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Schöne Christliche und andechtige Gebett, sampt villen schönen Sprüchlen, a prayerbook in German, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
Schöne Christliche und andechtige Gebett, sampt villen schönen Sprüchlen, a prayerbook in German, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER

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Schöne Christliche und andechtige Gebett, sampt villen schönen Sprüchlen, a prayerbook in German, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER
[Nuremberg, c.1550]
147 x 97 mm. vi + 119 + vi leaves: 17(of 8, i cancelled blank), 2-148, 158(of 10, ix and x cancelled blanks) COMPLETE, 19 to 23 lines written in a calligraphic bookhand, frame-ruled with a double fillet in red, text justification: 115 x 65 mm, title and chapter headings heightened in gold, FOUR THREE-SIDED PAINTED BORDERS with foliage, flowers and birds, SIX LARGE PAINTED TAILPIECES of flowers, butterflies and a dragonfly (some staining and spotting, slight cropping of borders and lower corner of opening leaf rubbed). 19th-century gold-tooled vellum, fore-edge clasps, edges gilt and gauffered (joints split at foot, tear at foot of spine repaired).

PROVENANCE:
The use of the vernacular and reliance upon Biblical passages to provide solace to the soul shows the manuscript was destined for a Protestant owner.

CONTENT:
The manuscript contains a collection of devotions, prayers and translated extracts from the Bible, opening with a prayer that serves as a Christian preparation for prayer ('Ein schönes Gebet zu Christlicher vorbereittung zum Gebett'). Prayers and Bible extracts follow and end with a section of quotations from Books of both the New and Old Testaments recommended for the consolation they offer ('Sehr schöne Trostspruche für die engstige gewissen').

SCRIPT AND ILLUMINATION:

This is an example of Neudörffer Fraktur, a style of calligraphic script named after the famous German writing master Johann Neudörffer. The Fraktur (owing to the broken character of the strokes) was developed in the early 16th century in Nuremberg at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (reigned 1493-1519). The new Fraktur type and script became very popular and the Neudörffer Fraktur was used by Albrecht Dürer, the most celebrated artist of Nuremberg, for printing several of his theoretical works, for example Underweysung der Messung mit Zirkel und dem Richtscheyd in 1525.

The borders made of flowers and birds set against the unpainted paper ground are characteristic of the elegant decorative system of German Renaissance book-decoration of the 16th century, combined here with tailpiece flowers and insects that reflect contemporary nature studies.

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