Signed and Dated by the Rubricator in 1516, and with 12th Century Pastedowns


(Lugduni [Lyon]: Bernard Lescuyer for Johann Koberger of Nuremberg, 3 June 1514; Jacques Sacon for Anton Koberger, 8 August 1509). 320 x 205 mm. (12 1/2 x 8"). 5 p.l., XCVII [i.e., 129], [4], I-CXXIIII, [2] [i.e., 150] leaves (complete, despite irregular pagination, with 288 leaves); [134] leaves (last blank). Two works in one volume.

Contemporary blind-stamped calf, upper cover with diapered central panel, each compartment containing a flower, cloverleaf, or monogram of Christ, outer frame with rosette and "I H S" stamps, lower cover with similar but less detailed tooling, raised bands, two brass clasps (probably later, straps on both renewed), PASTEDOWNS OF VELLUM LEAVES FROM AN EARLY 12TH CENTURY GERMAN NOTED BREVIARY, with staveless neumes and red painted initials. With attractive woodcut initials, first work with printer's device on final page. FINELY RUBRICATED, SIGNED, AND DATED BY THE RUBRICATOR, Bernardus tor Tellt de Euerswyntzel (Everswinkel), the final page dated 21 May 1516. Front flyleaf with early ink inscription in Latin and with signature of B. Grone[?] dated December 1, 1837. Adams P-569; VD16 ZV 25164 (listing 4 copies) and ZV 24944; USTC 693748 and 694648 Large vertical crack in spine leather in two places--though the spine very much intact--leather on boards a bit scratched and roughened, but the binding still pleasing as a Medieval survival, with very good impressions of the stamps; I1 with older repairs to fore-edge margin (not affecting text), occasional mild marginal dampstains, other trivial imperfections, but A VERY FINE COPY INTERNALLY, clean, fresh, and rather bright, with very pleasing remarkably complex rubrication.

This volume containing two rare editions of sermons on the "winter and summer" saints as well as on the Madonna is especially desirable for its pleasing contemporary binding, its use of early manuscript leaves as pastedowns, and its attractive rubrication by a scribe who has left a special paleographical legacy for us by signing and dating his work. Pelbartus Ladislaus de Temesvár (1420-1504) was a Hungarian Franciscan who received his theological training at the University of Krakow. He was renowned for his sermons, which were first printed in 1498. He showed a special devotion to the Virgin, and the second work here lauds her "Starry Crown" (i.e., many virtues). While a great many early books were rubricated, it is a special circumstance to find one inscribed with the name of the rubricator and the date he finished his labor. Bernard tor Tellt had reason to be proud of his work: this volume is extensively and very attractively embellished. Bernard has struck all capitals with red, marked the beginning of paragraphs with pilcrows, underlined cross-references to other works, highlighted woodcut initials and added intricate trailing penwork to large initials, outlined incipits and colophons, and provided hand-drawn initials in the blanks left for decorative initials in the second work. He notes at the end of the first work that he had completed rubricating 516 pages (though it was closer to 576) on the feast of Corpus Christi; on the final page of the second work, he signs his name again and adds the date 1516. Bernard was working in the German town of Everswinkel near Münster, and as his work was likely done before the book was bound, it is probable that the binding also originated in Northern Germany or perhaps the Low Countries. As finishing elements at front and back, our thrifty binder has recycled portions of two bifolia from a then-obsolete and unwanted early 12th century breviary, happily preserving for the modern bibliophile these now sought-after specimens. These manuscript fragments are written in an early proto-gothic script that retains characteristics of Caroline minuscule, and show sung portions of the liturgy with diastematic neumes "in campo aperto," i.e., without staves. Our Lyon editions of these works are uncommon: OCLC locates no copies in North American libraries; ABPC and RBH find just two other copies of either at auction.