Bound at Prague in green-stained vellum for Ferdinand Hoffmann, Baron of Grünpühel and Strechau (1540-1607) View larger
Bound at Prague in green-stained vellum for Ferdinand Hoffmann, Baron of Grünpühel and Strechau (1540-1607)
Rare Plantin ‘livre de fête’, bound for Baron Ferdinand Hoffmann (1540-1607)
Houwaert (Johan Baptista), 1533-1599

Sommare beschrijuinghe vande triumphelijcke Incomst vanden doorluchtighen ende hooghgheboren Aerts-hertoge Matthias binnen die Princelijcke stadt van Brussele, in t’iaer ons Heeren M.D.LXXVIII. den xviij dach Januarij

Antwerp, Christopher Plantin, 1579

A lavishly illustrated description of the triumphal entry into Brussels on 18 January 1578, of Archduke Matthias of Austria (1557-1616), brother of the Emperor Rudolph, to take his oaths as Governor-General of The Netherlands, and of festivities during the days following. Our copy was bound for Ferdinand Hoffmann, baron of Grünpühel and Strechau (1540-1607), whose library comprised at his death more than ten thousand volumes, the modern acquisitions ordinarily bound in green-stained vellum, as here.

Bound with Houwaert, Johan Baptista. Oratie der Ambassadeuren vanden doorluchtighen Prince Matthias Aertshertoge van Oostenrijcke… Verhaelt inden Rijckxdach gehouden tot Wormes, voor die Raetsheeren ghedeputeert by die Princen Electeurs, ende ander Ambassadeurs ende Ghecommitteerde van t'heylich Roomsche Rijcke… Rhetorijckelicke in ons Nederlantsche tale ouerghestelt, door Jean Baptista Houwaert. Antwerp, Christopher Plantin, 1578

Also in the volume is a verse translation by Houwaert of the famous speech delivered (in Latin) on 7 May 1578, by Philippe de Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde (1540-1598), before a delegation of the Diet (Reichstag) of Worms, a fruitless appeal to gain the German princes to the cause of the States-General against the Spanish. Of this work, only five other copies are known.

Subjects
Architecture, Dutch & Flemish - Early works to 1800
Festival books and prints - The Netherlands & Belgium - Brussels, 1578
Theatre - Stage-setting and scenery - Early works to 1800
Authors/Creators
Houwaert, Johan Baptista, 1533-1599
Artists/Illustrators
Leest, Antoon van, 1545-1592
Printers/Publishers
Plantin, Christophe, active 1559-1588
Owners
Fürstlich-Dietrichstein'sche Fideicommiss-Bibliothek (Nikolsburg)
Hoffmann, Ferdinand, Baron Gruenstein of Grünpühel and Strechau, 1540-1607
Willems, Jacques, Général, 1870-1957
Other names
Marnix van St. Aldegonde, Philips van, 1538-1598
Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor, 1557-1619

Houwaert, Johan Baptista
Brussels 1533 – 1599 St. Joost ten Noode

Sommare beschrijuinghe vande triumphe­lijcke Incomst vanden doorluchtig­hen ende hooghgheboren Aerts-hertoge Matthias binnen die Princelijcke stadt van Brussele, in t’iaer ons Heeren m.d.lxxviii. den xviij dach Januarij. Midtsgaders die tanneelen, poincten, figuren ende spectaculen, die inde voor­seyde incompste (ter eeren van sijne doorluchticheyt) zijn verthoont ghev­veest, met meer an- der saken, die doen ter tijt gheschiet zijn. Gheinventeert ende ghecom­poneert deur Iean Baptista Hovwaert, Consiellier ende Meester vanden Rekening­hen ons Heeren des Coninckx in Brabant.

Antwerp, Christopher Plantin, 1579

quarto (192 × 142 mm), (84) ff. signed A–I8 K4 L8 (blank L8) and paginated 1–174 [i.e. 166, pp.145–148, 156–160 passed over; here folio E5 recto correctly paginated ‘73’ although the numerals either have slipped in the forme, or are hand-stamped] (2). Plantin’s ‘Labore et Constantia’ device on title-page (Voet no. 21), woodcut of Archduke Matthias’s armorial insignia within a border (152 × 117 mm), woodcut of the Archduke on horseback passing through a triumphal arch (156 × 120 mm), a series of twenty-four numbered woodcuts (of the same size) de­picting stages set up in the streets along his route, a similar series of seven (unnumbered) woodcuts of stages, thirty-four woodcut cartouches (by repeti­tion of twelve blocks), decorative and historiated initials, tail-pieces. Printed in roman, italic, gothic, and civilité types.1

provenance Ferdinand Hoffmann, baron of Grünpühel and Strechau (1540–1607), his exlibris2 on verso of title-page and insignia on binding ― princes of Dietrichstein, Schloß Nikolsburg, Moravia ― sale by H. Gilhofer and H. Ranschburg, ‘Bibliothek Alexander Fürst Dietrichstein’, Lucerne, 21–22 November 1933, lot 127 (reproduction Tafel 6) ― [by repute, Général Jacques Willems (1870–1957), président de la Société des Biblio­philes et Iconophiles de Belgique] ― Pierre Berès, his sale by Pierre Bergé & Associés, ‘Fonds de la librairie Pierre Berès. Des incunables à nos jours. Ière partie’, Paris, 28 October 2005, lot 61

binding near-contemporary green-stained vellum (Prague? circa 1600); covers decorated in gilt with heraldic insignia of Ferdinand Hoffmann within bordering inscription Ferdinand Hofman, Freyher Herr auf Grevenstein, gilt frame with floral ornament at inside angles; spine divided into four com­partments and decorated with same floral ornament, a German version of title lettered on the spine in ink; red and blue-speckled page edges; fragments of four yellow silk ties.

Binding for Ferdinand Hoffmann, baron of Grünpühel and Strechau (1540–1607)

A lavishly-illustrated description of the triumphal entry into Brussels on 18 January 1578, of Archduke Matthias of Austria (1557–1616), brother of the Emperor Rudolph, to take his oaths as Governor-General of The Netherlands, and of festivities dur­ing the days following. The author, who held the title of Counsellor and Master in Ordinary of the Exchequer to the Duchy of Brabant, was present at all the events described, as master of ceremonies, and writer of the dra­matic dialogues performed by Rederijkers (rhetori­cians) at a banquet in the Stadhuis.3

The book commences with an account of Matthias’s arrival at Vilvoorde, where he was met by the Prince of Orange and other notables, and his proces­sion to the Louvain gate accom­panied by musicians playing shawms, cornettos, and other instruments, illustrated by a fine large woodcut of Matthias on horseback, together with nine members of his reti­nue on foot, passing through a triumphal arch festooned with armorial insignia. In the Ridderstrate, Matthias was greeted by representatives of the ‘nine nations’ of Brussels, and conducted along streets illuminated by flaming torches (although it was mid-day) and garlanded with fruits and flowers (although it was January) to the Grote Markt, where he enjoyed tableaux vivants presented by the most beautiful young women in the city.

A series of twenty-four numbered, full-page woodcuts record these tableaux, as well as the architecture and painted decoration of the ephemeral stages. Each stage was individually dedicated to a goddess of the Roman pantheon, chosen to personify the virtues and qualities which Matthias possessed, or was expected to possess. Rhyming verse written in ‘groote capitael letteren’ on the architectural façades (and transcribed in our book) summarised the allegories: Juno presenting Matthias with the city of Brussels, which she held, beautifully modelled in her hand; Cybele giving him the keys; Reason handing him a bridle; Hebe a basket of flowers; Wisdom a looking glass and two law books; Dili­gence a pair of spurs; while Constancy, Magnanimity, Prudence, and other virtues, furnished him with a helmet, corslet, spear and, shield. On other stages, Bellona presented Matthias with men-at-arms; Fame gave him her trumpet, and Glory her crown.

Then follow seven unnumbered woodcuts recording tableaux vivants of an historical rather than allegorical nature, presented on more elaborately decorated ‘tanneelen’ (these stages were ornamented in silver and gold, with prosceniums of simulated marble). In six pictures, Matthias was compared to the young Roman hero Scipio Africanus, who defeated the Carthaginians under Hannibal, and explicitly invited to free the Netherlands from the oppression of Don Juan, and restore liberties, rights and privileges. The seventh and final picture represents the legendary hero of ancient Rome, Marcus Curtius, plunging into the yawning abyss in order to save his people from pestilence.

At least one tableaux of this series, Scipio’s coronation, was enacted to music: a song enti­tled ‘Ghelijckerwijs vol rouwen, Sadt t’volck van Israel’, in which the Israelites in Babylonian exile serve as a prefiguration of the Low Countries under the Spanish yoke, was performed ‘met diuersche stemmen wel soo harmonieus al oft Parthenope, Lugia en Leucasta daer jegenwoordich hadden geweest’ (folio F3 verso, the song is then printed as fourteen stanzas of four lines each). It has ‘the same rhyme scheme and metrical feet as the song Wilhelmus van Nassouwe [now the national anthem of The Netherlands] and was very probably sung to this melody’.4

None of the woodcuts in the book is signed, however they are widely attributed to Antoon van Leest (circa 1545–1592), a cutter working for Plantin since the mid-1560s, who made blocks for the illustrations in other publications by Houwaert.5 It is suggested that one of these woodcuts was utilised by Van Dyck when composing ‘The Continence of Scipio’ (Christ Church, Oxford).6

The next day Mathias took his oaths as Governor-General, to support the new constitution, while the Prince of Orange was sworn in as Lieutenant-General and Governor of Brabant. The various speeches, addresses, announcements, and oaths, are printed, together with the prologue and text of ‘Vonnisse van Minos’, a ‘tafelspel’ adapted by Houwaert from Lucian’s ‘Mortuorum Dialogi xii ’, which was presented by the Chamber of Rhetori­cians ‘Het Mariacransken’ (Garland of Mary) at a banquet in honour of Matthias.

Woodcut attributed to Antoon van Leest. Page height 192 mm

The play begins as a dialogue between two speakers named ‘t’Verlanghende herte’ (Desir­ing Heart, a burgher) and ‘Ghemeynen troost’ (Common Com­fort, a cleric), after which Alexander, Hannibal, and Scipio make their appearance, and begin to argue before Minos, judge of Hades, about which one of them had most excelled by his deeds.7 Contrary to Lucian’s text, Houwaert has Minos ruling in favour of Scipio, because his achievements were not inspired by a search for personal honour. The ‘Epitaphie van Scipio’ which con­cluded the per­formance is fol­lowed (folio K4 recto) by the appro­batio, dated 21 October 1578, and privilege, dated 13 December [1578].

But Houwaert evidently insisted on an addendum: incidental information about the banquet – the kinds of confectionary served, including one in the shape of the Netherlands lion; the instrumental music played, etc. – and the text of a comic dialogue, are printed on six leaves (quire L), approved by the censor on 19 December 1579 (Voet thus speculates that the book did not appear until early 1580). This appended dialogue, between Annius and Leucius, entitled ‘Vremdt Bescheedt’, was silently adapted by Houwaert from an unpub­lished work of Cornelis Crul, itself derived from Erasmus’ ‘Apros­dionusa, sive Absurda’.8

These copies are located by the writer in public collections

● Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, 327K2 ● Amsterdam, Universiteit van Amsterdam, OTM: O67–36 ● Antwerp, Museum Plantin Moretus ● Brussels, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, VB10.827cA2, VB10.465A, VH26.531A (three copies) ● Ghent, Universiteits Biblotheek, HER.30, Meul.334, BL.5420/-2 (three copies)9 ● Glasgow, University Library, SM61410 ● The Hague, Koninklijke Bibliotheek, Pflt 329 ● Liège, Université de Liège ● London, British Library, 9930.d.11 ● Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute, DD187.8 H68 157911 ● Postel (Belgium), Abbey ● Rotterdam, Museum Het Schielandshuis, Atlas Van Stolk, Nr.652 ● Wolfenbüttel, Herzog August Bibliothek, A:256.8 Quod. (2).

Our copy was bound for Ferdinand Hoffmann, baron of Grünpühel and Strechau (1540–1607), whose library comprised at his death more than ten thousand volumes, the modern acquisitions ordinar­ily bound in green-stained vellum, as here.12 A substantial portion of the library passed into the pos­session of the Princes von Dietrichstein and remained in Moravia until sold by Gilhofer and Ranchburg, at Lucerne, in 1933 and 1934 (the pre­sent volume was sold on 23 November 1933 as lot 127).

references Frederik Muller, De Nederlandsche geschie­denis in platen. Beredeneerde beschrijving van Nederland­sche historieplaten, zinneprenten en historische kaarten (Amsterdam 18631882), iv, p.81; Katalog der Ornamentstichsammlung der Staat­lichen Kunstbibliothek Berlin (1939), no. 2941; Irmengard von Roeder-Baumbach, Versieringen bij Blijde Inkomsten gebruikt in de Zuidelijke Neder­landen gedurende de 16e en 17e eeuw (Antwerp & Utrecht 1943), no. 11; Belgica Typographica 15411600; catalogus librorum impresso­rum ab anno mdxli ad annum mdc in regionibus quae nunc Regni Belgarum partes sunt (Nieuwkoop 1968), no. 1532; Bibliotheca Belgica, bibliographie générale des Pays-Bas (Brussels 1964–1975), H–30; John Landwehr, Splendid Ceremonies. State Entries and Royal Funerals in the Low Countries 1515–1791. A Bibliography (Nieuwkoop & Leiden 1971), no. 36; Léon Voet, The Plantin Press, 15551589: a bibliography of the works printed and published by Christopher Plantin at Antwerp and Leiden (Amsterdam 1980–1983), no. 1410; Micheline Soenen, ‘Fêtes et Cérémonies publiques à Bruxelles aux temps moderne’ in Bijdragen tot de Geschiedenis 68 (1985), esp. pp.55–56; Margit Thøfner, A common art: urban ceremonial in Antwerp and Brussels during and after the Dutch revolt (Zwolle 2007), pp.116–124

Bound with

Houwaert, Johan Baptista

Oratie der Ambassadeuren vanden door­luchtighen Prince Matthias Aerts­hertoge van Oostenrijcke… Verhaelt inden Rijckx­dach gehouden tot Wormes, voor die Raets­heeren ghedeputeert by die Princen Elec­teurs, ende ander Ambassadeurs ende Ghe­committeerde van t’heylich Roomsche Rijcke… Rhetorijckelicke in ons Nederlant­sche tale ouerghestelt, door Jean Baptista Houwaert.

Antwerp, Christopher Plantin, 1578

quarto, (46) ff. signed A–E8 F6 (blank F6) and paginated 1–87 (5). Plantin’s ‘Labore et Constantia’ device on title-page (Voet no. 21), large woodcut of Archduke Matthias’s armorial insignia within a border, full-page woodcut (154 × 119 mm) of Philip Marnix delivering his speech at the Diet of Worms with monogram al (or avl) of the wood­cutter Antoon van Leest, four woodcut cartouches (by repetition of three blocks). Printed in roman, italic, gothic, and civilité types.13

Woodcut by Antoon van Leest. Page height 192 mm

Only edition of this verse translation by Houwaert of the famous speech delivered (in Latin) on 7 May 1578, by Philippe de Marnix de Sainte Aldegonde (1540–1598), before a delegation of the Diet (Reichstag) of Worms, a fruitless appeal to gain the German princes to the cause of the States-General against the Spanish.14

In his Oration, Marnix defended the revolutionary appointment of Archduke Matthias as Governor (8 December 1577), in cooperation with a Council of State, a gross subversion of the authority of Philip ii. He recounted all the mischief committed by Don Juan and argued that the privileges of Brabant gave the States-General (and every individual citi­zen) the right to disobey not only a governor, but also the prince himself if he violated the privi­leges.

Marnix’s oration is rendered by Houwaert in 156 stanzas of eleven lines, and concludes with a note attesting that the text has been corrected against the Latin. It is, however, a rhetorical translation, not a faithful one: where Marnix invokes the ‘law of na­ture’, which had ‘imprinted in the hearts of all ani­mals the charge and care of their survival and health’, Houwaert diverges from the origi­nal ora­tion, connecting the law of nature with the mainte­nance of the privileges, as an explanation for why the States had taken up arms (folio D3 recto).15

The first edition of the Oration was printed by Plantin in June 1578, by order of Nicasius de Sille, Secre­tary to the Privy Council;16 a French translation, made by Marnix himself, ap­peared soon thereafter.17 Both editions were printed in smaller, octavo format, and neither features the fine illustration signed with the mono­gram of Antoon van Leest which appears in Houwaert’s edition. This woodcut is the earliest known portrait of Marnix.18 No subsequent use of it is recorded.

These copies are known to the writer

● Antwerp, Museum Plantin Moretus ● Brussels, Bibliothèque royale de Belgique, VH 26.542 A ● Ghent, Universiteits Biblotheek, HER.29 Meul.1578, BL.5420/-2 (three copies)19 ● Rotterdam, Museum Het Schielandshuis, Atlas Van Stolk, Nr.666 ● a copy passing through the collections of Alphonse Willems (sale 1914, lot 261) ― Anton W.M. Mensing (sale 1937, lot 1348) ― Général Jacques Willems ― Pierre Berès, (his ‘Catalogue 71: Pays-Bas anciens’, Paris 1973, item 128), now unlocated

references Maurice Funck, Le livre belge à gravures: Guide de l’amateur de livres illustrés imprimés en Belgique avant le xviiie siècle (Paris 1925), p.337; Prosper Arents, ‘Bijdrage tot de Marnix-bibliografie: Rede door Marnix van St. Aldegonde gehouden voor den Rijksdag te Worms in 1578’ in Lode Baekelmans ter eere 1945 (Antwerpen 1946), pp.122–140, no. 7; Belgica Typographica 15411600; catalogus librorum impressorum ab anno mdxli ad annum mdc in regionibus quae nunc Regni Belgarum partes sunt (Nieuwkoop 1968), no. 2049; Bibliotheca Belgica, bibliographie générale des Pays-Bas (Brussels 1964–1975), H–29; Léon Voet, The Plantin Press, 15551589: a bibliography of the Works printed and published by Christopher Plantin at Antwerp and Leiden (Amsterdam 1980–1983), no. 1409

1. Harry Carter and H.D.L. Vervliet, Civilité types (Oxford 1966), no. 176.

2. Engraved after a design by Matthäus Gundelach by Lucas Kilian (130 × 80 mm, here slightly trimmed); F.W.H. Hollstein, German engravings, etchings, and woodcuts, ca. 1400–1700 (Amsterdam 1976), xvii, p.162.

3. Houwaert may have involved himself in the typography of his books, which are among the most elegant issued by the Plantin press; see Kees Gnirrep, ‘Drukken of het geschreven staat: Jan Baptist Houwaert en de civilité’ in Scripta manent: drukletters over schoonschrift of een vriendenboekje van collega’s aangeboden aan drs. A.R.A. Croiset van Uchelen bij zijn afscheid als hoofdconservator van de Universiteitsbibliotheek Amsterdam, edited by Piet Visser (Amsterdam 1997), pp.10–17.

4. Thiemo Wind, ‘Musical participation in sixteenth-cen­tury triumphal entries in the Low Countries’ in Tijdschrift van de Vereniging voor Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis 37 (1987), p.128.

5. F.W.H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish etchings engrav­ings and woodcuts (Amsterdam 1955), x, p.43 no. 10.

6. John Peacock, ‘Looking at Van Dyck’s Scipio in its contexts’ in Art History 23 (2000), p.277 and fig.39.

7. W.M.H. Hummelen, Repertorium van het rederijkers­drama 1500–c. 1620 (Assen 1968), pp.268–269 no. 6-D-1.

8. Gilbert Degroote, ‘Cornelis Cruls bewerking van Erasmus’ Colloqium Absurda in een werk van Johan Baptist Houwaert’ in Spiegel der Letteren 4 (1960), pp.161–174; Hummelen, op. cit., p.269 no. 6-D-2; Patricia Pikhaus, Het tafelspel bij de rederijkers (Ghent 1988–1989), pp.25–26, 67–68.

9. Jerome Machiels, Catalogus van de boeken voor 1600 aanwezig op de Centrale Bibliotheek van de Rijksuniver­siteit Gent (Ghent 1979), H–424.

10. Hester Black, A Short Title Catalogue of the Emblem Books and Related Works in the Stirling Maxwell Collec­tion of Glasgow University Library (Aldershot 1988), no. 614.

11. The Getty copy contains a superfluous double-page engraving of Matthias and the Prince of Orange, like the copy cited by Maurice Funck, Le livre belge à gravures: Guide de l’amateur de livres illustrés imprimés en Belgique avant le xviiie siècle (Paris 1925), p.337.

12. Paul Needham, Twelve centuries of bookbind­ings, 400–1600 (New York 1987), pp.284–287.

13. Carter and Vervliet, op. cit., no. 157.

14. Monique Weis, ‘Les interventions de Philippe de Marnix aux assemblées impériales: Augsbourg 1566 – Spire 1570 – Worms 1578’ in Bulletin de la Société royale d’Histoire du Protestantisme belge 132 (2003), pp.1–36.

15. Translations by Martin van Gelderen, The Political Thought of the Dutch Revolt (Cambridge 1992), p.139.

16. Voet, op. cit., no. 1886; Claude Sorgeloos, Labore et constantia, 1589–1989: a collection of 510 editions issued by Christopher Plantin from 1555 till 1589 [offered for sale by Eric Speeckaert], intro­duction by Leon Voet (Brussels 1990), no. 356.

17. P.A.M. Geurts, De Nederlandse opstand in de pamflet­ten, 1566–1584 (Nijmegen 1956), p.76; Voet, op. cit., no. 1887.

18. J.A. de Waard, De portretten Van Marnix van St Aldegonde. Een ikonografische verkenning (Deventer 1988), pp.13–14.

19. Machiels, op. cit., M–220.

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