Treasures in the Royal Library

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Frere Jacques, bastard de Bourbon: La grande et merueilleuse, & tres cruelle oppugnation de la noble Cite de Rhodes. 1527.
Perg. 42 2º

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Front cover Pastedown with the signature
of the Bishop of Bayeux
Title page with Niels
Benzon’s note
Preface to the reader First page

In 1522 Rhodes was besieged and conquered by the Turkish Sultan Soleiman I’s army. Since the beginning of the 14th century the island had been home to the Knights of Malta. Their six months of resistance to the Turkish siege is the subject of this book written by one of the knights, Jacques de Bourbon.
This luxuriously adorned copy is printed on parchment. The title page is illustrated and coloured, and the whole book has coloured and golden initials. It is bound in dark calfskin with gold decorations. The fleur-de-lis and a salamander – the emblem of the French King Francis I ((b. 1494) 1515-1547) – are placed in the centre of both the front and the back covers.
A later owner, Charles d’Humières, Bishop of Bayeux 1548-1571, has written his name on the front pastedown (C. de humyeres Episcopus Baiocensis). Later, the book was bought by the Danish collector of books Niels Benzon (1684-1709) as noted on the title page: Ex bibliotheca Nicolai Benzonii S.R. Paris d. 27. Mart. Ao mdccv.

27 x 18.5 cm.

References: Anker Kyster, Bookbindings in the Public Collections of Denmark, Vol. 1: “The Royal Library Copenhagen”, Copenhagen: Levin and Munksgaard, Ejnar Munksgaard 1938, pp. 78-79.
Harald Ilsøe, Det kongelige Bibliotek i støbeskeen. Studier og samlinger til bestandens historie indtil ca. 1780, Copenhagen: The Royal Library/Museum Tusculanum Press 1999, pp. 339-340 (in Danish with an English summary).

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© Det Kongelige Bibliotek 2004