52 Weeks of Fantastic Bindings, Week 25: the earliest Swedish book in our collection, bound in Sweden c. 1577

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Friday 2 December 2011
The front cover of St Andrews' copy of Then Swenska Kyrkeordningen, printed 1571, and bound c. 1577.

This week’s binding gem is the Rare Book Collection’s only recorded early (pre-1900) Swedish imprint: Archbishop Laurentius Petri’s Then Swenska Kyrkeordningen, printed in Stockholm by Amund Laurentsson, 1571 [TypSweS.B71LL]. I noticed this book because it is the last book in the physical run of the Typographical Collection, and its front cover was peaking over the edge of a book-end, begging to be pulled off and looked at.

The title page of Then Swenska Kyrkeordningen, printed in Stockholm by Amund Laurentsson, 1571. St Andrews' copy has five ownership inscriptions dating from 1577-1829.

TypSweS.B71LL is actually treasure for many reasons: it is one of only five recorded copies in the U.K. and the only copy in Scotland, it is most probably bound in Sweden just a few years after its printing, and it has a myriad of ownership inscriptions from the 16th-19th century. Then Swenska Kyrkeordningen is the product of the life-long work of Laurentius Petri, one of the main figures in the Protestant Reformation of Sweden. The Swedish press was carefully controlled by the state, and a quick survey on USTC shows that only around 200 books were produced in Stockholm up to 1571.  Petri had a close involvement with the printing industry in Stockholm: he helped supervise the Vasa Bible  and in the 1560’s he began publishing many tracts that would eventually help establish the Lutheran nature of the Swedish church.

The only illustration found in Then Swenska Kyrkeordningen, a woodcut of a baptism scene.

The binding of St Andrews’ copy of Then Swenska Kyrkeordningen shows that there was a heavy influence of German binding styles in Sweden at the end of the 16th century. TypSweS.B71LL is bound in stained calf on boards, with triple blind fillets and two blind roll stamps (one with depictions of saints, the other floral) used to form two panels on both boards. It also has the initials “A.P.S.” and “77” on front board [i.e. the same Andras Peterius Sollingius from the title page]. There are five ownership inscriptions on the title page of our copy, ranging from 1577 to 1829. This would be a great item for further research, especially for someone with Swedish!

Detail of the monogrammed front cover of TypSweS.B71LL, the initials "A.P.S." correspond to an ownership inscription found at the head of the title page: "Andras Peterius Sollingius".

DG

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