Gloriosorum christi confessorum Uldarici et Symperti: necnon beatissimae martyriis Aphrae, Augustanae sedis patronorum historiae: cum horarum de eis.

BERNO , Abbot of Reichenau &; ADILBERTUS, of Augsburg ((1516))


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Title-page within fine woodcut border and 4 full-page woodcuts by Leonhard Beck, one further full-page woodcut probably also by Beck, text partially printed in red and black.

4to. [90]ff. Modern vellum. 

(Augsburg, Sylvan Otmar for the Monastery of SS. Ulrich & Afra, 1516).

First edition of this beautifully illustrated work chronicling the lives of Augsburg’s patron saints, Afra, Ulrich and Simpert; an edition in German was published later in the year. The life of Ulrich, bishop of Augsburg from 923, is by Berno of Reichenau (died 1048), the life of the 4th century St. Afra and that of the 9th century St. Simpert, are by Adilbertus, bishop of Augsburg from 887-99. The editor was Veit Bild (d. 1529), priest and mathematician at Augsburg.

The church of SS. Ulrich and Afra, illustrated here, was newly built in late gothic style from c. 1474-1500 as the abbey church of the Benedictines and held the burial vaults of all three saints.At the end are found prayers, responses and hymns commemorating the saints printed in red and black in gothic type. The fine woodcuts by Leonhard Beck, which belong to the best of his work, comprise of the one-piece title border, a woodcut of the three patron saints standing together in a hall, with armorial shields below, a detailed woodcut of each saint (St. Simpert, for example, saving a child from a bear) against a landscape background and within an architectural border, the final woodcut of a view of the church of SS. Ulrich and Afra is without a border and is described by Dodgson as “perhaps also by Beck”. This shows the building with two towers only, a third was added later, possibly with the help of funds generated by the sale of this book which was intended to raise money for the completion of the building. The Augsburg artist Leonhard Beck (c. 1480-1542) was a favourite of Emperor Maximilian I and one of the major artists involved his projects such as Der Weisskunig , Theuerdank, and the Triumph of Maximilian.

Some early marginalia, just cropped in places. A few wormholes at the end, otherwise a fresh copy.

BMSTC (German) p. 80. VD16 B2052. Dodgson II, 123. Hollstein II, 173. Johnson, German Renaissance Title Borders, pl. 51. See Muther 642. 

Stock Code: 228448

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