[GRASSUS, Antonius.]


Ars notariatus.

Rome, Stephan Plannck, c.1490.


8vo. 6 unnumbered ll., [*] 6 . Large Gothic letter, initials heightened in red throughout. Faint marginal waterstaining, marginal ink marks to last two ll., marginal soiling to verso of last, first and last reinforced at gutter. A good, well-margined copy, in a leaf from Korenberg’s 1483 German Bible over modern boards, a.e.r.

Very good, well-margined copy of this scarce Roman edition of an extremely successful manual for notaries. First composed c.1400, it circulated extensively in ms. before reaching the press in Rome in 1474 and undergoing numerous reprints in Italy, Flanders, France and Germany, as well as a German translation, until the early 1500s. Its authorship is debated: although the Brescia edition mentions the name of the Bolognese Antonius Grassus, judge of the Apostolic Tribunal of the Sacred Rota, it has also been attributed to the French jurist Johannes de Gradibus or simply considered anonymous. The title ‘Ars notariatus’ was constructed a posteriori following a variation of the incipit found in some ms. copies—‘Notariatus [instead of ‘Notaria’] est ars scribendi et dictandi…’. It is a very simple and clear summary of a notary’s work which it introduces as follows: ‘the art of being a notary is the art of writing and expressing arguments in writing so as to straighten the complexities of human fragility and commit them to perennial memory.’ There follows a clarification of what a notary is by law and who can become a notary—a free man, not of peasant origins, not constrained by other ties (e.g., holy orders), a male individual compos mentis (e.g., he should not be prone to excessive anger), with good eyesight and hearing, sound reputation and character (still desirable). The rest of the work is concerned with what and how a notary should proceed in his everyday business dealing with contracts, obligations, customs, sales arbitrations and stipulations, and, most importantly, how to deal with last wills and testaments and the subdivision of inheritance (e.g., if a son refuses to ransom his father from the Saracens and the father dies in prison, his inheritance will go to the Church). A little jewel of early legal studies, from one of the most productive presses in late C15 Rome, shedding light on the professional role and individual character of the medieval notary.

Only Jacob Burns Law Library copy of this ed. recorded in the US.

GW 2650; Proctor 3749; ISTC ia01129000. Rolandino e l’ars notaria da Bologna all’Europa, ed. G. Tamba (Milan, 2002).


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BEROALDUS, Philippus.


Orationes et poemata.

Bologna, Franciscus dictus Plato de Benedictis for Benedictus Hectoris Faelli, 1491.


FIRST EDITION. Small 4to. 76 unnumbered ll., a-i⁸ k 4 . Roman letter. 4- to 7-line initials, capitals and paragraph headings heightened in red (occasional smudge). Recto of first and verso of last leaf a bit dust-soiled, the former restored at gutter, couple of ll. very slightly shaved at head, affecting couple of letters of a headline and one ms. note, light oil splash extending from lower gutter of g 7-8 , the odd marginal spot. A very good copy in early C19 polished calf, rebacked, spine remounted, eps renewed, double gilt ruled, bordered with small ropework in blind, spine gilt, gilt-lettered morocco label, corners a little worn, all edges blue, silk bookmark. Contemporary ms. marginalia in black and red.

A very good copy of the first edition of the orations and poems of Philippus Beroaldus—a leading humanist in Europe c.1500. Except for brief spells in Parma and Paris, Beroaldus (1453-1505) was a much esteemed professor of rhetoric at Bologna, his hometown, from 1472 to his death in 1505. Among his students were Jodocus Badius and Polydore Vergil. A skilled editor of the classics, he was also a prolific author and worked as editor for Benedetto Faelli, the publisher of the present work, known for his elegant imprints. Since 1487, Faelli had collaborated with Francesco ‘Platone’ Benedetti, ‘the prince of Bolognese typographers’, producing books with type ‘of superior elegance’ (Cioni, ‘Diz. Biog.’). Dedicated to Beroaldus’s student Martinus Boemus, ‘Orationes et poemata’ provides critical assessments of major authors including Virgil, Propertius, Livy, Cicero, Lucan, Juvenal, Sallust, Persius and Horace. It also portrays fascinating scenes from late C15 Bologna, scattered among topical orations on the appointment of the Briton Thomas Anglicus to rector of the Gymnasium Bononiense (with a celebration of Albion/England/Britannia based on Tacitus and Pliny), on the celebration of Ludovico Sforza and the weddings of the nobility. At the end are a few poems on sundry subjects including epitaphs, the Passion, love, slander, and the fable of Tancredi from Boccaccio.

This work was used by rhetoric students, doubtless including Beroaldus’s own, for examples of oratory, Neo-Latin poetry and classical commentaries. The contemporary ms. marginalia in this copy highlight the contrast between the Virgilian virtues of ‘rusticitas’ and the late C15 vices of ‘urbanitas’ (with merchants and usurers), Propertius’s views on love, ancient theories of poetry (with mentions of Homer), as well as Beroaldus’s scattered lamentation for lost ancient books (e.g., Livy and Sallust) or for the life of his times (e.g., ‘so strong in mortals is the innate greed for novelty’). The orations bear so many references to contemporary Bolognese city and university life that the work was probably a fascinating ‘guide’ for (especially foreign) students. For instance, the annotator highlighted Beroaldus’s description of the crowds gathering for the marriage of Annibale II Bentivoglio and Lucrezia d’Este in 1487. On the lower margin of the last leaf, he penned the appropriate motto ‘etate iuvenis maturitate senex’, from St Jerome’s commentary on Isaiah’s description of Daniel.

Hain 2949; BMC VI 825; ISTC ib00491000; GW 04144; Goff B-491. A. Cioni, ‘Faelli, B.’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, 44 (1994).


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Lilium musice plane.

Augsburg, per Johannem Froschawer, 1498.


Small 4to. 15 unnumbered ll., lacking final blank. Gothic letter. Handsome half-page woodcut vignette to title with Pythagoras and Lady Musica holding scrolls, printed music notation, decorated initials. Faint water stain to upper or outer blank margin of last gathering, tiny worm trail to lower edge of three ll., lower outer blank corner of b 6 minimally torn. An excellent, remarkably clean but unwashed copy in C19 navy blue crushed morocco by Zaehnsdorf, double gilt ruled, raised bands, spine gilt-lettered, bookplate of pianist Alfred Cortot to front pastedown, his small stamped monogram on lower outer blank corner of t-p and b 1 .

An excellent, fresh copy of the rare third edition—not in Goff, Hain or BMC—of this handsome music incunabulum. It was first published in Basel in 1496, and reprinted in Ulm the following year. Michael Keinspeck (c.1451-c.1516), from Nuremberg, studied under Josquin de Près and was later professor at Basel. In the introduction to ‘Lilium’, he provides a short account of his early career. ‘Lilium’—a plainchant manual—was conceived for the use of students. It was only the second such manual published in Germany, after Hugo von Reutlingen’s (1488). Plainchant (‘cantus planus’), of which Gregorian is a subcategory, refers to the monophonic chant, with a single melodic line, used in Catholic liturgy. After a definition of music, the work proceeds to discuss types of music (choralis, mensurata, rigmica), scales, cantus (durus, mollis, naturalis), single and double clefs, toni, modi and key change, with a section on intonations for psalms, for ferial and festal use, in eight modes. Extensive musical notation, including a table illustrating Boethius’s ‘scala vera et recta’, provides illustrative examples in four-line staffs, and were printed on woodblocks. ‘Based on the consistent style of the design and the cutting, it is likely (but not certain) that one designer or workshop produced all the woodcuts, including the diagrams, music and title vignette’ (Giselbrecht & Savage, ‘Printing Music’, 91). A rare incunabulum, beautifully printed.

From the library of Alfred Cortot (1877-1962), famous Franco-Swiss pianist and conductor, especially praised for his interpretations of musical classics of the Romantic era.

Only 4 copies recorded (1 fragmentary), none in the US. (No copies of first ed. recorded in US, the second only at LC and Rochester.)
ISTC ik00009200; Klebs 571.3; IBP 3328; Schr 4443; GW M16240. Not in Goff, Hain or BMC. E. Giselbrecht and E. Savage, ‘Printing Music’, in Early Music Printing in German-Speaking Lands, ed. A. Lindmayr-Brandl (London, 2018), 84-99.


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Formularium instrumentorum ad usum Curiae Romanae.

[Speyer, Peter Drach, 1483-88].


Small 4to. ff. 278 unnumbered ll., [*]-[***]6 a-z88 ɔ8 A-G8 H-I6, lacking [*]1 and [***]6 blank. Gothic letter. First leaf a little finger-soiled at margins, small oil stain to outer blank margin of first and second, repaired worm trail to l3-6 affecting couple of lines and lower margin of last few ll., some light waterstaining and marginal spotting on last few ll. A very good, clean copy, on high quality thick paper, in late C16 German pigskin, traces of clasps, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with roll of interlacing palmettes in blind, raised bands, blind-stamped vellum title label, c.1600 ms. casemark D at foot of spine, all edges blue, a bit rubbed, C18 bibliographical ms. note to fly, C17 inscription ‘Conventus Lucensis’ (Lucca, Italy?) on first leaf.

A very good copy of this small-format formulary for canonists, first printed in Rome in 1474. It is a collection of templates for legal documents, preceded by a detailed index. These precedents, which follow the practice of ecclesiastical courts of the papal curia, had been circulating in ms. among scribes and clerks, in the C15. The collection is subdivided into broad categories, split in turn into more specific types. Among these are forms for the approval of the university curriculum and the obtainment of a ‘Baccalaureatus’, as well as precedents for the surrendering of debt, the collection of ecclesiastical benefices, the purchase of habitations, the summons of prisoners to court, and even the purchase of books. For this, a template, which uses Justinian’s ‘Infortiatum’ as an example, identifies the notary as the witness to a financial transaction between the owner and the bookseller, for the sale of the book at the price of ten florins, and for which the number of leaves and the words at the beginning and end of text and the commentary should be specified. A very sound idea. This third German edition testifies to the gradual spreading of ‘the learned Romano-canonical procedure […] into the German-speaking regions that traditionally had had lay judges (‘Schöffen’)’ (Korpiola, ‘Introduction’, 11).

Pr 2363; BMC II, 495; GW 10207; Hain 7277 ; Goff F257. M. Korpiola, ‘Introduction’, in Legal Literacy in Premodern European Societies, ed. M. Korpiola (London, 2019), 1-16.


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HOLKOT, Robert.


Quaestiones super quatuor libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi.

Lyon, Johannes Trechsel, 5-20 Apr. 1497.


FIRST EDITION. Small folio. 178 unnumbered ff., 8 8 a-n 8 o 10 A 8 B 6 C-H 8 I 10 . Gothic letter, double column. Woodcut printer’s device to last. A little marginal soiling to t-p and last, small clean tear from upper edge of t-p repaired, occasional slight toning, small light water stain to lower or upper blank margin of a handful of ll., smudge to lower blank margin of l 3-4 . A very good copy, on thick paper, in contemporary Flemish calf over wooden boards, rebacked with original spine onlaid, traces of C14 rubricated vellum ms. used as front pastedown, another (with genealogical diagram visible to verso) preserved at rear, quadruple blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with blind-stamped half-lozenges with grapes and bearded faces to corners, second border with blind-stamped tendrils and fleurons to corners, centre panel cross-hatched in blind with quadruple ruling, fleurons within lozenges and half-lozenges in blind, raised bands, spine blind ruled, corners repaired, couple of minor scratches to upper board. Early symbols to upper and lower margin, C19 bibliographical note, contemporary ex-libris Ghysbertus Konrardi(?) and C16 purchase note ‘Frater Joannes de la Vega emit hunc liber frater (?) cumdi(?), die’ (partly erased) to t-p, the odd C15 marginalia, C15 inscriptions (one with recipe of white wine from berries to treat constipation) and traces of ms. genealogical diagram (arbor consanguinitatis?) to rear pastedown.

In a charming contemporary Flemish binding, with an uncommon tool of blind-stamped bearded faces—probably green men. It bears the same design as Petrus de Palude’s ‘In quattuor sententiarum’ (Venice, 1495), now BMawrCL f.P-502 (Scott Husby Database). The latter comes from the Franciscan monastery of Louvain, though the binding was probably made in the town. ‘The binderies of the university town of Louvain produced some interesting bindings as early as the last quarter of the C15, but owing to the large scale destruction of the Louvain archives in WWI, there will be, unfortunately, no further possibility of identifying bindings from this source’ (Diehl, ‘Bookbinding’, 132). Ghysbertus Konrardi was probably the same recorded as a student from Leiden at Louvain in 1475 (see ‘Matricules – Ancienne Université de Louvain’). The copy was later purchased by the Spanish friar Juan de la Vega, who enrolled as a student in 1549 (Cole, ‘Studentenmobiliteit’, 151). This major work of Scholastic philosophy was the standard theology textbook of the middle ages. The English Dominican Robert Holkot (or Holcot, c.1290-1349) was a renowned philosopher and biblical exegete, professor of theology at Oxford and follower of William of Ockham’s scholasticism. His commentary on Peter Lombard’s (1096-1160) ‘Libri Quattuor Sententiarum’ has survived in a greater number of mss than the commentary by William of Ockham. A collection of statements on the Scriptures by acknowledged authorities, the ‘Sentences’ discussed the Trinity, the Creation, the incarnation of the word, and the doctrine of signs, touching on the sacraments, demons, sin and human will. This first edition was produced, from numerous, often imperfect manuscripts, by the famous scholar and printer Jodocus Badius Ascensius (1462-1535), editor and proofreader for Jean Trechsel in Lyon, in 1492-98.

Goff H287; HC 8763*; BMC VIII 300; GW 12890. E. Diehl, Bookbinding: Its Background and Technique (New York, 1980); T. Cole, Studentenmobiliteit tussen de Nederlanden en het Iberisch Schiereiland (Ghent University, 1996).


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BOOK OF HOURS. Use of Paris, French and Latin.

[northern France (doubtless Paris), c. 1440-50]


Miniature illuminated manuscript on vellum. 105 x 70mm 226 leaves (plus later paper endleaves), bound tightly and uncollatable, wanting 5 leaves (with illuminations). Single column, 15 lines of lettre bâtarde (some Calendar entries also in blue and liquid gold), capitals touched in pale yellow, rubrics (some in elaborate calligraphic strokes), small initials in liquid gold on blue and burgundy grounds, larger 2-line initials in blue or pink enclosing coloured foliage on gold grounds, line-fillers in same, numerous pages with decorated panels of border foliage in single-line terminating in gold flowers and fruit entwined with more realistic foliage with blue and red flowers, some tendrils loosely locked together with gold ‘O’-like bands, twelve three-quarter miniatures, within thin gold frames, similar gold frame around the text with full decorated borders of foliage as before, coloured acanthus leaf sprays at corners, one leaf with a forgotten section of text added in the lower margin, seventeen pages with blank spaces filled with coats-of-arms of later owners (see below). Vertical margin cut from fol. 223, some chipping to miniatures in places, thumbing and smudging to some edges affecting decorated borders in places, overall in good condition.; French eighteenth calf over pasteboards, gilt tooled spine with foliage and “Heures en Latin / Mss sur velin”, marbled endleaves, some bumps and chips to edges, but overall good and solid.


  1. Written and illuminated in Paris for, most probably, a local patron (note St. Genevieve, the patron of the city, in the Calendar, in gold on 3 January). Contemporary or near-contemporary inscriptions in French added to the foot of two leaves (now erased, but easily visible under UV light) perhaps added by this patron, as well as the numerous pilgrim badges once stitched to a blank page and lower margins of other leaves at the end of the volume (note prick marks and circular discolouration there).
  2. In ownership of family whose various but repeated coats-of-arms were added to originally blank space on no less than seventeen occasions. Some of these arms are in trick or were left incomplete, but those that are finished show them all to be arms of various branches of a single family.


The text includes (i) a Calendar; (ii) Gospel Readings; (iii) the Obsecro te (here named the “oratio valde devota”); (iv) the O intemerata (here “Orisonde notre dame”); (v) Passion Reading from John; (vi) prayers to the Virgin, wanting first leaf, and ending with the Ave marie gratia plena; (vii) the Hours of the Virgin, with Matins, Lauds (wanting first leaf), Prime (wanting first leaf), Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers and Compline; (viii) the Seven Penitential Psalms, ending in a Litany; (ix) the Hours of the Cross; (x) the Office of the Dead; (xi) Suffrages to the saints; followed by (xii) nine leaves of contemporary added prayers.


The figures with their oval faces, drooping noses and eyes formed by black dots hanging down from single-stroke eyelids, as well as the sumptuous interiors, identify the artist as a follower of the Maître de Coëtivy, who flourished in Paris from 1450 (see F. Avril & N. Reynaud, Les Manuscrits à Peintures en France, 1140-1520, BnF, Paris, 1993, pp. 58-69).

The miniatures here are: (i) John writing a scroll in a rocky landscape; (ii) the Pieta, the Virgin and Child flanked by angels; (iii) the Annunciation to the Virgin; (iv) the Visitation of the Three Magi; (v) the Presentation in the Temple; (vi) the Flight into Egypt; (vii) the Crucifixion; (viii) a funeral scene with clergy singing from open books before a coffin; (ix) St. John the Baptist; (x) St. Sebastian; (xi) a male saint with a palm of martyrdom.


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Moralia sive expositio in Job.

Venice, Andreas Torresanus, de Asula, 11 Apr. 1496.


Folio. ff. (xv) 327, lacking a1 (blank except title ‘Moralia Sancti Gregorii Pape Super Job’) and I8 (blank). Gothic letter, double column. Outer margin of a2-3 and lower blank margin of I7 repaired, light water stain to upper blank margin of early ll., a few small, scattered, mainly marginal worm holes, intermittent marginal foxing in places, occasional ms. marginalia and image, few scattered ink spots, upper margin of I7 strengthened, early ms note on lower. A very good, generally clean copy, on thick paper, in polished C17 calf, C18 reback in straight-grained morocco, marbled eps, raised bands, spine double gilt ruled, gilt-lettered morocco labels, scattered worm holes at head and foot of spine, extremities a bit rubbed. Bookplate of George Fletcher to ffep, occasional early marginalia.

This edition—‘rigorous […] with a handsome Gothic typeface’—is included among those ‘of priceless value according to the unanimous opinion of bibliographers’ produced by the Torresani two years after Manutius had left, on amicable terms, to set up his own press  (Bernoni, ‘Dei Torresani’, 79, n.89). This was also the penultimate edition of the C15. From a Patrician Roman family, Gregory (504-604AD) served as prefect, the highest office in Rome, before deciding to devote his life to the Christian church. Albeit keen on monastic meditation, he was, for his talents in diplomacy and administration, elected pope. He famously organised the first systematic mission to Britain, including Augustine of Canterbury, to convert the Anglo-Saxons. ‘Moralia’ was written during his diplomatic stay at the court of Tiberius II in Constantinople, and it was completed after his papal appointment. His major work, ‘Moralia’ is also one of the longest Western theological texts. It is a monumental commentary on moral questions raised in the book of Job—addressed in their historical, moral, allegorical and typological sense—Job being interpreted as a prefiguration of Christ and of the persecuted Church. ‘Encyclopaedic and synoptic, it is a cornucopia brimming with odd bits of information about the natural world, medicine, human nature, and society mixed unpredictably with sober analyses of guilt and sin, disquisitions on Christology, and reflections on the Church’s place in the world, along with the unfolding of Job’s story’—a manual for Christian life (Straw, ‘Job’s Sin’, 72-73). The sparse annotator of this copy glossed two sections as ‘allegoria’ and ‘moralitas’. Handsome, fresh copy of one of the most influential theological works.

BMC V 312; Goff G433; HC 7933*; GW 11435; Bernoni 89; Renouard 19:1. C. Straw, ‘Job’s Sin in the Moralia of Gregory the Great’, in A Companion to Job in the Middle Ages, ed. T.F. Harkins (Leiden, 2016), 71-100.


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De civitate Dei. [wit] De Trinitate.

[Basel, Johann Amerbach, 1490.]


Folio, 2 works in 1. 108 unnumbered ll., a10 b-p8 q6 r-x6/8 y6 A-K8/6 L-O6/8 + 86 unnumbered ll., a-f8 g-k6/8 l-m6. Gothic letter, two to four columns. 3/4-page woodcut to verso of first t-p, of St Augustine at his desk and view of City of God and Earthly City with a fight between angels and demons. 9-line (first) and 6-line (second) initials at head of chapters supplied in red with blue penwork, both works with capital letters supplied in alternating red and blue, titles and chapter headings heightened in red. T-ps and verso of last leaves dusty, upper edge a bit trimmed, occasionally just touching running title, few finger marks, 1) marginalia a bit smudged on first G6, a few lines crossed over on first I7, 2) light waterstaining to upper margin, a little heavier on last three gatherings, smallish stain to last dozen ll. Very good copies, on thick paper, in C17 Netherlandish sprinkled sheep, rebacked, with original spine onlaid, raised bands, spine in seven compartments, large gilt fleuron and cornerpieces to each, gilt-lettered morocco label, some loss to outer edges, corners and head and foot of spine repaired. C16 inscription ‘Martinus Tuleman. AGSMW In Deo Volu[n]tas Mea’ and C17 inscriptions ‘Bibliothecae ord. Erem. S. Augustini Trajecti ad mosam’ and ‘Ex lib. P. de lochin Augustin. Trajectius’ to first t-p, verse from Virgili’s Bucolics and Aeneid in a C16 hand to verso of last, extensive contemporary and C16 Latin annotations, cropped in places.

‘De civitate Dei contra paganos’ is one of the milestones of Western thought, composed by St Augustine of Hippo in the fifth century. The work criticised the idea that Christians were to be held responsible for the decline and fall of Rome, upholding instead that this was due to the Romans’ reliance on pagan gods; he also presented Providential history as a constant fight between the City of God and the Earthly City, as immortalised by the handsome initial woodcut in this copy showing a fight between angels and demons. ‘De Trinitate’ examined the concept of the divinity and co-equality of the persons of the Trinity against critics of the Nicaean Council. This edition of ‘De civitate Dei’ was accompanied by a commentary by the C13 English theologians Thomas Waleys and Nicholas Trevet. Their approach and methodology towards Roman history and pagan antiquity resonated with early Renaissance thought. They had ‘none of the dogmatic tone or moralising exegesis of contemporary classicising biblical commentaries and preaching aids’ and were ‘pre-dominantly literal in their exposition’; they also showed ‘a sensitivity to historical difference and the periodisation of Roman history’ and took ‘an even-handed approach to Christian and pagan authors’ (Thorn, ‘Nicholas Trevet’).

 In this copy, the C16 annotator’s marginalia focus on the commentary rather than the Augustinian text, lingering on the commentators’ expanded accounts of the theologian’s concise references to classical deities and events like the fall of Troy. In particular, the earliest annotator concentrated on the first part, wholly concerned with the criticism of pagan gods and Roman history. He noted passages on the stories of Aeneas, Cybele, Pallas, Apollo, on the poetic ‘fables’ of antiquity, the sybils, as well as the Goths’ invasions of Rome, Anthony and Cleopatra, and exotic subjects like the Cynocaephali, prodigies and portents, and the Antipodes. Some of these he listed with page numbers in the index, when they were not included. Below the initial woodcut he noted that ‘the Elysian fields are close to Hell’s gates’. On the verso of the final leaf, he copied lines from the ‘Bucolics’ and the ‘Aeneid’. He glossed the famous passage on Aeneas’s tears for the death of Dido with an amusing note: ‘It is reported that St Augustine, whenever he read these sweet passages, could not refrain from bursting into tears’—a reference to the ‘Confessions’, where Augustine castigates himself for this weakness.

 This volume was in the possession of Martinus Tuleman, ‘claustrarius’ at the monastery of St Servatius in Maastricht in 1532-58 (‘Verzameling’, 195; 202, 203). He owned several incunabula, some of which he received as a bequest from Petrus Tuleman, perhaps a relative, ‘canonicus’ at St Servatius (‘Bibliotheek’, 43; ‘Annales’, 185-86). The early annotations were probably made by Tuleman himself or by a previous owner acquainted with theology and ‘literae humaniores’. St Servatius had indeed become the centre for humanism in Maastricht and one of the leading cultural hubs in northern Europe, with a prestigious Latin school (‘Encyclopaedia’, 934). Matthaus Herbenus (1451-1538), an early Flemish humanist with ten years in Italy under his belt, was at St Servatius between 1482 and c.1506. A poet and musicologist, he was also rector of the school. In the early C17, the copy was in the library of the Augustinian monastery of Maastricht. It belonged to the friar Pierre(?) de Lonchin, from a local, armigerous family in the province of Limbourg. The later annotations ignore the commentary and focus on the Augustinian text. Among the glosses is one highlighting the ‘fascination with the nonsense of foolish idols’ and, most interestingly, a crossing out of Augustine’s exposition of the theory of free will, criticised by Reformers. A direct reference to the Reformation is present in a gloss in ‘De Trinitate’, on theological mistakes, associating with Reformers ‘those who want to know what they don’t know…boldly affirm the presumption of their opinions’.

Very good copies of these theological milestones, with fascinating history and annotations.

1) BMC XV, p. 752; Hain 2066*; GW 2888.

2) BMC XV, p. 753; Hain 2039*; GW 2928.

A. Oosthoek, Bibliotheek der Rijksuniversiteit te Utrecht (Utrecht, 1922); Encyclopaedia of Monasticism (Oxford, 2000); E.M. Thorn, ‘Nicholas Trevet’s and Thomas Waleys’s Commentaries on Augustine’s De civitate Dei’ (unpublished PhD diss., Bristol, 2013); Verzameling van charters…van St. Servaas, in Soc. Hist. et Arch. de Limbourg (1930, 1933).


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CATO, Marcus Porcius, VARRO, Marcus Terentius, COLUMELLA, Junius Moderatus, PALLADIUS, Rutilius Taurus

De re rustica.

Reggio Emilia, Bartholomaeus de Bruschis, Bottonus, 5 June 1482.


Folio. 4 parts in 1, with continuous pagination. 310 unnumbered ll., A6 a8 b-c10 d8 e-g10 i8 K10 (K1 blank) L10 m-s8 &888 2a8 2b12 (2b1 blank) 2c-2d8 2e-2h10 [chi]2(-2), lacking final blanks. Roman letter, little Greek. 8- and 3-line initials, chapter headings on b6-7 and 2-line initials on 2c2-3 all supplied in red. Lower outer edge of some ll. slightly worn, very slight water stain at gutter of final ll., occasional minor spotting or finger-soiling to outer upper blank margin, printer’s smudge to upper outer blank corner of C9, small worm holes at gutter of 2c8-2h10, outer margin of penultimate and last leaf repaired with traces of glue, blank recto of first and verso of last very slightly soiled. A handsome, well-margined copy, on thick paper, in marbled boards c1800, edges and joints worn, ancient paper labels to spine. Bookplate and shelfmark of Biblioteca Terzi to front pastedown, stamps of Lawes Agricultural Trust to front and rear pastedowns, slightly later ex-libris ‘Petri Matthei Plebani Canonici Ecclesiae (?) Bergomi h 68 9’ to foot of last, occasional C16 annotations in red and black-brown ink.

‘Bel exemplaire de cette édition, extrêmement rare’ (‘Catalogue des livres…de la bibliothèque de feu M. le marquis De Terzi’, this copy, 1861, lot 195). The earliest recorded private owner of this copy was a priest in Bergamo, and the last the Bergamese Marquis de Terzi. It was the second edition issued in northern Italy, and one of only three works printed by the de Bruschis—the first printers in Reggio Emilia. ‘This is a good example of the rivalry between the prototypographers, five Italian incunabula of the “Scriptores rei rusticae”, by five different printers, in three cities; three editions by three different printers in one of them, Reggio Emilia […] After that the tradition of the four “Scriptores” was common’ (Sarton, ‘Hellenistic Science and Culture’, 388). This florilegium of agricultural works was devised for a readership interested in the classical rustic virtues of landownership and the practical aspects of country life, with 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 (234-149 BC) was a Roman statesman, military officer and author. His only complete, extant work, ‘De Agri Cultura’ (c.160 BC) is a manual on the management of a country estate reliant on slaves, with a special interest in the cultivation of vines. A prolific writer patronised by Augustus, Marcus Terentius Varro (116-107BC) based his ‘Rerum rusticarum libri tres’ on his direct experience of farming. He notably warns his readers to avoid marshlands, where ‘animalia minuta’ that cannot be seen by the human eye may be breathed in or swallowed and cause illnesses. A soldier and farmer, Lucius Moderatus Columella (4-70AD) is best known for his ‘Res rustica’—in this edition with a commentary by Pomponius Laetus—which deals with a wealth of activities including the cultivation of vines and olives, the farming and treatment of animals, and the management of workers. Inspired by Columella and much admired in the medieval period, Palladius’s (C4-5AD) ‘Opus agriculturae’ (or ‘De re rustica’) provides an account of the typical monthly activities of a Roman farm, and mentions the utility of building mills over abundant waterways to grind wheat. A well-margined copy with very practical marginalia—highlighting sections on castrating chickens—suggesting a landowner’s everyday use.

Boston PL, Harvard, LC, Michigan State, Huntington, Newberry and Walters Art Museum copies recorded in the US.

BMC VII 1086; Goff S347; HC 14565*; GW M41059. Not in Simon or Oberlé. Catalogue des livres rares et précieux provenant de la bibliothèque de feu M. le marquis De Terzi de Bergame (Paris, 1861); G. Sarton, Hellenistic Science and Culture in the Last Three Centuries B.C. (Cambridge, MA, 1959).


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ATTAVANTI, Paolus, Florentinus.


Breviarium totius iuris canonici.

Memmingen, Albrecht Kunne, 1486


Folio. ff. (v) 2-129 (*4 a10 b-n8 o10 p8 q5), lacking q6 blank. Gothic letter, double column, ms. initials in red, rubrication throughout, attractive contemporary woodcut portrait of author in his library to recto of first fol. Scattered worm holes, light water stain towards gutter of first few gatherings, minor marginal spotting, red ink marks from initials in a few places, lower outer blank corner of fol. 89 torn, recto of first and verso of last a bit soiled, second leaf strengthened at gutter. A very good, large copy in contemporary south German calf, rebacked with overlaid original spine, lacking centre- and cornerpieces, traces of one clasp and chain holder, blind-stamped to a triple blind ruled cross-hatched design with fleurons and lozenges framing double-headed eagles and four-tailed creatures, raised bands, vellum label with title and casemark heightened in red to upper cover, also (rubbed) to spine, a bit wormed and worn. Early circular armorial paper bookplate (‘Bib: Nor’) of City of Nuremberg Library, with small abrasion, to blank section of portrait leaf.

The woodcut image of Paolo Attavanti in his library on the first fol., bearing the acronym ‘M[agister] P[aulus] F[lorentinus] o[rdinis] S[ancti] S[piritus]’ is the first author portrait ever to appear in a printed book. It first appeared in the 1479 edition of this text, published by Leonardus Pachel and Ulrich Scinzenzeler. ‘The head of the Magister with the expressive neckline in his austere plainness is reminiscent of the simplicity of [the Lombard painters] Foppas and Zenales…the character of Lombard art is clearly visible in the design’ (Kristeller, ‘Die Lombardische Graphik der Renaissance’, 28).

Excellent, well-margined copy of this masterful manual of canon law. Paolo Attavanti (1445-99) was a Florentine preacher, theologian and ‘doctor in utroque iuris’ (canon and civil law). He was a valued member of the humanist circle of Lorenzo de’ Medici, which included the philosopher Marsilio Ficino. A prolific writer of hagiographic and historical works, and a commentary to Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’. This legal manual for practitioners was designed to make the consultation of canon law ‘easier, speedier and pleasanter’. Canon law was the legal system of the Roman Catholic Church, regulating the rights and duties of individuals, property, crime, trials, etc. The thorough index of the ‘Breviarium’ refers the reader to hundreds of subjects, from purgatory, penance and the images of saints to practical questions like procedures for the election of bishops and the duration of a father’s punishment across generations. Fundamental in canon law was the code of behaviour for religious, including whether they were allowed to bear weapons and their duty to avoid all kinds of theatrical spectacles. Judicial regulations covered all phases of trials and explained, for instance, that no criminal accusations could be accepted from excommunicates, actors, heretics, heathens and Jews. Strict regulations on marriage were crucial as aristocrats and princes often infringed them by marrying a close relative or having illegitimate children. The ‘arbor consanguinitatis’, which occupies an entire page, illustrated the degrees of kinship whereby individuals were too closely related to be granted leave to marry. The annotator of this copy was interested in these issues as he highlighted sections on the illegitimate offspring of priests, bishops and popes.

BMC II, 604; GW M30141; Goff P180; H 7161*; Kristeller, Die Lombardische Graphik der Renaissance, 38 (1479 ed.).


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