Shopping cart (0 items € 0)
Go Back

First edition of the "Divisiekroniek", with 239 woodcut illustrations, in an interesting binding

[AURELIUS, Cornelius].
Die cronycke van Hollandt, Zeelandt en[de] Vrieslant beghinnende va[n] Adams tiden tot die geboerte ons heren Jh[es]u[m] voertgaende tot de[n] jare M.CCCCC. ende Xvij.
Leiden, Jan Seversz., 18 August 1517. Folio. With the title-page printed in red and black with a large woodcut between different woodcut borders, and 239 woodcuts in text, including 121 woodcut portraits. Black blind-tooled goatskin (1637), with gold-tooled title and binding date on side. [2], 436 ll.
€ 45,000
First edition of the famous and beautifully illustrated Dutch national chronicle, known as the "Divisiekroniek", because of its publication in 32 devisions. The chronicle contains various narratives of historical, ecclesiastical and hagiographical nature, "cobbled together by an Augustinian canon, Cornelius Aurelius, from late medieval folklore and romances, local fables and chronicles as well as a superficial reading of Tacitus Germania" (Schama). It is profusely and beautifully illustrated with woodcuts of various size and style. Only ten of the woodcuts were specially designed and cut for the "Divisiekroniek": apparently the Leyden printer Jan Severszoon used whatever he happened to have in stock.
Most of the woodcut illustrations used to be ascribed to Lucas van Leyden, however, Jeudwine only acknowledges about eight (including the full-page Crucifixion, the Christ standing on the globe, the Virgin in glory, and some portraits). Most of the other woodcuts are now ascribed to Van Leyden's contemporaries: the artist Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen and the painter Cornelis Engebrechtsz.
Of particular interest is the black goatskin binding with gold-tooling on the front side and the spine. There are 21 other volumes known with similar bindings, all with the date "1637" on the side, as well as the name of the author or the (short) title (here: Hol: Cronyck). Most of the volumes, though not all, bear a gold-tooled shelf mark on the spine, with a number at the top (here: "102") and a capital letter at the bottom (here: "E"). The highest number so far is "158", the letters run from A to F.
Professor Jan van Gelder has shown that the volumes originally belonged to the art-collector Pieter Spiering Silfvercrona (d. 1652), who was responsible for the uniform black leather bindings. After Spiering's death the collection apparently was dispersed. According to a later inscription on the pastedown, the present copy was acquired by the Dutch engraver Frans Koerten (Coerten; ca. 1603-1668), who left a note on the verso side of the flyleaf. The auction catalogue of Frans Koerten's book collection (1668), indeed lists two copies of the Chronijck van Hollandt, Zeelandt en Vrieslandt, van Adams tijden tot 1500. The other volumes can be found today at the British Museum, the British Library, UL in Amsterdam, F. Lugt collection in Paris, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and one was sold in Bern in 1973.
With an owner's inscription on pastedown by Van Meurs (?), who bought the present copy at the auction of the library of Johannes Enschedé. Binding rubbed along the extremities, lower raising band half loose, slightly damaged on spine, without the often lacking index of four leaves, slightly browned, but otherwise in very good condition. Adams A2253; J. van Gelder & I.Jost, Jan de Bisschop and his icones and paradigmata, classical antiquities and Italian drawings for artistic instruction in seventeenth century Holland (1985), pp. 196-211; Jeudwine, p. 253, and nr. 388; Nijhoff & Kronenberg 613; S. Schama, The embarrassment of riches: an interpretation of Dutch culture in the golden age (1988), pp. 72-74; Tilmans, Historiography in Holland, passim.
Order Inquire Terms of sale

Related Subjects:

Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Bindings
Early printing & manuscripts  >  History, Law & Philosophy | Low Countries
History, law & philosophy  >  History
Low countries  >  Early Printing (15th & 16th Century) | History, Economics, Law & Politics