PONTIFICALE ROMANUM. Edited by Augustinus Patritius Piccolomini (ca. 1435-1496) and Johannes Burchardus (1420-1506). Rome: Stephan Plannck, 23 December 1485.
Median 2o (325 x 225 mm). Collation: [14; 2-378 3810] blank, 1/2r editors' preface, 1/3r table, text, 38/9v colophon,r register,v blank). 302 leaves. 34 lines, double column. Types: 7:132G (text), 6:102G (register). Printed in red and black throughout. Printed music consisting of square black neumes and 5-line red staves on ca. 238 pages. Greek and Latin alphabets printed from blocks on 18/4r, 18/4v. Nine- to one-line initial spaces. One illuminated historiated initial depicting a seated bishop blessing a kneeling man and woman, accompanied by a four-sided border of red, green and blue foliate forms and blossoms interspersed with burnished gold disks, in the lower margin a roundel containing a coat-of-arms (erased), 25 large illuminated initials in colors and burnished gold. Rubricated with blue and red initials and paragraph signs, the colors frequently alternating but with blue initials in red-printed text. Contemporary manuscript foliation 1-298 in roman numerals, starting with the fourth leaf. (Small tears or old repairs to blank margins of ca. 12 leaves, reinforcements to inner margins of ca. 50 leaves, intermittent faint dampstain or foxing to blank margins, stain to 4/8v, occasional light finger-soiling to lower corners of pages.)
Binding: contemporary Italian blind-tooled goatskin over wooden boards, the central lozenge-shaped compartment stamped with a knot-work tool and a small rosette, knot-work stamps in the angles of the central rectangular panel, the innermost of two frames filled with a repeating floral interlace tool, vellum flyleaves, remains of four clasps (rebacked with portions of original spine laid down, a few tiny wormholes, a few small losses of leather to front and back covers).
Provenance: scattered early annotations and alterations to text -- Clifford Rattey: bookplate; collection dispersed by Maggs Bros -- [Quaritch, cat. 920 no. 148]
FIRST EDITION. "In order to print music from movable type, music printers had to resolve two fundamental problems. First, an unvarying set of lines had to be printed for the staff, and second, music notes and signs had to be cast in metal type so that they could be printed on any line or space of that staff. These problems were resolved by a two-impression process. A staff of horizontal lines was printed in a first impression from what were most likely printer's rules cast in metal; next, the musical designs of plainchant, cast in type so that they could be accurately printed at any position on the staff, were printed in a separate impression. No other technical problems involved in printing music are comparable to [these] fundamental difficulties" (M. K. Duggan, Italian Music Incunabula, Berkeley 1992, pp. 13-14). The first dated book to use this method of printing music was Ulrich Han's Missale romanum of 12 October 1476. Stephan Plannck, who worked for Han before he set up on his own in 1478, inherited and used Han's music type. Indeed, it has been suggested that Plannck himself was the creator of the type. Plannck was the most prolific printer of 15th-century Rome, whose output also included three folio and two quarto editions of the missal. His two editions of the Roman Pontifical, the present first edition and a second edition of 1497, were the only two editions printed in the 15th century of this book of rites and ceremonies performed by bishops.
The text of the pontifical is unusual for the amount of red printing it contains, a consequence of the long rubrics giving liturgical instructions. The normal practice in two-color incunable printing was to print the red first, followed by the black. In Plannck's pontifical the red lines of the musical staves appear to lie over the black neumes. This may be due in part to the rejection of the black ink by the shiny red ink underlying it, but there is also evidence that on some sheets the red was printed second. As in the British Library copy, 10/2v and 10/8v of this copy both show red ink lying over black, and it is likely that there are other examples of this yet to be discovered.
The first British Library copy of this edition lacks the preliminary quire, which led BMC to suppose that it might have been printed in the same type as the register. This is not the case; as shown by the present copy, the preface and table are printed in the same type as the body of the text. BMC notes that the register onr does not include the preliminary quire.
RARE; ISTC records only three copies in North American institutions. HC 13285; BMC IV, 86 (IB. 18431; also Davis 706); CIBN P-579; Duggan 145; IGI 8020; Meyer-Baer 229; Goff P-933.