Week 43

Van den proprieteyten der dinghen





Bartholomæus Anglicus: Van den proprieteyten der dinghen (On the properties of things), printed in Low German in Haarlem by Jacob Bellaert in 1485. The work is an encyclopedia based on the Bible and covers in particular the natural sciences. Written in Latin by an English Franciscan in the 1200s, the book is one example among many of how the old medieval writings had their life extended by the printing presses. Of about 25 known editions from before 1500, the Royal Library owns nine copies in Latin, Low German and French, but only in the Low German edition are the woodcuts partly coloured. The land animals depicted on this woodcut correspond to the zoological plates in a modern encyclopedia. 
Department of Manuscripts & Rare Books,  Ink. Nr. 577, folio.