninus, a practitioner of law and serving judge for the comte de Forez, for a chapel he had founded in honour of St Peter in the town of Saint-Germain-Laval (of which the tower still stands), and which was completed by the hand of Geraldus Lombardus on 16th day of June in the year 1401. A truncated version of the same has been added in the space left for the incipit at the beginning of the Missal text proper on fol. 13r, with an overspill of 4 lines onto blank space at the end of the calendar on the preceding leaf. A later hand has added “1401” at the head of the Calendar. As noted by Sachet it follows the Use of Lyon, in which diocese Saint-Germain-Laval lay, with numerous local saints such as St. Aubrin, the patron saint of nearby Montbrison.

Notes on fols. 129r and at the front and end of the volume of devotional tracts and sayings, prayers and offices in sixteenth- and perhaps seventeenth-century hands, as well as the pasting in of the devotional printed image of the eighteenth-century, show its continual use by the community during those centuries.

During the Revolution, Lyon and the inhabitants of its surrounding towns rose up against the National Convention, and in 1793 the region was invaded by the French Revolutionary Armies. The city of Lyon was besieged for two months, during which its hinterland was ravaged, with religious buildings destroyed and their contents looted. In Lyon itself some 2000 inhabitants were executed and most of the buildings around the Place Bellecour levelled following their surrender. The present Missal most probably passed into private ownership at this time.

2. Ch. De Visser: his perhaps late eighteenth-century ex libris twice at the head of fol. 262v.

3. By 1895 it had passed to the local Lyon historian and prolific antiquarian author, the Abbé Alphonse Sachet (1848-1924), who served as the Licencié ès-lettres Professeur de Philosophie au Petit-Séminaire de Saint-Jean and was awarded the Prix Thérouanne in 1919. The volume was the subject of a short publication by him for the Lyon historical journal, Bulletin de la Diana VIII, pp. 3-24 (copy enclosed in volume), and the scholarly pen notes in the margin of fols. 3r, 111r and 131r et passim are probably in his hand.


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CRANMER, Thomas (with) ASCHAM, Roger

Defensio veræ et catholicæ doctrinæ de sacramento corporis & sanguinis Christi seruatoris nostri,(with) Apologia doctissimi viri Rogeri Aschami, Angli

[Emden, Egidius van der Erve] (with) Pro Francisco Coldocko, 1557]


8vo. Two works in one. FIRST EDITION of the second work. 1) ff. [xvi], 154, [ii]. A-X⁸ Y⁴. 2) (without first blank except for signature-mark). Roman and Italic letter in both works some Greek in the second. T-p of the second work within typographical border, woodcut of Robert Dudley’s arms on verso of second ll., extensive contemporary marginal annotations in the first work, bookseller’s ticket, ‘J. Leslie of Holborn’ on pastedown, engraved bookplate ‘H.I.’, with motto ‘Vive ut vivas’, below, small ‘Selbourne Library’ stamp on verso of title, and blank lower margins of a few leaves. Light age yellowing, first t-p a little dusty, occasional ink spot, verso of last a little stained. Very good copies in contemporary English calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, blind stamped oval arabesque at centres, spine with blind ruled raised bands, rebacked with original spine laid down, title manuscript on fore-edge, a.e.r.

Excellent and rare edition of Cranmer’s ‘Defensio’ published at Emden by the Protestant community in exile during Queen Mary’s reign, bound with the first edition of this rare anticlerical tract by Ascham, whose role in the Protestant Reformation has recently received more scholarly attention. “Early in 1550 Cranmer gradually withdrew from attending the Royal council and began to devote his time to theological writings, and for the last three years of Edward’s reign. In July 1550 he published a book entitled ‘The Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ”. In it he made his position abundantly clear…He made it plain that he rejected transubstantiation and any High Church view which might attribute something of God’s presence to the bread and wine after consecraton and bow to it. All this Cranmer now denied publicly though his beliefs on this matter had been settled as early as the autumn of 1548.” Thomas Cranmer. By J.R. Broome. This edition was published a year after his execution by burning at the stake (despite his renunciation of Protestantism) at Emden which became a centre for the clandestine printing of Protestant tracts. “We also have it on Strype’s authority that Emden was the centre of protestant propaganda and Co. F.S. Isaac has now established a strong presumption that it was the press of Egidius van der Erve at Emden which published not merely this new edition of the Defensio but many of the pamphlets which were circulated in London and the eastern counties by such agents as Trudgeover”

“The Apologia is a treatise .. which vigorously denounced the Mass, its sacrifice, and priests. It was written by Roger Ascham as a direct response to a series of religious debates held at Cambridge University at the start of Edward VI’s reign. The work’s evident aim to direct government discussion on the best way to restore the Lord’s Supper in England raises interesting questions about the relationship between University and State during this reign. It also offers fresh insights into the evolution of Edwardine Protestantism, not least because the orientation of the Apologia’s theology was distinctly Lutheran. It may be possible to make the case that Luther’s writings and theological emphases had a greater impact on Edwardine religious debates about the Eucharist than scholars had assumed.” Lucy R. Nicholas. ‘Roger Ascham’s Defence of the Lord’s Supper.’ “The most eloquent testimony of Ascham’s full involvement in the theological conflicts of the reformation was his Apologia. It represented as assertive interjection into one of the most controversial and divisive theological conflicts of the Edwardian reformation – that concerning the Eucharist. It was composed early on in the reign of Edward VI, between the very end of 1547 and the start of 1548. .. Ascham’s views about sin and salvation could not be clearer: ‘I speak on behalf of the Lord’s Supper against the Mass, since the supper constitutes a sign and a memorial of redemption and the whole of our salvation; the Mass, however, (as I will speak very truthfully) constitutes the Illiad of every evil and the Odyssey of all errors’.” Lucy R. Nicholas. ‘Sin and Salvation in Reformation England’. Very good copies of these rare works.

1) STC 6005. ESTC S105121. 2) STC 825. ESTC S100257 ‘In most copies the imprint date is altered by hand to 1578.’


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BOTERO, Giovanni


Le relationi universali…divise in sette parti.

Venice, appresso Alessandro Vecchi, 1617-18.


4to, in 7 parts, each with separate t-p, date, pagination and register, pp. (xxxii) 208, 71 (i), (xx) 131 (i), 156 (viii), (xvi) 6, 64, (viii) 56, (viii) 52, 22 (ii). Italic letter, little Roman. Circular woodcut portrait of Botero to t-ps, 4 fold-out engraved maps of the continents, 32 superb full-page woodcuts of exotic mirabilia to part 5, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. Very minor marginal spotting, couple of paper flaws, tiny marginal worm trail to t-p and another. A very good copy in contemporary Italian vellum, traces of ties, title inked to upper cover and spine, shelfmark to spine and fly.


Handsome, superbly illustrated copy of the enlarged edition in seven parts—the first illustrated with woodcuts of exotic wonders—of this most successful descriptive geography of the world. Educated at the Jesuit college in Palermo and Rome, Giovanni Botero (1544-1617) was a poet and political theorist. In the 1590s, at the service of Cardinal Borromeo, he wrote his ‘Relationi universali’, describing Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and their islands; the princes and kingdoms of the world; world religions; the ‘superstitions’ and evangelisation of the New World; the wonders of the Indies; European wars and famous captains. The 32 impressive woodcuts by Alessandro de Vecchi were here published for the first time, as an addition to Part 4, which ‘could also be a stand-alone work’ (Vinciana 1090). They translated exotic wonders traditionally found in Africa and Asia into the New World. De Vecchi’s figures ‘to the life’ were probably inspired by C16 illustrated German books; some resemble the wonders portrayed in the Nuremberg Chronicle (e.g., a creature with a wolf’s and human head and the sciopod). Also, like some of these works, Botero described ‘cynocaephali’ (dog-headed men) as cannibals from the Indies (Feest, ed., ‘Indians and Europe’, 20). The realistic portrayals of the natives, among the earliest, were recut after those in a long woodcut of the procession of King of Cochin by Hans Burgkmair, printed in 1508-11. Unable to become an active missionary after being expelled from the Jesuits, Botero composed this work to assist the Church in fighting heresy around the world. It was a collection of texts on the geography and history of the four Continents—with most up-to-date information on Asia—based on accounts by travellers and Jesuit missionaries. Thanks to its numerous editions and translations, it quickly became ‘a standard work of reference…both Protestant and Catholic’ (Symcox, ‘On the Causes’, xiii). Cardinal Borromeo, to whom the third part is dedicated, made ample use of the information on the Americas; in particular, Botero examined the regions of Norumberga (of legendary status), Florida, the Mexican Gulf, Mexico and South America down to Magellanica by the Antarctic Pole. He also discussed the excavation of a canal to link the two oceans through Nicaragua first planned by the early ‘conquistadores’. A masterpiece of Renaissance political geography.

BM STC C17 It., p. 139; Alden 618/20; Sabin 6806 (1602 ed.); Cordier, Bib. Sinica, 16-17; James Ford Bell B410. Not in Brunet.  


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Use of Autun

[France, c. 1480]


130mm x 88mm, 208 leaves, some catchwords but collation impractical, wanting 2 leaves after fol. 24, another after fols. 85 and 152 and one at end, single column of 15 lines of lettre bâtarde, red rubrics, one- and 2-line initials in blue and liquid gold with contrasting penwork, larger initials in dark blue on burgundy grounds enclosing liquid gold scrollwork, some leaves with decorated borders of coloured and acanthus leaves and more realistic foliage on liquid gold or blank vellum shapes, 5-line historiated initial opening the Office of the Dead, with a young woman (perhaps the original owner) being struck down by Death, here as a spear wielding skeleton, some slight cockling and small spots and stains, else excellent condition; contemporary binding of brown calf over wooden boards, blind-stamped in rectangles filled with fleur-de-lys, a monkey, a bird, and a foliate scroll, small scuffs and ink stains, rebacked and restored.


Written and illuminated c. 1480, most probably for a patron in Autun: Calendar with local saints, Nazarus and Celsus (28 July, with octave, to whom the original cathedral of Autun was dedicated), St Lazare (1 September, with “Hic fit de sancto Lazaro” on 2 and 3 September), the revelatio of St Lazare (20 October, with octave), Proculus (4 November), the adventus reliquiarum of Nazarius and Celsus (6 November), Amator (26 November), and the dedication of the church of St Lazare (20 December), with these and further local saints in the Litany (SS. Martial, Trophine, and Saturnine).


The volume comprises: a Calendar (fol. 1r); the Obsecro te (fol. 13r) and O intemerata (fol. 17v); the Gospel extracts (fol. 21r); the Hours of the Virgin (fol. 25r); the Seven Penitential Psalms (fol. 86r) with a Litany; the Office of the Dead (fol. 106r); seasonal variants for the hours (fol. 153r, wanting last leaf).


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ALPINO, Prospero


De medicina Aegyptorium, libri quatuor

Venice, apud Francesco De Franceschi, 1591


FIRST EDITION. 4to. ff. (xii) 150 (xxvi). Roman letter, little Italic. Woodcut vignette to t-p, 6 woodcuts (full- to ¼-page) showing body parts and medical scenes, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. T-p a bit soiled, varying degrees of age browning, C19 steel-engraved author’s portrait tipped-in before t-p. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, traces of ties. Modern bookplate to front pastedown, C18-C19 bibliographic annotations to fep and rear pastedown, very occasional early annotations.

A well-margined copy of this remarkably influential medical treatise—‘one of the earliest European studies of non-Western medicine’ (Norman 39) interpreted not as a different tradition but as a parallel system of practices that could be compared to Western ones, sometimes through the work of Venetian colleagues.

Prospero Alpini (1553-1617) was a Venetian physician and botanist whose fame led to his appointment as prefect in charge of the botanical garden in Padua, one of the oldest in the world, and professor at the same university. His numerous works concerned with medicine and botany were greatly influenced by his travels in Egypt in the early 1580s, as personal physician to Giorgio Emo, Venetian Consul at Cairo.

‘De medicina Aegyptiorum’ is entirely devoted to the medical customs of Egyptians, and structured in the form of a dialogue between Alpinus and the botanist Melchior Guilandino. The first section discusses the state of art of Egyptian medicine, the most frequent illnesses and epidemics. A substantial part was devoted to the plague, its recent manifestation in Cairo (with half a million victims) and its transmission (through contagion from Greece, not as believed in natural cycles of seven years). ‘For European readers with much more than an academic interest in questions of the origin and means of transmission of the plague, Alpini’s views remained points of reference and contention well into the nineteenth century’ (Seth, ‘Difference and Disease’, 35). The second, third and fourth sections are devoted to medical practice. Alpinus was critical of the Egyptian practice of blood-letting, to which a handsome full-page woodcut is devoted; in his opinion it was used too often (even on children) and the amount of blood let was excessive. He compared Egyptian techniques and practices to those of Venetian colleagues. His examination of various conditions, procedures and treatments is interwoven with considerations on the importance of diet, the positive or detrimental consumption of specific fruit and vegetables and the use of ‘decocti’ for therapeutic purposes. The most important example—the explanation of how to prepare ‘choua’, which tastes like chicory—is also the first appearance of coffee in print. Alpinus calls it the seed of a tree he saw growing in the orchard of the Turkish sultan; he guides the reader through the brewing procedure made by a filtering process. It could benefit women with menstruation, as a facilitator of purgation, and was generally drunk quite liberally, like wine in the West, at public taverns.

The work includes a Tharachfaruc, a list of drugs and antidotes which he compares to the ‘Theriaca Andromachi’ used in Venice. The early annotator of this copy was particularly interested in the preparation and therapeutic use of cannabis.

A ground-breaking work which brought to the West new treatments, medical theories and comparative practices; it still held a safe place on the shelves of C18 and C19 physicians.

BM STC It., p. 20; Adams, A802; Mortimer, Harvard C16 It., 16; Heirs of Hippocrates, 240 (1646 ed.); Osler, 1796; Durling, 178; Wellcome I, 232; Garrison-Morton, 6468 (‘First important work on the history of Egyptian medicine’); Simon II, 42. S. Seth, Difference and Disease (Cambridge, 2018).


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Biblia to jest księgi Starego i Nowego Zakonu.

[Cracow, N. and S. Scharffenberger, 1561].


FIRST EDITION. Folio. 421 of 433 unnumbered ll., *A1 B0 A-C6 D4 E-Q6 R4 S-Z6 2A-2S6 2T-2V4 3A-3L6 3M5 4A-4V6 4X4 4Y4 4Z6. Gothic letter, double column. 2 full-page, 46 ½-page and 80 smaller handsome woodcuts with scenes from the Old Testament, including the world map on 4N4, decorated initials and ornaments. First two gatherings soiled with crude repairs to margins and text, affected words often supplied in ms, similar repair to another dozen ll., few slightly browned, oil stains or thumb marks in a few places, small stain on P2, occasional small clean tears to text or margins, full-page woodcut on last leaf mounted. A thoroughly used copy in C19 diced calf, bordered with gilt roll of tendrils, spine lettered and cross-hatched in blind, a.e.r., extremities and joints a bit worn. Early armorial wax seal to first leaf, occasional near contemporary Latin and Polish annotations.

Very scarce example of the first edition of the Old Testament in Polish—the first part of the ‘Cracow Bible’ or ‘Biblia Leopolita’. It was intended to be issued with the second edition of the New Testament printed by the Scharffenbergers and first published individually in 1556. It was prepared by the priest Jan Nicz (1523-72) from Lwów (Leopolis)—hence the name ‘Biblia Leopolita’—a classicist, Hebraist and theologian at the Jagellonian University. The Leopolita Bible, which occupies a fundamental place in the history of the Polish language, is a fascinating experiment in vernacular exegesis at the time of the Council of Trent countering the increasingly widespread influence of the Reformation. Nicz sought ‘to preserve the existing linguistic tradition faithfully reproducing the original Latin text [of the Vulgate] whilst striving for linguistic correctness and the right choice of vocabulary’; at the same time, he managed to infuse new life into Polish as a theological language (Sznajderski, ‘Reformacija’, 76). The fresh language he produced was enriched with Latinisms and words borrowed from Czech, Bohemian and German (Belcarzowa, ‘Niektóre’, 9-33). The Leopolita Bible, especially the Old Testament, was also greatly influenced by the Hussite Czech Melantrich Bible printed in 1556 (Bentkowski, ‘Historya’, 498). Borrowed features include the book of Maccabees 3 (generally excluded from Catholic bibles as non-canonical), the use of marginal references to the content, and the handsome illustrations (124 in the Old Testament alone), e.g., the initial woodcut illustrating the Creation and the small world map (‘Interpretation’, 1177). The superb woodcuts, of Polish making, were imbued with the German Reformed tradition headed by Luther’s vernacular bible published by Hans Lufft in Wittenberg and illustrated by Georg Lamberger and Hans Brosamer (Pietkiewicz, ‘Biblia Polonorum’, I, 379-80).

The early annotator was reflecting on confessional issues when he glossed with Latin words (e.g., the stronger ‘filius perditionis’ instead of ‘confusionis’ as a closer Latin translation of the Polish in Proverbs, or ‘podagra’ for gout in Deuteronomy), alternative translations (e.g., Psalm 2), or plain erasures (e.g., Psalm 104). In the margin of the dreadful account of famine and sieges in Deuteronomy 28, he wrote in Polish ‘famine 1584’, a personal reference to the pan-European famine of the mid-1580s. A gloss to Daniel’s vision in Chapter 12 associates it with the ‘prophetia Luterana’, which, as the bible says, ‘will abolish the sacrifice’ as will happen at the end of time. Another to Maccabees 2:13 adds the original Latin from the Vulgate.

Only 5 copies (with both parts, but incomplete) recorded on WorldCat, 3 in the US (Yale, UCB and Michigan). Bib. Polonica 212; Darlow & Moule 7383; Brunet I, 904 (mentioned). R. Pietkiewicz, Biblia Polonorum: Historia Biblii w języku polskim (Poznán, 2016), I; E. Belcarzowa, Niektóre osobliwości leksykalne biblii tzw. Leopolity (Warsaw, 1989); T. Sznajderski, ‘Reformacja i polskie przekłady Biblii’, Zagadnienia Rodzajów Literackich 60 (2017), 71-83; F. Bentkowski, Historya literatury polskiey (Warsaw, 1814); The Interpretation of the Bible, ed. J. Krasovec (Sheffield, 1998).


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NICOLAUS DE PLOVE. Tractatus sacerdotalis de sacramentis. (with)

FERNÁNDEZ DE SANTAELLA, Rodrigo. Sacerdotalis instructio circa missam.

Logroño, Arnao Guillén de Brocar, 1503.


4to. Two works in one, I) ff. 106 [92], II) 12 unnumbered ll., a8 b4. Woodcut vignettes of the crucifixion within typographic border to first t-p and without border to second and third, printer’s device to last of both, decorated initials. Slight marginal dust-soiling or very light waterstaining, a good copy, on thick paper, in contemporary vellum, traces of ties. Inscription ‘Permiss[us] anno 1634 F Philippe de Castro’ to t-p and early inscription inked to last of first, occasional early Latin annotation, 7 line ms. to verso of last of second part, marca de fuego of the Augustinians of New Spain.

The provenance of this copy can be traced to the library of an Augustinian monastery in Mexico, the marca de fuego of which remains unidentified. The intriguing C16 annotation inked to the last leaf of ‘Tractatus’ is a pseudo-medical ‘receta para lonbrices’ (recipe against worms), with Latin verse from Psalms 25 and 35 and Leviticus 23 which mentions ‘eating flesh’, ‘expulsion’ and the ‘cleansing of blood’. It concludes with the words ‘sator arepo tenet opera rotas’—an enigmatic charm dating back to late antiquity.

Augustinian friars were keen on the evangelisation of Hispanic and native missionaries, which included the knowledge of devotional and liturgical practice. Theological manuals like ‘Tractatus’ and ‘Sacerdotalis instructio’ were fundamental to educate clerics from such diverse backgrounds. Nicolaus de Plove (or de Blony or de Plowe, fl. 1434-38) was a preacher in Plock at the service of the bishop of Posen. Printed ten times before 1499 and widely circulated in ms. form, his ‘Tractatus’, commissioned by the Bishop Stanislaus I, was one of the most successful C15 manuals for clerics (‘Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie’). Rodrigo Fernández de Santaella (1444-1509) was doctor in theology, professor at colleges in Sevilla and Bologna and sometime at the service of cardinal Francesco Gonzaga. ‘Sacerdotalis instructio’ was one of several works he wrote for the instruction of clerics.

 In addition to customary topics like the meaning of sacraments, the recitation of the mass or the procedure for exorcism, these manuals included detailed instruction on basic devotional practice. For instance, the annotator of this copy highlighted passages on how to recite ‘horae canonicae’ (matins and vespers). Priests should pray for their community in ‘honest places’, not whilst minding pigs and cows in the fields, or lying in bed or sitting on the toilet; as far as singing techniques were concerned, they should remember that ‘a voice without modulation is like that of a pig; one without devotion is like the voice of an ox’.

 In 1634, this copy was examined by the renowned Mexican Augustinian Inquisitor Fray Felipe de Castro and marked with a ‘permissus’ to certify its suitability.

  1. I) Only Illinois and UPenn copies recorded in the US.

Palau 229113. Not in BL STC Sp.

  1. II) No copies recorded in the US.

BL STC Sp., p. 78; Palau 89735 (mentioned as a second edition).


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ASELLI, Gaspare


De lactibus sive lacteis venis.

Milan, apud Ioan Baptistam Bidellum, 1627.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. Pp. (xvi) 79 (ix) + 4 folding coloured plates. Roman letter, little Italic, occasional Greek. T-p by Bassano within framed border of cherubs supporting arms of Philip IV of Spain as ruler of the Duchy of Milan; four large, folding colour-printed plates showing internal animal organs in very good, strong impression; full-page engraved portrait of the author also by Bassano; decorated initials and ornaments. Very slight age yellowing, first gathering little thumbed, lower outer edge of engraved t-p a trifle frayed and little dusty, tiny paper flaw to lower outer blank corner of A1, ancient minor repair at lower fold of two plates, small water stain to outer blank margin of one. Excellent copy in contemporary vellum, little wear. Ms ‘Ex-libris doctoris Joseph Peregi Phisici Collegi Mantua[nis] 1651’ and ‘Musei Aloysii Francisci Castellani Phil. et Med. Doct. 1752’ to fly, first ex-libris also inked to rear blank, ‘Rego’ to lower blank margin of engraved t-p.

Excellent copy, with interesting provenance, of the scarce first edition of this important medical work—complete with ‘the first colour-printed scientifically accurate medical illustrations’ (‘Colour Printing in Relief’, 35). ‘The woodcuts are treated in a very spirited manner and in coloured chiaroscuro. On each plate four colours are used as follows: black for the background, the contours, and the crosshatching, and also for indicating the veins and for the letter engraved upon the figures; white, the colour of the paper, for numbering the plates on the black background and for the chyliferous vessels in the figures; dark red for the arteries, for cross-hatching, and for shadows en masse; light red for the surfaces of the intestines, the mesentery, and the liver’ (Choulant, 240). Gaspare Aselli (c.1581-1625) was an Italian physician and professor at Pavia, famous for his discovery of the lacteal vessels—lymphatic vessels that absorb dietary fats in the small intestine—a summary of which was first published in this work. The colour-printed illustrations were of animal organs (a dog’s lacteal vessels, mesentery and liver), and were not replicated in colour in the 1628 and 1640 editions. They were probably inspired by the hand-coloured anatomical plates in the library of Girolamo Fabricius d’Acquapendente, bequeathed to the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice in 1622—’the first naturalistic paintings of the internal parts of animals’; their style, the large size and the black background, present also in Aselli’s plates, are reminiscent of Caravaggio. One of the physicians who assisted in the printing of Aselli’s work was, we know from his letters, in touch with Fabricius whilst studying at Padua in the 1610s; he may have provided a model (Ekholm, ‘Fabricius’, 350-52). This copy belonged to two physicians at the medical school in Mantua. In 1651, it was in the library of Giuseppe Perego; in 1752, in that of Luigi Francesco Castellani, author, among others, of a work on tuberculosis and contagion. A scarce, important book for the history of medicine and medical book illustration.

Garrison-Morton 1094; Wellcome I, 506 (1640 ed. only); Osleriana 1846; Choulant, Hist. and bib. of anatomic ill., 6975 (pp. 240-41). Not in Heirs of Hippocrates or Durling. E. Savage, ‘Colour Printing in Relief before c.1700’, in Printing Colour 1400-1700, ed. A. Stijnman and E. Savage (Leiden, 2015), 23-41; K.J. Ekholm, ‘Fabricius’s and Harvey’s Representations of Animal Generation’, Annals of Science 67 (2010), 329-52.


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De triangulis planis et sphaericis libri quinque.

Basle, per Henricum Petri, et Petrum Pernam, 1561.


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio. 2 vols in one. pp. [viii] , 146 , [xxxviii]; [xx], 294 , [ii]. [ast]4, a-o6, p8; [ast]6, A4, B-2A6, 2B4, 2C6. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Fine historaited woodcut initials, innumerable woodcut diagrams and illustrations including a beautiful woodcut suite of the zodiac, armorial bookplate of the Earls of Macclesfield on pastedown, early mss shelf mark above, their blind-stamp at head of first two leaves. Light age yellowing, browning on one or two quires, with some minor spotting, the odd marginal thumb mark or stain. A fine copy, crisp and clean with good margins, in handsome contemporary English calf, covers bordered with a triple blind rule, spine with raised bands, gilt ruled in six compartments, gilt fleurons to centres, stubbs from an early English vellum manuscript in double column, extremities expertly restored..

A very handsome copy of the rare enlarged third edition; De triangulis was Regiomontanus’s most important scientific contribution. Completed in 1464, it remained in manuscript for nearly seventy years before being published in 1533 in Nuremberg by Johann Petri. It contains the earliest statement of the cosine law for spherical triangles, stating the proportionality of the sides of a plane triangle to the sines of the opposite angle. This fundamental proposition of spherical trigonometry appears as theorem 2 in book V of the treatise. In the second part, Regiomontanus proves the errors of Nicolaus de Cusa’s theory of squaring the circle, which had a profound effect on the history of navigation.

“the first systematic treatise on plane and spheric trigonometry to be published in Europe. Although it drew heavily on Arabic sources, those earlier treatises had been either lost or forgotten by 1533 when Regiomontanuss work was first printed. Among the notable contents of this work are the sine law and perhaps the first European application of algebra to trigonometry. Indeed with De triangulis trigonometry was established as an independent discipline. Regiomontanus’ original purpose, however, had been to furnish astronomers with a mathematical technique essential for their studies, and in this De triangulis had a success perhaps greater than its author could have dreamed of. For in 1539 Georg Joachim Rheticus presented a copy of the work’s 1533 edition as a gift to Copernicus. The great astronomer had already written the trigonometrically-based portion of his De Revolutionibus without knowledge of his predecessor’s treatise. After reading the new book, Copernicus modified the presentation of several of his own indispensable theorems by inserting two leaves in the manuscript of the De Revolutionibus. Hence, Rheticus’ remark that Regiomontanus began the reconstruction of astronomy that Copernicus completed takes on a fuller meaning” Rose, ‘The Italian Renaissance of Mathematics,’ ‘This edition is enlarged with by two early complementary treatises the “Tabula sinuum ad 6000000 partes per I. de Regiomonte computata” and the “Tractatus super propositiones Ptolemaei de sinubus et chordis” by Peurbach. which add work not present in the first edition.

The second work in this volume is the first appearance of an expanded treatise by Santbech on astronomy. It deals with instruments for astronomical observation, and details various methods of measurement using Regiomontanus’ work on triangles, described in the first work. It is interesting for its post Copernican perspective, who is cited in the work. Thomas Digges also cites the work in his ‘An Arithmeticall Militarie Treatise’; see Military Books, p. 23.

A very good copy from the extraordinary scientific library of the Earls of Macclesfield.

BM STC Adams R-281. Houzeau & Lancaster 2500. Tomash & Williams R54, R61, P64, S13; VD16 M6571;  Santbech: Zinner 2273


HIGDEN, Ranulf.



Westminster, by Wynkyn Theworde, 1495.


Folio. ff. [ii, title and verso in facs.] CCCxxxvi, CCCxxxvi-CCCxlvi, [ii colophon in facs.] [xxxv]; a-y, z, A-S, T V-X, cc-gg6, hh5.. Lacking aa8-bb6, ie title, Proheme, and part of index, X8 colophon, and last blank hhd, text COMPLETE. Index at end with blanks replacing those missing. Title and device replaced in excellent C19th facsimile. Black letter in double column. Small woodcut initials, early marginal annotations in several hands, the word “Pope” struck out by hand throughout the text, engraved bookplate of Robert Barclay (1751-1830) of Bury Hill, on pastedown, bookplate of Ross Winans (1796-1877), above [American inventor and one of its earliest multi-millionaires], of the Fox Pointe collection below. Light age yellowing, last leaf of text remounted, penultimate with small hole in outer margin, restored, affecting a few letters, closed tear in V8 restored with no loss, lower blank margin of X1 restored, occasional marginal thumb mark, rare light stain or spot, occasional marginal soiling. A very good copy, crisp and clean, in early C19th diced russia, covers triple blind ruled to a panel design, panels filled with repeated scrolled tools, or hatched roll, rebacked, spine remounted, raised bands, richly blind tooled in compartments, edges and inner dentelles blind hatched, a.e.r., a little rubbed, small expert restorations.

A wonderful fresh copy, textually complete, of the second edition of the Polycronicon, this “cornerstone of English prose” (Pforzheimer) translated by John Trevisa, and edited with a continuation by William Caxton. It is a reprint of William Caxton’s 1482 edition with the addition of woodcut music, the first musical notation printed in England, on leaf n5r. About half of the recorded copies of this beautifully printed work survive in fragments or are incomplete. Written by the Benedictine monk Ranulf Higden (d. 1364) the Polychronicon “offered to the educated and learned audience of fourteenth-century England a clear and original picture of world history based upon medieval tradition, but with a new interest in antiquity, and with the early history of Britain related as part of the whole” DNB. Higden’s work, divided into 7 books and extending to the year 1348, was written in Latin. The English translation is by John de Trevisa, who continued the coverage to 1357. The 8th book was added by William Caxton, whose name appears on R6r, when in 1482 he printed Trevisa’s translation with extensive revisions

“Few of Caxton’s books have excited more interest and research than the ‘Polycronicon.’ It appears to have had its origin with Roger, Monk of St. Werberg, in Chester, who about the beginning of the 14th Century, made an extensive compilation in Latin from several of the old Chronicles and Works on Natural History then in existence. Ralph Higden, of the same monastery, who died before 1360, amplified this compilation, entitling the work, ‘Polychronicon,’ and this, judging from the numerous copies still extant, had a very extended popularity. In 1387, Trevisa, Chaplain to the Earl of Berkeley, translated the Latin of Higden into English prose. … Nearly a century later, Caxton revised the antiquated text of Trevisa, which, together with a continuation of the History to the year 1460, was finished on July 2nd, 1482, and printed soon after. Caxton entitled his continuation ‘Liber ultimus’ and it is most interesting as being the only original work of any magnitude from our Printer’s pen.” William Blades ‘The Life and Typography of William Caxton, England’s First Printer …, Volume 2.’

“It is clear that the English language production was very significant for Caxton. This was probably not because Caxton was more than usually devoted to his native language. There were good economic reasons for his choice. There was an international market for books in Latin, so if Caxton had printed Latin books, he would have been competing with some of the biggest publishers of his time. This would have been difficult to do successfully from England, on the margins of Europe. European printers also produced books in Latin specifically for English use. This demonstrates the strength of European book exports to England. Caxton left to others the production of texts to be used in universities or monasteries throughout Europe. Instead he concentrated on books in English, where there was little competition.When he printed Ranulph Higden’s Polycronicon, in John Trevisa’s translation of 1387, he updated the ‘rude and old englyssh, that is to wete certayn wordes, which in these dayes be neither vsyd ne understanden’” BL

“It was not until 1495 that the first music printed in England appeared; but it can hardly be considered a very important example. It consists of but eight notes in Higden’s Policronicon, printed by Wynkyn de Worde at Westminster. In this edition the music was made up from printers’ quads and rules. Caxton printed an edition of the same work in 1482; but he left a space for the music to be put in by hand, and in a later edition of Peter Treveris (Southwark, 1527) the music was printed from a wood block.” ‘Music Printing in Britain Through 1695.’ Wynkyn de Worde was an extraordinary and pioneering printer. He appears to have been the first to build a book stall in St. Paul’s Churchyard, which soon became a centre of the book trade in London, the first to use English-made paper, produced at John Tate’s mill in Hertfordshire, the first to print musical notation as well as the first to use an italic font in 1528 in Lucian’s Complures Dialogi.

A fresh and clean copy of this remarkable secular English-language incunable.

BMC XI 195. ISTC ih00268000. ESTC S106488. STC 13439. Goff H268. HC 8660. Duff 173. Madsen 1986. BSB-Ink H-261. GW 12469.