1135. [Netherlands - Utrecht]
Folio: [7 (of 8)]-329 (of 330) ff. (title and ff. clxxxv, ccxvii, cccxxx missing, ff. xi, xxiiii, lxx, ccxxxix, cclix in double, some ff. torn or reinforced, a few quires with shorter margins from another copy?, f. ccliii split, soiling, spotting and dampstaining, first f. browning, occ. ms. annot.).
19th-c. half green buckram, marbled paper covers, flat spine (edges used, covers rubbed).
First edition of the Dutch translation (1st ed. in Latin: Cologne, 1474) of this famous universal chronicle from the creation of the world to the 1470s by the Carthusian monk and historian Rolewinck (1425-1502). This version contains textual additions relating to the history of the dioceses of Utrecht, Brabant, Holland and Zeeland. Text in Gothic type, illustrated with numerous timelines and woodcuts (chronological and geographical schematic figures, Tower of Babel, Noah's Ark, the Destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, etc.). Some folios contemp. hand-coloured or rubricated (composite copy?).
The organisation of this text presents a peculiarity typical of the medieval concept of history. The monk thus takes the birth of Christ as his starting point and relates the events that took place since that date, on the one hand, by progressing to the end of the fifteenth century and, on the other hand, by going back to Genesis. This parallel established between the two Testaments is far from insignificant. Medieval theologians believed that the Old Testament announces the New, which in turn confirms the Old.
This twofold walk through time is not without posing some layout problems, especially if one wants to make this text accessible without distorting the chronological order established by the author. Only an ingenious typographer has been able to succeed in such a challenge. The only solution available to him was to reverse the biblical data with respect to those after the life of Jesus. It is widely believed that Johann Veldener was able to solve the technical difficulties caused by this publication on his own. This printer is one of the key figures in the spread of typographic art in the Low Countries, opening the first printing house in Leuven and helping Caxton in Bruges and the Brothers of the Common Life in Brussels to open their houses. He also provided typefaces for many 15th-c. printing houses in the Low Countries.
Ref. ISTC ir00278000. - GW M38760. - Bod-Inc R-128. - BMC IX:12. - BSB-Ink R-256. - Polain 3379. - Brussels exhib.1973, cat.76. - Adam, R. - Werner Rolevinck, in "Les seigneurs du livre". Brussels, KBR, 2008, pp. 49-50.
Prov. Auguste De Bruyne (Mechelen, d. 1890), the so-called "bibliomane" (ms. annot. "acheté à la vente De Bruyne Malines mai 1890"). - Fernand Donnet, former Secretary of the Royal Academy of Archaeology of Belgium (Antwerp, 1856-1927) (owner's stamp).
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