Item #11814 Philobiblon sive De Amore Librorvm, Et Institvtione Bibliothecæ, tractatus pulcherrimus. Richard de Bury, Bp. of Durham.
Philobiblon sive De Amore Librorvm, Et Institvtione Bibliothecæ, tractatus pulcherrimus.

Philobiblon sive De Amore Librorvm, Et Institvtione Bibliothecæ, tractatus pulcherrimus.

Oxford, J. Barnes [after July 6] 1599.

4to (172 x 124 mm.). [iix], 1-5 [6] 7-62, [2 blank], [8]p.

19th-century gilt-ruled glazed tan calf (W. Pratt), spine and red morocco label gilt, all edges gilt.

            The First Edition Printed in England of De Bury’s Durham College library handbook. He aimed “to raise the intellectual standard and provide the necessary material for his students” (DNB III: 478). It is the fourth edition overall, and is notable for the inclusion of “the first 'UNION’ CATALOG EVER ATTEMPTED” (Pforzheimer), that of manuscripts at the Oxford colleges.
            His twenty chapters combine practical guidance and profound bibliophily. They treat the intellectual importance of books, the respect due them, their price(s), the search for and buying of books, the value of contemporary works, grammatical treatises and fables, the writing of new works and the copying of old ones, the care and protection of books, the intellectual and social benefits of an extensive library open to all, the state of scholarship, the lending of books and so on.
           He is also realistic. He discusses theft, the loss of books in war, how to handle books without harming them, their safe storage and the repair of damage, particularly that caused by young and careless scholars — dripping noses, fruit and cheese eaten while reading, saliva, wet or dirty hands and defacing the text and margins with drawings and notes.
           De Bury served as a diplomat, administrator, churchman and scholar. He tutored  Edward III (1312-77), aided his mother, Queen Isabella (1295-1328), was Keeper of the Privy of the Seal and held other high offices, which offered regular opportunities to travel to the Continent, visit libraries and booksellers in France, Germany, and Italy, adding to his collection as he went, and receive books as gifts. His own library numbered in the hundreds of volumes but was sold after his death to meet his debts.
            Thomas James (1573-1629), Bodley’s librarian, was the first to edit the text using multiple manuscripts. He also contributed the appendix, which lists three hundred seventy authors represented in the manuscripts then held in the various collections at Oxford at the time. A single example of the main text dated 1598 survives (Oxford). It was likely a trial pulled before James had readied his manuscript survey for publication.
            The provenance of this copy is of some interest, as it belonged to John Bellingham Inglis (1780-1870), translator of the first edition in English (1832), which remains that used today. The pastedowns bear witness to his “peculiar mania” (de Ricci) of cutting out and pasting onto the endleaves images from other books. It subsequently passed to the passionate collector James P.R. Lyell (1871-1948; bookplate), author of Early Book Illustration in Spain; bookplate of bookseller, publisher, writer, archaeologist and historian James Stevens Cox (1910-97). In good condition (three headlines and one shoulder note just trimmed, minor ink spots), some fifty marginal manuscript text corrections.
¶Bury, Philobiblon: A Treatise on the Love of Books tr. Inglis; Putnam, Books and their Makers during the Middle Ages I: 44, 218, 228, 233 & 296; Pforzheimer Library: English literature, 1475-1700 21; Madan, The Early Oxford Press: A Bibliography I: 47 “Rare”; ESTC S104430; Pollard & Redgrave, STC 959; de Ricci, English Collectors of Books and Manuscripts 97-98.

Item #11814

Price: $44,000.00