Voragine, Jacobus de, Legenda aurea [Ulrich Zell], Köln, 1482
Small folio. 275 x 200mm Numbered folios CCLXXIX (279, lacking first and last blanks, Late Gothic blind stamped boards, sometime very well rebacked over 3 raised bands, early paper label to spine. Original brass-mounted clasps with later leather straps, all housed in slipcase.
The first edition published by Zell and the sixth in Cologne. Small worm at the beginning and towards the end, a few sheets. with faint waterstains, occasionally slightly stained, a few fingerprints. A few sheets. with old underlining and marginalia, end sheet. with edge repairs. Spine, clasps and pastedowns renewed. An attractive copy in very good state.
A remarkably clean and fresh copy with some marginalia and early annotations.
The binding is contemporary blind-tooled leather which has been expertly rebacked over 3 raised bands. The tools include images of lambs, clover leaves, Madonna and Child, a couple standing and other heraldic devices; all arranged in a random manner in between triple ruled lines which run diagonally through a central panel within double ruled lines that border and frame the whole. There are boss icons stamped at the intersection of the ruled lines. Four original brass clasps with replaced leather straps.
Princeton’s copy of this book (Goff J-102) has a similar binding although not exactly the same tools and which was perhaps bound in Soest, slightly to the north east of Cologne. We have also identified similar tools used which originate from the press of Adolf Rusch which was based in Strasburg, the bindery was in Cologne.
- From the library of the Counts of Manderscheid-Blankenheim, which was closed around 1794, title with entry “Bibliothecae Blanquenheimensis”.A few minor wormholes to first and last leaves, faint marginal dampstaining to a few leaves, some staining and fingermarking in places.
- John Patrick Auguste Madden (1808-1889); with ex-libris by Lacoste with the motto “Torcular calcavi solus” for the incunabula collector John Patrick Auguste Madden (1808-1889) and stamped inventory number.
Reference: Copinger 6428; BMC I, 196; Polain (B) 2195; Vouilléme, Köln 622; Goff J-102.
The “Legenda Aurea,” Latin for “Golden Legend,” is a medieval hagiographical (saints’ lives) collection of stories compiled around 1260 by Jacobus de Voragine, an Italian Dominican friar and archbishop of Genoa. The work became one of the most popular and widely read books in the Middle Ages and played a significant role in shaping the medieval Christian imagination.