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.
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’...
[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...
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).
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.
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.
Altare Christianum: or, the dead Vicar’s Plea. Wherein the Vicar of Gr. being dead, yet speaketh, and pleadeth...
London, Printed by Richard Badger. 1637.
First edition, from the library of Robert Southey, with an ownership inscription an eleven-line note in his distinctive diminutive hand.
ODO, Bishop of Cambrai.
Expositio canonis misse a dnomino [sic] odone cameracensi episcopo edita.
(Colophon:) Paris, Guy Marchant, 16 August 1490.
Very rare first edition of Odo’s twelfth-century treatise on the canon of the Mass, printed ‘in domo regalis collegii nauarre in campo gaillardi’ by Guy Marchant. Seven further editions appeared before 1500, including four more by Marchant. This copy has the misprint ‘dnomino’ in the title,...
Richard TAVERNER, trans. Common Places of Scripture orderly & after a compendious Forme of Teaching, set forth...
At London, Printed by Thomas East. 1577.
Third edition, very rare, of an important summary of Lutheran doctrine, translated by Richard Taverner from Sarcerius’s Loci communes (1528) and first published in 1538, dedicated to Henry VIII; this was the only edition published during the reign of Elizabeth.
Postill, Dat is, Uthlegginge der Evangelien so up de Sondage und Göttlike feste in der gemene Gades.
Bremen, Thomas de Villiers, 1617.
Very rare first and only edition of this Reformed Postilla in Low German, translated by Tobias Pezel, the preacher and theologian son of another famous Reformed theologian and promoter of the Confession in Nassau and Bremen, Christoph Pezel.
Sacri sacerdotii defensio contra Lutherum.
Cologne, [Hero Fuchs for] Peter Quentel, 1525.
RUPERT, of Deutz. De divinis officiis libri XII. [Cologne, Frans Birckmann,] 1526.
GREGORY I, Pope (c. 540-604), (Gregory the Great).
Liber cure pastoralis divi Gregorii pape: in sole aureo vici Sorbonici Parrhisiis...
Paris, Ulrich Gering and Berthold Rembolt, 18 July 1498.
The Regula Pastoralis is Gregory’s set of instructions on the office and duties of the bishop, whom he regarded as a shepherd of souls. It is the key to Gregory’s life as pope, for what he preached he also practised. ‘In all likelihood he intended his Regula to be for the secular...
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...
[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...
WYCLIF, John. [Thomas JAMES, editor.]
Two short Treatises, against the Orders of the begging Friars … Faithfully printed according...
First editions of both works. Thomas James was the first librarian of the newly-founded Bodleian Library in Oxford, and a formidable Protestant controversialist in his own right, who trawled the Bodliean collections for historical evidence.
A Paraphrase upon the Psalmes of David and upon the Hymnes dispersed throughout the Old and New Testaments …
London … 1636.
First edition, a fine copy of these psalm paraphrases by the poet and adventurer George Sandys (1578-1644) who was hailed by Dryden as ‘the best versifier’ of his age.
CHERTABLON, M. de.
La maniere de se bien preparer a la mort. Par des considerations sur la Cene, la Passion, et la Mort de Jesus-Christ,...
Antwerp, George Gallet, 1700.
First edition with the present text. Romeyn de Hooghe’s fine series of engravings were first printed for David de la Vigne’s Miroir de la bonne mort (Amsterdam or Antwerp, 1673). The artist was still working in 1700, but because the plates in this work are unsigned and several are reversed from the...
[BENEDETTI, Giovanni Battista.]
Difesa de’ missionarii cinesi della Compagnia di Giesù, in risposta all’apologia de’ PP....
‘.In Colonia. Per il Berges’, 1700
First edition of this substantial defence of the Jesuit position in the Chinese Rites Controversy. It is a rebuttal of Noël Alexandre’s Apologia de Padri Domenicani missionarii della China (published, also under a false Cologne imprint, in both French and Italian in 1699); Alexandre,...
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...