Item #11871 [Gryphus principalis, sive] Typus Boni Principis. Johann Valentin Kirchgessner.
[Gryphus principalis, sive] Typus Boni Principis.

[Gryphus principalis, sive] Typus Boni Principis.

[Würzburg], s.n. c. 1712.

Folio (305 x 184 mm.). Engraved title, 450 [r. 454]p. Woodcut ornament including coats of arms and a memento mori, calculations in text, EIGHT HALF-PAGE AND THIRTY-EIGHT SMALLER ENGRAVED EMBLEMS DESIGNED OR CUT BY THE AUTHOR, Johann Slaver, Elias Müller and Wolfgang Högler celebrating the Greiffenclau-Vollraths family, seventeen blank spaces for absent emblems.

18th-century gray paper over paper boards (spots, hinges frayed, spine worn), edges sprinkled red (stain at the top of the fore-edge), a shelf label on the spine.

Only Edition of a most unusual emblem book on the education of the prince, or more properly, on how to rule. THE BOOK WAS OFFICIALLY BANNED, and all surviving copies end mid-sentence at the bottom of page 450. None has the full complement of emblems, and all appear to differ from one another in the number and the presence or absence of individual illustrations.
            A learned jurist and municipal administrator, the author prepared the text and pictures — all featuring griffins — of this Festschrift to honor the Prince-Bishop of Würzburg, Johann Philipp von Greiffenclau zu Vollraths (1652-1719; ruled 1699-1719) on his sixtieth birthday. Variously in German and Latin, prose and poetry, Kirchgessner’s encomiastic allegories bring together acrostics, chronograms, genealogy, accounts of diplomatic dealings, past and current European politics, medieval history, lists of civil, ecclesiastic and academic participants in the festivities and hundreds of naked emblems. Censorship officials deemed this work overly flattering of a living prince and, thus, banned it during production.
           The engraved title exists in two states. The earlier state gives the full title, Gryphus principalis, sive Typus boni principis, the author’s name and the place and date of printing. In the second state, as here, the title text was cut out of the plate, portions of the wreath surrounding the hole were re-engraved with new text, an independent oval engraved portrait of the prince-bishop was inserted into the empty area and the abbreviated title, Typus Boni Principis was cut over the effaced author’s name and imprint.
            I have located nine examples, seven in Germany, ours and one in a U.S. library. Only ours and that at Regensburg have the altered title-page. The book escaped the notice of Praz and Landwehr. It does not figure in McGeary, Krieg’s Mehr nicht erschienen or Holzmann-Bohatta. In good condition (scattered minor marginal stains, blank marginal worming to the final seven leaves), stamps of the Franciscan monastery at Dettelbach (diocese of Würzburg).
¶Freeden, “Der Greiffenclau-Schrank. Das Prunkmöbel und die verbotene Festschrift von 1712” in Festschrift Otto Schäfer zum 75. Geburtstag (1987) 313-328; VD18 12150495-001 (temporarily inaccessible).

Item #11871

Price: $8,500.00

Status: On Hold