GERARD ZERBOLT OF ZUTPHEN (1367-1398). Tractatus de spiritualibus ascensionibus, in Latin. MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. [Southern Germany, second half of the 15th century]
Chancery 4o (215 x 145 mm). i+108 leaves: 1-912 (the last leaf treated as a pastedown), COMPLETE. Traces of alphabetical signatures in lower right corners on rectos in first half of each quire. Ca. 25 lines written in brown ink in a German cursive bookhand between two vertical and two horizontal lines, justification: 125 x 83 mm. Rubrics in red, Lombard initials, capital strokes, paragraph signs, underlines, manicules, etc. in red. Copied on paper watermarked with a gothic 'p' surmounted by a quatrefoil, type of Briquet 8625, 8651, etc., used in France, the Rhineland and the southern Netherlands in the middle and late second half of the fifteenth century. (A few small wormholes to first and last leaves, the flyleaf partially detached and slightly frayed at fore-edge.) Contemporary German plain pigskin binding over wooden boards, one brass clasp, contemporary manuscript label on front cover (small wormholes to spine and back cover).
Provenance: HILPRAND BRANDENBURG (d. 1514): his hand-colored woodcut bookplate; contemporary Buxheim inscription recording his donation (Liber Cartusiensium in Buchshaim prope Memmingen proveniens a confratre nostro domino Hilprando Brandenburg de Bibraco donato sacerdote continens subscripta. Oretur pro et pro quibus desideravit) -- Buxheim, Charterhouse: early 16th-century cataloguing and donation inscriptions; 17th-century inscription and cross-in-circle symbol on f. 1r -- Graf von Ostein -- Graf von Waldbott-Bassenheim: sale, Carl Förster, Munich, 1883 -- J. R. Lyell: bookplate; mentioned by A.C. de la Mare, Catalogue of the Collection of Medieval Manuscripts Bequeathed to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, by James P. R. Lyell, Oxford 1971, p. xxviii; sold by Lyell's executors in 1951 to -- [Bernard Quaritch, cat. 699 (1952) no. 66, cat. 716 (1953) no. 307, sold in 1957 to Heilbrun] -- P. J. van Alfen, Doorn (near Utrecht); sale, Sotheby's London, 10 July 1972, lot 60, to -- Alan G. Thomas: bookplate; sale, Sotheby's London, 21 June 1993, lot 37 (to Bernard Quaritch).
Gerhard of Zutphen was one of the earliest members of the Brethren of the Common life and their librarian at Deventer. Known for his learning in moral, ascetic and mystical theology and for his skill as a director of souls, he was the subject of a life written by Thomas à Kempis. De spiritualibus ascensionibus is the best-known of Gerhard's mystical writings. Printed in at least ten 15th-century editions, it was greatly influential among Catholics in the 15th and 16th centuries, and was an important source for the "Spiritual Exercises" of St. Ignatius Loyola. For Hilprand Brandenburg's library and his donation to Buxheim, see the note to lot 15.