GEILER VON KAISERSBERG (1445-1510). Navicula, sive Speculum fatuorum. Edited by Jacob Otther. Strassburg: Johann Prüss, 16 January 1511.
4° (207 x 146mm). Gothic and roman types. Woodcut of the Ship of Fools on title and 111 large woodcuts in the text BY ALBRECHT DüRER and other woodcut artists, most flanked by woodcut foliate border pieces. Mounted on front flyleaf is a woodcut from an early printed book in German, a portrait woodcut on verso. (Small marginal paper flaw in y3.) PARISIAN BINDING OF C.1550 FOR JEAN GROLIER, fawn calf gilt over pasteboard, sides with scrolling interlace, background stained dark brown, single open floral corner tool [not in Nixon], author and title tooled at centre of upper cover, Grolier's ownership formula at foot, his motto at centre of lower cover, edges gilt, vellum pastedowns, paper flyleaves with pot watermark (spine restored and retooled, discreet repairs at corners and other small areas); modern brown leather-backed folding case. Provenance: James Edwards (sale Evans, 5 April 1815, £43) -- John Bellingham Inglis (having added an armorial bookplate not his own; sale Sotheby's, 31 July 1871, lot 209, £31.10 to Ellis) -- C.G. Boerner, Leipzig, Kostbare Bucheinbände, cat. XXI, no. 14) -- Jean Furstenberg (bookplate, "Contemporary Collectors XXV: Jean Furstenberg", The Book Collector, Winter 1960, pl. III) -- Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Amsterdam (bookplate, sale Sotheby's, 6 December 2000, lot 57).
One of the very few German books owned by Jean Grolier. Nixon assigned it to the Cupid's Bow binder (Hobson, Renaissance Book Collecting, app. I, p.228), an eponymous master active for Grolier from 1547 to 1553. He also executed commissions for other prestigious patrons such as Alfonso d'Este and Marc Lauweryn.
Second edition of Geiler's sermons delivered at Strassburg in 1501-02 on the immensely popular Ship of Fools, written by his fellow humanist and friend Sebastian Brant. The present edition is illustrated with the fine and important woodcut series commissioned for the first edition of Brant's biting satire (Basel: 1494), which includes 73 woodcuts now recognised as the work of the young Albrecht Dürer, resident in Basel for several months in 1494. The series was re-used or copied in all subsequent editions of that work. Austin 209. Adams G-316; Goedeke I, 400; VD-16 G-778; Schoch, et al., Dürer, das druckgraphische Werk, III, 266.