Our Continental department specialises in incunabula, Greek and Latin classics, early vernacular imprints, and notable texts from the Renaissance, the Reformation and the early modern era, with a specific section devoted to medieval manuscripts, fragments and illuminations.
We regularly issue lists and catalogues, offering a wide variety of literary, historical and philosophical books printed in Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the Low Countries, Eastern Europe and Russia. Woodcuts, early engravings, notable bindings, notable marginalia, rare manuscript or printed survivals, and books with a remarkable provenance are among our keenest interests, and feature regularly in our stock.
with neumes, containing music for Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday; a complete leaf written in dark brown ink in a good...
From a well-written Antiphonal with elaborate penwork initials.
in French and Latin, with readings from the Gospel of John, the Book of Wisdom, and Ephesians; a partial bifolium (leaves...
The use of French indicates that the parent manuscript was intended for a lay reader or audience, while the quality of the script and illumination points to a prestigious commission. The passages in French are each preceded by the first few words of the original Latin text, underlined in red.
ITALY – LOMBARDY.
Letters patent by Giovanni de Sigestro, Vicar General of the minorite friars in the cismontane province, granting...
A beautifully written and illuminated Italian Renaissance charter.
ABSTEMIUS, Laurentius (i.e. Lorenzo ASTEMIO, or sometimes BEVILACQUA).
De quibusdam locis obscuris.
Venice, Bernardino Benagli, [n. d., but c. 1494.]
Editio princeps, indeed the only attested edition, of this rare incunable dealing with topics of classical philology and orthography.
SFORZA, Ludovico, Duke of Milan.
Letters patent granting various castles and lands to Bertrando de’ Rossi, Count of Berceto,...
A significant document issued during the Italian War of 1494–1498 by Ludovico Sforza (also known as Ludovico il Moro, duke of Milan 1494–1499).
[INDULGENCE]. MILÁ, Luis de, Cardinal.
Letter of Indulgence (in Catalan), beginning ‘A Honor …’ granted by Luis de Mila,...
Lérida, Heinrich Botel, c. 1498.
Printed at Lérida, the second city of Catalonia, about 100 miles inland from Barcelona: an indulgence granted by Luis de Mila, 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.
INTITIAL from a manuscript Gradual or Antiphonal; initial 'U' painted in rose red with elaborate white tracery, the...
The stylized decoration and use of bright colours, including the deep blue grape motif, recalls the art of Ferrara at the end of the third quarter of the 15th century. Compare, for example, an initial in a Bible painted for the Este family by Taddeo Crivelli (active from 1451, died 1479) which is now...
part of the offices for the Feast of the Annunciation (Lady Day); a complete leaf written in double columns with...
An imposing and richly illuminated leaf from an English ‘Choir Breviary’ of exceptionally large size. The leaf has been preserved as an archival wrapper and survived the Reformation in remarkably good condition.
[JACOBUS DE GRUYTRODE, ascribed author.]
Lavacrum conscientie [omnium sacerdotum].
[Colophon:] Cologne, Heinrich Quentell, 1504.
Rare edition of this popular late medieval treatise widely ascribed to the Carthusian monk Jacobus de Gruytrode (c. 1400–1475). Essentially a handbook for priests, with a significant devotional element, it was first published between 1487 and 1489. According to Theodor Petreius, Bibliotheca Cartusiana...
DINKELSBÜHL, Nicolaus de.
Tractatus hoc volumine contenti: I. De dilectione dei et proximi. II. De preceptis decalogi. III. De...
Strassburg, J. Schott, 1516.
First edition of the Tractatus octo, comprising Dinkelsbühl’s famous De preceptis decalogi, an influential tract against superstition and diabolic magic; this is one of two variant titles, that in which the word ‘mortalibus’ is not abbreviated.
Richardi Sbrulii equitis Foroiuliani Cesareiq[ue] poete ad magnificu[m] atq[ue] illustrem Maximilianu[m] Seuenbergensem:...
[Colophon:] Augsburg, Hans von Erfurt, 1519.
First, very rare, edition, of Sbruglio’s Latin poems addressed to Maximilianus Transylvanus, published in the year that Charles V became Holy Roman Emperor. A native of Cividale in northern Italy, Sbruglio (c. 1480 – after 1525) studied and taught at Wittenberg (where the rector compared him to Ovid),...
Eyn Sendbriff … uber die frage. Ob auch yemandt, on glawben verstorben selig werden müge &c. An Er Hansen von...
[Wittenberg, N. Schirlentz, 1522].
First edition, rare, of a momentous letter on predestination addressed by Luther to his friend Hans von Rechenberg. Luther meditates on the subject of predestination and salvation by faith; while firm in his notion of faith as a necessary requisite for salvation, he outlines the possibility that...
Sacri sacerdotii defensio contra Lutherum.
Cologne, [Hero Fuchs for] Peter Quentel, 1525.
RUPERT, of Deutz. De divinis officiis libri XII. [Cologne, Frans Birckmann,] 1526.
Commentarii linguae Graecae ...
[Paris], Josse Badius, September 1529.
A nice copy of the first edition of Budé’s seminal study of the Greek language, dedicated to Francis I, and superbly printed by Josse Badius.
De rebus a Iudaeoru[m] principibus in obsidione fortiter gestis, deq[ue] excidio Hierosolymorum, aliarumq[ue]...
Cologne, Jaspar Gennepaeus, 1544.
An early edition of this popular Latin account of the Jewish War of 66-73 AD, with a dedication by Philipp Melanchthon. The text borrows heavily from the Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities of the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, and is attributed in extant manuscripts either to Hegesippus –...
[SAVONAROLA]. POLITO, Ambrogio Caterino.
Discorso … contra la dottrina, et le profetie di Fra Girolamo Savonarola.
Venice, Giolito, 1548.
First edition, very rare (‘raro e ricercato’, Bongi), of a condemnation of Savonarola’s theology, doctrine and prophecies by a former Savonarola acolyte, ‘one of the most fiery Catholic polemicists of his times’ (ibid., our translation), who four years earlier had published a...
[Graece et Latine]. Sententie ex thesauris Graecorum delectae... à C. Gesnero... traductae.
Basel, [printed by Oporinus for Froschauer, 1549].
Second, ‘in every respect preferable’ (Dibdin) edition of Gesner’s Stobaeus, acclaimed as ‘the first critical impression of the text of the Florilegium’ (idem), philologically and critically much superior to the first, published in 1543. Gesner’s parallel printing of the Greek...
Iacobi Blanchoni ucessiensis adversus Ludovicum beneventanum abbatem selestensem defensionum liber.
Lyon, Jean de Tournes, 1550.
First edition of a very rare work of sixteenth-century Lyonnese Neoplatonism, an elegantly-printed de Tournes edition. Ostensibly a simple series of remarks against the theses of the (presumably sternly Scholastic) abbot of Selestan, this is a tract of Renaissance moral philosophy. The theme of...
Orationes et epistolae gravitatis et suavitatis plenae de Greco in Latinum pridem conversae, nunc recognitae, per Hieronymu[m]...
Paris, Michel de Vascosan, 1553.
A handsome Latin edition of twenty-one works by the Athenian orator Isocrates (436-338 BC) whose work was highly influential on later education, oratory and writing. Isocrates studied under Socrates and the sophists, before establishing a famous school of rhetoric which attracted pupils from all parts...
ALBERTI, Leon Battista.
El Momo. La moral e muy graciosa historia del Momo; compuesta en Latin por el docto varon Leon Bapista...
Alcalá de Henares, Joan Mey Flandro, 1553.
First edition in Spanish of Alberti’s Momus [or De principe], translated by Augustín de Almaçan and with an introductory 8-page Exposición by the Toledo ascetic writer and scholar Alejo Venegas (1495?–1554?).