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BRY, Johann Theodor and Johann Israel de BRY. Alphabeta et Characteres, iam. inde a creato mundo ad nostrausq. tempora, apud omnes omnino nations usurparii; ex variis auto: ribus accurate depromptii. Frankfurt, 1596.
BRY, Johann Theodor and Johann Israel de BRY. Alphabeta et Characteres, iam. inde a creato mundo ad nostrausq. tempora, apud omnes omnino nations usurparii; ex variis auto: ribus accurate depromptii. Frankfurt, 1596.

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BRY, Johann Theodor and Johann Israel de BRY. Alphabeta et Characteres, iam. inde a creato mundo ad nostrausq. tempora, apud omnes omnino nations usurparii; ex variis auto: ribus accurate depromptii. Frankfurt, 1596.

Oblong 4o (153 x 200 mm). Engraved title-page, four leaves of letterpress text and 63 engravings on 51 leaves (last four leaves with small marginal repairs). (Some pale browning.) Contemporary gold-tooled vellum. Provenance: Michel de Bry (bookplate; his sale Paris, November 1966, lot 40); acquired from Valette, 1973.

FIRST EDITION of the first appearance of these finely engraved calligraphic alphabets showing the written word from a broad range of cultures, and the De Brys' famous fantastical Mannerist alphabet populated by horses, butterflies, monkeys, birds, bees, spiders, flies, vines and flowers. Among the alphabets represented are Syrian, Phoenician, Hebrew, Egyptian, Arabic, Sumerian, Greek, Slavic, Croatian, Russian, Armenian, Indian, Visogothic and a multitude of Roman alphabets. There are several plates depicting "national" styles of calligraphy, such as German, Flemish, French, Italian, Spanish and English. Leaf N1 shows a fantastical alphabet in which each letterform is composed of one or two gymnasts in formation; N2 shows six different monograms; and N3-4 show "Sonetto Figurato" wherein different symbols are inserted into words of the quatrain. Berlin Kat. 5283; Brunet I:1309. VERY RARE.

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