(Basel: Bartholomaeus Westheimer, 1541). 162 x 105mm. (6 3/8 x 4 1/4"). 8 p.l., 688 pp.,  leaves. Second Westheimer Edition.
FINE CONTEMPORARY SOUTHERN GERMAN BLIND-STAMPED CALF, covers framed by chalice and banner roll enclosing an inner frame highlighted with floral stamps and a narrow central panel with a partial roll of "Cogni[tio] - Tempe[rantia] - Forti[tudo]," raised bands, two brass clasps. VD16 E2958. For the binding: Haebler II, p. 226 no. 34; EBDB workshop w004422, rolls r003575 and r004087, stamp s033270. Half-inch spot of worming to upper cover, isolated tiny rust spots, but AN EXTREMELY FINE COPY, clean, fresh, and bright internally, in a sound binding with stamps in high relief.
This is a handsomely bound edition of Erasmus' letters to friends and colleagues, with blind-stamped decorations in especially sharp relief. First published in 1538, the letters selected here are intended for the edification of "students and adolescents," letter writing being an essential part of Latin education in the Renaissance. Erasmus had died in Basel in 1536, and our printer has included a number of tributes to the greatest scholar of the Northern Renaissance. According to Haebler, the binding here was done by an unidentified workshop operating in Bavaria in the 1540s and 1550s; examples of their bindings are preserved in libraries in Munich, Salzburg, and Nuremberg. The very crisp impression of the rolls may be due to the fact that our volume, issued in the early years of the bindery's existence, was perhaps decorated with rolls that had seen little previous use. The years--and previous owners--have been kind, and the stamps here exceed all expectations for clarity and sharpness. (ST15220)
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