Apostol. [Acts and Epistles.] Moscow: Ivan Fedorov and Petr Timofeev Mstislavets, 1564.
Apostol. [Acts and Epistles.] Moscow: Ivan Fedorov and Petr Timofeev Mstislavets, 1564.
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Apostol. [Acts and Epistles.] Moscow: Ivan Fedorov and Petr Timofeev Mstislavets, 1564.

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Apostol. [Acts and Epistles.] Moscow: Ivan Fedorov and Petr Timofeev Mstislavets, 1564.

2º (265 x 175mm). Printed in red and black, woodcut headpieces. Foliated in Slavonic numerals [ff. 105, 117, and 205 numbered 106, 120, and 204, as is correct for this edition]. 246 leaves (of 268, lacking the frontispiece, 6 preliminary leaves, leaves 1-2, 238-249 and 259-261, some of these [1, 2, 238-242] supplied in manuscript). (Some leaves repaired, with about a dozen of these with losses supplied in manuscript, repair in the bottom corner of leaves 215-end with foliation supplied in manuscript, some headpieces and foliation shaved by the binder, some soiling and dampstaining throughout.) 18th-century Russian blind-tooled calf over wooden boards, the spine in compartments centred with fleurons, the upper side with an all-over design of nested borders, the lower side with an all-over design of roll-tools, brass catches and leather straps (lacking the clasps, losses in the lower half of the spine, corners rubbed). Provenance: Priest Grigorii Semenovich Ponomarev (partly legible inscription in the bottom margin of 11 consecutive leaves recording the gift in the name of his parents to) – Semen Kharitonovich Popov, Monastery of the Dormition of the Mother of God in ?V/Per... -- Christians of Davydovo, Ustiug Uezd of Dvinskaia in the Tret of Beloslutsk (c.17th-century inscription on f.62 and f.112 verso).

FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST DATED BOOK PRINTED IN MOSCOW. Rare: ABPC records just one sold at auction: the Diaghilev-Lifar copy now in the British Library (sold, Sotheby's Monaco, 28 November 1975, lot 182). A copy of the second edition, printed ten years later in Lvov, was sold more recently (lacking 16 leaves, Sotheby's, 11 June 2007, lot 29, £264,000). Apostol was published by order of Ivan IV who intended it to furnish the various churches that had been built under his aegis in Muscovy and recently-Christianised Kazan. It was printed by the first named Moscow printers: Fedorov and Mstislavets. Fedorov later went to Ostrog where he printed the first edition of the Bible in Slavonic. This example conforming to Zernova's first issue, with leaf 81 blank in the lower margin. Cleminson, Cyrillic Books Printed before 1701, 21; Fedorov, Rossiiskaia gosudarstvennaia biblioteka (2006), 141; Nemirovskii, Knigi kirillovskoi pechati 1551-1600, 69; Zernova, Knigi kirillovskoi pechati, izdannye v Moskve v XVI-XVII vekakh, 7.
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