GUTENBERG’S BIBLE, of 42 lines, Vol. I.
printed on vellum with magnificent painted initials.
Fulda A. 23.
Nothing is known of the former owners of this volume or of the place where it was bound, and there is no entry on the subject. It may, however, be assumed that such special copie were only printed to order and simultaneously bound in Mainz.
The Bible seems to have been at an early date in the possession of the town of Fulda, as an entry on the second fly-leaf of vellum records its donation by the town to the new Prince- abbot, Constantin von Buttlar:
Reverendissimo et celsissimo S. Sacri Romani Imperil Principi Ac Domino Domino Constantino Inclytae | Ecclesiae Fuldensis Abbati, Divae Augustae Archicancellario | Per Germaniam et Galliam Primati Domino Nostro Clementissimo | Hic Sacer Codex Humillime Oblatus Est A Senatu Fuldensi | Anno MDCCXXIII.
Above the dedication is the coat of the town, richly executed in colours, and on the first page the coat of the von Buttlar family.
Binding: Oak boards covered with fine brown calf, cast metal corners and clasps. 440, 320, 105 mm. Edges uncoloured.
Particularly remarkable among the various tools are the round medallions with interlaced patterns in thoroughly oriental style.
NICOLAI DE LYRA postilla magna super Evangelium S. Johannis.
Manuscript on paper of the year 1471. Fulda Ms. Aa. 99.
Binding: Oak boards unbevelled, covered with bright rough tanned leather, 330, 230, 70 mm.
Nothing remains of the mountings except the acute-angled, punched and chased corners of brass plate.
Sewing: 4 double cords with a kettle-stitch band. Headband let into the cover and secured by a second thread in each sheet through the holes of the kettle-stitch.
Decoration: On the front as shown; the figure of S. Katharine was first stamped with a wood block and the surrounding background added afterwards. The block used is obviously one of those which were kept in the monasteries for pictures of the saints, impressions on dough or patterns for embroidery. (The technique is not correctly given in the Guide to the Exhibition.)
The back cover has a double border like the front; the centre field is divided into lozenges in the well-known manner. The outer border contains lozenges with double-headed eagles; the inner one leaves turned right and left, forming a foliated frieze, the lozenges of the centre field are filled with squares containing lilies, the two-headed eagles and dragons (of good design). The entire back cover is deformed by the impressions of apparently irregular, enigmatical lines which were there before the tooling was begun. These are simply the traces of the string with which the damp leather was held down against the bands after being glued on. The regular course was to lay boards on the book before tying up, but even then the beginnings of the impressions of the strings remained visible beside the bands.
This unavoidable defect was then, in truly mediaeval style, utilised as a motive for decoration by deepening and smoothing the traces with a fillet and concealing the ends with a tool (lilies or the like). This has already occurred on several of our plates.