Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, especially those with illuminated miniatures, are unique testimonies to human history. They form a fundamental part of the heritage shaping our world since late Antiquity. Collecting manuscripts is a fascinating, gratifying experience and an elegant way to connect with life, thought and the magnificent art of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Here we present and offer books that preserve the finest painting and literature of the period within their pages.
The hand-painted illustrations of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are cherished collector’s items. Since the 19th century, art lovers have bought illuminated leaves and miniatures and mounted them into albums or frames. The concentration on medieval imagery awakened an interest in ‘the monuments of the art of illumination’. Valued for their beauty, our miniatures were physically and conceptually transformed in the past to encourage today’s direct aesthetic contemplation.
The first printed books, from c. 1450-1500, are called incunabula or incunables. These remarkable first examples of the art of printing from movable type are the pride of every bibliophile and every antiquarian bookseller. In addition to their significance in revolutionizing the written word and its dissemination, incunables often also contain woodcut illustration, sometimes coloured by hand. In the 16th century, the techniques of printing, typography and woodcutting were brought to perfection.
To end 2015, we will be showing a selection of our manuscripts and early printed books on our premises in the medieval town of Basel. The opening takes place on 7 December from 6 pm onwards; the opening times are: 8 to 11 December from 10 am to 5 pm. The following link leads you to the short descriptions of two imperial books that will be on display at our Christmas exhibition. This spotlight shall give you an impression of our current holdings. We are looking forward to welcoming you at our Antiquariat.