BURLEY, Walter (c.1275-c.1345). Expositio in artem veterem Porphyrii et Aristotelis [with complete text]. Venice: Johann Herbort, de Seligenstadt, 10 December 1481.
Super-chancery 2° (314 x 211mm). Collation: a-n8 o-p6 q4 (a1 blank, a2r text, q3v colophon and register, q4 blank). 120 leaves. 56 lines, double column. Types: 9:140G (first line of text on a2r), 8:109G (text), 7:79G (commentary). FINELY ILLUMINATED BY A CONTEMPORARY VENETIAN ARTIST FOR A MEMBER OF THE PESARO FAMILY OF VENICE: first page with three-quarter border of flowering vines in red, blue and green with gold bezants and filigree tracery, incorporating a 9-line floriated initial Q in colours on a gold ground and the Pesaro arms within a wreath at bottom, 5 similar 8-, 5- or 4-line initials in gold on coloured grounds with marginal extensions, 2-line Lombard initials in alternating red and blue. (Marginal worming to first and last few leaves, small burnhole at top of first 2 leaves affecting illuminated border, occasional light dampstaining to upper margins, ink splashes to b2r.) Contemporary Italian brown blind-tooled goatskin over thin wooden boards, covers decorated to a geometrical design with border of linked round foliate tools alternating with panel filled with repeat small x tool or hatch forming strapworks, at centre a circle within a lozenge, semi-circles at top and bottom, all formed by repeat small tools, evidence of 5 bosses and 4 clasps, 7 star-patterned nails and one plain nail preserved, later manuscript paper title label on upper cover, edges stained red at an early date (worn but unrestored); modern folding cloth box. Provenance: contemporary marginal annotations and notes on front flyleaf, paragraph marks and headlines in pink and brown ink -- Robert Honeyman IV (sale, Sotheby's London, Part I, 30 October 1978, lot 553) -- Ned J. Nakles (sale Christie's New York, 17 April 2000, lot 112).
Third edition, the first with text and commentary combined, of Burley's commentary on Porphyry's Isagoge, Aristotle's Praedicamenta [Categories] and De interpretatione, in Boethius' Latin translation, and on the Liber sex principiorum traditionally attributed to Gilbert de la Porrée (now considered spurious). In the medieval tradition this group of texts on logic were included as integral parts of the Ars vetus and the Organon. Many manuscripts survive of Burley's vast oeuvre, almost entirely devoted to logic and philosophy. 'He was... an Aristotelian commentator with a vengeance, composing two--sometimes three--different versions of a commentary on a single work' (DSB).
This was the first book printed at Herbort of Selingenstadt's second press. RARE, only one copy recorded in an American institution (Walters Art Gallery). HC *4128; BMC V, 303 (IB. 21550); BSB-Ink B-1002; GW 5767; IGI 2259; Goff B-1308.