(Venice: Nicolaus Jenson, 1479). 318 x 229 mm. (12 1/2 x 9"). Double column, 51 lines of text plus headline, gothic type.
Each leaf with two to four very attractive four-line illuminated initials in blue, green, magenta, orange, and burnished gold, some with gold bezant extensions. Occasional marginalia in a contemporary hand. Goff B-563; BMC V, 180. ◆Some trivial light foxing or faint dampstaining, but IN FINE CONDITION, the paper very fresh, and the illumination sparkling.
These are beautifully illuminated leaves from the renowned Venetian printer Nicolaus Jenson. Born a Frenchman near Troyes, Jenson (1420-80) is known to have set up shop in Venice in 1470, and during a decade of labor, he probably issued in excess of 100 works. In addition to printing some of the most attractive books of the period, Jenson also had close working relationships with leading illuminators, who would enhance special copies of his works, as here, with glittering embellishments to appeal to a discriminating and wealthy clientele. The present leaves were not printed in Jenson's renowned roman font, but rather in a rounded and readable gothic type, made even more pleasing to the eye by the spacious margins here. Haebler says that "Jenson's authority was no less important in the development of gothic types than in that of roman. As early as the year 1474 he had already cut a gothic text type which was imitated more than any other type of the XVth century," coming into common use throughout Italy, Germany, and Switzerland in the 1480s. (ST13156)