Item #4211 Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii. use of Rome HORAE B. M. V., in Italian.
Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii.
Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii.
Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii.
Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii.
Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii.
Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii.
Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii.
Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii.
Venetian devotional unicum

Officio de la gloriosa Vergine Maria ordinato con li tre officii. Venice: per Giovan[ni] Griffio, 1549.

12mo (146 x 74 mm). Collation: [Greek cross]12 [2 Greek crosses]12 A-O12 P6 . [24], 173, [1] leaves. Roman and gothic types. Red and black printing throughout, including of title woodcut (allegorical figure of Charity); 40 metalcut and woodcut illustrations, printed from 28 plates or blocks, including a full-page Annunciation metalcut, the rest half-page or smaller; one large woodcut initial with a monk (printed twice), a few small initials. Very occasional light staining in lower outer corners; spot-stains to first page of the Office (A1r), else fine. Contemporary parchment over pasteboards, covers each with a different gold-stamped figurative panel stamp within an arabesque border (part of the stamp), showing one half of an Annunciation scene: Mary on front cover and the Angel on the back cover, each framed in parallel blind-rules, edges gilt and gauffered; the binding rebacked in unsightly modern white parchment, preserving fragments of spine, upper portions of covers with large holes backed in the same white parchment, endpapers renewed. ***

A sixteenth-century Venetian illustrated book of hours, in a rare Italian panel-stamped binding. This internally fresh copy, apparently the only survivor of the edition, appears never to have been subjected to daily use.

Sixteenth-century Italian printed books of hours (usually titled Officium BVM, in Italian Officio, or, later, Uffizio) appear rarely on the market, and most of the few extant editions are represented in only one or two copies. They are, in fact, almost as rare as those printed in the fifteenth century. Although the first recorded Italian printed books of hours (Venice: Jenson, 1474) “precedes by eleven years the earliest dated Parisian edition” (Dondi, p. xxxviii), large-scale production of this essential domestic liturgical book was soon dominated by Paris. In Italy, these usually small-format books were printed for a predominantly local use (cf. Dondi, pp. 22-23); commercial production of printed books of hours, aiming at (and reaching) a broader public, was a French phenomenon, and the number of extant French editions vastly outnumbers their Italian counterparts, whose dissemination was more limited. We have little way of knowing the extent of publication of 16th-century Italian Horae, i.e., how many editions were printed, and in what kind of average pressruns, but it is clear that these books were produced in far greater numbers than surviving copies would suggest. Devotional books such as these were part of the bread and butter of printers’ business. As is always the case, this most regular, everyday segment of overall book production now represents a tiny fraction of the corpus of surviving books; and to complicate matters, even more so than for their 15th-century predecessors, which until publication of Dondi’s masterful census were also poorly described and analyzed, our knowledge of these 16th-century books suffers from a lack of bibliographical control (or, more bluntly, bibliographical chaos), with only very spotty crossover between editions listed in Bohatta, Essling, Sander, EDIT-16, USTC, and the major online OPACS like OCLC.

The edition:
Giovanni Griffio (Ioannes Gryphius) was son of the Reutlingen printer Michael Greif and brother of the powerful Lyonese publisher Sebastian Gryphius. The two brothers had trained in Venice; when Sebastian emigrated to Lyon to join the Compagnie des Libraires, Giovanni remained there, setting up his own shop in or before 1544. Griffio’s imprints show a preponderance of classics, medicine, and law, but about a quarter of his surviving output was in Italian (and again, fewer of those by definition more “popular” books have survived). This book of hours may have been printed for him rather than by him: rather than one of his usual devices, all of which incorporate gryphons, the title-page is adorned with a color-printed allegorical woodcut of Charity within an ornamental border, which the printer Domenico Farri, active, according to EDIT-16, from 1555 to 1600, used as his device (EDIT-16 device V346 - Z205). The same woodcut appears on the title-page of a Missal published by Griffio in 1548-1549 (Edit-16 CNCE 11571). Were both these books actually printed by Farri, moving back the earliest dates of his activity? Finding examples of the metalcut or woodcut material used in the Officio in other imprints by either Farri or Griffio would help settle the question, which for now remains unanswered.

Like French books of hours of the second half of the 16th century, often prefaced by an ABC des Chrétiens or Instruction des Chrétiens, this Venetian pocket devotional book contains everything a devout layperson would need for their daily liturgical duties, including a basic primer of Christian dogma and essential prayers, printed between the calendar (a plenary calendar, with one saint per day) and lunario, and the Hours or Offices proper. This edition includes no fewer than three different Offices of the Virgin: the “regular” Office, the Office for the days from Advent to Christmas (Natività) and the Office from Christmas to Candlemas (la Purificatione de la Madonna). These are followed by the usual Penitential psalms, Litany, various prayers, Office of the Dead, Office of the Cross, and Office of the Holy Spirit. Also included are a Mass of the Virgin. As noted by Dondi (pp. 201-2), the contents of Italian Hours are generally simpler than those of French Horae, partly because the Italian books were usually printed in smaller formats. The Saints of the calendar and of the Litany, as well as the various prayers in this edition, would repay further, expert study, and could shed light on the filiation of this book of hours, now an isolated survivor.

The Hours are printed in a semi-gothic type, while the prefatory calendar and devotional primer are in a small roman type, which is also used from fol. 153 (N8) to the end, apparently simply in order to fit the remaining text into the last two and a half quires.

Contents: +1r title, +1v - +7v monthly calendar (one to two Saints per day); +8r - +11r lunario (almanac or list of full and new moons, dates of Carnival and other holidays) for 1549-1555; ++11v - ++4v basic Christian “primer” (instructions for Confession, sins of Conscience, Ten commandments; Seven deadly sins, Five articles of Faith, Cardinal and theological virtues), and short prayers for various occasions (upon leaving the house, going to bed, entering a church, etc.); ++5r - ++8v the Passion according to St. John; ++8v - ++12v prayers to the Holy Crucifix, Preparation for Mass, Psalmo contra ogni adversità, Canto in praise of the Virgin; prayers to the Virgin, to receive an indulgence from Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484); ++12v full-page woodcut; A1r-D4r Office of the Virgin (Income[n]za lofficio della glorisa vergine Maria ...); D4v-G6v Office of the Virgin from Advent to Christmas (Incomenza lo officio de la gloriosa vergine Maria: per lo advento del Signore: infino a la nativita); G6v-G7r Salutation anzelica laqual fu data del Angelo a Santo Bernardo abbate; G7v-K9v Office of the Virgin from Christmas to Candlemas (Incomenza lofficio de la gloriosa vergine Maria: da la natività del signore: infino a la purificatione de la Madonna); K10r-L8r Penitential psalms; L8r-M2r litanies and prayers; M2r-M8v Mass of the Virgin (Messa de la madonna); M8r-M12r Vespero de morti; M12v-N2v Officio de la croce; N2v-N4v Officio del spirito sancto; N4v-O4r various prayers, commencing with a prayer against the plague (Oratio Devotissima contra la peste); O4r-P1r Confitemini de la Madonna with litany to the Virgin; P1r-P5v Prayer of St Bridget; P6r register and colphon, P6v blank.

The 30 larger text illustrations (including 10 repeats) were printed from at least three series of metalcuts or woodcuts. The first consists of half-page metalcuts, shaded, with foreground and background scenes filling the entire space, and within double rule borders (approx. 69 x 60 mm). Series 2 contains smaller cuts (46 x 43 mm.), somewhat worn, also with double borders. Three taller narrow woodcuts (80 x 42 mm.) are from a third series. The full-page Annunciation metalcut stands alone, as it belongs to none of these series. Most of the cuts from Series 2 and 3 are flanked by ornamental vertical border cuts to fill out the width of the text-block; the Flight into Egypt cut on 31r has instead a narrow vertical metalcut of saints printed on the right side.

These plates or blocks were almost certainly used for other books, possibly in earlier, now lost editions of the Officio de la gloriosa Vergine. The full-page Annunciation cut, showing the Virgin under a colonnade, loosely copies a woodcut or metalcut used in an Italian Officio published in Venice by Gregoris de Gregoriis in 1512 (see Essling I, 479). Both cuts show God the Father at the upper left; in the 1512 cut he is releasing a small messenger-putto who descends carrying a cross. The putto is absent from this metalcut, which has a small break in the back arch of the colonnade just where his leg would have crossed it.

I have not found the other metalcuts or woodcuts in any of the Venetian Offices of the Virgin reproduced by Essling or Sander, or in institutional copies that have been digitized or for which I have obtained reproductions (the latter being Officii printed by [Zoppino] in 1531, at UNC Chapel Hill, and by Bindoni, 1555, at SMU [neither of which are listed in EDIT-16, USTC, Sander or Essling]: with thanks to their respective curators).

List of major illustrations:
Fol. ++5r: Betrayal (with smaller metalcut), Series 1
++12v: Annunciation (Matins), full-page
A12r / f. 12r: Visitation (Lauds), Series 1
B7r / 19r: Nativity (Prime), Series 1
B10r / 22r: Annunciation to the Shepherds (Terce), Series 1
C1r / 25r: Adoration of the Magi (Sext), Series 1
C4r / 28r: Presentation in the Temple (None), Series 2
C7r / 31r: Flight into Egypt (Vespers), Series 3, with border cut of Saints
C12r / 36r: Massacre of the Innocents (Compline), Series 2
D4v / 40v: Annunciation (Office of the Virgin from Advent to Nativity, Matins), Series 3, with ornamental border cuts
E4r / 52r: Visitation (Lauds) = same cut as f. 12r
E10v / 58v: Nativity (Prime) = 19r
F1v / 61v: Nativity (Terce) = 19r = 58v
F4v / 64v: Adoration of the Magi (Sext) = 25r
F7r / 67r: Presentation in the Temple (None) = 28r
F10r / 70r: Flight into Egypt (Vespers), with border cuts = 31r
G3r / 75r: Massacre of the Innocents (Compline), Series 1
G7v / 79v: Annunciation (Office of the Virgin from Nativity to Purification of the Virgin, Matins) = 40v
H6v / 90v: Visitation (Lauds), Series 2, with border cuts
I1r / 97r: Annunciation to the Shepherds (Prime), Series 2, with border cuts
I4r / 100r: Nativity (Terce), Series 2, with border cuts
I7r / 103r: Presentation in the Temple (Sext) = 28r = 67r
I10r / 106r: Flight into Egypt (None), with border cuts = 31r = 70r
K1r / 109r: Adoration of the Magi (Vespers), Series 2, with border cuts
K6r / 114r: Massacre of the Innocents (Compline), with border cuts = 36r
K10r / 118r: King David in Penitence (Penitential psalms), Series 3
M2r / 134r: Annunciation (Mass of the Madonna), Series 2, with border cuts
M8r / 140r: A funeral Mass (Office of the Dead), Series 2, with border cuts
M12v / 144v: Crucifixion (Office of the Cross), Series 2, with border cuts
N2v / 146v: Pentecost (?), Series 2, with border cuts

Besides these metalcuts and woodcuts there are 10 small cuts printed from 8 blocks or metalcuts (32 x 21 mm.) showing saints, the Virgin and Child, Mary Magdalene (N9r), the Resurrection (N11v), Crucifixion (O3v), and St. Margaret, with dragon and cross (P2v)

The binding:
The gold-blocked panel stamps of the binding (each measuring approx. 122 x 62 mm.) together showing the Annunciation, make it a reliure parlante, reflecting the contents of the book. The type of thick parchment, the purely local uses of such Italian Books of Hours, the style of the panels’ arabesque borders and of the gauffered edges — all testify to the binding’s Italian origin. Whether commissioned by the buyer or by the bookseller-publisher, its decoration is unusual, as (apart from small medallion or cameo stamps) panel stamps were rarely used in Italy during this period. ”In Italy the panel stamp is not entirely unknown, but it is rare, and unquestionable examples are difficult to find” (Goldschmidt, Gothic and Renaissance Bookbindings, p. 68). There are no examples in the British Library or Folger bookbinding databases, and none are recorded by Tammaro de Marinis. E.P. Goldschmidt knew of, and reproduced, only one example of a comparable panel-stamped Italian binding, also of the Annunciation, on a copy of a Psalter published in Lyon for Frellon, 1542 (op. cit., no. 194, plate LXIX). The Lyonese connection may be relevant: although Goldschmidt was certain that his binding was Italian, the design and/or the stamp itself may have originated in Lyon. It is not too far-fetched to speculate that ours was a kind of publisher’s binding: Gryphius / Griffio, who must have maintained close contacts to Lyon via his brother, may have seen and handled books from France in panel-stamped bindings, and he may have commissioned a pair of similar but locally produced stamps for use on special copies of small format devotional books, which the customer could purchase ready-bound.

This edition was described in the 18th century by Giacomo Maria Paitoni, from a copy then in the library of the Augustinians of San Stefano in Venice; that convent was suppressed by the French regime in 1810 and its contents disbursed. Our copy bears no marks of provenance, other than its exceptional binding, and appears to have been unused; it could perhaps be the copy described by Paitoni, no others being recorded. It is worth noting that of the seven pre-1600 editions of Officii recorded by Paitoni, only three, including this one, are recorded in extant copies.

Not in Bohatta, EDIT-16, USTC, OCLC, KVK, etc.

Giacomo Maria Paitoni, Biblioteca degli autori antichi greci, e latini volgarizzati, 5 vols. (Venice 1766-67), 5: 210-211. Cf. Cristina Dondi, Printed books of hours from fifteenth-century Italy: the texts, the books, and the survival of a long-lasting genre (Florence: Olschki, 2016). Cf. Tammaro de Marinis, La Legatura artistica in Italia nei secoli XV e XVI (Venice, 1960).
Item #4211

Price: $8,500.00