FIRST EDITION (1555) of Magnus's great work - the first large geographical-ethnographical description of Scandinavia and one of the most important sources on the customs of the Northern peoples and daily life in the 16th century. Magnficently illustrated with 472 fine woodcuts.
"Olaus Magnus (1490-1557) was the last Catholic archbishop of Sweden, which he left in 1524. This book is still one of the most important sources on Northern customs and daily life of the time. The artist of the wood-cuts is unknown but most of them are made after drawings by the author. 13 editions were published in 16th century and several in the following, comprising translations into Dutch, French, German, Italian and lastly into Swedish. The history was intended to expand the information in the large map, 'Carta marina', which Olaus Magnus published in Venice in 1539, and of which only one copy was known, until a second was discovered in 1962 and acquired by the University Library of Upsala." (Swedish Books 1280-1967, no.18). Collijn 2, pp. 221-7. Sabin, 43830.
Note: This item also has an important Shakespearean connection. See the full story in the blog section of our website.
Romae, (Colophon: Apud Ioannem Mariam de Viottis Parmensem, in aedibus Birgitttae), 1555. Folio. (28 x 20,8 cm.). Bound in a mid-17th century full vellum, raised bands. 42 unnumbered leaves + 815 pp. (p. 815 is the full page wood-engraved printers device, verso blank). With 472 fine woodcuts in the text, the greatest part measuring 59x93 mm, some full-page, a few half-page and some 1/3-page, among these the full-page map of Scandinavia (the smaller sized "Carta Marina").
Front hinge neatly strenghtened. Elegant old inscription on front pastedown in Italian. Title page remargined at edges with no loss; the following three leaves with repairs at edges with no loss; the occasional page with reinforcement at extreme edge. Old inscription and some old owners' names on title. Text clean with some faint evidence of dampstaining almost exclusively contained within corners and edges.
Provenance: With stamp on inner title margin, "Holstein Holsteinborg". Likely the ownership stamp of Ludvig Holstein-Holsteinborg (18 July 1815 – 28 April 1892), Danish politician, landowner, noble, and Council President of Denmark from 28 May 1870 to 14 July 1874.
A very handsome copy in early binding of a rare and important work.
Price: $24,000 .