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[Psalms]. Liber Psalmorum cum tenoribus ad rectè proferêndum aptissimis, Parisiis, Apud Simônem Colinâeum, 1258 [i.e. 1528].

In Latin, illuminated imprint on paper
Paris, Simon de Colines, 1528

TM 523

In-8, [116] unumbered leaves, preceded and followed by three paper flyleaves (collation: sig.:†4, [2nd] †4, a-n8, o4), printed in red and black, paper ruled in pink throughout, text in Roman type, preface in Italic, text printed in red and black throughout, illuminated title-page with painted arms (see Provenance below), one large initial “B” in white on a black criblé ground with foliate motifs, mistake on the title-page with date “1258” evidently for “1528,” no printer’s marks on either of the two title-pages. Bound in a contemporary French gilt binding of brown calf over pasteboard, tooled in gold and blind to a panel design, gilt fleurons to outer corners, middle frame filled with gilt interlinking-circle tools (mauresques), central panel with blind and gilt ruled lozenge lined with gilt small disks tools, large fleuron at center with smaller fleurons above and beneath, four gilt fleurons at angles of central panel, spine sewn on 5 raised bands, paper pastedowns at both ends, all edges gilt and gauffered [influence of Italian gilt bindings of the early 16th century] (Upper joint spilt, head and tail of spine worn, some wear to covers, traces of ties, now wanting; fresh internal condition, with wide margins). Dimensions165 x 105 mm.

One of only five recorded copies of an accented Psalter designed to teach children how to pronounce Latin correctly. Printed by Simon de Colines, apparently on the initiative of the humanist and scholar Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples (c. 1450?-1536), the tutor of King Francis I’s third son Charles of Angoulême, to whom the preface in French and Latin is dedicated. The very fine gilt binding is associated with the Pecking Crow bindery in Paris. The arms of a member of the Angennes-Cottereau family are painted on the title-page.


1. Printed and published in Paris by Simon de Colines as indicated on both title-pages (sig. [first] cross 1 and sig. [second] cross 1). Not in Renouard, Bibliographie des éditions de Simon de Colines..., 1894 (but nonetheless cited p. 424); Moreau, III, 1376; Rice, 1972, pp. 499-500; Schreiber, 1995, no. 33, p. 43.

2. Painted arms over woodcut on first title-page: “Parti de sable au sautoir d’argent (d’Angennes) et d’argent à trois lézards grimpant de sinople (Cottereau).” The Cottereau family was tied to two other important families, that of the Phelypeaux and the d’Angennes. Isabelle Cotterau was the daughter of Jean Cottereau, “trésorier et surintendant des finances” of a number of kings (Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII and finally Francis I), owner of the Château de Maintenon as of 1503. Isabelle (or Elisabeth?) Cottereau, dame de Maintenon, married Jacques d’Angennes (died in 1562), seigneur of Rambouillet, one of Francis I’s favorite captains (see La Chesnaye Des Bois, Dict. de la noblesse, V, p. 177). They had 12 children. A possible candidate for the present painted arms could be Nicolas d’Angennes (1533-1611), son of Jacques d’Angennes and Isabelle Cottereau. Nicolas d’Angennes would have received the present book as a young boy: he was destined to become quite a learned man and was known and appreciated by personalities such as Jacques de Thou. Nicolas d’Angennes became ambassador for Henri III and Henri IV to Germany and to Rome. See P. Anselme, vol. II, p. 425-426; La Chesnaye Desbois, I, col. 509-511.

3. European Private Collection.


sig. cross 1, First title-page, coloured arms in lieu of printer’s device, in red and black (see Provenance above);

sig. cross 1v-2, Preface, in French: “Ce present livret et psaultier, est imprimé par le desir de tresnoble adolescent Monseigneur Charles duc d’Angolesme, tiers filz du roy treschretien, Francoys premier de ce nom. Lequel na point seullement voulu apprendre a lire, mais ensemble a bien lire et bien pronuncer ce que il list. Car cest chose vicieuse, laide, et deshoneste en toute langue principalement non barbare, comme la latin, de lire, et non bien pronuncer… ;

sig. cross 2v-4v, Holy and blessings, including Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Credo; Canticles of Mary and Simeon; Ten Commandments;

sig. [second] cross 1, Second title-page, no printer’s device, in red and black: Liber Psalmorum cum tenoribus ad rectè proferêndum aptissimis, Apud Simônem Colinâeum, 1258 [i.e. 1528];

sig. [second] cross 1v-2, Preface, in Latin: “Hic libellus ac psalterium, typis excusum est…”;

sig. [second] cross 2v-4v, Table of contents;

sig. a1-o4v, Psalter, accented, printed in red and black.

This very rare imprint contains an accented version of the Psalter, printed by Simon de Colines with accented syllables in order to teach children how to pronounce Latin. It was apparently printed on the initiative of Jacques Lefèvre d’Etaples (c. 1450?-1536), humanist, theologian and important translator of Scripture. Called back from Germany, Lefèvre d’Etaples was “bibliothécaire” of the Château de Blois and tutor of the royal offspring. When Lefèvre d’Etaples became tutor to the royal children, he entrusted Colines with the task of printing three little books intended to teach Latin and its pronunciation. These were the present Liber Psalmorum cum tenoribus ad rectè proferêndum aptissimis (1528), the Vocabulaire du Psautier (1529), and the Grammatographia (1533). These works were all specially accented to indicate the long and short vowels, and printed in red and black, incorporating a complex system of accents and signs for the young reader: Veyrin-Forrer speaks of “angle aigu par bas” and “angle aigu par haut” (Veyrin-Forrer (1995, p. 111). Schreiber notes than even the name of the printer on the title-page is accented (Schreiber, 1995, p. 43). Although Lefèvre d’ Etaples’s name appears in none of these volumes, his authorship is derived from the 1546-1548 Chaudière (heir to Simon de Colines) stock catalogues and from the fact that the accented Liber Psalmorum is dedicated to Charles d’Angoulême (1522- 1545), third son of King Francis I and whose tutor was Lefèvre (see Renouard, 1894, pp. 423-424). Colines himself must have composed the prefatory epistle found printed here in French and Latin (as suggested by Schreiber, 1995, p. 43 and 90; see also Rice, 1972, pp. 498-499). On the ties between Colines and Lefèvre d’Etaples, see Veyrin-Forrer (1995) and Veyrin-Forrer’s introduction to Schreiber, 1995, pp. xxii-xxiii.

Simon de Colines (died 1546) took over the printing press of the famous Henri Estienne, whose widow Guyone Estienne (also widow of Jean Higman) he had married c. 1521 or 1522. He inherited the types of Henri Estienne, but he created for himself many elegant roman and italic types and a Greek type with accents. Some of his types were designed by Geoffrey Tory who was active at one stage in his workshop. His books, often small in format, are superbly crafted, and his press turned out many editions of learned humanist works mostly in Latin and some in Greek. A staunch anti-Lutheran, he also published editions of the Bible and even a Book of Hours. Colines first set up shop in Henri Estienne’s former quarters, rue Saint-Jean-de-Beauvais, near the School of Law. He moved c.1526, leaving the former shop to his step-son, the famous Robert Estienne, and established himself in the same street, à l’enseigne du Soleil d’or. Hence this is the location where the present imprint was printed and sold. In 1539, Simon de Colines passed on his shop to his wife’s son-in-law Regnault Chaudière and moved “en la grand rue Sainct Marcel a lenseigne des quatre Evangelistes” (On Simon de Colines, see Renouard, 1864, reprint 1990,, pp. 439-474; see also Renouard, 1965, pp. 88-89 and Schreiber, 1995, introduction). Contemporary catalogues of his imprints allow us to calculate that he printed approximately 400 editions in his lifetime (see Schreiber, 1995, pp. lxxiii-lxxiv).

Simon de Colines had the Psalms printed separately in 1523, in 1524 and in 1528, under the same title “Liber psalmorum” (in-16, 140 + 4 ff., but unaccented) (see Renouard, 1894, reprint 1990, p. 111). Interestingly, the present accented version of 1528 is included in the Regnault and Claude Chaudière (heirs to Colines) catalogue of stocked books, inherited from Colines: Libri venales bibliopolio Reginaldi Calderii, tum ab Simone Colinaeo, tum à Calderio excusi, Paris, 1546 (see Renouard, 1864, reprint 1990, p. 424; see also Schreiber, 1995, no. 33).

We have localized only three other copies of this imprint in public collections: London, BL, 1017.c.1.; Paris, Societé d’histoire du protestantisme français, R 8o 15835 (as listed in Delaveaud and Hillard, 2002, no. 3281, p. 486); Yale University, Beinecke Library, shelfmark 1983 541 (Beinecke copy imperfect: p. [96]-[97] mutilated). Another copy is described by Schreiber, Simon de Colines. An Annotated Catalogue of 230 Examples of his Press,1520-1546, Provo, 1995, no. 33, pp. 43 and plate p. 45. This would be the fifth known copy of this rare imprint, preserved in its contemporary unrestored gilt binding.


This imprint is preserved in its original contemporary binding (c. 1540s) of gilt-tooled brown calf. It presents an exceptional decor that bears comparison with the production of Parisian binderies under the influence of such a binder as Pierre Roffet, relieur juré for the University of Paris in 1513, active in the 1520s in Paris. The binderies influenced by Roffet privileged decors with “mauresque” frames and charateristic gilt fleurons, all influenced by italianate motifs (see exh. cat., Deprouw et alia, Geoffroy Tory..., 2011, pp. 131-134). These binderies worked with such important collectors as Jean Grolier, Marcus Fugger, and the crowned princes.

The present binding however can be related to the Parisian workshop described as the “Pecking Crow” bindery, whose name derives from the tool of a bird pecking at grain (not included in this binding) which it frequently employed. The roll-tool in the outer panel of the present binding is almost identical to a Pecking Crow binding described by M. Foot, 1978, III, no. 18 and also bears comparisons with number 17 and 19 of the same catalogue. They are all decorated in this characteristic italianate taste. The Pecking Crow bindery was active between circa 1535 and 1550, and M. Foot lists 27 bindings that can be attributed to this workshop, with other distinguished owners of Pecking Crow bindings such as Francis I, Cardinal Granvelle, Thomas Wotton etc. (see Foot, 1978, I, pp. 129-138). It seems plausible that a young member of the Angennes-Cottereau family had this book bound and personalized with his painted arms in the 1540s.


Anselme, P. Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la Maison royale de France, Paris, 1726.

Delaveaud, M. and D. Hillard. Bibles imprimées du XVe au XVIIIe siècle conservées à Paris, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2002, no. 3281.

Deprouw, S., M. Vène, O. Halévy, Geoffroy Tory. Imprimeur de François Ier, graphiste avant la lettre, Paris, 2011.

Foot, M. The Henry Davis Gift, A Collection of Bookbindings, Volume I. Studies in the History of Bookbinding, London, 1978.

Foot, M. The Henry Davis Gift, A Collection of Bookbindings, Volume III. A Catalogue of South-European Bindings, London, 2010.

La Chesnaye Desbois, Dictionnaire de la noblesse..., tome I, Paris, 1863.

Moreau, B., ed. Inventaire chronologique des editions parisiennes du XVIe siècle, Abbeville, 1985, vol. III, 1521-1530, no. 1376.

Renouard, P. Repertoire des imprimeurs parisiens..., M.J. Minard, 1965.

Renouard, P. Bibliographie des éditions de Simon de Colines, Paris, 1894 (repr. 1990).

Renouard, P. Imprimeurs parisiens...jusqu’à la fin du XVIe siècle, Paris, 1898.

Rice, E.F. The Prefatory Epistles of Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples and Related Texts, New York, 1972.

Schreiber, F. Simon de Colines. An Annotated Catalogue of 230 Examples of his Press, 1520-1546, Provo (Utah), 1995.

[Simon de Colines]. Libri in officina Simonis Colinaei, [Paris, circa 1546] (reproduced in Schreiber, 1995).

Veyrin-Forrer, J. “Simon de Colines, imprimeur de Lefevre d’Etaples,” in Jacques Lefevre d’Etaples (1450?-1536). Actes du colloque d’Etaples..., Paris, 1995, pp. 97-118.

Waquet, F. Le latin ou l’empire d’un signe: XVIe-XXe siècle, Paris, 1998.

Online resources

On Simon de Colines

On Nicolas d’Angennes

On the d’Angennes family