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52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 21: images inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy

To celebrate the first meeting of the Lectura Dantis Andreapolitana (the St Andrews Lectura Dantis) of this academic year, I spent a bit of time in the stacks finding some great illustrations of Dante’s most famous work. Because of its early popularity and its great critical acclaim, examples of illustrations accompanying Dante’s Commedia can be…

13 November 2012illustrations Rare Book Collection

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 16: the Office for the Dead with other devotional works

This very pretty little prayer book was probably part of a book of hours originally; these contained simplified versions of church liturgy to facilitate private devotions by the laity, and were created in large numbers during the later middle ages. Here the Hours of the Virgin and the calendar are lacking and the Latin text…

8 October 2012illustrations Manuscript Collection

52 Weeks of Inspiring Illustrations, Week 9: Piero Valeriano’s menagerie of symbols (Hieroglyphica, 1556)

This week’s illustration post comes straight out of a very close-knit circle of Renaissance Italian humanists working in the 16th century, however the story begin in 15th century Greece. Cristoforo Buondelmonti, an Italian geographer and monk from Florence, visited many of the Greek islands between 1414 and 1430. In 1422, during one of his returns…

20 August 2012illustrations Rare Book Collection

New Acquisition: the first printed edition of Corpus agrimensorum Romanorum (1554)

The summer is a busy time of year for new acquisitions here at St Andrews. As our fiscal year winds down and extra money is found and needed to be spent, some items on our wish-lists can be ticked off. We’ll be highlighting some of our newest purchases and gifts in the next few months,…

6 July 2012new acquisitions Rare Book Collection

52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 44: contemporary binding of the Ostrog Bible (1581)

This week’s binding post is one of the true treasures of the Rare Books collection here at St Andrews: the first edition of the Ostrog Bible. The Ostrog Bible is the first edition of the Bible printed in Slavonic and in Cyrillic characters. It was produced in 1581 by Ivan Fedorov (his last known work)…

13 April 2012bindings

52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 43: a 16th century metallurgy bound by a 19th century professor

This week’s binding post is a heavy-weight from the Alchemy Collection. It is found on the 1561 Officina Frobeniana printing of Georg Agricola’s De re metallica libri XII. This book is the second edition of Agricola’s masterpiece on mining, metallurgy and engineering which features woodcuts by the master engraver Hans Rudolf Manuel. This book was…

4 April 2012bindings

52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 41: gorgeous early 16th century French clasps

Earlier this week, our Muniments Archivist, Rachel Hart, was browsing our early print collections for images of Easter for another publication. You can imagine my excitement when I received a phone call saying that she’d found something perfect for our binding thread! This week’s post is a beautiful example of one of the classic binding…

21 March 2012bindings

52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 40: a stunning 16th century pigskin and medieval manuscript half binding

This week’s binding feature is one of four incunabula held in the George Hay Forbes Collection. This week, as I was wrapping up cataloguing of all the known incunabula from the smaller collections held in the department (the majority are held in the Typographical Collection), I came to pull this item off the shelf I…

16 March 2012bindings

52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 36: a 16th century Frankenstein-esque binding

This week’s binding feature is indeed a bit of a Frankenstein. I came across this item while working through the large folio incunabula shelves and was caught a bit off-guard. TypGU.A78ZJ is the late 15th century Johannes Zainer (Ulm) printing of Jacobus de Voragine’s Legenda aurea. This is one of the five copies of this…

15 February 2012bindings

52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 30: 16th century Hebrew text bound in a leaf of a 12th or 13th century manuscript

This week’s binding post caught my eye as I was reshelving some items. As you can see in the picture above, this book stands out a bit: it’s quite a common to find leaves of manuscripts used as fly-leaves and binding waste, but, especially in our collection, it’s not so common to find a book…

5 January 2012bindings