JOHANNES CHRYSOSTOMUS (Saint, 345?-407). Homiliae XXI de statuis. Translated from Greek into Latin and edited by Petrus Balbus. [Brussels: Fratres Vitae Communis], 1479.
Chancery 4o (204 x 137 mm). Collation: [1-1912 2010 (1/1 blank, 1/2r editor's letter to Pope Puis II, 1/4r table, 1/7r text, 20/10r colophon, 20/10v blank)]. 237 leaves (of 238, without first blank). 27 lines. Type: 1A:100B (Hellinga type 4A). 2-, 3-, and 4-line initial spaces. Finely rubricated, initials, paragraph marks and capital strokes in red, opening 4-line initial with reserved decoration. A few tiny neat marginal or interlinear corrections, last line on 19/5r added in manuscript, probably by the printers, as in the BMC copy. (Short closed tear to first leaf, a few minor marginal holes or tears, occasional light marginal foxing). Modern dark maroon morocco, edges red-stained, by Nello Nanni, 19th-century endleaf from previous binding with 3 leaves of 19th-century notes in English loosely inserted.
Provenance: Charles Jordan (early 19th-century English inscription recording price) -- William Harris Arnold (1854-1923), incunable collector, author (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION, from the only 15th-century press at Brussels, of St. John Chrysostum's famous series of sermons "on the statues" preached in March and April 387 after a riot in Antioch in which the Imperial statues had been overthrown. The Brothers of the Common Life at Nazareth Cloister printed 35 known editions from 1475 to 1485, mainly liturgical texts and works of theology. Their types resembled Cologne types, and the earliest fount was apparently the work of the typesetter and first printer at Louvain Johann Veldener: for the complex history of the press and its type development, see Hellinga, Printing Types, I, pp. 25-28.
FINE COPY, from a distinguished American collection. Rare; only two copies in America. HC 5038*; BMC IX, 171-2 (IA. 49507); BSB-Ink. I-347; Campbell 427; CIBN J-181; HPT II, 472; IDL 2630; Polain(B) 2256; Pr 9330; Goff J-285.