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BOETHIUS, (d. 524)
[De consolatione philosophiae. 1501]
Boetius de philosophico consolatu siue de consolatio[n]e philosophi[a]e: cu[m] figur[is] ornatissimis nouit[er] expolit[us]
Impressum Argentin[a]e p[er] Iohanne[m] Grüninger, anno incarnationis d[omi]ni millesimo quingentesimo primo. kalendas vero. viii. septe[m]bris [8 Sept. 1501].
[10], CXXVI [i.e. CXXVIII] leaves : wdcut illus. ; 25.3 cm. (2º)

Imprint from colophon (leaf Y8r), followed by printer's mark. Leaf CXXVIII misnumbered CXXVI. Signatures: pi10 B-X6 Y8. Initial foliation irregular and signatures of first ten leaves unclear. In the Soane copy the 'Prohemium' begins on leaf [7] (numbered 'fo. II' and signed Aij) and following leaf signed Aiij, followed by unsigned leaf with caption title 'Studioso cuilibet auidoq[ue] operis huiusce lectori ...'. B quire then begins. The text of Boethius's De consolatione philosophiae is printed in the center of the page, with the commentary falsely ascribed to St. Thomas Aquinas surrounding it in a marginal border.
Includes an epigram 'In philosophica[m] consolationem Boetij' by Sebastian Brant (leaf [7] in Soane copy). Many of the woodcut illustrations are made up of two or three separate blocks fitted together. This is one of the finest examples of early printing in Soane's library.


Copy Notes Purchased from A.W. Barlace for £12 (with two other books) on 13 November 1826. (Priv. Corr. XVI.E.6.11). An undated printed list of books to be sold by Barlace (q.v.) describes the book as 'The Rare Edition of Boetius De Consolatione Philosophiæ. Beautiful Wood Cuts. Russia, gilt Leaves.--1501.' Inscribed on front free-endpaper in pencil Extremely Rare - £12:12- and in another hand in ink A. Barlace / 70 Great Queen Street. Inscribed on second free-endpaper in pencil (struck through) Extremely Rare £15--, and in ink This book was esteemed a great curiosity / amongst the immense mass of rarities / in the possession of Harley Earl of Oxford / AB. The original sale of the Harleian Library of Edward Harley, 2nd Earl of Oxford took place in 1745. Harley's collection had previously been housed at Wimpole which was purchased by the 1st Earl of Hardwicke in 1740; in 1790 Soane designed a 'book room' there for Philip Yorke, the 3rd Earl. See Ptolemy Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate (Aldershot 1999), p. 68.

Binding C19th goatskin, extensively blind-tooled panels with palmette and anthemion inner and outer borders surrounding a vine-leaf border, inner lozenge with floral decoration within and at head and tail, blind-tooled doublures matching the palmette and anthemion and vine-leaf borders with maroon paper central panel and facing end-papers, gilt-lettered and blind-tooled spine, gilt edges.

Reference Number 3985


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