LACTANTIUS, Lucius Coelius Firmianus (c.240-c.320). Opera. - Venantius FORTUNATUS (c. 530-c.610). De resurrectione Christi. [Venice:] Vindelinus de Spira, 1472.
Median 2° (319 x 225mm). Collation: [1-212 310 4-228 2312 248] (1/1 blank, 1/2 list of Lactantius's errors found by Antonius Raudensis, 1/12v blank, 2/1r in praise of the works of Lactantius, 2/2r text, 23/11v metrical colophon, 23/12 blank, 24/1 24/1 Epythomon, 24/8 blank). 205 (of 206, without blank 23/12); fo. 23/1 misbound after 23/11 at time of rebinding, with an additional quire containing the Epitome. 41 lines. Type: 1:110R2, 110Greek, printed guide-letters. First text page illuminated by an 18th-century artist with full border incorporating the arms of Pietro Bembo as Cardinal (1539-47), contemporary 2- to 6-line initials and paragraph marks in red or blue, book numbers of De divinis institutionibus written in headline (occasionally trimmed), MS catchwords usually visible at end of each quire, occasional later penwork flourishes added to initials. Pinholes visible at outer corners. (Occasional small stain, blank corner of 4/3 cut away, small wormhole in final quire, first sheet with vellum reinforcement at hinge.) 18th-century vellum over thin pasteboard, leather spine label, sprinkled edges, library shelf label on front cover, vellum quire guards, modern blue morocco-backed solander box. Provenance: Modestus Polentonus, 'knight and doctor' (flyleaf inscription dated 1474, his neat marginal annotations) -- [Franz Josef Hahn, Bishop of Bamberg (1699-1748)] -- Schönborn-Bucheim Library (sale Reiss & Auvermann, April 1994, lot 107).
Fifth edition. The fine illuminated border incorporating the arms of Cardinal Bembo -- a handsome fake added in the middle of the 18th century -- links this volume to a group of manuscripts with similarly falsified borders with the arms of famous kings, popes and cardinals, which have been shown to have belonged to an 18th-century bishop of Bamberg, Franz Josef Hahn. Hahn was a connoisseur and bibliophile, who assembled extensive collections of art, antiquities and coins, in addition to a library which filled five rooms. He enjoyed the patronage of Vice-chancellor Friedrich Karl von Schönborn, whom he also served as a close councillor, but immediately on Schönborn's death in 1746 Hahn was charged with misappropriation of church monies. Only Hahn's death two years later ended the proceedings.
In an admirable piece of detective work Helmut Boese demonstrated that Hahn had fake borders added, perhaps in Italy through the agency of the Venetian bookdealer Albrizzi, to a group of manuscripts once thought to have been owned by the Venetian Procurator Geraldo Sagredo. Boese surmised that as Hahn foresaw his financial, if not legal, difficulties looming, he sent a quantity of his manuscripts to Albrizzi for sale in Venice, suitably distant from Bamberg. Albrizzi offered them in a supplement to an anonymous catalogue of the Sagredo library he had recently issued, thereby ambiguously associating Hahn's books with those of Sagredo and granting them an unwarranted respectability. Hahn's motivation for adding the borders cannot be known, but, given his financial situation, it was presumably to increase their sale value. (Cf. Helmut Boese, 'Über die 1747 in Venedig verkauften "Sagredo"-Handschriften', Quellen und Forschungen aus italienischen Archiven, 66, 1986, pp.269-309.) The Albrizzi supplement contained only a selection of Hahn's manuscripts, but Boese located others not offered there to which a fake armorial border had been added; this is the first recognised example in a printed book. Given Hahn's close ties to Vice-chancellor Schönborn and the Schönborn provenance of the present volume, it is possible that Hahn presented it to his patron.
WITH THE RARE EXTRA QUIRE containing the Epitome, not present in either British Library copy. HC *9810; BMC V, 160 (IC. 19544-45); CIBN L-5; IGI 5623; Polain(B) 2419; Goff L-5.