La penitence d’Adam, dedicated to Louis de Gruuthuse
In French, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Bruges, c. 1480
Decorated by the Master of Edward IV and the Master of the Flemish Boethius
This is an exceptionally fine copy of a French translation of an apocryphal Biblical legend from the workshop of Colard Mansion, the Burgundian scribe, translator, incunable-printer, and friend and working-partner of William Caxton. At the dawn of printing, our manuscript witnesses how scribes and libraires, simultaneous with the practice of the new technology, also perfected the scribal arts in the production of tiny numbers of exceedingly high quality books. Even fragments of Mansion’s printed books are extremely rare in private hands, and this is the only manuscript of this text to ever come to the open market. It is newly identified here as in all probability the dedication copy of the second recension of the text made for the famed bibliophile Louis de Gruuthuse himself.