BARTHOLOMAEUS ANGLICUS (f. 1230-1250). De rerum proprietatibus. 13TH-CENTURY VELLUM PASTEDOWNS lining an EARLY 16TH-CENTURY FRENCH PANEL-STAMPED BINDING, covering JOHANNES HEROLT. Liber discipuli de eruditione christifiedelium, and other texts. [?Rouen: c.1508?].
PASTEDOWNS: Two part-folios, each fragment approximately 215 x 185mm, two columns of 40 lines written in brown ink in a regular gothic bookhand, rubrics in red, text capitals touched red, paragraph marks alternately red and blue, upper pastedown with two 2-line initials of blue with red flourishing, one on recto and one on verso, lower pastedown with one 2-line initial of red with flourishing of black (stained at upper and outer edges but only affecting the legibility of three marginal words).
It is believed that the English Franciscan wrote this encyclopedia of theology and science during the 1240s. Although it is likely that Bartholomaeus intended it as a practical aid for his fellow friars, its ease of use ensured it a wider audience. Within 40 years it was one of the prescribed books for the stationers of the university of Paris and these leaves show every sign of having come from a text-book produced for a student in Paris at this date. Although the tops of the folios have been trimmed away, the full width of text and the marginal titles are preserved. The extracts are from Book 5, which discusses the parts of the human body, described in head-to-toe order. The upper pastedown carries the end of Chapter xii De auribus and the beginning of Chapter xiii De naso, and the lower pastedown has the end of Chapter xxviii De manibus and the beginning of Chapter xxix De digitis. Each chapter begins with an explanation of the name of the body part, goes on to describe its exact form and functions, follows with odd facts about it and ends with the ailments that afflict it.
BINDING: Contemporary French blind-panelled calf, upper cover with quadruple panel of saints (Oldham Quad 6), lower cover with acorn panel (Oldham AC 6) and small saint panel (Oldham ST 27). The quadruple panel on the front cover is invariably found with the acorn panel on the back cover, and is usually accompanied by the smaller saint panel as well. Hobson Cambridge considered them probably Parisian work, and Oldham also found them on possibly English bindings of c.1494 and again c.1508-19 (cf. Oldham, Blind Panels of English Binders, p.46). The section cut out of the top border perhaps replaces an earlier signature.
PRINTED BOOK: 4° (205 x 138mm). Collation: A-B8 C4 D-Z8 AA-VV8 XX-YY6 ZZ8 \\i\\i8. 59 lines, double column. Type: 52G. Woodcut criblé and lombard initials. (Lacking A1, P3-6, but P1-2 and 7-8 in duplicate, AA1-2, AA4, \\i\\i8; z3.4 and 5.6 and AA5.6 reversed in binding, wormholes and wormtrack affecting some text, some staining, neat tear in H7, first leaf and last six defective at lower corner.) Provenance: a few contemporary annotations; George Dunne (pencilled annotations on front flyleaf, identifying the edition as Rouen, c.1508); Duncan Beresford-Jones.