(Lipsiae [Leipzig]: Abraham Lamberg, 1595). 183 x 97 mm. (6 3/8 x 3 3/4").  leaves (last blank). Edited by Philip Melanchthon and Desiderius Erasmus.
Excellent contemporary painted blind-stamped pigskin, covers framed by multiple plain rules and a cresting leafy vine painted black and red, central panel of upper cover with a panel-stamp portrait of Philip Melanchthon, holding an open book bearing the phrase "Si Deus pro nobis quis contra no[s]," seated beneath an archway painted red and black and stamped with fleurs-de-lys and tiny flowers, Melanchthon's hair, beard, and fur-collared robe highlighted with red paint, text beneath the portrait reading "Forma quidem potis est sed mens tua nescia ping"; central panel of lower cover with the insignia of the city of Görlitz, framed by a similar arch painted red and black, raised bands, ink titling, two bottom panels with red-painted bands with black (shelf?) numbers "C. VI / J2." Printer's Pegasus device on title page, colored brown by an early hand, woodcut initial at opening of text highlighted with red ink. Front free endpapers with ink owner inscription of Johannes Albertus Slavata L. B. a [von] Chlum & Kossmberk [Koschumberk], dated 1606; title page with "Wolf" written in red ink. VD 16 T 497; USTC 682214; not in Adams or STC German. Pigskin rather soiled, paint a bit rubbed, but the impressions in sharp relief; text somewhat browned (due to paper quality), isolated small ink stains, otherwise clean and crisp internally, and the unsophisticated binding quite sound.
This is a rare example of a blind-stamped pigskin binding with painted designs, likely executed in Bohemia. The insignia of Görlitz on the lower cover and the contemporary inscription of Bohemian nobleman Johannes Albertus Slavata [von] Chlum & Kossmberk [Koschumberk] place our volume in that kingdom, where Görlitz and the surrounding vicinity were largely Lutheran--note Melanchthon on the upper cover. The Catholic Habsburg monarchs who had ruled Bohemia since the late 15th century had generally practiced tolerance toward their Protestant subjects, but this was to change in the first quarter of the 16th century. A revolt began in 1618 with the kinsman of our former owner, Vilem Slawata von Chlum und Koschumberk, being thrown from a palace window in the Second Defenestration of Prague, and the conflict soon escalated into the Thirty Years War. Blind-stamped bindings of this period with painted decoration are very scarce: our research turned up only half a dozen examples, and in most of those cases, simple coats of arms had been painted in their heraldic colors. The most similar binding found was also on a Leipzig imprint, a 1565 edition of Melanchthon's "Liber de Anima Recognitus" in the 1919 sale of Reinette Lester McCrea at Anderson Galleries. Its pigskin binding had panel portraits of Melanchthon and a woman bearing a chalice highlighted with red paint. The six extant plays of the Roman Terence (ca. 195/185–ca. 159? B.C.) were the ancestors of drawing room and modern situation comedies, featuring crusty fathers, rebellious sons, and impertinent slaves whose machinations solve the playwright's intricate complications of plot. The plays were popular throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and while there were numerous 16th century printings, our edition is quite rare. (ST15046)
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PJP Catalog: SE19BF.029