Glasgow Incunabula Project update (5/3/13)

It has been a couple of months since we last blogged about the incunabula project. Once more, the library web team has been busy behind the scenes making changes to the GIP website. We hope you like its new, cleaner and updated look!

Background research and incunabula cataloguing has, of course, been continuing industriously during our website updating break but we are now creaking back into action on uploading and indexing. So without further ado, I present to you the latest ten records to make it all the way to the world of the web.

Sp Coll BD9-d.9 consists of not one but (almost) two copies of  Walter Burley’s commentary on Aristotle’s and Porphyrys’ works on logic. The main text is an edition printed in Venice by Christophorus Arnoldus, dated to ‘not after 1476′ based on the supposition that it is the work presumably listed in the will of Antonio, Count of Marsciano, 13 Dec. 1476. But also bound in at the end is a fragment of three leaves only (q1-3) from a different edition of the same text – also produced in Venice, but by Johannes Herbort on 10 December, 1481.

Initial "Q" from a1r of Euing's copy of Burley

Initial “Q” from a1r of Euing’s copy of Burley

This book is also interesting for its ownership history. There is an early inscription placing it in Italy with the Dominicans of S. Johannes, Como. We are not sure what happens to it next, but a couple of hundred years later in 1824, it is presented by the poet Walter Savage Landor (1775-1862) to his close friend Robert Southey (1774-1843). One of the “lakeland” Romantic poets, at the time he received this gift Southey was the poet laureate, living in Keswick. Unfortunately, it is is impossible to say if Southey found any poetical inspiration in Burley, as he failed to make any marginal notes of his views on the text. John Petheram (1807-1858), the London antiquary and bookseller, purchased the book for 12 shillings at the sale of Southey’s library (the lot number “476″ may still be found on a paper label at the foot of the spine). He, in turn, sold it to William Euing who notes his acquisition on the front pastedown as 18 May, 1846.

Initial "Q" from a1r of Veitch's copy of Burley

Initial “Q” from a1r of Veitch’s copy of Burley

This batch contains a duplicate copy of this same edition (the [not after 1476] work, that is) in Sp Coll Eg8-b.11. This came to the library via John Veitch (1829-1894), the University’s Professor of Logic and Rhetoric. We can, at least, imagine Veitch reading this text, and his copy is profusely annotated by a 15th/16th century hand – possibly the earliest owner, although we have no evidence of who this was, or indeed any indication of where the book travelled before Veitch possessed it.

As usual, having two copies of the same edition gives us fun in comparing the differences between the books. In this case, an easy spot is the treatment of the decorative initials that have been inserted in manuscript. I particularly like the quirky charm of the Dominicans/Southey/Euing copy where the opening initial “D” has been surrounded by black pen work which includes human faces.

Details of the latest ten books to be fully described and indexed on the project website are:



Categories: Special Collections

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