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.
Cosmographia, sive De situ orbis.
[Venice, printer of Pomponius Mela, 1477].
Second edition, very rare. This is the variant issue without date or place of printing, and is one of only five books known to have produced by the anonymous printer who has been named after the present edition. Mela’s description of the world, also known under the title Chorographia, was written...
[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.
Lettres édifiantes et curieuses écrites des missions étrangères, par quelques missionnaires de la Compagnie de Jésus.
Paris, [variously:] Jean Cusson, Nicolas le Clerc, Jean Barbou, P.G. le Mercier, Boudet, Marc Bordelet, H.L. Guerin, L.F. Delatour, Rualt,...
A very rare complete first edition set of the enormously significant Lettres édifiantes et curieuses, ‘the most valuable 18th-century source on Jesuit activities in frontier regions throughout the world’ (Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages) and a monument to Jesuit missionary and scientific zeal....
[CERVANTES SAAVEDRA, Miguel de.]
Don Quixote Von Mancha, Abentheurliche Geschichte. Erster [-Anderer] Theil.
Basel & Frankfurt, ‘Johann Ludwig du Four, von Genff’, 1682.
First edition, first issue, of the first complete translation of Don Quixote into German. An earlier translation under the title ‘Juncker Harnisch aus Fleckenland’ (Frankfurt 1648, reprinted 1669 (the Cöthen 1621 edition is a ghost)) comprised only the first twenty-two chapters of Part I....
(a). GOULET, Robert.
Compendium recenter editum de multiplici Parisiensis Universitatis magnificentia, dignitate, et excellentia,...
Paris, Toussaint Denis, 1517.
First edition of the first account of the University of Paris, ‘probably the earliest monograph on any university’ – E. P. Goldschmidt.
Portrait, after Holbein the Younger, showing the scholar-printer half-length, to right, black fur-lined dress,...
The original of this celebrated portrait is lost, and it only survives in copies. There is one at Hampton Court, for example. See the account in Oliver Miller, Tudor, Stuart and early Georgian Paintings in the Royal Collection, 1963. There are two copies in the Öffentliche Kunstsammlung at Basel (357, 1910).
[MAFFEI, Giovanni Pietro, and Emanuel ACOSTA.]
Rerum a societate Jesu in oriente gestarum volumen.
Naples, ‘apud Horatium Salvianum’, 1573.
Third and best edition of the earliest detailed history of the Jesuit missions in the East, especially Japan. Included for the first time in this edition are five pages of Japanese characters in printed facsimile, ‘Specimen quoddam litterarum vocumque Japonicarum; desumptum e regis Bungi diplomate’...
HOOFT, Pieter Corneliszoon.
Emblemata amatoria. Afbeeldinghen van minne. Emblemes d’amour.
Amsterdam, Willem Janszoon Blaeu, 1611.
First edition, complete with the rare accompanying collection of sonnets and songs (pp. 73–144), of one of the most important emblem books of the Dutch Golden Age and a masterpiece of Dutch literature by the prolific poet and dramatist Pieter Corneliszoon Hooft (1581–1648). All the emblems, illustrated...
[MANTUANUS, Baptista]. De patientia aurei libri tres. [bound with:]
CAPREOLUS, Helias. De confirmatione...
Brescia, Bernardinus de Misintis, 30 May 1497.
First edition of Mantuanus’s work containing -on recto of m3- a lengthy reference to America, one of the very few 15th century instances: a ‘mention of discoveries of islands in the Atlantic, noting their size and the fact that they are inhabited. Because none of the ancient geographers knew of them,...
ALBERTI, Leon Battista.
Hecatomphila che ne insegnia l’ingeniosa arte d’amore. Deiphira che ne mostra suggir il mal principiato...
Venice, Giovanni Antonio et Fratelli da Sabbio ad instantia de Nicolo & Francesco Librari al Dolphin, 1528.
A combined edition of the Ecatomfila and the Deifira, Alberti’s two dialogues on love. They originally appeared separately in 1471, probably the first works of literature by a living author printed in Italian. They treat the vagaries of love from different perspectives. In the Ecatomfila,...
[Basel, Henricus Petri, 1567].
Rare first edition of Pomponazzi’s essay On fate, free will, and predestination (De fato… libri V), published posthumously in this collective edition prepared by his pupil Gulielmus Gratarol. Gratarol’s editions of Pomponazzi’s writings were instrumental in divulging the thought of one of the...
[ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY]. NATHANAEL, Abbot, compiler.
Kniga o vere edinoi istinnoi pravoslavnoi [Book of the one true Orthodox...
Moscow, Stefan Boniface, 1648.
First edition, very rare, of a book of Orthodox liturgy and theology. Beginning with prayers, this is a compilation of writings on all aspects of the Orthodox tradition, including a variety of polemical treatises against heretics, Catholics, and traitors to the Orthodox faith, some of which has been...
ABSTEMIUS, Laurentius (i.e. Lorenzo ASTEMIO, or sometimes BEVILACQUA).
De quibusdam locis obscuris. [Colophon:] Venice, Bernardino...
[but c. 1494.]
Editio princeps, indeed the only attested edition, of this rare incunable dealing with topics of classical philology and orthography.
TYRTAEUS and CALLINUS.
Les chants...traduits en vers par Firmin Didot.
Paris, Firmin Didot, pere et fils, 1827.
One of only 100 copies - all hors de commerce - of this deluxe folio Didot edition of some of the oldest martial elegy verses of the Western tradition: the surviving works of the Spartan poet Tyrtaeus and the Ephesian poet Callinus (7th-6th century BC). The text is preceded by an engraved Lettre to Firmin...
La Bible, qui est toute la Sainte Escriture du Vieil et du Nouveau Testament. Autrement, l’ancienne et la nouvelle alliance....
London, R. Everingham for R. Bentley and J. Hindmarsh, 1687.
First complete edition of the Bible in French to be printed in England, in a fine Restoration binding. This Bible, in the French Geneva version, was published less than two years after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (22 October 1685) which saw about 50,000 French Protestant refugees move to England...
[MELANCHTHON, Philipp]. LAGUS, Konrad.
Oratio de Platone.
Wittenberg, [J. Klug], 1538.
Only edition, exceedingly rare (one copy only in the US), of the main extant source for Melanchthon’s views on Plato. ‘Melanchthon’s view of Plato is known primarily from a Latin speech, which he asked Conrad Lagus to deliver’ (Hartfelder).
ALBERTI, Leon Battista.
Momus [or De principe].
Rome, Jacopo Mazochi, 1520.
First edition of this political and social satire by the great Renaissance architect, theorist, scholar and man of letters, Leon Battista Alberti. There were two editions published in Rome in 1520, one (the present) by Jacopo Mazochi, the other by Étienne Guillery. Both carry papal privileges,...
De civitate Dei.
Germany, ?Westphalia, c. 1300.
A handsome bifolium from a large folio copy of St. Augustine’s greatest work, a vindication of Christianity against pagan critics.
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.
[SAMBLANX]. [BAUDELAIRE]. POE, Edgar.
Vingt Histoires Extraordinaires. Illustrées par quarante et une eaux-fortes originales de...
Paris, Le Livre de Plantin, 1927
First edition of Baudelaire’s celebrated translation to appear with these striking illustrations by Alméry Lobel-Riche, his close friend who was to illustrate the whole Baudelaire canon during the 1920s and early 1930s. Lobel-Riche described Baudelaire as “le premier, le plus grand poète de la...