“Lavacrum Conscientiae,” by Jacobus de Gruytrode

Offered is a beautiful copy of what is probably the first printed edition, or editio princeps, of the great medieval theological treatise entitled “Lavacrum Conscientiae,” authored by Jacobus de Gruytrode and printed in quarto in 1489 at Augsburg by Anton Sorg.

This is unquestionably the first dated edition of the great treatise; it is probably also the princeps proper, but there is another edition that was printed in Germany between 1487 and 1493.

This volume is beautifully rubricated with red and blue capitals in every initial space and with red underlinings and initial strokes; it is printed in gothic type in a single column throughout.

The volume is also beautifully bound in 15th century blindstamped calf and 15th century manuscript covered boards with leather ties. The manuscript and the ties are the products of a 20th century restoration and perfectly complement both the calf and the text.

The “Lavacrum Conscientiae” stresses the ministerial obligations of priests and is frequently severely critical of ecclesiastics. The author, Jacobus de Gruytrode, lived between 1381 and 1465, was originally a Cistercian, and switched to the more rigorous order of the Carthusian monastery at Erfurt.

The volume is complete in all respects, numbering folios plus initial and final blanks; it collates [1], a-m8, n-n2, [2]. The volume measures 19.5 cm by 14.7 cm by 3.5 cm.

The volume is in excellent condition internally and externally. The binding is essentially without wear and the pages are bright and very clean. The text is clear and crisp and the rubrication is full, bright and unfaded.

The title, which would have been the sole text upon the original title page, has been clipped and pasted upon a new leaf. There is also some marginal restoration to the first 7 leaves of text, occasionally affecting a couple of letters of text.

In all, this is a wonderful copy of a very rare and desirable incunable, the first edition of the “Lavacrum Conscientiae” of Jacobus de Gruytrode, printed at Augsburg in 1489, fully rubricated in rd and blue, and offered at a reasonable reserve.

Please take the time necessary to review the photos below in order to gain a better understanding of the content and condition of the volume.

Also, please take a moment to view my other auctions, including the second, expanded and definitive edition of the complete Latin works of Francesco Petrarcha, two volumes bound as one, printed at Venice in 1501; the beautifully printed 1498 edition of the complete works of the great Roman poet Statius, decorated with over 100 woodcut initials and containing Statius’ “Sylvae,” “Thebais,” and “Achilleidos”; the rare 1489 edition, probably the editio princeps and certainly the first dated edition, of the “Lavacrum Conscientiae” of Jacobus de Gruytrode, published at Augsburg by Anton Sorg, housed in a very nice binding and beautifully rubricated throughout; and a fine, rare copy of the 1486 editio princeps of “De Vita Contemplativa” by Julianus Pomerius, one of the most important of early Christian and Augustinian theological treatises.

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