Lumen Animae - "The Light of the Soul" incunable leaf


An early printed leaf of this famous incunable work, with hand illumination, 1482.

Recto: 43 lines of text in Latin printed in two columns on laid & watermarked rag paper in a Gothic typeface. Headings and sentence beginnings hand touched in red. Considerable hand underlining in red. Two beautifully executed calligraphic “A” initials at the chapter headings - one 3-line in blue with a flourish in the margin and the other in red with an ascendor and descendor well into the margins. See detail image below.

Verso: As Recto, but with one illuminated “A” in blue.
See Verso image below

Source: Strasbourg.

Date: 1482

Content: The leaf is from the Lumen Animae (Light of the Soul), a curious encyclopedia compiled about 1300 by Berengarius de Landora. It is a handbook of medieval knowledge of all sorts, and contains chapters on medicine & natural sciences, the human constitution, psychic and abnormal states of the mind, the choice of food, prescriptions for physicians, animals, herbs, minerals, etc. Bergengarius’ intention was to provide material for illustrative sermons by preachers, to explain the natural and moral world in terms of the all-pervading nature of God. The two chapters on Recto, numbers 189 & 190, are concerned with predestination and predictions.


Condition: This leaf is in excellent condition. As expected, there is some cockling of the paper from the printing process, and age-related browning to the edges and the bottom margin. Two worm holes and a very slight bleed-through from the illuminated initial on Verso in no way mar what is an excellent example of incunable printing & illumination. Coincidentally, it was in Strasbourg, a mere 27 years earlier, that Gutenberg created the first moveable type printing press. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Notes: Berengarius de Landora was a French Dominican born into a noble family of Southern France. Later in life he became the Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela and is remembered for the building work he initiated on its Cathedral. One of the cathedral’s towers bears his name.

Size: Size of leaf: appprox. 275x200 mm. Text area (including heading and illuminations in margins): approx 245x145 mm. Mat size: 430x320 mm. Presented in a museum quality mat, ready to frame. Certificate of Authenticity.
Contact us for further images of this leaf.

Packing & registered, insured post within Australia: $22.50. Overseas destinations: ask for quote.

Stock Number: PSE 003

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