Third edition of Breydenbach’s travel in Le Huen’s French translation.
Bernard de Breydenbach embarked for Venice in order to cross the Mediterranean Sea on April 25th 1483. He left with a painter Erhard Reuwich from Utrecht, who had for mission to draw views of the towns and the remarkable things they would see along their journey. They stopped in Corfu, Methoni, Candia, and Rhodes before arriving in Jerusalem, the purpose of this pilgrimage.
This edition is very important for two essential reasons:
I. Map of Jerusalem redrawn
Its presents a large map of Jerusalem entirely new. Indeed, it is entirely redrawn:
“This is entirely re-designed, though naturally founded upon the original one: it is cut on wood, but all the inscriptions are inserted in type. The extent of the view is curtailed ; on the left going no further than the Chasteau des Pelerins, thus omitting Damascus and on the right no further than Mount Sinai, omitting Cairo and Alexandria. Its place is indicated opposite on 14 vo. : Sensuit la protraction et figure .. de Hierusalem..
In the lower right hand corner of this folding view is an interesting mark of a crowned dolphin in the sea and bearing the letters SO interlaced. This may be the punning mark of the publisher, F. Regnault, thus : Règne-eau—compare the regular device used by the elder F. Regnault, reproduced by Claudin, Hist. de l'Impr., II. 546.
Taken, however, in connection with the acrostic mentioned below, it seems more probable that this is the mark of Orontius Fine, the famous mathematician (1494-1555), who may have edited the present volume. If the view itself were better executed one would be inclined to attribute the design thereof to Fine, who did same fine work in the way of book decoration. A mark similar to the above is found on a fine cut of Astronomers, &c. in Purbach, Paris, M. Lesclencher for Petit & Chauderon, 1515 : this mark consists also of a crowned dolphin (in allusion to Fine's birthplace, Briançon the capital of Haute-Dauphiné) and, forming part of the foliage close by. the interlaced initials SO as above mentioned can be distinguished, without doubt those of Fine, whose name is conveyed in an acrostic at the end of the Purbach, as “Orontius Fine Briansonensis” The crowned dolphin and the initials are also found dispersedly in Fine's De Mundi Sphaera, Paris, Colines 1542 : see Murray Cat. of French Books, N° 651. The watermark is the gothic P as described p. 26 : the chain-lines being 25-30 mm. apart.” Hugh Davies.
Bernard von Breydenbach and the Holy Land, pages 27 à 29.
II. The discovery of Labrador in 1501.
“It is the first edition to mention ‘the discovery of Labrador by Cortereal in 1501’.” (Guy Bechtel – Les Gothiques français, p. 104). And this is why it has a predominant place as one of the first Americanas to be printed for the first time in Paris in 1522.
As the title indicates, the work is divided into two main parts; the first one encloses the travel relation to the Holy Land of Bernard de Breydenbach, translated into French by brother Nicole Le Huen.
The second one encloses:
1° A fabulous history of Charles Martel, Pépin le Bref and Charlemagne’s wars against the Saracens and the Moors. This history which includes 13 ll. comes from the Chronique de Turpin.
2° The complete reprinting of the Passages d'outre mer, by Sébastien Mamerot, which contains a quite accurate summary of the Crusades.
3° L'Histoire du Prince Syac Ismaïl surnommé $ophy Ardelin roi de Perse et de Mede, translation of an Italian treatise by Giovanni Rota, made by J. Le Maire.
4° Un petit traité touchant les ysles et terres neufves que le roy de Portugal a trouvées et aucunes boutées en sa subjection. Extract from the travel collection published by Nic. Mantaboldo under the title: Paesi nuovamente ritrovati.
5° Une histoire du roi François Ier in 5 pages.
6° Le Chemin de Rome and the various churches of Rome.
This volume is illustrated with many fine woodcuts:
“36 woodcuts in the second part, 19 woodcuts for the eastern alphabets and over 100 initials.” (Bechtel, Les Gothiques français).
Two large woodcut compositions folded several times represent:
1. A map of the Holy Land wood-engraved and folded in five wings with a central view of Jerusalem (240 x 765 mm). It is signed with the monogram OF written inside a crowned dolphin; it is the one of Oronce Finé, an astronomer, cartographer and humanist from Dauphiné (1494- 1555). Besides he practiced woodcutting with talent.
2. On the left the pope granting an audience to the princes; on the right a spectacular representation of the Army and the Navy heading to the Holy Land.
A precious copy preserved in its contemporary binding bearing in the center of the covers the emblem of François II (1544-1560), the crowned dauphin.
(Guigard, Nouvel armorial du Bibliophile, I, p. 12).
Guy Bechtel mentions significant prices for very modest copies of this edition: recorded copies: Asher Rare Books, the Netherlands, “A selection of 39 interesting Books”, April 2004, n°12, 36 500 € 17 years ago, 18th century calf, Charles Bruce of Ampthill’s copy and Librairie Thomas-Scheler (cat. Salon Internat du Livre ancien, April 27/29th 2007, n°21), 50 000 € 14 years ago in a modern binding signed by C. Smith.