Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1921. One of 236 copies on paper. There were 10 copies on vellum. This exquisite small volume from the Ashendene Press reprints the text of the original manuscript of the Life of St. Clare, written by Verino in the late 15th century and purchased by St. John Hornby, founder of the Ashendene Press in 1918. The Florentine humanist and poet Ugolino Verino was commissioned in by the sisters of the Convento di Santa Chiara Novella in Florence to write this “Life of St. Clare” in Italian. Although a biography of St. Clare of Assisi (1194–1253) had been available in Latin since the thirteenth century, this Italian version allowed members of the Order to read in the vernacular about their founder’s saintly poverty.
Charles Harry St. John Hornby writes in his Ashendene Bibliography: "The original manuscript of this Life of Saint Clare, which is here printed for the first time, was purchased by me at the sale of Lord Vernon’s library at Sotheby’s in 1918. It was written at Florence on 39 leaves of vellum in a beautiful late XVth Century hand. At the sale the MS. attracted the attention of the distinguished Franciscan scholar Walter Seton, of University College, London, who asked permission to study it, as it was apparently a hitherto unknown version of the Life of St. Clare. The results of his study are summarized in the Introduction and Notes which are printed before and after the text of the MS. in this volume.". Seton's Introduction tells the history of the manuscript in Hornby's collection and also documents the life of St. Clare and the influence of Saint Francis of Assisi on her religious conversion and lifelong vow of poverty. A facsimile of the beautiful first four pages of the original manuscript is inserted after the introduction.
Bound in limp vellum with gilt titling to spine and original green silk ties. Vellum has somewhat darkened but is otherwise fine. Printed in Subiaco type on hand-made paper. The rubricated portions of the manuscript are printed in red and the initials are printed in blue. Text pages are clean and bright with the slightest darkening to page edges. Small quarto measuring 6 x 8 inches. Housed in a custom green cloth slipcase. Near fine. i-xvi, 96 pages. PRI/112222.