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24 June 2012

Exe Libris 2

Exeter working papers in book history ; 25
Exe-libris: gleanings from the shelves of Exeter Libraries
2. Exeter Central Library’s incunable

The earliest printed book in Exeter Central Library is:

Panormitanus de Tudeschis, Nicolaus. Lectura super v. libris Decretalium. - [Basel] : [Johann Besicken] , 1480. Folio. In 6 parts, dated 1480 and 1481.

Incunable closed to show double sewing bands and indents of blind tooling on wooden boards

Incunable open to show sewing bands pegged into boards
Final page of volume 3 with colophon: Extat his finis partis secunde domini Nico. abbtis super fin deceralium. Anno nativitatis Milesimoquadrigentesimooctuagesimo [1480].

Opening page of volume 4 showing rubrication with space left by printer for possible illumination

It is not a rare item. The Incunable Short Title Catalogue lists some 86 copies world-wide. However there are only two copies in the British Isles, an incomplete one in the British Library and the copy in Exeter Central Library. Exeter’s copy (shelf mark d1480) is also incomplete, containing volume 3 folios F2-X10 and volume 4 folios A1-O7 only with some leaves missing within these sections. It is an example of the sturdy folio volumes which characterised so much early printing. It closely resembles manuscripts of the time, printed in two columns in a rotunda type with rubrication added by hand. The printer had left indicator letters to guide the rubricator on which initial letters should be inserted. The sections are sewn around four double bands, the thread passing between and around each band, providing a tight knot to fix each section. The bands are threaded twice through each stout wooden board and pegged into position. There are fragments of leather and indentations in the wood which show that the binding had once been heavily blind tooled in a diagonal lozenge pattern. There are slots and holes in each board where clasps were once fitted.

The author
Nicolo de' Tudeschi, known as Panormitanus (1386-1445) was born at Catania in Sicily. He entered the Benedictine order and was sent in 1405 to study at the University of Bologna. He became a doctor of canon law, teaching at Parma, Siena and Bologna between 1412 and 1432. In 1425 he became Abbot of Maniacio, a monastery near Messina, the reason for his being also known as Abbas. In 1433 he went to Rome to work in the Vatican but in 1435 moved to Sicily in the service of Alfonso V of Aragon, where he became Bishop of Palermo, hence the designation Panormitanus. His commentary on the Decretals is his best known work and gained him the designation “lucerne juris” (lamp of the law). He died in Palermo.

The printer
Johannes Besicken started printing in Basel in 1480, and remained there until 1485. Having transferred to Rome, he entered into partnership with Sygismund Mayr; together they printed only four books, between 1493 and 1494. After having published a book in collaboration with Andreas Freitag (Bonus, Prognosticon, 1496) and having worked with Martinus de Amsterdam, between 1500 and 1501, Johannes Besicken carried on alone, his activity continuing until about 1508. The USTC has 286 entries under his name.

Goff assigns the printing to Richel. Hain and Polain assign it to Johann Amerbach. For the types, see Gesellschaft für Typenkunde des XV. Jahrhunderts, 997 and 998.


  • Incunable Short Title Catalogue, No.: ip00048000
  • Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke. Bd. I [etc.] Stuttgart, etc., 1968- [in progress]. (Vols. 1-7 reproduced with additions and corrections from the original edition (Leipzig, etc., 1925-38)). [See also GW Manuskript - GW M:]. M47800.
  • Goff, Frederick R. Incunabula in American libraries: a third census. Millwood (N.Y.), 1973. (Reproduced from the annotated copy of the original edition (New York, 1964) maintained by Goff). (Supplement. New York, 1972.). P48.
  • Copinger, W.A. Supplement to Hain's Repertorium Bibliographicum. Part I. London, 1895. 12312*.
  • Gesellschaft für Typenkunde des XV. Jahrhunderts. Veröffentlichungen. Leipzig [etc], 1907ff. 997, 998.
  • Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Inkunabelkatalog. Bd. 1-6. Wiesbaden, 1988-2005. T-514.
  • Biblioteca Nacional [Madrid]. Catálogo general de incunables en bibliotecas españolas. Coordinado y dirigido por Francisco García Craviotto. 2 vols. Madrid, 1989-90. (Adiciones y correcciones. I-II, Madrid, 1991-94). IBE 5746 (I), 5770 (II), 5785 (III), 5797 (IV), 5811 (V), 5826 (VI).
  • Bibliothèque Nationale. Catalogue des incunables. T. I fasc 1-3 (Xylographes, A-D); T. II (H-Z). Paris, 1981-2006. T-351
  • Borm, Wolfgang. Incunabula Guelferbytana: Blockbücher und Wiegendrucke der Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel. Wiesbaden, 1990. 2673.
  • Castan, Auguste. Catalogue des incunables de la Bibliothèque Publique de Besançon. Besançon, 1893. 749.
  • Collijn, Isak. Katalog der Inkunabeln der Kgl. Universitäts-Bibliothek zu Uppsala. Uppsala, 1907. (Bibliotheca Ekmaniana, 5. 1099 (V).
  • Ernst, Konrad. Incunabula Hildesheimensia. 2 vols. Hildeshemii, Lipsiae, 1908-09. II,III 95, II,IV 46.
  • Fernillot, Yvonne. Catalogues régionaux des incunables des Bibliothèques publiques de France. Vol.XII: Bibliothèque de la Sorbonne. Paris, 1995. 564.
  • Günther, Otto. Die Wiegendrucke der Leipziger Sammlungen und der Herzoglichen Bibliothek in Altenburg. XXXV. Beiheft zum ZfB. Leipzig, 1909. 207.
  • Hubay, Ilona. Incunabula der Staats- und Stadtbibliothek Augsburg. Wiesbaden, 1974. 2039.
  • Incunabula in Dutch libraries. Editor-in-chief Gerard van Thienen. 2 vols. Nieuwkoop, 1983. (Supplement [in preparation]). 4492.
  • Incunabula quae in bibliothecis Poloniae asservantur. Moderante Alodia Kawecka-Gryczowa. Composuerunt Maria Bohonos and Eliza Sandorowska. 2 vols. Wroclaw, 1970. (Addenda, Indices. Wroclaw, 1993). 4130.
  • Lokkös, Antal. Les incunables de la Bibliothèque de Genève. Genève, 1982. 433 (III).
  • Madsen, Viktor. Katalog over det Kongelige Biblioteks inkunabler. 3 vols. København, 1935-63. (P.R. Jorgensen. 'Nye inkunabler … '. Fund og Forskning 30 (1991) pp. 133-38.). 4017 (V).
  • Mittler, Elmar und Kind, Helmut. Incunabula Gottingensia: Inkunabelkatalog der Niedersächsischen Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen. Bd.1 etc. Wiesbaden, 1995- [in progress]. 1377.
  • Ohly, Kurt and Sack, Vera. Inkunabelkatalog der Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek und anderer öffentlicher Sammlungen in Frankfurt am Main. 5 vols. Frankfurt a.M., 1966-67. 2839.
  • Pellechet, Marie and Polain, M.L. Catalogue général … (MS of unpublished volumes, reproduced from the original now in the Bibliothèque Nationale.) 23 vols. Nendeln, 1970. (The MS number is quoted first, followed by the number added for the printed edition quoted in parentheses except after 10438 (10196), where the MS numeration ceases). MS 8419 (8340)
  • Polain, M.-Louis. Catalogue des livres imprimés au quinzième siècle des bibliothèques de Belgique. 5 vols. Bruxelles, 1932-78. 3845 (I).
  • Sack, Vera. Die Inkunabeln der Universitätsbibliothek und anderer öffentlicher Sammlungen in Freiburg im Breisgau und Umgebung. 3 vols. Wiesbaden, 1985. 3517.
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  • Schatz, Elena-Maria and Robertina Stoica. Catalogul colectiv al incunabulelor din Romania. Bucuresti, 2007. T-82
  • Šimáková, Jitka, and Jaroslav Vrchotka. Katalog prvotisku knihovny Národního muzea v Praze a zámeckých a hradních knihoven v Ceské republice. Praha, 2001. 1442 (I), 1443 (V).
  • Voulliéme, Ernst. Die Incunabeln der Königlichen Universitäts-Bibliothek zu Bonn. XIII. Beiheft zum ZfB. Leipzig, 1894. 830 (V).
  • Voulliéme, Ernst. Die Inkunabeln der Königlichen Bibliothek (Preussischen Staatsbibliothek) und der anderen Berliner Sammlungen. XXX. Beiheft zum ZfB. Leipzig, 1906. (supplements: 1914, 1922, 1927). 426 = 506,8.
  • Voulliéme, Ernst. Die Inkunabeln der öffentlichen Bibliothek und der kleineren Büchersammlungen der Stadt Trier. XXXVIII. Beiheft zum ZfB. Leipzig, 1910. 140, 141, 137.
  • Walsh, James E. A catalogue of the fifteenth-century printed books in the Harvard University Library. 5 vols. Binghamton NY, Tempe AZ, 1991-95. (supplement ... , by David R. Whitesell. Harvard Library Bulletin 16 nos. 1-2 (2005)). 1200.
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Locations (86 copies)

British Isles:
London, British Library (IC.37190, Vols III and IV only. Acquisition 1971, not in BMC);
Exeter PL (III-IV, imperfect)

Paris BN (2, 1 I-IV in 3 vols, 1 III only)
Paris Sorbonne (2)
Besançon BM
Le Mans BM (2, 1 vol 1, 1 vols 3-4)
Sélestat BM (2 imperfects, 1 wanting I, 1 wanting I, II, III and IV)
Strasbourg BM (imperfect, wanting I, V and VI)

Ansbach SB (II,VI)
Augsburg PriesterSem (II,VI)
Augsburg SStB (I-V, imperfect)
Augsburg UB (I-III, Inc.1076)
Bamberg SB
Beuron BenediktAbtei (I-II)
Bonn ULB (V, imperfect)
Braunschweig StB
Darmstadt ULB (Inc.V-136)
Frankfurt(Main) UB
Freiburg i.Br. UB
Fulda PriesterSem (I,II,V,VI)
Göttingen SUB (V)
Halle ULB (I-V)
Hildesheim StArch (2, imperfect)
Karlsruhe BLB (I-III)
Koblenz GörresGym (imperfect)
Konstanz Heinrich-SusoGym (II)
Leipzig BVerwG (VI)
Limburg DiözB (II)
Lindau StB (I-IV)
München BSB (10, 9 imperfect)
München UB (3, imperfect)
Paderborn EAB (II)
Regensburg Alte Kapelle
Regensburg SB (VI)
Rostock UB
Schulpforte LandesSch (III,IV)
Stuttgart WLB (2)
Stuttgart ZKB (imperfect)
Trier DomB (III)
Trier StB (imperfect)
Tübingen UB (2, 1 imperfect)
Überlingen Leopold-SophienB (II,V-VI)
Weissenburg StArch (V)
Wolfenbüttel HAB (II-VI)
Würzburg UB
Zeitz DomherrenB (2, imperfect)

Vaticano BAV Stamp.Ross.1707
Oñate S. de Aránzazu (IV)
Segovia ACap (I-V)
Seo de Urgel BCap (III-V)

Zutphen Librye 75

Graz, UB (imperfect, parts II,V only)
Innsbruck, UB (imperfect,parts I,III only)
Salzburg, Franziskaner (imperfect, part III, IV only)
Salzburg, PriestersemB (imperfect, wanting part II,III,IV)
Salzburg, St. Peter
Salzburg, UB (imperfect, wanting parts I,III,IV)
Seitenstetten, Benediktiner (Ink 230: K.I.5= part I; Ink 225: K.I.1-4=part II-V)
Wien, ÖNB (Ink 11.C.1)
Wiener Neustadt, Kapuziner (Kasten; imperfect, part VI only)

Cambridge MA, Harvard College Library, Houghton Library (V)
New York NY, Columbia Univ., Butler Library (I)
New York NY, Union Theological Seminary, Burke Library (I, III-V)
San Marino CA, The Huntington Library (V)
Washington DC, George Washington Univ. Law School, Jacob Burns Library (I-VI)
Washington DC, Library of Congress, Law Library (V,VI)

Other Europe:
Aarau KantB (IV-V only, both imperfect)
Alba Iulia Batthyaneum (part VI only)
Basel UB (5)
Beromünster Stift (imperfect: I, II i, II ii and iii imperfect, III-V)
Copenhagen RL (V)
Engelberg Benedikt (I)
Gdansk PAN
Genève BPU
Gniezno AA (V)
Kraków J (I, V)
Nysa Sem (VI)
Prague NM (NostickáKn) (I, V)
Uppsala UB (V)
Warszawa Franc (V imperfect)
Wroclaw Kap (V)
Wroclaw U (2: 1 I-V; 1 II, V)
Zirc Bibl Reguly (I-IV, V imperfect)
Zürich ZB (part 2,1 available)
Coyright © Ian Maxted 2012
This page last updated 28 June 2012