GUILLERMUS PARISIENSIS

THE KRAUS COPY: RICHLY ILLUSTRATED WITH 53 WOODCUTS

Postilla super epistolas et evangelia.

Basel, Nicolaus Kesler, 1492.

£12,000

Quarto. 162 unnumbered leaves, A-M8 N6 a-f8 g-h6, including two blanks (fols. [102] (n6) and [162] ((final) h6)). Gothic letter. Floriated initials, capital spaces with nicely rubricated guide-letters, rubrications throughout. Title-page with large woodcut of Crucifixion, 52 smaller woodcuts in text. Some light soiling and staining, a few wormholes to blank margins towards beginning, fols. [73] (k1) and [80] (k8) re-margined in blank (the latter also with a small paper flaw, affecting two words on verso), fol. [76] (k4) with repair to blank outer margin, overall a good copy. In original blind-stamped calf over wooden boards with vellum bifolia of fifteenth-century breviary as endleaves. Large brass clasp, rebacked, cracks to spine, small tear to head. Contemporary ownership inscription on f.f.e.p. recto. A fine copy.

Illustrated guide to the excerpts from the Epistles and Evangelists read at church services throughout the year (the Lessons). The text was first issued in 1437. The importance of the book is shown in the fact that more than 100 incunabular editions were produced (if a reasonable estimate of 400 copies per edition is accepted, this suggests over 40,000 copies in circulation!) The book’s naïve woodcuts, some of considerable charm, appeared in a Basle edition of 28 July 1491. The ‘British Museum Catalogue’, describing this earlier printing, suggests that the pictures were copied from earlier Lyons editions. Schreiber, writing about this present edition, suggests the influence of the Strassburg ‘Plenarium’ of 1482.

Goff G 682. BMC III 770. Schreiber 4147. Hain 8279. The Kraus copy, Catalogue 182, number 85.