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Frankfurt Book Fair 2016

New Books and Old Friends

The entrance to Hall 4.1, where the facsimile publishers are traditionally found: here professional visitors from around the world are bustling about.

This year, the Frankfurt Book Fair, the largest book fair in the world, took place from October 19th-23rd. More than 7,000 exhibitors from over 100 countries displayed their newest pieces, nearly 300,000 visitors (half of them visiting professionals) allowed themselves to be carried off into another, very special world. Naturally, we were there once again, and so I would like to quickly share our impressions. Naturally, we paid special attention to our “old friends” – publishers from across the world and their facsimiles, which we exclusively are allowed to examine for you.

750 Drolleries in One Manuscript?

We are warmly greeted by Lisete Schwarz and publishing director José Aspas at the Patrimonio Ediciones stand.

It began with the Valencian publishing house of Patrimonio Ediciones and its publishing director, José Aspas. As usual, he greeted us heartily and as in years past, brought two special treasures with him: the Vaticinia Pontificum of Benozzo Gozzoli contains, as the name indicates, the long line of the popes. At the same time, not only did popes of the past and then present find their way into one of the most beautifully furnished manuscripts of the 15th century, but also the forthcoming and still unknown – their prophecies! Now everyone can consult the manuscript, and see for themselves whether all the prophecies have come to be fulfilled. The second manuscript is a very special treasure: the Hours of Joannna I of Castile and Philip the Fair is only 13 x 9 cm in size, but contains 844 splendid, masterfully furnished pages with 83 full-sized miniatures by Rogier van der Weyden and more than 750 drolleries, botanical- and zoological- depictions. José is particularly proud that all of the gold elements have been reproduced in real 23kt. gold. A wonderful and impressive work! Here we see the pictures of the Hours of Joannna I of Castile and Philip the Fair: 

You Have to Touch: a Real Vellum Facsimile

Ricardo Coll of Scriptorium: he produces the only facsimiles on real vellum and shows us here his first attempts for a new project, the Chronicles of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem.

We proceeded onto Scriptorium, another publisher from Valencia, where we were reunited with our good friend Ricardo Coll. Scriptorium is the only publisher worldwide that still prints its facsimiles on real vellum. So we were already very excited to learn what Ricardo’s next project would be after the Morgan Crusader Bible and the Beauts of El Burgo de Osma. We were not disappointed: the Chronicles of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem with its 11 full-page and over 100 smaller miniatures in their splendid colors! The large landscape format of the 15th century manuscript was practically made to be reproduced on real vellum. Although we were only able to admire a few test pages, this facsimile will once again be appealing both to the eyes and to the fingers – you have to feel the difference!

The Golden Book of the Sibyls

The Sibylline Prophecies draw a line from the seers of antiquity, across the prophets of the Old Testament, to the salvation history of Christ.

Subsequently, were the guests of CM Editores from Salamanca, where Adisa was friendly and helpful with information and translations. The publisher Daniel Diez, in addition to a very interesting edition of Durer (about which we had already heard), brought along a work that completely enchanted us: The Prophecies of the Sibyls. The 15th century manuscript is stored not far from Regensburg, in the Bavarian State Library in Munich and was facsimiled for the first time. The sight of the 25 full-page miniatures by Jean Poyet (1445-1504) – every individual page is thus adorned! – left a lasting impression on us. The facsimile is shipped together with a music-CD of atmospheric hymns of the sibyls from the Middle Ages. Here you can the the Prophecies of the Sibyls:

The Voynich Manuscript - Facsimile Available Soon!

Juanjo and the Voynich Manuscript: a highlight of the fair was undoubtedly to be found with our friends Juanjo and Jorge from Siloé, namely the first test pages from the Voynich Manuscript, coming in 2018.

We had the chance to visit many more publishers as interesting as these. However, I would like to end my short letter with a true highlight from this year’s fair: Juan Josè Garcia Gil (or maybe it was his friend, Juanjo) from Siloé of Burgos invited us to examine the first pages of his newest project: the Voynich Manuscript. This manuscript is a riddle to this day in all respects. One knows neither who wrote the book, nor at whose behest. One does not even have an idea of its content, because the drawings and depictions defy all definition and the secret code in which the entire manuscript is written, has not been deciphered to this day. The speculation about it ranges from a long-lost civilization, to a medieval secret society, to an extraterrestrial work, or simply an exceptionally elaborate and refined fraud. In any case, all the hobby researchers in the world will have access to this riddle between two book covers in 2018. It is then that Yale University’s manuscript will be available as a facsimile. That is to say, for all of those who decide quickly. Of the 895 copies, which are being made by hand with an incredible attention to detail, half have already been pre-ordered. It’s no wonder considering that, during the pre-order period, a rebate of more than $3,200 is included with the order. You can get more information about the manuscript here: LINK

Come and See Yourself!

Naturally, you can inspect and acquire all of the facsimiles mentions with us. There is not enough room here to share all of our encounters and the recent publications we came across, but I would be happy to discuss our experiences at this year’s book fair with you, as well as any other information!