Category: Our enquiries

Unknown stamp from Augsburg: Query solved.

By , 15 October 2013 10:27 am

One of the library broadsides incunabula bears a stamp from an unidentified library in Augsburg.

Thanks to the comments by Dr Klaus Graf and Verena Godde, my tentative reading of the stamp inscription “<Bibliothe>k des Kathol. Studie<rn****> in Augsburg” has been corrected in “Bibliothek des Katholischen Studienfonds in Augsburg”.

The stamp is found in the lower margin of the broadside edition of the Zeichen der falschen Gulden attributed to the workshop of Anton Sorg in Augsburg around 1482 [ISTC iz00019000; Oates (MS. addition) 921.5], now Inc.Broadsides.2[4421].  The text is a warning against false coins coming from the Netherlands and it is illustrated with ten woodcut images of the coins to help with their identification.

The stamp proves that the sheet remained in Augsburg at least until the 19th century.   It was acquired by the library from Erasmus Antiquariaat, Amsterdam (Cat. 213A / 15193) in October 1958.

 

An Elephant in the Bindings: A Rare Appearance ?

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By , 30 July 2013 4:53 pm

 

This small but intriguing tool is found on the beautiful early Renaissance bindings of four of our incunabula.  It shows a four-legged animal with a long protruding nose carrying a square basket on its back, which is covered with a tasselled rug, and   flying a flag bearing a cross.  The image immediately brings  to the mind representations of war elephants carrying  warriors in their howdah, and it seems to me that this little tool also represents an elephant. Continue reading 'An Elephant in the Bindings: A Rare Appearance ?'»

Bound with leaves from the Bible; identifying “paper wrappers”

By , 16 May 2013 2:27 pm

Cambridge University Library possesses four copies of the Ninth German Bible, considered to be one of the most beautiful of all German Bibles, printed in Nuremberg by Anton Koberger in 1483. Koberger is most well known as the printer of the Liber Chronicarum (Nuremberg Chronicle) and this Bible is no less splendid a production, and on a similarly grand scale. The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue lists nearly 300 extant copies, in varying degrees of completeness, and estimates of the print run range from 1000 to 1500. The text was taken primarily from the Fourth German Bible printed by Zainer in Augsburg in 1475 while the 109 images were produced using woodcuts by the Master of the Colgone Bible; Koberger purchased these after they were first used by Heinrich Quentell for his Low German Bible (Cologne, 1478). Continue reading 'Bound with leaves from the Bible; identifying “paper wrappers”'»

Unidentified ownership marks: our queries.

By , 6 August 2012 1:28 pm

One of the principal aims of the Incunabula Project team at Cambridge University Library is the identification, whenever possible, of the previous owners of our incunables.  Sometimes we are able to find unnamed bookplates, stamps or arms in printed publications or identify them through online resources, such as the images posted online by the Penn Provenance Project or Paul Needham’s Index Possessorum Incunabulorum (IPI) in the online Provenance Research pages provided by the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL), but other times we are at a loss and unable to find the answer.

We would therefore be most grateful for help from our readers in the identification of the puzzling bookplates, unknown stamps and unidentified coats-of-arms that we will occasionally post in our blog.

Our first query concerns a small bookplate (31 x 31 mm) representing a bull head in a collar pasted onto the front pastedown of a recently acquired copy of Biblia latina : cum postillis Nicolai de Lyra et expositionibus Guillelmi Britonis in omnes prologos S. Hieronymi et additionibus Pauli Burgensis replicisque Matthiae Doering, Venice : Franciscus Renner, de Heilbronn, 1482-83 (ISTC ib00612000; GW, 4287), volume 2 only (Psalms to Maccabees), Inc.2.B.3.6d[4638].  We suspect a 19th-century English provenance, but have not been able to trace it.

The second query relates to a stamp found on the first leaf of a Libro da Compagnia printed in Florence by Antonius Francisci Venetus around 1490 (ISTC ic00788450; GW 13393), Inc.4.B.8.12 [4461], [A1]r.  The library copy is one of the only three extant examplars of the edition.  The stamp shows three crescents addorsed, an eagle regaurdant, wings expanded, below, and the motto «Expecto», all surmounted by a princely crown.  It has been identified with the stamp of a member of the Strozzi family of Florence.  The same stamp also appears in one of the two copies of Angelus Politianus, Miscellaneorum centuria prima, Florence : Antonio di B. Miscomini, 19 September 1489 (ISTC ip00890000), held in the Houghton Library at Harvard, Inc 6149 (B) (26.4) (J. E. Walsh, A catalogue of the fifteenth-century printed books in the Harvard University Library, 5 vols, Binghamton NY, Tempe AZ, 1991-95, no. 2872). In the Hourghton copy a princely crown surmounts the initials “F.S.” in the lower compartment of the late 18th- or early 19th-century binding (information kindly supplied by William Stoneman).  According to the genealogy of the Strozzis, four members of the family by the first name beginning in “F” bore the title of Prince of Forano.  They were as follows:  Filippo (1699-1763), 2nd prince,  Ferdinando Giuseppe (1718-1769), 3rd prince, Ferdinando Maria (1774-1835), 5th prince, and Ferdinando Lorenzo (1821-1878), 6th prince.  We would be grateful for any information that might help in the identification of the actual owner of these books.

We are also seeking help for the identification of a coat-of-arms that belonged to an unknown family, probably Austrian [?] or South Tyrolean, possibly from Brixen (i.e. Bressanone, Italy).  The arms are painted in the upper pastedown in our copy of the Missale Brixinense printed in Augsburg by Erhard Ratdolt in August 1493, at the instance of Florian Waldauf von Waldenstein, a member of the Kannenordens (Orden de la Jarra y el Grifo, i.e. the Order of the Jar and the Griffin), and by permission of Melchior von Meckau, Bishop of Brixen  (ISTC im00653000; GW M24292), Inc.2.A.6.18[837] (Oates, 964).

Finally,  we are still trying to identify the arms found in our copy of Pomponio Mela, Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis, Venice : Bernhard Maler (Pictor), Erhard Ratdolt and Peter Loslein, 1478 (ISTC im00449000), Inc.4.B.3.23a[1454] (Oates, 1744).

With thanks from the Incunabula Project Team.