Not too many of our books are held together with iron bars and nails, but this hefty hymnal needs the support for its massive wooden boards.
Privately printed in 1646, for the Monastery of Santa Maria della Pace by Giovanni Agostino Casoni della Spezia in Genoa, no expense was spared for this weighty wonder, including commissioning a giant unique typeface and initials that were used exclusively for this work. (Do you see how big that “I” is? It is as big as my hand!). In addition, each of the 103 pages is a full sheet printed as a broadside.
This is our most recent acquisition, and the bookseller Bruce McKittrick and his team did an incredible amount of research to figure out all the details about this unique hymnal. As we sort through the included research and catalog this item, we will post an update.
This is a nice printed equivalent to the giant handwritten books I posted a few days back: a large liturgical book with wooden boards. This is about as large as a printed book could be made on the 17th-century printing press. Handwritten versions could be as big as the full skin of a cow: a page height of 850-900 mm is not unheard of.