Avicenna: Canon medicinae [Latin] (Lib. I-V).

Translated by Gerardus Cremonensis.   Edited by Petrus Rochabonella.   Corrections by Prosdocimus Mutius.   De viribus cordis.   Translated by Arnoldus de Villa Nova.

Venice:  Petrus Maufer de Maliferis et Socii, 1486.
4to.   a-h8 i-k6 aa-ii8 kk6 A-Z8 AB8 AA-LL8 MM-NN6 OO4 aA-dD8 eE10 fF8.   [500] leaves, the first blank.
ISTC ia01422000;  Goff A1422;  BMC V 298;  GW 3120.

In five parts:  I-IV) [undated];  V) 10 June 1486.  'De viribus cordis' is dated 1486.

Two copies held by University of Glasgow.

Copy 1

Shelf-mark: Sp Coll Hunterian Bw.3.24 (see main library entry for this item)
Variant: The variant incipits to Books I (a2r) and V (aA1r) as recorded at GW 3120 Anm.
Provenance: Unidentified coats of arms:  the illuminated border at the foot of a2r has an unidentified and partially erased(?) coat of arms within a laurel wreath supported by two owls;  on a5r is a different, unidentified coat of arms of a unicorn(?) within a laurel wreath, also supported by two owls.
Anthony Askew (1722-1774), physician and classical scholar:  Askew sale, 13 Feb. 1775 onwards;  almost certainly lot 1006 in 'Bibliotheca Askeviana …' (London:  Baker & Leigh, 1775) “Avicennae Opera, cum elegant. illuminationibus, Venet. 1486”.
William Hunter (1718-1783), physician and anatomist:  if the above identification is correct, Hunter purchased the book for £2.6.0 according to a priced copy of the Askew sale catalogue in University of Glasgow Library (Mu36-c.8) - but priced at £0.6.0 in another copy of the sale catalogue in University of Glasgow Library (RB 2804).
University of Glasgow:  Hunterian bequest 1807;  Hunterian Museum bookplate on front pastedown, with former shelfmark “A.8.33”.
Binding: England, 18th-century gold-tooled red morocco; covers decorated with a border made up of a double fillet and separate tools, including a drawer-handle tool containing a star-shaped flower; restored and rebacked by James Brockman, Aug. 1987, with spine title put back; marbled endpapers; remains of early paper tabs. Size: 236 x 176 mm. Now housed in a burgundy buckram-covered box containing binder’s note, pre-restoration photographs, samples of original spine and headbands.
Leaf size: 227 x 161 mm.
Annotations: Copious marginal annotations (including pharmaceutical formulae) and underlining in a late 15th/early 16th-century hand in black ink, together with some pointing hands and “nota” marks;  a few later annotations in different hands, one in reddish ink, another in black ink;  on the front flyleaf in an early hand is a list of medical writers arranged chronologically beginning with Hippocrates.
Decoration: Six full-page illuminations (on a2r, a5r, aa1r, A1r AA1r, aA1r) each containing an author-portrait in an historiated initial;  the illuminated borders include studies of birds, animals, sea creatures, architectural motifs, a centaur holding medicinal herbs and a putto playing a musical instrument;  the artist is identified by Professor Lilian Armstrong as the Pico Master (his name derived from a manuscript of Pliny which he illuminated in 1481 for Giovanni Pico della Mirandola - see N.R. Thorp, 'The glory of the page', no. 105);  initials and paragraph marks supplied in alternate red and blue throughout.
Imperfections: Wanting fF8.

Illuminated page from Avicenna: Canon Medicinae.

Copy 2


Shelf-mark: Sp Coll Ferguson Am-z.44 (see main library entry for this item)
Variant: The variant incipit to Book III (A1r) as recorded at GW 3120 Anm.
Provenance: Albertus Pfisterus (17th cent.), apothecary of Nuremberg:  inscription on front flyleaf:  “Sum Stephanj Lagj ex Dono Alberti Pfisterj, pharmacopolae Norembergensis”.
Stephanus Lagus (17th cent.):  see above.
John Ferguson (1837-1916) Professor of Chemistry, University of Glasgow:  acquired 15 May 1875 according to Ferguson’s note in ink on front flyleaf “John Ferguson Univ. Glasg. May 15, 1875”;  source unknown.
University of Glasgow:  Ferguson collection purchase, 1921.
Binding: Germany, 16th-century blind-tooled quarter calf over wooden boards (grooved fore-edges); leather decorated with double blind fillets and two separate lozenge-shaped stamps, one containing a double-headed eagle, the other a floral motif, and with separate stamps of a small five-petalled flower and a larger rosette stamp; small patches of blue paper adhering to the pigskin; single brass clasp decorated with a six-petalled flower; catch plate on front board; front pastedown is upper half of an incunable leaf extracted from a folio Bible (Job, chapter 38 with surrounding gloss); the final leaf, fF8, has been used as a pastedown on the rear board; numerous vellum index tabs labelled in Latin in an early hand. Size: 234 x 173 mm.
Leaf size: 220 x 165 mm.
Annotations: Occasional marginal notes in 16th and 17th-century hands;  entire missing text of gathering AB (see Imperfections) is supplied in manuscript in a 16th-century hand;  inserted after fF7 is a leaf recording mainly in Latin (but occasionally in German) the deaths of members of the Pfister family between 1533 and 1538.
Decoration: Thirteen-line initial “I” supplied in red and green on a2r, ten-line initial “E” supplied in red, green and blue on aa1r, eight-line initial “I” supplied in red and green on A1r, eleven-line initial “F” supplied in red and green on AA1r;  between a1r and aa1r other initials and paragraph marks supplied in red or blue or occasionally green, and capital strokes supplied in red;  thereafter the book is undecorated except for initials and paragraph marks supplied in red on A1r, AA1r, NN6v and OO1r.
Imperfections: Wanting the blank leaf a1 and gathering AB.


Manuscript decoration in Avicenna: Canon Medicinae