Isabella Cecchini, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Setting the context. A reconstruction of the cost of living in late 15th century Venice Reconstructing prices and price indexes for pre-industrial societies is always a challenge for researchers. Despite the fact that several account books have been preserved and may offer purchase and sale prices of a wide range of goods, the definition of a consumer basket – a set of different quantities of goods forming the basic consumption unit for an average individual or family – faces several difficulties. Average consumption is difficult to establish even in pre-industrial times, since buying activities vary of course not only according to wealth and income, but also to social class; and it is usually difficult to record and weigh self-consumption. It seems more important to offer some parameters from a single case study, the ledger of a Venetian patrician recording his purchases on a daily basis, in a couple of months in 1455.
Paola Pinelli, Università degli Studi di Firenze, La compravendita di libri nella contabilità dei mercanti fiorentini. Un confronto coi prezzi dei generi di prima necessità e col potere d’acquisto dei salariati nella seconda metà del 15o secolo The account-books of Florentine merchants are full of purchases and sales of books. In particular, the ledgers of the company of Francesco and Bernardo of Niccolò Cambini offer, for the second half of the 15th century, numerous records. Unfortunately, the conciseness of the accounting does not allow us to know all the characteristics of these books; however, the registrations always indicate the monetary value, thus enabling us to reconstruct the average selling price for various types of books. In this paper, we aim to compare this information with the price series of two goods – wheat and wine – that constituted the basis of the diet for the majority of the population, to better understand what the purchase of a book meant for the society of the period and to perceive more clearly its value.
Cristina Dondi, 15cBOOKTRADE, University of Oxford, From the Corpus Juris to ‘psalterioli da puti’, on Parchment, Bound, Gilt… The Price of Any Book Sold in Venice 1484-1488 The ledger of the Venetian bookseller Francesco De Madiis, known as the Zornale (1484-88), which is currently being studied by Cristina Dondi and Neil Harris, offers a unique insight into the market value of the earliest printed books, of any sort. The essay offers the analysis of a variety of subjects, prices, sales, customers, and comparison with the cost of living in Renaissance Venice, the largest place of production and distribution in 15th-century Europe. The focus is first and foremost on the cheapest and most popular items, a production and trade enabled by the new technology.
Neil Harris, Università degli Studi di Udine, Costs we don’t think about: rubrication and illumination. An unusual copy of Franciscus de Platea, Opus restitutionum (1474) Rubrication (from Latin, ruber, red), or the hand-finishing of manuscripts and (very) early printed books falls between several areas of competence. Often, however, it tells us important things about the book and its early history; it also represented an additional expense for the purchaser, so that in description it is important to distinguish between ‘professional’ and ‘amateur’ rubrication. A copy of a Venetian incunable – the Opus restitutionum by Franciscus de Platea – printed in 1474 in the collections of the Boston Public Library has on its final leaf a contemporary rubricator’s note, with the summary of the costs of illumination and rubrication. The edition concerned was maybe sold through the Zornale of Francesco de Madiis, the ledger of a Venetian bookseller, which records the sales of some 25,000 books between 1484 and 1488. These sales, however, mostly concerned books sold as unbound sheets, though occasionally bound copies are recorded with a consequent increase in price. Comparison of the price recorded in the Zornale with the costs in the rubricator’s note makes it possible to determine the expense of decoration in the purchase of a 15th-century book and to compare the same to salaries and to the cost of living. The article cites four other instances of rubricator’s notes in incunabula, found in another copy of Franciscus de Platea in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Florence; in a Bernardus Claravallensis printed c. 1472 in Strasbourg in the Marciana Library, again with an indication of the costs; in an edition of Aquinas published in Venice in 1481 at the Beinecke Library; and in an edition of Orosius published in Vicenza c. 1475 at Trinity College Library, Cambridge.
Sara Mansutti, Università degli Studi di Udine, “Con un altro piccolo Indice in 4° bislungo”. Un inventario di libri conservato dentro il Zornale di Francesco de Madiis In the Marciana library the pressmark Classe XI, 45 (7439), as is well known, stands for Francesco de Madiis’s Zornale. What is less well known is that it actually refers to two manuscripts. Together with the Zornale, usually placed inside the front cover, is kept another, much smaller, manuscript list of books. The records of the library showed that the two documents arrived together in 1812, after their discovery in the attics of Palazzo Ducale. So far the second manuscript has not drawn the attention of scholars and no study on the Zornale has ever mentioned it; the relationship between the two is nevertheless worth clarifying. The manuscript, a quarto in agenda format, consists of sixteen leaves and the list is composed of 262 entries, among which there are 235 printed books. Its transcription and analysis allow the identification of the books and, in some cases, of the editions, revealing the presence of a significant number of books printed beyond the Alps, most of which are related to the Reformation, thus giving a clue to the identity of the owner, as well as a date, showing that the list could not have been written earlier than 1543.
Ester Peric, Università degli Studi di Udine, La lista di libri di Antonio Moretto (Padova, 1480) In 1480 publisher and bookseller Antonio Moretto delivered a total of over 900 incunabula to be sold in his shop in Padua. The details of this business transaction survive in a small paper gathering of 8 leaves, known as Quaderneto, in which the titles of the books, the number of copies available, and the sale prices fixed by Moretto himself are listed. It is an important source for our knowledge of Italian Renaissance booktrade and – thanks to a comparison with the Zornale of Francesco de Madiis – provides valuable information about book prices and sales towards the end of the 15th century.
Lorenz Böninger, Firenze, Da Venezia a Firenze, Lucca e Genova: il commercio librario di Leonardo Donà e Franz Renner, c. 1477-1487 In 1967 Roberto Ridolfi presented, albeit incompletely, a series of archival documents on the Venetian-Florentine book trade in 1477. A fresh look at this and other relating material allows us to reconstruct the network of the Venetian printer Francesco della Fontana (Franz Renner) and his sponsor Leonardo Donà between Venice, Florence, Lucca and Genova. Lists of incunabula often included the expected sale prices for them, but these were subject to different forces on the local markets. Many of the books sent from Venice after 1477 were still available in Bartolomeo Lupoto’s shop in Genova in 1487.
Claire Bolton, Oxford, The Memmingen Book Network
This paper uses book provenance information from the town of Memmingen in southern Germany as a basis for discovering its book trade history. It brings together this information with that of some earlier writers to throw light on the scholarly book network that grew in the town, the book buyers and owners, and the book producers with their supporting trades, in Memmingen in the second half of the fifteenth century. It will look at who the buyers were, what they bought, how books were traded, from where their books had come, and, where possible, how much the books cost. The prices of books are put into context of known living costs of the period.
Monique Hulvey, Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon, Sellers and Buyers of the Lyon Book Market in the Late fifteenth Century
Without a university or parliament, Lyon became an important centre of book production and distribution over the last quarter of the fifteenth century. In the course of these years, favourable economic conditions with the development of a fourth annual fair and elaborate banking services, turned the provincial merchant town into a European marketplace. Constant movement of people, goods, and money, as well as a ten-year tax exemption for newcomers to the printing business, attracted printers and booksellers who placed Lyon at the heart of networks operating near and far. Contemporary material evidence from the buyers’ side documents the markets targeted by the Lyon book merchants during this key period, some of their strategies, and skills at time and distance management. It also suggests how, in their spheres of influence, the development of the book trade could have played a part in the evolution of urban and rural society. With little archival evidence at hand, we need to reassess the larger organisation of the Lyon book trade in the international landscape and the part played by the importation of books. A mapping of available data, and observations on bindings and provenance, is helping to define the role of the city in the circulation of books, printed locally or elsewhere, throughout France.
J. Antoni Iglesias Fonseca, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Tra il libro manoscritto e l’edizione a stampa in Catalogna nella seconda metà del 15 secolo (1450-1500)
The first books published in Catalonia and the notarial documents preserved have brought to light the names of the first printers and booksellers of late medieval Catalonia. In order to present the situation of book production from 1473 onwards, we offer information on the first identified Catalan incunable, the first dated Catalan incunable, the first incunable in Catalan, the oldest printing shop, etc; about the first known printers, many of foreign origin; about the book trade and its main actors; about the first editors and their profile; about the prices of books; including the reproduction of many of the mentioned specimens and relevant bibliography.
Elena Gatti, Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna, “Heredes de Plauto stampadore deno avere infrascritte robe e dinari”. Consumo del libro, prezzi e mercato librario a Bologna. Uno caso di studio
Two archival sources of the late 15th century allow to outline some considerations and comparisons between the cost of living and book prices in Bologna. The first reports books stored in Bologna by the printer/bookseller Francesco Platone de’ Benedetti during his lifetime; the second, the most important for this study-case, reports the prices and sales of those books made by his heirs.
Paolo Tinti, Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna, Emptus Ferrarie. I prezzi del libro a stampa nella città estense fra Quattro e primi del Cinquecento
During the second half of the 15th century Ferrara, with the Este Court as well as the University and many professionals in law and medicine, was an active centre in book circulation, use and – of course – selling. At the end of 15th century, the book market, besides the manuscript production prepared for the Este family and its entourage, was dominated by the cheapest hand-printed editions, also purchased by nobles (such as the Pio princes of Carpi) as well as by professors, doctors, judges and so on. This essay starts from the analytical study of book prices recorded in well known lists never examined before in this respect, then it focuses on purchasing notes in surviving copies, and archival documents. Book prices found in these three kinds of sources will be related not only to different moments in the purchase by the same owner but also to prices paid for everyday life goods in Ferrara at the time of Borso and Ercole I. This will offer a more precise idea of the average book price at the time, and of how much money was spent on books compared to that spent for something else.
Maria Alessandra Panzanelli Fratoni, 15cBOOKTRADE, University of Oxford, Printing the Law in the 15th century. With a Focus on Corpus Juris Civilis and the Works of Bartolus de Saxoferrato
The editions of legal texts are a major and important part of 15th-century book output, amounting to about 15% of the surviving extant editions. The category comprehends two types of work: (a) the collections of Roman and Canon law, with their medieval supplements and commentaries; (b) acts and regulations produced by governments and by local authorities as part of their day-to-day activity. After a general overview, this article focuses on the first group of texts, which offers an opportunity to address some key questions related to the impact of printing in a particular cultural context, that of the university. A study of legal texts printed in the 15th century aims to provide a relevant contribution to a better understanding of the impact of printing by comparing elements of continuity and discontinuity with the manuscript and later printed tradition.
Geri Della Rocca de Candal, 15cBOOKTRADE, University of Oxford, Printing in Greek before Aldus Manutius
The present paper examines the history, circulation and use of the earliest Greek books ever printed (1471-1488). In particular, it focuses on the publishing enterprises of Bonus Accursius in Milan, who issued the first complete set of books to learn Greek, and of Laonicus & Alexander, the first Greeks to actively engage with the art of printing, who operated out of Venice but clearly had a double readership in mind: Westerners and, for the first time, the Greek communities of Venice and elsewhere.
Sabrina Minuzzi, 15cBOOKTRADE, University of Oxford, Printing Medicine in the 15th century, with a focus on the distribution and use of Materia Medica books
The 15cBOOKTRADE has assigned a subject and multiple keywords to each edition printed before 1501. We are now able to provide a comprehensive assessment of the entire production of medical material in print. This essay first does that, by looking at overall numbers, topics, areas of publication, Latin versus vernacular editions, and so on. It then focuses on the production and distribution of Materia Medica, and concludes with the evidence of use of this material, gathered from the copy-specific data pertaining to the surviving copies described in MEI, to sketch out the socio-cultural profile and the reading practices of the many anonymous and of the few known actual readers.
Alessia Giachery, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana di Venezia, La formazione delle raccolte marciane. I cataloghi storici
This essay takes into consideration four early catalogues (sec. XVII-XVIII) of former Libreria di San Marco (now Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana). Their analysis and comparison provide information about book accession and preservation methods through the centuries, about rearrangement of miscellanies, replacement and/or discarding of copies of the same edition. Some case studies from the incunabula collection are given. The first catalogue, printed between 1623 and 1626, contains records of 59 dated incunabula: tracking these items in the following three catalogues, a list of identified editions is provided, as well as their related copies currently held at the Marciana Library.
Elisabetta Sciarra, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana di Venezia, Acquisizioni e esportazioni marciane alla caduta della Repubblica
During the French and Austrian dominion on Venice after the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, manuscripts and printed books were stolen from the Marciana National Library and from the religious houses’ libraries. These books were only partially returned. The lists of the stolen books represent an important source in order to identify the items that are still kept abroad and to understand the provenance of many volumes.
Eric Marshall White, Princeton University Library, Patterns of Non-Survival among the Earliest Mainz Editions
In this article the Author examines binding waste made from the earliest editions of Donatus’ Ars minor (a Latin grammar printed in Mainz during the 1450s and ’60s) to contextualize his earlier conclusions regarding at least 15 copies of the Gutenberg Bible known only from fragments, which bookbinders across Europe recycled for waste material during the later sixteenth century and throughout the seventeenth century. The binding contexts for the Donatus fragments, by contrast, date mainly to the fifteenth century. This testifies to the fact that the Bibles retained their usefulness much longer than the schoolbooks did, and suggests that the functional life spans of various genres of books are measurable, and this can be better understood through similar studies of binding waste in context.
John Lancaster, MEI Editor in the US, Bringing American collections into MEI
The project Material Evidence in Incunabula was introduced to the United States by Cristina Dondi in her Kristeller Lecture at Columbia University in New York in April 2009, and developed in Europe from 2009 onward. The growth of United States’ involvement in MEI is traced, from the first regular contributions by United States institutions in 2012 through the current status, with more than a dozen institutions contributing. There are some 70 US libraries holding 100 or more copies, and nearly 200 collections holding 20 or more copies. Involving many of these institutions in MEI would not only enhance the provenance database, but also stimulate activity in those institutions with a focus on the history of early printing in the 15th century and on the cultural heritage shared with Europe. Various possibilities for moving forward with MEI in the United States are discussed.
Pasqualino Avigliano, Andrea Cappa, Andrea De Pasquale and Marina Venier – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, Cristina Dondi – CERL, Adalbert Roth – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, To protect and research the incunabula collections of the libraries annexed to National Monuments: Santa Scolastica at Subiaco – A Polonsky, National Library of Rome, and CERL collaboration
A new and innovative project for the digitization and in-depth cataloguing of the incunabula of Santa Scolastica in Subiaco is the result of a collaboration among a philanthropic organisation, the Polonsky Foundation, a research organisation specialised in the development of digital tools for the study of books produced by the hand press, that is the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL), and the National Central Library of Rome, a leading Italian library with extensive experience in the field, having created and still coordinating the General Index of Incunabula in Italian Libraries (IGI). WATCH THE VIDEO »
Edoardo Barbieri, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, Il contributo del CRELEB e della Regione Lombardia alla catalogazione in MEI: descrizione, risultati, problemi aperti
The present paper deals with the cataloguing project of about 12,000 incunabula owned by Lombard libraries, started ten years ago and financed by Regione Lombardia. The project was carried out by CRELEB (European Research Center Book Library Publishing) of the Catholic University in Milan, which managed the data entry in the international database MEI of over 8,500 incunabula owned by Lombard libraries. The intellectual contribution offered by the Catholic University is very important, thanks to the experience and reflection on the annotated books and on the recording of copy specifics started many years before with the contribution of the Italian philologist Giuseppe Frasso. WATCH THE VIDEO »
Viktorija Vaitkevičiūtė and Agnė Zemkajutė, Vilnius, Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania and Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, Lithuanian importation of foreign editions, especially from Italy
At present, eight different libraries in Lithuania preserve 510 incunabula in their holdings. In the 15th century, Lithuania did not itself have printing houses, so books had to be imported. A majority of incunabula kept in Lithuania carry inscriptions which show that these books were brought to Lithuania as early as in the 16th or 17th century. However, extant book markings may also become a way of shedding light on historical events which influenced the fate of libraries, and, vice versa, a knowledge of historical events may fill in lacunae left by provenance marks in the history of a book. WATCH THE VIDEO »
Marco Bertagna, 15cHEBRAICA, University of Oxford, The distribution and use of Hebrew early printed books in Europe. Hebrew incunabula in Italy
The late 15th century became a time of dramatic changes in the Hebrew bookmaking as well. The Hebraica team of the 15cBOOKTRADE project prepared a thorough description of the extant copies of the Hebrew incunabula kept in the libraries of Europe and Israel. Notes of ownership, deeds of sale, personal remarks, institutional stamps, signatures of censors – all of them provide a rich picture of the distribution and use of Hebrew printed books throughout Europe (and also their ways from Europe to North Africa and the Middle East). Among a few hundreds of the checked volumes some were printed in Italy and remained there all the centuries since then; others were printed in Portugal and soon made their way to the Ottoman lands and from there to Yemen or Persia. Although the survey is not complete yet, since some important collections such as Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana still need to be included in the MEI database, the main results can enrich our knowledge on certain rabbis and scholars or provide interesting evidence of communal life, literacy, trade, the role of women and of the books in private possession. WATCH THE VIDEO »
Alexander Gordin, 15cHEBRAICA, University of Oxford, The distribution and use of Hebrew early printed books in Europe. The National Library of Israel Evidences
Hebrew incunabula from the collection of the National Library of Israel contain a vast amount of manuscript annotations, many of them of historical, philological, linguistic, and palaeographical interest. The paper presents a few examples of owners’ notes that shed light on the history of books in early modern Jewish communities. From the book owned by the well-known rabbi Moses Alashkar, to a reference to the participation of rabbi Mordecai Dato in a family ceremony, and the extensive glosses of Samuel Lerma, to the joyful message of an unnamed Jew whose daughter had been released from captivity. Such material is a valuable resource for research on the distribution and use of early Hebrew printed books in Europe and beyond. WATCH THE VIDEO »
Lilian Armstrong, Wellesley College, The Decoration and Illustration of Venetian Incunabula. From Hand-Illumination to the Design of Woodcuts
The paper summarises the decoration of Venetian incunabula from 1469- 1500. In the early 1470s, illuminators experimented with schemes for ‘finishing’ the printed books, decorating the margins and spaces left blank for initials. The high numbers of hand-illuminated volumes indicate that numerous miniaturists must have come to Venice for this work. In the later 1470s and 1480s, incunabula continued to be illuminated, but greater numbers of each edition were printed, so the proportion that were decorated was lower. In the 1490s, miniaturists designed woodcuts that were printed with every copy of an edition. It is urged that historians of the book trade study the evidence provided by the hand-illumination and woodcut decoration of incunabula. WATCH THE VIDEO »
Susy Marcon, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana di Venezia, Incunaboli marciani miniati
Venice was central to the production of printed books in the 15th-century and illumination continued to be applied to this new type of books, beyond the age of the manuscript. However, the illuminated incunabula preserved today in the Library of the Serenissima do not represent a noticeable percentage of the production of value. As is known, very few specimens printed on parchment or with miniatures entered the Marciana collections. Yet, the activity of the press was favoured by Bessarion, who included his remarkable Roman incunabula among his legacy to San Marco. The Roman incunabula of the Bessarion collection, published between 1468 and 1472, have characteristics that are entirely similar to the manuscripts he had commissioned in the last years of his life. The incunabula that entered the library in the later centuries, chiefly following the suppressions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, are the result of different priorities. WATCH THE VIDEO »
Matilde Malaspina, 15Cbooktrade, University of Oxford, and Abhishek Dutta, Visual Geometry Group University of Oxford, The Use and Reuse of Printed Illustrations in 15th Century Venetian Editions
A presentation of the 15cILLUSTRATION database and website, a searchable database of 15th-century printed illustrations developed by the 15cBOOKTRADE Project in collaboration with the Visual Geometry Group (VGG) at the Department of Engineering Science of the University of Oxford, is the first comprehensive and systematic tool to track and investigate the production, use, circulation, and copying of woodblocks, iconographic subjects, artistic styles, within 15th-century printed illustrated editions. The paper illustrates the potential of the 15cILLUSTRATION website as a research support tool for art historians, book historians, philologists and historians of visual and material culture.
Ilenia Maschietto and Ilaria Andreoli, Fondazione Cini Venezia, The Essling project: the census and the copies
Les livres à figures vénitiens de la fin du XVe siècle et du commencement du XVIe (1907-1914), whose author is Victor Masséna, Prince of Essling, is a census of all illustrated books printed in Venice from 1469 to 1525. The bibliographical descriptions are chronologically organised, on the basis of a ‘genealogical’ approach, suitable for studying the iconographical and stylistic evolution of illustration. Almost all copies of Essling’s Venetian collection are now part of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini library. We conceived a digital tool based on the LOD technology that allows easy navigation among the data, connected with the national and international catalogues, and accompanied by facsimiles of the Cini copies. WATCH THE VIDEO »
Marieke van Delft, Royal Library of The Hague, CERL’s Provenance Digital Archive Following the rise of the study of the history of the book in the eighties and nineties, provenance studies have become an important component in the research of social and cultural historians. This development was noticed and embraced by the Consortium of European Research Libraries (CERL). The Consortium incorporated results of provenance research in existing resources and new ones were developed. The latest development is the CERL Provenance Digital Archive, an international online database to describe images of provenance marks. WATCH THE VIDEO »
John Goldfinch and Karen Limper-Herz, The British Library, The Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC): Past, Present and Future From its foundation in 1980, the ISTC has been one of the most important international reference sources for incunabula studies. Based on a merger of F.R. Goff’s Incunabula in North American Libraries: A Third Census and the Indice Generale degli Incunaboli delle Biblioteche d’Italia, it aimed to be a comprehensive list both of 15th-century editions and of surviving copies of incunabula. While maintaining its original purpose, it has striven to take advantage of new partnerships and technical innovations to ensure its continued utility as a cornerstone of incunabula research. Managed by the British Library in London and hosted by CERL, the ISTC continues to rely on cooperation and partnership from holding institutions and researchers worldwide. Free since 2003, the ISTC can be used as a simple guide to editions and copies, but also as a dataset enabling researchers to look at 15th-century printing in new ways. After briefly looking at the ISTC’s history, this essay focuses on new developments made to the database, highlighting its continued relevance and potential to support traditional incunabula research as well as new projects, and its managers’ intention and flexibility to improve the file in response to its users’ feedback. WATCH THE VIDEO »
Alex Jahnke, DCG University of Göttingen, MEI – Beyond the Interface WATCH THE VIDEO »
Gregory Prickman, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC, Mapping the ISTC: Visualization and the Material History of Data The Atlas of Early Printing is an online resource built with GIS tools to depict the spread and development of printing during the incunable period in Europe. It has been online since 2008 and continues to be developed. The site uses data from the Incunabula Short Title Catalog (ISTC) and other sources, providing a visualization of the databases from which the data is retrieved. The data being visualized is the result of many decades of cataloguing, arranging, publishing, and migrating; the work that followed was informed by material constraints and has left material traces. For the ISTC, an important period in the development of data formats was the work Margaret Bingham Stillwell undertook from 1924 to 1940 for the bibliography Incunabula in American Libraries, a Second Census. The data she gathered were meticulously coordinated through mailing campaigns and organised on cards, and then translated into print according to the publisher’s requirements. The decisions underlying Stillwell’s descriptions were migrated to Frederick Goff’s Third Census and eventually directly into the first version of the ISTC. The structures she developed serve as the foundation for modern efforts to expand beyond the limitations of the short-title format, and to provide the data for geographic and other visualizations. WATCH THE VIDEO »