PETRUS LOMBARDUS, Sententiarum libri IV.

Basel, Nicolaus Kesler, 1486.

£ 12,000

Folio. a-h8.6 i8 k-p8.6 q-r6 (a1r title, a1v blank, a2r Books I-II, r8 blank); s-x8.6 y-z6 (s1 Book III, z6 blank); A-F8.6 G6 H8 (A1 Book IV, H8v colophon and device); I8 K10 (I1r alphabetical index, K10 blank). 232 leaves. 54 lines and headline, marginalia. Types: 1:180G (title), 2:82AG (text), 2:82BG (marginalia). Printer’s woodcut device (Davies 8). 2- and 3-line capital spaces, most with printed guide letters. Later rubrication in quires t-x only. A few short marginal tears, light dampstaining at end, final blank leaf torn and repaired. Contemporary German blind-stamped calf over wooden boards, sides with central saltire panel, the compartments decorated with diamond-shaped fleur-de-lys stamps and smaller circular fleurs-de-lys framed with alternating large rosettes and the larger fleurs-de-lys, two brass fore-edge catches on lower cover and remnants of leather clasps on upper cover, lower pastedown from two 13th-century manuscripts on vellum, one relating to a Gospel, the other a scholastic text, title lettered on fore-edge (rebacked preserving original backstrip, front endpapers renewed); numerous deckle edges preserved.


Copiously annotated in a small neat cursive hand, apparently by a single contemporary owner, a second hand appearing in Book IV, chapters 31- 32 (F1-F2). A note on the title by the principal annotator clarifies the difference between Petrus Lombardus and Petrus Comestor (according to legend they were brothers), explaining that one was the commentator of the Psalms and Pauline Epistles, while to the other was due the history of the early church. After first encountering opposition and attempts at censorship, Peter Lombard’s Sententiae became the standard textbook of Catholic theology during the later middle ages. This is the probable seventh of 21 recorded fifteenth-century editions. At the death of Bernhard Richel in 1482 his son-in-law Nicolaus Kesler, or Kessler, a native of Bottwar, took over the press. Under Kesler’s management the shop became one of the most important in Basel, making use of a rich variety of typographic material, and printing predominantly theological, homiletic and canonical texts, along with a few humanist works. This copy was part of the Nakles Collection (Christie’s, New York, 2000).


HC 10190*; BMC III, 763 (IB. 37573); BSB-Ink. P-382; CIBN P-241; Harvard/Walsh 1204; Polain(B) 3117; Pr 7654; Goff P-484.