1813 Gospels, Revelations of John. Nikolaos Glykis, Venice. Silver repousse binding.


A rare, beautiful, and unique work. An 1813 printing of the Gospels and Apocalypse of John, printed in Venice by the historic printing house of Nikolaos Glykys. The silver binding adds wonderfully to the historicity of the work, executed in a manner similar to treasure bindings of centuries earlier.

The front cover depicts the crucifixion of Christ, surrounded by the four prophets. At the rear is the classic image of Christ escaping the tomb (often seen with Roman soldiers dozing nearby), this image surrounded by four saints (I believe the saint at the bottom left to be Saint Roch, because he has a delightful dog with him). The spine of the binding appears to say "KATA (At/per) 1819.5", dating the binding to 1819; that is the only inscription I can find on the binding. The binding may have been executed in Venice, but it appears similar to a style more associated with the Greece/Turkey/Romania region.

A treasure binding, housing a work from the Glykis printing house (1690 printing), with similar motives can be seen at the Greek Museum's Blog at Wordpress.

After the fall of Constantinople many Greeks moved to Venice. The printing house of Glykis was founded in 1670 by a merchant from Ioannina, Nikolaos Glykis. His last name can refer to honey (think "glucose"), hence the use of the Bee as his printing symbol. You'll see he calls Venice "Enetihei", which is a reference to the ancient name of Venice, Eneti (the Greek word for Venice).

The works within are the Gospels and Apocalypse. Each gospel has a frontis of the saint (except Matthew, see condition notes below), with their iconography next to them (the Lion of Mark seems especially appropriate for a book printed in Venice).

Rare, I cannot find another copy of this year's printing. OCLC lists an 1819 printing (also 502 pages), with only one copy known, of any edition, which resides at the Princeton library (OCLC # 875637952).

Please note, this is a petite (smallish) and beautiful binding, measuring only approx. 10.6 x 7 x 2.5 cm.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 10.6 x 7 x 2.5 cm. Silver binding with decorations likely hammered in the repousse style. Working closures (two clasps). Decorative paper pastedowns of the 19th century. 502 pages (but see condition notes). Four woodcuts (Mark, Luke, and a repeated John).

Condition -

Please review the posted pictures: Binding is beautiful! It does show a little age. Both the head (cap?) and tail cap have been bumped. Bottom edge of front board has evidence of a repair (weld mark,edge lip off a little). Some very light scratches noticed in the shiny silver.

Inside: Missing three pages: the front signature starts at the Title page and then goes to A4 (I'm not sure what A2 and 3 would have been, but one of them was likely a frontis of Matthew) and page 497/498, signature Ii1 is missing. When I bought the book it had mold; I froze it and cleaned each leaf with 99% iso alcohol, but I scrubbed just a tad too hard on 68,69, 70,144, 152, 153 and 277, with the text getting slightly blurred (but still entirely readable). Still some evidence of darkness deep in gutters/under end caps but mostly clean now, no longer with a smell. Crash was expired at rear so I made a new spine (with hollow) out of strong Japanese paper, opens well now. Still cracked at rear hinge.Last two leaves shaken, held on by the cords. Moisture marks intermittent throughout. Long ago a bug squished between 17 and 18 leaving a mark on both.

The binding is beautiful, the inside book not perfect but entirely functional and quite unique. I've priced it taking in account the condition of the book, it will be the lowest priced "silver binding" on the market at the time of my listing, per Vialibri.

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