Jacob van Liesvelt
About this printer
Jacob van Liesvelt was born to printer Adriaen van Liesvelt circa 1489 in Antwerp, where he eventually began his own career as a printer and bookseller in 1513. The oeuvre of van Liesvelt consists of both Catholic and Protestant literature; as a result, he faced legal accusations of “heretical behavior” throughout his career. For many of his publications, Liesvelt collaborated with printers Claes de Grave, Symon Cock, Hendrick Peetersen van Middelburch, and Marc Martens. In 1526, he printed the first Bible in Dutch, based largely on Luther’s translations. Two years later, Liesvelt became the first editor and printer of Anna Bijns’ Refereinen, which contained the nun’s controversial criticisms on the state of marriage. Among his most notable works are Traictiez en brief de la desfianche du roy de Franche and Ontsegghe vanden Conin van Vrancrijck aen Keyser Karel for Charles V. In 1545, Liesvelt was condemned to death and decapitation; his press was continued by his wife and son.
About the device
Van Liesvelt used at least four printing devices throughout his career. Each device contained the mark displayed in the Vassar Library: two Vs overlapping, with one inverted, surmounted by a horizontal crossbar. In some versions the upper tips of each line are adorned with small circles, and by small stars in others. This is symbol is flanked by the printer’s initials, I.L. The full device often included the Latin phrase Fortitudo mea Deus, which translates to “God is my strength.”