Lot 4
  • 4

Auslegung des Lebens Jesu Christi.

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • [Ulm: Johann Zainer, c. 1482]
  • Paper
Chancery folio (272 x 195mm.), 178 leaves, a-x8 y10 (quire x bound before quire v), 40 lines, gothic letter, numerous woodcuts (some full-page), woodcut initials, contemporary German blind-stamped pigskin over wooden boards by the Dinckmut Bindery in Ulm (Kyriss shop 126), nineteenth-century spine label, b1 and o8 torn into text but without loss, occasional light staining, a few marginal tears, h7 detached and slightly frayed and soiled at edges (a cancel?), k7 stained, a few wormholes at end and in binding, binding rubbed, lacking clasp


"Sum Michaelis Huobmayer", early inscription on first leaf


Goff A1399; H 2146 = HC 16108; BMC ii 530; BSB-Ink G-63; GW 3084; Amelung, Frühdruck I, 51; Schäfer 28; Schreiber 3722

Catalogue Note

First edition of this German adaptation of Ludolf of Saxony's Vita Christi, which is thought to have been written by a woman. The dating of this edition to c.1482 is by Amelung, based on the type used, which Zainer acquired in 1482.

The 95 woodcuts, from 88 blocks, were made for this text. They can be attributed to four different artists (see Schäfer). Each cut seems to have been placed within a larger woodcut frame of about 137 x 115mm. On e6v, concerning Christ and the Samaritan woman, the woodcut is the same as that printed on g4v. In a number of copies, the e6v impression has been covered with a pasted-on impression of a cut specifically depicting the Samaritan woman and Christ, at a well (Amelung, fig. 81). Presumably this correct cut had not yet been made when quite e was being printed off.

The decoration on the binding includes a roll-stamp of a hunting scene with stags which was used by the bindery of Conrad Dinckmut's press in Ulm (the bindery was in operation from 1481). Further bindings from this workshop, with very similar decoration, are recorded and illustrated in Amelung, Der Frühdruck im deutschen Südwesten 1473-1500 (Stuttgart, 1979), catalogue numbers 100-103; number 102 has a near-identical upper cover, the only difference being the use of the dragon roll-stamp in place of the hunting roll-stamp. The copy of this work in the Schäfer collection in Schweinfurt also has a binding from the same bindery (Europäische Einbandkunst aus Sechs Jahrhunderten, 12), also using the hunting roll-stamp and the rose stamp. A further binding from this workshop is recorded on another book from Zainer's press, Jacobus de Voragine's Legenda Aurea (not after 1479) in the British Library (IB.9237). These indicate that there were close connections between the Dinckmut bindery and Zainer's press.