Two Essays on the Decretum of Gratian. Plantin Press, Hellmut Lehmann-Haupt, Charles McCurry.

Two Essays on the Decretum of Gratian.

Los Angeles: Zeitlin & Verbrugge; San Francisco: Bernard M. Rosenthal, 1971. One of 193 copies printed by Saul and Lillian Marks at the Plantin Press, Los Angeles. Printed in red and black. With an original vellum leaf printed by Peter Schoeffer at Main in 1472, with hand-colored initials in red and blue. Some minor soiling to backstrip, flyleaves lightly foxed. Else, a fine clean, copy. Quarter vellum over marbled boards, with gilt paper spine label, vellum tips. Folio. Unpaginated. Item #16706

This is one of the Plantin Press’s handsomest books. It is worthy of its subject, Schoeffer’s printing of twelfth century author’s disquisition on the problems of the medieval church. Gratian is considered the founder of the science of canon law. Schoeffer worked in the printing shop of Johannes Gutenberg and Johannes Fust in 1455, when the Gutenberg Bible was printed. The Lehman-Haupt essay is entitled “Peter Schoeffer of Gernsheim, Printer of the Decretum at Mainz in 1472.” It discusses the printer, his work, and the creation of the 1462 Bible type, used in the Decretum, which was the first successful typeface designed for normal use and which exerted a strong influence on the art of printing. The McCurry essay, “The Decretum of Gratian” collects the little biographical data we have on Gratian and discusses the sources of the text, its history, and its importance. “In both essays, commissioned especially for this volume, technical language has been avoided, while the highest standards of scholarship have been maintained. There is no other publication in which the most authoritative information available on the great printer and the great jurist has been brought together” (from the prospectus).

Disbound and Dispersed, 157.

Price: $3,500.00