« AnteriorContinuar »
Besides the appearance of the insides of early printed books, their ordinary outside bindings demand attention here. Many of the finer specimens were cased in sumptuous covers, in which the art of the goldsmith and jeweller was richly displayed; but for common use a stiff sheet of parchment generally sufficed, the edges of which were folded in, a blank leaf being pasted over them. Others, somewhat superior, had boards of beech or oak for their sides, over which was pasted a sheep-skin leather, on which figures were stamped or embossed ;* while others again had stiff covers made of waste sheets, or remnants of unsaleable copies, cut down and pasted together. These last have furnished many unique specimens of the works of the earliest printers; and whenever any such are suspected to lie beneath an ancient bookcover, the cover is carefully removed and subjected to a variety of processes to separate its parts, and compel it to give up to the ardent gaze of the palæotypographist, its possible treasure of an invaluable unique specimen of the work of a Gutenberg, a Schoeffer, a Zell, a Jenson, a Martens, a Caxton, or some other worthy of the olden time.
* Some of these bindings were wonderful specimens of patient labour. Wooden boards as thick as the panels of a door, studded with large brass nails with ornamented heads and massive metal corners, for sides, the backs solid with paste and glue, and the fronts fastened with heavy clasps, were by no means rare. Sometimes these covers were so made as to serve as receptacles for relics. Scaliger tells us that his grandmother had a printed Psalter, the cover of which was two inches thick, the inside forming a kind of cupboard in which was a small silver crucifix; and Mr. Hansard relates having seen an ancient book, in the cover of which was a recess for a relic-a human toe!
I.--ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGIN OF PRINTING, BY
J. F. FAUST OF ASCHAFFENBERG.
Joh. Fried. Faust, ein Sohn des im Jahre 1619 verstorbenen Schöffen des Reichsgerichtes und Rathes zu Frankfurt, erzhält, aus den Familienpapieren, welche die Fauste
Fauste von Aschaffenberg (Abkömmlinge der Fuste von Mainz) in ihrem Archive aufbewahrten, die Geschichte der Erfindung in folgender Weise:
“ Diese jetzt erwähnte und andere mehr Scribenten, welche es von Hörensagen theils genommen, theils von einander entlehnet, seind nicht allein an dem Ort und der Zeit, sondern auch an der Person vom ersten Anfenger zweifelhafftig, ja gar ohngewis, und ist uns Teutschen nicht ein geringer Spott, dass wir solche edle Kunst zu allererst von Gott empfangen, und so mancherlet frembde Historien und Auctores lesen und schreiben, den unter anderen vortrefflichen Sachen, nicht eine Gewissheit des ersten Anfengers, ihme und gantzem Teutschland
zu ewigen unsterblichen Ruhm und Lob, solten auch in getruckten und