Lot 3
  • 3

Lyra, Nicolaus de

25,000 - 35,000 USD
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  • Lyra, Nicolaus de
  • Postilla Super Bibliam, volume I. 
    Rome: Conrad Sweynheym and Arnold Pannartz, 18 November 1471
  • ink, paper, leather
Royal folio (403 × 278 mm). Collation: [12; 2-310 4-68 7-910 1012 11-1310 1412 15-1710 18-198 20-2210 2312 24-2610 2712 28-3810 398 4010 418 42-4510 46-478] 449 of 452 leaves, lacking fo. 1 blank and fos. 122, 127 (sheet 144.9) containing commentary within Exodus chapters 26 and 29. 46 lines. Type 2:115R. Initial spaces. Rubricated and illuminated (red and blue antiqua initials, paragraph marks; white vine initials, one laid out in ink but not finished in colors; on 21r a three-part white vine border with ecclesiastical arms in ink.
Early twentieth-century binding: half browned morocco, lettered gilt with provenance name on the bottom of the spine. Rubbed, scattered bleach stains, one leaf 2/1 partly cut out; 1/2 supplied, tape on the margin of last leaf; a very tall copy. 


Michele Cavaleri, Milan art collector (Museo Cavaleri stamp) — David N. Carvalho, 1848-1925, New York City.


Goff N-131; Hain 10363*; BMC IV 14 (IC.17180); Bod-inc N-56; BSB-Ink N-110

Catalogue Note

First edition of Lyra’s literal postill of the Bible, volume I only, the fundamental reference tool for study of the Bible in the late Middle Ages. Sweynheym and Pannartz’s edition was edited by Giovanni Andrea Bussi, Bishop of Aleria and papal librarian. His dedication to Sixtus IV incorporates verses from Virgil’s Georgics. The full edition in five volumes, completed in May 1472, was the largest production of Sweynheym and Pannartz’s shop, totaling more than 1,800 Royal folio leaves. The first volume covers Genesis through 2 Chronicles. On various pages spaces were left for drawings of Noah’s Ark, the Tabernacle, and other Old Testament materials described in detail by Lyra. In this copy, as in most, the spaces were left blank.