Chancery 4to (242 x 179 mm). Collation: A-R8 S10. Text with commentary surround, two columns, 66 lines of commentary. Gothic types 3:74 (text), 2:58 (commentary). First lines of books, capitals (in text and commentary), paragraph marks in the commentary, numbers in the tree of consanguinity, and colophon printed in red. Lombard capital initials supplied in blue, the first (A2r) with red infill; manuscript running titles and foliation supplied in red, occasional capital strokes in red. illuminated eighteen-line initial and portrait of bonifacius supplied in gold and colors by a contemporary german artist on first text page (A5r), the initial in blue with white foliate modelling and a punched gold infill on a gold ground within varicolored red and blue frame; the crowned author shown in a green robe with mauve cape, on a punch-decorated gold ground within a (later?) blue frame. a manuscript register in red and black ink in a neat contemporary gothic hand on verso of initial blank leaf in red and black ink, probably by the rubricator. Several deckle edges. A few very small marginal wormholes in first two quires, the illuminations slightly rubbed, minor marginal spotting in final quire, one or two torn corners, effaced inscription in lower margin of final page causing slight rubbing to paper.
Binding: contemporary augsburg binding from the workshop of jörg schapf (Kyriss shop 63), blind-stamped brown calf over unbevelled wooden boards, covers panelled with quadruple fillets, outer panel of repeated rosette tools, central panel stamped with Blattwerk (Schwenke-Sammlung 370), Rautengerank (Schwenke-Sammlung 137), and small pomegranate tools; chased brass center- and corner-pieces with bosses, pair of chased brass fore-edge catchplates with cast lettering inri (lacking clasps; rebacked preserving portions of original backstrip; spine worn and damaged, with library shelfmark labels; a few small scrapes and gouges to covers).
Provenance: contemporary inscription on front flyleaf, Brixen, South Tyrol, Reformed Franciscans, near the St. Elizabeth convent of Poor Clares, 18th-century inscription on a1r; Estelle Doheny (morocco bookplate; purchased from Maggs Bros., London, 5 June 1944), donated by her to the Mission Church of Saint Mary of the Barrens, Perryville, MO, in 1944, sale, Christie’s New York, 14 December 2001, lot 113. ***
A beautiful copy of Torresanus' only edition of Pope Boniface's continuation of the Decretals of Gregory IX, with an illuminated portrait of the author and a full-page contemporary manuscript register, preserved in a Augsburg binding from an identified workshop.
Pope Boniface VIII was one of the great medieval canon and civil lawyers, and a patron of the arts and of science. To the five books of the Decretals, the collection of canon law compiled in the thirteenth century for Pope Gregory IX by his chaplain Raymond of Peñaforte, Boniface added the present Sixth book, containing the pontifical constitutions (laws) promulgated by himself and his immediate predecessors. Like the Decretals, Boniface’s supplement was continually reprinted throughout the incunable period, always in conjunction with the gloss of the canonist Giovanni d’Andrea, and usually with the latter’s trees of consanguinity and affinity, visual tools that were indispensable for questions of marriage.
Torresanus de Asola, whose career lasted from the early 1480s until well into the 16th century (when he worked with his son-in-law Aldus Manutius) is first recorded as the principal partner with other Venetian printers, notably Bartholomaeus de Blavis, with whom he set up shop in 1480 along with Mapheus de Paterbonis of Salò. That partnership lasted till 1483, after which Torresanus continued as sole proprietor of the press and as a publisher employing other presses. Most of the gothic types used by Torresanus during the first decade of his activity, including the fonts used here, were acquired from the Jenson/Colonia firm, for whom he had printed a few editions in 1481. Torresanus’ large output consisted principally of legal and liturgical works.
Goff B-995 (7 copies); GW 4871; BSB-Ink B-715; H *3604; Harvard/Walsh 1878, 1879. Item #3129