Basel, [Froben], 1528.


Folio. pp. (xx) 692 (xxiv). Roman letter, little Italic, occasional Greek. Large woodcut printer’s device to t-p and verso of last, woodcut initials and ornaments. Slight toning, scattered worming generally at gutter, occasionally touching letters, light water stain at upper gutter of some ll. and to fore-edge of last gathering. A very good, well-margined copy, on thick paper, in near contemporary Swiss calf over wooden boards, remains of clasps, eight brass cornerpieces, double blind ruled to a panel design, outer border with roll of heads within roundels with decorative pendants, inner border with blind-stamped antique urns, tendrils and small figures of standing soldiers, centre panels with roll of heads within roundels and fleurons, each panel flanked by two small gilt acorns and two gilt rosettes, small gilt mudejar design to centre, author and title gilt to upper margin of upper cover, author inked to fore-edge, raised bands, double blind ruled, ancient title label at head, upper joint and spine a bit cracked, sympathetic repair at foot, lower edge a little worn. Ownership inscription ‘Wolfg. Engelb. S.R.J. Com: ab Auersperg Sup. Cap. Cam. Cat. Inser: Anno 1655’ to head of title, several C16 marginal annotations with small sketched drawing reprising text, C19 bookplate of the Auersperg Palace library to front and small label of K.J. Hewett to rear pastedown.

A very handsomely and unusually bound Froben imprint, with fascinating textual and visual annotations, of Tertullian’s complete works. The contemporary binding resembles in style, though we have not found exact matches, those produced at the Franciscan monastery of Freiburg (Horodisch, ‘Buchbinderei’). In particular, it is reminiscent of the work of the bookbinder Peter Gay (fl.1560-1592), mixing solid blind-tooling with sparse gilt single tools and a gilt title, as in BL IA38479. In 1655, it was added to the library of Wolfgang Engelbert von Ausperger, a Lutheran aristocrat from Carniola, Slovenia, whose extremely rich family library stayed more or less intact until the second half of the C20.

Based on two mss from the monasteries of Peterlingen and Hirschau, edited by the German humanist and reformer Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1547), due to numerous errors in the sources, this edition was revised using a third ms. (Graesse VII, 69). Tertullian (155-240AD), of whom little is known, was born in Carthage and was probably a lawyer and priest. He became one of the earliest defenders of Christianity against pagan cults like Gnosticism; he was also the first writer in Latin to use the word ‘trinity’. This edition includes his sermons on patience, Christ’s flesh, its resurrection, martyrs, penitence, wives and monogamy. It also features his ‘adversus’ against the Jews and the Valentinians, as well as his most famous ‘Apologeticus’, which discusses key theological questions like the nature of Christ and the devil, the kingdom of God, the Roman religion, and why pagan deities should not be considered ‘gods’.

One early annotator of this copy was especially interested in heretics (with numerous references to St Augustine’s work on the subject), and in the ‘Adversus Marcionem’, against the errors of the Marcionites, a middle eastern movement often identified with a strand of the Gnostics. The annotator also had a strong visual imagination. Where Tertullian quoted from Cicero the phrase ‘naso agere’ to address the ‘fools’ who rate the same wisdom divine and human, he drew a face with a long nose. In ‘Ad Martyres’, he drew the portrait of Lucretia stabbing herself after being raped by an Etruscan king’s son. He was also interested in the sections on confession and ‘ecclesia’ in ‘De Poenitentia’, as he portrayed passages from the text: a priest confessing a crying man and a deer pierced by an arrow seeking to heal himself by eating chelidonium, an allegory of the repentant sinner (an image repeated in the index). He also annotated the two sermons on ‘the cult of women’ (esp. sections on ‘pudicitia’ and even the style of hair), and ‘the wife’ (esp. bigamy and trigamy). In ‘Apologeticus’, he illustrated with the words ‘blasphemia cornelii taciti’ the famous statement by Tacitus, reprised by Tertullian, that Christians were said by pagans to worship ‘the head of an ass’.

Graesse VII, 69 (mentioned); BM STC Ger., p. 853; Dibdin I, 207-8 (mentioned). A. Horodisch, ‘Die Buchbinderei des Franziskanerklosters zu Freiburg (Schweiz) im 16. Jahrhundert’, Rivista svizzera d’arte e d’archeologia 9 (1947), 157-80.


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Church of England. The primer in Englishe [and] Latin: set forth by the kynges maieste [and] his clergie to be taught learned, [and] read: [and] none other to be vsed throughout all his dominio[n]s.

London, by Eduuard VVhitchurche, 1548.


[BIBLE] The epystles & gospels, of euery Sondaye, and holye daye, thorow oute the hole yere, after the vse of the Church of Englande.

London, by Thomas Raynalde, 1550.


8vo. Two works in one. 1) 126 of 136 unnumbered leaves: a, B, A-P. (a1 [t-p] and a2 in excellent facsimile, lacking A1-8. 2) 162 of 164 unnumbered leaves. A-U, X. (lacking C8 and X8), missing leaves with blanks inserted. Black letter, some Roman and Italic, text of book one in red and black in double column, white on black criblé initials in both works, “Natal Society Library” old stamp on a few leaves. Light age yellowing, margins of first and last leaves restored, minor worm holes and damp stains to lower margin of first few quires, holes just touching a few letters, expertly restored on a few leaves, very light waterstaining in places, last few leaves a little dust soiled, minor marginal mark or spot in places. Good copies, generally crisp and clean in dark calf over bevelled wooden boards antique, circa 1900, signed “WHS[mith]”, covers double blind ruled to a panel design, two blind stamped lozenges at centres, ‘Henry VIII Primer’ blind lettered to upper panel of upper cover, spine with raised bands, blind worked in compartments, title gilt lettered. clasps and catches

Exceptionally rare editions of these two early vernacular ‘Books of Hours’ the first is the last of Henry VIII’s Primers and the second ‘The Sunday Epistles and Gospels’ was printed two years later during the reign of Edward VI. Both works are of great importance, made at the very foundation of the Anglican Church. The Primer is a book of devotion and instruction, a prayer book to be used by ordinary people on a daily basis that contains “prime texts” such as the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. “The period 1544-1560 is important for the study of the Anglican litany. Composed in 1544, it was revised slightly in 1547-1548 and again in 1558-1559. The litany was first printed in a booklet entitled An exhortation to prayer… Also a litany…. From 1545 it was included in the primer issued by Henry VIII and subsequently by Edward VI. From 1549 it was included in the Book of Common Prayer in its several editions. .. The Catholic litany of the saints was also printed and used during the period 1544-1560, especially during the reign of Queen Mary I but occasionally during other reigns as well.” J. Frank Henderson ‘Anglican and Catholic Litanies and Primers in England 1544-1559.’

“The King (Henry VIII) had issued a letter on August 20th, 1543, desiring ‘general rogations and processions to be made’ owing to the rain and bad weather; other troubles, such as war and pestilence, were also pressing upon people both at home and abroad. The people responded but slackly, and this slackness was put down partly to the fact ‘that they understode no parte of suche prayers or suffrages as were used to be songe and sayde’: consequently (June 11th, 1544) there were ‘set forthe certayne godly prayers and suffrages in our natyve Englishe tongue’ to this ‘Letanie with suffrages to be said or songe in the tyme of the said processyons’ there was prefixed ‘An exhortation unto prayer, thoughte mete by the Kinges Maiestie and his clergy to be read to the people in every church afore processyons.’ This litany represents the present English Litany in its actual form, with the exception of three clauses of invocation, and very nearly in its present words. The work was no doubt done by Cranmer, and was probably his first essay in this direction. .. It is important, however, to consider the relation of reform to the books of private devotion, and especially to call attention to the King’s Primer, which was issued about the same time as the Litany. .. Shortly after this, about the year 1541, the King began to exercise some modifying influence on the Primers, and this led up to the issue, in 1545, of King Henry’s Primer, which quickly brought to an end the series of Primers of the old type. This included the new form of Litany as issued in the previous year, with revised forms of the Hours of Our Lady and the Services of the Dead, besides other prayers both old and new. Here for the present things rested, both with regard to public and private worship.” Francis Proctor ‘A New History of the Book of Common Prayer’. This edition printed three years later was the last of the Henry VIII primers. It is exceptionally rare; ESTC records two copies only one at the BL the other at Yale University. The second work is even rarer, recorded in one copy only at St. Pauls Cathedral.

ESTC S91038. STC 2975.7. ESTC S91038 STC 2975.7


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Psalterium in quatuor linguis Hebraea, Graeca, Chaldaea, Latina.

Cologne, [Johann Soter for Johann Potken], 1518.


Small fol., 144 leaves, a-y6, ç6, &6. Roman, Hebrew, Greek and Ethiopic letters; title within elaborate border with interlacing floral decoration; occasional dust-soiling and marginal foxing, couple of tiny wormholes at foot and, in the first gathering, also to outer margin, old marginal repair to first five leaves, light dampstain at foot of final gathering. A good copy in late seventeenth-century English calf with gilt border; rebacked and restored, a little scuffed; on title, shelfmark and ink stamp of the Royal Society ‘ex dono’ of Henry Howard (1628-1684).

The second book to be printed in liturgical Ethiopic (Ge’ez) and the first polyglot psalter including that language. The editor, Johann Potken (c.1470-c.1525), was also responsible for the previous and earliest appearance of Ge’ez in print with his Alphabetum seu potius Syllabarium chaldaearum, published in Rome with Marcellus Silber in 1513. A Hebraist and clergyman from Cologne, Potken was at the time in the Papal city to serve Leo X. There, he got in touch with the Ethiopic community flourishing around the Church of St Peter of the Abyssinians, learnt Ge’ez from the pilgrim monk Thomas Walda Samuel and cut (or commissioned) an Ethiopic type for Silber, which he later brought back to Cologne and used for this Psalter. Curiously, Potken, the pioneer of Ethiopic printing, incorrectly called this language ‘Chaldea’, an ambiguous term which was commonly used in relation to Aramaic. An earlier polyglot Psalter featuring Arabic and Aramaic in addition to the Hebrew, Greek and Latin text was edited and published by Agostino Giustiniani in Genoa in 1516.

This copy was presented by Henry Howard, 6th Duke of Norfolk, to the Royal Society. The gift probably took taken place in 1667 along with donation of large part of the Arundel-Howard family library, including the beautiful manuscript copy of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae, later acquired by the British Museum and now BL, MS Arundel 10.

BM STC Ger., 95; Adams, B1371; Brunet, IV, 920; Graesse, V, 469; Darlow & Moule, 1413; Fumagalli, 1243.



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LUTHER, Martin

Jena, Donat Richtzenhan et Thomas Rebart (vols 1, 3) and Christian Rödinger & heirs (vols 2, 4), 1557-1579.


In 4 vols. Folio: 1): ff. [12], 540, [4]; 2): ff. [6], 603, [1]; 3) ff. [4], 540, [2]; 4): ff. [4], 822, [2]. Predominantly Roman letter, little Italic and Greek; large historiated initials, titles within elaborate border with the symbols of the Evangelists, Christ on the cross with John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony and Luther kneeling, background landscape and castle and their coats of arms; in vols 2-4, full-page portratis of the dedicatees, the Protestant Saxon princes and brothers Johann Frederick II, Johann Wilhelm and Johann Frederick III, continuous chronological diagram on many leaves of vol. 4; lightly age browned, small dampstains occasionally to blank margins, a few leaves lightly foxed. A fine set in contemporary German alum-tawed bevelled pigskin, elaborately blind-tooled with various rolls of palms, Biblical figures and scenes, personifications of virtues, medallion portraits of Roman emperors, floral decoration, central plate with Jael killing Sisera in vol. 1 (Einbanddatenbank, p003434); remains of the eight original clasps, three functioning; minor rubbing and a few small stains; title and shelfmark inked on spine by contemporary and later hands; late seventeenth-century ex libris of Johann Theodor Eckhart ‘Volkholfheimensis p.’ on front pastedown of vol. 1; armorial bookplate of Johann Georg Sigward (1554-1618) on front pastedown of 2 and, dated 1607, on title verso of 3, along with his portrait by Lukas Kilian, dated 1614, on front pastedown; inscription of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Senones dated 174[0] on titles of 1, 3 and 4 and related shelfmark on verso of front endpaper of all four vols; contemporary German marginalia in De servo arbitrio in vol. 3 and by later hand in commentary on Psalm 127 in 4.

A finely bound complete set of the Latin works by the initiator of the Reformation. With his prolific activity as a religious writer and polemicist, Luther (1483-1546) was one of the fathers of modern German language, but his extensive output in Latin was equally important and influential. This mixed set is formed by the two contemporary Jena editions, published from 1557 onwards. The first comprehensive collection was made in Wittenberg with Melanchthon’ and other Reformed scholars’ contributions and the sponsorship of the Elector of Saxony; yet, the Jean imprints, particularly those of Rödinger and heirs, are considered of better philological quality (Graesse, IV, 300).

The set has an interesting provenance. It first belonged to Johann Georg Sigward (1554-1618), prominent Evangelic theologian and professor in Tubingen, who penned several Latin religious treatises elucidating Lutheran articles of faith, including predestination. Later, it went into the hands of Johann Theodor Eckhart, apparently a pastor in Hofheim, in the area of Frankfurt. In 1740, it was catalogued in the vast Benedictine library of Saint-Pierre de Senones, which was being enlarged by the erudite abbot and Biblical exegete Antoine Augustin Calmet (1672-1757). It may have served for his studies, which won him the esteem of many Protestant theologians and, despite later attacks, of Voltaire, who was a guest in the Senones monastery in the early 1750s.

Not in BM STC Ger. Adams, L1738 (vol. 1), L1747 (vol. 3); Brunet, III, 1240; Graesse, IV, 300 (vols 2 and 4); VD16 ZV 10105, L3424, L3435, L3427.



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Biblia utriusque Testamenti.

[Geneva], Robert Estienne, 1556-1557.


In 2 vols. Fol., ff. [10], 188, 316, [2], 436, 336, 41, [1]. Predominantly Roman letter, some Greek and Hebrew; large printer’s device and decorative head-piece with vine and peasants on title and half-title, a few detailed illustrations, one full-page; title slightly dust-soiled with torn outer lower corner, a few leaves age yellowed, occasional light foxing mainly to margins, small marginal waterstain to final gatherings of vol. 2. A stunning, well-margined copy in exceptional morocco by the King’s binder of Geneva (cf. M. M. Foot, The Henry Davis Gift, pp. 279-285, nos 226-229), elegantly tooled with gilt and painted black border with panel of interlacing ribbons, painted black, and gouges, unpainted, on background powdered with dots, one mask at head and one at foot, some elements carved after gilding; spine similarly tooled, all board edges gilt with horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, all edges gauffered with gilt floral and grotesque motifs; joints possibly strengthened, a little rubbed at corners; eighteenth-century English annotation on front pastedown of vol. 1, quoting from the 1732 English translation of Calmet’s Dictionnaire historique, critique, chronologique, géographique et littéral de la Bible; c19 stamp of ‘G. W. Oxenham’ on front pastedown of both vols, Magg’s acquisition labels (March 1940) on rear pastedown of vol. 2.

Splendidly bound copy of the fifth edition of the renowned Latin Bible of Robert Estienne (1503-1559). It was the first to include Theodor Beza’s translation and commentaries on the New Testament, following Estienne’s conversion to Calvinism and subsequent move to Geneva. The book retains the detailed woodcut illustrations of the 1540 edition and the Latin version of the Old Testament by Sante Pagnini. Although this was not exactly the first attempt to separate and number biblical verses, the vast influence of the edition made this practice accepted once and for all.

The extraordinarily rich and detailed binding on both volumes can be attributed with certainty to the King’s binder, who was arguably the best in Geneva in the second half of the sixteenth century and probably a Parisian craftsman who emigrated due to unorthodox religious belief (I. Schunke, ‘Die Genfer Einbände in U. Fuggers Bibliothek’, in Die Einbände der Palatina, I, Vatican, 1962, pp. 218-236 and M. M. Foot, ‘The Geneva King’s binder and other 16th-century bindings decorated with masks’, Association International de Bibiliophilie: XXIVe Congrès 2005, pp. 17-29). His elaborate style, influenced by Parisian models, is characterised by lavish gauffering and use of grotesque and bizarre masks (here a sad-looking king and a staring ram) as decorative elements at head and foot of covers, from which the rest of the interlacing decoration usually springs.

BM STC Fr., Supplement, 11; Adams, B 1055 ; Darlow & Moule, 614; Renouard, 87 (‘depuis long-temp fort rare’); Schreiber, 113; Brunet, I, 876; Graesse, I, 394.



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Nuovi avisi dell’Indie di Portogallo … terza parte.

Venice, Michele Tramezzino, 1562.


8vo, pp. [8], 316. Italic letter; large printer’s device on title, floriated initials; small traces of glue at foot of first three leaves, tiny marginal stain to outer upper corner of f. 27. A fine, wide-margined copy in late sixteenth-century limp vellum; yapp edges, early title inked on spine and later gilt on morocco label, pasted stubs from a dictionary or glossary.

First Italian edition of an epistolary account of the Jesuit missions from all over the early modern world, translated from Spanish. It concerns in particular the vast maritime domain of the Portuguese Empire, consisting of numerous strategical harbours on the coasts of Africa, South Asia and South America. This network was instrumental in controlling the trade of spices and precious metals, but offered also safe starting points for Catholic evangelisation. This collection of letters narrates travels to and fro and daily missionary life in Brazil, India, China, Japan and Ethiopia, providing details of the Jesuit activities, including mass conversions, as well as relevant information on local people, flora and fauna. Often, missives are sent to or from the St Paul’s College of Goa, which was established about 1542 by Francis Xavier as the educational and cultural centre of the Jesuit expansion in the East, and housed the first printing press in India from 1556. These letters were highly sought after in secular Europe, often providing the only reliable information available on the political, economic, commercial and social conditions of large and increasingly important part of the globe.

Not in Adams. BM STC It., 349; Alden, 562/16; Sabin, 5640; Borba de Moraes, I, 51; Cordier, Japonica, 47.



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La Bible (with) Les CL. Pseaumes de David, … mis en rime francoise par Clément Marot, & Théodore de Besze. Avec la forme des prières ecclésiastiques, et la manière d’administrer les sacremens, & célébrer le mariage…

Geneva, de l’imprimerie de Matthieu Berjon, 1605


8vo. 2 vols in 1. 1)ff. [iv], 412, 96, 130, [ii]. *⁴ a-z⁸ A-Z⁸ Aa-Ee⁸ Ff⁴, aa-mm⁸, AA-QQ⁸ RR⁴ 2) 80 unnumbered leaves. Aa-Kk8. Entirely ruled in red. Roman letter, some Italic, double column, copious woodcut musical notation in second work, bookplate of Madeleine and René Junod and label of the exhibition ‘Dix siècles de livres français’ organised by the Musée des Beaux-Arts at Lucerne on the 9 July to 2 October 1949 (cat., n°357) on pastedown. Light age yellowing, some water staining to title and last leaf, the odd marginal spot or mark. A very good copy in a stunning, exceptionally preserved, contemporary mosaique binding of tan morocco with darker morocco inlays, covers double gilt ruled to a panel design, outer dentelle border made with a series of repeated gilt tools, outer panel with inlaid ovals at corners, gilt fleurons, and small inlaid circles with gilt fleurons repeated with semé of gilt pointillée tools around, central panel with corners of small inlaid ovals and circles with gilt fleurons finely worked with small tools, central arabesques of inlaid circles around a large central oval, gilt, worked in gilt fine small fleurons, pointillée tools, and leafy sprays, spine worked to a very similar panel design with the same use of inlays and fine tools, very finely worked silver clasps and catches, catches with grotesques heads and clasps with small musicians and grotesque heads, ‘Louis Du Four 1616’ stamped on verso of upper clasp, “Catherine Franconis” to lower, all edges gilt and finely gauffered, later endpapers.

A rare edition of this finely printed Protestant bible in a beautiful and richly worked contemporary mosaique morocco binding, immaculately preserved, with its original silvers clasps and catches, a most handsome present commissioned for the wedding of in Geneva in1617 of Louis Dufour and Catherine Franconis. The Société Genevoise de Généalogie states that Catherine Franconis married, on 2nd February 1617, at the Temple of Saint-Gervais in Geneva, Louis Dufour and they later had a daughter Madeleine Dufour which confirms that this bible must have been made as a wedding gift. Their names are jointly stamped on the verso of the catches with the date 1616. The lovely Geneva binding is a very fine example of the best bindings of the period, extremely finely and delicately worked for its small size, with tiny inlays of darker morocco, making for a subtle all over design. The shape of the Bible with its large flat spine allowed the binder to create a most unusual panel design on the spine mirroring those of the covers. The silver clasps and catches are very beautifully worked in very fine grotesques and survive in perfect condition, as does the rest of the binding. This Bible was exhibited in the exhibition ‘Ten centuries of the French Book’ (Dix siècles de livres français) organised by the Musée des Beaux-Arts at Lucerne on the 9 July to 2 October 1949 (cat., n°357)

This Geneva Bible, beautifully printed in a very fine minuscule Roman type, imitates, on a small scale, the great Estienne folio Bibles of the previous century. It is completed with the addition of a Psalter, by the same printer, probably intended to accompany this Bible, though they are not always found together. The Psalter is followed with the ‘forme des prières ecclésiastiques’, the catechism, and the confession of faith in 40 articles by the Reformed Church of France. (“Confession de foi faite d’un commun accord par les François qui désirent vivre selon la pureté de l’Evangile de Nostre Seigneur Jésus-Christ”). A finely printed Bible remarkably preserved in a most beautiful contemporary binding.

BM STC Fr. C17th p. 50, B791. Darlowe and Moule. 3744 ‘French Geneva version. A close reprint of the edition of 1588”.


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ZEROLA, Tommasi [with] VISCONTI, Zaccaria


Sancti Iubilaei ac indulgentiarum … tractates [with] Complementum artis exorcisticae.

Venice, Giorgio Varisco, 1600 [with] Venice, Francesco Bariletti, 1600.


Two works in one volume. 8vo: 1): FIRST EDITION: pp. [48], 336, [8]; 2): FIRST EDITION: pp. [6], 716, [36]. Roman letter, little Italic; printer’s devices on titles and end of 1), initials floriated or historiated and decorative tail-pieces; minor wormtrails on blanks of first gathering, a few leaves aged browned, occasional light foxing to margins. A good copy in fine contemporary German alum-taw pigskin, blind-tooled with external floral roll and central panel with fleur-de-lys at corners and monogram of Christ on front, of Mary on rear; contemporary titles inked on labels at spine, remains of ties, edges diagonally sprinkled in red and blue; faint armorial library stamp on verso of front pastedown, contemporary shelf marks and inscription ‘Pro conventu Suazensi Fr[atr]um Min[orum]’ on first title.

Elegantly bound volume comprising two uncommon first edition treatises connected with the Catholic Jubilee of 1600. Little is known about their authors. Tommaso Zerola (1548-1603) was an acclaimed canon lawyer of Benevento and later bishop of Minori, while Zaccaria Visconti, professional exorcist of the Barnabite Congregation of St Ambrose in Milan and teacher of this art, flourished between the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century. The first work, dedicated to the pope’s nephew Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini, deals extensively with the practice of indulgence or remission of sins – a highly relevant topic for pilgrims going to Rome on the occasion of the Holy Year. The second and more curious treatise addresses exorcism, providing the theological and theoretic framework as well as a manual of instruction on techniques, prayers, formulae, rituals and all sorts of remedies to expel the Evil within. As pointed out in the initial dedication, Visconti hoped that his books would help reduce the number of cases of demonic possession recently recorded in the Milanese area.

This copy belonged to the Franciscan convent of Schwaz, in Tyrol, once a prominent silver-mining centre of the Augsburg Empire.

1): Not in Brunet or Graesse. BM STC It., Suppl., 83; Adams, Z 140.

2): Not in Brunet or BM STC It. Adams, V 629.



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Ricardi Archiepiscopi Armachani Hyberniae Primatis Defensorum Curatorum aduersus eos qui privilegiatos se dicunt.

Paris, Apud Petrum Billaine, 1633.


8vo., pp. (xvi) 168. á8, A-K8, L4. (á7+8 blank). Roman letter, some Italic. Small woodcut ornament on title, floriated woodcut initials and woodcut headpieces. Light age yellowing, the very occasional marginal spot or mark. A very good copy in modern three-quarter calf over marbled boards, spine with raised bands, blind ruled in compartments, blind fleurons.

Extremely rare edition of the major published work of the C14th Archbishop of Armagh, Richard Fitzralph, the first printed book by an Irish author, a work which defended the secular clergy in their contest with the mendicant orders; this edition was most probably printed in Paris, at the instigation of the secular priest Paul Harris, who was himself involved in a similar dispute in Dublin over three centuries later.

Richard FitzRalph, Archbishop of Armagh, one of the most eminent Irish churchmen of the middle ages, was born at Dundalk around the end of the 13th century, and was educated at Oxford where he became Chancellor in 1333. He was made Chancellor of the church of Lincoln in 1334, became Archdeacon of Chester in 1336, and was installed Dean of Lichfield in 1337. He was advanced to the see of Armagh By Pope Clement VI, and was consecrated at Exeter, on 8th July 1347.

“Fitzralph’s controversy with the friars came to a crisis when he was cited to Avignon in 1357. Avowing his entire submission to the authority of the Holy See, he defended his attitude towards the friars in the plea entitled “Defensorium Curatorum.” He maintained as probable that voluntary mendicancy is contrary to the teachings of Christ. His main plea, however, was for the withdrawal of the privileges of the friars in regard to confessions, preaching, burying, etc. He urged a return to the purity of their original institution, claiming that these privileges undermined the authority of the parochial clergy. The friars were not molested, but by gradual legislation harmony was restored between them and the parish clergy. Fitzralph’s position, however, was not directly condemned, and he died in peace at Avignon.” Catholic Encyclopaedia.

This edition contains an additional foreword under the title, ‘Ad Lectorem prefatio apologetic’ which has been attributed to the secular priest Paul Harris, then involved in a violent dispute with Thomas Fleming, Franciscan archbishop of Dublin. Paul Harris was not the only Secular Priest to oppose the Friars, and it is certain that the secular priests looked to FitzRalph’s work for inspiration.

“David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory, and first member of the new counter-reformation episcopate being established in Ireland from 1618, was alleged to hold the view that members of religious orders had forfeited their rights to the old monastic impropriations and even speculated that members of religious orders were not, in the strict sense members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Rothe’s regular opponents even dubbed him un Segundo Richardo Armachano after Richard FitzRalph the anti-mendicant fourteenth-century archbishop.” John McCafferty. ‘The Reconstruction of the Church of Ireland’. A very good copy of a very rare work.

Not in BM STC Fr. C16th. Shaaber F118. Three locations only, none in the US.


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THYRAEUS, Gulielmus


Discursus panegyrici de nominibus, tribulationibus, et miraculis S. Patricii Ibernorum apostoli, cum exhortatione ad perfectiones pro fide patienter ferendas, & apostophe ad Iberniam.

Douai, Baltazaris Belleri, 1617.


FIRST EDITION. 12mo., pp. 213, (ix). Roman letter, some Italic. Small typographical ornaments on title, small woodcut initials and typographical headpieces, ‘Applicatus Bibliothecae Fratum minorum Cork’ in a slightly later hand on title page, C19th library stamp of the “Franciscan Friary, Liberty Street Cork” on front fly. Light age yellowing, title page fractionally dusty, minor repairs to the blank margins of the last few leaves, the occasional minor spot or mark. A very good, clean copy in C19th black morocco, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine with blind ruled raised bands, fleurons gilt in compartments with title and date gilt lettered, inner dentelles richly gilt, all edges gilt, a little worn, in modern calf slipcase.

Exceptionally rare first and only edition of this ‘Panegyric on St. Patrick,’ published in exile at Douai, by the Irish Catholic titular Bishop of Cork, William Thirry. Thirry was born in Cork but forced into exile due to his faith and received his education at Douai, where he was ordained. This work on the life and miracles of Saint Patrick was clearly intended for an Irish Catholic audience and as a result was met with disdain by the ecclesiastical authorities in Ireland; the protestant bishop Ussher heaped scorn on the work, though he was later to use the Life of St. Patrick for such sectarian purposes himself.

In the late sixteenth century and seventeenth century, the history or the story of the life of St. Patrick was coloured by sectarian interest and the Church of Ireland was anxious to trace its origins to Patrick himself. Thus Thirry’s work, which aimed to reclaim St. Patrick for the Catholic cause, caused a great deal of upset and was on the receiving end of much criticism. James Ussher himself wrote much on Irish church history, although it was strongly polemical in tone. He stated in the introduction to his work, ‘A Discourse of The Religion Anciently Professed by The Irish and British’ (Dublin 1631) “but as far as I can collect by such records of the former ages as have come unto my hands (either manuscript or printed) the religion professed by the ancient bishops, priests, monks, and other Christians in this land, was for substance the very same with that which now by public authority is maintained therein, against the foreign doctrine brought in thither in latter times by the bishop of Rome’s followers. And those same followers he saw with all greediness embrace, and with a most strange kind of credulity entertain those lying legends, wherewith their monks and friars in these latter days have polluted the religion and lives of our ancient saints.”

The work is divided into three parts the longest of which concerns the miracles of Saint Patrick. It was edited by Fr. Patrick Donovan in Douai. This work is exceptionally rare. Shaaber gives two locations only, at Dublin, Trinity College and at the British Library and there is no copy recorded at auction by ABPC.

Not in BM STC Fr. C16th. Allison and Rogers 1250. Shaaber T16.


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