(Paris: Ex officina Roberti Stephani, 1543 (first three works); Lyon: Sebastian Gryphe, 1542, 1541). 180 x 108 mm. (7 1/8 x 4 1/4"). 186,  pp.;  leaves; 70,  leaves; 363,  pp.; 52  pp.
EXCELLENT CONTEMPORARY BLIND-STAMPED CALF BY JEHAN NORVINS (his name incorporated in central panel), covers framed by thick and thin blind rules, central panel stamp with two vertical columns of cresting curved lines, their cusps topped by an acorn with a flower sprouting from its head, binder's name, "Jehan + Noruis" stamped in a narrow compartment just below, the whole enclosed by a decorative frame with a wyvern on each side between branches of flowers and acorns, a floral spray at top of frame and a branch with acorns at bottom, oblique artichoke ornaments at each corner, raised bands, early 15th century manuscript fragments used as pastedowns (neat older repairs to head and tail compartments of spine, skillful restorations to corners). Estienne printer's device on title page of first two works; Gryphe's "Virtute duce, comite Fortuna" griffin device on title pages of last two works, and two different large griffins on final page of his works. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of Mr. J. C. Bijsterbos and ex-libris of Charles v. d. Elst; front flyleaf with ex-libris of "J-J. S. Bibliophile"; title page with two early owner inscriptions in ink: "Sum ex libris Edzardi Eschij Frisij Laerani anno 97" and later "R. Futsinghe." First three works: Renouard 55:2; Adams P-111; USTC 14089; Adams M-1358; USTC 140879; Adams V-676; USTC 140891; Fourth work: Baudrier VIII, 164; USTC 140457; Fifth work: Baudrier VIII, 164; USTC 122640. For the binding: Foot, Henry Davis Gift III, 11; Goldschmidt 131 and Plate XLIX; Gruel I, 37; British Library Database of Bookbindings shelfmark Davis323. Calf with a little crackling near edges of boards, joints lightly rubbed, but the carefully repaired binding still quite pleasing, with no substantial wear and with the panel stamps in clear, sharp relief. Front flyleaf with top inch cut away, Z5 in fourth work with three-inch closed tear into text (no loss), isolated faint marginal dampstains or small spots, other trivial imperfections, but internally very fresh and clean throughout. Quite a pleasing volume.
This elegant sammelband of Classical writings and commentary from two distinguished presses was assembled by a 16th century collector and handsomely bound by a contemporary Louvain binder. According to Goldschmidt, Jean Norvins (Gruel calls him "Norvis," the spelling on the panel stamp), was active about 1525 to 1545; Hobson notes that the binder began his career in Paris but moved to Louvain in the 1530s. The manuscript fragments used as pastedowns here discuss dogs and hunting, and may come from a 15th century copy of Aristotle's "De Progressu Animalium." According to the British Library Database of Bookbindings, our acorn-design panel is "the only panel stamp attributed to this binder," and has only been found on about a dozen volumes. The latest publication date on any of those works was 1542, a year earlier than the first three titles that appear here, all from Robert Estienne's series of Roman works on agriculture. First in our volume is the principal work of the 4th century A.D. agronomist Palladius. Sometimes titled "Opus Agriculturae," his "De Re Rustica" is divided into 14 parts, the first a general introduction to farming, followed by 12 parts outlining the farming and husbandry tasks for each month of the year, and concluding with a poem on grafting. The next two titles are books of commentary on agricultural writings by Romans Cato, Varro, and Columella by noted humanist scholars Georgius Merula (1430-94), Filippo Beroaldo (1453-1505) and Pietro Vettori (1499-1585), and a brief discussion by Aldus Manutius (ca. 1449/52-1515) on the number of hours of daylight and darkness throughout the year. These three books are generally found bound together, but in varying order, and Renouard considers all of them to be one work. From the Lyon press of Sebastien Gryphe, the final two works in our volume contain commentaries on the "Annales" of the great Roman historian Tacitus (ca. 55 - ca. 117) by some of the leading humanist scholars of the day: Beroaldo, who had edited the 1515 first collected edition of Tacitus; Beatus Rhenanus (1485-1547), who edited the Froben edition of Tacitus and created the detailed thesaurus of Tacitus' vocabulary included here; and two Italian jurists, Andrea Alciato (1492-1550) and Emilio Ferretti (1489-1552). Our copy was once owned by Dutch bibliophile Johannes Christiaan Bijsterbos (1814-98) and then by Charles vander Elst (1904-82), president of the Société Royale des Bibliophiles et Iconophiles de Belgique. (ST17803)