Close BB-7 Canticum Canticorum

[Edition II]. Incipit: ‘Osculet(ur) me osculo oris sui q(ui)a meliora sunt vbera tua viro [!]:’ (pl. 1, upper register). A cycle of 32 pictures representing the Bride’s encounter with the Bridegroom, arranged in two registers on 16 plates, with inscriptions on banderoles, based on motifs from the Song of Songs. A Netherlandish inscription in edition I state II underlines the interpretation of the Bride as a prefiguration of Mary, which is implicit in a number of the individual pictures: ‘Dit is die voersienicheit va(n) marie(n) der mod(er) godes En(de) is gehete(n) in laty(n) ca(n)tice’ (pl. 1). Outside the blockbook tradition this distinctive ensemble of texts and images is known only from a cycle of wall paintings dating from about 1350 on the gallery of the church of Cistercian nuns at Chełmno in Poland; cf. J. Domasłowski, ‘Malarstwo ścienne’, in Domasłowski and others, Malarstwo gotyckie na Pomorzu Wschodnim, (Warsaw and Poznań, 1990), 10–58, at 11–12; J. F. Hamburger, The Rothschild Canticles. Art and Mysticism in Flanders and the Rhineland circa 1300 (New Haven and London, 1990), 85–7, ills 154–63; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 147; Bartal, passim. The illustrations to the Song of Songs in the ‘Furtmeyr Bible’, Augsburg UB, Cod. I. 3. 2o IV, are based on the blockbook, as are the early sixteenth-century mariological wall paintings in the church of Odensvi in Västmanland, Sweden. Facsimiles of edition II: Donati–Tocci, Pal. lat. 143 (pls 1–9); Müller and Lengenfelder, fiche 3. For a complete transcription of the inscriptions, based on edition I, see the description of the plates in Canticum Canticorum. Holztafeldruck von c. 1465, ed. O. Clemen, Zwickauer Facsimiledrucke, 4 (Zwickau, 1910), 2–6.

refs. Meerman I 228–31; Ottley, History of Engraving, 138–53; Ottley, Invention of Printing, 217–27; Sotheby I 77–120; Dutuit I 155–77; Conway 10–11, 201–2; Hind I 243–5; Donati, ‘Libri xilografici’, 221–30, 256; Donati, ‘Un errore dello Schreiber a proposito del Canticum Canticorum xilografico’, Bibliofilia, 74 (1972), 101–8; V. Hernfjäll, ‘Höga Visans Brud i Örtagården: Ett birgittinskt motiv i Odensvi’, Iconographisk post (1983), no. 3, 19–34; Kroll, ‘Bruchstück’; R. Kahsnitz, ‘Die Handschrift und ihre Bilder’, in Die Furtmeyr-Bibel in der Universitätsbibliothek Augsburg: Kommentar, ed. J. Janota (Augsburg, 1990), 65–169, at 98–102, 131–2, 139–69; Blockbücher des Mittelalters, 405, 439–40; M. Engammare, ‘Das Blockbuch “Canticum canticorum” – die erste Serie von Abbildungen des Hohenliedes’, in Blockbücher des Mittelalters, 319–27; T. Petev, ‘Typology and Format in the Netherlandish Blockbook Canticum canticorum, ca. 1465’, Visual Resources, 13 (1998), 331–61; R. Bartal, ‘……“Where Has your Beloved Gone?”: The Staging of the Quaerere Deum on the Murals of the Cistercian Convent at Chełmno’, Word and Image, 16 (2000), 270–89.

 [Germany, c.1469–70]. Chancery folio.

 16 leaves, all with woodcuts and xylographic text. Collation: [1–82]. Edition II is a close copy based on edition I. One of 11 complete copies, the others in Berlin SB, London BL, Munich BSB, Munich UB, Paris BnF (2 copies), Paris Louvre, Pavia Museo Civico, San Marino HEHL, and Vienna ÖNB; imperfect copies in Munich GraphSlg and in Vienna Albertina (wants pls 5, 6, 9, and 16); fragmentary leaves attested in Maihingen (Oettingen-Wallerstein collection), Urbana-Champaign UIllL, and Washington NGA(R). The Cracherode copy in London BL, which Dutuit considers to be a distinct edition, is printed from the blocks of edition II, with some modifications by hand. Whereas edition I was executed in the Netherlands and is datable c.1465, attested in two states (with a printed Netherlandish inscription in state II, the spelling ‘moeder’ pointing if anything to the eastern Netherlands), edition II was more likely executed in Germany c.1469–70. This edition is closely associated, on the basis of common paper stocks and by the occurrence of these editions together in ‘Sammelbände’, with Apocalypse edition V and Biblia pauperum edition X.

ills. Heinecken, Idée, pl. 13; Sotheby I pls XIX–XX, XXII (London BL copy); Dutuit pls 25–8, 30 (Paris Dutuit copy); Schreiber, Manuel, VII pl. LIX (Berlin copy); Blum, Primitifs, pl. XLVII (Louvre copy); Schreiber, Handbuch, XI pls 195–7; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 138 colour pl. II (Bodleian copy).

refs. Heinecken, Idée, 374–7 (‘edition 1’); Sotheby I 83–6; Dutuit I 167–71 (‘edition 3’); Schreiber, Manuel, IV 151–9; BMC I 6; Hind I 245; CIBN I pp. xvii–xviii; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 148–50.

copy 249 × 180 mm (pl. 1). In its present state this copy consists of 16 separate leaves, trimmed to the frame of the woodcut, and mounted with the printed pages as rectos of a late eighteenth- century album. The distribution of the watermarks confirms that the book originally consisted of 8 bifolia, folded and placed in sequence. Watermarks: Bull’s head, one of the non-identical pair of twins belonging to the type PiccO VII 801–74 (Briquet 15103–11), the other to PiccO VII 221–722 (Briquet 15039–102, similar to CIBN I pl. XXVI nos 94–5), but neither watermark firmly identifiable; possibly identical with the Bull’s head watermarks in the Munich GraphSlg copy (inv. 10773b). Paschal lamb (Briquet 44, cf. Stevenson–Briquet, pl. *B no. 7, similar to PiccVierf X 1725), also found in the Munich GraphSlg copy (inv. 10773b) and attested by Stevenson in other blockbooks, namely Biblia pauperum edition I, Ars moriendi edition II, Apocalypse edition V, and in a number of Cologne incunabula; see also Sotheby III 27; Dutuit I 171. For illustrations, see Sotheby III pl. G, cf. p. 27, Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’, 162 ill. 3, discussion 161–4 (with further examples of the use of this watermark in incunabula). Printed in deep-brown ink on one side of the paper by rubbing. The state of the blocks appears to be identical with that of the Berlin copy. Coloured in green, yellow, two shades of brown, dull and bright red, and black-brown, probably by the same hand that executed the colouring of BB-6. The versos, formerly pasted together, are blank. The leaves are bound in the order 1–4, 9–10, 5–6, 11–12, 7–8, 13–16 (Schreiber’s counting). This ordering of the leaves corresponds to the original state of the Berlin SB copy (Libr. impr. rar. fol. 141, now rebound), and to that of the Cracherode-Verdussen copy in London BL (IC 47), and is recorded on the basis of the latter copy by Meermann I 229 and Heinecken, Idée, 374–5. Heinecken notes the order of leaves in the Bodleian copy, thereby attesting it for the period before the volume was rebound in the 1790s. As with the Biblia pauperum (BB-6), however, there is evidence of a double sequence of numbers, one in ink and one in pencil, positioned at the head of each leaf, but trimmed away and only legible on pls 13 (‘12’ in ink, ‘53’ in pencil) and 14 (‘8’, or possibly ‘6’, in ink). The pencil number ‘53’ would appear to be evidence of a common numerical sequence for the 40-plate Biblia pauperum and the Canticum canticorum, dating from the time when they were kept together, or bound together, in the Junius collection (see below). The ink numbering might indicate a state when the leaves were disordered, with not only the order of leaves, but also rectos and versos disturbed. A completely satisfactory explanation of these numbers, consonant with the evidence of the Biblia pauperum, is hard to find. The support leaves are numbered 1–16 in reddish-brown ink, in the same hand that numbered the printed leaves of the Bodleian copy of Apocalypse edition IV (BB-2). A further set of numbers, in pencil, in the lower right-hand corner of each support leaf, records the ideal order of the leaves as 1–2, 5–6, 3–4, 7–16 (as in the copy described by Sotheby I 85–6), with later pencil corrections to the numbering of pls 3–6 to bring it into line with the sequence 1–16 (as in the copies followed by Ottley, History of Engraving, 143–52, and Schreiber, Manuel, IV 153–9).

refs. Meerman I 231; Heinecken, Nachrichten, II 190; Heinecken, Idée, 375; Ottley, Invention of Printing, 227; Sotheby I 83–6; Dutuit I 170–1; Pr 49; Schreiber, Manuel, IV 9; Blockbücher des Mittelalters, 383, 405; Palmer, ‘Junius’s Blockbooks’; Sheppard no. 7.

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 (342 × 274 mm) without any overlap, and held in place by pasting a second sheet across the entire verso, a black ruled ink line disguising the join. The inlaid and mounted leaves are made up into sections and, with ‘antique spot’ marbled-paper endleaves, are sewn on 6 single recessed cords. The edges of the support leaves are ploughed and gilded. The 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. | b. virg. | mariæ’ gold-tooled to the second panel and ‘ex | cantico | canticor.’ to the third panel. A ticket (9 × 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. See BB-6, which has a matching binding, for further details.

Provenance: Franciscus Junius (1589–1677). Bequeathed in 1677. Formerly kept together with BB-6 as MS. Junius 31, and still at that shelfmark when Meerman corresponded with Kennicott shortly before 1765 (the first explicit attestation of this item). Kept with the book is a small label in the handwriting of E. W. B. Nicholson, Bodley’s Librarian 1882–1912, inscribed ‘Block-books. The Canticles printed and coloured in the same way as the Biblia Pauperum. Auct. M.III.12’, from the time when this volume was displayed in a glass case in the Arts End of Duke Humfrey’s Library; see Macray (2nd edn) 263–4 [1890], not so listed in the first edn. For further details of the history of this book see under BB-6.

shelfmark: Auct. M 3.12.