VERGILIUS MARO, Publius (70-19 B.C.). Opera. Edited by Sebastian Brant. Strassburg: Johannes Grüninger, 1502.
2o (295 x 205 mm). Collation: A6 B-S8 (H+1=H5) T-V10 x-z8 Aa Hh8 ii6 KK-VV8 xx6 yy-zz8 a-f8 aa-cc8 dd10. Large woodcut illustration on title and approximately 210 other woodcuts, some full-page and one double-page, by the Late Master of the Grüninger Worskshop, ILLUMINATED WITH APPROXIMATELY 210 FINELY HAND-COLORED INITIALS, 11 partly colored (on A6v, T10v, EE2r, FF2r, MM6r, OO7v, PP7v, PP8v, TT8v, c5r and 35r), printer's device at end colored. (Several wormholes throughout catching some letters and within cuts, VV7 and cc2 with marginal tape repairs, f5-6 with marginal repaired tears, some soiling and staining.) 16th-century German blind-tooled pigskin over wooden boards, stamped with ornamental rolls forming panels which contain figures of the Evangelists (lacking one clasp, worn at corners, worming). Provenance: marginalia throughout in several early hands (some cropped by binder); early monastic inscription on title; Gilbert R. Redgrave (bookplate, note on front free endpaper); Viscount Mersey, Bignor Park (bookplate); acquired from Marlborough Rare Books, 1971.
FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF VIRGIL. One of the great German woodcut books of the Renaissance, and the masterpiece of the artist known as the Late Master of the Grüninger Workshop. Sebastian Brant was commissioned by the publisher to edit the work and based his commentary on that of Cristoforo Landino, adding several poems not in earlier editions of Virgil. Adams V-457; Brunet VI:1277; Muther 537; P. Kristeller, Die Strassburger Buchillustration (1888), pp.32-46, no. 99. Fact and Fantasy 12.