Here, too, large donations and purchases of a later date have caused many a foreign binding to find a resting-place. For us, however, the most important acquisition was the transfer of the incunables from Corvey, Hoxter, Bursfelde by Jerome, King of Westphalia. Among these are numerous works intended for the daily use of the clergy and scholars. The books are of small size, 410 and 8,0, and bound in a practical, light, limp cover of simple pig parchment with a string or centre clasp. Many of them, too, have not improbably retained the provisional wrapper the forerunner of the later paper cover — in which they were issued from the press. The method of sewing employed is remarkable and has not hitherto been described. Without entering into details here, I should also like to draw attention to the volumes from the monastery of the Brethren of the Common
Life, which show a peculiar method of sewing, similar to that described under Plate VIII. The appearance on all the volumes of the same tools or sets of tools (identical subjects in different sizes) the plain imprint: liber fratrum domus Rivileonis in Marburg (i. e. “of Lewenbach”, as may still be read on the building of the monastery) along with the notice in the archives that the Brethren did binding for themselves and for customers, furnish abundant proof that these books came from the Brethren’s. workshops.
GIESSEN UNIVERSITY LIBRARY grew up in a similar way to that of Marburg. It originated in a collection of 1342 works bought in Strassburg in 1612. Half of the library then existing in Marburg was added in 1627 in accordance with a compromise which settled the question of inheritance. A number of important donations and purchases followed, but it was above all the incorporation of the old library of St. Mark’s in Butzbach which brought additions valuable from our point of view. Giessen accordingly possesses a large number of incunables in their original bindings, representing a rich variety of types from all parts. The 16th century is represented by a number of interesting blind toolings. Fine bindings of this and the t7th century seem to be entirely wanting. The Wurtemberg binding, Plate XVA, is the only one of such richness that I have observed.
Richer in remarkable and beautiful bindings than all the others put together is the STATE LIBRARY (LANDESBIBLIOTHEK) AT CASSEL. This library was established by the Landgraf Wilhelm VI the Wise, who systematically enlarged to a library of general science the old princely collection which had previously only reflected the practical needs and the passing tastes of the Landgrafs. Many old heirlooms are still preserved in it, such as the valuable illuminated manuscript of Wilhelm, written for landgraff Heinr Landgraich II. (the Iron). Under Moritz the Learned many an undoubtedly rich and remarkable binding was unfortunately lost. In the place of these we now find a plain calf binding with roll border and a scanty Hessian coat of arms in the centre. (On the back is the coat of the librarian Thysius.) Another heir- loom is the “Ritterspiegel” depicted on Plate III. That the Landgraf Philipp, the father of the founder, possessed a small hand-library, chiefly devoted to history and military science, is proved by the books I have found decorated with original gold tooling on calf with rich coats of arms and a variety of rolls and small tools, all of good design. The oldest volume is dated 1543; one of the rolls, well engraved in Holbein’s manner, dates from 1539.
Wilhelm IV. attached value to a fine binding, without, however, sharing the luxurious taste of other courts. He had his own court bindery (from 1591 bookbinder Meyer), but he also bought at the fairs. His bindings are mostly excellent polished calf, decorated with gold and blind tooling, partly with the inherited blocks, coats and rolls, principally, however, with new tools. Less common are the ordinary white sheep bindings. It is impossible here to give even a summary of the results arrived at, to describe the types which were developed under him and his son Moritz within the limits of mediaeval blind tooling. important, too, for our purpose was the lively exchange of new works of the Reformers which was kept up with Saxony, Wurttemberg, &c., and brought much that was beautiful to Cassel.
Original, but without influence on later binding, is the pierced and underlaid parchment binding shown on Plate XIX. Binders might still avail themselves of this idea, though perhaps only for books that are not to be much used.