PBA Galleries to sell rare 15th century manuscript June 21
SAN FRANCISCO – On June 21, PBA Galleries will offer one of the rarest and most significant pieces it has ever brought to auction, a manuscript on vellum in “Grand Format” of the Fasciculus Temporum by the 15th century monk and historian Werner Rolewink, produced circa 1471. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.
The auction will begin at 11 a.m. PDT.
The Fasciculus is a history of the world with dual parallel timelines dating both from creation and the birth of Christ. It was the first history of the world to be printed, by Arnold ther Hoernen, in Cologne in 1474, and was immensely popular, going through 30 editions before 1500, and has the claim to be the best-selling 15th century book by a contemporary author. Indeed, the Fasciculus was apparently the second publication of any living author, seeming to be predated only by Robertus Valturius’ De re militari (1472). This is one of only 13 known manuscript copies of the work and the only known copy in private hands, and also one of only seven known manuscripts that predate the printed book.
The manuscript comprises 30 vellum leaves, in Latin, handwritten in brown and red ink, with numerous roundels in red. There are three miniature paintings in colors (of Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus in the manger; Christ nailed to the cross; and a resurrected Christ, a nimbus of tooled gold leaf surrounding his head, holding a gold leaf orb that is also delicately tooled), and a large, elaborate initial in red and blue leading off the text, with several smaller initials in red or blue.
Of further note is the large size of the present manuscript, done in “Grand Format,” dwarfing the printed version. The leaves are 43.5 centimeters (17 1/4 inches tall), much larger than the 29 centimeters (11 1/2 inches) of the 1474 printed version. This allows fuller utilization of the elaborate roundel format, with an elegance and beauty not available in the printed version. This grand format is a characteristic of the prepublication manuscripts only. Post-1474 manuscripts typically followed the smaller format of the printed book. The printed version did have a series of small woodcut illustrations, markedly different from the three beautifully executed miniature paintings in this manuscript. The manuscript is elegantly bound in 17th century paneled calf with gilt tooling. It is estimated to sell for between $100,000 and $150,000.
For more information contact Shannon Kennedy by email: Shannon@pbagalleries.com or phone 415-989-2665. PBA Galleries’ website is www.pbagalleries.com.
View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet as the sale is taking place by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
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