Shelf Fulfillment

The Antiquarian Booksellers Association…

Month: August, 2012

Incunable Week

by bibliodeviant

Special Collections Cataloging at Penn

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is cross-posted here and at the Unique at Penn blog.

One week a month is devoted to cataloging incunables, the first books printed after the invention of movable type in the second half of the 15th century.  Incunables are a joy to catalog. There is so much to describe: rubrication and other ornamentation, illustrations, binding, paper size, text measurements, etc.  Cataloging an incunable is also a great opportunity to do some serious provenance research.

This month, Incunable Week brought some of the best incunables in Penn’s collection to Liz Broadwell’s desk.  The standout was H-151 (we use Goff numbers to identify our incunables), a 1474 edition of Hierocles’s commentary on the Golden Verses attributed to Pythagoras.  This is a pretty common incunable—lots of institutions have one.

But nobody has our H-151.

Humanist Heaven

Penn’s copy was owned by the humanist scholar Johannes…

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Shudder of Biblio-lust of the day.

by bibliodeviant


Every day you see something new…


Has anyone seen anything like this in their wanderings? It’s medieval manuscript held by Uppsala University where faults and damage have been repaired by the intricate and artistic use of coloured silk thread. I’ve seen vellum tears repaired with suture stitch before, but never embroidered!

Just lovely.

Illustrating 17th-century science: the Lister Sisters

by bibliodeviant

The Conveyor

The Bodleian Library is displaying drawings, prints and the original copperplates used to print the engraved illustrations for Martin Lister’s 17th-century study of conchology. Assembled by Dr Anna Marie Roos (History Faculty, University of Oxford) these items tell the story of how two teenagers, Susanna and Anna Lister, worked to produce detailed illustrations of shells and dissected molluscs for their father’s publication. Dr Roos has written about the copperplates in The Conveyor, and about her rediscovery of the plates in Notes and Records of the Royal Society (66:1, March 2012). An article in Nature online displays a slideshow of some of the copperplates and drawings and prints held in the Bodleian and at the Linnean Society and the Royal Society.

Dr Roos will talk about ‘The Art of Science: The Rediscovery of the Lister Copperplates’ on Wednesday, 19 September 2012, in the Convocation House, Bodleian Library. The lecture is free…

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Earliest known book wrapper or dust-jacket

by bibliodeviant

The Conveyor

from the Rare Books section:
Material of significance for the history of publishing and printing is part of the Rare Books and Printed Ephemera collections at the Bodleian Library.

The earliest-known book dust wrapper was discovered in the Bodleian collections by the Bodleian’s former Head of Special Collections, Michael Turner, during the 1970s. Dating from 1829, it protected a finely-bound gift book entitled Friendship’s Offering.

The wrapper had been separated from its book, and has now been catalogued individually. Scholars are now recognizing this as the earliest known dust jacket.

The cover came to the library in 1877 when the Library bought a collection of book-trade and other ephemera at the auction of Gillyatt Sumner, a Yorkshire antiquary. Now the dust wrapper is part of a collection of pamphlets based on those bequeathed by Charles Godwyn in 1770 but added to by the Library until the end of the 19th…

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52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 9: Piero Valeriano’s menagerie of symbols (Hieroglyphica, 1556)

by bibliodeviant

Echoes from the Vault

This week’s illustration post comes straight out of a very close-knit circle of Renaissance Italian humanists working in the 16th century, however the story begin in 15th century Greece. Cristoforo Buondelmonti, an Italian geographer and monk from Florence, visited many of the Greek islands between 1414 and 1430. In 1422, during one of his returns to his home, Buondelmonti brought back the only known manuscript copy of Horapollo’s Hieroglyphica, a compendium of interpretations of hieroglyphs. Previously, Horapollo’s work was known only by references in a 10th century Byzantine encyclopaedia called the Suda. The manuscript of Hieroglyphica (which is now kept in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana) was very popular amongst a very small circle of Florentine Humanists, which included Aldus Manutius and Giorgio Valla. In 1505, Manutius included Valla’s Greek translation of Hieroglyphica in a collection of fables and stories.

Piero Valeriano

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