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    1517 Shepherd's Kalendar

    [Shepherd's Kalendar]. [Here begynneth the kalender of shepardes. Newely augmented and corrected. London: R. Pynson, 1517].

    Small folio in eights (10.9375 x 7.5 inches; 278 x 191 mm.). forty-six leaves present, therefore lacking fifty-eight leaves. With twenty large woodcut illustrations, most of which feature the torments of hell associated with particular kinds of sins; also with numerous smaller pictorial woodcuts, decorative borders, and initials. Printed in roman and black letter in red and black.

    Early twentieth-century half dark brown calf over marbled board, expertly rebacked. Spine lettered in gilt. Bibliographic notes on recto of third front flyleaf (probably by a nineteenth-century owner); a few instances of marginal notes in a different hand. Soiling and toning, mostly marginal, throughout. Nearly every leaf with built-up margins or outer corners; the entire first leaf mounted within a mat open on both sides. Overall a good fragment of this well-illustrated and extremely rare work.

    Modern readers who encounter The Shepherds Kalendar may not know what to make of its hodgepodge nature; indeed, its content ranges from the phases of the moon to recipes for medicine to copious graphically illustrated descriptions of what happens to sinners in Hell. A clue lies in the title of the work from which much of its content (and hellish woodcut illustrations) derive: Vérard's L'Art de Bon Vivre (i.e. The Art of Good Living), first printed in Paris in 1492. Essentially, the work is a kind of Old Farmer's Almanac for the late Middle Ages, wherein whose pages readers could discover how to live best in this world -- as well as the next.

    An exceedingly scarce book, just one copy of one English edition of The Shepherd's Kalender has sold at auction since 1927.

    STC 22408.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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