BIBLIA LATINA. Mainz: Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer, 14th August 1462.
2 volumes, royal 2° (400 x 290mm). PRINTED ON VELLUM. Collation: volume I [1-710 810(+-4) 9-108 (Genesis-Ruth); 11-2310 24-258 (Kings-Psalms, 25/8v Fust-Schoeffer device and date printed in red)]. Volume II [2610(inserted from another copy) 27-3810 3912 (Proverbs-Maccabees); 40-4810 496(5+1) (New Testament, 49/5+1r incipit quoniam una hora destitute sunt tante divicie, 49/6r red-printed colophon in the short-version setting and printers' device in red, 49/6v blank)]. 481 leaves. Gothic type 5:118 (Durandus colophon-type). Double column, 48 lines, 8 pinholes to the sheet (many visible), traces of MS quiring. Rubric headings printed in red, many two-line chapter initials (taken from the Mainz Psalter stocks) and roman chapter-numbers printed in red or blue, others in manuscript, perhaps over blind printing (distribution of printed and manuscript initials and numerals within the four composition units appears to be irregular in this copy).
ILLUMINATION: prologue 5-line initials and 7- or 8-line book initials illuminated by north-Italian artists in gold on coloured grounds with white scrolling or in colours on burnished or liquid-gold grounds, mostly historiated, some floral (including a few vine-stem designs). The illumination shows varying degrees of finish and includes one initial (33/6r) drawn in pen-and-ink but left entirely uncoloured; the underdrawing of the designs is undoubtedly original throughout, but the decoration, which was planned in several stages by different illuminators, varies greatly in quality and may not be contemporary in every case. The treatment of initials in composition units 1 and 3 is mostly similar, with a preponderance of work by an illuminator who is inferior to the artist of the best work in composition units 2 and 4, but some fine initials do occur in unit 3 (particularly quires 33-38). A few red-and-blue penwork initials in Psalms and a number of printed initials with blue or red penwork decoration extending into the margin. Yellow capital-strokes. (Quire 26, the first in vol. II, supplied in the 18th century from another, very finely rubricated copy: it is illuminated by a particularly accomplished contemporary north-eastern Italian artist with three historiated initials very close in style to Guglielmo Giraldi and floral border incorporating owner's arms; some small wormholes and minor stains, lower outer blank corner of final leaf replaced.)
BINDING: 18th-century diced russia over early wooden boards, blind crest roll borders on sides, triple gilt fillets, gilt floral tool in compartments of spine, red and green morocco lettering-pieces, 15th-century German decorated brass corner- and centre-pieces, the latter with invocation O Maria hilf Maria in den Himmel, marbled endpapers, vellum flyleaves, (one clasp-strap to vol. II missing). Provenance: early Italian ownership (illumination) -- subsequently in Germany (early Baroque drawing of Judith and Holofernes in lower margin of 21/3v) -- George Hibbert (bought from the bookseller White at £250, 1829 Evans sale, lot 1039, £128-2-0 to Payne and Foss) -- Beriah Botfield (bought from Payne and Foss for £157-10-0, Acquisitions p.7; his helmet, crest and motto on vellum flyleaf in vol. I and his coat-of-arms in vol. II finely illuminated by Thomas Willement, surrounded by elaborate floral and leafy ornament, at a cost of 12 gns).
FOURTH EDITION OF THE VULGATE BIBLE or the 48-line Bible, preceded only by the 42-line Gutenberg Bible, the 36-line Pfister Bible (Bamberg) and the 49-line Mentelin Bible (Strassburg). A high proportion of copies -- more than half the survivors -- were printed on vellum. As in most editions printed by Schoeffer, a fair amount of cancellation and resetting is recorded for the 48-line Bible; vellum copies are harder to collate than the paper issue, and cancels may be difficult to identify. Although more than 100 copies are recorded in varying states of completeness, the Fust and Schoeffer 1462 Bible has become a rare book in private hands. FINE, COMPLETED SET. H *3050; GW 4204; BMC I, 22 (IC. 102); Goff B-529; CIBN B-364; De Ricci, Mayence 79.95.