A CATALAN INDULGENCE FOR THE REPAIR OF THE CATHEDRAL OF LÉRIDA

Letter of Indulgence (in Catalan), incipit ‘A Honor …’, granted by Cardinal Luis de Milá, Bishop of Lérida.

[Lerida, Heinrich Botel, c. 1498.] 

Broadside (331 x 220 mm), printed in gothic letter, 31 long lines; formerly folded, in fine condition, in a lettered buckram portfolio.

£34000

Approximately:
US $41680€39517

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Letter of Indulgence (in Catalan), incipit ‘A Honor …’, granted by Cardinal Luis de Milá, Bishop of Lérida.

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Extremely rare incunable indulgence in Catalan granted by Luis de Milá, Bishop of Lérida, in favour of the living (as opposed to the dead, see below) to gather funds for the repair of the old cathedral of Lérida, printed at Lérida, the second city of Catalonia, about one hundred miles inland from Barcelona.

The indulgence was printed by Heinrich Botel, who introduced printing to Barcelona and was responsible for the Aristotle of 1473, possibly the earliest book printed in Spain. In 1476 he moved to Zaragoza, and finally in 1470 to Lérida where he continued to print sporadically. This is the last known work from his press.

Botel printed at least two settings each of two distinct indulgences designed to gather funds for the rebuilding of the sacristy of the cathedral of Lérida. The difference between the two indulgences is that one, as here, is for the living (promising, that is, absolution for various sins, some of them specified) and the other for the dead (for whose souls commemoration in prayers, masses, offices of the dead, and son on, was purchased by relatives). The two versions are easily distinguished by the first words, ‘A exaltacio’ for the dead and ‘A honor’ for the living, and the ensuing texts.

GW M-23398; Goff M-569; ISTC im00569000. Only two other copies are known, at Barcelona and at the Huntington. This copy was formerly item 653A in Maggs’s Bibliotheca incunabulorum (1921).

A full description by Dr Martin Davies is available on request.