Auctions | July 29, 2020

Complete French Incunable Offered in the Catawiki Early Books Auction

Amsterdam — Nearly every book collector loves an early text.  This early French text, which explains the meaning and symbolism of the clothing a priest wears, is particularly fascinating to all those interested in the medieval church or the symbolism of garments. It is hard to find this document as a complete text, particularly in such good condition. The Latin can still be easily read today.

Courtesy of Catawiki

Written by Hugh of Saint Cher (In Latin Hugo de Sancto Charo) the document contains all 10 leaves and is entitled Expositio missae. A popular work, the text was first printed in 1475, and there were 14 editions by the year 1500. This particular edition was printed between 1481 and 1487.

The work describes the priest's garments and the symbolic, mystical meaning of each, followed by the parts of the holy mass with an explanation and a reference to a corresponding biblical text. Thus, this book in its concise form is a summary of the most important element of Catholic worship.

Bibliographies: Goff cf. H518. ISTC 00517200. GW 13585.

Hugh of Saint-Cher was one of the first Dominicans. Born in Dauphiné, he entered the order in 1225 (the Dominicans had only been founded in December 1216). He rose rapidly through the order, becoming a Cardinal Priest, and later a Cardinal Bishop. As well as an author, he was active in establishing orthodoxy in the Church. He died in Orvieto, in Italy, in 1263.

The auction will be online from Friday 24 July 2020 at 10:00 (CET) until Tuesday 04 August 2020 at 18:00 CET and will be visible at the following link:

Marc Harrison, category manager Books, Manuscripts & Cartography at Catawiki: “To hold an early printed work is to hold a piece of history. This is even more significant when one considers the importance that the Catholic Church held in many people’s lives at the time this incunabula was printed.”