Bound by a Follower of
Conradus de Argentina
[Basel: Johann Amerbach], 1481.
This newly identified calfskin binding exhibits eighteen different blind stamps, several of which also appear on bindings signed by Conradus de Argentina, a highly skilled master who was active at Erfurt and possibly at his native Strasbourg from about 1467 to 1475. All eighteen of the stamps also recur on bindings attributed to the master’s followers. These include the eagle in a circle, double-eagle in a teardrop, unicorn in a lozenge, Madonna on a crescent, the four evangelists’ symbols, foliate designs, and rosettes. The metal bosses, corner plates, edge guards, and catches are original.
The overall composition of the tooling is typical of bindings from Erfurt: the broad outer frames with square compartments at the four corners enclose a characteristically narrow central rectangle filled with close-set blind-stamping. The late publication date (1481) of the binding suggests that this is actually one of several bindings by a follower who later utilized the older master’s tools in Strasbourg.