BIBLE, New Testament, in French: Cy commence la Table du nouueau testament. Edited by Julien Macho and Pierre Farget. Lyons: [Guillaume Le Roy, for] Barthélemy Buyer, [c. 1476-78].
Chancery 2° (290 x 205mm). Collation: [1-1510 1612 17-2910 3012] (1/1r table, 2/10v colophon, 3-6 Gospel of St. Matthew, 7-16 Gospel of St. Mark-Apocalypse, 30/12v blank). 160 leaves (of 304, lacking 15/8-9 and 17-30); 4/1.10 misbound as outer sheet of quire 3. 29 lines and headline, double column. Type: 116(119)G. Woodcut initials in several sizes. Contemporary foliation in red, 16/17th-century chapter numbers in brown ink. (Washed, some marginal staining, restorations in several leaves at beginning and end, affecting a little text in 5.) Modern vellum. Provenance: Prompsal family, 16th-century names of Pierre, Andre, Charles, and other members written in margins of quire 11; possibly related to Prompsal, a late 16th-century notary at Chateaudouble, near Valence, 125 km south of Lyons.
FIRST EDITION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT IN FRENCH, printed at the first press at Lyons. Guillaume Le Roy introduced printing in 1473 at Lyons, the second French city in which the new art was practiced, under the patronage of the wealthy native merchant, Barthélemy Buyer. Only about 20 editions - all but two in the French language - are known from their 7-year partnership, most of which survive in a mere handful of copies. Their rarity, a result of their successful dissemination among a literate French populace, suggests that other editions have not survived at all. The text is a translation by the Augustinian monks Julien Macho and Pierre Farget of Guyart des Moulins' late 13th-century Bible historiale, in turn an adaptation of Petrus Comestor's Historia scholastica. All French Bibles before 1530 print this text or one of several versions of a compendium, a Bible abrégée, or, in one case, a selection of Biblical passages together with commentary. The state of its type dates it to 1476-1478; a terminus ante quem is provided by a contract between Buyer and binders at Avignon of 4 March 1478/79 citing the edition (CIBN). Its precedence over a similarly undated Le Roy-Buyer edition (Goff B-652) was established by H. Lehmann-Haupt (PBSA, 1957, pp.61-67). This edition was presumably intended as a companion volume for an Old Testament edition printed by the same shop in a similar double-column format in c.1478.
RARE; no copy is recorded in published Anglo-American or French auction records, and of the 14 institutional copies, at least 5 are imperfect. H(not C) 3144 (II & III); CIBN B-458; Claudin III, 5-7, 36; Hillard 413 (dated 1478); Parguez 217; Aquilon 130; D & M 3699; Oates 3181; Chambers 3; Goff B-651.