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A splendid cuir-ciselé Melk binding Breviary, for the use of...

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A splendid cuir-ciselé Melk binding
Breviary, for the use of Melk Abbey, in Latin, manuscript on paper [Abbey of Melk, Austria, c.1476]
A Breviary from Melk Abbey, at the height of its renaissance during the Melk Reform movement, in a rare, splendid contemporary cuir-ciselé binding depicting St Barbara as abbess and St Margaret crowned and carrying a dragon.

322 x 210mm. i + 292 + i leaves, complete, collation: 12, 26, 3-1312, 148, 15-2512, 262, 278, 282, modern foliation in pencil followed here, two columns of 30-34 lines written in a Gothic hybrid book script, written space: 190 x 130mm, initials, paragraph headings and highlights in red, table of golden numbers for the years 1476-1500, watermark a bull's head similar to Briquet 14882, inserted slip with text between ff.154-155 (occasional marginal soiling and smudging, some wormholing, else in excellent condition).

Binding:
Contemporary cuir-ciselé binding: brown calf over slightly bevelled wooden boards, sides with large cuir-ciselé panels within blind-ruled frames, each depicting a saint in full-length on a punched criblé ground, upper cover with St Margaret crowned and with a dragon on her arm, lower cover St Barbara as an abbess holding her tower, inner frame with small cinquefoils (upper) or quatrefoils (lower), 5 round bosses on each cover, 2 fore-edge clasps (lightly rubbed, rebacked preserving much of the early backstrip with cut-leather decoration, re-edged and with other discreet restorations, one metal clasp missing, later endpapers); modern russet morocco-backed folding box. Published in Schmidt-Künsemüller, 1980, p.59, with reproduction.

Provenance:
(1) Melk Abbey, Austria: their 17th-century manuscript ex-libris on f.1: 'Monasterii Mellicensis', ex cod.974. The Benedictine Abbey of Melk was founded in the 11th century and houses the remains of St Coloman of Stockerau, along with those of several members of the House of Babenberg, Austria's first ruling dynasty. St Coloman and his translation are noted in red in the Calendar, which also includes other regional Saints such as Rupert and Virgilius of Saltzburg, Walburga, Sigismund, Vitus and Ulric. In the 15th century the abbey became the centre of the Melk Reform movement which reinvigorated monastic life of Austria and Southern Germany and included the improvement of calligraphy, as demonstrated by a manuscript entitled Modus scribendi of 1460, now at Cambridge, Houghton Library, MS. Typ 111, which contains the same ex-libris as the our manuscript. The present manuscript can be accurately dated both from the table of golden numbers on f.7v, for the years 1476-1500, and from the watermark, similar to Briquet 14882 (Tyrol, 1472). The present manuscript was described in the 1889 catalogue of the library, where it was listed as no 1313 (Staufer, 1889). The Abbey came into financial difficulties during the interwar period and a number of manuscripts were deaccessioned in 1928 and 1936-7 (these transactions are described in Glaßner, 2022, working from the Abbey library correspondence). This Breviary was one of 8 manuscripts sold in 1928 by the Abbey librarian Dr P. Wilhelm Schier to:

(2) Philipp Rühmer (b.1877), Munich antiquarian dealer. Glaßner details the subsequent fates of the 8 manuscripts deaccessioned to Rühmer (ex cod. 707, also in a 15th-century cuir-ciselé binding was acquired by the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin).

(3) Sotheby's, 26 January 1959, lot 77, to Maggs.

(4) By 1964 the manuscript was in a private collection in Germany, according to Holter, 1964, p.691.

(5) Charles van der Elst (1904-1982), President of the Royal Society of Bibliophiles and Iconophiles of Belgium: his bookplate and his sale, Tajan/Claude Guérin, Précieux Livres Anciens, Monaco, 13 May 1985, lot 37, to:

(6) H.P. Kraus, New York, sold in February 1988 to:

(7) The Schøyen Collection, MS 49.

Content:
Breviary, ff.1-292, opening with Calendar ff.1-7, Table of golden numbers for 1476-1500 ff.7v-8; the text beginning with the Vigil of Pentecost 'Veni Sancte Spiritus'; Proper of Saints (Summer part), beginning with St Urbanus (f.92), Psalter (f.232).

Provenance
Glaßner, C., 'In those years Austria was my principal happy hunting ground: Zu den Handschriftenverkäufen des Stiftes Melk in der Zwischenkriegszeit', dass die Codices finanziell unproduktiv im Archiv des Stiftes liegen. Bücherverkäufe österreichischer Klöster in der Zwischenkriegszeit, 2022, p.119-120, no 2.

Holter, K., 'Beiträge zur Geschichte des Lederschnitt-Einbandes in Niederösterreich', Gutenberg-Jahrbuch (1964) p.342.

Holter, K., 'Lederschnitteinbände aus Niederösterreich, in: Festschrift zum hundertjährigen Bestand des Vereins für Landeskunde von Niederösterreich und Wien', Jahrbuch für Landeskunde von Niederösterreich 36,2 (1964) p.691, no 6.

Schmidt-Künsemüller, F.A., Corpus der gotischen Lederschnitteinbände aus dem deutschen Sprachgebiet, 1980, p.59.

Staufer, V., Catalogus codicum manu scriptorum, qui in bibliotheca monasterii Mellicensis O.S.B. servantur, III, 1889, no 1313.

Stelzer, W., 'Getrennt aufgetaucht nach mehr als 170 Jahren: Die beiden Teile eines gotischen Lederschnitteinbandes aus Göttweig, vormals Cod. 4 (rot). Ein Einband aus dem Kreis der 'Meister der Blattornamente'', Codices Manuscripti & Impressi 146 (2023), pp.15-22.

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Time, Location
11 Jun 2024
UK, London
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A splendid cuir-ciselé Melk binding
Breviary, for the use of Melk Abbey, in Latin, manuscript on paper [Abbey of Melk, Austria, c.1476]
A Breviary from Melk Abbey, at the height of its renaissance during the Melk Reform movement, in a rare, splendid contemporary cuir-ciselé binding depicting St Barbara as abbess and St Margaret crowned and carrying a dragon.

322 x 210mm. i + 292 + i leaves, complete, collation: 12, 26, 3-1312, 148, 15-2512, 262, 278, 282, modern foliation in pencil followed here, two columns of 30-34 lines written in a Gothic hybrid book script, written space: 190 x 130mm, initials, paragraph headings and highlights in red, table of golden numbers for the years 1476-1500, watermark a bull's head similar to Briquet 14882, inserted slip with text between ff.154-155 (occasional marginal soiling and smudging, some wormholing, else in excellent condition).

Binding:
Contemporary cuir-ciselé binding: brown calf over slightly bevelled wooden boards, sides with large cuir-ciselé panels within blind-ruled frames, each depicting a saint in full-length on a punched criblé ground, upper cover with St Margaret crowned and with a dragon on her arm, lower cover St Barbara as an abbess holding her tower, inner frame with small cinquefoils (upper) or quatrefoils (lower), 5 round bosses on each cover, 2 fore-edge clasps (lightly rubbed, rebacked preserving much of the early backstrip with cut-leather decoration, re-edged and with other discreet restorations, one metal clasp missing, later endpapers); modern russet morocco-backed folding box. Published in Schmidt-Künsemüller, 1980, p.59, with reproduction.

Provenance:
(1) Melk Abbey, Austria: their 17th-century manuscript ex-libris on f.1: 'Monasterii Mellicensis', ex cod.974. The Benedictine Abbey of Melk was founded in the 11th century and houses the remains of St Coloman of Stockerau, along with those of several members of the House of Babenberg, Austria's first ruling dynasty. St Coloman and his translation are noted in red in the Calendar, which also includes other regional Saints such as Rupert and Virgilius of Saltzburg, Walburga, Sigismund, Vitus and Ulric. In the 15th century the abbey became the centre of the Melk Reform movement which reinvigorated monastic life of Austria and Southern Germany and included the improvement of calligraphy, as demonstrated by a manuscript entitled Modus scribendi of 1460, now at Cambridge, Houghton Library, MS. Typ 111, which contains the same ex-libris as the our manuscript. The present manuscript can be accurately dated both from the table of golden numbers on f.7v, for the years 1476-1500, and from the watermark, similar to Briquet 14882 (Tyrol, 1472). The present manuscript was described in the 1889 catalogue of the library, where it was listed as no 1313 (Staufer, 1889). The Abbey came into financial difficulties during the interwar period and a number of manuscripts were deaccessioned in 1928 and 1936-7 (these transactions are described in Glaßner, 2022, working from the Abbey library correspondence). This Breviary was one of 8 manuscripts sold in 1928 by the Abbey librarian Dr P. Wilhelm Schier to:

(2) Philipp Rühmer (b.1877), Munich antiquarian dealer. Glaßner details the subsequent fates of the 8 manuscripts deaccessioned to Rühmer (ex cod. 707, also in a 15th-century cuir-ciselé binding was acquired by the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin).

(3) Sotheby's, 26 January 1959, lot 77, to Maggs.

(4) By 1964 the manuscript was in a private collection in Germany, according to Holter, 1964, p.691.

(5) Charles van der Elst (1904-1982), President of the Royal Society of Bibliophiles and Iconophiles of Belgium: his bookplate and his sale, Tajan/Claude Guérin, Précieux Livres Anciens, Monaco, 13 May 1985, lot 37, to:

(6) H.P. Kraus, New York, sold in February 1988 to:

(7) The Schøyen Collection, MS 49.

Content:
Breviary, ff.1-292, opening with Calendar ff.1-7, Table of golden numbers for 1476-1500 ff.7v-8; the text beginning with the Vigil of Pentecost 'Veni Sancte Spiritus'; Proper of Saints (Summer part), beginning with St Urbanus (f.92), Psalter (f.232).

Provenance
Glaßner, C., 'In those years Austria was my principal happy hunting ground: Zu den Handschriftenverkäufen des Stiftes Melk in der Zwischenkriegszeit', dass die Codices finanziell unproduktiv im Archiv des Stiftes liegen. Bücherverkäufe österreichischer Klöster in der Zwischenkriegszeit, 2022, p.119-120, no 2.

Holter, K., 'Beiträge zur Geschichte des Lederschnitt-Einbandes in Niederösterreich', Gutenberg-Jahrbuch (1964) p.342.

Holter, K., 'Lederschnitteinbände aus Niederösterreich, in: Festschrift zum hundertjährigen Bestand des Vereins für Landeskunde von Niederösterreich und Wien', Jahrbuch für Landeskunde von Niederösterreich 36,2 (1964) p.691, no 6.

Schmidt-Künsemüller, F.A., Corpus der gotischen Lederschnitteinbände aus dem deutschen Sprachgebiet, 1980, p.59.

Staufer, V., Catalogus codicum manu scriptorum, qui in bibliotheca monasterii Mellicensis O.S.B. servantur, III, 1889, no 1313.

Stelzer, W., 'Getrennt aufgetaucht nach mehr als 170 Jahren: Die beiden Teile eines gotischen Lederschnitteinbandes aus Göttweig, vormals Cod. 4 (rot). Ein Einband aus dem Kreis der 'Meister der Blattornamente'', Codices Manuscripti & Impressi 146 (2023), pp.15-22.

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Time, Location
11 Jun 2024
UK, London
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