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Coleraine Library

Illustrations from the Henry Davis Collection

For this brief introduction we have chosen nine illustrations from seven of the 190 plus items in the collection just to give a flavour of its depth and variety

  • The first illustration comes from Fragments of a Fifteenth Century Antiphoner, There are 21 vellum leaves in a cloth folder, each with a full- scale illuminated initial. The initial we have chosen depicts the visitation of t he Virgin Mary to Saint Elizabeth.
  • The Library is fortunate to possess a magnificent copy of the famous Fust and Schoeffer Bible of 1462. It has a very distinguished provenance, and is richly illuminated throughout in gold and colours. We have chosen two illustrations: the firs t of which includes the Incipit: Incipit epistola sancti Iheronimi ad paulinum presbiterum. The second illustration is of the last page, where the Colophon giving the publication date of 1462 can be seen.
  • The fourth illustration is taken from a very fine copy of Aristotle: Ethica, Politica, Economica. This is the first appearance of any of Aristotle's works in print, and was published by Johann Mentelin in Strassburg in 1469.
  • The well-known Venetian printer Nicolas Jensen is the subject of our fifth example. This is an exceptionally fine copy of Pliny's Historia Naturalis and was published in 1472. It is one of only 12 known copies printed on vell um, and was once owned by Francesco Donato, Doge of Venice (1543-53).
  • Aristotle is also the author of the work from which our next example is taken. This is Opus Aristotelis de moribus a Leonardo Aretino traductum, published by Paulus Hurus in Zaragotha in 1492.
  • For our next two illustrations we have chosen the famous Nuremberg Chronicle, of which the University is lucky to have a remarkably splendid copy. This was written by Hartman Schedel and printed by Anton Koberger at Nuremberg in 1493. There are over 2000 woodcuts, and those on the two pages selected are typical of the range and quality of illustrations to be found in this seminal work.
  • For our final example we have turned to one of the books in the collection which is particularly noted for its fine binding. This is theAnthologia Graeca, published in Florence by Lorenzo di Alopa in 1494. It is bound in lat e 15th Century red morocco, with gold and blind tooling. The cover has four borders inside blind rules, with a centrestamp of Alexander the Great in blind intaglio.

We hope you have enjoyed this brief tour of the Henry Davis Collection. Full information about all the items in the Collection is given in the published catalogue, to which reference has already been made. Arrangements to view the Collection in Coleraine may be made with Joseph McLaughlin, the University Archivist and Rare Books Curator.

He may be contacted at The Library, University of Ulster, Cromore Road, Coleraine, N. Ireland, BT51 1SA, Tel. 028 7032 4671, or by e-mail at:

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