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    The Most Famous Work from "One of the Most Important Medieval Liturgical Writers."

    Guillelmus Duranti. Rationale divinorum officiorum. [Paris: Ulrich [Gering], Martin [Crantz], and Michael [Friburger], 13 April 1475]. Large folio (12.5 x 8.875 inches; 318 x 226 mm.). [318] leaves ([16, "Tabula"], [1, blank], [301] leaves). Early ink foliation in the upper right corner of each text leaf, beginning with leaf a2 as "1". Fol. 283 supplied from another copy and inlaid to size; fol. 285 mounted on stub, but apparently original to this copy, with identical early ink foliation and headline. The first leaf of each gathering of the text signed in later pencil in the lower corner (a-u10 v10 x-z10 A-E10 F12). Gothic type. Double columns, forty-six lines, capital spaces, one with printed guide letter (the opening "P" on fol. 2v). Six-line opening initials supplied in red, sometimes extending into the margins; two- to five-line initials supplied in red or red and yellow, also sometimes extending into the margins, some with penwork decoration in black ink; paragraph marks, line fillers, and underlining in red; capitals stroked yellow. Headlines supplied in black ink, rubricated in red, in an early hand, on the recto of each leaf. The last line in the second column on fol. 129v supplied in ink in an early hand.

    Bound in eighteenth-century mottled calf over thick boards (worn). Covers with decorative gilt border, spine decoratively panelled in gilt with five raised bands and red morocco label decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt, board edges ruled in gilt, turn-ins decoratively tooled in gilt, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers. Green ribbon marker. Joints and corners rubbed, front joint starting to split. Minor worming to the lower corner of the first preliminary leaf, to the lower blank corner of the last ten leaves (fols. 292-301), and to the lower gutter margin of the last seven leaves (fols. 295-301). Tiny tear and crease to the lower edge of fols. 33 and 165; short tear to the lower blank margin of fol. 99; small hole in the outer blank margin of fol. 113; short split in the text of fol. 114, just affecting four lines; a few additional minor paper flaws. Occasional very faint marginal foxing or dampstaining; a few scattered ink spots or stains. Occasional early ink and pencil marginalia, including pilcrows and drawings. Early ink inscription erased from the head of the first preliminary leaf. Overall, a very good, crisp copy. From the library of tobacco magnate and philatelist Maurice Burrus (1882-1959), with his engraved bookplate by Stern, dated 1937. Two small labels lettered in ink on the recto of the rear free endpaper. Housed in a quarter light brown calf over linen boards clamshell case, the spine decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt with five raised bands.

    Guillelmus Duranti, or William Durandus (ca. 1237-1296), "canonist and one of the most important medieval liturgical writers," studied law at Bologna under Bernard of Parma and then taught it at Modena. He spent most of his life in the service of the Pope. The most famous of his works is the Rationale divinorum officiorum (first published by Fust and Schoeffer at Mainz, 1459, it was reprinted at least forty times before 1500). "It was written in 1286. Its eight books contain a detailed account of the laws, ceremonies, customs, and mystical interpretation of the Roman Rite. Book I treats of the church, altar, pictures, bells, churchyard, etc.; II of the ministers; III of vestments; IV of the Mass; V of the canonical hours; VI of the Proprium Temporis; VII of the Proprium Sanctorum; and VIII of the astronomical calendar, manner of finding Easter, Epacts, etc. Durandus's "Rationale" is the most complete medieval treatise of its kind; it is still the standard authority for the ritual of the thirteenth century and for the symbolism of rites and vestments" (Catholic Encyclopedia).

    According to the British Library's ISTC, there are only ten complete copies of this edition in the world, with only two present in the United States (at Bryn Mawr College and Yale University).

    BMC VIII, page 8. Goff D-409. GW 9108. ISTC id00409000. Hain-Copinger 6476. Oates 2869. Pellechet 4496. Proctor 7840.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2012
    8th Wednesday
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