BREYDENBACH, Bernhard von (d.1497). Peregrinatio in terram sanctam. Mainz: Erhard Reuwich [and perhaps Peter Schoeffer], 11 February 1486.
Chancery 2° (288 x 199mm). Collation: [16 (1r blank) 26 32(+3 fold-out sheets) 4-52 62(+1 fold-out sheet) 72(+1 fold-out sheet, 2v blank) 82(+1 fold-out sheet) 92(+2 fold-out sheets) 10-128 138(5r blank) 14-218 2210 238 248 (8 blank)]. 148 leaves, plus 8 fold-out sheets (the first leaf and quire 9, the view of Jerusalem, supplied from other editions). 44 lines (variable). Types: (Schoeffer 7):149G (headings), (Schoeffer 8):93G (text). Two woodcut decorated initials (the first with arms of Berthold von Henneberg, Archbishop of Mainz, coloured), 7 double-page and folding woodcut city views, several from multiple blocks and on multiple sheets (quires 3, Venice; 4, Parenza; 5, Corfu; 6, Modon; 7, Candia; 8, Rhodes, 9, Jerusalem), full-page woodcut of allegorical figure of Mainz with the arms of Breydenbach, Johannes von Solms, and Philip von Bicken, 8 woodcuts of scenes from the Near East, 6 cuts of alphabets of Near Eastern languages (Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic), Reuwich device. 4- to 7-line initials and paragraph marks alternating in red and blue (the blue washed from the first 10 quires), red capital strokes and underlining. (Venice and Jerusalem views mounted and repaired, some joins of those and other fold-out sheets repaired, views of Rhodes and Jerusalem missing narrow vertical sections at joins, the full-page frontispiece supplied from the Speier (Drach) edition of 1490 but printed from the original block, mounted and reversed in rebinding, the Jerusalem view supplied from Drach's 1502 edition printed from a copy of the original block, the woodcut of animals missing, since Reuwich editions (but not the Drach 1502 edition) have it printed on the reverse of the Jerusalem view, one small tear affecting a few letters in fo.2 repaired, a few marginal tears repaired.) Gold-tooled tan morocco, border of fillets with corner stamps on sides, spine lettered in gilt, gilt turn-ins, vellum endleaves, Botfield arms illuminated on front vellum pastedown, front vellum flyleaf painted with monogram RR on shield, edges gilt and gauffered, green silk ribbon marker, bound by Charles Lewis.
Provenance: occasional marginal annotations (washed) -- early inscription of a Jesuit college erased from below colophon.
FIRST EDITION. This account of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the monastery of St. Catherine of Sinai by Breydenbach, Graf Johannes von Solms, Philip von Bicken and others in 1483-4 is a valuable description of places on the way to, and in, the Holy Land. In many ways it is an early guidebook and contains information on distances, alphabets of languages encountered en route, manners and customs of various peoples, and an Arabic vocabulary. To add to the vividness of the descriptions, Erhard Reuwich, a Utrecht artist who also made the journey, provided panoramic views of seven cities, as well as scenes of animals, people and buildings. The views set the Peregrinatio apart from other illustrated incunables. They are the first of their kind to be printed, they record actual views, and most of them were printed from multiple blocks over several sheets. Reuwich, not otherwise known as a printer, printed this first edition, and German (1486) and Dutch (1488) translations. The types are Peter Schoeffer's, but differences in composition and lay-out make it clear that Reuwich, not Schoeffer, was indeed the printer, as the colophon states.
Given the fragility of the folding plates (and the desirability of them separate from the book), the panoramic views are often in poor condition. In the Botfield copy the views are mounted on stubs, and only two (Venice and Jerusalem) have been backed. In addition to their use in his own three editions and in the 1490 Speier edition already mentioned, Reuwich's original blocks for the illustrations appeared in a French edition printed at Lyons in 1489 and a Spanish edition printed at Zaragoza in 1498.
The folding view of Jerusalem is here bound after quire 8, rather than after quire 21 as in some copies. A variant from GW is on fo.4v, line 1, which ends ...pera-/.
HC *3956; GW 5075; BMC I, 43 (IB. 331); Goff B-1189; IGI 2055