[BINDING]. Vocabularius utriusque iuris perutilis ac valde necessarius… Paris, Jean Petit, 22 septembre 1515.
Gothic 8vo [dimensions of the binding: 170 x 110 mm] of (2) ll., ccxviii ll. The first 2 ll. are almost loose. First white endleaf covered with handwritten notes. Printer’s stamp on the title. Contemporary binding in brown blind-stamped calf over wooden boards binding, decorative plates picturing religious scenes on the covers: the Coronation of the Virgin on the upper cover with the motto “Tota pulchra es Amica mea et macula non est in te” as framing and the binder’s signature at the foot of the panel (R. Macé) and the Annunciation on the lower cover surrounded by a plant pattern border, remains of clasps at the center, spine ribbed subsequently remade. (“The fly-leaf in the back cover consists of part of a printed leaf of an incunable on obstetrics”). A contemporary Norman binding signed Robert Macé.
A superb ornamental binding of the very early XVIth century made by the Norman bookseller and binder Robert Macé le Jeune.
Robert II Macé, the son of the printer-bookseller Robert Macé, was himself a binder and a bookseller in Caen from 1522 to 1557. It is in Caen, in his workshop, that Christophe Plantin learnt the printing and binding profession in the years 1540.
“Robert Macé established himself in Caen in the first half of the XVIth century. He was both a printer and a binder as we find volumes bound in calf bearing his name blind-stamped. Plantin have supposedly been the printer and binder’s apprentice.” (Thoinan, Les relieurs français, p. 344).
This superb binding contains a 1515 edition of a reference legal dictionary, printed for the first time in 1475 and reprinted more than 70 times until the beginning of the XVIIth century.
This very popular compilation of legal texts is the work of Jodocus Erfordensis.
A precious copy covered with a superb blind-stamped binding bearing the name of Robert Macé, member of an illustrious bookseller family in Caen.
It is not Robert Macé, active between 1498 and 1506, but rather his son, as Delisle indicates (II, p. LXVI) and, after him, Goldschmidt. The latter owned an identical binding and mentions another one at the British Museum.
“This binding presents us with a number of puzzling problems… I think that probably Weale was right in placing his example among the English rubbings, although it takes a good deal of evidence to overcome the obvious inference that a panel fully signed ‘R. Macé’ would be used at Rouen or Caen” (Goldschmidt).
Provenance: Sebastiani Evans, E. PH. G[oldscmidt], John Roland Abbey with their ex-libris. Handwritten note on the last l.: “Iste liber pertinet ad Georgium Hobson & constabat 11d. Et possedit iste liber bett qui cognominatur“.
References: Goldschmidt, Gothic & Renaissance Bookbindings, 126; Moreau II, 1150.