Mensa Philosophica. Louvain: Johannes de Westfalia, [c. 1477-1483].
Chancery 4° (204 x 140mm). Collation: \Kp\K6 a-h8 i12 (\kp\K1 blank, \kp\K2 tables, \kp\K6v blank, a1r text, i12v colophon). 81 (of 82, without first blank) leaves. 30 lines. Type: 1:89Gb. 3- to 5-line initial spaces, a few with guide-letter; a few filled by a later owner. (Washed, repairs at a few hinges, several marginal repairs.) Early 20th-century blue morocco tooled in gilt and blind with grape motif, top edges gilt, signed by C. Hanson at the National Library of Wales. Provenance: late 16th-17th-century annotations, including the names John Rastell, Thomas Rowland, Jenkin Richard and others; anonymous owner (sale Sotheby's, 24 June 1947, lot 354, £45 to Foyle).
Probably the third edition. A curious work, the Mensa philosophica is a handbook devoted to the art of dining conversation. Food and drink are natural topics and two books give information on various kinds of meats, fruit, vegetables, spices and herbs, which can be worked into the conversation, including information on dietetic and medical benefits; one section is devoted to wine, the qualities of different wines, and their beneficial effects. The remaining two books relate anecdotes of people of various social status, from emperors to the poor. Two Cologne editions, also undated but assigned to c.1479, may precede Johannes de Westfalia's Louvain edition; a study to establish precedence remains a desideratum. Westfalia's is printed with types in use from the establishment of his press at Louvain in 1477 to 1483 (cf. HPT). In this copy the first quire is unsigned. H 11078?; BMC IX, 148 (IA.49271); Campbell 1240; Klebs 676.3; Goff M-492.