The first edition to contain Dürer's illustrations

Geiler von Kaisersberg, Johann. Navicula sive speculu[m] fatuo[rum] [...] in sermones iuxta turmarum seriem divisa: suis figuris iam insignita: a Jacobo Othero diligenter collecta.

Strasbourg, (Johann Prüss), 16 Jan. 1511.

4to (165 x 211 mm). 280 ff. With title woodcut and 112 large woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer, the Master of Heintz-Narr and others.

(Bound with) II: (Lilienstayn, Jacob). Tractatus contra Waldenses fratres erroneos quos vulgos vocat Pickardos fratres sine regula: sine lege: & sine obedie[n]tia [...] Quo[rum] multi sunt in moravia plus[quam] in bohemia. [Nuremberg, Johann Weißenburger, 1505]. 36 (instead of 40) ff. 18th century calf over wooden boards with two clasps.


First edition to contain Dürer's illustrations from Sebastian Brant's "Ship of Fools", with the woodcuts from the 1494 edition as well as several taken from the Latin edition. Geiler von Kaisersberg seized upon the human vices denounced in the "Ship of Fools" and treats them from the viewpoint of Christian philosophy. "Disregarding the Lübeck Bible, this is the most important woodcut cycle published before the Apocalypse [...] The first fully rounded moral genre pictures in history" (cf. Winkler, Dürer und die Illustrationen zum Narrenschiff [Berlin 1951]). The exact extent of Dürer's contribution to the 'Narrenschiff' woodcuts was long a subject of controversy; since Winkler's work, he is generally regarded as the book's principal artist (cf. Murray, p. 165; see also Strauss, Albrecht Dürer, Woodcuts and Wood Blocks [New York 1980], p. 64-81, who attributes several of the woodcuts to the young Dürer).

II: Bound in the same volume is a very rare polemical work against the Bohemian Brethren. The Viennese scholar Adauctus Voigt called this "one of the most remarkable of books [...] The author, a Dominican and professor of theology, spent nearly three years among the Brethren, probably in disguise, so as to investigate their true religious constitution and customs" (Abhandlungen einer Privatgesellschaft in Böhmen, ed. by Ignaz v. Born, vol. 6 [Prague 1784], p. 344).

Binding somewhat rubbed; spine repaired. Title-page of "Navicula" has old handwritten ownerships (some deleted); numerous old annotations and manicules in the text (mostly slightly trimmed during re-binding in the 18th centruy). The missing leaves 37-40 at the end of the second work are supplied in photocopy. Two leaves of "Registrum Capitulorum" and 1 blank, from another book, are bound between the two works. Altogether a good copy, very slightly browned and stained.

I. VD 16, G 778; Adams G 316; Dacheux 50; Kristeller 623; Meder S. 274; Muller 21, 89; Panzer VI, S. 54, 232; Proctor/Isaac 9995; Ritter 959; Schmidt 48; STC 335.

II. Adams L 672 (erroneously dated "c. 1535"). Panzer IX, 108, 12. Proctor/Isaac 11043. BM-STC German 501.

Stock Code: BN#51003 Tags: ,