(Tiguri [Zurich]: Iacobus Mazochius, 1527). 177 x 110 mm. (7 x 4 3/8"). 14 p.l., 380, [2] leaves.

CONTEMPORARY BLIND-STAMPED CALF over wooden boards, covers with blind-ruled frames, center panel divided into three sections, those on the upper cover containing, on the left, a panel stamp of Saint Michael the Archangel; in the middle, two zoomorphic rolls featuring dragons and birds; and, on the right, a panel containing twin rolls of interwoven branches inhabited by various creatures, these rolls within a mottoed frame; lower cover with similar decoration, but the scenic panel stamp showing Saint John the Baptist; four raised bands, remnants of brass clasps, pastedowns lifted, revealing pigskin cords secured in their channels with wooden pegs (small, neat repairs to head and tail of spine and perhaps to the joints).
Printer's "Janus" device in colophon. Inside front cover with bookplate of Henry Gough and signature of the same name dated 1754; front flyleaf and title page with several early ownership inscriptions in ink. For the binding: Weale 419; Fogelmark, pl. xxxix, R. 91. Leather on spine a little crackled, joints rather worn (but not cracked, and with no looseness), blind decoration on back cover somewhat muted (though that on the front cover still very sharp), other minor wear to the leather, but the binding sound and generally pleasing. Occasional faint marginal dampstains, small rust spots, smudges, or other insignificant defects in the text, but an excellent copy internally, especially fresh and clean.

This commentary on the four Gospels was likely bound in Flanders, possibly in Ghent, based on the triple panel design and the stamps of Saint Michael and Saint John the Baptist, common elements in Flemish bindings of the period. The stamps here are very similar in size and composition to those described by Weale in "Bookbindings and Rubbings of Bindings in the National Art Library" (see his #419, a Flanders binding on a volume of tracts printed in 1529). Fogelmark identifies Pieter de Keysere of Ghent as one of the binders who used stamps of Saints Michael and John the Baptist (see R. 91, Plate xxxix, showing stamps of the two saints that are extremely similar, if not identical to, the ones on our binding, used as part of a triple panel design). Here, Michael the Archangel is seen standing over the struggling Devil, his sword upraised to deliver a final blow, while John the Baptist stands at a makeshift pulpit formed by two poles and a crossbar, his listeners--including an attentive dog--seated on the ground around him. The rolls that form the other decorative panels are inhabited by a number of fanciful or stylized creatures, among them birds, dragons, deer, hedgehogs, and a monkey (these animal panels are also mentioned by Fogelmark as common features in Ghent bindings). The text here is the work of Theophylactus (ca. 1050-1126), a scholar of high repute who became the tutor of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, son of the Emperor Michael VII, for whom he wrote "The Education of Princes." According to Britannica, his writings "deserve the considerable place they hold in exegetical literature for their appositeness, sobriety, accuracy and judiciousness." Our early owner would appear to be Sir Henry Gough (1709-74), first baronet, whose very advantageous second marriage to heiress Barbara Calthorpe brought him money, lands, and quite likely this volume, her bachelor elder brother having bequeathed to her a library that included important Tudor manuscripts, among other items. The lifted pastedowns, rather than being a defect, can be seen as a plus here, as they allow us a clear view of the physical structure of the binding.