ROLLENHAGEN, Gabriel, HEYNS, Zacharias.


ROLLENHAGEN, Gabriel, HEYNS, Zacharias Emblemata volsinnighe uytbeelsels.

Arnhem, J. Ianszen, 1615-1617.


4to. 2 parts in 1, separate t-p to each, I) added t-p, 1 plate, 16 unnumbered ll., [*]2 A-D4 + 100 plates; II) added t-p, 1 plate, 18 unnumbered ll., [*]2 A-D4 E2 + 100 plates. Civilité, with Italic, little Roman and Greek. Added engraved architectural t-ps (first with allegorical figures) and author’s engraved portraits, 200 full-page engraved emblems encircled by Latin motto, with Latin verse below, woodcut printer’s device to t-ps, engraved portrait of Zacharias Heyns (c.1621) pasted to verso of first t-p. Couple of small tears to blank margins of pls, occasional offsetting, I) tiny worm hole to lower blank margins, turning into thin trail on pls 88-94, II) text ll. slightly browned, clean tear on E2, repaired, minor oil stain to upper outer blank corner of pls 78-80, light water stain to upper margin of pls 93 (just touching platemark), 95-96. Very good, clean copies, with plates on thick paper, in contemporary Dutch vellum over boards, double blind ruled to a panel design, centre panel with lozenge-shaped centrepiece and large fleurons to corners in blind, raised bands, title inked to spine.

Very good copy of this scarce, superbly engraved two-volume Dutch emblem book—‘rarely found complete’ (‘Bibliotheca Belgica’, H64), ‘a masterpiece of the genre’ (‘Sinn-Bilder’, 430). This copy is extra-illustrated. As recorded at least in one other copy (Gent UL), it includes the engraved t-ps and author’s portraits from the first Latin editions printed in Cologne in 1611 and 1613; it also features J. van den Vondel’s portrait of Heyns from the 1621 edition of the latter’s Dutch translation of Du Bartas’s ‘The Week’. Gabriel Rollenhagen (1583-1619) was a German poet and emblematist, who studied law at Leipzig and Leiden and was later employed at the cathedral in his native Magdeburg. Born in Antwerp, Zacharias Heyns (1566-1630) apprenticed with Jan Moretus in Amsterdam before setting up his own printing business in Zwolle. He was among the first to produce emblem books in the vernacular by translating them, as he often did with successful works not yet available in Dutch (Meuus, ‘Zacharias Heyns’, 394). The Dutch section was printed in Civilité type, of the kind devised by Aelbrecht Heyndricxzoon at Delft in the 1580s; it imitated the ‘Dutch’ type in Granjon’s ‘St Augustin’ (c.1562) (Carter & Vervliet, ‘Civilité Type’, 83). Emblems were semantic units made of a motto, a symbolic (frequently surreal) illustration and a few lines of verse; only if understood together could these three elements acquire their true moral or philosophical meaning. Rollenhagen’s two volumes were among the finest examples—with superb engravings by Crispin van de Passe the Younger, the original plates, here in fresh, remarkably clean, strong impression, were employed for Heyns’s edition. In the prefatory letter, Rollenhagen explained he had sought to improve on the emblematic tradition of Alciato, Sambuco and Junius, by ‘presenting images cut not in wood…but in copper…not naked, but embellished with charming ornaments’, with shorter but clearer verse. With de Passe, he also devised inventive variations of the symbolic representation, keeping the original meaning whilst altering or adding elements or inscriptions (Manning, ‘Emblem’, 80-81). Rollenhagen’s influential emblems were a major model for the English George Wither’s famous emblem book of 1635. Rare, complete, with fresh and crisp plates.

Only Huntington and NYPL copies recorded in the US.Landwehr, Dutch Emblem Books, 574; STCN 04407039X; Brunet IV, 1359; Bibliotheca Belgica H64; Praz, Studies, p. 477; Carter & Vervliet, Civilité Type, 346*. H. Meeus, ‘Zacharias Heyns, Sometime Apprentice to Moretus’, Quaerendo 38 (2008), 381-97; Sinn-Bilder, ed. C.-P. Warncke (Dortmund, 1983); J. Manning, The Emblem (London, 2004).
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