Vocabularius utriusque iuris

Item date: 1515
Grant Value: £4,500 from FNL's B. H. Breslauer Fund
Item cost: £7,100
Item date acquired: 2014
Item institution: Cambridge University Library
Town/City: Cambridge
County: Cambridgeshire

An early post-incunable in a remarkable early sixteenth-century binding by a named binder. This 1515 edition of the anonymous Vocabularius utriusque iuris reprints one of the most popular legal dictionaries of the early modern period. Many of the 16th-century editions are now very rare; this edition is known in just three other copies. This copy is significant not just for its text, but as an historical object which can tell us much about its early reception and use. It retains what was probably its first binding (at the very least, one constructed within a decade of its printing), executed either in Caen or England by the binder and bookseller Robert Macé (binder to the University of Caen from 1522 until 1557), whose name appears on the upper cover. The possibility of an English origin for the binding – certainly the book was in England at a very early date – is suggested by an early sixteenth-century ownership inscription at the rear by one George Hobson. More recently it belonged to the great collector E. P. Goldschmidt, who described it in his Gothic and Renaissance bookbindings of 1967.

This volume adds significantly to the Library’s collection of early signed bindings and to our holdings of this popular title, not to mention providing important evidence for the presence of a French binder in England and the trade in French books to this country.

This grant was awarded from FNL's B. H. Breslauer Fund, thanks to the generosity of the President and Officers of the B. H. Breslauer Foundation.

 

Vocabularius utriusque iuris, 1515. Courtesy of Cambridge University Library.
Vocabularius utriusque iuris, 1515. Courtesy of Cambridge University Library.
The binding by Robert Macé (binder to the University of Caen from 1522 until 1557).
The binding by Robert Macé (binder to the University of Caen from 1522 until 1557). Courtesy of Cambridge University Library.