LASKO, Osvald

LASKO, Osvald Sermones Dominicales (…) Biga salutis intitulati

Hagenau, Heinrich Gran for Johann Rynmann, 1506


4to, 436 leaves, +6, a-z8, A-Z8, aa-ff8, gg6, hh8. Gothic letter, double column; contemporary elegant rubrication throughout, red and sometimes blue; mainly marginal waterstains over first gatherings and in places, a few leaves aged yellowed; tiny marginal wormtrail to first and final leaves; clean tear to upper corner of ff. ov-vi, just affecting text. A good copy in contemporary German brown calf over boards, made in the Augustinian convent of Böddeken, in the Paderborn area (Einbanddatenbank, w002227); blind-tooled front cover, external panel of fleur-de-lis, roses, deer and four scrolls inscribed ‘Jhesus’, ‘Joh[ann]es bapt[ist]’, ‘Maria’ and ‘Maynulf[us]’, central diaper panel with double-headed eagles, rampant lions, deer and roses; rear with simple central diaper panel; bevelled, original clasps, faint contemporary title inked on spine; slightly rubbed and scratched, some loss to head of spine and front joint; original pastedowns from an early fifteenth-century German religious commentary, with one rubricated initials; on title, contemporary ex libris and coat of arms of ‘Johannes Brinkman’, along with later, inked out, of the Jesuit College of Paderborn and blue stamp of the library of the Carmelite convent of Brussels, repeated at the foot of second leaf. Preserved in box.

Rare imprint of a devotional bestseller of the Germanic Renaissance, first published by Gran and Rynmann in 1497. Another (more common) edition appeared in 1506, comprising, however, only 374 leaves. This work, sometimes erroneously attributed to Michael de Hungaria, comprises 123 moral and devotional sermons to be either read or heard on Sundays and feast days. As the title suggests, this practice would be for believers like sitting in ‘a chariot for personal salvation’. The Hungarian preacher Osvald Lasko (c.1450-1511) was a theologian and head of the Franciscan friars in the two leading convents of the country in Esztergom and Pest. All his collections of sermons enjoyed great success between the 1490s and the early Cinquecento, especially his Biga salutis.

This copy bears on the title the inscription of Johannes Brinkman, a monk and a scholar in Paderborn in the mid-sixteenth century. Little is known about him, but he certainly acted as canon in the Augustinian convent of Böddeken (L. Schmitz-Kallenberg, Monumenta Budicensia, I, Münster 1915, p. 28). There, he must have commissioned this interesting binding from his confreres. Brinkman’s distinctive ex libris is to be found in a few other books held mainly in German libraries. In particular, it appears on a manuscript and on two incunables (Guido delle Colonne’s Historia destructionis Troiae, 1480, and the Postilla super epistolas et evangelia, about 1483) in the Library of the Archiepiscopal Academy in Paderborn; the first occurrence is dated 1542, the second 1543. The Cambridge copy of the Dutch 1477 Epistolae et Evangelia (Oates, 3383) bears the usual inscription, the coat of arms and the date 1545.

Extremely rare outside Germany. Only one copy recorded in the US (St Bonaventure).Not in BM STC Ger., Adams, Brunet or Graesse. VD16, O 1427.
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