Royal folio (401 x 278 mm). Collation: [a-c10 d8 e6 f-h10 i4 k-m10 n8 o-q10 r8 s10; t4]. 168 leaves, [a]1 and [t]3-4 blank. 62 lines, double column. Type 2:93. Nine- to two-line initial spaces. Rubricated in red: pearled Lombard capitals, headlines, chapter numbers, paragraph marks and capital strokes. Paper: at least 3 different paper stocks with watermarks of 8-petalled daisies, diameters 55, 45, 36 mm.; the same paper was used by the binder for the three blank leaves at front and four at back and for the pastedowns. A vertical impression between the text columns is visible in the last 20 or so leaves, with a small round impression at each end. Minor dampstaining in quire 13 and to final text leaf (s10). Manuscript quiring in center of lower margins, guides to headlines for rubricators in extreme upper margins (most of both cropped but a few preserved).
Binding: contemporary blind-stamped alum-tawed pigskin over part-bevelled wooden boards, from the “Phönix” workshop (Kyriss 162), covers panelled with triple fillets forming compartments, the two covers differently laid out but both with repeated impressions of Maria banderole, Phoenix, Agnus Dei and cross-hatched quatrefoil tools, and, on the front cover, two central rows of a repeated rectangular tool with animals. Two brass fore-edge clasps and catchplates with incised lettering. Quire liners and spine liners from a manuscript on vellum. 19th-century library shelfmark stencilled on spine. Covers rubbed and with some wormholes.
Provenance: occasional contemporary marginal corrections or one-word notes; Hilprand Brandenburg (d. 1514), hand-colored armorial woodcut bookplate (Warnecke 245), showing an angel holding aloft a shield with his arms: azure, a bull passant argent; given to the Carthusians at Buxheim, and probably bound for him; contemporary ex-dono inscription in the hand of the prior, Jakob Louber (Liber Cartusiensium in Buchshaim prope Memmingen proveniens a confratre nostro domino Hilprando Brandenburg de Bibraco, donato sacerdote, continens Bonaventuram super primo libro sententiarum / Oretur pro eo et pro quibus desideravit), contents note (titulus) at top also in Louber’s hand, later Buxheim inkstamp rather tastelessly stamped in the center of opening rubricated initial on first page; Graf von Otstein; Graf Hugo von Waldbott-Bassenheim, sale, Munich (Carl Förster), 20 September 1883; Estelle Doheny, her gift to St.Mary of the Barren’s, Perryville, Missouri (sale, Christie’s NY, 14 December 2001, lot 40, to): Joseph A. Freilich (sale, Sotheby’s NY, 13 December 2002, lot 15).***
First Edition of any of Bonaventura’s commentaries on the first book of Peter Lombard’s four-part theological handbook, a very fine copy from the library of Hilprand Brandenburg, bound in his customary bindery, with his celebrated woodcut bookplate and the inscription of Jakob Louber, librarian of the Carthusians of Basel, recording the donation of the book to the library.
The Sentences of the 12th-century scholastic theologian Peter Lombard, Bishop of Paris, remained the most oft-consulted and influential of all such systematic compilations and expositions of theological texts from the Bible and the church fathers, especially Augustine, for three centuries. “By the time Bonaventura was at the University of Paris, it had become the custom for bachelors seeking the masters in theology (the medieval university’s highest degree) to comment on the Lombard,” who was known as the “magister” (C. Cullen, Bonaventura , p. 15). Bonaventura’s commentaries on the Sentences are considered his most important theological and philosophical work. His commentaries on Book II were first printed in Treviso by Hermann Liechtenstein in 1477.
Three different types and groups of books were assigned to the rubric “Printer of ‘Henricus Arminensis’. Those of type 1 are now thought to have been printed by Heinrich Eggestein, and those of type 3 by Georg Reyser, but the Type 2 books have yet to be assigned to any known Strassburg printer: cf. Needham and de Marez Oyens, The Estelle Doheny Collection, part 1, lot 19.
This fresh and beautiful copy was one of a group of approximately 450 books donated by Hilprand Brandenburg to the library of the Carthusian monastery at Buxheim. The son of a patrician family from Biberach in Swabia, Brandenburg (1442-1514) studied in Pavia and Basel. After his ordination in 1473 he held a number of ecclesiastical preferments in southern Germany, and in 1506 he became a priest-donate (sacerdos donatus, or oblate) of the Carthusian monastery at Buxheim. He had acquired books since his student years, for himself and for donation to churches. By the end of his life he had given the monastery a total of 450 manuscripts and printed books. All of the known books from Brandenburg’s Buxheim donation bear, as here, the famous woodcut bookplate, one of the earliest printed bookplates, as well as a contemporary monastic inscription recording the donation to the monastery.
While Brandenburg’s collection and his striking bookplate have deservedly received much scholarly attention, somewhat less attention has been paid to the writer of the ex-dono inscriptions, who was none other than the Prior of the Monastery, the brilliant curator-librarian Jakob Louber (d. 1513). Louber had served as Prior and Librarian of the Carthusian Monastery at Basel for twenty years before becoming Prior at Buxheim in 1502, where he remained until 1507. Having built up the library of the Basel Carthusians from scratch, through his energetic and politically astute solicitation of donations, from local notables as well as local printers, Louber carried over the same curatorial practices to Buxheim. It is likely that his influence was a not negligible factor in attracting Hilprand Brandenburg and his book-donation to the Buxheim Charterhouse (cf. Auge, p. 414). Indeed, Louber may even have had some involvement in the insertion of the Brandenburg bookplates. Victor Scholderer noted that while the style of the bookplate woodblock probably indicates an earlier creation date (Warnecke postulated ca.1480), the actual impressions of the bookplate seem to date from the turn of the century, at the earliest: Scholderer pointed out that some of the bookplates are printed on the reverse of printer's waste from the shop of Albrecht Kunne at Memmingen, near Buxheim, and that the types used for the unidentified waste text include Kunne's type 7, one of the last types adopted by him before 1501. Scholderer added that “it is impossible to say why the block, which was doubtless made for Brandenburg himself, should not have been used until it became the property of Buxheim” (p. 221).
Following the dissolution of the Buxheim Charterhouse in 1803, ownership of the estate passed to the Counts of Ostein, and then in 1810 by inheritance to the related Counts Waldbott von Bassenheim, who from 1812 used the premises as a castle. The family sold the entire monastery including the library in 1883, the books being dispersed at auction in Munich by the Carl Förster'sche Kunstauction; most were purchased by the Munich antiquarian bookseller Ludwig Rosenthal.
Of the 450 books recorded in the benefactor’s book at Buxheim as a record of Hilprand Brandenburg’s donation to Buxheim, fully 26 were printed in Strassburg. Many of his books were bound in a single shop, some of whose tools were attributed by Kyriss to the Weissenau Praemonstratian convent, and others to a workshop he dubbed the “Phoenix,” localizing it to Biberach or Memmingen precisely because of the connection with Hilprand. It is likely that there was in fact only a single shop. The tools on this binding, of which the first four reproduced by Kyriss, are Einbanddatenbank S001534: 4-pointed hatched shape, stamped to create a field of petals; s001529: Agnus Dei; s001523: phoenix; s001533: Maria banderole; and s001458: a rectangular tool with two animals.
ISTC ib00870000; Goff B-870; H 3536*; BMC I, 80 CIBN B-625; Bod-inc B-423; BSB-Ink B-657; GW 4656. On the binding see E. Kyriss, Verzierte gotische Einbände im alten deutschen Sprachgebiet (1951-58), no. 162 (pp. 129-130, pl. 325). On Hilprand Brandenburg, see, among other articles, Victor Scholderer, “Hilprand Brandenburg and his books,” in Fifty Essays in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Bibliography (Amsterdam 1966), 219-223; Paul Needham, “The Library of Hilprand Brandenburg,” Bibliothek und Wissenschaft 29 (1996), pp. 95-125, and “Thirteen More Books from the library of Hilprand Branbenburg,” Einbandforschung 4 (Feb. 1999), 23-25; Eric M. White, “Three Books Donated by Adolf Rusch to the Carthusians at Basel,” Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 81 (2006), 231-235; Oliver Auge, “Frömmigkeit, Bildung, Bücherliebe Konstanten im Leben des Buxheimer Kartäusers Hilprand Brandenburg (1442-1514),” in Bücher, Bibliotheken und Schriftkultur der Kartäuser (Tübingen 2002), 399-422. Item #3170