HENRICUS DE HERPF (c. 1410-1477). Speculum aureum decem praeceptorum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 12 March 1481.
HENRICUS DE HERPF (c. 1410-1477). Speculum aureum decem praeceptorum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 12 March 1481.
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HENRICUS DE HERPF (c. 1410-1477). Speculum aureum decem praeceptorum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 12 March 1481.

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HENRICUS DE HERPF (c. 1410-1477). Speculum aureum decem praeceptorum. Nuremberg: Anton Koberger, 12 March 1481.

From the Renaissance Pillone library, with a fore-edge painting by Cesare Vecellio, cousin and pupil of Titian, of Moses holding up the tablets of the Law.

Median 2° (313 x 210mm). Fine illuminated initial in mauve and burnished gold, incorporating a monk's head and acanthus-leaf ornament, by a contemporary Nuremberg artist, a few penwork initials in green, pink, red and blue, other initials in red or blue. Contemporary Nuremberg brown leather (goatskin or calf), decorated in blind to a gothic design of panels containing gryphon stamps, rosettes, Kopfstempel enclosing large thistle stamps, title blind-lettered in top compartment of front cover, quadruple blind fillets forming a saltire in centre panel of back cover, rosettes of different sizes and thistles in compartments of spine, brass centre and corner-pieces and catches, original endpapers, fore-edge by Vecellio of Moses, title inscribed vertically, other edges yellow marbled with red. Provenance: Antonio Pillone (d. 1533, purchased the volume ready-bound) -- Odorico Pillone (1503-94, edges) -- [Paolo Maresio Bazolle] -- Sir Thomas Brooke (1830-1908; bookplate); Berès, Bibliothèque Pillone, no. 24.

The Pillone library is celebrated for its volumes decorated with fore-edge paintings or pen-and-ink drawings on vellum by Cesare Vecellio, a cousin and pupil of Titian. Antonio Pillone and his son Odorico assembled the bulk of the family library at their villa Casteldardo near Belluno, and it was probably Odorico (or possibly his son Giorgio) who commissioned Vecellio to decorate the volumes in the 1580s. In his famous costume book, De gli habiti antichi et moderni (Venice: 1590), Vecellio mentions the Pillone library and comments on the generous hospitality he enjoyed at Casteldardo. This unique German Gothic acquisition, ready-bound, by Antonio Pillone curiously prefigures his son Odorico's purchases of Northern books (mostly bound in Bavarian pigskin) about fifty years later.

The 172 volumes decorated by Vecellio have had a remarkably stable existence over the past four centuries, which accounts in large measure for their almost uniformly excellent state of preservation. They remained together with other family collections until 1874 when they were sold to the Venetian antiquaire Paolo Maresio Bazolle. The decorated volumes were then acquired en bloc by the Yorkshire baronet Sir Thomas Brooke and remained in his family's collection until they were bought by Pierre Berès in 1957. On the history of the Pillone library, see A.R.A. Hobson, 'The Pillone Library', The Book Collector, 1958, pp. 28-37.

Second edition of this collection of sermons based on the ten commandments. Herpf was provincial vicar of the Cologne Observants. H *8524; GW 12227; BMC II, 419; CIBN H-22; Bod-inc H-020; BSB-Ink H-219; Goff H-40.
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