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.
Common of Martyrs; a complete folio leaf
Italy, Bologna, late 13th century.
Another leaf from the same manuscript with an historiated initial depicting Christ between two haloed figures in one compartment, and a sheep between two wolves in another compartment, was Quaritch Catlogue 1088, no. 48. For the predominance of an orange and blue palette in medieval Bolognese painting...
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.
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...
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.
HORAE, B.M.V., Use of Rome.
Ces présentes heures a lusaige de Ro[m]me fure[n]t achevez lan Mil. CCCC. iiii. xx. [et] xviii. le...
Paris, Philippe Pigouchet for Simon Vostre, 22 August 1498.
One of the most beautiful printed Books of Hours of the late fifteenth century. Fifteen of the large cuts, all attributed to the Master of the Apocalypse-Rose, belong to Pigouchet’s fine second series of Hours illustrations, first used in 1496. Seven cuts, representing Pigouchet’s third...
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...
[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.
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...
[HORAE, (Use of Paris.]
Hore in laudem beatissime virginis Marie: secundum consuetudinem ecclesiae parisiensis.
[Colophon:] Paris, Simon du Bois for Geoffroy Tory, 22 October 1527.
A fine, uncoloured copy of this unusual and beautiful Book of Hours published by the humanist bookseller and designer Geoffroy Tory. The woodcut borders and Italian-influenced illustrations appear here for the first time.
Precationes Biblicae sanctoru[m] patrum, illustrium viroru[m] et mulierum utriusq[ue] Testamenti.
Strasbourg, Johannes Schott, 1528.
First edition, rare. The earliest Protestant prayer-books, of which this is perhaps the most notable example, often comprised prayers taken directly from (or adapted from) the Bible. Brunfels’s Precationes Biblicae appeared in the same year in German translation (Biblisch Bettbüchlein...
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...
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...
Sententiae Hebraicae ad vitae institutionem perutiles breviter explicatae, et praeclarissimis dictis tam sacrarum...
Vienna, Michael Zimmermann, 1563.
First edition; very rare. A collection of Hebrew proverbs ‘very useful for the regulation of life’, with accompanying translation and commentary in Latin and German.
[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’...
CAESAR, Caius Julius.
Rerum gestarum commentarii XIV … omnia collatis antiquis manuscriptis exemplaribus, quae passim in Italia,...
Frankfurt, Georg Rab for Jacopo Strada, 1575.
First Strada edition of Caesar’s Commentaries, with woodcut illustrations, annotated by the Feuillants against François Hotman. Prepared by the humanist scholar Jacopo Strada (1507 – 1588), Rab’s edition prints Caesar’s Commentaries with Aulus Hirtius’s additions, Eutropius’s epitome of...
Defensiones duae, quibus D. Ioannis Sturmii rectoris Antipappis duobus respondetur, Maiori, & Epitomico. De charitate,...
Tübingen, Georgius Gruppenbachius, 1580.
Rare first edition of Pappus’s most important work in his pamphlet war with Johannes Sturm over the Lutheran Formula of Concord and its imposition in Strasburg. Pappus (1549-1610) studied in Tübingen and Basel before becoming professor of Hebrew and then of history at Strasburg. In 1578 he was appointed...
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...
EUCHERIUS, Johannes (pseud.).
Gratiarum actio. Wirtembergensibus et Tubingensibus verbi ministris; qui censuris Patriarche Constantinopolitani...
Christopoli [i.e. Poznań, J. Wolrab], 1585.
Very rare early imprint from Poznań, one of the oldest and most important cities in Poland, a Catholic stronghold. There Johann Wolrab, Nikolaus’ eldest son, founded the second city printing press in 1579. Gratiarum actio had first appeared in 1584 in two productions printed in Krakow and Poznań,...
[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.