Treasures in the Royal Library

Back | Main

Latin reader. Bordesholm c. 1470.
GkS 1634 4º

Click for enlarged image Click for enlarged image Click for enlarged image Click for enlarged image
Front cover Back cover Spine Shelf mark and label with contents

Click for enlarged image Click for enlarged image
Detail of binding: A bird in a circle Parchment manuscript
used as pastedown

Paper manuscript containing a variety of Latin texts for educational use. It was bound in the North German monastery Bordesholm in Holstein between 1470 and 1488 (when the book is listed in a Bordesholm catalogue). The binding is made of wooden plates covered with brown leather. The front and back covers are decorated with quintuple blind-tooled lines that make up rhombic fields and with a rosette tooled in blind where the lines meet. The fields are decorated with various stamps: a quinquefoliate flower, a fleur-de-lis-lozenge, a bird in a circle, an S-shaped branch with leaves and flowers in a rectangle framed by dots (characteristic of the Bordesholm bindings).

At the top of the front cover two labels are found: a small one with the shelf mark of the Bordesholm Library (G xxvii) and a larger one with a partial table of contents (Phisologus. Pauper hinricus. Brunellus asinus etc. Epistula de griselde). On the back cover are four holes, originating from a missing metal plate to which a chain was fastened. Thus the book could be attached to a shelf or reading desk to avoid theft. On the front as well as the back covers there are remains of two metal clasps with stamped out holes. The spine has five raised bands with a line tooled in blind across them and a diagonal line between them.
Parts of a parchment manuscript containing the French 12th century writer Alanus ab Insulis’s De sex alis cherubim are used as pastedown. The edges are not decorated.

About 1606 the book passed from Bordesholm to the ducal library at Gottorp Castle in Schleswig that ended up as Danish spoils of war in 1713 and was incorporated into the Royal Library in 1749.

22.4 x 14.5 cm.

Reference (in Danish): Tue and Bodil Gad, At gavne og fornøje – en læsebog fra middelalderen, Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzel 1991.

See also the web exhibition of the Rare Book Collections Danish bookbindings in the Royal Library (only in Danish).

Back | Main

© Det Kongelige Bibliotek 2003