2 volumes bound in one, chancery folio (291 x 206 mm). Collation: Sermones dominicales: [1-25]8. 200 leaves, unfoliated, complete; Sermones de sanctis: a-q8 [17-248] A-G8 H6 (without bifolium l1.8, replaced before binding in contemporary manuscript). 252 (of 254) leaves, unfoliated. Both editions: 34 lines, double column. Gothic type 1:120 (measuring 123 in parts of second work). Two pinholes visible in most of both volumes. Watermarks: letter P (at least two different marks), bull’s head. Uniformly rubricated: four- and two-line initials in red, initial on opening page of first work with extender, capital strokes and underlinings; in the Sermones dominicales, sermon headings identifying the Sundays supplied by the rubricator. Many deckle edges retained, preserving, in the first work, manuscript catchwords in lower gutter margins of final versos of seven quires, and a few partly visible manuscript quire signatures in both works.
Condition: An attractive, unpressed copy, but with some mostly marginal dampstaining in both volumes. I) Small tear in first leaf, affecting about six letters in first column, a few wormholes in first 35 leaves, single small wormhole continuing a bit further, (printer’s?) inkstains and fingerprints to bifolium 1.8, occasional internal stains including one affecting a few letters on ff. /4-5]; II) a few quires browned, closed tear to first manuscript leaf, last two quires more stained and with a few wax drops.
Binding: Contemporary alum-tawed blind-stamped pigskin over bevelled wooden boards, probably from a Tübingen shop (Einbanddatenbank workshop w002412), covers paneled with triple fillets and repeated eagle and rosette tools, traces of paper title label on front cover, remains of two fore-edge clasps (catchplates, on front cover, renewed), holes from probably later center- and cornerpieces, edges stained yellow; rubbed, some worming, tears along joints.
Provenance: Scattered contemporary marginal contents notes, in at least three different contemporary or slightly later hands, including a large clear humanist hand; a few early marginal drawings or doodles in brown ink; with Lathrop C. Harper, Inc., 1956, sold in 1956 to: Alexandre P. Rosenberg (1921-1987), with his bookplate (designed by Picasso), sale Christie’s, New York, 23 April 2021, lot 100. ***
First editions of two rare sermon collections by the reformist Cistercian theologian, an unpressed copy.
The author is known by several different names, based in part on his successive monastic affiliations: de Paradiso, after the Cistercian monastery of Paradies near Meseritz in present-day Poland, which he entered in 1400; de Claratumba after the Latin name for the abbey of Mogila, near Krakow, which he entered in 1420 after matriculating at the University of Cracow; de Jüterbog, the name used by Trithemius (and still by the Gesamtkatalog), and hence propagated widely, although based on a conflation with another Jacobus, and others. The “de Clusa” of the incunable literature was apparently first used by Hain, on uncertain grounds. In spite of the confusion generated by his many appellations, which included the generic “Jacob the Carthusian,” based on his final, 23-year residency as Vicar of the Charterhouse of Erfurt, Jacobus can usually be identified in early sources by the title of doctor, for he was one of the first Cistercians of Germany or Poland to earn the degree of Doctor of Theology.
A conciliarist and unwavering proponent of church Reform, after the schism of the Basel council in 1439 Jacobus left Poland, the Cistercians, and the University, to take refuge with the Carthusians in Erfurt. There he produced a wide-ranging and influential body of writing whose central themes were the urgent necessity of reform in the Church, bitter criticism of clerical authorities, and skepticism toward the mendicant orders’ conviction that they could heal souls through pastoral care.
Very little is known of this anonymous press, active in the early 1470s and named after its ca. 1472 edition of pseudo-Hus, Gesta Christi. Nominally the second press of Speyer, it was probably a continuation of (or identical with) the press identified as “Printer of the Postilla Scolastica super Apocalypsim,” based on that edition, dated 1471. Typographic similarities and the fact that one “press” followed so neatly upon the other support this likelihood; in his marginal notes reproduced in the British Museum catalogue, Victor Scholderer wrote “There was probably only one printer, who had previously worked at Rome” (II, p. xi). The press was also no doubt linked with the next Speyer press, that of Peter Drach: Thomas Dorniberg, Speyer Ratsadvocat, appears in connection with several editions assigned to all three of these presses, and it is possible that Dorniberg and Drach were both involved in the earliest printing activities in Speyer.
This copy, with its deep three-dimensional type impressions, and the edition itself, bear several features that throw light on the fluid state of 15th-century printing practices, and on the challenges facing small and possibly somewhat inexperienced printers. Besides the usual occasional traces of inked formes, the lines of type are rather endearingly wobbly throughout, and in the first part of the Sermones de Sanctis they appear almost leaded; Pollard in BMC commented that “the type in the earlier part of the book appears to have been very loosely locked in the forme.” The quire signing in the Sermones de sanctis also bears some irregularities (which is not surprising, printed quire signatures having been a recent development): the first 16 quires are signed a-q, but the next 8 quires have no letters or other symbols to differentiate the quires, although the first four leaves of each quire are signed i-iiii. Thenceforth manuscript quiring is occasionally partly visible in the center of the bottom margin on first recto of each quire (even where the printed quire signatures have recommenced).
For this copy, problems did not end after printing: the outer sheet of quire l in the Sermones de sanctis was evidently damaged, possibly in transit to the bindery, and the binder or presumably monastic owner who commissioned the binding decided to replace the text with a manuscript bifolium. Written in a cursive hand in brown ink with red capital strokes and underlining, the manuscript copies the two-column format of the printed text, but the scribe misjudged the space required for his text, and the second columns on the versos of both leaves end in the upper quarter or middle of the page, leaving a blank space. This prompted the scribe to add a note on both pages, explaining that nothing was missing (hic non est defectus).
The binding is from a workshop dubbed by the online Einbanddatenbank “Adler mit Nimbus” (eagle with halo) after its most characteristic tool (EBDB stamp no. s016408). Also on the binding is a 6-petaled rosette (EBDB stamp s016413), and a few other tiny rosettes. The bindery’s localization to Tübingen is not explained in the Einbanddatenbank.
I) ISTC ij0003500; GW 13909 (old M10870); Goff J-35; CIBN J-37; BMC II 482; Bod-inc J-011; BSB-Ink I-47.
2) ISTC ij00038000; Goff J-38; GW 13913 (old M10875); CIBN J-36; BMC II 483; BSB-Ink I-45. Cf. Verfasserlexikon 2 4: 478-87; Geldner, Die Deutschen Inkunabel-Drucker (Stuttgart 1968) I:187. Item #4125