TWO ESSAYS ON THE DECRETUM OF GRATIAN.

(Los Angeles and San Francisco: Printed by Saul and Lillian Marks at the Plantin Press for Zeitlin & Ver Brugge and Bernard M. Rosenthal, 1971). 500 x 340 mm. (19 3/4 x 13 1/2"); the leaf 483 x 330 mm. (19 x 13"). [9] leaves of text, including colophon. No. 17 OF 193 COPIES.

Vellum backed marbled paper boards (lacking the original slipcase). Facsimile of original colophon printed in red with device and blue paragraph flourish. Printed in red and black. WITH AN ORIGINAL LEAF PRINTED ON VELLUM BY PETER SCHOEFFER AT MAINZ IN 1472. Variations in grain of the vellum on the spine, but the book in mint condition; short slit to fore edge margin and a touch of dust-soiling to edge, but THE VELLUM LEAF IN FINE CONDITION--quite fresh with excellent margins.

This is a very attractive production containing a fine vellum specimen from one of the most important printers of the 15th century, a person with direct ties to Gutenberg who was active for virtually the entire incunabular period. Our copy contains a very handsome leaf, printed in red and black in four columns (text in the middle columns, flanked by narrower columns of commentary) and embellished with hand-painted headlines and paragraph flourishes as well as hand-painted initials of various sizes in red or blue. The main text is set in Schoeffer's 1462 "Bible type," generally considered to be his most beautiful and important typeface. The leaf has very ample margins that show clearly all four pinholes, left behind by the printer's pins (called "points") that held the sheet in place while it was being imprinted. (According to BMC I, xv, the presence of four pinholes dates the leaf before the second half of 1474, when the printer began to secure his sheets with two points only.) The two short essays making up the text here are useful commentaries on the printer himself and on the origins, substance, and significance of Gratian's "Decretum," the foundation of Roman church law for more than five centuries. Schoeffer (ca. 1425-ca. 1502) was the son-in-law of Johann Fust, who financed and later took over the press of Gutenberg. Schoeffer managed the press for his father-in-law, ran it after Fust died (ca. 1466), and continued to produce books from it until the first years of the 16th century.
(ST15605)

Keywords: Incunabula