Two Rare Books (Hermann Liechtenstein, 1490, & John Baskerville, 1774) plus Two Documents
With clickable pictures
1. (BASKERVILLE). SALLUSTIUS CRISPUS, Gaius, & Lucius ANNAEUS FLORUS Bellum Catilinarium/ Bellum Jugurthinum/ Epitome rerum Romanarum. Birmingham, John Baskerville, 1774. 17 x 11 cm. Contemporary speckled calf, spine gilt in six compartments, five decorated with crossed arrows, one with a black leather title label. (4), 276 p. A little wear at the spine edges and corners. Name of a former owner (‘Flood’) opposite the title page.
* Very serene and attractive book, one of the last printed by John Baskerville, in an attractive binding. Several page numbers are in error, 265 instead of 264 and 275 instead of 274 (the last numbered page) and the complete signature O is misnumbered 117-128 instead of 157-168 – Gaskell 55, the first variant (a)!
2. (INCUNABLE). AQUINAS, THOMAS Opuscula. Venice, Hermann Liechtenstein, 1490, September 7. 25 x 18 x 8 cm. Contemporary pig leather binding with rich blindstamping over beveled wooden covers, bound strongly on three double cords. 436 leaves. Gothic type. Some wear and wormholes. Some underlining, a few tiny marginal notes, well readable.
* Collection of 72 pamphlets and short essays, edited by Aquinas’ biographer Antonio Pizamano (or Pizzamano, 1462-1512), a friend of Domenico Grimani and later bishop of Feltre. Attractive typography. Many detailed and lovingly drawn red lombards, partly with playful appendages. According to an inscription in red ink (dating from the early 16th century) this book was owned by the Dominican monastery of Wimpfen (‘Wympina’) in Baden-Württemberg, especially for the use of ‘Michaeli Vhe’, one of the most important monks of the monastery: Michael Vehe (1485-1539), an apologetic theologian, also the editor of the first Catholic hymn book with music. Wimpfen was Vehe’s main residence in 1500-1506 and 1513-1515. Also with a 19th-century rubber stamp of the Grossherzoglich Hessische Hofbibliothek (Darmstadt). Inserted is a 1929 invoice of a Darmstadt antiquarian bookshop, with the name of typographer C.H. Kleukens (1880-1954), at that time professor at the Arts and Crafts School in Mainz. Goff T 258. In all, a clean and impressive incunable with a fine provenance.
3. (POLIGNAC, Jules de) Passport for Mr. Thomas Webster, signed by Jules de Polignac as Ambassador of France in Britain. (1823). Twice folded passport of wove paper, 438 x 262 mm. Engraved (by J. Warwick) with the arms of King Charles X of France, for ‘Mr. Webster (Thomas), natif d’Angleterre, Secretaire de la Société Géologique de Londres, allant de Londres à Calais’. Delivered in London on August 1, 1823 and signed by the Prince of Polignac, his secretary A. Billing and recipient Thomas Webster. With a stamp in black of the French Embassy. Some creasing and foxing, but in good condition.
* Prince Jules de Polignac (1780-1847) was an important French politician, premier from 1829-1830 and instrumental in the fall of his King Charles X. From 1823-1829 Polignac was Ambassador in Britain, and as such he signed many passports (in fact, it was through the signing of her passport that he met his second wife, Charlotte Parkyns). Thomas Webster (1772-1844) was an architect, geologist and amateur painter, born in Orkney. He is described as measuring ‘5 Pieds 5 Pouces’ and being 50 years old.
4. (THORBECKE, Johan Rudolph). PhD on vellum, dated March 14, 1840, of Jacobus Hermanus van Mierlo (1816-1905), signed by Johan Rudolph Thorbecke, Van Mierlo and university officials. Vellum with attached (broken) wax seal in copper box. Oblong 32 x 50 cm. Recto only. Written in ink on fine white vellum. Folded.
* Signed by J.R. Thorbecke (1798-1872), at that time rector of the Leiden University, but from 1849-1872 the most prominent Dutch politician, several times prime minister. Mr. Dr. J.H. Van Mierlo would later become President of the District Court in Breda. He was a distant cousin of 1990s foreign minister Hans van Mierlo, who once held the Thorbecke Lecture.