Conditien op de welcke men van weghen de Heeren Gheestelicke ende Vier-Leden s'Lants van Vlaendren, verpachten sal het Slach-ghelt, den stupuer op elcken stoop Wyn.
A handbook of the customary laws regulating wine imports, taxation, adulteration, and smuggling in Southern Netherlands in 1632. The brief pamphlet was printed by Anna van den Steene, official printer to the Council of Flanders, and the only woman in the region for more than a century who had not come by her presses and founts by widowhood: Steene had been printing on her own as a branch of a five-generation family of printers in Flanders since at least 1629, and had probably been a printer's devil for her family's presses as early as 1616. (In fact, Anna, as an established printer, married a lesser printer, Michel de Laury, in 1638.) The 25 short articles in these regulations reveal the reduced state of the wine trade—and the culture of wine consumption—in Ghent at the height of the Dutch Golden Age. For all its superlatives, economic liberty, artistic heights, and hedonic excesses, the Dutch Golden Age was not one characterized by the production and consumption of decent wine. The so-called Little Ice Age (the Grindelwald Fluctuation) was at its nadir at the time (or acme, depending on whether you're a climatologist or an oenophile), with persistently mild summers and unforgivingly gelid winters, and wine production in the region, even in protected microclimates, was shrunken and chapped. Most potable wines were imported into Ghent and Bruges from France; smuggling flourished. Climate was not the only problem: most in the Flemish territory had acquired a taste for beer, and the demand for French wines—either legitimately imported or smuggled—was further diminished. Flemish viticulture would rise again, but it would be a century before domestic wines overtook the imported product. Our pamphlet is a good copy of a rare witness to the impoverished wine economy in the Southern Netherlands in the 1630s, printed by one of the only genuinely independent Flemish woman-run presses in the Dutch Golden Age. No copies in American libraries; two in the Low Countries.
Full title: Conditien op de welcke | men van weghen de Heeren Gheeſtelicke | ende Vier-Leden ſ'Lants van Vlaendren, verpachten | ſal het Slach-ghelt, den ſtupuer op elcken ſtoop Wyn | ten laſte vanden Tapper, en[de] vyf ſtuuers op elcken ſtoop | ghebranden Wyn tot laſte vande ſtokers. || [Four armorial woodcuts] || TOT GHENDT, | By Anna vanden Steene Fa. Ians, woonende op Sinte | Pharahilden plaetſe, inden vergulden Pellicaen, | Anno 1632. | Met Gratie ende Priuilegie.
Ghent: Anna van den Steene, 1632.
Quarto, 192 x 148 x 1 mm; A4B2,  pp. Early 20th-century drab wraps, unlettered, but dated on upper cover on label 1632. Interior: leaves toned; first and last pages soiled; some creasing to last leaves.
Provenance: Contemporary annotation in a Dutch secretary hand to fore-margin of p. 10; scattered modern cataloguers' notes in pencil to endpapers.
Not recorded in standard wine bibliographies. Bibliographie gantoise, Vol. VI, no. 12411; Bibliographie gantoise, Vol. 2 (biographical entry on Anna van den Steene); Short Title Catalogus Vlaanderenen (online; biographical information). STCN and STCV find approximately 25 imprints by Anna, 1629-1643, in French, Dutch, and Latin; most are city ordinances, though there are a few almanacs and true-crime reports. The later imprints bear her Pelican device; the earlier bear the four heralds of Flanders, as ours.