Extraordinary EXQUISITE 430+ YEAR OLD MARTIN LUTHER HAND-COLORED EXTRA- ILLUSTRATED HOLY BIBLE (German language - Biblia) PRINTED IN WITTENBERG BY HANS KRAFFT IN 1584 WITH 1,422 HAND COLORED INITIALS & 224 HAND COLORED AND ILLUMINATED ENGRAVINGS ! AN ASTOUNDING EXAMPLE OF RENAISSANCE ART AND TYPOGRAPHY !
GENERAL TITLE PAGE, 'Biblia, Das ist Die Gantze Heilige Schrifft, Deutsch D. Mart. Luth. Cum Gratia & Privilegio. Wittemberg, M.D.LXXXIIII ', full page engraving featuring various Biblical scenes such as the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark etc., dual dated 1584 in both Roman and Arabic numbers, beautiful vivid colors, mounted on heavy card stock, margins soiled, verso with a wonderful full page engraving of the crucifixion, very rare to find a 16th century title page still in place
PORTRAIT ENGRAVING, margins cropped and mounted, full page engraving of AUGUST, ELECTOR OF SAXONY (1526-1586), beautifully accented in gold
THE FORWARD, 9 pages, first 4 pages with repaired margins with some loss to text, features 6 color initials, moderate foxing to last page
THE TABLE OF CONTENTS, a list of the books of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha.
THE REGISTER, 23 pages, features a lovely colored initial, first two leaves with repaired corners without loss of text, leaf 8 with upper and inner margin repaired without loss of text, leaf 9 with repair to header margin with loss to headline and first 3 lines of text, moderate foxing, over all clean with a few spots of soiling.
THE OLD TESTAMENT, foliated 1- 383, The first of two parts from Moses through Solomon, features a wonderful frontispiece engraving of the Garden of Eden, Features 153 hand colored engravings skillfully executed by a contemporary Renaissance artist in beautiful vivid colors. Several are illuminated with gold gilt that contain elements of jewelry, crowns, fire etc. Also including 681 hand colored historiated and floriated initials plus many selected sections of text underlined in red and green. There are marginal repairs to some early leaves as follows: Leaf 1: footer margin repaired with no apparent loss of text, outer margin reinforced with loss to a few letters of notes. Leaf 2: footer margin repaired without loss of text. Leaf 3: footer margin repaired without loss of text, 2 inch wide band of tissue stabilizes the text just above. Leaf 4: footer margin repaired without loss, closed tear through center of leaf. Leaf 5: margins slightly repaired all around with no loss. Leaf 6: repaired footer margin without loss. Leaf 7 with repaired footer margin without loss and outer margin with minor repair with loss of a few letters of notes. Lacking leaf 219 and 325. Leaf 220: torn with loss of about 1/3 of the leaf affecting a corner of an engraving on the verso. Paper is strong and supple with strong corners, straight edges and clean gutters. No loose pages. Excellent wide margins all around. Virtually free from damp staining, has some light foxing and older repairs scattered throughout. Minor scattered soiling commensurate with age and without offense. Just beautiful!
THE PROPHETS TITLE PAGE, 'Propheten alle Deutfch, D. Mart. Luth., Cum Gratia & Privilegio. Wittemberg. Gedrucft durch Hans Krafft's Erben., MDLXXXIIII', beautiful hand colored engraving, title page to the second of two parts, verso blank and clean.
THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS, APOCRYPHA AND NEW TESTAMENT, foliated 2- 430, The second of two parts from Jeremiah to the end of the New Testament. Features 71 hand colored engravings skillfully executed by a contemporary Renaissance artist in beautiful vivid colors. Several are illuminated with gold gilt that contain elements of jewelry, crowns, fire etc. Also including 741 hand colored historiated and floriated initials plus many selected sections of text underlined in red and green. Leaf 426: repaired with loss to 1/3 of the page, colophon on leaf 430, Paper is strong and supple with strong corners, straight edges and clean gutters. No loose or missing pages. Excellent wide margins all around. Virtually free from damp staining, has some light foxing throughout . Minor scattered soiling commensurate with age and without offense.
*ABOUT THE BINDING*
VERY GOOD to EXCELLENT and Antiquarian quality restored. This magnificent edition is bound in full dark brown leather and has been sympathetically rebacked sometime in the recent past. It features 6 raised cords that create a seven compartmented spine with a fragment of the previous spine laid down retaining the lettering “biblia” in now faded gold gilding. The covers are presumed to be from the early 18th century. This is evidenced by the presence of blind stamped initials “l g” and blind stamped dates of 1588 and 1715. The cover edges are a little worn and rubbed in places. The thick oak boards are possibly original. Amazingly, this book retains its original cast brass clasps and catches that are attached in place with newer leather thongs. A beautiful pair of cast brass tudor roses retain the leather thongs to the rear cover. The inner and outer front and rear hinges have been restored and renewed by the rebacking resulting in a very sound and sturdy binding. This volume has undergone a page by page comprehensive conservation to professional archival standards. This book could be read on a daily basis free from any concerns !
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