Ten more books are now described on the project website:
- Callimachus: Hymni [Greek] [Florence: Laurentius (Francisci) de Alopa, Venetus, ca. 1496]
- Stoeffler, Johannes and Pflaum, Jacob: Almanach nova in annos 1499-1531 Ulm: Johann Reger, 13 Feb. 1499
- Borro, Gasparino: Trionfi, sonetti, canzoni e laude della Vergine Maria Brescia: Angelus Britannicus, 23 Oct. 1498
- Michael Scotus: Liber physiognomiae Leipzig: Arnoldus de Colonia, 1495
- Michael Scotus: Liber physiognomiae [Reutlingen: Michael Greyff, ca. 1486]
- Michael Scotus: Liber physiognomiae [Basel: Michael Wenssler, ca. 1485] [2 copies]
- Prosper Aquitanus [pseudo-]: De vita contemplativa ‘Turin’ [i.e. Lyons: Jean de Vingle, ca. 1495]
- Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum [Lyons: Mathias Huss, ca. 1486-87]
- Regimen sanitatis Salernitanum Venice: Bernardinus Venetus, de Vitalibus, [ca. 1505]
Well, we haven’t had a mention of the Scottish Wizard for at least two postings … so I am delighted to convey the happy tidings that there are another three editions of the Liber Physiognomiae in this batch of incunabula. This brings the tally to 11 editions so far (including a number of duplicates, so 16 copies in total).
The latest additions are two copies of an edition produced by Michael Wenssler in Basel in about 1485, and copies of editions by Michael Greyff (Reutlingen: ca. 1486) and Arnoldus de Colonia (Leipzig: 1495). They are, again, all from the library of Professor John Ferguson, who seems to have been particularly delighted to have acquired the Leipzig copy, noting it as “very rare – a great prize”.
As always, it is fascinating to note the variation in books produced by different printers. Our copy of Michael Wenssler’s edition, for example, is finished off with initials and capital strokes provided by a scribe – albeit in a rather standard decoration of red ink, with no embellishment. But the days of scribal enhancement were petering out by the end of the 15th Century. The edition of Michael Greyff produced about a year later, in around 1486, takes more advantage of print technology; the opening page of main text is adorned by a woodcut initial “I”, inhabited by an angel with outspread wings above Samson, who is wrestling with a lion.
Jennings’ book on Early woodcut initials describes a similar handsomely engraved initial used by the printer Heinrich Knoblochtzer, who was active in Strassburg and then Heidelburg from about 1475 to 1495 and made “liberal” use of woodcuts in his works. Woodcuts were expensive to produce and were passed on from printer to printer. I didn’t have time to delve much further into this fascinating re-use of woodcut initials, except to note that the British Museum Catalogue (admittedly not the most up to date source of information…) describes some of Greyff’s stock as being associated with Strassburg types, and that Jennings records Greyff’s use of an inital “P” with exactly the same “typographical disposition” as that used in an edition by Knoblochtzer. So very possibly this is the same cut as used by Knoblochtzer.
Tags: Glasgow Incunabula Project, Heinrich Knoblochtzer, incunabula, John Ferguson, liber physiognomae, michael greyff, Michael Scot, rare books, Special Collections, woocut illustration, woodcut initials