FURMER, Bernardus Gerbrands (1542-1616). De rerum usu et abusu. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1575.

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FURMER, Bernardus Gerbrands (1542-1616). De rerum usu et abusu. Antwerp: Christopher Plantin, 1575.

4to., (8 x 5 6/8 inches). Engraved vignette title-page and 25 engraved illustrations in the text by the Wierix brothers (the second one is signed J.H.W.) and are possibly after A. Cherubini, R. Guidi and F. & C. Galle (washed, pressed and with many closed tears throughout). 19th-century mottled calf, gilt, by Lloyd.

Provenance: From the Shakespearian Library of Marsden J. Perry, with his bookplate on the front paste-down, above that of Bibliotheque I.G. Schorsch

First edition, and scarce in any condition. Superb emblems on the themes of wealth and charitable giving, each preceded by a brief title and a Bible citation, and followed by an explanation in verse, some of which were presumably referenced by Shakespeare.

From the Shakespeare library of Marsden Jaseal Perry (1850-1935), who was a financier and banker. In 1897 he purchased the core of the Shakespearean collection belonging to noted scholar J.O. Halliwell-Phillipps. When he died in 1889, Halliwell-Phillipps originally bequeathed his collection to the Birmingham Corporation, provided that they purchase it for £7,000 in order to support his wife and daughter. The Birmingham Corporation unfortunately was unable to raise the funds, and so the collection languished in the care of his nephew until 1887, when Perry purchased it. In 1908, Henry Clay Folger, of Folger Library fame, offered to purchase the core items that had come from Halliwell-Phillipps for $60,000. Perry was initially reluctant to part with the Halliwell-Phillipps items alone, and pressured Folger to purchase the entirety of his Shakespearean collection. Folger eventually convinced Perry to part with the Halliwell-Phillipps items alone for a final total of $69,000, or what would be approximately $1.7 million in 2015.

Christopher Plantin, probably best known for printing many editions of Abraham Ortelius' Theatrum Orbis Terrurum. He settled in Antwerp in 1549, initially as a bookbinder, but from 1555 he ran a publishing company that was to become one of the most important of the age. "The commercial success of the company was based in part on a 'privilege' granted by the Spanish king, entitling him to produce books for the church. This profitable trade provided Plantin with sufficient funds to publish high quality works of literature in the broadest sense of the word." (Hermans, A Literary History of the Low Countries, page 155). Brunet II, 1426-1427; Praz, p. 344. Landwehr, 168.