First edition of this early and very important study on the origins of printing. “A work held in high estimation by bibliographers” (Bigmore & Wyman).
Meerman (1722-1771) was not only a celebrated jurist and statesman – he was Pensionary of Rotterdam from 1748 till 1766 – but also a famous man of letters and science. He spent a considerable part of his large fortune collecting books and antiquities, establishing one of the most valuable libraries brought together by a private collector. His collection, as rich of manuscripts as of rare printed books, is still preserved in the Museum Meermanno-Westreenianum at the Hague, the Dutch museum for the history of the book. Meerman also made good use of his fine library, publishing several learned works, of which the present one made him famous throughout Europe. In this work on the history of printing, one of the first studies on the subject, he claimed the honour of the invention of printing for the Dutch city of Haarlem and its printer Laurens Jansz. Koster, following a tradition that originates in the 16th century. Gutenberg would only have perfected Coster’s invention.
The chief part of the second volume is occupied by: Documenta et testimonia Typographica, 97 in number, and quoted in full. No less than five excellent indexes facilitate the consultation of this important source-book. ‘An erudite and excellent work, and deservedly held in estimation by bibliographers‘ (Dibdin).
Illustrated with 2 full-page engraved portraits of the author by J. Daullé, and of Laurens Jansz. Coster by J. Houbraken, one folding printed table with the genealogy of Larens Jansz. Coster, one folding and 9 full-page engraved plates of specimens from early printed books, and one half page engraved coat-of- arms of Johannes Schottus from Strasbourg in the text.
“The ten fac-similes are executed with great care, are very curious, and give a good idea of the types used by the printers to whom he makes reference” (Bigmore & Wyman).
A very fine copy bound in contemporary red morroco (burn mark on upper cover).