Close BB-6 Biblia Pauperum

[Edition XI]. Incipit: ‘Legit(ur) in genesi .iij. ca(pitul)o q(uod) dixit d(omi)n(u)s serpenti super pect(us) tuu(m) gradier(is) et postea ibidem legitur de serpe(n)te et muliere . . .’ Edition XI is one of two which represent the fourth group of Biblia pauperum blockbooks, and is only to be distinguished from edition X by a single pair of leaves, plates .i. and .k., which have been recut. Kroll’s provisional investigation of edition X suggests that it is a close copy, with some simplification of detail and shading, based on a composite set of plates from editions I, VI, and VIII; ‘Untersuchungen’, 308 and note 9. Facsimiles: Palmer, Berlin-Breslauer Sammelband, fiche 2 (edition X); Biblia Pauperum, 35 mm colour filmstrip published by the Bodleian Library (Roll 173 I).

 [Germany, c.1470]. Chancery folio.

 40 leaves, all with woodcuts and xylographic text, signatures a–v, .a.–.v. (n, o, r, and s of the second alphabet without points). Collation: [1–202]. One of 4 complete copies of this edition, the others in Pavia Museo Civico, Vienna ÖNB, and Weimar ZBKlassik; imperfect copy in Munich BSB (39 leaves); the imperfect copy of 24 leaves in Blackburn Museum (formerly Gotha) wants the leaves that distinguish editions X and XI. See the list of copies of editions X and XI in Palmer, Berlin-Breslauer Sammelband, 47–8; ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 143–4 notes 15–16 (including the fragments of edition X or XI). Edition X together with its variant, edition XI, represent the final stage of development of the 40-plate Biblia pauperum. The paper stocks and the provenance of extant copies, taken together, suggest that these editions are German rather than Netherlandish, but it is not possible on present evidence to specify their origin more precisely within the Central and Southern German area. Edition X is datable, on the basis of the paper and interleaving of the Berlin copy (Palmer, Berlin-Breslauer Sammelband, 64), to c.1469, whereas edition XI is better placed c.1470 or in the early 1470s. Both editions are associated, by common paper stocks and by association in ‘Sammelbände’, with the blockbook Apocalypse edition V and the Canticum canticorum edition II, suggesting that these books were printed, but not necessarily designed and cut, in a common workshop. See U. Baurmeister, in CIBN I p. xvii; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 160–5.

ills. Heinecken, Idée, pl. 6; Strutt, Biographical Dictionary, II pl. 7 (Bodleian copy, edition XI); Sotheby II pls LXVI–LXVII; Schreiber, Manuel, VII pl. XLIV (Leipzig copy, edition X); O. Mazal, Buchkunst der Gotik (Graz, 1975), ills 70–1 (Vienna copy, edition X); D. Debes, Zimelien. Bücherschätze der Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig (Leipzig, 1988), 183 no. 96 (Leipzig copy, edition X); Kroll, ‘Beobachtungen’, 290–3 ills XI.1–4 (Weimar and Leipzig copies, editions XI and X), 305 ill. XI.12 (Berlin copy, edition X); Palmer, ‘Latein und deutsch’, 334 ill. 4 (Berlin copy, edition X); Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 138 colour pl. I (Bodleian copy, edition XI).

refs. Heinecken, Idée, 317 (‘edition 1’); Sotheby I 64 (‘edition 6’); Schreiber, Manuel, IV 8–9, 10–89 (‘edition X’); Hind I 238; CIBN I p. xv; Kroll, ‘Beobachtungen’; Palmer, Berlin-Breslauer Sammelband, 22–5, 45–8; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 143–5.

copy 258 × 190 mm (pl. a). In its present state this copy consists of 40 separate leaves, trimmed to the frame of the woodcut, and mounted with the printed pages as rectos in a late eighteenth-century album. The distribution of the watermarks confirms that the book originally consisted of 20 bifolia, folded and placed in sequence. Watermarks: Letter P, not listed by Briquet or in the printed edition of Piccard. Hen, similar, but not identical, to Wasserzeichenkartei Piccard, Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart Best. J 340 (, last accessed 1 July 2004), no. 42120 (Utrecht 1445). For reproductions, see Sotheby III 26 and Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 162 ill. 3. The distinctive hen watermark is known from two copies of the Canticum canticorum blockbook edition II (Munich UB, Cim. 48, and Vienna ÖNB, Ink. 2.D.34) and from a copy of the Ars memorandi blockbook edition III (Pavia Museo Civico, inv. 4867, item 3), which are therefore likely to have been printed in the same workshop; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 161–5. Printed in deep-brown ink on one side of the paper by rubbing. The state of the blocks is similar to that of the Berlin copy, but several details and a break at the bottom of pl. n (leading to loss of the letter ‘V’ in ‘V9’) indicate that the Bodleian copy is a later impression. Coloured in green, two shades of yellow, two shades of brown, dull and bright red, flesh-colour, grey-black, and black-brown, probably by the same hand that executed the colouring of BB-7 (Canticum canticorum edition II). Christ’s wounds and the flow of blood at the crucifixion are marked up in red or orange. On pls a–b and e–f majuscules in the text are touched with red. The versos, which at one time were pasted together, are blank. Many of the leaves contain the remains of a sequence of bracketed numbers inscribed at top centre, only 6 of which survived the trimming. In addition these, and two further leaves contain pencil numbers. The plates with the numbers are as follows (giving the bracketed number in ink first): d (4/28), f (6/14), l (–/41), m (–/42), q (14/38), .f. (24/42?), .h. (26/44), .k. (28/46). Taken together the two sets of numbers, both of which must antedate the present binding of c.1790, provide evidence that at one time the leaves lay in a different order, and that this order was at one point changed. The ink numbers indicate a state when one of the bifolia g/h, i/k, l/m, and n/o was misplaced somewhere towards the end of the book. The pencil numbers appear to refer to a volume made up of more than 40 leaves, most likely from the time when the Biblia pauperum was combined with the Canticum canticorum (BB-7). There is further evidence, given below, that until the late eighteenth century this book was kept together, or bound together, with the Canticum canticorum blockbook. Tipped into the album at the front, pasted to the second flyleaf, are notes comparing this copy with that of edition I in London BM (Prints & Drawings), 1845–8–9, and Douce’s copy of edition III (BB-4) signed by the biographer P. R. Head (14 Dec. 1882) and the wood engraver W. J. Linton (1812–98), author of The Masters of Wood-Engraving (New Haven and London, 1889) (27. May 1884).

refs. CMA I 256; [Wanley], ‘Observations’, 1508–9; Meerman I 224, 227; Heinecken, Nachrichten, II 146; Heinecken, Idée, 322; Strutt, Biographical Dictionary, II 17; Ottley, History of Engraving, I 129–30 with note; Sotheby I 60, 64; Pr 45; SC 5143; Schreiber, Manuel, IV 9; Blockbücher des Mittelalters, 383, 404; Rogers, Treasures, 162; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, passim; Sheppard no. 6.

Binding: Late eighteenth-century album, for the Bodleian Library. 354 × 284 × 19 mm. Blind- and gold-tooled centrepiece inboard binding by the London binder Heinrich Walther, probably dating from the 1790s. Blue straight-grained tanned morocco over millboard. Each trimmed woodcut is inlaid into a support sheet (340 × 274 mm) without any overlap, and held in place by a second sheet pasted across the entire verso, a black ruled ink line disguising the join. See A. Griffiths, ‘The Archaeology of the Print’, in Collecting Prints and Drawings in Europe, c.1500–1750, ed. C. Baker and others (Aldershot, 2003), 9–28, at 15, for a discussion of this expensive and laborious mounting method. The inlaid and mounted leaves are made up as sections and, with ‘antique spot’ marbled-paper endleaves, are sewn on 6 single recessed cords. The first and last blockbook leaves have repairs which predate the current binding. Many of the support leaves were repaired with Japanese paper in 1995. Their edges are ploughed and gilded. The blind- and gold-tooling is executed with one of the Bodleian’s engraved oval centrepieces (72 × 56 mm), 8 small tools, 3 rolls, and 2 fillets. The spine has 6 sets of paired false single bands, and has ‘hist. | vet. et nov. | testament’ gold-tooled to the second panel and ‘seu | biblia | pauperum’ to the third panel. A ticket (8 × 26 mm) with ‘bound by | h. walther’ tooled in black ink is pasted to the verso of the upper flyleaf. No evidence of an earlier binding survives. The matching bindings of BB-6 and BB-7 are almost identical with a signed binding by Walther illustrated as pl. XXV in Ramsden, London Bookbinders, 144–5. This volume, now London BL, C.155.c.7 (illustrated at, last accessed 28 June 2004), shares the same 6 small tools used to frame the boards of BB-6 and BB-7, including the distinctive ‘steeple’ or ‘crocketed pinnacle’ tools (25 × 8.5 mm and 30 × 9 mm). These were also used on 58 bindings attributed to Walther and executed before 1794 for Anthony Morris Storer, which formed part of the 1799 Storer bequest to Eton College; see R. Birley, ‘The Storer Collection in Eton College Library’, The Book Collector, 5 (1956), 115–26, at 122 and plate facing 119, and R. Birley, The History of College Library (Eton, 1970), pl. 9. They are also found on another signed incunable binding made by Walther for the Bodleian Library c.1791, Auct. K 3.20 (see E-040(1)). The larger ‘crocketed pinnacle’ tool was used on the vellum copy of Novelle Otto (London, 1790), a signed binding c.1791 by Walther for the second Earl Spencer now in Manchester JRL, discussed and illustrated by H. M. Nixon, Five Centuries of English Book-binding (London, 1978), 182–3. For Walther’s binding work for the Bodleian and the £9. 9. 0 payment by the library in 1789 for ‘engraving stamps’, see K. Jensen, ‘Heinrich Walther, Christian Samuel Kalthoeber and other London Binders: Books in the Bodleian Library Bound by Germans Settled in London in the Eighteenth Century’, Bibliothek und Wissenschaft, 29 (1996), 292–311, especially 304–5 and notes 46–8 (mentioning this item). This and the matching binding on BB-7 stand out among the Walther bindings made for the Bodleian on account of their wealth of intricate tooling, which, when taken together with the laborious and expensive mounting method, may indicate that these books were particularly valued.

Provenance: Franciscus Junius (1589–1677). Bequeathed in 1677. Formerly kept together with BB-7 as MS. Junius 31 and listed as such in the year 1697 in CMA. Humfrey Wanley, who examined the book in the early years of the eighteenth century, wrongly supposed it to be identical with the blockbook recorded by Hadrianus Junius in his Batavia (written in 1568); see H. Junius, Batavia (Leiden, 1588), 256; [Wanley], ‘Observations’, 1508–9; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 154–5. The volume was still shelved as MS. Junius 31 when Gerard Meerman corresponded with Benjamin Kennicott shortly before 1765; see Meerman I 224 note (s) (only mentioning the Biblia pauperum). Schreiber, Manuel, IV 9, and Sheppard mistakenly identify the Biblia pauperum with the ‘Bibliorum historiae sculpturis expressae’ listed by Hyde, Catalogus (1674), 88 (a collection of about 443 sixteenth-century engravings by Dutch artists compiled from many sources, from John Selden’s library, Antiq. c.B. 1, former shelfmark: B 4.6. Th. Seld.), a mistake which has given rise to the assignation of a Selden provenance to the blockbook. Former Bodleian shelfmark: Auct. M 3.13. Formerly exhibited in one of the glass cases in the Arts End of Duke Humfrey’s Library, later in the Picture Gallery (Upper Reading Room), cf. Macray (2nd edn) 463–4 [1890], not so listed in the first edn; Library Records d. 1570, fol. 6r [1919]; Library Records d. 1572, fol. 2r [1921]; Library Records d. 1571, fol. 18r [1925]; Library Records d. 1573, fol. 8r [1931].

shelfmark: Arch. G c.14.