With a calligram in microscript and a portrait of Paracelsus

Knauff, Stefan, barber surgeon (fl. ca. 1620). Der Barmhertzige Samariter oder Warhafftige undt einfaltige Ahnweißung mit geringer Mühe und Kosten herliche unndt offt bewerte Arzeney mittell wider innerliche undt eyßerliche Gebrechen deß Menschen zu zu richten [...].

(Probably Rhineland/Southern Germany, late 16th century and before 1619).

8vo (100 x 150 mm). 187 written pages on 175 unnumbered ff. (numerous otherwise blank pages ruled in red ink). German and occasional Latin manuscript on paper by at least three different hands in brown and red ink, written in a regular cursive hand. With gilt calligraphic frontispiece in micrography, 2 full-page portraits and 1 coat of arms, all in watercolour and gilt. Contemporary blindstamped calf, edges goffered and gilt, upper cover stamped "Adam Eckhart". Wants ties.


Charmingly illustrated medical manuscript by several hands, all belonging to the late 16th or the earliest decades of the 17th century. The first part of the manuscript is a compendium of surgeon's recipes, mainly comprising ointments, powders, and bandages against stabbings and other bleeding wounds, as well as preparations against cramps and other conditions. The arrangement into several segments, each followed by a few blank pages, as well as a few scribal lapses suggest that this part was copied from an earlier manual and was intended to be expanded. The anonymous author of this compilation, possibly written as early as the late 16th century, makes no secret of his admiration for Paracelsus, to whom he dedicates a coloured double-page illustration showing the portrait, arms, and coffin of the great physician and alchemist.

This is followed by an extensive section captioned "Der barmhertzige Samariter" ("The Good Samaritan", fol. 55 ff.), signed at the beginning and end by Stephan Knauff - very likely the barber surgeon of this name based in Vianden near Trier, mentioned in 1634 in the miracle books of the Eberhardsklausen monastery (cf. P. Hoffmann, Publikationen der Gesellschaft für Rheinische Geschichtskunde, vol. 64, no. 824).

A full-page illustration at the end of the volume shows a priest with a cross and a Vanitas skull - apparently a self-portrait by Johann Martin Hecker, a native of Baden who served as chaplain in Fraulautern in the Sarre region. In a two-page postscript dated 29 December 1619 he dedicates the volume to his "good friend" Adam, very probably the Adam Eckhardt whose ownership is stamped to the upper cover. It may also have been the theologian Hecker who prefixed the volume with the highly decorative frontispiece: a single leaf from a slightly earlier catechetic manuscript, trimmed and pasted on fol. 3 ("Die sechs Hauptstuck christlicher Lehre, in unten verfassete stuck geschrieben, durch Martinum Dornbergern", dated 1608). The masterly calligram in micrography shows the Ten Commandments, Lord's Prayer, Apostles' Creed, etc. in the shape of a chalice, Eucharistic wafer, and Tablets of Law. The calligrapher Martin Dornberger is mentioned in the 1580 Book of Concord as a Lutheran verger in Hilpoltstein (Franconia).

Binding a little rubbed and warped, spine and hinges rubbed, upper spine-end a little chipped. Interior somewhat browned and stained with occasional light waterstains; several paper flaws to lower corners without loss to text. From the library of the Antwerp banker and bibliophile Jan Baptist Vervliet (1855-1942) with his bookplate to front pastedown.

Stock Code: BN#57384 Tags: , ,