GRIMOIRE DU PAPE HONORIUS, AVEC UN RECUEIL DES PLUS RARES SECRETS
Book Details + Condition: Published in Rome, Italy. Extremely scarce First Edition, 1670. Hardcover measuring 4.5" x 3.25" (for easy concealment). 142 pages. All 14 plates (which includes the title page) are present. The original book has been rebound in hard boards with three-quarters leather binding; and the original blue paper front cover is still present therein (see below for more detail of these original "blue books"). Illustrated with the Grand Pentacle of Solomon and other magickal glyphs and sigils. Firm binding; rubbed corners and edges; light wear to boards; bookseller stamp to inside front board; Russian stamp to reverse of title page; faded stamp to rear inside board; interior pages are clean and free of markings. This is the ORIGINAL diminutive edition (measuring 4.5" x 3") of the Grimoire du Pape Honorius, allegedly written by Pope Honorius III, who was active in the 12th and 13th centuries. It is subtitled "avec un recueil des plus rares secrets" — translated in English as "with a collection of very rare secrets." Written in the French language, this book contains a stamp that places it in St. Petersburg, Russia at one point. Please see below for a comprehensive history of this important occult work, as well as the provenance for the book.
From "Books of Magick" (Booksofmagick.com): The Grimoire of Pope Honorius, or Grimoire [Gremoire] du Pape Honorius, is a 17th to 18th century grimoire, spuriously attributed to Pope Honorius III (1150 – 1227). It is unique among grimoires in that it was specifically designed to be used by a priest, and some of the instructions include saying a Mass. While its name is most likely inspired by a much earlier grimoire by the name The Sworn Book of Honorius (Liber Iuratus Honorii), its content is closer to its diabolic mass market cousins such as the Grimorium Verum and Le Grand Grimoire.
Owen Davies references the American anthropologist, Charles Godfrey Leland (1824-1903), who cited an edition of the The Grimoire of Pope Honorius published in 1629. If this is the case, it would be the first of the French ‘black magic’ grimoires, which are characterized by all being published as Bibliothèque Bleue works. These editions, much like the English chapbook and the German Volksbuch, were cheap, widely distributed paperbacks that made literature accessible to all levels of society. They were prevalent across France from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century and came to be known as livres bleus, or “blue books” for their blue paper covers.
According to A.E. Waite, “...It is a malicious and somewhat clever imposture, which was undeniably calculated to deceive ignorant persons of its period who may have been magically inclined, more especially ignorant priests, since it pretends to convey the express sanction of the Apostolical Seat for the operations of Infernal Magic and Necromancy.”
PROVENANCE: From the collection of Viktor Kholodkov (1948-2015), who fulfilled his passion for books, avant-garde design and paper memorabilia by devoting his life to collecting and dealing of prominent works of Russian graphic art of the first half of the 20th century. The dedicated collector acquired a multitude of books and artworks throughout decades, meticulously labeling and archiving every single item. Many came directly from the most preeminent artists of the time, as well as from their families and estates. He also possessed a vast number of drawings from the famous collection of another avant-garde enthusiast, Nikolai Khardzhiev. After leaving the USSR in 1989 and settling in California, Viktor continued his work as a Soviet art dealer and critic, actively publishing various articles and contributing to several major Russian avant-garde exhibitions across the U.S., such as the 1991 Russia Under Fire in the 40s on the West Coast and the 1992 Guggenheim exhibition The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde. Kholodkov also contributed to the archives of the biggest American institutions. His sophisticated selection of over 2000 Russian sheet music covers was acquired by The Library of Congress, and an extensive amount of material related to VKhUTEMAS is now at the J. Paul Getty Museum.