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.
[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.
[CANONS REGULAR OF THE LATERAN.]
Regula et constitutiones Canonicorum Regularium congregationis S. Salvatoris, Ordinis Sancti Augustini....
Rome, apud Paulum Bladum, 1592.
The most complete edition, rare, of the Rule and Constitutions of the Order of the Canons Regular of St. Augustine of the Congregation of the Most Holy Saviour, printed on vellum, with two seemingly unrecorded cancels, from the library of a former Abbot General of the Order.
(Colophon:) Venice, Aldus, May 1502.
A handsome copy of the first edition of the Greek text of Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War, printed by the great Aldus Manutius, with an interesting provenance.
ANTONINUS OF FLORENCE, Saint.
Summa theologica [Pars II].
[Venice, Franciscus Renner de Heilbronn, and Nicolaus de Frankfordia, 1474].
First edition; a large, crisp copy of a rare and important incunable. This was the first appearance of any part of Antoninus’s Summa theologica, or Summa moralis, an ambitious work in four parts exploring the entire field of moral theology; this, the Secunda, is the part which deals with the seven...
with Canticles, Pater Noster, Te Deum and Office of the Dead
North-western Italy, perhaps Asti, mid-15th century.
A substantial and attractive office book of Carthusian Use, bearing the medieval ownership inscription of the major charterhouse at Valmanera (Asti) in Piedmont and probably made for them.
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....
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).
BOOK OF HOURS, Use of Rome.
Hore intemerate virginis Dei genitricis Marie.
Paris, Gilles Hardouyn, c. 1515.
An apparently unrecorded issue of a rare Book of Hours in narrow ‘agenda’ format, preserved in an unusual and elegant contemporary or near-contemporary binding. Brunet and Lacombe both describe a colophon on the last page, not printed in this copy; it repeats almost verbatim the imprint at...
De patientia aurei libri tres.
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...
[CARTHUSIANS.] [GUIGO DE CASTRO, compiler.]
Repertorium statutoru[m] ordinis cartusiensis per ordinem alphabeti.
[Colophon:] Basel, Johann Amerbach, 1510.
First printed edition of the Statutes of the Carthusian Order, printed at the expense of the editor, Gregor Reisch (c. 1467–1525), author of the Margarita philosophica, for distribution to members of the Order only.
[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...
Euchologion, ek pollon hoon proteron eiche sfalmatoon hoti malista anakatharthen [in Greek].
(Colophon:) Venice, Antonio Pinelli, 1602.
I. First edition of Maximos Margounios’s important version of the Euchologion, one of the principal liturgical books of the Orthodox Church.
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.
Opuscula Mathematica, philosophica et philologica. Collegit partimque Latine vertit ac recensuit Joh. Castillioneus...
Lausanne and Geneva, Bousquet & soc., 1744.
First edition of Newton’s collected works edited and introduced by the Pisa alumnus Giovanni Salvemini da Castiglione. The edition contained twenty-six works which, while having appeared previously, were not easily accessible, from Newton’s mathematical works and optical lectures, which were greatly...
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...
Advis de la bien heureuse mort de cinq religieux de la Compagnie de Iesus, & d’aucuns autres seculiers,...
Paris, Thomas Brumen, 1584.
Very rare first edition in French of the letter sent by the Italian Jesuit missionary Alessandro Valignano (1539-1606) in late December 1583 to Claudio Acquaviva, the Society’s Superior General, reporting on the deaths of five Jesuit missionaries in the village of Cuncolim in the district of Salcete...
[MAFFEI, Giovanni Pietro and Emanuel ACOSTA.]
Rerum a societate Jesu in oriente gestarum volume. In quo hæc ferme continentur....
Naples: Orazio Salviani, 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’...
Dodici libri del governo.
Verona, for G. Battista Pigozzo and Andrea de Rossi, 1599 [colophon 1600].
First edition of a rare - and in parts typographically striking - treatise on political science conceived as a comprehensive riposte to Machiavelli’s Prince. Ciro Spontone (1552-1613) wrote his ‘anti-Machiavelli’ whilst serving as secretary to the Duke of Mantua Vincenzo I Gonzaga, with whom he...
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...
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?).