(Venice: Nicolaus Jenson, [before 6 May] 1478). 320 x 236 mm. (12 1/2 x 9 1/4"). Double column, 48 lines, gothic type.Edited by Georgius de Spathariis.
Each leaf with several two-line initials in blue or red with contrasting purple or red penwork, these decorative flourishes extending down the columns and often into the upper and lower margins; one leaf with a very pretty two-line illuminated initial painted pink and blue on a gold ground, with a marginal extension consisting of a gold bar wrapped in a blue acanthus and capped in green and pink, with sprays of gold bezants and penwork embellishments. Printed in red and black. Goff B-1112; BMC V, 179; ISTC ib01112000. Lower fore-edge corner slightly wrinkled and thumb soiled, other very trivial imperfections, but fine specimens--extremely clean, fresh, and wide-margined.
Luxurious, attractively decorated, and in desirable condition, these leaves present a fine opportunity to own a piece of vellum printing from a preeminent incunabular printer. Born a Frenchman near Troyes, Nicolaus 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. (ST15645)
450 each for regular leaves, and $1,250 for leaf with illuminated initial
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PJP Catalog: 76.043