SENECA, Lucius Annaeus (the younger, ca. 4 B.C./1 A.D.-65 A.D.). Opera philosophica. - Epistolae. Edited by Blasius Romerus. Treviso: Bernardus de Colonia, 1478.
Median 2o (324 x 223 mm). Collation: a10 b-h8 i10 k-l8 m10 n-z8 8 aa-bb8 (a1 blank, a2r Opera philosophica, p6r Epistolae, bb7r list of contents, colophon, bb8 blank). 213 leaves (of 214, without final blank). 53 lines. Type: 1:81G. 3- to 10-line initial spaces. Opening 10-line initial finely illuminated in blue modelled with lighter blue and white, on a burnished gold ground with geometric diaper design picked out in blind tracery, framed in red and green, two tendril extensions in modelled green and pink, one with a blue blossom, surrounded by floating buds in silver (oxidized) highlighted with penwork tracery. Red Lombards, a few flourished, supplied throughout. (Light dampstain in upper outer corners in first half, small wormtrack affecting 4 letters in last leaf.)
Binding: contemporary Augsburg binding of blind-tooled calf over wooden boards, outer borders of scrolling vine roll, inner border of repeated rosettes, central panel divided into compartments by curved branch tools, a large thorn plant tool stamped in each compartment, the tools not in Kyriss or Schwenke-Sammlung, original brass catches, front pastedown of a leaf from an Augsburg incunable (Epistolae et Evangelia, Johann Bämler, 20 September 1474, Goff E-73, or possibly the 1476 edition, Goff E-75) (rebacked, worn, lacking clasps).
Provenance: Bartholomaeus Amantius of Landsberg [am Lech], Bavaria (contemporary inscription on first page, full-page citation of Quintilian on Seneca on verso of first blank leaf, a few marginal notes) -- illegible 16th-century ownership inscription on front blank - Bolzano, Reformed Franciscans (inscription "Pro conventu FF Min: Franciscanorum Bulzan:") -- a few later marginalia.
Second edition of Seneca's principal works, reprinted, complete with errors, from the Naples 1475 edition of Mathias Moravus. This is the second of only two editions signed by Bernard of Cologne, both reprinted from editions by Moravus of Naples, suggesting that Bernard may have been previously employed in Moravus' office. His ornate gothic type, hardly suitable for the humanist texts which he chose to print (a possible factor in his lack of success), later passed to Michael Manzolus at Treviso. Bernard may have left Treviso and brought the punches to Basel, as another cast of the type on a larger body was used by Johann Amerbach later in 1478 (cf. Scholderer, BMC VI, p. xlix).
This copy was illuminated and bound in Bavaria for a contemporary South German owner. A number of copies have early German provenances (cf. two of the three BMC copies, Harvard and BNF copies), suggesting that either Bernard of Cologne, like other early Mantuan printers, had German commercial contacts, or that possibly he himself carried printed sheets as well as type material of his Treviso editions on his putative return to Germany in 1478.
HC 14591*; BMC VI, 892 (IB. 28395-97); CIBN S-184; Harvard/Walsh 3311; IGI 8868, Pr 6484; Goff S-369.