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; GW 3120; Goff A1422; BMC V 298 (IB. 21308); CIBN A-812; BSB-Ink A-959.

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

GIP number: A132/1
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 a partially erased or heavily worn, illegible coat of arms within a laurel wreath supported by two owls;  on a5r is a different, unidentified coat of arms (painted over earlier arms):  gules, in chief a demi unicorn salient outlined in sable, in base three bars outlined in sable (the shield 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 goatskin; 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 manicules 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 Lilian Armstrong, ‘The Pico Master: a Venetian miniaturist of the late Quattrocento’ in her 'Studies of Renaissance miniaturists in Venice', I (London: 2003), p. 325, and Thorp, no. 105;  initials and paragraph marks supplied in alternate red and blue throughout.
Imperfections: Wanting fF8 (the Registrum).

Illuminated page from Avicenna: Canon Medicinae.

Copy 2


GIP number: A132/2
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.
Note: fF8 (the Registrum) used as rear pastedown.
Provenance: Albertus Pfisterus (fl. mid 16th century), apothecary of Nuremberg:  inscription on front flyleaf:  “Sum Stephanj Lagj ex Dono Alberti Pfisterj, pharmacopolae Norembergensis”.
Stephanus Lagus/Stephan Haas (fl. mid 16th century), physician of Nuremberg:  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); on the covers intersecting fillets form a panel of four triangular compartments with a rectangular compartment above and below the panel;  the compartments are decorated with a foliate/floral stamp, a stamp of a five-petalled flower head and with two lozenge-shaped stamps, one containing a double-headed eagle, the other a floral motif;  spine decorated with a large rosette stamp;  small patches of blue paper adhering to the leather;  one brass and leather clasp, the brass chased with a six-petalled flower;  catch plate on front board with similar chasing;  front pastedown is upper half of an incunable leaf extracted from a folio Bible (Job, cap. 38 with surrounding gloss);  the final leaf (fF8) has been used as a pastedown on the rear board;  numerous parchment 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 quire 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 (the text scored through and partially obliterated in ink).
Decoration: Thirteen-line initial “I” supplied in red, green and reserved white on a2r, ten-line initial “E” supplied in red, green and blue on aa1r, eight-line initial “I” supplied in red, green and reserved white on A1r, eleven-line initial “F” supplied in red, green and reserved white 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, paragraph marks and capital strokes supplied in red on A1r, AA1r, NN6v and OO1r.
Imperfections: Wanting the blank leaf a1 and quire AB.


Manuscript decoration in Avicenna: Canon Medicinae