Original leaf with woodcut illustration from the Bible in Latin (Biblia Latina) produced for Anton Koberger of Nuremberg. Printed by J. Sacon of Lyon in 1521. Reference: Darlow and Moule #6101. (330 x 245mm – 13 x 9 ½’’)
Koberger was the leading German publisher of his day - known particularly for the Nuremberg Chronicle. He was also Albrecht Dürer’s Godfather – providing Dürer with his early training!
The text for this leaf is nicely printed in gothic letter in two columns. Rubricating and underlining are executed by hand in red ink. Three four-line woodcut initials surrounded by a floral design; two fifteen-line woodcut illustrations of Saint Luke seated writing his Gospel with his attribute the ox, at his feet.
The first historiated woodcut initial begins the Prologue to the Book of Luke “Lucas Syrus…” (Indeed Luke was an Antiochene Syrian, a doctor by profession…).
The four-line “Q” begins Luke 1:1 – 80: “Quoniam quidem…” (Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a narration us…The angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John…And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee…Fear not, Mary for thou hast found grace with God. Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High…Mary said: My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior…Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people…).
This nearly 500 year old leaf from an historic bible shows considerable evidence of devotional use. There is some staining and wear, and some edges have been strengthened with paper strips.