6008. Peter Lombard decorated manuscript Germany c .1430

PETER LOMBARD, Libri Quattuor Sententiarum, decorated manuscript in Latin on paper [southern Germany (Wiblingen Abbey, Stadtkreis Ulm, Baden-Württemberg), c. 1430].
394 leaves, complete, collation: i15 (including a front flyleaf, a leaf of extra material added to front of gathering and a single leaf at back, but crucially without break in contemporary foliation), ii10, iii14, iv10, v-xxi12, xxii10 (including 6 blank leaves between books of the text), xxiii-xxxi12, xxxii10 (including 4 blank leaves at end), nineteenth-century pen foliation (including an endleaf at front, but followed here), double column of 28 lines in a semi-formal bookhand, capitals touched in red penstrokes (important ones with red dots as well), quotations underlined in red, rubrics, contemporary foliation, running titles and chapter numbers in iridescent red, later book numbers denoted by double-sets of penwork diamonds touched in red in upper margins, numerous contemporary marginalia, empty boxes left for coloured initials (all absent), one damaged area of paper on fol. 379 surrounded by red lines and written around by main scribe, long and thin cuttings from a thirteenth-century Latin manuscript mentioning "amicitia" used as gathering strengtheners and just visible in places in gutters, a fragment of an early fifteenth-century letter from Conrad Konhofer of the church if the Blessed Virgin in Regensberg in Latin and on vellum reused as a front endleaf, some leaves at front once loose and now bound in on paper guards, one cutting from a damaged flyleaf at back pasted to a current flyleaf there, slight worming to spine area visible in gutters, overall good and solid condition, c. 310 x 215 mm.

In nineteenth-century binding of plain brown leather over pasteboards (leather perished at edges of spine and boards fixed in place by cloth tape), author and title in gilt on red morocco label on spine.


1. Written and decorated most probably  c.1434 in the celebrated scriptorium of the Abbey of Wiblingen, in Stadtkreis Ulm (founded 1093, suppressed 1806): the watermark of 'tete-de-boeuf' is markedly close to Briquet 14,757 (recorded in nearby Munich, 1434), and the volume has the ex libris of "Monasterii Wiblingen" added in a seventeenth- or eighteenth-century hand to the head of the frontispiece. In 1418, Nicholas of Magen and five monks set out from the Council of Constance on a reform mission (the so-called 'Reform of Melk') and Wiblingen was among the handful of monastic communities to embrace this movement. In the wake of this, the monks there built a monastic school and famously large scriptorium, in which it is reported up to 30 monks worked at the same time. Their library grew in the same century to be of some substantial size, and numbered 15,000 volumes in 1757. S. Krämer, Handschriftenerbe des  deutschen Mittelalters, 1989-90, lists over 150 extant manuscripts from this house in institutional hands across Germany, Europe, and with a single fifteenth-century Bible in the Union Theological Seminary in New York (their MS. 1). To these should be added the fifteenth-century Nicholas of Lyra, sold in Sotheby's, 9 July 1973, lot 53, and the fifteenth-century monastic schoolbook, sold in Sotheby's, 4 December 2007, lot 42.

2. K. Haiser: his nineteenth-century printed bookplate on front pastedown, recording this as "Mns. nro. 16". He was perhaps the academic who published  Zur Genealogie der Swabenspeigel  in 1876, and other manuscript volumes from his widely dispersed library can be found in Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, MS. Lat. Fol. 456 (Church council collection, thirteenth century) Nuremberg, Germanischen Nationalmuseums, Hs 35087 (Alexander de Villa Dei, southern Germany,c. 1470), University of Kansas, Kenneth Spencer Library 66045 (Seneca and Cicero, fifteenth century), and Argentina, Biblioteca Nacional, 232.13 (the 'Epistola Raby Samuelis missa Raby Isaac', fifteenth century).
The  Sentences  of the grand theologian Peter Lombard (c. 1100-1160), was one of the greatest university texts and of fundamental importance for the study of theology in the Middle Ages. It was written around 1150 and is an attempt to systematically compile all Christian theology. From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, more commentaries were written on this Christian literary work than any other, except for the Bible itself.
This is a large and handsome monastic copy of the text, opening with three endleaves filled with thematically organised reference-tools connecting topics by red lines (the first of these on the reverse of the reused vellum document), the main text begins on fol. 2r, and is followed on fol. 379r by the 'registers' for each book. It ends with a near-contemporary addition of a two-and-a-half page commentary on Genesis (opening with 1:31).

We would like to thank Dr. Timothy Bolton for his cataloguing of the present lot.