[Rome], [M. Silber] [not before 1510].
Square 8vo (131 x 98 mm.). [i], p. Roman type (89), 24 lines per page, FULL-PAGE TITLE WOODCUT (90 x 64 mm.) of St. Birgitta kneeling in devotion before the crucified Christ and a candlelit altar with a row of arches behind and a white-line legend below, LARGE TEXT WOODCUT (71/2 x 53 mm.) of St. Augustine in bishop’s robes praying before the Redeemer with a book open before him (legend also white-line).
Vellum over boards.
Beautifully illustrated, these celebrated prayers revealed by Jesus to the patron saint of Sweden — the so-called Fifteen O’s — circulated broadly in manuscript and had dozens of independent printings in various versions by 1520, nearly all known in a handful of examples.
That offered here has particularly elegant unshaded woodcuts. The smaller introduces the final, pseudo-Augustine, prayer for troubled times, while the large title block advertises the main contents.
Saint Birgitta, or Bridget, founded the Order of the Most Holy Savior in 1346 after twenty-eight years of married life and raising eight children. She devoted herself to reforming the Church and denounced the abuses of secular and sacred authorities. Having grown up at the Swedish royal court, she advised princes, kings and popes on “most of the burning political and religious questions of her time” (Butler’s Lives of the Saints) and, at the end of her life, made an arduous pilgrimage to the Holy Land, dying in Rome on her return. Four months after her burial, she was exhumed and was carried in a triumphal progress across Dalmatia, Austria and Poland to be laid to rest in the abbey she established at Vadstena (Sweden). In good condition.
¶Tinto, Gli annali tipografici Eucario e Marcello Silber 68; EDIT16 CNCE 48406.