BUTLER, Charles

The principles of musik, in singing and setting: vvith the two-fold use therof, ecclesiasticall and civil

London printed by Iohn Haviland, for the author, 1636.


FIRST EDITION. 4to. pp. [xiv], 135, [i]. [par.]-2, [par.], A-R. Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Title within box rule with woodcut of King David with typographical ornaments, woodcut initials, headpieces and typographical ornaments, type set music, several woodcut diagrams in text, one full page, book plate of James Elwin Millard (1824 – 1894) on pastedown, his blind-stamp with monogram on fly.  First quire browned, age yellowing with some spotting thereafter, T-p dusty, occasional mark or stain. A good copy, in C19th three-quarter tan morocco over cloth boards, spine with raised bands, title gilt lettered, spine a little rubbed.

First edition of this rare and most important theoretical work on music, the most influential of the C17th, by the remarkable Charles Butler who was also the author of “The Feminine Monarchy”, a seminal work on beekeeping. Book One of ‘The Principles’ concerns itself with the rudiments of music and provides elementary instruction in the art of composition. It is divided under four comprehensive chapter headings, The Moods, Singing, Setting, and the ways of Setting. Chapters two, three and four are broken into sections and sub-sections; the section treating of an individual topic, and sub-section of a particular aspect of that topic. Butler supplies annotations after each section, making the detailed and often lengthy explanations more accessible to the reader.

“As a text it was quite obviously designed to be read at different levels and in different ways, but its principal appeal is to the educated amateur, aiming at the same type of audience as Morley’s ‘Plaine and Easie Introduction’ had sought. The Principles is basically a scholarly book which provides a good deal of sound practical advice. Reading without reference to the Annotations, the diligent amateur must have found a sensible and very sane book, often cutting through an enormous amount of arcane mystery in a deft sentence, while at the same time leaving the reader in no doubt that composers are born not made. The amateur who was something of a scholar could not fail to have been impressed by the precise and accurate documentation of Butler’s annotations, by the masterly command of sources, particularly of the classical and medieval authorities. The professional musician, too, could well have gained immense profit and pleasure from Butler’s text, which does not simply provide rules and regulations but explains the nature and antiquity of his art from Old Testament to modern times. …The number of surviving copies indicates a fairly large edition, perhaps as high as seven or eight hundred copies. Playford’s Sale Catalogues at the British Museum prove that copies were still changing hands at the end of the seventeenth century and a copy was offered for two and a half guineas at a Calkin and Budd Sale in l844, there described as “excessively scarce”, and selling at a higher price than all the English theorists, Morley included. ..’The Principles , of Musik in singing and setting’ is unique in one important aspect: it is the only book which sets out with a two-fold purpose, to instruct the musical reader, and to justify music’s existence. The first part of Butler’ s purpose needs no explanation, nor does it merit defence, but the apology for music stands in need of both. It may have been written as an academic exercise, or even perhaps as a provider of mere bulk to an otherwise slender volume, but it is much more likely to have been written because Butler seriously believed that forces were abroad in society that were determined to stamp out music and not simply from church worship.” John Shute. ‘The English theorists of the seventeenth century’ “Butler argued that the ‘reprehensible conduct of ‘debosht Balad-makers and Dance-makers’ in leading their silly proselytes hedlong into hell’ did not amount to a justification for the silencing of all musical sound. Instead, it argued the need for control.” Christopher Marsh ‘Music and Society in Early Modern England.’

ESTC S106982. STC 1496; Lowndes p. 333: “This tract, dedicated to King Charles I, was the only theoretical or didactic work on the subject of music, published in that king’s reign.”


Print This Item Print This Item

PSALMS (Hebrew)


Psalterium Hebraicum.

Paris, Excudebat Robertus Stephanus, typograph. regius, 1565.


16mo. 160 unumbered leaves, A-V8. (lacking title A1). Hebrew letter, colophon in Roman. Foliated headpiece with dolphins, extensive marginal annotations c1600 in very legible English, numbering of verses and pages, ‘James Prosser, Eius Liber’, later autograph to front endpaper, (probably the Hebraist, Anglican clergyman and author of ‘A Key to the Hebrew Scriptures, 1838’), ’D.S. Maw, Wadham College Oxford, May 1923′, on rear pastedown with an inscription in Greek in his hand opposite (teacher at Uppingham school and sometime correspondent of John Piper). Light age yellowing, some minor water-staining, light mostly marginal foxing, a little heavier at beginning and end. A good copy in early C19th black morocco, covers bordered with a double gilt rule, fleurons to outer corners, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, gilt ruled in compartments, all edges gilt, extremities a little rubbed.

A most interesting copy of the Hebrew Psalms, finely printed by Robert Estienne the younger, as King’s Printer in Hebrew, with extensive early annotation in English, both translations and commentary; a very rare and important insight into the beginnings of an English appreciation of the original Hebrew Psalms. We have not been able to identify the commentator but Hebrew scholars of that level were not abundant in England in 1600. The Psalms had been translated into English many times, most popularly by Sternhold and Hopkins. However these were invariably based on Latin, French or German translations; indeed Sterhold and Hopkins version was most probably based on the French version by Clement Marot. “Questions of originality and the authority of the “original” were complicated for Renaissance psalms by the fact that most translators did not read Hebrew and therefore relied on previous Latin, English, or other vernacular translations, and by the fact that there was universal ignorance regarding the specific formal workings of Hebrew poetry. To what extent were these questions raised by Renaissance translators themselves?… The fact that Hebrew was so little known in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England meant that there was essentially no “original,” no accessible, authoritative text with which to compare a translation, and as a result, for the vast majority of their readers, the English Psalms were the only Psalms (supplemented for some by “cognate” versions in Latin, German, or French). More importantly, English translations of the Psalms held a different status than English translations of either classical literature or vernacular works in other European languages, in that they were not intended as a crib for those who couldn’t get at the original texts, nor as a kind of second-best version for the monoglot. The Psalms were not really conceived of as “texts” in the way that translations of Catullus or Petrarch were. They were holy Scripture and, as such, had a unique function, being used by English Christians every day, or at least every week, of their lives: ..they were among the most familiar texts in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. Because of the central place of the Psalms in English daily life, and their vital functions within the body of English culture, they were thus, in a powerful if peculiar sense, English works.” Hannibal Hamlin,Psalm Culture and Early Modern English Literature.’

Both Hebrew scholarship and printing were very restricted in the early Renaissance in England. “Friedberg informs that early as 1625 an English translation of the travels of Benjamin of Tudela was printed in London, but it was not until 1643 that the first book with a significant amount of Hebrew letters, a Psalms, with Hebrew, Greek, latin, and English, was printed here. He also observes, given the absence of a Jewish presence in England, that all the work had to have been done by non-Jews.”. The abundant scholarly early English annotations of this Hebrew book of Psalms are therefore of the greatest interest as they offer a very rare insight into sixteenth century English interest in the original Hebrew text. The annotator has numbered all the verses, made translations of a few lines and commented on the text with giving possible words for a translation to English. 

This copy also belonged to the Reverend James Prosser who introduced his important work, ‘A Key to the Hebrew Scriptures, 1838’, with the lines, “It is very much to be regretted that the treasures which are contained in the Hebrew Scriptures are so little understood… Whence is it that the language of the Patriarchs is so little studied.”

Renouard, Estienne, 162:1. Mortimer, Fr. I no. 73. Not in Darlowe and Moule.


Print This Item Print This Item

BUTLER, Charles

The English Grammar. (with) Rhetoricæ Libri duo. (with) Syngeneia. De propinquitate matrimonium impendiente, regula. (and) The femininʿ monarchiʿ, or the histori of beeʿs. Shewing their admirable naturʿ, and propertis.


Oxford, Printed by William Turner, for the author, 1634. (with) London, Excudebat Ioannes Hauiland impensis authoris, 1629. (with) Oxford, Excudebant Iohannes Lichfield & Guilielmus Turner, Academiæ typographi, 1625. (and) Oxford, Printed by William Turner, for đe author, 1634.

Four vols. in one. FIRST EDITION of the third. 4to. 1) pp. [viii] [xxiix] 2-63 [i]. 2) 252 unnumbered pages. A-P, pi², A-Q. 3) pp. [iv], 71, [i]: A-I, K². 4) [xvi], 112, 115-182: [par.]-2[par.], B-Z, 2A². Roman letter, some Italic, Greek and Black. Titles with printer’s devices, woodcut headpieces and initials, typographical ornaments, wood-type music in last volume, book plate of James Elwin Millard (1824 – 1894) on pastedown. Light age yellowing, very rare mark or spot. Very good copies, crisp and clean in contemporary calf, covers bordered with a double blind and single gilt rule, leafy arabesque gilt at centres, rebacked to match, spine with gilt ruled raised bands fleurons gilt, tan morocco label gilt lettered, a.e.r. a little rubbed at extremities.

An excellent sammelband of four major works of the extraordinary scholar Charles Butler. The first is the second edition of his remarkable treatise on Grammar (which he put into practise, cf. last of the work in this Sammelband ‘the Feminine Monarchy’). It is a reissue of the 1633 first edition, with preliminaries reset and an added dedication to Prince Charles.The work hopes to remedy “the imperfection of our alphabet, for it is come to passe; that sundry letters, of frequent use in our tongue, have yet no peculiar and distinct characters,”  and secondly “in many words we are fallen from the old pronunciation.” Thenceforward, the text is printed in a special phonetic manner, shunning orthography in favour of writing “altogether according to the sound now generally received” in an attempt at standardisation and simplification. “The author dwells upon the capriciousness of English orthography (‘neither our new writers agreeing with the old, nor either new nor old among themselves’), and proposes the adoption of a system whereby men should ‘write altogether according to the sound now generally received.’ DNB.

The Rhetoricase Libri Duo, here in an expanded edition, “was intended to be a school text book and was an edition in Latin for English school-children of the work of the French Scholar Pierre de la Ramée who had met his death at the hands of the mob in the notorious Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s day in 1572” John Shute. ‘The English theorists of the seventeenth century with particular reference to Charles butler.’ “The last of the Elizabethan Ramists was Charles Butler, whose Rhetoricae Libri Duo first appeared in 1598. A rare instance of an Oxford convert to Ramism, Butler took a degree at Magdalen Hall only a few years before Hobbes became an undergraduate there. Although Butler’s treatise amounts to little more than a further reworking of Talon’s Rhetorica, it proved extremely successful in its own right, and probably served more than any other work to popularise the tenets of Ramist Rhetoric in England” Quentin Skinner, ‘Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes.

The third work is the First edition of Charles Butler’s work on consanguinity in marriage. ‘Dealing with problems of consanguinity and in particular with affinity as a bar to Matrimony. Even the ‘broad-chested’ Fuller was content to quote the opinion of the learned Dr. Prideaux, Vivce- Chancellor of Oxford, who ‘commended it as the best ever written on that subject’… The book appears to have been prompted by the marriage of Butler’s son, William to a cousin, Mary Butler, at Wooton in 1624” John Shute.

The final work is Butler’s most celebrated, the third and best edition of his ‘Feminine Monarchy’ a classic English guide to Beekeeping, and the first to be translated into phonetic English, combining Butler’s love of bees with his work in orthography. In “De Printer to de Reader”, readers concerned with “de Ortograpi of dis Book” are encouraged to consult Butler’s English Grammar (1633), in which he put forth a new orthology where words were spelled “according to de sound”.

Known as the Father of English Beekeeping, Butler addresses in his preface the great classical tradition that relies upon “the Muses birds” as models of religion, government and labor, “worthily to bee most admired”, but notes that Philosophers “in al their writings they seeme vnto me to say little out of experience”. Butler’s treatise is the first to argue that worker bees were female, not male, and the first to popularise the idea in England that the hive is lead not by a king but a queen bee. Not only do these ground Butler’s practical treatise firmly in methods of entymological observation that would be refined by the end of the century in books such as Robert Hooke’s Micrographia (1665), but they also relate directly contemporary political debates that made use of bee hierarchy as a model for government.

An excellent sammelband of four rare works.

1) ESTC S106979. STC 4191. Madan, I.165-6. 2) ESTC S106985. STC 4200. 3) ESTC S106987. STC 4201 Madan, I, p.122. 4) ESTC S106981. STC 4194. Madan, I, p.177


Print This Item Print This Item


Gothic architecture, …To which is added an historical dissertation (With) A catalogue of modern books on architecture, theoretical, practical and ornamental: … on sale at I. and J. Taylor’s architectural library,

London, Printed for I. & J. Taylor, at the Architectural Library No. 59. Holborn, [1790?] (with) [London, I. & J. Taylor, 1796?]


Folio. 1) pp. [ii],7,[i]p.,64 full page engraved plates. 2) pp. 4. folded. Roman letter. Engraved title page, engraved armorial bookplate of the Earl of Guilford at Wroxton Abbey on pastedown. Light age yellowing minor marginal foxing on a few plates. A very good copy, crisp and clean with good dark impression of the plates, in contemporary sheep, rebacked original red morocco label mounted, a little rubbed corners worn

A very good copy of this beautifully illustrated and influential work on Neo-Gothic architecture from the library of the Earl of Guilford, Lord North, at Wroxton Abbey, bound with a very rare catalogue of the architectural works of the publisher. Batty Langley (baptised 14 September 1696 – 3 March 1751) was an English garden designer, and prolific writer who produced a number of engraved designs for “Gothick” structures, summerhouses and garden seats first half of the 18th century. He published extensively, and attempted to “improve” Gothic forms by giving them classical proportions. He inclined strongly towards a home-grown English architectural form, publishing articles in the Grub Street Journal under the pseudonym “Hiram” from July 1734 to March 1735, praising Gothic architecture (or as he termed it “native Saxon”) and rejecting the “imported” Palladian architecture favoured by Lord Burlington and his circle. He published a wide range of architectural books, from a huge folio on Ancient Masonry in parts from 1733 to 1736 with over 450 plates, through The Builder’s Complete Assistant of 1738 (also known as The Builder’s Complete Chest-Book) and The Builder’s Jewel of 1741, to the tiny The Workman’s Golden Rule in 1750, in vicesimo-quarto. He is best known for this work ‘Ancient Architecture, Restored, and Improved’ first published in 1742 and reissued in 1747 as Gothic Architecture, improved by Rules and Proportions. His book, with engravings by his brother Thomas Langley, attempted to improve Gothic forms by giving them classical proportions and to create a scheme of architectural orders for Gothic architecture. He provided inspiration for elements of buildings from Great Fulford and Hartland Abbey in Devon, to Speedwell Castle in Brewood in Staffordshire, and Tissington Hall in Derbyshire, and the Gothic temple at Bramham Park in Yorkshire, and gates at Castletown House in County Kildare.Langley’s books were also enormously influential in Britain’s American colonies. At Mount Vernon, for example, George Washington relied upon plate 51 of Langley’s The City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of Designs as the source for the famous Venetian (or Palladian) window in the dining room; upon plate 54 of the same book for the ocular window on Mount Vernon’s western facade; and upon plate 75 of Langley’s The Builder’s Jewel for the rusticated wood siding.

A very good copy form the library at Wroxton Abbey.

1) ESTC N18448. RIBA 1728. Harris 411. 2) ESTC  T80563.


Print This Item Print This Item


HOMER. Homer’s Odysses. Translated according to ye Greeke by. Geo: Chapman

London,By Rich: Field, for Nathaniell Butter, [1615?]


HOMER. The Iliads of Homer prince of poets·   With a co[m]ment vppon some of his chiefe places; donne according to the Greeke by Geo: Chapman.

London,  printed [by Richard Field] for Nathaniell Butter, [1611?]


FIRST EDITION thus. Folio. 1) [x], 193, [i], 195-376, [ii] (without the three blanks). 2) [xxiv], 341, [ix]. (without first and last blanks). Roman letter, some Italic and Greek. Both vols with engraved titles with portraits of Homer at centres, figures of Achilles and Hector on the Iliad, Odysseus and Pallas on the Odysses (both fractionally trimmed at fore-edge), floriated woodcut initials, grotesque woodcut head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, small engraved armorial device on pastedown of Odysses. Light age yellowing, both titles a little dusty, worm-trail and single worm holes expertly restored in lower, mostly blank, margins of a few quires of Odysses towards end, last leaf with tear, partially backed on verso, obscuring part of woodcut tail-piece, with a few words lost on recto, replaced in early ms., the odd thumb mark, spot or stain. Good copies in C17th calf, covers bordered with a single blind rule, rebacked, gilt ruled raised bands, large cornucopia fleuron gilt at centres, titles gilt lettered, corners restored.

The first edition of the complete Odyssey by Chapman, (‘a reissue of the 1614 edition of the first twelve books, with the final twelve books added’ ESTC) with the first edition of the complete Iliad. (‘In this edition the last twelve books appear for the first time and the first and second books are rewritten.’ Phorzheimer.) These two vols effectively comprise the first complete edition of the two major works of Homer in the most important and influential English translation by Chapman. “The best English Homer”, Ezra Pound.

Chapman’s translation of the Odyssey is written in iambic pentameter, his Iliad is written in iambic heptameter ; the Greek original is in dactylic hexameter. It was a monumental undertaking that took him twenty five years. Chapman often extends and elaborates on Homer’s original contents to add descriptive detail or moral and philosophical interpretation and emphasis. His translation was much admired by John Keats, notably in his famous poem ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’, and also drew attention from Samuel Taylor Coleridge and T. S. Eliot. Coleridge praised the Odysses “as truly an original poem as the the Faery Queen – it will give you small Idea of Homer; tho’ yet a far truer one than from Pope’s Epigrams or Cowper’s cumbersome most anti-homeric Miltoniad – for Chapman writes and feels a Poet – as Homer might have written had he lived in England in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth.” Mathew Arnold also praised Chapman in much the same way: “Chapman’s style is not artificial and literary like Pope’s nor his movement elaborate and self regarding like the Miltonic movement of Cowper. He is plain spoken, fresh, vigorous, and, to a certain degree, rapid; and all these are Homeric qualities.”.

Chapman fully identified with Homer. “Even with its convoluted syntax, Chapman’s lines can still – four hundred years after their time- cause strangers much delight. But it is his identification with Homer that I wish here to stress. When he published his translation of the Iliads in 1611, he imagined Homer (filled with poetic fire but “outward, blind”) praising the Englishman’s efforts: “thou didst english me”; and of himself he said that the ancient master “brought stay to all my state; / That hee was Angell to me; Starre and Fate.” Now when Chapman finds himself describing that “sightlesse man” after more than a quarter of a century of translating his works, we can almost see him looking in the glass and beholding himself as Homer: indeed on the engraved title page of this last volume the facial features of Homer and Chapman have an uncanny resemblance …  For his translations Chapman used the ‘Homeri Quae Extant Omnia’ … edited by Johannes Spondanus (Jean de Sponde) Basel, 1583, reprinted in 1606. This volumes also contained Spondanus’s Latin commentary and book-by-book argument for the Iliad and Odyssey which Chapman consulted actively … The volume included a facing Latin translation, which Chapman also consulted line by line, but he was by no means Greekless and blindly dependant upon the Latin, in spite of the claim of “a certaine envious Windfucker. That hovers up and downe, laboriously engrossing al the aire with his luxurious ambition and buzzing into every eare my detraction – affirming I turne Homer out of Latin onely etc.” .. (“the preface to the reader 1611)” ” Allardyce Nicoll, ’Chapman’s Homeric Hymns and Other Homerica.’

1) ESTC S118235. STC 13637. Pforzheimer, 170. Arber III 556. Grolier L-W, 27 2) ESTC S119234. STC 13634. Pforzheimer, 169. Arber III 457. Grolier L-W, 26. Hazlitt II 288, 702.


Print This Item Print This Item



Ta tōn Mousōn eisodia: The Muses vvelcome to the high and mighty prince Iames … At His Majesties happie returne to his olde and natiue kingdome of Scotland, after 14 yeeres absence in anno 1617

Edinburgh, [s.n.], 1618


Ta tōn Mousōn exodia. Planctus, & vota Musarum in augustissimi monarchæ Iacobi Magnæ Britanniæ, Franciæ, et Hiberniæ Regis, &c. recessu è Scotia in Angliam, Augusti 4 anno 1617.

Edinburgh, Excudebat Andreas Hart, anno 1618.


FIRST EDITION, second issue. Folio. 1) [x], 44 -[138], 137-289, [i]. 2). pp. 18, [2].  A-B C². [Leaf of Latin verses normally between pp. 44-5 placed as prelim, outer margin restored] Italic letter with some Roman and Greek, text within box rule. Woodcut portrait of James I with his arms below as frontispiece, (backed with tear to lower outer corner, touching box rule, replaced in ms.) large historiated initial on first leaf, with large grotesque headpiece with James I arms above, woodcut floriated initials many grotesque and floriated woodcut head and tail-pieces, typographical ornaments, “A reissue of STC 140 (Edinburgh: Thomas Finlason, 1618) with cancel title page and dedication printed by A. Hart; three preliminary leaves cancelled and replaced by two. In this reissue line 3 of title reads “to the high and mighty prince”. Page 109-12 are a cancel bifolium printed in London by the Eliot’s Court Press. … Quire M also a different setting to STC 140. In this setting signature “M2” is below the “frugi” of “frugibus”.” ESTC. Very light age yellowing, very rare marginal mark or spot, t-p and portrait a little dusty, outer margin of third leaf torn, just touching box rule, completed in ms. A very good, clean copy, in excellent early C19th calf, covers gilt ruled to a panel design, fleurons to outer corners, central panel of original binding, probably Irish, inlaid, large gilt stamped hatched cornerpieces, arms of James I at centres, spine with gilt ruled raised bands, large harps gilt at centres, green morocco label gilt, edges and inner dentelles gilt, a.e.g. joints restored.

First edition, second issue, with the portrait of James I, of this important collection of neo-latin poems, epigrams, and panegyrics, all dedicated to James I on his return to Scotland in 1617. On the 15th of May, 1617, King James VI & I landed at Port “Seatown” (now Seton) to begin what would be his only homecoming tour of Scotland. since leaving Scotland 14 years earlier. James stayed in Scotland until the beginning of August of that year and, although primarily resident in Edinburgh, he spent much of his time touring his northern kingdom. James visited Scotland under the pretence of celebrating his fiftieth year as King of Scotland; however, the political motives of James’s trip to his homeland are now clear in hindsight: his main objective was to try to align the Church of Scotland more to the Anglican Church, evident in his passing of the Five Articles of Perth in the year following this tour. During James’s visits to the cities, towns, villages and boroughs of Scotland many formal presentations of verse and addresses were given to the King. In 1618 a collection of these poems, addresses and a record of where the King and his entourage visited was printed in Edinburgh. The first work is a collection of poems, speeches and philosophical discussions, mostly in Latin. It is found in various states and is frequently accompanied by the second work, a further collection of Latin poems written by Scottish authors including David Hume of Godscroft and David Wedderburn on the occasion of James’s return to England. It was edited by John Adamson who refers to the work in the dedication to the first work.

“With over sixty individual contributors, it includes many more Latin poets that the Delitae Poetarum Scotorum, and all of them write at the same point in time and in the same context, namely the return of King James VI and I to Scotland, after fourteen years, in 1617. Its acclamations are delivered with considerable ingenuity and skill in more than 130 poems, which range in length from short epigrams to much longer hexameter panegyrics. Such an assembly of verso to celebrate an itinerant sovereign has few if any parallels in any neo-Lain context. Moreover the Muses Welcome is presented as a travelogue: a record, with precise dates, of the king’s journey or ‘progress’ through some fifteen towns and other places in his northern realm, from Dundee to Drumlanrig (two visits are noted for Stirling and at least two for Edinburgh). .. The Muses Welcome is a snapshot of Scotland in a particular summer, or rather a group photograph (one of the livelier kind). A real work of cerebration as well as celebration by Scottish towns and cities The Muses Welcome is testimony to Scotland’s cultural and educational achievements, at a moment which coincides with the zenith of Scottish Latin verse. Finally … The Muses Welcome is a delight to handle and peruse, because of its generous dimensions its use throughout of a large Italic font, its ample spacing…This fine appearance is hardly surprising, for it was commissioned by the King himself .. and entrusted by him to Edinburgh’s leading printers. He also made careful provision for the distribution of eighty copies, which may or may not comprise the whole print run.” Roger P.H. Green. The King Returns: The Muses’ Welcome (1618).

This copy, bound with the arms of James I shares identical gilt stamped corner-pieces with a copy in the Royal Collection at Windsor (RCIN 1081383) also with James I arms, and is almost certainly one of the copies made for distribution by the king. The Muses Welcome is truly a treasure trove of early seventeenth-century poetry and includes unattributed dedications by Sir Francis Bacon, identified by his family’s motto “Mediocra Firma” found at the foot of his dedications (3rd leaf recto, pp. 115, 153, 168). A very good copy of this most important work, most probably a presentation from James I.

1) ESTC S126015.  STC 141. 2) ESTC S106780 STC 142.


Print This Item Print This Item

[OSTROG BIBLE, Old Testament]


Biblia sirech knigi vetkhago i novago saveta [Ostrog Bible]

Ostrog, Ivan Fëdorov, 1581

FIRST EDITION. Folio. ff. 144 [ff. 185-276 of 276 in Section I, 1-53 of 180 in Section II]. Old Church Slavonic, double column, occasional titles in red. Decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. First a bit dust-soiled, a few ll. lightly browned, some faint marginal waterstaining, heavier to inner corners, scattered wax stains, a little thumbing, minor early repair to couple of ll., one affecting a few letters, tiny marginal worm holes to outer edges of last gathering, one leaf partially detached at gutter. A good copy, on thick paper, crisp and in fine impression, in contemporary sprinkled calf over pasteboards, printed waste (early C17 German account of Boris Godunov) used to reinforce joints, double blind ruled borders, gilt floral cornerpieces, gilt lozenge-shaped floral centrepiece, all edges sprinkled red and black-brown, some loss to corners and head and tail of spine.

A selection in crisp and fine impression of the Books of the Old Testament from the so-called ‘Ostrog Bible’ (‘Острожская Библия’) of 1581, the first Slavonic bible printed with Cyrillic movable types. This copy contains the complete texts of Chronicles I and II, Ezra I and II, Nehemia, Tobit, Judith, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs and Wisdom. It was published by Ivan Fëdorov, one of the fathers of Russian printing. After founding the Moscow Pechatnyj Dvor (Printing Yard), he travelled throughout the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth establishing several printing presses, including one in Ostrog, Ukraine. The Ostrog Bible enterprise, funded by the prince Konstantin Ostrogski, included a thorough search and collation of manuscript sources in order to make the edition a milestone of the Slavonic Orthodox doctrine in face of Catholic and Protestant theological attacks. The translation was eventually based on the Greek Septuagint and the monumental text decorated with bespoke woodcut headpieces and initials. Part was printed in 1580, when the Psalms and New Testament were published separately; the Old Testament, in need of heavier editing, was published in 1581. The print-run was c.1000-1500 copies, two of which were donated to Pope Gregory XIII and Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible; when Fëdorov left Ostrog, he brought with him c.400 copies, many of which were incomplete. After his death, the inventory of his books included 120 complete (in sheets) and 80 incomplete bibles. c.350 copies in one state or another are recorded extant. The next Russian Bible, a revised edition, was not printed until 1663.

Izdanija kirillicheskoj pechati, 80; Pozdeeva, Katalog knigi kirillicheskoj pechati, 32; Cleminson, Cyrillic Books, 35; Darlow and Moule, II/3, 8370. Not in Zernova.


Print This Item Print This Item

MEDINA, Pietro de


Medina, Pietro de. L’arte del Navegar.

Venice, Aurelio Pinzi, for Giovanni Battista Pederzano, 1554.


FIRST EDITION thus, 4to. ff. (xii), 137, (i). Text in Roman, headlines and calendar in Italic, a little Gothic, large woodcut on title page depicting different vessels navigating the sea, repeated on C1r, full-page woodcut map of the Atlantic and adjacent continents on leaf E1r, 8 other full page illustrations at the beginning of each section, depicting the earth, sun, moon and a wind chart, large historiated and smaller floriated initials, several text illustrations including diagrams (seasonal locations of the sun, etc.) and tables, small world map at the head of books 3 and 8. Some light scattered damp-staining and mainly marginal spotting throughout, title page a little dusty, light marking in places, very tiny wormholes to blank corner in central gatherings. A good copy in contemporary limp vellum, somewhat soiled and worn, slight worming, in folding box.

Rare first edition of the first Italian translation of this practical manual of navigation, the first to provide reliable instruction on the navigation of American waters, originally published in 1545 in Spanish in Valladolid. The translation was made by Fra’ Vincenzo Paletino from Curzola (c.1508-1571), a prominent figure in the history of Spanish cartography (see R. Gallo, ‘Fra Vincenzo Paletino e la sua carta della Spagna’, in ‘Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei’, 1947, pp. 159-67). The work contains a full-page map of the Atlantic depicting ships on routes between Spain and the New World (Burden, 14). The woodcuts are reduced copies of the cuts of the first edition. The full-page map includes Florida, the mouth of the Mississippi and the area around the gulf of St. Lawrence. The information in the “Arte del Navegar” was based on the first-hand accounts of pilots using the Indies trade route. It remained the standard navigation guide for this route until the 17th century.

Pedro de Medina (1493-1567) was a maker of nautical instruments and a cartographer who also worked for the Casa de Contratación in Seville, the agency in charge of Spanish colonial exploration and trade. He might have been one of Cortés’s captains at some point, and his treatise was written specifically for the education of pilots in the Casa, making it a very clear and practical text with many illustrations and explanations of various instruments and their use. Medina dedicated it to Prince Philip of Spain, later King Philip II of Spain, lamenting the fact that so many sailors were ignorant of the art of navigation. As the great transoceanic voyages began, from the end of the XV century onward, the problem of accurate measurement of longitude at sea, on long voyages out of sight of land, became crucial. Medina’s work provided an overview of existing knowledge on the subject and set out theoretical and methodological principles pioneering attempts to solve the longitude problem in the Atlantic Ocean.

The two dedicatory letters, to Philip of Spain from the author, and to Stefano Tiepolo, Procurator of Venice, from the translator cosmographer Fra’ Vincenzo Paletino point out the fundamental role played by navigation in the Spanish discovery of new lands, resources (precious minerals, stones and spices) and peoples, as well as in the mission of Christian conversion. It makes it clear that navigation is a dangerous art and must follow specific rules and methods based on arithmetic, geometry and cosmography. Medina particularly stresses the importance of instruments such as the astrolabe to measure the curvature of the earth, and the compass, made of iron, to determine wind direction, useful on high sea. The work is divided into 8 chapters: 1) earth and its composition (sky, elements and movements of planets, position in the Universe); 2) seas and ancient art of navigation; 3) winds, names and related techniques of navigation; knowledge of meridians based on the calculation of the rhumb lines to establish ships’ location; 4) sun and its positions, shadows; 5) distance from different places to the poles; 6) compass, making, use and repair; 7) moon phases; 8) length of the year and of the days in different places.

 Rare. BM STC It. 431; Adams M 1025; Palau 159679; Burden 14; Alden 554/39; Harvard/Mortimer-Italian 300; Sabin 47346. Brunet mentions earlier editions only.


Print This Item Print This Item



Explicationes suarum in Catonem, Varronem, Columellam castigationum.

Paris, ex officina Robert Estienne, 1543.


8vo. ff. 70 (ii). Italic letter, little Roman. Very slight toning, a fine, wide-margined copy in late C19 polished calf, marbled eps, triple gilt ruled, raised bands, spine in seven gilt cross-hatched compartments, gilt-lettered label, inner edges gilt, a.e.g. Bookplate of Leo S. Olschki and faded stamp of Rothamsted Experimental Station to front pastedown, faded early marginalia on one fol.

Fine copy of Piero Vettori’s classic commentary on Cato, Varro and Columella. Vettori (1499-1585) was among the most influential Italian humanists and Greek philologists, and editor of works—some of them appearing for the first time in print—by Aeschylus, Cicero, Aristotle and Euripides, mostly published in Paris and Lyon. ‘Explicationes’ was intended as an appended commentary with references to specific phrases and lines in Vettori’s editions of Cato, Varro and Columella’s works on husbandry, agriculture and farming, with which it was sometimes bound (see Renouard 55:2). These were known collectively as ‘De re rustica’—a florilegium addressed to a C16 readership interested in the classical rustic virtues of landownership and practical aspects of country life, covering topics as varied as the best place to set up a beehive, horticulture, remedies for dogs with flees and sick horses, ways to scare snakes off stables and regulations for workers. Marcus Porcius Cato’s (234-149 BC) ‘De Agri Cultura’ (c.160 BC) was a manual on the management of a country estate reliant on slaves, with a special interest in the cultivation of vines. Marcus Terentius Varro’s (116-107BC) ‘Rerum rusticarum libri tres’ was based on his direct experience of farming. A soldier and farmer, Lucius Moderatus Columella (4-70AD) is best known for his ‘Res rustica’, one the cultivation of vines and olives, farming and estate management, and the shorter ‘De arboribus’, on horticulture. Vettori compares his edited text to a variety of sources. These included epigraphic inscriptions and ms. variants in Latin and Greek found, for instance, in the Bibliotheca Medicea, easy access to which he had enjoyed since 1538, when he was appointed professor of classics in Cosimo I de’ Medici’s Studio Fiorentino.

USTC 140891; BM STC It., p. 722 (not this ed.); Renouard 55:2. Not in Brunet.


Print This Item Print This Item

PALMA, Giacomo.


Regole per imparar a disegnar i corpi humani. [and others]

Venice, appresso Marco Sadeler, 1636, 1644


Folio, etched title page to each part of the Regole. 75 etched plates in good impression; 55 full page, 20 half page and mounted. Some plates printed or partly coloured in sepia. Wide margins a bit browned in places. Faint water stain affecting first 21 plates, one plate detached, one small tear not affecting image, one plate with shaved margins. Interesting example in reversed calf over pasteboards very worn, traces of a blind tooled panel design. Spine cracked in one compartment, worn at head and tail. Contemporary manuscript on front pastedown “Ce presen livres appartien a Louis Le Doux, peintre et doreur demeurante en beauvais. Ce qt octobre 1694″.

Extensive composite collection of etched anatomical and figurative plates in mannerist style from at least four different drawing manuals, displaying details of varied body parts and faces of men and women in different stages and states of life, wearing different expressions and costumes. It is difficult to determine the correct census and order of the plates even in the original editions, as they are not numbered and as plates were often appropriated into other’s work or copied without any of the modern sense of plagiarism (see Dr. Laura M. Walters cit. infra). Many of the 75 plates here are signed and though similar in subject, present 4 distinctive styles. They were clearly bought together by the first owner

The first set of etchings corresponds to the 14 issued under the title given to the whole book, “Regole per imparar a disegnar”,  attributed to drawings by the famous painter Giacomo Palma and engraved by Giacomo Franco. This edition of 1636 is a reprint of some of the plates, all by Franco, but without the mythological and historical (such as Dalila on Sanson’s horse).

The second set of etchings comes from a work attributed to Agostino Carracci, “Scuola perfetta per imparare a disegnare tutto il corpo umano”, with engravings from pictures of the painter himself, executed by Pietro Stefanoni (signature P.S.F.) and Luca Ciamberlano (Luca da Urbino), printed in Rome in the 1600s.

The third set resembles the style of Stefanoni, but all the plates have been cut and mounted and there are no visible signatures.

The last plate probably comes from “Le livre original de la portraiture pour la jeunesse”, which saw the collaboration of three artists, whose signatures can be found on the image: Ferdinand (pseudonym of Louis Elle), F.L.D. Ciartres (Francois Langlois) and Bologna (Francesco Primaticcio)

This heterogeneous collection is typical of the considerable vogue for drawing manuals in the late 16th– early 17th century, initiated by the Carracci brothers with the renewed emphasis on drawing as the basis for painting. These manuals soon stopped being practical drawing aids and soon became statements of culture for noble gentlemen and ladies and art lovers of the time. It is indicative that any kind of text has disappeared, leaving room for a series of drawings of interlaced limbs and gentle faces, more examples of artistic virtuosity than anatomical models to be copied.

Luis le Doux came from a family of well known painters in Mons (Belgium) and was himself sculptor and architect.

Bartsch, vol. XVI, 288. Cicogna, vol. V, pp 432-434. Cicognara, 342. Berlin cat. 4763.
Laura M. Walters, Odoardo Fialetti (1573-c. 1638): the interrelation of Venetian art and anatomy, and his importance in England, unpublished PhD dissertation (St. Andrew’s University, 2009). Catherine Whistler, Learning to draw in Venice: the role of drawing manuals, essay (McGill Queen’s University Press, 2013).


Print This Item Print This Item