2 NOOT, Jan van der. Theatrum das ist, Schawplatz 106


Description: Rare first and only German edition, with 20 emblematic woodcuts

NOOT, Jan van der.
Theatrum das ist, Schawplatz, darein die eitelheit der irrdischen unnd vergencklichen dingen und die ubertreffenlichste Gottliche und Himlische sach getzeigt und erkleret wird, nicht weniger lustig und lieblich, als nützlich und anweisslich, allen liebhabern des Göttlichen Worts, der Poeterey und Mälerey ... erstlich in Brabandisch beschrieben, jetz aber in Oberlendisch Teutsch ubergesatzt, durch Balthasarn Froe Rechenmeistern zu Cöln.

[Cologne], [Gottfried Cervicornus the younger?], 1572. 4to. Beautiful richly gold-tooled dark blue goatskin morocco (ca. 1885/90) by Marcellin II and Paul Lortic, sewn on 5 cords, each board with a branch, leaf and berry design made from more than 1000 impressions of 5 stamps and some rolls, the spine with 6 compartments, each with a gold-tooled border, the 2nd and 3rd with the author, title and imprint, the others with decorations, gold-tooled turn-ins, fillets on ribs and board edges, straight-combed endpapers (red, blue, white, green and yellow), headbands in red, blue and yellow, red, green and yellow silk ribbon marker (signed in foot of front turn-in: “LORTIC FRÈRES”). With the gold-tooled red leather bookplate of Robert Hoe on the front paste-down. With each page in an elaborate woodcut border (8 different versions, with the top border separate but usually matching, and most with a circular opening in the foot showing any of 12 different medaillons (2 cm diameter, 1 with the author’s coat of arms and motto, another with his portrait, 2 more with emblematic images and mottos and the rest with arabesque and other decorations), the large woodcut coat of arms and portrait of the author (the arms repeated on the last printed page), and 20 full-page emblematical woodcuts (9 x 7.5 cm) after Marcus Gheeraerts the elder’s etchings for the original Dutch edition, including 1 repeat, used with 2 different texts. Further with 3 woodcut decorated initials (2 large gothic and 1 small roman) and decorative panels built up from arabesque fleurons (the first known use of this pair of fleurons). Set in fraktur types with prelims in italic and Schwabacher, and incidental roman. With both coats of arms and the borders and decorative panel of the last sixteen pages partly coloured in yellow. [115], [1 blank] pp.

Very rare first edition of the German translation of Jan van der Noot's Het theatre oft toon-eel, originally published in Dutch in London in 1568. It is a literal translation from the Dutch by Balthasar Froe and one of the main poetical works of the southern Low Countries nobleman Jan van der Noot (ca. 1539-post 1595), introducing the standards of Renaissance poetry to the Netherlands in an unprecedented way. At the same time the book played an important role in the rising genre of emblematical literature, especially in the Low Countries. The twenty emblems are built around twenty sonnets: 6 loosely translated from Petrarch’s Morte di Madonna Laura, Canzone III; 11 from Joachim du Bellay’s Songe and 4 newly written but based on the Apocalypse. Van der Noot’s commentaries on the Apocalypse are strongly anti-Catholic. The laudatory verses and the verses on Van der Noot’s arms were contributed by the Amsterdam professor Lambertus Barlaeus, the poet Joannes Gigas Secundus and the Cologne painter Gotschalck Sollingen. As a Calvinist, Van der Noot fled Antwerp for London after participating in the failed 1567 revolt that led to the oppressive regime of the Spanish Duke of Alva. His book was first published there, in Dutch and French editions by John Day in 1568 and an English edition by Henry Bynneman in 1569. Day was one of the first printers to use a set of arabesque fleurons cut by Robert Granjon, and the present book, probably influenced by Day, makes the first known use of a mirror-image pair of fleurons that may also have been cut by Granjon and were later used with his documented set: see Vervliet’s forthcoming article on Granjon’s fleurons in the Journal of the Printing Historical Society. They are used to make numerous rectangular decorative panels, the largest (4.5 x 5.5 cm) assembled from 80 fleurons. We have located only three other copies, at the British Library, Glasgow University and the Royal Library in Brussels.
Marcelin II and Paul Lortic, sons of Marcelin I Lortic, took over their father’s book bindery in 1884 and traded as Lortic frères until 1891. They were the leading fine binders of their day, and may have bound the present book for Robert Hoe (1839-1909), New York printing press manufacturer, bibliophile and first president of the Grolier Club, whose red leather bookplate (with an image of a wooden printing press) is on the paste-down. Although the book itself bears no record of later owners, we suspect it is the copy owned by the Brussels bibliophile General Jacques Willems (1870-1857), son of the Elzevier bibliographer Alphonse Willems. With a tear in the title-page (not affecting the text or border) and one other leaf (very slightly affecting the text without loss) expertly and unobtrusively repaired, and some minor browning and soiling on the first leaves, but still in good condition. The front hinge is cracked, but the binding is otherwise fine. A very rare emblematic work with beautiful woodcuts, beautifully bound by Loric frères.
BMC STC German, p. 655; Cat. foreign books lib. Robert Hoe, 2 (1907), p. 195 (this copy); KVK/WorldCat (2 copies); Vermeylen, Leven en werken van Jonker Jan van der Noot (1899), pp. 45-63, 146 (D); not in Landwehr, German Emblem Books; USTC.; VD16.
  • Number: 1060583 (875G7D2U2AXD)
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum