Early vernacular edition, splendidly illustrated and coloured

Bertholdus. [Horologium devotionis, germanice - Zeitglöcklein des Lebens und Leidens Christi]. Das andechtig zittglögglyn des lebens und lidens christi nach den xxiiij stunden ußgeteilt.

(Reutlingen, Michael Greyff, ca. 1494).

8vo (114 x 149 mm). 170 (instead of 186) ff. With coloured title woodcut, 25 coloured woodcuts in the text, mostly raised in gilt, coloured title borders, 337 coloured text borders and numerous coloured initials, some heightened in gilt. Contemporary pigskin over wooden boards, 9 (out of 10) brass fittings, and 2 clasps. All edges goffered.


Early vernacular edition of the devotional known as the "Horologium devotionis", written around 1350 by the Dominican friar Bertholdus and first published in 1488. All German editions are considered extremely rare. GW records no more than five copies in public collections, of which three are also incomplete or mere fragments.

In appealing contemporary colour throughout. Of the 38 fine woodcuts in the text, the present volume contains: fol. d5r: circumcision; c2v: flight to Egypt; g1r: baptism of Christ; h5v: washing of the feet; i1v: betrayal by Judas; i5v: Gethsemane; k2r: kiss of Judas; k4r: scourging; k7v: Christ before Caiaphas; k8v: Christ mocked; l2r: concil of the priests; l7r and m5r: Christ before Pilate; n1v: disrobing of Christ; n5v: crowning with thorns; o1r: Pilate washing his hands; o3v: Simon of Cyrene; p2r: crucifixion; q7r: Christ on the cross; r4v: the same, a different view; r8v: fainting of Mary; s3r: deposition from the cross; s6r: burial of Christ; t1v: harrowing of hell; x1r: ascension of Christ.

The pretty borders which surround nearly every page are printed from a total of eight wood blocks, showing birds, animals, hunters, puttos, angels, flowers, etc.

Wants ff. a7, a8, b6, c1, c7, d1, f1, g3, g4, g8, h4, n3, p7, q3, t6, and y1. Slightly browned and fingerstained; occasional slight paper flaws with insignificant loss to text and images. Bound before and after the printed matter are 6 and 5 leaves, respectively, with a total of 22 pages of German prayers written in a slightly later Swabian bastarda. The first page has a handwritten ownership by Johann Alois Weinheppel, dated Hochaltingen (near Nördlingen in Swabia), 1786.

Covers somewhat rubbed, showing slight worming. Lacks central brass boss on the lower cover; spine and endpapers repaired by an earlier collector. Front pastedown has autograph ownership by the collector Otto Hupp (1859-1949), inscribed to his wife, dated 1897, with his drawing and bibliographical note.

Provenance: Hartung & Karl, sale 52 (1986), lot 161.

GW 4170. Goff B-514. BSB-Ink B 394. Schramm IX, figs. 639-683. Schreiber 3450. Not in Hain, Proctor, Oates, Polain; not in BMC or IGI.

Stock Code: BN#50991