Lot 29: Incunabula.- Horatius Flaccus (Quintus) Opera, Strassburg, Johann Gruninger, 12 March 1498.
15 November 2016
London, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: Horatius Flaccus (Quintus) Opera, collation: [*]6, A-Z6, AA-II6, KK-LL8, [**]6, present copy with last quire signed [**], bound between quires [*] and A, 219ff only (of 220, lacking final blank), text in single column, 74 lines (commentary surrounding text and headline), prefatory quire in double column, table in triple column, type: 22:89R (text), 23:64bR (commentary), 19:280G (title), 17:145G (headlines, headings), 4:48G (interlinear glosses), woodcut printer's device on fol. LL7v, 168 woodcut illustrations from 101 blocks by the Terence Master, most printed from composite blocks, many repeated. 2- and 3-line blank spaces for capitals with printed guide letters, generally a good copy, some leaves uniformly browned, a few water-stains, early ink stains and fingermarks, some wormholes, occasionally affecting single letters, old repairs to title, to lower corner of fol. X5 and upper corner of fol. EE4, Latin and German marginalia and emendations throughout in an early German hand, a few bibliographical pencil notes on front pastedown, contemporary German blind-tooled pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, remains of brass clasps, spine with four double raised bands, title on paper label in second compartment, covers stained and rubbed in places, folio (330 x 212mm.), Strassburg, Johann Grüninger, 12 March 1498. ⁂ First illustrated edition of Horace's Opera. Here edited for the first time from a manuscript, in comparison to previous editions published in Italy, which were taken from printed sources. The edition issued by the printer Grüninger is rightly famed for its illustrations and is considered one of the finest illustrated books produced in Germany during the fifteenth century. The text is enhanced by 168 woodcuts, executed by an artist known as the 'Terence Master'. According to Kristeller and von Arnim, only 37 woodblocks were however originally designed and cut for this work. The major part of the illustrations are a re-use of woodblocks employed previously for other editions issued from Grüninger's printing house, such as the famous Narrenschiff by Sebastian Brant, which appeared in 1494-1495, the Terentius of 1496, and the Libro philomusi by Johann Georg Locher of 1497. The opening woodcuts depict Horace as a crowned poet laureate. Provenance: A barely legible early German ownership inscription on the recto of the title ('Paulus Cantag[?]); a small inked monogram combining the letters E and S on the title (with the number '187'); Fernand Heitz (large ex-libris on front pastedown). Literature: HC 8898*; BMC I, 112; Fairfax Murray German 205; Schreiber 4240; Goff H-461.
Notes: Category: Literature, Manuscripts and History