Chancery half-sheet 4to (216 x 155 mm). Collation: a10 b-n8 o10 (a1r blank, a1v table, a2r-o10v text); a10 b12. (a1r blank, a1v a1v dedication to Doge Nicolò Marcello, a2r-b12v text). 116; 22 leaves, unfoliated. 40 lines, 2 columns. Type: 2:78G2. Capital spaces with guide letters. Rubrication: opening 7-line initials in blue with reserved decoration and red filigree infill and extensions, 4-line initials in red or blue with reserved decoration, smaller initials and paragraph marks alternating red and blue. A single wormhole through last leaves of first work and all of second work, first leaf and front flyleaf detaching, but a fresh copy. Contemporary or early 16th-century Italian quarter alum-tawed pigskin over beech boards, the leather on sides decorated with two back-to-back impressions of a roll-tool with a semi-circular branch terminating in leafy curls, and with repeated impressions of a matching semi-circular single tool, two fore-edge clasps (one clasp fragmentary), ms. spine lettering (faded), plain edges. Provenance: contemporary marginal study notes and manicules in first two quires of Carraciolus and first quire of the Bollanus; unidentified mid-20th-century French bookseller’s description pasted inside front cover.***
First Edition of this collection of sermons by a celebrated Italian preacher of the quattrocento, published with the first edition of a treatise on the immaculate conception by Domenico Bollani.
Roberto Caracciolo, a gripping preacher who wielded influence on Pope Nicholas V and the curia, and who moved from the Franciscan Conventuals to the Observants and back, “fuelling the disputes between the two houses of the Franciscan Order” (Cont. of Erasmus), was portrayed by Erasmus as “shrewd and witty but vainglorious and self-centred” (Ecclesiastes). This is one of the less frequently reprinted of his sermon collections. Bollani’s treatise was part of an ongoing debate on the question of the Immaculate Conception. It accompanied all six fifteenth-century editions of this collection of Caracciolo’s sermons. Bollani took the side of the Franciscans and Duns Scotus, arguing in favor of the concept. In 1476 Sixtus IV approved the feast of the Immaculate Conception, but the doctrine was not accepted as essential dogma until the nineteenth century.
The prolific Venetian press of Johann of Cologne and Johannes Manthen of Gerresheim, who inherited their presses from Manthen’s employer Vindelinus de Spira after he declared bankruptcy in 1473, produced over 80 editions between 1474 and 1480, concentrating on law and theology.
There are six copies of this edition in American libraries, of which 4 complete: Walters Art Gallery, Bryn Mawr, UCLA, Columbia, NYPL (without the Bollanus), and Folger (a fragmentary copy).
Goff C-137; GW 6045; CIBN C-79; BSB-Ink C-109; BMC V 225 (Bollanus only). On Caracciolo cf. Contemporaries of Erasmus I:265-6. On Bollani, cf. Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani II:289. Item #2778