Old Picture Books, With Other Essays on Bookish Subjects





36 ESSEX STREET, W.C. 1902

Librarian of the Imperial Library, Calcutta.

My dear Macfarlane,—
Just as you had completed a valuable monograph on that enterprising French publisher Antoine Vèrard, you were whirled away to India to organise a great library at Calcutta. I have seen it stated in the newspapers, on high authority, that your Imperial Library is to be a second British Museum, but I am afraid that, even when fully developed by your energy and skill, it will contain no Vèrards. I hope, however, that when you come over on furlough you will resume the pleasant studies we used to pursue together, and that you may even be induced to read another paper before the learned Society of which you were once my fellow secretary. To keep alive your interest in old books is thus a reasonable pretext for dedicating to you these bookish essays. My real hope is that as they stand on your book-shelf they may remind you of the original British Museum and of the many friends you left behind here after your seventeen years' work amid our Bloomsbury fogs.
Faithfully yours,
Alfred W. Pollard


The paper on 'England and the Bookish Arts' originally appeared as an introduction to 'The English Bookman's Library' (Kegan Paul and Co.). The other Essays are reprinted from 'Bibliographica,' 'The Connoisseur,' 'The Guardian,' 'The Library,' 'The King's College School Magazine,' 'Longman's Magazine,' 'Macmillan's Magazine,' 'The Newbery House Magazine,' 'The Pageant,' and the 'Transactions' of the Bibliographical Society. Separate acknowledgment of its source is made at the beginning of each paper, but the author desires here to thank the Publishers and Editors to whom he is indebted for permission to reprint. All the essays have been revised, and some of the illustrations appear here for the first time.


By Alice Pollard



IN the edition of Virgil published by Grüninger at Strassburg in 1502, Sebastian Brant boasted that the illustrations to it, whose preparation he had superintended, made the story of the book as plain to the unlearned as to the learned:

'Hic legere historias commentaque plurima doctus,
Nec minus indoctus perlegere illa potest.'

The boast was no ill-founded one, though it must be granted that Virgil would have been puzzled by the cannon here shown as employed in the siege of Nova Troja, and similar mediævalisms abound throughout the volume. Coming almost at the end of the first series of early illustrated books, the Virgil of 1502 thus exemplifies two of the chief features to which they owe their charm: the power of telling a story and the readiness to import into the most uncongenial themes some touches of the life of their own day. But by Brant's time illustration was already losing its pristine simplicity. It could hardly be otherwise when such a man as Brant, who had just gained a European reputation by his 'Narrenschiff,' was concerning himself with it. At the outset it had been rather a craft than an art, alike in Germany, in Italy, in the Netherlands, and in France, and, if we do not add England to the list, it is only because in England the workmen, though naïve enough in all conscience, were so entirely untrained that to call them craftsmen would be too great a compliment. But whether skilled or unskilled, the woodcutters' objects were everywhere the same: to render his design with the greatest possible simplicity of outline, to tell the story with a directness which often verges on caricature, and to keep his pictures in decorative harmony with the type-page on which they were to appear, printed with the same pull of the press, with the same excellent ink, on the same excellent paper.

In papers brought together in this volume the reader is asked to look at the woodcuts to two old Italian Bibles, at the beautiful cuts which make the Florentine Miracle Plays or Rappresentazioni so highly esteemed, at the illustrations to French editions of the 'Hours of the Blessed Virgin,' and at some examples of the curious transformations and vicissitudes which old wood blocks and the designs for them went through ere yet either clichés or photographic processes had been invented. The reproductions which accompany these and other articles will give a better idea of these Old Picture Books to those who do not already know them than could be conveyed by any verbal descriptions. Here it may suffice to emphasise one or two points which are often overlooked.

In the first place, it may have been noticed that not only do we speak of woodcuts, a common enough word, but also of woodcutters, a term which, until Sir Martin Conway used it in the title of his 'The Woodcutters of the Netherlands,' where it was ridiculed at the time as suggesting the stalwart workmen who cut down trees, was hardly ever employed in this sense. It cannot be denied that the use of the word sometimes lands us in incongruities of phrase; but inasmuch as there is no evidence of the graver having been used in woodcuts before the eighteenth century, it is clearly wrong to speak of the early craftsmen as engravers, and it is only fair in estimating their performance to remember that they worked with no better tool than a knife.

As regards the material they used, it was no doubt as a rule wood; but experts are agreed—I know not on what evidence—that instead of the blocks cut across the grain adopted by the modern engraver, they used wood sawn perpendicularly down the grain, as in an ordinary plank. It is certain, however, that in addition to wood some soft kind of metal, spoken of in one place (the list of border-cuts in one of Du Pré's 'Horae') as cuivre, or copper, but generally identified with pewter, was also used. This use of metal encouraged in some of the French 'Books of Hours,' notably in those of Philippe Pigouchet, a finer and closer method of work than we can believe was at that time possible on wood; but the general handling was precisely the same, and it is often only when we see a thin line bending instead of breaking, as wood did, that we know for certain that the craftsman was working on metal. For this reason the term woodcut is often applied to metal cuts worked in the style of wood as well as to woodcuts properly so called, and though doubtless reprehensible, the confusion is not nearly so misleading as that between cuts and engravings.

A third fact has already been emphasised, namely, that the makers of the woodcuts, and I think we may add the designers of them also, never put their names to their work or troubled themselves in any way to preserve their individuality. Save for the 'Nuremberg Chronicle' of Hartmann Schedel—a large book and a fine one, but of no unusual artistic merit—the cuts in which are associated with the names of Wohlgemuth (the father-in-law of Dürer) and Pleydenwurff, I do not know of any single illustrated book of the fifteenth century the designs in which can be attributed to a known artist. In Venetian cuts towards the end of the century it is not uncommon to find a small initial letter, such as the b in the Giunta Bibles, the F of a Livy, the N of an Ovid, appearing on some of the blocks; but, after much learned disquisition, it is now generally agreed that this is merely the mark of a woodcutter's workshop. As to the organisation of these workshops, we have, unhappily, no information. All that we know is that at Augsburg, where, before the introduction of printing, woodcutting had been extensively employed for playing-cards and figures of saints, the cutters had formed themselves into a flourishing guild, and were able to insist that the making of the illustrations for books should be left in their hands as a condition of the printers being allowed to use them.

The only other point which it seems necessary to mention is that illustrated books in the fifteenth century were intended to attract very much the same class of purchasers for whose benefit they are produced at the present day.

People often run away with one of two contradictory ideas, that all early books were very costly and only prepared for princes, or that illustrated books were then the Books of the People, and therefore possessed all sorts of beautiful properties not discoverable in the bourgeois volumes we get at Mudie's. Of course both these ideas have some foundation. Profusely illuminated manuscripts, whether Prayer-Books or Romances, were literally a luxury reserved for princes; but then a profusely illuminated manuscript is not only a book, it is a picture-gallery as well, and even now, when prices have risen to what seem extravagant heights, the fine manuscripts which can be bought for from one to two thousand pounds are probably the cheapest art-treasures on the market. But until quite the end of the fifteenth century princes cared very little for printed books, thinking them rather cheap and common, even to the extent of refusing to have them in their libraries. More than this, rich connoisseurs generally, and not merely princes, when they patronised printed books at all, preferred them quite plain, finely printed, but with no pictures in them. They even preferred them without any printed initial letters, no doubt telling each other it was so much nicer to have the initials prettily painted in by hand,—just as there are some people who prefer books in paper covers, because they can have them bound as they please. We all know that most paper-cover books melt away and never get bound at all; and most of the books which were to have painted initials remain to this day with the blank places still unfilled. But it was a very pretty theory, and it shows clearly enough that the rich people who held it cared nothing for printed ornaments, and à fortiori nothing for printed illustrations.

On the other hand, though some of the books we are concerned with were probably sold for less than sixpence, sixpence in the fifteenth century was worth five or six shillings now, and, in fact, from five shillings to five guineas very fairly represents the range of prices of early illustrated books. Thus the cheapest of them, the little Florentine chap-books, are not really the equivalent of our modern penny dreadfuls, but rather of the pretty gift-books with which publishers tempt us every Christmas. There was no fifteenth century equivalent to our modern penny dreadfuls, because the sort of people who now read penny dreadfuls then read nothing at all. As soon as they began to read, plenty of bad pictures were produced to please them.

If this prologue did not already threaten to be too long, it would be interesting to advance the theory that the great body of readers in every civilisation has always been drawn from much the same class as at present, and also that the price of books, when we allow for the different value of money, has varied equally little. In any case, it should be understood that early illustrated books were neither very rare nor very miraculously cheap, but cost about the same as the illustrated books of to-day, and were intended for about the same class of readers.

Up to a few years ago it was possible for quiet folk of this class to possess some specimens of the old books as well as of the new. Unfortunately during the last quarter of a century, and more especially during the last decade of it, the collecting of them has become a hobby which can only be pursued by the very rich. Save perhaps the first editions of masterpieces of our own literature, no books have advanced so rapidly in market-value as those with illustrations. A recent lawsuit has brought into prominence the case of the 'Quatriregio' of Bishop Frezzi, a copy of which, bought some thirty years ago for sixty guineas, has now to be valued by experts, who will apparently have to decide whether its present worth should be fixed as nearer to five hundred or eight hundred pounds, the two last prices at which copies are believed to have changed hands. The little Florentine 'Rappresentazioni,' mostly with only a single cut on their title, the subject of my first paper, used to be purchasable for a few shillings apiece; they have now to be bought with almost as many bank-notes, and a good example of a French 'Book of Hours' is supposed to be cheap at a hundred and twenty pounds. It is well that beautiful books should be honoured, but book-lovers may not unreasonably regret the days when it was still possible for a man of moderate means to possess them.



BETWEEN the twelfth century and the sixteenth nearly every country in Europe possessed some sort of a religous drama, which in many cases has lingered on, nearly or quite, to the present day. Even in England—in Yorkshire, in Dorset and Sussex, and perhaps in other counties—the old Christmas play of S. George and the Dragon is not quite extinct, though in its latter days its action has been rendered chaotic by the introduction of King George III., Admiral Nelson, and other national heroes, whose relation to either the Knight or the Dragon is a little difficult to follow. The stage directions, which are fairly numerous in most of the old plays which have been preserved, enable us to picture to ourselves the successive stages of their development with considerable minuteness. In some churches the 'sepulchre' is still preserved to which, in the earliest liturgical dramas, the choristers advanced, in the guise of the three Maries, to act over again the scene on the first Easter-day; while of that other scene, when at Christmas the shepherds brought their simple offerings, a cap, a nutting-stick, or a bob of cherries to the Holy Child, a trace still exists in the representation, either by a transparency or a model, of the manger of Bethlehem, still common in Roman Catholic churches, and not unknown in some English ones. When the scene of the plays was removed from the inside of the church to the churchyard, we hear of the crowds who desecrated the graves in their eagerness to see the performance; and later still, when the craft-guilds had burdened themselves with the expenses of their preparation, we have curious descriptions of the waggons upon which each scene of the great cycles 'of matter from the beginning of the world to the Day of Judgment,' was set up, in order that scene after scene might be rolled before the spectators at the street corners or the market place, throughout the length of a midsummer day. Artists with an antiquarian turn have endeavoured to picture for us these curious stages. In Sharp's 'Dissertation on the Coventry Mysteries' there is a frontispiece giving an imaginary view of a performance; and only a few years ago an article was published in an American magazine, with really delightful illustrations, depicting the working of the elaborate stage machinery behind the scenes, as well as the effects with which the spectators were regaled. But of contemporary illustrations the lack remains grievous and irreparable. In England we have nothing at all for the Miracle Plays, while for the moralities by which they were superseded, the only manuscript illustration is a picture of the castle in the 'Castle of Perseverance,' in which, with the aid of his good angels, its occupant, Man, was set to resist the attacks of the deadly sins and all the hosts of hell! The later moralities, printed by Wynkyn de Worde and his contemporaries early in the sixteenth century, have in one or two instances a few figures on the face or back of the title-page, to which labels bearing the names of the characters are attached. But these were venerable cuts, which had done duty on previous occasions for other subjects; and so far from being specially designed to represent the players on an English stage, were really French in their origin, and only copied from old woodcuts of Antoine Vérard's 'Terence.'

In France we have much the same tale. It is true that so many of the old French Mysteries still remain in manuscript, unexplored, that there is a possibility of some pleasant surprise in store for us. But the printed plays were either not illustrated at all, or sent forth with only a handful of conventional cuts. One little ray of light, however, we have in the pictures, especially of the Annunciation to the Shepherds and their Adoration, in many of the numerous editions of the 'Hours of the Blessed Virgin' (the lay-folk's prayer-books, as they have been called, of those days), which, from about 1490 onwards, attained the same popularity in print which they had previously enjoyed in manuscript. In these illustrations we see the shepherds, with their women-folk about them, as they watched their flocks till startled by the angel's greeting, and again crowding round the manger at Bethlehem. In one edition, from which a reproduction is given in a later essay in this volume, they even bear on labels the names Gobin le gai, le beau Roger, Mahault, Aloris, etc., by which they were known in the plays.

But however ready we may be to trace the influence of the miracle plays in these pictures, as illustrations of the plays themselves they are very inadequate; and the fact remains that in only one country, and practically only in one city in that country (for the Siena editions are merely reprints) did the religious plays, which in one form or another were then being acted all over Europe, receive any contemporary illustration. This one city was Florence; and alike for the special form in which the religious drama was there developed, for the causes which contributed to its popularity at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and for its close connection with the popular art of the day, the subject is one of considerable interest. On its literary and religious side, the late John Addington Symonds discussed it in 'Studies of the Italian Renaissance' with his usual ability, and many of the plays have been reprinted by Signor Ancona. Of late years the little pictures by which they are illustrated have also received attention, a fact amply attested by the extraordinary rise in their market value. But it is worth while to bring together, even if only in outline, the pictures and the plays to which they belong, more closely than has hitherto been attempted, and this is my object in the present paper.

Book-illustration in Italy began very early with the publication in 1467, by Ulric Hahn, at Rome, of an edition of the 'Meditations' of Cardinal Torquemada on the Life and Passion of Christ. For the next twenty years its progress was only sporadic, and though we find illustrations of greater or less artistic value in books printed at Naples, Rome, Ferrara, Verona, and Venice, we can only group them together in twos and threes; there is absolutely no trace of any school of illustrators. From this sporadic growth Florence was not entirely excluded, for besides a treatise on geography we find in the 1477 edition of Bettini's 'Monte Santo di Dio,' and the famous 1481 'Dante,' pictures of very considerable interest. They differ, however, from those of the illustrated books of other Italian towns, in being not woodcuts but engravings on copper, and it is a remarkable fact that until the year 1490 no Florentine book is known which contains a cut. The signs of wear in a woodcut of the dead Christ which appears early in that year, has given rise to a belief that there may have been some previous illustrated edition, now lost; but it is more probable that the picture had only been printed separately for pasting into books of devotion. In any case, it stands apart, with but one other cut, slightly later in date, from all other Florentine work, and must be looked on only as an example of the sporadic illustrations of which we have spoken as appearing in other districts. But from the 28th of September, 1490, onwards for twenty years, we have a succession of woodcuts which, amid all the differences which give them individuality, are yet closely linked together in style, and form, on the whole, by far the finest series of book-illustrations of early date. The popularity which these woodcuts attained is attested by the repeated editions of the works in which they appear; while the suddenness with which they sprang up, the general similarity of style, and the nature of the books they illustrate, all suggest that we have here to deal with a conscious and carefully directed movement as opposed to the haphazard use of illustrations in other cities during the previous twenty years.


The book in which the first characteristic Florentine woodcut appears is an edition of the 'Laude,' of Jacopone da Todi, printed by Francesco Buonaccorsi; and both the choice of the book and the name of the printer offer a tempting basis for theory-making. Printing, we must remember, though it had been in use for more than a third of a century, was even then a new craft, and was still taken up sometimes as a side-employment by many persons who had been bred to other trades or professions. Our own Caxton, as we all know, was a mercer; the first printer at St. Albans, a schoolmaster; Francesco Tuppo, of Naples, a jurist; Joannes Philippus de Lignamine, of Rome, a physician; and so on. In natural continuation, however, of the work of the Scriptorium in many monasteries, we find that a large number of the early printers were members of monasteries or priests, and it was to this latter order that the Buonaccorsi who printed the 'Laude' belonged. Now, the name Buonaccorsi is the name of the family of Savonarola's mother. A few months before the appearance of the 'Laude' the great Dominican has been recalled to Florence by Lorenzo de' Medici, and his first public sermon there—a sermon which had stirred the whole city to its depths—had been preached on the previous 1st of August. In the next year we find Buonaccorsi printing the first edition of the 'Libro della vita viduale,' the earliest dated Savonarola tract of which I know; and I have not been able to resist hazarding the conjecture that between the preacher-monk and the priest-printer there may have been some tie of blood, and that it was to Savonarola that the splendid series of Florentine illustrated books owed their origin.

That this should be the case would not be surprising. Savonarola was no Puritan, or rather he was like the Puritans of the better sort, and loved art so long as it was subservient to the main object of man's being. The pamphlets with which he flooded Florence during the next few years are, for the most part, decorated with a cut on their first page or title; and if the subject were ever worked out, it would probably be found that this was uniformly the case with the original editions, and those issued with the author's supervision, while the unillustrated copies are mere reprints, which the absence of any law of copyright made it possible for any printer, who thought it worth his while, to issue, with or without the author's leave. The woodcuts to the Savonarola tracts number from forty to sixty, according as we include or reject variants on the same subject, and fall naturally into three divisions, illustrating respectively the Passion of Christ, the duties of Prayer and Preparation for Death, and various aspects of Savonarola's activity, in which, however, the representations of him are always imaginary, never drawn from life. As an example of these cuts, I give that which decorates the title-page of an undated edition (circa 1495) of the 'Operetta della oratione mentale.' I have had occasion to use this before in my little work on 'Early Illustrated Books,' but there is a certain largeness of pictorial effect about it which gives this cut, I think, quite the first place in the series, and makes me unwilling to take any other as an example. The cuts in the 'Rappresentazioni' are seldom quite as good as this, but they form a parallel series to those of the Savonarola tracts, occasionally borrowing an illustration from those on the Passion of Christ, and evidently inspired by the same aims. The same types (our only means of fixing the printers of these dateless little books), were used in many of the works of both the series, and it does not seem fanciful to believe that Savonarola, either directly or through some trusted disciple, was nearly as intimately connected with the one as he undoubtedly was with the other.


We have said that the choice of the work in which appeared the first typical Florentine woodcut was not without interest for our subject. Jacopone da Todi, whom the cut exhibits kneeling in an ecstasy of prayer before a vision of the Blessed Virgin, was a Franciscan mystic, eccentric to the verge of madness in his manners, but a spiritual poet of no mean ability, and the reputed author of the 'Stabat Mater.' He died in 1306, and was probably old enough to have remembered that strange epidemic of the Battuti, when thousands of frenzied men and women marched from city to city, scourging themselves almost to death for the sinfulness of the world, till their career had to be stopped by the free use of the gallows. When the frenzy was past, those who survived it formed themselves into companies for the continuance of their religious exercises in a more moderate form, and from their meeting together to sing their 'Laude,' hymns of a peculiarly personal fervour, in the chapels of their guilds, they obtained the name 'Laudesi.' Of the writers of these 'Laude,' Jacopone da Todi was the greatest, and it was out of the 'Laude' that the later 'Rappresentazioni' were gradually developed. In his excellent account of the 'Rappresentazioni,' to which I have already alluded, Mr. J. A. Symonds seems to me to have laid rather undue stress on the manner in which this development took place, as offering a contrast to the history of the religious drama in other countries. It is true that in England the plays which have come down to us belong almost exclusively to the great cycles which unrolled the history of man from the creation till the crack of doom, but we have mention of several plays on the lives of the Saints—e.g. one on S. George and the Dragon, and another (which survives) on S. Mary Magdalene, and the popularity at one time of these Miracle Plays, properly so called, is witnessed by the fact that it is their name under which the cycles of Scriptural dramas generally passed. At Florence these longer dramas were not wholly unknown, but they seem to have been acted only in pantomime or dumb-show, in the great pageants on S. John's Day, the shorter plays developing from the 'Laude' just as, at an earlier period, the liturgical dramas had developed in France and England out of the dramatic recital of the gospel of the day. It is worth noting, by the way, that the 'Laude' themselves were not superseded, but continued to be written and sung when the 'Rappresentazioni' were already becoming popular. Two of the writers of them during this period have a special interest for us—Maffeo Belcari, as the author also of the earliest printed 'Rappresentazione,' and Girolamo Benivieni, as the friend and disciple of Savonarola, whose doctrine and prophecies he defended in 1496 in a tract, printed, this also, by Buonaccorsi.


In an edition of a collection of 'Laude' by various writers, there is an interesting cut representing the 'Laudesi,' standing before a Madonna, singing her praise. In course of time dramatic divisions had been admitted into the 'Laude,' and under the name of 'Divozioni' they were recited with appropriate action in dialogue form. The actors were for the most part boys, who were formed into confraternities, while the expenses of the plays were doubtless defrayed by their parents. As the dramatic element in the performances became more decided, the plays came at last to be generally termed 'Rappresentazioni,' and under this name they attained a great popularity during the last quarter of the fifteenth century, and the first of its successor.

Unlike the northern Miracle Plays, which are almost without exception anonymous, many of the earliest 'Rappresentazioni' which have come down to us contain the names of their authors, and in editions separated by half a century the text remains substantially unaltered. In English plays the text often appears to have grown up by a process of accretion, so that a cycle, or even a single play, in the form in which it has survived, could hardly with justice be assigned to a single author, even if we knew the name of the first writer concerned in it. The difference is not unimportant, and is one of numerous small signs which tell us that the religious drama in Florence, at least in this stage of its development, was less popular, less spontaneous, than in our own country, and more the result of deliberate religious effort.

The earliest 'Rappresentazione' printed was the 'Abraham' of the Maffeo (or Feo) Belcari, whom we have already mentioned. It was printed in 1485, the year after Belcari's death at a good old age (he was born in 1410), so that all Belcari's plays were published posthumously. Among them are plays on the Annunciation, on S. John the Baptist visited by Christ in the Desert, and on S. Panuntius. Of the last two of these I have seen fifteenth-century editions—the one at the British Museum, the other at the Bodleian Library, each with a single charming woodcut. No less a person than Lorenzo de' Medici was the author of the play of 'San Giovanni e San Paolo,' which has also come down to us in its original edition with a graceful cut; and Bernardo Pulci, who died in the first year of the sixteenth century, produced a play on the legend of Barlaam and Josaphat. But the most prolific of these dramatists seems to have been a woman, Bernardo's wife Antonia, to whose pen we owe plays on the Patriarch Joseph, the Prodigal Son, S. Francis of Assisi, S. Domitilla, S. Guglielma, etc. The names of a few other writers are known; but there were also numerous anonymous plays, written very much on the same lines, to some of which we shall have to allude.

Almost invariably the plays begin with a Prologue spoken by an Angel, who is represented in the title-cut of Lorenzo de' Medici's 'San Giovanni e San Paolo' as standing behind the two saints in a kind of pulpit. In other early plays the Angel is represented in a separate woodcut (shown at the beginning of this article) whose lower border is cut off, so as to fix on to the border of the special title-cut of the play. Later on, another design was substituted for this, without any border at all. I think it probable that these angelic prologuisings were mostly spoken from some machine at the back of the stage, especially contrived for celestial appearances. In other respects, the services of the stage-carpenter do not seem to have been much called for. The plays were acted, we are told, either in the chapel of the guild or confraternity, or in the refectory of a convent, and the arrangements were probably very similar to those in modern school-plays, the imagination of the spectators being often required to take the place of a change of scene. In the so-called 'Coventry' Plays we hear of a device by which a new scene, or perhaps rather a new centrepiece, with the actors all in their places, could be wheeled round to the front; but more often all the dramatis personae were grouped at the back or sides, and individual actors merely stepped forward when their turn came. In the play of 'San Lorenzo' we are expressly told that two scenes were shown simultaneously on different parts of the stage, Decius and his satellites offering their heathen sacrifices on the one side, while Pope Sixtus comforts the faithful against the coming persecution on the other. This combination of two scenes in one is a familiar feature in mediæval art, and is not unknown even in these Florentine woodcuts, small as they are: witness our cut on p. 29, in which the bartering at the pawnshop, and the indignities offered to the sacred wafer, tell the story of the play by means of its two most prominent scenes.

Of the literary value of the 'Rappresentazioni' it is not possible to speak with much enthusiasm. From a literary standpoint, indeed, the lives of the Saints, with which most of them have to do, are a difficult and not very promising subject. Most stories of heroism are best told in ten lines at longest; and to attempt to spin them out into several hundred, without any considerable material in the way of authentic detail, leads inevitably to weakness and exaggeration. In this respect the 'Rappresentazioni' are neither much worse nor much better than the average 'Legenda Sanctorum' in verse or prose.


They follow these, in fact, with remarkable fidelity, and as they are written for the most part in the familiar octava rima, it is only by the speeches being made in the first person, instead of in historical narration, that they differ very greatly from them. Thus, to take the plays from which we have chosen our illustrations, that of S. Francis of Assisi, by Antonia Pulci, faithfully records all the main incidents as told in the legends—the colloquy with the beggar during which he was stricken with compunction, the theft from his father of money to repair a church, the founding of his Order, the conference with the Pope, and the reception of the stigmata; this last being, as might be expected, the subject chosen by the artist for the woodcut on the title. The play of 'San Lorenzo' shows us the martyrdom of Pope Sixtus in the Decian persecution, and then the torture and death of S. Laurence for his refusal to surrender the treasure which the Pope had bequeathed to the poor of the church. Both of the woodcuts to these two plays are of great beauty. The first probably follows the traditions of the many pictures on the subject rather than that of the stage, though it was, no doubt, for a scene like this that the stage-managers of the day used their utmost resources. In the martyrdom of S. Laurence, on the other hand, we may be sure that we have a very exact picture of the scene as played on some convent stage.


Both these plays belong to the fifteenth century, and, as is mostly the case in the earliest editions, have only a rough woodcut each. This was not invariably so, as in the Bodleian Library there are copies of editions of the plays of 'Stella' and 'S. Paulino,' which have every appearance of having been printed before 1500, but yet have sets of several cuts, all obviously designed especially for them. These, however, are exceptions; and as a rule where we find several cuts, it is easy to trace most of them back, either to other plays, or to other illustrated books of the time, such as the 'Epistole e Evangelii,' the 'Fior di Virtù,' Pulci's 'Morgante Maggiore,' etc. Thus, of the two cuts given here as illustrations to the curious 'Rappresentazione d'uno miracolo del corpo di Gesù,' the first alone occurs in the fifteenth-century edition, while in that of 1555 (probably sixty years later) this original cut reappears, with three others added to it. The first, here shown, representing a drinking scene, is borrowed, I strongly suspect, from the 'Morgante Maggiore'; while the second, which shows a man being burnt, and the third, in which a king is consulting his counsel, may be called stock-pictures, and reappear with frequency.


This play of the 'Corpo di Gesù' is an Italian version of a miracle which was constantly being reported during the middle-ages, and was often the excuse for a cruel persecution of the Jews. The well-known 'Croxton' 'Play of the Sacrament,' is cast on the same lines, and a detailed comparison of the two would yield some points of interest. In the 'Rappresentazione' the story is well told, and with unusual vivacity. After the angelic prologue there is an induction, in which a miracle of a consecrated wafer, dripping blood, is announced to Pope Urban, who discourses on it with a cardinal and with S. Thomas Aquinas and S. Bonaventura. The play itself begins with a drinking scene, in which a wicked Guglielmo squanders his money, and then takes his wife's cloak to the Jewish pawnshop to get more. The poor woman goes herself to the Jew to try to get her cloak back, and is then persuaded to filch a wafer at mass and bring it to the Jew, on his promise to restore her garment. Her horror at his proposal is overcome by the pretext that his object is to use the Host as a charm to heal his sick son, and that if this succeeds he and all his family will become Christians. This, of course, is a mere fiction, but it serves the woman in good stead; for when the Jew is discovered by the unquenchable flow of blood from the wafer he maltreats, he is promptly burnt, while the Judge is warned by a special revelation to spare the life of his accomplice, whose guilt might easily be represented as the greater of the two.


An edition of the play of 'S. Cecilia,' probably printed about 1560, affords a good example of the gradual addition of cuts in later reprints. This little tract of about twenty pages has no fewer than eighteen pictures in it, three of which, however, are only repetitions of one of the most familiar cuts in the whole series of 'Rappresentazioni'—a Christian virgin dragged before a king; while three other well-worn cuts are each repeated twice, so that the number of blocks used was only thirteen, though these yielded eighteen impressions. As might be expected, the little pictures are often dragged in with very little appropriateness. Thus, the Roman soldiers sent to arrest Cecilia gave the publisher an excuse to show a party of knights riding in the country, and so on. On the other hand, the pleasant picture of a disputation here shown, though undoubtedly executed in the first instance for some other work, probably gives us a very correct representation of the costume and grouping of the actors.


One point in the text of the 'S. Cecilia,' deserves noting. In the main it resembles very closely indeed the legend as it is known to lovers of English poetry from the version which Chaucer made in his early days and afterwards inserted, with little revision, into the 'Canterbury Tales.' But when Cecilia has gone through the form of marriage with the husband who is forced upon her, and is proceeding with him to his home, the lads of the neighbourhood bar their passage with a demand for petty gifts, to which the virgin submits with good grace—a fragment of Florentine life thus cropping up amid the rather unreal atmosphere of the old legend.

Whatever the shortcomings of the 'Rappresentazioni,' their popularity was very great, and they were reprinted again and again throughout the sixteenth century. Naturally the woodcuts suffered from continual use, and the stock-subjects, like that of a general martyrdom shown on page 10, are often found in the later editions with their little frames or borders almost knocked to pieces. Recutting was also frequent, and in the same edition of the play of S. Mary Magdalene, from which, for the sake of the unusual freedom in the handling, I have taken the title-cut as one of our illustrations, this is repeated later on from a new block, clumsily cut in imitation of the old one.


As the 'Rappresentazioni' and their illustrations are connected with the Savonarola tracts on the one hand, so on the other we find them influencing some less dramatic forms of literature. Thus, among the early Florentine illustrated books we find a number of 'Contrasti'—the contrast of men and women, of the living and the dead, of riches and poverty, etc. These were rather poems than plays, but the name 'Rappresentazione' is sometimes applied to them in later editions. This is so, for instance, with the famous 'Contrasto di Carnesciale e la Quaresima,' from which the first of the two cuts is here given, the second representing a visit to the fish and vegetable market for Lenten fare when the days of Carnival are over.


Again we find the same methods of illustration applied to the 'Giostre' of Giuliano and Lorenzo de'Medici, the story of Orpheus, by Angelo Politiano, which forms part of the former, being adorned with no fewer than ten admirable woodcuts, of which the picture here reproduced, of Orpheus frightened by a fury from attempting a second time to visit Hell in quest of his lost Eurydice, is quite one of the finest. The same methods of illustration were also used in the 'novelle,' including the 'Storia di due amanti' of Pope Pius II., from which we take our last illustration, and other secular chapbooks, which have nothing either religious or dramatic about them. It is clear, however, that the religious use was the earlier of the two, and that while the writers of the 'Laude' anticipated the practice of later revivalists in turning profane songs and tunes into hymns of devotion, it was the secular literature which was the borrower in the matter of illustrations.


As to the authors of these charming woodcuts we know absolutely nothing. Dr. Paul Kristeller has lately attempted to trace out three or four distinctive schools of style in them, but no name of any artist can be connected with them; and we can only conjecture that there were one or two special workshops in Florence where they were designed and executed, and that printers and publishers applied to these workshops when they were in need of cuts.



THE search for old books has been so assiduous of late years that no little surprise was felt when it was announced in 1900 that two copies had been found, almost simultaneously, of a handsomely illustrated folio edition of the Italian Bible of Niccolo Malermi, printed at Venice in 1493, and similar to but quite distinct from the illustrated editions already known. A third copy has since been discovered, and this has been acquired by the British Museum, which since 1897 has also possessed the first of the editions with the original woodcuts, that printed in 1490 for Lucantonio Giunta. As both editions are very rare, and no comparison has yet been made between them, an attempt is here to be made to describe and contrast them.

The first edition of Malermi's Italian version of the Bible was printed by Jenson, who finished it on August 1st, 1470, apparently the same year in which the translator entered the monastery of S. Michele in Murano, near Venice, at the age of forty-eight. He was then stated to be 'natus quondam spectabilis et generosi viri domini Philippi de Malerbis, de Venetiis'; but nothing else is known of his family or early life, and the subsequent records only refer to his transfer from one monastery to another. Besides the Bible he also translated into Italian the lives of the saints from the 'Golden Legend' of Jacobus de Voragine, with additions of his own. This book also was printed for him by Jenson, and published in 1475.

Malermi's translation of the Bible was a great popular success, at least nine, and probably ten editions being printed during the fifteenth century, and the British Museum possessing six others issued in 1517, 1546, 1553, 1558, 1566, and 1567. By a curious chance another translation by an anonymous author must have been already in the press while Jenson was printing Malermi's first edition. It appeared exactly two months later, on October 1st, 1471, without the name of its printer, but in the types of Adam of Ammergau. That two rival translations of the Bible were thus among the first-fruits of the Italian press is one of the facts which Protestant controversialists are not apt to emphasise. It is possible, as Dr. Garnett, I think, has suggested, that Venice, which was wont to show great independence in its relations with the Papal Court, was the only city in Italy in which a vernacular Bible would have found a publisher. The earliest Italian Bible printed in any other Italian town does, indeed, appear to be one with Doré's illustrations, published at Milan at some date between 1866, when the illustrations first appeared in English and French Bibles, and 1880, when it attained a third edition. No doubt the Holy See had little enthusiasm for vernacular Bibles, and the Italian governments, which were more susceptible than Venice to the feeling of Rome, did nothing to encourage them. But discouragement, whether we approve of it or not (and the subsequent religious history of Europe shows that the Roman objection to unannotated vernacular texts was not wholly unfounded), is very different from prohibition, and next to the eighteen prae-Reformation German editions, the ten printed at Venice during the fifteenth century offer the most convincing proof that, except in the actual presence of heresy, vernacular translations enjoyed a practically unimpeded circulation long before the leaders of the Reformation made free access to the Scriptures one of their main demands. It is remarkable, indeed, that during the middle of the sixteenth century, when the Inquisition was tightening its hold on Venice, and the 'Index Librorum Prohibitorum' had come into being, the Italian Bibles printed there increased notably. The British Museum possesses five editions of Malermi's version published in the twenty-two years 1546-1567, six of Brucioli's published in the twenty years 1532-1551, two of Santi Marmochino's, printed respectively in 1538 and 1545, a total of thirteen editions published within thirty-six years, now on the shelves of a single library. After 1567 there is another tale to tell. Until the Milan edition already mentioned, Geneva, Nuremberg, Leipsic and London are the only imprints to be found on Italian editions of the complete Bible. In the face of what she considered heretical interpretations, the Church of Rome would no longer trust her people with vernacular Bibles; but it is one of the small services which Bibliography can render to History to note that this had not been her policy so long as the Scriptures were desired for edification and not for controversy, and the popularity of the Malermi Bible is so decisive a proof of this that it would be unfair to leave it unmentioned.

The main object of this article is far removed from the weighty question of religious policy on which we have incidentally touched. The first edition of the Malermi Bible is a very rare book, and the British Museum, sad to say, possesses no copy of it. The only copy in England of which I know is in the John Rylands Library at Manchester, and this possesses six coloured illustrations representing the six days of Creation, the colouring being so heavy as nearly, though not quite, to obscure the fact that it is imposed upon woodcuts.

In the years 1470-1472 there are fairly numerous examples of woodcut borders and initials being used in books printed at Venice, not as substantive decorations in themselves, but as outlines for the guidance of illuminators. We may probably take it that the six designs in the first Malermi Bible, which do not seem to occur in all copies, were of this character, and were not intended to stand by themselves. The first Venetian woodcuts not intended to be coloured are found in books printed by Erhard Ratdolt, and their use spread very slowly until nearly 1490. Thus the Malermi Bibles of 1477, 1481, 1484, and 1487 are all innocent of woodcuts, though there are blank leaves and spaces left in some of them, which may have been intended for illumination.


There seems to have been a project of making the 'Biblia cum postillis Nicolai de Lyra,' published by Octavianus Scotus in 1489, into a handsome illustrated book; but if this was so the project was soon abandoned, as the illustrations come in little patches at different points at which the book may have been put in hand on different presses, and between these points there are long stretches without any pictures at all. Thus not only the first Italian Bible, but the first Bible printed in Italy in which illustrations form an important feature, is the edition of Malermi's version printed in October 1490, by Giovanni Ragazzo for Lucantonio Giunta. If long delayed, this was a fine enough book to be worth waiting for. It is in double columns, measuring 250×76 mm. apiece, and each containing sixty-one lines of a respectably round type about the size of pica. For convenience of printing rather than of binding it is divided into two parts (the second beginning with the Book of Proverbs), which are always, as far as I know, found united in a single volume. Part I. contains: (i.) a frontispiece made up (within a border) of six cuts measuring 56×57 mm. each, representing the six days of Creation, obviously influenced by the illumination with underlying woodcuts of the 1471 edition; (ii.) a pictorial initial N for the 'Nel principio' of Genesis; (iii.) 208 small woodcuts or vignettes, measuring about 45×75 mm., of which 199 are different and 9 are repetitions. Part II. contains a large picture and border for the opening chapter of Proverbs, and 175 small cuts, of which 166 are different and 9 are repetitions. Deducting the repeats, but counting the initial and each of the Creation woodcuts separately, we have thus a grand total of 373 different designs, almost all of them well drawn, though many have been sadly mangled by the wood-cutter.


It is to the credit of the Venetian public that Giunta's edition of this big book sold quickly. For reasons hereafter to be given I think it possible that a reprint with some additional cuts was published as early as 1491. We know for certain that a new edition (printed again by Giovanni Ragazzo) was ready for sale in July 1492. Like most reprints of illustrated books this aimed at an appearance of greater liberality at a comparatively small expense. Thus in the book Genesis there are 27 woodcuts in 1492 against 16 in 1490, a too realistic picture of Potiphar's wife tempting Joseph being judiciously omitted, while twelve new subjects are added. In Exodus we have 29 cuts against 25, four new ones being added, while on the other hand the representations of the Burning Bush (in which a dog is shown barking at the Almighty) and of the Slaying of the Firstborn are withdrawn and replaced without appropriateness by cuts taken from Deuteronomy ix. and Leviticus x. In Leviticus one cut (that to chap. vii.) is changed and a new one added to chap. xviii. In Numbers an illustration of the zeal of Phineas in chap. xxv. is omitted, and two new cuts added to chaps. xxix. and xxxiii.; in Deuteronomy we have six new cuts and a repeat. To these 26 additions (against two omissions) in the Pentateuch, we have to add 14 more (against one repeat omitted) from Joshua to Kings. From Chronicles to Acts the woodcuts in the two editions are substantially the same, six cuts being changed, while one is omitted. In the Epistles, besides two changes, there are 12 additions, but these are mostly either repeats or taken from other books. In the Apocalypse and the Life of S. Joseph, with which the book ends, the illustrations in the two editions agree. The number of different cuts (deducting 12 and 9 respectively for repetitions) is 240 in Part I. and 178 in Part II., or a total of 418 different cuts against 373 in the 1490 edition, the increase being practically confined to the books Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy and the Epistles.


Turning now to the 'Anima Mia' edition of 1493, three copies of which have recently come to light after its existence had remained unsuspected for generations, we have only to place it side by side with one of the Giunta texts to find that it is a not too scrupulous attempt to cut into the profits of the firm which was first in the field. The worst evil of the publishing trade at the present day is that if one publisher strikes out a new line, whether in the form of his books, or the prices at which they are issued, or by bringing into notice some hitherto neglected author or subject, one or more of his competitors immediately tries to put similar editions on the market, and to offer purchasers a little more for their money. The result is that the first publisher finds his profits sensibly diminished, while the second very probably burns his fingers.


Few modern publishers, however, would plagiarise quite as freely as did 'Anima Mia' in his new Bible. Not only did he copy Giunta closely in the form and size of his book, the arrangement of the page and the size of the illustrations; but in a great number of cases he allowed his artists to take precisely the same subjects for illustration, and even to copy the designs themselves quite closely, sometimes by the lazy method which, by imitating the model on the block of wood, without first reversing it, caused the printed picture itself to appear in reverse.


A curious question now arises as to which of the Giunta editions 'Anima Mia' elected to copy from. That of 1490 was clearly not the one chosen, since among 'Anima Mia's' pictures we find illustrations to Genesis xiii., xv., xvii., xx., xxiv., and xxvi., none of which were illustrated in the 1490 edition, while pictures on the same subjects are found in that of 1492. Again, in the four books of Kings the 1493 edition agrees with the 1492 in having forty-nine cuts as against forty-three in the original edition of 1490. More conclusive still is the evidence of a mistake in Joshua ix., where it is impossible that the artist can have had before him the pretty little cut of the Gibeonites as hewers of wood and drawers of water, which is one of our illustrations.


By 1492 the block for this had apparently been damaged and is replaced by a larger cut (56 mm. in height), representing a king and two councillors, apparently taken from some other book. The 1493 illustrator was clearly puzzled by this, and for lack of anything better repeated a cut of Moses and Miriam from Exodus. Clearly he had not in this case the 1490 edition before him. But neither am I at all sure that he had that of 1492. While he copies six of the new pictures in Genesis he omits six others; in Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy he agrees with the 1490 edition against that of 1492; in Judges, Ruth, and Kings, with 1492 as against 1490; in Genesis, Leviticus, and Joshua, partly with one, partly with the other. In two other cases he steers a middle course. The 1490 artist had illustrated far too realistically both the temptation of Joseph and the sin which called forth the zeal of Phineas. In the 1492 edition these subjects are very wisely omitted. In that of 1493 they appear, but in a modified form. My own theory to account for these discrepancies is that between 1490 and 1492—presumably in 1491—Giunta published yet another issue of the Bible, adding a few illustrations, but not so many as in 1492, and substituting two new cuts of the subjects unpleasantly illustrated in 1490, which he subsequently thought well to pass over altogether. Such an intermediate edition would supply a model which would explain all the early illustrations in the edition of 1493, and would also allow a more reasonable time to 'Anima Mia' to get them made, and his book printed, than the nine months which separate the editions of July 1492, and April 1493. 'Anima Mia,' however, was by no means wholly a plagiarist, as is proved by the fact that while in his first volume the 236 illustrations stand midways numerically between the 215 and the 252 of the two Giunta editions of 1490 and 1492; for his second volume he provided no fewer than 208 against the 176 and 187 of his predecessors, the new cuts being fairly evenly distributed through the different books, while their artistic merit is of average quality.


It is by this touchstone of artistic merit, and not by considerations of quantity that the comparative claims of the two rival editions must be decided; and on the whole there can be no doubt that both for originality of design and for the highest merit in execution the palm must be given to the artists and craftsmen employed by Giunta. Unfortunately in both editions large numbers of the woodcuts were intrusted to cutters quite incompetent to deal with such delicate work. Giunta's illustrations to the Gospels are quite painfully bad, while those of 'Anima Mia' are here only mediocre, his worst craftsman having been employed on some of the middle books of the Old Testament. His worst work is almost as bad as the worst of Giunta's, though less painful, as not introducing the figure of Christ. The proportion of mediocre cuts is far greater, and of these we give (p. 46) a generously chosen example in that prefixed to Psalm lii. It should really be an illustration, it may be imagined, to the text, 'Except the Lord build the house their labour is but vain that build it,' but in any case it is strikingly inferior to the brilliant cut in the 1490 edition, which illustrates the heading 'Dixit insipiens' with all possible cogency.


Lastly, his best work, though really good, is not so good as that of his predecessor. One reason for this is, no doubt, that part of the space available in the column was occupied by the little border-pieces which, though offering a pleasing setting to the pictures, diminish the space available for illustration by nearly a quarter. The effect of this is especially noticeable when the 1493 artist is copying his predecessor, the necessity for 'selection' sometimes leading to the omission of important parts of the composition. But at the outset of both volumes, before the work began to be hurried, there is plenty of originality, and excellent use is made of the space at the designer's disposal. The cut of the animals entering the ark here shown is delightful, and in that of Jacob deceiving Isaac we seem to feel instinctively the blindness of the old man, who stretches out his hand to feel for the dish his false son is bringing him. As the 1493 edition is so little known compared with that of 1490, both our remaining illustrations are taken from it. The first, the frontispiece to the second volume, shown at the beginning of this article, compares very favourably with the similar design in the earlier edition. The second, the picture of S. Jerome in the Desert, is one of the best things in the book, both in design and cutting; but it differs from everything else in it, and may possibly belong to some other set.


It may have been noted that in writing of the edition of 1490 I have not thought it necessary to write of the various theories which have been built on the little letter 'b' with which many of the cuts are signed, e.g., that of 'an author at work' reproduced on p. 42. It is now generally acknowledged that it is the mark, not of any designer, nor even perhaps of any individual woodcutter, but merely of the workshop in which the little blocks were cut.



SOME years ago a copy of an edition of the 'Hours of the Blessed Virgin,' according to the use of Sarum, came into my possession, and I have since been surprised to learn that it is probably unique. On the fly-leaf of the little volume is the note: 'This Book I picked up on a Stall at Venice, in 1741, and had it bound there. It was probably printed in England (as there are some few English directions in it) some time before Henry VIII.' The second half of this note has been crossed through, and the more correct information substituted: 'rather at Paris for the use of English booksellers, about the year 1500.' A later note shows that the original purchaser was Mr. Joseph Smith, for many years British Consul at Venice, most of whose many bargains in early printed books passed into the library of George III., and thence to the British Museum. Of this little 'Book of Hours' many of the pages are stained with damp, so that it probably belonged to the consignment of his purchases which was wrecked on its way home. Perhaps for this reason, perhaps because the most esteemed Horae are on vellum and this is on paper and moreover lacks its first leaf, perhaps because the good king did not care to collect works of prae-Reformation devotion, this particular purchase of the energetic consul never found a royal owner. It possesses, however, not a little interest of its own, and if my readers will consent to turn over its pages with me, they will disclose to us a great deal of information as to the compilation and printing of these books of devotion in the fifteenth century, and their supply for the use of devout persons in England.

It is rather surprising that Consul Smith was deceived, even for a moment, as to the foreign origin of his purchase. The illustrations, as to which we shall have a great deal to say later on, are unmistakably French, and appear in many French 'Books of Hours,' both of earlier and later date. The type also is of a character very common in French books, and never found out of France. These points, however, require just a smattering of knowledge about early printing for their appreciation, while only a little common sense is needed in the present case to determine the origin of the book. The general printing is excellent, but the mistakes made in the half-dozen directions in English could have been made by no Englishman. Thus the words into the chirche appear as in thothe chir che; hous is misprinted bous; begynne as hegynne; and the like. Moreover, we note that the printer possessed no letter k in his fount, but was obliged to represent it by a combination of l and the old sign for and:
The book, therefore, was printed neither in England, Germany, nor the Low Countries, but in a country where the letter k forms no part of the alphabet, and a good guess might easily have suggested France as its most likely place of imprint.

A clause in one of the Acts passed by the Parliament of 1483, while Richard III. was still anxious to pose as a constitutional monarch, expressly provided for the free importation of books printed abroad, and for the exemption of foreign printers and booksellers settling in England from the restrictions usually imposed upon alien traders. The clause was no doubt prompted by a genuine desire to promote education and learning, but it is probable that a little protection of a young industry might have quickened its development without imposing too serious a tax upon reading. Lettou and Machlinia were already at work in London when the Act was passed, and Theodoric Rood at Oxford, but no other printers were attracted from abroad for several years, while the influx of foreign books made home competition so hazardous that after Rood disappears Oxford was for many years without a printer, and at Cambridge no press was set up till 1521. Not only were almost all classical books imported, but English works were printed in English by several Dutch firms, the much greater similarity of the two languages in those days rendering the task easier than it would be at present. English books were also printed occasionally in France, for Antoine Vérard among others, not always, however, very intelligently, as indeed the misprints at which we have just been looking would lead us to expect.

In addition to the works of poetry and romance, which are now the best known among the productions of his press, William Caxton issued also many books of devotion. In the show-case devoted to his publications in the King's Library at the British Museum, among other unique books are shown the Latin Psalter, printed by him between 1480 and 1483, and a volume containing the 'Fifteen Oes,' and other prayers, 'emprented bi the commaundementes of the most hye and vertuous pryncesse our liege ladi Elizabeth by the grace of God Quene of Englonde,' and of Margaret Tudor, the king's mother.


Caxton also printed at least four editions of the Horae, fragments of which survive at the Museum and at Oxford, though no copy even approaching completeness is now known to exist. As a rule, however, English liturgical works were printed abroad, for the most part in France (at Paris or Rouen), but also at Venice, at Antwerp, at Basel, and elsewhere. Thus of the Sarum Breviary there are at the Museum six early Paris editions, and one from Antwerp, but no London edition before 1541. The solitary editions of the Sarum Gradual and Antiphonal are both from Paris, while of the thirty editions of the Sarum Missal, five and twenty were printed abroad and only five at home. It need not, therefore, surprise us to find that of thirty-nine Sarum Horae in the Museum library, while two were printed at Antwerp, and two at Rouen, the Paris presses produced twenty-seven, those of London only eight, and these with some help from France.

It is time now to turn to the contents of our book. These are as follows:—

i. A Kalendar.
ii. Passages from the Gospels on the Birth, Ascension, and Death of Christ, viz., S. John i. 1-14; S. Luke i. 20-38; S. Matt. ii. 1-12; S. Mark xvi. 14-20; S. John xviii. 1-42.
iii. Prayers: On the Trinity: 'Whan thou goest first out of thy hous'; 'Whan thou entrest into the chirch'; 'Whan thou beginnest to praye.'
iv. The Hours of the Blessed Virgin—'Horae intemeratae beatae Mariae Virginis secundum usum Sarum.'
v. The Hours of the Compassion of the Blessed Virgin.
vi. The Seven Penitential Psalms.
vii. The Litany of the Saints.
viii. The Vigils of the Dead.
ix. Seven Psalms on the Lord's Passion.
x. Prayers: Before the Image of the Body of Christ; To the Blessed Mary and to S. John the Evangelist.

There is thus, as in all editions, a great deal in the volume besides the Horae, from which the book takes its name. But of the hundred and sixty pages to which (in addition to the twelve leaves of Kalendar) the volume extends, upwards of sixty are occupied by the Hours, which are thus much the most important item in the contents. The antiquity of these Hours was very great, for they are mentioned as an office as early as the sixth century. They fell, however, into disuse, but were revived, and probably rearranged, by Peter Damian just ten years before our battle of Hastings. Forty years later, in 1096, at the Council of Claremont, the saying of them, in addition to the canonical hours, was made compulsory upon all the clergy, and this compulsion continued until 1568, when Pope Pius V., in issuing his revision of the Breviary, released the clergy from the obligation to say this office, at the same time that he forbade the use of the vernacular translations of it, which for at least two centuries had been permitted to the laity. In England, as we all know, these vernacular versions were called Primers, and their rendering of the Psalms and Prayers of which the Hours were made up, and of the additional matter which was joined with them, has formed the basis of our present English Prayer Book.

Thee God we preise: Thee Lord we knowleche:
Thee endless Fader everi erthe worschipeth:
To Thee alle angels, to Thee hevenes and alle manere powers:
To thee cherubim and seraphim crieth with vois withouten cessinge:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Ostis:
Hevenes and erthe ben ful of mageste of thi glorie:
Thee the glorious compainie of apostles:
Thee the preisable noumbre of prophetes:
Thee preiseth the white ost of martires.

So began the English version of the Te Deum in a Primer written at the end of the fourteenth century (British Museum, Add. MS. 27, 592),[4] and if the beauty of some of these lines has caused us to give them a preference over other versions a little closer to our own, they serve none the less well to show whence it was that our Prayer Book obtained its magnificent rhythms. But who would know more of our old English Primers must be referred to the third volume of the late Mr. Maskell's 'Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesiae Anglicanae' (Clarendon Press, 1882). Here we are concerned with Horae, and that in their bibliographical and pictorial, rather than their liturgical aspect.

Each of the Hours, we are told, had its mystical reference to some event in the Lives of the Blessed Virgin and our Lord, and these references are explained in some of the Primers in some rude verses, which, with correction of some obvious misprints, and modernising the spelling, I proceed to quote:—

Ad Laudes:
How Mary, the mother and virgin,
Visited Elizabeth, wife of Zachary,
Which said, 'Blessed be thou cousin,
And blessed be the fruit of thy body.'
Ad Primam:
How Jesu Christ right poorly born was,
In an old crib laid all in poverty,
At Bethleem, by an ox and an ass,
Where Mary blessed His nativity.
Ad Tertiam:
How an Angel appeared in the morn,
Singing, 'Gloria in Excelsis Deo';
Saying, 'The very Son of God is born,
Ye Shepherds of Bethleem, ye may go.'
Ad Sextam:
How three kings of strange nations,
Of Christ's birth having intelligence,
Unto Bethleem brought their oblations,
Of gold, of myrrh, and frankincense.
Ad Nonam:
Simeon, at Christ's circumcision,
These words unto the Jews did tell,
'My eyen beholdeth your redemption,
The light and glory of Israel.'
Ad Vesperas:
How Mary and Joseph with Jesus were fain
Into Egypt, for succour, to flee,
Whan the Innocents for His sake were slain,
By commission of Herod's cruelty.
Ad Completorium:
How Mary assumpted was above the skies,
By her Son as sovereign lady,
Received there among the hierarchies,
And crowned her the queen of glory.

I have quoted these verses in full, rude though they are, because they form the keynote to the scheme of illustrations of all Horae and Primers. The Hours were intended as devotional comments on the subjects of these verses, and in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries it was thus the most natural thing in the world that each Hour should be accompanied by an illumination, or, failing that, a woodcut, to illustrate its special theme. Accustomed as we nowadays are to gain our information exclusively by reading letterpress, it is only by a visit to our nurseries that we can recall to ourselves how deeply the need of pictures was felt in the ages before the printing press made the art of reading a common acquirement. Of this need the Miracle Plays, with all their rudeness, all their unconscious profanity, were at once the living witness and the living fulfilment. In the great cycles, such as those of York, Wakefield, and Chester, which have come down to us, the history of the world in its sacred aspects is unrolled from the creation of the angels to the day of judgment; and the presentment of these plays probably brought the Bible stories nearer to the people than could have been possible in any other way. Certainly these plays left a deep mark upon current ideas of art, and helped to render impossible any attempt at antiquarian correctness. In the scene of the Adoration of the Shepherds in some of the finest books of Hours (P. Pigouchet: Paris, 1498, 1502, etc.), underneath the figures of the shepherds and their wives (by whom they are mostly represented as being accompanied) are written the names Gobin le gai, le beau Roger, Aloris, Alison, Mahault, Ysambre, by which they were known in the French plays on the Nativity, and the shepherds are French Shepherds of the fifteenth century. But however great their anachronisms, the tableaux in the Miracle Plays and the pictures in books of devotion were found abundantly helpful, and for more than a century and a half, first in manuscript and afterwards in print, the Horae or Primers, the prayer-books of the laity, hold the first place among illuminated books.


A few years ago Mr. Quaritch possessed a charming 'Book of Hours,' which at one time belonged to Elizabeth Poyntz, a relative of the Thomas Poyntz at whose book we were looking a little while back. To this manuscript Mr. Quaritch in his catalogue assigned the date 'about 1360,' which, if correct, gives it considerable antiquity among illuminated Horae. The end of the fourteenth century is the date at which these first become at all common, and it was during the fifteenth century that they obtained their greatest popularity, and that the greatest artists were employed in their production. Numerous and very beautiful examples of the manuscripts produced during this period form part of the permanent exhibition in the Grenville Library at the British Museum, and I hope that many of my readers will go to look at them there. All fine examples of manuscript Horae possess (i.) beautiful initial letters, (ii.) borders surrounding every page, formed of leaves, flowers, birds, grotesques, and the like, (iii.) a number of beautiful miniatures, filling the whole or the greater part of a page, and representing the scenes from the life of Christ and His Mother mentioned in the lines quoted above, with additional illustrations from the Passion, and from the lives of the saints. Beyond saying this, it is impossible to give any general description of these manuscript Hours, each one of which possesses its own delightful individuality. Two or three special examples, however, may be mentioned to show the estimation in which they were held and the care which was spent on their decoration. Thus the late Mr. Charles Elton possessed a charming little 'Book of Hours' which once belonged to Queen Jeanne II. of Naples (1370-1435). It measures only 2 5/8 × 1 7/8 inches, and contains one hundred and sixty leaves and twenty miniatures, nine of which occupy the whole of their page. The initial letters throughout are in gold and colours, and the borders are of the ivy-leaf pattern, the scrolls often terminating in grotesques. Mr. Quaritch, again, when this paper was written, had for disposal (for the sum of one thousand pounds) a Horae of slightly later date, a wedding present from the Regent, John, Duke of Bedford, to Lord Talbot on his second marriage in 1424, when he allied himself to Margaret Beauchamp, daughter of Richard, Earl of Warwick. The first leaf contains a miniature showing Talbot and his wife at prayer under the protection of their patron saints, and many other miniatures are scattered through the rest of the volume. In 1429 Talbot was captured at the battle of Patay and remained a prisoner in France till 1433. During this time he made many entries in the blank leaves of his Hours. Here is a snatch from one in verse:

Saynt George the gode knyght
Over your Fomen geve you myght,
And holy Saynt Katheryne
To youre begynnyng send gode fyne,
Saynt Christofre botefull (helpful) on see and lond,
Joyfully make you see Engelond.

Twenty years after his release from imprisonment, Talbot was slain (July 20, 1453), fighting against a Breton force at Chatillon. It is possible that he may have carried his Hours on his person, for it was in the cottage of a Breton peasant that it was discovered a few years ago, and it seems likely that a Breton soldier may have found it on the battle-field, and transmitted it to his descendants as an heirloom. As an example of another kind of interest, we may instance a Horae at the Bodleian, on four of whose leaves are drawn most delicate and beautiful representations of religious processions. The best of these has been reproduced in the Proceedings of the Palæographical Society, and it is impossible to overrate the charm of the drawing.

In 1473 Nicholas Jenson printed a Horae at Venice; three years later, Matthias Moravus followed his example at Naples, and the earliest of Caxton's four editions was probably printed not much later than 1478. But these were all ordinary books, with no special beauty about them except what they might receive from the 'rubrisher,' or illuminator, after the printer had done his work. It was not till 1487, just a third of a century after the issue from the press of the first printed document bearing a date, that any serious attempt was made to supplant the manuscript Horae by printed editions. The first essay was made by Anthoine Vérard, of Paris, and is said—I have never seen a copy of it—to have been a poor production, 'without frontispieces' (whatever that may mean), or borders to the text. The success, however, with which it met was apparently sufficient to encourage Vérard to renew his attempt, and in 1488 or thereabouts he issued his 'Grandes Heures,' a fine quarto, with fourteen large engravings, and borders in four compartments to every page. In 1489, he reprinted the book in much cheaper form, using most of the large engravings which now occupied a whole page apiece, and devising for the borders smaller figures, in which scenes from the life of the Blessed Virgin and our Lord were set forth with their Old Testament types. Meanwhile other publishers had not been idle, for, in 1488, Jean du Pré, or Johannes de Prato, as he called himself on his Latin title-pages, issued the first of the few Horae which proceeded from his press; and in 1491 Philippe Pigouchet printed his first known edition, and not long afterwards entered into relations with Simon Vostre, an enterprising bookseller, which resulted in the publication of at least a score of editions, all extraordinarily rare, during the next twenty years. Towards the end of this century, and in the early part of the next, other Paris firms of printers and publishers joined in the trade. Of these, Thielman Kerver, Gilles and Germain Hardouyn, Guillaume Eustace, Francois Regnault, and Geoffroy Tory were the most important, but Horae are extant bearing the imprint of more than thirty other firms besides these. The demand must have been very great, for Paris supplied not only the rest of France—and in the British Museum there are examples of Horae for the use of no fewer than thirty different French dioceses—but also England. Hence there was abundance of work for all, and the different publishers copied each other's editions with a freedom which is not a little embarrassing to the humble bibliographer.

The subjects of the fourteen full-page illustrations in the little 'Horae secundum usum Sarum,' which we have taken as our text, are as follows:-

i. The Betrayal of Christ (repeated after xiv.).
ii. The root of Jesse, from whose slumbering body a tree is springing, its branches being the Jewish kings, and the Virgin and Holy Child its summit (see page 54).
iii. The Holy Trinity adored by the Saints in heaven and by the Pope and Emperor and their followers upon earth.
iv. The Annunciation.
v. The Visitation.
vi. The Crucifixion.
vii. The Adoration by the Shepherds.
viii. The Annunciation to the Shepherds.
ix. The Adoration by the Magi.
x. The Presentation in the Temple.
xi. The Flight into Egypt.
xii. The Death of the Virgin.
xiii. S. John before the Latin Gate.
xiv. Dives and Lazarus.

These, with the exception of the last, which is not quite so common, occur in most Horae. Other illustrations, which are frequently found, especially in earlier editions, represent scenes from the life of David in connection with the Penitential Psalms, his gazing at Bathsheba, the consummation of his plan for the murder of Uriah, and his punishment. His victory over Goliath is also occasionally represented. We also find in several early editions 'Les Trois Vifs' placed over against 'Les Trois Morts,' three gay knights on one page and three grinning skeletons on another, and in Tory's 'Heures à l'usage de Paris' of 1527 we have a striking picture of Death, on his black horse, riding over the corpses of his victims to deliver yet another summons. The Calendar, again, is usually prefaced by a figure of a man, with all the organs of his body exposed, and lines drawn from them to the celestial bodies, which, in the popular beliefs, were supposed to influence their health and sickness. Of all these illustrations five or six different varieties are found; but from 1495 to the end of the century, the set of designs which was used for our little Sarum Horae was by far the most popular, and influenced the editions of all the leading publishers.


To trace the history of these border-pieces would require a separate article. Jean du Pré, Vérard, and Pigouchet, made several experiments in smaller Horae with designs of flowers and birds for borders; but the popular taste decided in favour of allegorical and historical figures, and these were soon multiplied to such an extent that their original order and significance were lost sight of. In the editions published by Jean du Pré in 1488, and by Vérard in 1489, several pages are occupied with an explanation of the small figures in the border. Jesse and Balaam are shown as types of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, the betrothal of Isaac and Rebecca as a type of her Espousal, Eve tempted by the Serpent shows the Fall to which the Annunciation preluded the remedy, the Burning Bush and Aaron's rod foreshadowed the Nativity. Here all is clear, but as the demand for variety increased, there were added, in addition to the 'Dance of Death,' figures of the Saints, Prophets, Angels, and Virtues, representations of the Sibyls, emblems of the Fifteen Signs of Coming Judgment, and scenes from the life of the Blessed Virgin and our Lord, and from the Old Testament.


Partly for convenience of printing, but more, we may imagine, for the sake of producing an appearance of endless variety, these border-pieces were not cut in a single block, but were detachable, so that they could be used in different combinations. In several editions, even in one of that very scholarly and artistic printer Geoffroy Tory, this is effected at the cost of suggesting that the block had been accidentally broken, as in the page already shown from his edition of 1527, where at the foot the pieces do not even fit together. The more general plan, however, was that exemplified in Tory's edition of 1525, where it is carried out with unusual precision, the borders being built up by the repetition of exactly sixteen blocks of each size, fitting respectively into the inner and outer margin and the head and foot of the page. In earlier editions the border-pieces are more numerous and not so mathematically apportioned, the reason being that while Tory's are purely decorative, and their number therefore fixed at will, in the earlier editions the cuts are pictorial, and their number decided by the exigencies of the subjects. Thus in Pigouchet's Paris 'Hours' of 1491 there are in all 147 border-pieces, of which 78 are outer side-pieces, 15 inner side-pieces, 16 cornices, 8 head-pieces, and 30 foot-pieces. The numbers illustrate the greater importance of the outer side-pieces and foot-pieces, which have a depth or breadth of twenty-one millimetres against the nine of the inner side-piece and head-piece. The subjects illustrated in them are the Creation, the Gospel history from the birth of the Blessed Virgin to the Last Judgment, and special sets of the Nativity and Passion with Old Testament types. All these were extensively imitated by other publishers, and the same honour was paid to the famous set of the Dance of Death, which Pigouchet began to introduce early in 1496, and gradually increased in successive editions till in that of 8th August 1497 we find the full number of ten triple blocks of male victims and twelve of women. A similar succession may be traced in the gradual changes in the full-page cuts, so that we can often tell within two or three months the time at which an undated edition was sent to press. In my own little book there are no large border-pieces, only ledges round the text, but from its containing the picture of the stem of Jesse (shown as one of our illustrations) and the Church Militant and Triumphant, it must be assigned to the year 1498 or a little later.




DESPITE some efforts to prove the contrary, there can be little doubt that the art of taking clichés of woodcuts, or of cuts engraved on soft metal treated in the same way as wood, was quite unknown during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. If one printer or publisher desired the use of a set of cuts in possession of another, it was open to him to try to borrow or buy them, and failing this to have them copied as best he could, on the theory of artistic copyright having as yet been broached. In the present paper, after a few words on the simpler processes of borrowing and buying, I propose to bring together some typical instances of the different methods in which cuts designed in one country or district were copied in another, and incidentally, perhaps, to throw a little new light on the relations of designers and woodcutters in these early days of book-illustration.

As to borrowing, there is not much to be said. I believe a few instances of it may be found, e.g. Matthaeus Cerdonis tells us distinctly that he printed an edition of a 'Cheiromantia' (Padua, 1484) 'Erhardi Ratdolt instrumentis.' But it was undoubtedly, and for obvious reasons, very rare, and where it existed mostly indicates some specially close relations between the two firms. Thus Jacob Bellaert at Haarlem appears to have borrowed some of Leeu's cuts for a 'Lijden ons Heeren,' printed in December 1483, but on Bellaert's disappearance in 1486 most of his cuts and types are found in the possession of Leeu, and it is doubtful if we should not look on his press rather as a branch establishment of Leeu's than as altogether independent. We have also to be very careful in our examination of cuts before building any theories of borrowing, or special relations between different firms, as in some cases, notably in many of Vérard's 'Horae,' in which we seem at first sight to find cuts from the editions of Philippe Pigouchet, we are really confronted with copies so closely imitated that it requires a minute comparison to show that they are printed from different blocks.

When we pass from borrowing to buying we open up an endless field for investigation, and one rich in small surprises.

Mr. Falconer Madan showed me some years ago, in a Civil War Tract in the Thomason Collection at the British Museum, a very worn cut, French in appearance, representing S. John the Evangelist and the eagle by which he is symbolised. It puzzled me at the time, but I soon afterwards identified it with the printer's device of Robert Wyer, in use by him more than a hundred years earlier. Almost as great an age was probably attained by a head-piece of terminal archers, with rabbits, etc., which I first noticed in the 1598 edition of Sidney's 'Arcadia,' and found still retained in the fourteenth edition, dated 1670. The interval between these two editions of itself exceeds the threescore and ten years which ought to suffice for the life of a wood-block as of a man, but I have since found the same head-piece in a prayer book, printed about 1585, and as it is in no way appropriate to this, have no doubt that its original appearance was even earlier.

In another rather amusing series of migrations my pride as a discoverer has been tempered by the verdict of a lynx-eyed friend that the blocks in question at one period of their career have been recut, but their history is still curious. If any one will turn to the 1575 edition of 'A Ryght pithy pleasaunt and merie Comédie. Intytuled Gammer Gurton's Needle. Played on stage, not longe ago in Christes Colledge in Cambridge,' he will see that the title-page of this our second printed comedy, 'made by Mr. S—— Mr. of Art,' and 'imprinted at London in Fleete streat beneth the Conduit at the sign of S. John Evangelist by Thomas Colwel,' is surrounded by a kind of garland supported by two fat little boys; and if we turn next to the last leaf of the 'Champfleury,' that most pedantical treatise, written and published by the French artist-printer, Geoffroy Tory in 1529, there the same not very beautiful design will confront us. The concatenation of the 'Champfleury' and 'Gammer Gurton's Needle' is of itself delightful, but chance has enabled me to add two additional incongruities, for I have found it again in a copy of the 'Christiani Hominis Institutio,' by Stephanus Paris, printed in 1552 by Michael Fezandat for Vivantius Gaulterot, who had published the second edition of the 'Champfleury' three years earlier, and once more in William Copland's edition, dated 1553, of Bishop Douglas's 'XII. Bukes of Eneados.' Thus we know within a few months the date at which this block, which had previously been recut, crossed the Channel, and there is some reason to believe that some more of Tory's old designs came over with it, for I have lately noticed three fragments of borders used in Tory's 'Horae' of 1525 reappearing in a 'Letter to Reginald Pole,' by Tunstall and Stokesley, printed by Wolfe in 1560. Like the larger design, these fragments have been recut, but with considerable skill, so that we may be sure that the recutting was done in France, and at no very long interval after 1525, the lines in the original blocks being so fine that they would soon need replacing.


As an appendix to this section of my paper, it occurred to me to look at the cuts in some of the Roxburghe Ballads, and a glance through the first volume yielded some curious results. Thus a ballad entitled 'Friendly Counsaile,' by C. R. [Charles Records?], printed for J. W[right], the younger, about 1630, has two cuts, the first of Christ teaching the twelve Apostles, which can be traced back through the 'Kalender of Sheppards' to Vérard's 'Art de bien vivre et de bien mourir' of 1492; the second of two of the three gay cavaliers, who met their own corpses as they hunted (les trois vifs et les trois morts), which occurs in French Horae of about the same date. Another ballad entitled 'Christmas' Lamentation for the losse of his Acquaintance, showing how he is forst to leave the country and come to London,' is headed by a little figure of a man, which I first saw in the verso of the title of Wynkyn de Worde's edition of 'Hycke Scorner,'[6] where it is labelled 'Pyte.' This also is ultimately French, and was also originally first cut for Vérard's French Terence. 'Doctor Dogood's directions to cure many diseases' has in the first part half of a cut from the 'Art de bien vivre,' representing Aaron and the Israelites going to meet, not, as in the original, Moses, who bears the Tables of the Law, but two English gentlemen, who are joined on in a block of much smaller size. The second part has also an old cut, which appears to be imitated from the Dutch. Another Dutch fifteenth-century design is used in the second part of 'The Discontented Married Man,' and there are two more fifteenth-century blocks (recut) in the 'Jovial Broom-man,' a cut from a French 'Æsop' in 'A New Medley, or a Messe altogether,' and a piece of an Augsburg block in 'The praise of our country Barley Brake.' Besides these we may note the presence at the head of a ballad called 'Solomon's Sacrifice,' printed for Henry Gosson, of the cut of a printing-press which occurs in 'The Ordinarie of Christians,' printed by Scoloker about 1548. Of other cuts I only suspect the history, and the instances I have quoted are sufficient to show the long life these designs enjoyed in England.

Like some other branches of natural history, 'bibliology,' to use an absurd word, would be very dull if it could all be mapped out and tabulated ready to our hand, but in cut-hunting, as in fox-hunting, there is pleasure to be gained from pursuit, if not from attainment, and especially in English books of the sixteenth century there is never any difficulty in finding a promising cut to hunt. It may be said, indeed, that whoever attempts to write the history of wood-engraving in England during this period will need to be quite as well acquainted with the productions of the French press as of the English. Unfortunately this is no easy matter, for except for a magnificent collection of Vérards mostly from the old Royal Library, and a goodly number of Horae, the British Museum is by no means rich in early French books, and I know of no other English library which can do much to supply its deficiencies. But the fact remains that between the large importation of French blocks, the direct imitation of many others, and the probable presence of French woodcutters working in England, the field for any one desirous of tracing a native school of wood-engraving, if such a school can be said to have existed, is full of pitfalls, from which only a very wide knowledge of the cuts in contemporary French books (and to a less extent also of Dutch and German ones) can offer deliverance.

The backwardness of England in the pictorial arts made it possible for old wood blocks to enjoy here an unusually long life. In other countries their career was cut short by decisive changes of taste. Thus the sudden inroad of the Renaissance into Germany at the close of the fifteenth century swept away almost the whole of the delightfully simple work produced between 1470 and 1490. One curious case of survival is perhaps worth mentioning. In an edition of Wyle's 'Translation oder Deutschungen etlicher Bücher,' printed at Augsburg in 1536, the cuts to all the stories but one show contemporary work of the usual kind. The exception is the tale of Guiscard and Sigismund, the illustrations to which must be quite half a century earlier, and exhibit all the simplicity of feeling and workmanship of the artists of Augsburg, in their best days.

In France we have the same tale, for it is impossible to conceive not merely of the Estiennes, but of a popular publisher like Jean de Tournes, decorating his books with the simple cuts we find in books by Vérard or Trepperel. In the Horae the publisher's needs were sometimes too imperative to be resisted, and amid the coarse and realistic engravings which, to the destruction of the charm of these books, came into vogue about 1505, the old designs from the editions of Pigouchet and Vérard are often found for some ten years longer. Italy is in somewhat a different position, for there, in the fifteenth century, the distinction between the books of the people and the books of the rich had been unusually clearly marked, and while the tastes of the rich changed the popular literature was far more conservative. The little Florentine cuts, of which examples are given in another article, are by far the most striking example of this stability of the popular taste. It is probable that no new ones were designed after 1520 at the latest, but the old designs continued in use for more than sixty years after this date, battered by successive editions till their borders were knocked to pieces, but still retaining much of their old beauty, and occasionally, by some lucky chance, finding a printer who did them justice. When the old blocks became unusable, the designs were recut, and it is sometimes possible to trace them through as many as three different stages of successive deterioration. In Venice the little vignettes, so popular between 1490 and 1500, enjoyed a similar, but much shorter, extension of life, the preference for the heavier style of engraving which came in with the turn of the century driving them down into the chap-books, where their original delicacy of line soon procured their destruction at the hands of hasty printers.

Though the vagaries of fashion were thus slightly tempered at the great centres of printing in Italy, fashion interfered with the borrowing of blocks in another way in this country. Germany and France were each fairly homogeneous in art matters. We may trace different schools, but their differences are not very strongly marked, and their followers were probably not very keenly conscious of them. In Italy the artistic individuality of every district was clearly defined, and though, as we shall see, the printers of one town made free use of the illustrations in the books of those of another, there was scarcely any interchange of blocks. In the 'De Structura compositionis' of Ferrettus, printed at Forli in 1495, both of the two illustrations are of Venetian origin, that of Theseus and the Minotaur being taken from the 'Plutarch' of 1491, and that of the lecture-hall from the 'Epigrammata Cantalycii' of 1493. But this is an almost unique instance of direct borrowing, the rule being that while designs were freely imitated, they were, almost invariably, recast in the style of art of the district in which they were to appear.


Passing now from the purchase of woodcuts to their imitation, we may look, first of all, at the simplest and easiest form in which a design could be reproduced. The impression from a woodcut is, of course, a reversal of the design as it appears on the block, and an artist not very confident of his own skill would naturally shrink from the rather difficult task of copying the printed cut in reverse in order that his own sketch might print in the same way as its original. He preferred to copy the printed cut as he saw it before him, with the result that in the impressions from his copy everything is reversed, the right becoming left, and the left right. Thus simplified his task was easy, and it was even possible to avoid altogether the need of copying, by merely pasting the illustration on the block, and cutting the wood through the paper. When Antoine Vérard desired to bring out a French edition of the 'Metamorphoses,' his wood-cutters treated the designs in the edition by Colard Mansion in this way, and as the originals were but poor work the injury to them was not very great. It was the first of these designs, that of Saturn devouring his children, which Vérard, a year or two later, printed in his edition on vellum of the 'Miroir Historial' of Vincent de Beauvais, to serve as a ground-plan to his illuminator, who, by painting out Saturn's scythe, and the child in his mouth, and some other objectionable details, turned it into a very moderately edifying picture of the Holy Family. But this after-use is beside our point, nor are the cuts in either Mansion's edition, or that of Vérard, worth reproducing here. As an instance of this practice we will rather show the original and a copy in reverse of the frontispiece of the 'Nobilissima Arte de Astrologia,' by Granollachs, an astronomer of Barcelona, printed at Naples, with the calculations made for the year 1485, when it was presumably intended to be issued. That this is really its date we have strong confirmatory evidence in the style, both of the design and the cutting, which corresponds very closely to that of the cuts to the life of Æsop prefixed to the Italian edition brought out at Naples in the same year, 1485, by the jurist-publisher, Francisco de Tuppo, and probably printed for him by Matthias Moravus. The designer was a man of skill and imagination, and we may notice in this picture the Saracenic type which he has given to the man whom we see at the window, to suit with the presumably Moorish descent of its author.


The 'Arte de Astrologia' of Granollachs became popular, and in 1493 Plannck, a great printer of cheap books at Rome, brought out an edition of it there under the altered title 'Lunare.' That it might not go unillustrated, he seems to have commissioned his office-boy to reproduce the Naples woodcut, and the result was the remarkable work of art which is here set face to face with its original. By and by we shall see how a Florentine artist fared when the same task was set him.

Reproduction in reverse was undoubtedly the refuge of the incompetent, but we must remember that it was also the restoration of the design as originally drawn on the wood, and the most skilful artists did not disdain to save themselves trouble in this way. They had no objection to copying another man's work, but their aim was not to see how closely they could copy, but to make a pretty picture with the least expenditure of pains, and if it looked as well when the rights and lefts were reversed there was no fault to be found. Hence we shall find this method employed in many cases where the second artist was no whit inferior to the first. Examples of the servile reproduction of woodcuts by other printers, without reversal, are hardly as numerous as we should expect, and are naturally not very interesting. They group themselves chiefly round a few popular books, such as the 'Fasciculus Temporum' of Rolewinck, Steinhowel's 'Æsop' and Brant's 'Ship of Fools.' The home of the 'Fasciculus Temporum' seems to have been Cologne, but the cuts in the editions which we find printed in other towns of Germany, at Venice by Walch and Ratdolt, and in Spain, all follow the same lines very closely. Of the 'Æsop,' which started either from Sorg's press at Augsburg, or from that of Knoblochzer at Strasburg, no less than eleven editions were printed in different towns in Germany during the fifteenth century, the cuts in all of which are on the same model, while the actual blocks used by Sorg afterwards passed into the possession of Gerard Leeu at Antwerp, and were again imitated by Christian Snellaert at Delft. The cuts in the 'Narrenschiff' enjoyed no less widespread a popularity.

A few single cuts, which from their subjects might be used as title-cuts to a great variety of books, also attracted the attention of the more pedestrian copyists. Thus in educational books printed in Germany towards the close of the fifteenth century there are a bewildering number of variants of a woodcut of a master and scholars with the legend 'Accipies tanti doctoris dogmata sancti,' and while a good many French cuts found their way into England on their original blocks others were copied for English use with the servility we should expect. Among the few instances of direct copying in Italy, one of the most noteworthy is the reproduction at the beginning of the 'Supplementum Chronicorum' of Foresti, printed by Bernardino de Benaliis at Venice in 1486, of the pictures of the Creation, the Fall, and the Sacrifices of Cain and Abel, from the large Bible printed by Quentel at Cologne about six years earlier. On the other hand, in my monograph on 'Italian Book-Illustrations' (Portfolio, No. xii. Dec. 1894), I have already alluded to a curious instance of the direct copying of Italian ornamental initials by a German. In 1484, in a 'Boethius' printed by Oliverius Servius at Rome, we find three very fine initials, and we can trace back the set to which they belong to Sixtus Riessinger, who used some of them in his edition of a 'Tractatus Solemnis,' by Philippus de Barberiis in 1480. This is simple enough. But, when we find what looks like the same set in the possession of Johann Müller at Nuremberg about 1473, we ask in some surprise how initials distinctively Italian should appear first at Nuremberg and afterwards find their way back to Rome? The answer to the puzzle is arrived at by tracing both the Nuremberg and the Roman initials to a set cut for Sweynheym and Pannartz, but used by them only in certain copies of a few books (e.g. the Rylands copy of the 'Suetonius' of 1472) whose purchasers preferred them to be ornamented thus rather than by illumination. One of these copies must have fallen into the hands of Müller, who imitated the designs remarkably closely, but with some minute differences, notably the addition of a thick line to the left of the initials, which in the originals are left unfinished on this side, so that they might be attached at pleasure to an ornamental border running down the margin. Thus the initials used by Müller are copies, while those of Riessinger and Servius are from the original blocks, which must have passed to them from Sweynheym and Pannartz. The difficulty in clearing up the little mystery lay in the fact that it is possible to possess a copy of every book Sweynheym and Pannartz ever printed without finding a single volume in which the initials occur.

A well-known example of the close copying of a decorative border is the conveyance by Joannes Paulus Brissensis of a border used by Edward Whitchurch for the first prayer book of Edward VI., published in 1549. Five years later a close imitation of this, even to the retention of the initials E. W., appears on the title-page of a commentary on Aristotle ('Dialectica Resolutio cum textu'), published by Brissensis in Mexico.

We come now to the last and most interesting section of our subject, the cuts in which one artist has borrowed the design of another, but whether imitating it freely or closely has introduced modifications in technical treatment which make it his own, harmonising it so closely with the work of his own city or country that it easily takes its place with purely native designs until by some chance its real origin is discovered. For various reasons these transformations are almost, though not entirely, confined to Italy. Thus it would be idle to expect them in England because there was no English school of design or engraving of sufficient individuality to modify the style of the cuts it borrowed. In Germany, on the other hand, the native school was immensely productive, and had a long start of France and Italy in point of time. Very shortly after 1470 we find illustrated books at Augsburg and Ulm of a simple excellence which could not be bettered. In France and Italy we get a few good books about 1480, but woodcuts do not become common till ten years later. One of the few very early illustrated books of Italy, the 'Valturius,' printed at Verona in 1472, was indeed copied in Germany, the cuts being reproduced in reverse in an undated 'Vegetius,' probably printed at Augsburg about 1475 by Johann Wiener, though it should be mentioned that Dr. Muther, like a true Teuton, tries to claim priority for his countrymen by bringing back the 'Vegetius' to about 1470. But this is a solitary instance, which belongs, moreover, to an earlier section of our subject, and, until Mr. Redgrave communicated to the Bibliographical Society his paper on the early illustrated books of Oppenheim, I knew of nothing more apposite. In that paper, however, Mr. Redgrave showed how both the border of the 'Calendar,' printed by Ratdolt at Venice in 1476, and some of Ratdolt's ornamental initials, were closely imitated by Johann Köbel, in an undated 'Passio Domini.' The two books were separated by an interval of quite thirty years, and Köbel in imitating Ratdolt was not content with his delicate outline, but put in a heavy background which does not improve it. Some late German prayer-books show traces of the influence of the French 'Horae,' but beyond these I know of nothing.

The case of Holland is somewhat similar to that of Germany. In the last decade of the fifteenth century, the Dutch woodcutters imitated closely, or directly borrowed, from the French 'Horae,' but the best work, which is also the earliest, was entirely original.

In the sixteenth century the popular printers, like John of Doesborgh, no doubt obtained their haphazard illustrations whence and how they could. In the editions of 'Le Chevalier Délibéré,' by Olivier de la Marche, printed at Antwerp in French and Spanish, in 1547, etc., I thought, at first, that I had found an instance of artistic copying of a very interesting nature, for there is a close connection in design between these highly-finished cuts and the rude yet striking work in the edition printed at Gouda, by Gottfried van Os, shortly after 1486. Inasmuch, however, as La Marche had given elaborate directions for the illumination of his poem, it is obvious that by following these directions any two designers would obtain fairly similar results, without any direct imitation of one by the other.

As far as my own information goes, the French wood-cutters trusted almost entirely to their own imagination during the fifteenth century, and, when they took to borrowing for their 'Horae,' borrowed outright without any attempt at adaptation. One famous example of copying of a later date deserves mention. In 1545 the younger Aldus printed at Venice a second edition of the famous 'Hypnerotomachia,' and either this or the original of 1499 attracted the attention of Gohorry, who made a translation which was revised by Jean Martin and printed by Jacques Kerver in 1546. The cuts to this translation have been variously attributed to Jean Goujon and Jean Cousin, but a moment's glance at the book will show that they are not all by the same hand. The majority of the illustrations show wretched work, and are very clumsily cut, but those at the beginning and a few in the latter part of the volume are fine examples of artistic translation into a different manner. I give here the scene of Poliphilo by the river bank from both the original and the copy, and old favourite as the Venetian cut justly is, I think that the French cut attains almost equal excellence in another style. No finer example of free adaptation could easily be found.


When we come to Italy we find a wholly different set of conditions. Here book-illustration started late, but during the twenty years from 1490 to 1510 its vogue was enormous, and great as was the fertility of the Italian designers it was natural that in face of the demands made upon them by the publishers they should seek help whereever they could find it. But in Italy at this period every craftsman was an artist, and whether he sought his inspiration in the paintings which he saw around him, in the engravings on copper which had flourished long before book-illustration became popular, in the cuts in foreign books, or in those published in other districts of his own country, the Italian woodcutter always put his own individuality into his work and made the design he was copying his own. I am unfortunately unacquainted with the pictures to which Dr. Lippmann and Dr. Kristeller have traced three or four of the Venetian and Florentine woodcuts,[7] but the examples of translation from engravings on copper to woodcuts in the Venetian 'Petrarch' of 1490, in the second Florentine edition of Bettini's 'Monte Sancto di Dio' (1491), and in the illustration of the works of mercy in the 'Libro delli Comandamente di Dio' of Fra Marco del Monte Sancta Maria (Florence, 1496), are extremely interesting, and show how well the workmen, especially those of Florence, understood the principle of artistic selection.


No more characteristic example of free imitation can be found than in the use made of the cuts in the Latin and German Bibles, printed by Quentell at Cologne about 1480, by the illustrator of the Malermi Bible ten years later. The German cuts are large and clumsy (measuring about 7½ x 5 in.), overcrowded with figures, and with the rudest ideas of perspective and arrangement. The little Italian vignettes, on the other hand, are gracefully and delicately designed, and it is only from the presence of some purely fanciful accessory, such as the pond and the swan swimming in it in the examples here given, that we are compelled to recognise the debt of the Venetian artist to his German predecessor.


Another, though a less interesting example of the adaptation of large and rather clumsy cuts to the scale of the little Venetian vignettes is the imitation in the 'Terence,' published by Simon de Luere at Venice in 1497, of the illustrations in Trechsel's edition which had appeared at Lyons four years earlier. Again, if, as I believe, we should attribute the first illustrated Italian edition of the 'Ars Moriendi,' printed in 1490, 'co li figure accomodati per Johanne clein & Piero himel de alamanis,' to Venice rather than to Lyons, we may claim the majority of the cuts in this as additional examples of intelligent, if not very original, adaptation by Venetian artists, the originals, in this case, being the designs first used in the German block-books, imitated again two years later, by Vérard at Paris.

It is true that after 1496 Cleyn was printing at Lyons, and that there is a Lyonnese book with the probably erroneous date 1478 by him, but we have no evidence, I believe, of his whereabouts in 1490, and there is one cut in the book, for which, as far as I know, the artist drew entirely on his own imagination, and this appears to me to be much more Venetian in its character than Lyonnese.[8] I give this cut from a copy in the British Museum which has unluckily been heavily coloured, so that the reproduction was no easy matter. It comes within our subject, not only as evidence for the Venetian origin of the edition, but as the original of the little cut on the title of the 'Omnis Mortalium Cura' of S. Antonino, printed for Pacini in 1507; the differences between the copy and the original being characteristic of the alteration in tone always introduced by Florentine artists when dealing with foreign work. The border has been simplified and at the same time given the usual black background. The recesses of the church are in unrelieved black instead of merely shaded. The figures are slighter and more graceful, and good taste is shown in the removal of the whispering devils, one of whom bears a scroll with the words 'nolo dire,' while the other inscription contains the word 'vergogna' (shame), preceded by some other letters which I cannot decipher in the Museum copy. It will be noticed that the Florentine artist has reversed the positions of the figures, but not the little altar-piece. The other cuts in the 1490 'Arte del Morire' also found Florentine imitators, as I cannot doubt that it was through them that the illustrator of the Florentine editions of c. 1495 and 1513 obtained his knowledge of the German designs which he followed in ten of his cuts. Some of the designs are copied in reverse, others directly, but in nearly every instance we find that by a number of small touches the cut has been made to assume a distinctly Florentine appearance.


Among other books in which Florence followed the lead of Venice the 'Meditazioni' of San Bonaventura and the 'Fior di Virtù' are perhaps the most important. For my frontispiece to this article, however, I have preferred to hark back to the 'Lunare' of Granollachs, the Florentine edition of which (1496) is as good an instance of artistic imitation of that of Naples, as is the Roman (see page 83) of incompetent servility.

I have already written at greater length than I intended, and am conscious that all I have said is dry, fragmentary, and disjointed. There is, however, still one point which I should like to put forward in connection with these different styles of copying. In 'The Masters of Wood-Engraving' Mr. Linton has endeavoured to limit our idea of the work of the early woodcutters to the mere faithful cutting on the wood the lines marked down for them by the designer. In this theory Mr. Linton stands at the opposite extreme to Sir W. M. Conway, who, in 'The Woodcutters of the Netherlands,' hardly made sufficient allowance for the differences in cutting which might be produced by different designs. Of the two, however, Sir W. M. Conway seems to me to be the nearer to the truth, and I think these instances in which we have both the design and the woodcutter's copy before us help us to understand the method of work. No one can believe that the hand of any artist intervened between the Naples 'Granollachs' and its Roman interpreter, and I feel tolerably sure myself that in the two Florentine cuts I have given, the differences of treatment are also due to the craftsman. In the Venetian translation from the cuts in the Cologne Bible and in the French adaptation of the 'Hypnerotomachia' we have, of course, a different set of conditions, and we must not try to ignore them. But until positive evidence to the contrary is produced, it is reasonable to believe that the craftsman often supplied his own designs, and the artist was often his own woodcutter, and the examples of imitation at which we have been looking seem to me to strengthen this theory.


IN the following pages I propose to offer a little picture of school-life four hundred years ago, culled from an old Latin dialogue book which was published anonymously in the fifteenth century under the title 'Es tu scholaris?' and went through many editions in different countries. All through the Middle Ages boys were supposed to speak Latin in school, and this with some reason, since if they meant to be scholars when they grew up, to be able to speak and write Latin fluently would be far more useful to them than the acquisition of any single modern language. But no doubt it did not come easily to them, and our anonymous author seems to have thought that it might not come quite easily to their masters to show them how to do it, since, as we shall see, he wrote his book for use in the humbler kind of schools, where the master himself might be a man of no great learning. In fact he begins by pointing out the inconvenience of a master not being able to answer his boys' questions, and to obviate this offers some ready-made dialogues on what he considered suitable topics.

All the earlier dialogues begin with the words from which the book takes its title—Are you a scholar? 'Es tu scholaris?' says the master. 'Sum,' says the boy, ('knowing the language'), and then begin the variations.


The cruellest of these is a kind of 'fool's mate' (to borrow a term from chess), in which the master asks, 'What gender is sum?' and it is to be hoped used his victory mercifully if his victim fell into the trap. When the first variations are exhausted we come to a 'Where are you a scholar?' to which the correct answer is 'Here and everywhere, and in all honest places,' honest places being subsequently defined as of four kinds, that is to say, at church, at school, at home with one's parents and in the company of able men (ecclesia, scola, domus propria circa parentes et convivium peritorum virorum). Of a sudden the master waxes humorous and demands 'Es tu scutellavarius,' a portentous word which apparently means a 'washer-up,' since the boy emphasises his denial by explaining that he does not wash plates in the kitchen (quod non lavo scutellas in coquina). On this there follows some talk about religion, and we then approach scholastic topics with the question, 'Do you know Latin?' 'I do,' answers the boy, with happy confidence, and then in reply to the further question, 'What is Latin?' is made to return the remarkable answer, that Latin is a very noble idiom taking its origin from the fountains of the Greeks (nobilissimum ideoma ex fontibus Graecorum ortum habens). Comparative philology was in its infancy in those days, and as even now there are worthy people who believe that English is derived from German, we need not throw stones.

The next pages contain some interesting talk on the four chief books in use in grammar schools, the 'Tabula' or horn-book on which was written the Lord's Prayer, the moral sayings of 'Cato,' the accidence of Donatus, and the syntax and prosody of Alexander Gallus; but we must hurry on to the more human side of our text-book. There are 'verba obedientiae' helping the boy to assure his master that for the future he will be very careful not to anger him (de cetero vos[10] commovere percavebo), suggestions for defence where a fault could be denied, and ready-made excuses where it was obvious. I regret to say that there are also ready-made 'verba accusationis': 'Please Sir, Jones has torn my grammar' (Joannes Donatum meum dilaniavit) or 'That boy called me the son of a thief' (Ille mihi dixit filium furis). These are evidently tips for whiners in the school itself, but we have a more awful picture in the demand, 'Wherefore, honoured Sir, I earnestly beg you to take steps against evil-doings and punish these fellows scholastically.' No doubt Brown minor had run into some dignity in the street, and this is the formula with which the dignity demanded that Brown should be 'hoisted,' which I take to be the meaning of 'scolastice corrigatis.'

For invitation to dinner and the offering of gifts there are quite a bewildering set of forms, reminding us that school-fees in those days were often paid in kind. In the offering and acceptance of these there is much politeness on each side. The boy begs that the smallness of his present may be excused on account of his poverty and goodwill, or promises that if the master will honour his parents at dinner the best cheer they can provide shall be set before him. The master, on his side, replies that he is quite unworthy of these entertainments, but lest he should seem to despise them he will certainly come. (Nimium est non enim sum dignus cum parentibus tuis prandere. Ne autem me dicant eorum prandium spernere comparebo libenter.) There are also forms of invitation for boys to use to their friends, and Jones (using the polite plural) asks Brown to dinner to-morrow at his parents' request.

Some of the shorter remarks seem to apply to a boarding school. 'Dear master, with your permission, I should like to take a bath' says one boy: another asks that he may go and lay the table, a third that he may take the clothes to the washerwoman! A boy whose mother has called for him addresses his petition for leave to the Precentor, and we may guess therefore that these boarding-schools were attached to churches or monasteries, and that the boys, like the monks themselves, had to do much of their own household work.

The boys are given plenty of tips for talk among themselves. 'Why were you late to-day?' asks one, and is reminded that bed is warm and sleep sweeter than honey. One boy sees a priest coming into the school and hopes he will ask for a holiday. His fellow says they have had several holidays lately and doubts if another will be granted. The gloomy side of medieval school-life is not left unrepresented. 'How often have you been punished to-day?' is one of the questions, and as if the alternative answers 'semel—bis—ter—quater,' were not enough, they are crowned with the cruel prophecy 'et iterum cras corrigeris.'

The last paragraph of the book is concerned with the appointment, duties and behaviour of monitors. They are called 'monitors' nowadays because, I suppose, they jog memories as to what is the next day's work, and in other ways prevent crime. In those days they were called 'custodes,' chiefly I am afraid because they kept the rods. 'You've got to appoint monitors, Sir,' says a boy. 'You be monitor, then,' 'Please, Sir, I've only just been monitor, and it's not my turn.' 'Who ought to be appointed then?' 'This is the boy, Sir, both because it's his turn and because he knows how to get you long and nasty rods!' That is one dialogue. Here is another, boy with boy. 'Have you been putting down the boys who made a disturbance and ran as they came out of church?' 'I have.' 'Have you been putting me down?' 'I have; Jones saw you running in the street and gave me your name to be put down.' 'Dear monitor, take my name off, lest I be punished, and I'll ask my mother to give you a big bun (magnum panem).' 'Hold your tongue, then, and I'll take it off'—whereat the boy thanks heaven, and we gather that there was rather a bad tone in the schools in which 'Es tu Scolaris?' was in use. It must also be said that if the boys talked as they were taught, they talked very bad Latin.

The edition from which I have taken these notes has no 'woodcuts.' If it had had one it would probably have been something of the nature of this picture from an English grammar book, in which the master is shown armed with the usual birch. The grammars of those days were in fact so bad that it was held to be impossible for any one to learn them without the additional notes offered by a rod. But for my first illustration (p. 100), I have taken a more human and, I think, a more lifelike picture, from a 'Flores Poetarum' printed at Florence about 1500. No doubt by the time boys came to study poetry they had reached a more mature stage, and were treated better. But these young scholars look boyish and vivacious enough, and I would fain hope that this is a true picture of a Florentine classroom. A Venetian book goes even beyond this, anticipating the methods of the Newest Educators, for in a woodcut to it, while the elder students are shown as solemnly attending to a lecture, two little boys are studying their A B C on the floor, with a small dog to help them. But this picture is so plainly imaginative that I will not even show it.


IT may fairly be said that only a writer who knew nothing about them would propose, in a half-hour's paper, to talk about the English books printed abroad, in some forty different places, during the last four centuries. But a consideration of the earlier of these books forms a necessary part of the Society's contribution to the Bibliography of English Literature up to 1640, and the subject, as a whole, has for a long time seemed to me an interesting one; since, either in the state of the printing trade at home, or in the circumstances of the author, or the nature of his subject, in every case a special reason has to be found why the book should have been printed out of England. I have, therefore, light-heartedly endeavoured to map out the broader outlines of the subject, in the hope that I may persuade other members of the Society to give their help in filling in the details, and I must ask you to remember that my paper is put forward only as a means of provoking a discussion much more valuable than anything I can contribute myself.

I have said that the subject we have before us this evening is the English books printed abroad during the last four centuries. It would have been more accurate to say during the last four centuries and a quarter,[12] for the latest book I shall have to mention was printed in Florence in 1895, while Caxton began printing English books at Bruges in 1474 or 1475, and even earlier than these we have a Sarum Breviary printed at Cologne, and assigned by Mr. Gordon Duff to the year 1473. These Sarum Service-books, with which so many foreign printers busied themselves during the next eighty-five years, lie on the outskirts of our subject, as the greater number of them are wholly or mainly in Latin, and we are obliged to limit ourselves at present to English books, and may not take in the very considerable number of Latin works written by Englishmen, and intended mainly for the English market, though printed abroad. It is necessary, indeed, to remember that for some generations after the invention of printing, our country, for many classes of books, was wholly dependent on the enterprise of continental printers, and that, to some extent, this is still the case. A single oration of Cicero and the plays of Terence were the only Latin classics printed in England during the fifteenth century. No Greek book appeared here until 1543, and several of the great Greek classics did not find an English printer until the second half of the seventeenth century. Even now, for the obscurer classics, and for the bulk of Oriental books, we are content to rely on Germany, and in the fifteenth century this reliance on the continental presses extended to every variety of learned book. It would be absurd to attribute this state of things to any lack of enterprise on the part of Caxton and his fellows. Our President has lately shown how carefully, even in Italy, the first printers felt the pulse of their market, and whereas Venice was a great trade centre for the whole of Europe, in England a publisher who produced a book too learned to find purchasers here would have had little chance of appealing to the book lovers of other countries. Thus it may be urged in defence of the Act of Richard III., which permitted books to be imported into England from abroad and freely sold here, that by encouraging English printers to confine themselves to the popular books for which there was a safe market, it saved them from any temptation to risk the fate which Sweynheym and Pannartz had incurred at Rome; at the same time it greatly helped forward the cause of education. Only three foreign printers, Gerard Leeu and Jan van Doesborgh at Antwerp, and Antoine Vérard at Paris, abused the liberty granted to them by competing needlessly with our native printers in books they were capable of printing equally well themselves. The four popular English books printed by Leeu, who had a special fount of type cut for the purpose, were 'The History of Jason,' 'The History of Knight Paris and the Fair Vienne,' 'The Dialogue of Salomon and Marcolphus,' and 'The Chronicles of England.' These were all issued in 1492 and 1493, and all with the exception of the 'Marcolphus,' were reprints of editions issued by Caxton. Even the 'Marcolphus,' according to Mr. Duff, who has edited a facsimile reprint of it for Messrs. Lawrence and Bullen, may possibly have been reprinted from a Caxton now entirely lost, though this, of course, is a mere conjecture.

Of Doesborgh's English books there is no need to speak at length, since all Members of the Society have in their possession Mr. Proctor's exhaustive monograph of this printer's work. As a printer he was very inferior to Leeu, but as a publisher he showed much more enterprise in his choice of books, introducing to English readers the stories of 'Euryalus and Lucretia,' 'Virgilius the Magician,' 'Frederick of Jennen,' 'Mary of Nemmegen,' 'Tyll Howleglas,' and the 'Parson of Kalenborowe,' in addition to the still more notable book 'Of the New Lands.' Of the thirty-two books which Mr. Proctor has been able to assign to Doesborgh's press, no fewer than eighteen were printed for England, comprising grammars, stories, theology, history, geography, a prognostication, a medical book, and two books on the valuation of gold and silver, thus covering nearly the whole range of the popular literature of the day. The earliest of these books appeared before 1508, the latest some time after 1520, and they thus came out at the rate of rather over one a year. They were all, however, of the class of books which rapidly get themselves thumbed out of existence, and from the extreme rarity of those which survive it is probable that Doesborgh's real output was considerably greater. Antoine Vérard, on the other hand, had a trick of printing a few copies of his books on vellum which has greatly helped to preserve them, and it is improbable that, besides his Service-books, he printed any other works for the English market than the two which have come down to us. These are 'The traitte of god lyuyng and good deyng,' and 'The Kalendayr of Shyppars,' both printed in 1503, and both enriched with numerous illustrations, some beautiful, others grotesquely horrible, mostly taken from his 'Art de bien vivre et de bien mourir' of 1492. In his choice of a translator Vérard was unlucky, for he seems to have employed some wild Scotsman, who was no master of his own tongue and still more ignorant of French. When Robert Copland retranslated the Kalendar for Wynkyn de Worde in 1508, he was as scornful of his predecessor's 'corrupte Englysshe' as any one bibliographer could be of the labours of another, though in saying that 'no man coulde understonde (it) perfectly' he certainly did not err on the side of exaggeration, since most southern readers must have found some difficulty in understanding it at all.

To the names of Leeu, Doesborgh, and Vérard, as printers of English popular books, I ought perhaps to add those of Wolfgang Hopyl of Paris, and Martin Morin and James Ravynell of Rouen, each of whom printed before 1500 an edition of the 'Liber Festivalis' or 'Festial,' the book of sermons with which parsons might regale their parishioners on the high-days and holy-days of the Church. The 'Festial' was of a semi-liturgical nature, and the three printers were all printers of liturgies. We have, thus, an easy transition to the English Service-books printed abroad to which we must now return for a few minutes. Of these the immense majority were for the use of Sarum, though the British Museum possesses a Hereford Missal printed at Rouen in 1502, and three York Missals printed at the same place in 1516-17. Of Sarum Service-books printed before 1540, the 'Old English Catalogue' records no less than one hundred and five as in the possession of the Museum in 1884, and the distribution of these is notable. One Missal was printed at Basel, by Michael Wenssler about 1486; another Missal by Hertzog, at Venice in 1494; eleven service-books at Rouen, the earlier ones by Martin Morin, James Ravynell, P. Violette, and Andrew Myllar; twelve at Antwerp, of which one is a 'Directorium' printed by Leeu in 1488, and most of the rest much later books from the press of Christopher of Endhouen; and lastly no less than fifty-six at Paris, the list of their printers comprising many of the best firms of the time. Against these eighty-one foreign editions, of which, it will be observed, sixty-seven are French, the editions printed in England number no more than twenty-four, and many of these are printed with cuts borrowed or copied from France. Obviously this class of work required special qualifications in the printers, and it was easier and cheaper to import the Service-books, even the Primers, than to produce them at home. During the last few years of Henry VIII.'s reign the number of Service-books, which had previously shown some falling off, again increased, and under his daughter Mary there was, of course, a great revival of them. The English printers were now better able to cope with the demand, and of the forty-five Service-books in the Museum printed during these years, twenty-four were printed in London, against ten at Rouen, five at Paris, and six at Antwerp. Of course, the Museum collection, both of these and of the earlier Service-books, is by no means complete, but it is probably representative, and there can be no doubt that during the period when liturgies are most interesting bibliographically, four-fifths of those printed for use in England came to us from abroad.

One other small class of books, printed like liturgies for the most part in Latin, but with lapses into English, must be noticed before we proceed further—the Latin Grammars for the instruction of English school-boys. The earliest of these is an edition of the Grammar of Perottus, printed by Egidius van der Heerstraten at Louvain, about 1486, and other grammar-books by Anwykyll and Joannes de Garlandia are said to have been printed during the fifteenth century at Deventer, Antwerp, Cologne, and Paris. If any Member of the Society can give me a list of these dreadful little books I shall be very grateful to him, but they have always filled me with so much compassion for the unfortunate children who had to learn them, that I am afraid I have taken no notes of the few I have seen.

In order to give an idea of the way in which the English books printed abroad reflect the changing phases of our national life I propose now to trace with a little more particularity the history of the classes of the English books printed at Antwerp, where throughout the sixteenth century they are specially plentiful. We begin in the quiet days of Gerard Leeu and Jan van Doesborgh, who, good honest men, could have had no other object in their English publications than the making a little profit out of some popular subjects which our native printers were neglecting. The three grammar-books printed by Thierry Martens for Jacobi and Pelgrim in 1507 and 1508, are not very interesting. Christopher of Endhoven, who calls himself with equal frequency Ruremondensis, followed in 1523 in a higher branch of the trade, competing with the printers of Rouen and Paris who produced the Sarum Service-books in such numbers. From 1523 to 1531, the succession of Missals, Processionals, Manuals, Psalters, Hymnals, Breviaries and Horae, which were printed by Endhoven at Antwerp, and sold in London, mostly by Francis Byrckman or Peter Kaetz, is broken only by an edition of Lyndewood's 'Provinciale.' In 1531 we hear for the first time a different note, three books being printed in that year for William Tyndal, which are ascribed to the press of Martin Lempereur, viz.: 'The prophete Jonas, with an introducciõ before, teachinge to vnderstonde him'; 'The exposition of the fyrste Epistle of seynt Jhon'; and 'The praier and complaynte of the ploweman unto Christe'; the latter an old book which the title assigns to not long after 1300. The next year the widow of Endhoven printed another Sarum 'Hymnal,' but in 1534 she was employed by the Reformers, printing George Joy's revision of Tyndal's New Testament, while Joy's English Psalter, and Tyndal's own New Testament were printed by Lempereur. Antwerp editions of the same year of the 'Rudimenta Grammatices,' originally drawn up for Wolsey's school at Ipswich, and of a 'Prognostication,' show that the Dutch printers did not quite forget the existence of untheological English readers, but for a long time to come theology was paramount in English books printed abroad. Several editions of Tyndal's New Testament were printed at Antwerp in 1535, 1536 and 1538, and though the attribution of the Coverdale Bible of 1535 to the press of Jacob van Meteren (a point which I leave to our Bible experts) is not undisputed, it seems generally agreed that the composite version known as 'Matthew's Bible,' brought out by Grafton and Whitchurch in 1537, was really the work of an Antwerp printer, probably Martin Lempereur.

After 1538 there seems to have been a break in the English printing at Antwerp for just a quarter of a century, during which no English work of any importance was issued, the fugitive Reformers finding Switzerland a much safer refuge at this time than the Low Countries. But in 1563 Aegidius Diest printed two books (Vincentius Lirinensis 'On the Antiquity of the Catholick Faith,' and the 'Buke of Fourscore three Questions proponit to the Protestants in Scotland), for Ninian Winzet, a Scotch Catholic in exile for his religion. The times we see have changed, and it is now the Romanist Refugees who seek printers abroad, and the Protestants who answer them in comfortable safety at home; and for several years the Romanists kept the Dutch printers pretty busy. From 1564 to 1569, Diest and Laet at Antwerp, Bogard and Fouler at Louvain, printed between them forty English books, by Harding, Rastell, Martiall, Stapleton, Allen, and Saunders, all more or less called forth by Bishop Jewel's 'Apologia Ecclesiae Anglicanae,' which naturally roused the ire of the Catholics, more particularly of Harding, whom Jewel had ejected from his prebendship.

The ill-health which preceded Jewel's death in 1571 caused him to weary of controversies, and his opponents at last wearied also, the next few years being very unproductive of English books in the Low Countries. When activity revived, Antwerp no longer maintained its supremacy. The majority of the Catholic books were printed now either at Louvain or Douay, while the new refugees, the extreme Puritans and Brownists, took up their quarters at Middleburg, where their books were mostly printed for them by J. or R. Schilders. Whether Middleburg was also the real place of imprint of the editions of Marlowe's 'Epigrammes and Elegies,' the first of which appeared in 1599, is one of the difficulties which still await a final investigation. Mr. Charles Edmonds preferred to assign it to the press of W. Jaggard, with whose edition of the 'Passionate Pilgrim' it is bound up in the Isham collection. In 1589 and 1590 we hear of another Puritan refugee press at Dort, where several works were printed for Barrow and Greenwood, while in 1597 Henoch Clapham found a local printer for two theological works which he had compiled for the benefit of the 'poore English congregation in Amsterdam'; one or two books were also printed for English students at Leyden, and some English medical works at Dort, so that by the end of the century the earlier monopoly of Antwerp was completely destroyed.

We must turn back now to glance at some other places where English books were printed, and first we may note that even in this most theological of centuries a few miscellaneous works demand our attention. Thus in 1551 J. Gryphius of Venice found it worth his while to print a 'Compendious Declaration,' by Thomas Raynalde, 'of the vertues of a certain lateli invented oile,' called 'Oile Imperiale,' and a little later on, when William Turner was tired of 'hunting the Romische wolfe,' Arnold Birckman printed for him, at Cologne, the two parts of his 'Herbal' and his treatise on 'Baths.' Frellon's English edition (Lyons 1549) of Holbein's 'Images of the Old Testament' had no theological import, but is an early example of the printing of the explanatory text of an illustrated book in more languages than one, so as to secure a larger sale. Lastly we must not forget one very important work, Theodor de Bry's 'Briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia,' printed by J. Wechel at Frankfort in 1590. The great bulk, however, of the English books printed abroad during the sixteenth century were theological, and the presses of Augsburg, Basel, Cologne, Geneva, Munster, Nuremberg, Strasburg, Wesel, Wittenberg, and Zurich, besides the famous one of 'Marlborow in the land of Hesse,' all testified to the activity of the English Reformers.

The difficulties which beset the history of these English books printed in Germany and Switzerland are well known. We are not often, in dealing with them, pulled up so sharply as when we find a book of Knox or Bale professedly printed 'at Rome before the Castell of S. Angel,' but there are other imprints in original editions the authenticity of which has been suspected, and the question is immensely complicated by the existence of London editions in which the old imprint has been sedulously preserved. A very large number also of the most interesting books contain no indication whatever of their origin, and the rash attempts to place them, which have been made in catalogues and bibliographies, are often the reverse of helpful. I hope that the Society may eventually help to put the subject on a better footing, but all I can do now is to mention a handful of books, rather with a view of showing the haunts of the reforming authors at various periods than with much bibliographical intention. Thus the edition of Tyndal's New Testament was printed for him by Peter Quentel, at Cologne, in 1525. From 1528 to 1530, we find him employing Hans Lufft 'at Marlborow in the land of Hesse,' to print his 'Obedience of a Christian Man,' 'Parable of the Wicked Mammon' and 'Genesis.' In 1531, as we have seen, Martin Lempereur was working for him at Antwerp. John Frith's 'Pistle to the Cristen Reader' was printed by Lufft, his 'Answer' to More, written when he was a prisoner in the Tower, by C. Willems of Munster. Of the next generation of Reformers, John Bale, Bishop of Ossory, appears first as employing Michael Wood to print his 'Mystery of Iniquity,' at Geneva, in 1545; in 1546, his tract on the 'Examinacyon of Anne Askew' bears the imprint Marburg, and his 'Actes of English Votaries' that of Wesel. His best known work, the 'Illustrium Majoris Britanniae Scriptorum Summarium' (1548), was apparently begun at Wesel by Theodoricus Plateanus and finished at Ipswich by John Overton. After the accession of Mary, Bale seems to have had a hand in one or two books which appear with the imprint, Roane or Rouen, which perhaps is no more authentic than that of 'Rome, before the Castell of St. Angel,' which appears on his account of his 'Vocacyon to the bishopric of Ossory,' in 1553. A correspondent has suggested to me that this last may have been printed at Strasburg; but Knox's book with the same imprint, 'A godly letter sent to the faythefull in London, Newcastell and Barwyke' is attributed in the British Museum Catalogue to the press of Hugh Singleton, in London, and this may have been printed there also. Knox's other books with foreign imprints are mostly Genevan, 'An Answer to a great number of blasphemous cavillations' being printed by Jean Crespin, and 'the copye of a letter sent to the Lady Marye' by J. Poullain and A. Reboul. His 'Faithful Admonition unto the Professours of God's Truths in England,' professedly hails from 'Kalykow,' its real origin being doubtful.

We must hasten on now to the supporters of the other side of the religious controversy, who, on the accession of Elizabeth, in their turn had to seek refuge abroad. As we have seen, they at first congregated at Antwerp, but in 1568 William Allen, afterwards Cardinal, founded the English College at Douay, and thereby made it the headquarters of the English Catholic Press during the next century. Important, however, as Douay is, cataloguers have, perhaps, worked its printers a little too hard, and the tendency to ascribe to them every English Catholic book with a foreign appearance is unfortunate. We must remember that for fifteen years from 1578 the English College was transplanted to Rheims, which thus had the honour of producing, in 1582, the first Roman Catholic version of the New Testament, completed twenty-seven years later by the issue of the Old Testament at Douay in 1609-10. The New Testament was printed by J. Fogny, the Old by Laurence Kellam, and it is needless to say that the versions of both books were vigorously attacked by the Protestant experts. The absence of the English College from Douay, from 1578-93, of course diminishes the probability of English books having been printed there during these years, and the foundation of the Seminary at S. Omer, in the year of its return, soon provided a formidable rival. It appears, however, from the town records that printing was only introduced into S. Omer in 1601, when the town made a grant of 100 livres to F. Bellet for his expenses in bringing thither his press. According to Dr. Oliver, the biographer of the English Jesuits, a book entitled 'An apology for the Arch-Priest,' by the indefatigable Father Parsons, was printed at S. Omer in this same year, 1601, so that Bellet must have got to work very quickly, unless the College had a separate press of its own. Fitzherbert's 'Defence of the Catholic Cause,' dated 1602, is also assigned to Saint Omer, as are the majority of the books mentioned by Oliver as having been printed during the next twenty years. The earliest names I find connected with the Saint Omer press are those of C. Bocard, and John Higham, the latter of whom printed simultaneously at Douay, just as, at an earlier period, J. Fouler had done at Douay, Antwerp, and Louvain. These two latter places were not unproductive of English books during the seventeenth century, and others were printed at Brussels, Ghent, Paris, and Rouen, so that wholesale attributions to Douay are eminently unsafe. It is noteworthy, indeed, that Duthillceul in his 'Bibliographie douaisienne' (second edition, 1842), mentions only just over twenty books as having been printed in English at Douay up to the close of the seventeenth century. This, of course, is ludicrously below the mark, Duthillceul's failure to discover English books being, no doubt, due to their having found their way to the country for which they were intended. As I have said, however, everything points to the English press at Douay having been considerably less prolific than is generally believed.

We must pass on once more and enter the trackless wilderness of the period after 1640. No doubt the enormous increase in the output of the press makes its history during the last two centuries and a half dishearteningly difficult, but when I see all our bibliographical stalwarts so sedulously engaged in crossing the 't's' and dotting the 'i's' in the work of their predecessors in the early history of printing, I cannot help regretting that at least a few of them will not turn their attention to the later period in which everything still remains to be done. As far as I can judge, the Civil War did not leave many traces in English books printed abroad, but I have come across a few of some little interest. Residence in Roman Catholic countries seems to have caused a good many cavaliers to reconsider their religious position, and some of them found it necessary to explain themselves in print. Several books of this kind were printed in Paris. Thus in 1644 Sir Kenelm Digby put forth 'Two Treatises,' one of which was concerned with the 'Immortality of reasonable souls,' while in 1652, Peter Targa published for him 'A Discourse concerning Infallibility in Religion,' which was reprinted in the same year at Amsterdam. In 1647 there was published at Paris an English work called 'Exomologesis,' recording the conversion of Hugh Paulin de Cressy, and this went into a second edition six years later. In 1649 we come across 'A Lost Sheep returned Home, or the motives of the conversion of Thomas Vane,' and in 1657, 'Presbyteries Triall, or the occasion and motives of conversion to the Catholic Faith of a person of quality in Scotland.' We find also several English works of devotion printed in Paris about this time, and in 1659 we have an anonymous 'Answer to the Provinciall Letters published by the Jansenists.' The impatience of the Royalist Colony in France could not wait for the importation of copies of the 'Eikon Basilike' from England, and at least one edition was published in Paris in 1649, as to which Mr. Almack's book (No. 28 in his list) gives full information. At the Hague the King's execution produced a very curious work, a translation of the 'Electra' of Sophocles by C. W. (Christopher Wace), 'presented to her highness the Lady Elizabeth; with an epilogue, shewing the parallel in two points, the Return and the Restauration.' This was the first English rendering of any part of Sophocles, but I see that I wrote of it some years ago that it was 'beneath contempt,' and, I daresay, this unkind opinion had good foundation. In 1653 we have at Bruges an echo of the Lilburne controversy, in an answer to his pamphlet, 'John Lilburne revived,' written by Captain Wendy, under the title 'Vincit qui patitur, or Lieutenant-Colonel John Lylburne decyphered.' Lastly, at the Hague in 1660, Sir William Lower published a 'Relation in form of a Journal of the Voiage and Residencie which Charles II. hath made in Holland,' and this is the last book of the Civil War period of which I have a note.

During the reign of Charles II., we have the usual sprinkling of devotional and theological books printed abroad, with a few traces at Ghent and Paris of the controversies of Friar Peter Walsh. I have recollections of one or two pamphlets printed by the ministers of English Puritan Congregations in the Low Countries, but the only one of which I have a note is, 'The Interest of these United Provinces, being a Defence of the Zealanders' Choice,' in which the Rev. Joseph Hill, Pastor of the Scotch Church at Middleburg, where the book was printed, advocated in 1673 an alliance between England and Holland. Such a book would have some interest in itself, but the consequences of its publication give it additional importance in the history of book-lore. Hill's work, which was also printed at Amsterdam in Dutch, gave great offence to the States; he was ordered to leave Zeeland, to which he did not return till 1678, and it was during this enforced absence that he introduced into England, after the death of his friend Dr. Lazarus Seaman, the Dutch practice of selling books by auction. But for that unlucky pamphlet, Sotheby's and Puttick's might never have existed.

Two other Dutch printed books of this period are just worth noting, a reprint, in 1680, at the Hague, of 'Two Speeches made in the House of Peers,' by the Earl of Shaftesbury, and a 'Sermon of Thanksgiving for the delivery of Charles II.' from the conspiracy of 1683, printed at Rotterdam. As the Revolution approaches, we get a warning of it in the appearance, at the Hague, in 1687 and 1688, of the 'Citation of Gilbert Burnet' and of 'Dr. Burnet's Vindication of himself,' while after the flight of James, we may note the publication at Cologne of 'The Great Bastard, Protector of the Little One,' 'done out of French' in 1689, a Paris edition of the King's 'speeches' in 1692, under the title 'Royal Tracts,' and in the same year at Amsterdam, a 'Letter' written under the name of General Ludlow, defending his comparison of the first four years of Charles I.'s reign with the tyranny of the four years of James II. Six years later, quite in the modern manner, the old regicide published his 'Memoirs, finding a printer in Switzerland 'at Vevay, in the Canton of Bern,' where also a continuation was printed the next year.

The paper is already much longer than I had intended, and it is therefore, perhaps, as well that of English printing abroad during the first half of the eighteenth century I have found no trace, except in a few devotional books published at Douay. There ought to be some Jacobite tracts, and I need not say that any notes of them will be heartily welcomed. But there is a last phase of the foreign printing of English books of which I may be allowed to quote a few instances. For various reasons during the last hundred years or so, a good many English men and women of letters have lived abroad, and though most of them, like Byron, Beddoes, Landor, and the Brownings, have sent their books to be printed in England, their foreign residence has occasionally left interesting traces in books and booklets with foreign imprints. Thus Sir William Hamilton, while Ambassador at the Court of Naples, had two books printed for him there, one 'Campi Phlegraei' (or) 'Observations on the Volcanoes of the Two Sicilies' in 1776, the other a series of collections of 'Engravings from Ancient Vases' found in Sicily, between 1791 and 1795. Gibbon's long stay in Switzerland doubtless had something to do with the publication at Berne, in 1796-97, of a reprint of his 'Miscellaneous Works' which had then only just appeared in London. Shelley's 'The Cenci' appeared in 1819, with the imprint Italy, and his 'Adonais' was printed 'at Pisa with the types of Didot' in 1821. At Parma, several English works obtained what used to be considered the honour of Bodoni's types, and the English ventures of Galignani at Paris, though far surpassed by the later enterprise of Baron Tauchnitz, deserve a chronicler. The employment of foreign presses by wandering Englishmen has not yet died out. At Davos Platz, Stevenson did better—he set up a toy press of his own. A year or two before the paper was read, Mr. William Sharp gave local colour to his 'Sospiri di Roma' by employing a Roman printer, and in 1895 an important English historical work, 'The Life of Sir Robert Dudley' was printed at Florence.

When the Bibliographical Society takes up the history of English books printed abroad, I hope that, if only in a small print appendix, room may be found for a record of these later books, and that we shall not stop at 1600, or at 1700, or at 1800, but recognise that our own age is as worthy of our attention as any of its predecessors.


PICTORIAL initials were not greatly in favour during the golden age of printing, and there is much to be said against them on the score of appropriateness and good taste. If capital letters were all either round or oval, one great difficulty would be removed from the artist's path, for a decorative circle or oval, even if a tail or handle has to be added to it, makes no bad frame for a little picture. It is therefore not surprising to find that the German designers, who were the first to attack the problem, adopted a rounded form of the letter T, shortened the shaft of a P to a minimum, and magnified the lower curve of a B or S, while reducing the upper one as much as possible. These accommodations do not make for clearness, and certain letters, such as A, E, H, and M often remained stubbornly outside any such compromises.

This difficulty as to form had been experienced and, as far as was possible, overcome, by the old illuminators, but the printers had a trouble of their own which may have made them think that movable types also were vanity. An illuminator who had to paint the same initial twelve times probably found a pleasure in varying his miniatures, but with the pictures which had not only to be drawn, but to be cut on wood or soft metal, a printer was naturally less inclined to be profuse. We know, of course, from their general practice that the early printers had generous ideas as to the adaptability of any one picture of a town or a battle to the representation of any other town or battle which might be mentioned in the text; but there were only a few subjects capable of this endless repetition, and when Leonard Holl prefixed to his edition of Ptolemy's 'Cosmographia' (Ulm, 1482) the magnificent, if not very easily recognisable, N, which shows the editor, Nicolaus Germanus, presenting his book to Pope Paul II. (fig. 1), he must have known that he would have to wait a long time before he could use it again.


Lucas Brandes of Lubeck, in his splendid editions of 'Josephus' and the 'Rudimentum Noviciorum,' used a fine set of initials, into which various pictures could be inserted at pleasure. Either from economy, however, or from the poverty of invention of his designer, he had recourse to no more than some half dozen subjects. In the 'Josephus' a battle-scene, a cleric at his desk, and a military scribe, who has been identified as a Knight Templar, and whose adjustable reading-desk reminds us of the latest inventions for the comfort of invalids, recur again and again. The scribe appears, conveniently enough, in the fine P here shown (fig. 2), and in a C, but we find him also huddled below the bar of an H, and perched upon that of an A. In the same way the clerk, who is prettily framed in a Q, is shown to much less advantage in an M, of which the middle stem has been broken off to make room for him. One or two of the letters have no picture to fill them in, the blocks being apparently all engaged in other parts of the book. In the 'Rudimentum Noviciorum' we find a David playing his harp within a D, and the same pictures, with the loss of the ceiling and part of the floor, is repeated in a B. The cleric and the battle-scene appear again from the 'Josephus,' and there is also a C with a rather pretty picture of the Virgin adoring the Holy Child.


As far as I am aware, the only books in which large pictorial initials are profusely and appropriately employed are some of the great folio German Bibles, where the certainty of a large sale and the probability of future editions encouraged the printer to liberality. Thus in the Bibles published by Günther Zainer at Augsburg in 1473 and 1477 the prologue and each successive book begins with a large initial filled in with a picture illustrating the subject of the text. The prologue begins with a B, within which are seated S. Jerome and a Bishop; Genesis with an I, to the right of which stands the Creator, while the stem is broken by a circle showing Adam and Eve in Eden; Exodus with a D, illustrating the passage of the Red Sea; Numbers with a U, within which stand Moses and Aaron. In German Bibles D and U are the initials most in request, and, though the U leaves little room for the picture, both are fairly convenient letters. On the other hand, the initial E of Job and the A of the First Book of Chronicles are awkwardly divided by their cross-bars, so that each has to contain two insignificant little pictures instead of a single important one. In most German Bibles I have seen these pictorial initials are more or less thickly coloured, so that it is impossible to reproduce them successfully, but I give here a fine I taken from the Book of Esdras in the undated edition printed by Sensenschmidt and Frisner at Nuremberg about 1476 (fig. 3).


Outside Germany, as we have said, pictorial initials did not flourish much in the early days of printing, for the finest printers, as a rule, abjured initials altogether, and the few who used them rightly preferred purely decorative designs. In France, in some editions of the 'Mer des Histoires' and similar books, we find two or three of very large size, a huge I, with a figure of Christ within it, and the P here reproduced (fig. 4), with the usual picture of an author at his work. Vérard, however, and the few other fifteenth-century publishers who employed initials, preferred grotesques to pictures, which only occasionally, as in the magnificent L from the 'Mer des Histoires' of Pierre Le Rouge, have any high pictorial value. In another L, used at Paris and at Lyons, we have intertwined the faces of an old man and a young couple flirting. It was no doubt specially designed for the 1492 edition of the 'Matheolus,' or 'quinze joies du mariage,' in which it seems to have made its first appearance. The monkey and bagpipes L of the 'Recueil des histoires troyennes,' and the S. George-and-the-Dragon L of a Lyons reprint of the 'Mer des Histoires' may also be reckoned as pictorial, but the more ordinary varieties are purely grotesque combinations of distorted faces. These had hardly gone out of fashion before the Renaissance influence was paramount, and though I have found a few small pictorial initials in sixteenth-century French books, notably a very pretty set in a Utrecht Missal, printed by Wolfgang Hopyl at Paris in 1505,[14] they are certainly exceptional.


In Spain the dignity and severity which marks the work of the early printers were opposed to any save purely decorative initials, which, probably through the influence of the German printers in the Peninsula, came into use at an early date, and were often strikingly good. The one pictorial set I have found occurs in the 'Copilacion de Leyes,' promulgated in 1485, and printed by Centenera at Zamora, probably in the same year. Each of these initials, nine in number, is appropriate to the section of the book which it heads. Thus in an S two knights in combat herald the laws of chivalry; in an A a canonist and his scholar preside over those of matrimony; for commerce we have money-changers in a D, and so on. The initials are cut not in wood, but on soft metal, which unluckily did not yield at all a good impression, a fault by which the best Spanish decorative work is often marred.


In Italy pictorial initials do not make their appearance until quite late. Except at Venice, indeed, printed initials of any kind were in no high esteem, at Florence not coming into use until 1489. At Venice Ratdolt's decorative alphabets found several imitators before this date, and soon after 1490 we find alphabets of children on a black ground coming into favour. In a 'Donatus,' printed, according to Signor Ongania, in 1493, by Guilelmus Tridentis, we find an open-work P, within which a boy is bringing a book to his master, and, under the date 1494, we are shown a picture of Jacobus de Voragine at work under the shadow of the same letter. Towards the end of the fifteenth century and in the early years of the sixteenth the missals of Georgius Arrivabene and Lucantonio Giunta are crowded with pictorial initials of very varying value. That here shown (fig. 6), from the 'Missale Ordinis Vallisumbrosae,' printed by Giunta in 1503, is a good example of the heavier sort. The letter thus tricked out is a G, the initial of the 'Gaudeamus' with which the introit begins on the festival of the first Abbot of Vallisumbrosa, Johannes Gualbertus. Numerous other examples will be found figured in Ongania's 'Arte della Stampa,' though the careful student will soon discover that the initial letters with which its pages are crowded are usually fitted into any spaces which chance to be vacant, and often have no connection of any kind with the larger reproductions which they adjoin. Thus their source can seldom be traced with certainty.


With the exception of some portrait-initials at Pavia, of which Dr. Paul Kristeller has written in 'Bibliographica,' vol. i. p. 356 sq., and a few English ones of which we shall speak later, the initials in these Venetian Service-books are the last of any importance in which the artist has endeavoured to combine picture and letter into an harmonious design. The artists of the Renaissance, unlike their craftsman predecessors, had no feeling for book-work as such, and it must be confessed that the printers repaid them by printing their delicate work with a carelessness which in most cases completely obscures it. Henceforth the predominant type of pictorial initial is one in which a plain Roman capital is imposed upon a picture to which it has no artistic relation, and which it often cruelly mutilates. Moreover, while the reasonable preference for small books over bulky folios carried with it a great reduction in the size of initials, the refusal of the artists to simplify their designs, so as to accommodate them to these narrower limits resulted in an absolute waste of much fine work. Thus for the famous Holbein initials which came into use at Basel about 1520 I must refer my readers to the illustrations in 'Butsch,' which, good as they are, do not encourage me to attempt fresh reproductions. Even in the original books in which the initials appear, much of the delicacy of the designs is hopelessly lost, for it was impossible that a little picture, often of less than an inch square, however carefully cut, should be adequately rendered when printed in a page of type by workmen who had already lost much of the cunning, or rather much of the capacity for taking pains, of the early masters of the craft.

The new school of designers cast aside, as a rule, any attempt to suit their pictures to the subject of any particular books, taking instead some one theme or idea which they illustrated through all the letters of the alphabet. Thus we have the Child Alphabet and Peasant Alphabet of Holbein, and the same master's still more famous 'Dance of Death' designed for letters slightly larger than the previous ones, but yet no more than an inch square. The alphabet by the Master I. F. is more than a half as large again as this, and is the most decorative of any, the pictures being drawn in relief against a black ground. The early letters of this alphabet illustrate the labours of Hercules, whose name and that of his antagonists are inscribed upon them. When Hercules was exhausted, the artist seems to have fallen back on the Scriptures, his R representing Lot, his S Balaam, and so on.

These Basel initials, which appear chiefly in books printed by Froben, Bebel, Cratander, and Froschover, were no doubt the parents of the small pictorial initials which soon became popular in Germany, Italy, and England. Their development in Germany may be traced in the pages of Butsch, while the Italian initials of the middle of the sixteenth century have already been dealt with in 'Bibliographica' in Mr. A. J. Butler's interesting article (vol. i. pp. 418-27). No one, however, as far as I am aware, has endeavoured to trace the history of pictorial initials in our own country, and I hope that the notes which I have been able to bring together on this part of the subject, scanty as they are, may yet prove of some use as a beginning.

As Mr. Butler has shown, the idea of the Italian alphabets is that the subject of each picture should begin with the letter which is imposed upon it. In a scriptural set A may show us Abraham, B Babel or Balaam, C Cain; in a mythological, A may be Ajax, B Bucephalus, C a Centaur, and so with other subjects. In isolated instances we may trace this connection between letter and word at a much earlier period. Thus in the Lubeck 'Josephus' besides the large initials there is also a much smaller D enclosing a picture of David, and it is at least possible that the choice of the picture was suggested by the letter being the initial of David's name. The novelty to which Mr. Butler drew attention consists in the application of this system of illustration through an entire alphabet, and I have found no good reason for challenging his claim that this novelty originated in Italy. If it is to stand, however, we must put back the first occurrence of these letters to some years before 1546, which is the first positive date he mentions, for in the first Greek book printed in England, the 'Homiliae Duae' of S. Chrysostom, published by Reyner Wolf in August 1543, there are four initials which, despite some difficulties as to two of them, probably belong to this class. The letters are (i) a D, here figured, which obviously stands for Diogenes, (ii) an H (used as a Greek eta) showing Eli (or Heli) and Samuel, (iii) a K, here figured, representing the fountain of En-hakkore which sprang at Samson's prayer from the jaw-bone of the ass, with which he had slain the thousand Philistines, and (iv) a Q (repeated) depicting the Judgment of Solomon. Despite the existence of two K's in En-hakkore, and the possibility of the Q standing for Quaestio or Querimonia, the difficulty of fitting the right words to these letters makes it possible that the propriety of the D and H may be accidental, but on the whole the probability is the other way.


The interesting question now arises where did Wolfe get these letters, which have all the appearance of being used here for the first time? Their similarity to the letters to which attention was first called by Mr. Butler is so great that we can hardly doubt that, directly or indirectly, they are of Italian origin. But the introduction of gold-tooling into England by Berthelet, examples of which occur on books printed as early as 1541, was undoubtedly effected through Italian workmen, and it is quite possible that these letters were cut in England by Italians living in this country. If, however, further investigation should prove that they were imported, they may help us to determine from what quarter Wolfe obtained his Greek type, of which no complete fount had hitherto existed in England.

Six years after the 'Chrysostom' we find traces, in the edition by Whitchurch (March 1549) of the first Prayer-Book of Edward VI., of another set of scriptural initials of the same character. The four letters which I have noted are an A (Abraham and Isaac), a B (Balaam), an I (Jacob's dream), and an O (Olofernes). The letters are all very much worn, so that the pictures in many instances are barely decipherable.

Of the next pictorial alphabet in English books I have lately been surprised to find one letter in a proclamation printed by Berthelet in 1546, my previous acquaintance of it beginning with books printed more than ten years later. The pictures in this alphabet are all signed with an A, at the top of which is a little projection suggesting that it stands for the monogram of A. S. My friend Mr. Sayle has found initials with this signature in books printed during the reign of Elizabeth and James I., which nearly make up a complete alphabet, with some letters in duplicate. According to Bryant and Nägler, the engraver Anton Sylvius, who was born at Antwerp in 1526, and worked for Plantin from 1550 to 1573, used the monogram I have described. But I am not wholly satisfied that this A. S. is the same man.


Another point of some difficulty is whether the pictures have any relation to the letters. Some of them come in very neatly, thus E and Europa riding on her bull, M and Mercury, T and a lady, who may very well be Thetis, haranguing a council of Gods, another T with Neptune flourishing a very prominent Trident, go well enough together, but why should a W be illustrated by Hercules and Cacus, or an F by Cephalus and Procris, or an I by the birth of Adonis? On the whole, pending further explanations, it would seem that to connect letter and subject was regarded by the designers rather as desirable than essential.

The same point arises as to a much clumsier pictorial alphabet, with large figures in it, found in books and proclamations, printed from 1547 onwards. Here the picture belonging to the T is of Christ and the Tribute-money, but the pictures in other letters seem part of a set illustrating the works of mercy (visiting prisoners, healing the wounded, etc.) and to have no special appropriateness to their initials.


In 1554 we find Cawood in possession of both of these sets of initials. He had obtained the first apparently from Berthelet, and the second from Grafton. The ruder set seems to have soon fallen into disuse, though I find some letters from it in the possession of John Day in 1563, but that of A. S. (individual letters being re-cut as need arose) was passed on to Barker, when he became Queen's Printer, and reappears in several books of the seventeenth century.

In 1548, in Grafton's edition of Hall's 'Union of the Families of Lancashire and York,' we find a new experiment in the form of heraldic initials. The dedication to Edward VI. begins with a large O, measuring 2¾ inches each way, and containing the very elaborate arms of the author himself; the records of the reigns of Henry IV., V., and VIII., with an open H; that of Henry VI. with a D, of Edward IV. with a P, and of Henry VII. with a fine C (fig. 9), each letter containing the king's arms.


In 1551, in the quarto Bible printed by John Day, the dedication to Edward VI. by Edmond Becke begins with a really excellent pictorial E (shown in fig. 10), representing the offer of a copy to the king. As in the case of the initials for Hall's 'Chronicle,' this design must have been specially prepared for the book, and therefore presumably in England, so that we need not set down other letters too freely as importations from abroad.



JOHN DAY, 1559

In 1559, in Cunningham's 'Cosmographical Glass,' printed for him by John Day, there are several large initials, very good of their kind and very well printed. The heraldic D, which is peculiarly graceful, contains the arms of the Earl of Leicester, to whom the book is dedicated. The pictorial I and L (here shown) are both signed, the former I. D., a signature which recurs on several of the illustrations, the latter I. B., who was also the designer of the border to the title-page. An effort seems to have been made to get Dudley's arms into a D, as the opening allusion to Daedalus is certainly dragged in by the shoulders. The other two letters shown, probably have reference to the subject of the book, the Preface, in which the I is found, laying especial stress on the importance of Cosmography in war. The other pictorial initials in the book are an S, in which one man is pointing to a sun-dial and another to the sun (signed with a monogram of a C and a small I within it), an A with a procession of satyrs by the same artist, and a T showing sea-gods navigating a ship (signed H).

It is thus obvious that several designers, or engravers, were at work about this time on pictorial initials, though it will probably be found no easy matter to identify them.

In 1563 most of the letters from the 'Cosmographical Glass' are found again in the very rare edition of the music to Sternhold and Hopkins' metrical version of the Psalms, also printed by Day. In the four parts of the book there are three other initials of the same character, a W representing the battle of the Pigmies and the Cranes, a P of Hercules in the garden of the Hesperides, and an R with a hunting-scene (signed with the monogram C. I.). All are excellent.

Two or three more examples of these large initials will bring to a close my notes of those which I have been able to find in English books of this period, though doubtless others are awaiting the research of future investigators. In the first edition of Ascham's 'Scholemaster,' printed by Day in 1570, the large S is repeated from the 'Cosmographical Glass,' and shows some signs of wear. Another letter of a slightly larger size by the same designer is found prefixed to the 'History of Ireland' in the 1577 edition of 'Holinshed' printed by Harrison. This is a T, and the picture it contains shows an astronomer, whom we may perhaps reasonably identify with Ptolemy. If so, we may remember that his name used to be spelt all over Europe with the omission of its first letter, though the true form seems to be that used in English books of the period.


The other pictorial initial in the 1577 'Holinshed'[15] is the largest I have found in any English book, measuring nearly three and a half inches each way. The letter is an I, the subject of the picture the Creation, and it is conceivable that, though we find it in an English history, it was originally intended for the first page of a Great Bible, in which it would fitly have illustrated the words 'In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.' It is possible, indeed, that this applicability to a particular text may sometimes have been taken as a motive, when it was found difficult to establish a connection between the initial and the subject of a picture as summed up in any single word. Thus a W, which is found in Cawood's books in connection with the A. S. initials, represents the passage of the Red Sea, and irresistibly reminds us of the verse 'When Israel came out of Egypt,' though not of the word Exodus.

Some very fine heraldic initials still remain to be noticed. The initials in the early editions of the English Bible are disappointing, but in the first and second editions of the so-called 'Bishops' Bible,' printed by Jugge in 1568 and 1572, special attention seems to have been paid to them, and besides many small pictorial and decorative letters of interest, there are some really fine examples of heraldic designs. The owners of the arms which I have identified are Archbishop Cranmer, Archbishop Parker, Cecil, Dudley, and Francis Russell, second Earl of Bedford. Parker's arms are exhibited in several different letters, generally with his initials M. C. (Matthew of Canterbury) and the date. The form of these heraldic letters is usually graceful, and they are much more easily justifiable on artistic grounds than the pictorial initials at which we have been looking.

The title-pages of the 'Bishops' Bible' are adorned with copper-engravings of some merit of Elizabeth herself, Cecil, and Dudley. One of these, I regret to say, has been turned into an initial at the beginning of the Psalms by the simple device of giving Lord Burleigh a large Roman B to hold in his hand. A less violent and more successful effort after a portrait-initial is here shown from the edition of Foxe's 'Actes and Monumentes,' printed by Day in 1576. Another portrait-initial of the Queen is found in an E, which heads one of her Proclamations printed by Purfoot, and an inferior one in an F in another Proclamation printed by Barker.


Some of the heraldic initials of the first and second editions of the 'Bishops' Bible' are repeated, with some additional ones of smaller size, in the 1573 edition. Parker's arms are also to be found in the edition of 'Matthew Paris' issued under his patronage in 1571, Cecil's in the 1577 'Holinshed' already mentioned, and it is probable that a good many others may be discovered. It seems to me, indeed, that students of the history of English printing have hardly paid the attention it deserves to the work of the forty years from 1540 to 1580. The printers and bookmen of this period were not distinguished by much originality, or by delicate artistic taste, but they were men of considerable enterprise, and their interest in their books was great and genuine. This interest and enterprise left a very distinctive mark on the types, the illustrations and the bindings of the books of the period, and though the ideas which underlie them were mostly borrowed from abroad, they were developed with a certain freedom and largeness which are not without their effect.


THERE are so many gaps in our knowledge of the history of books in England that we can hardly claim that our own dwelling is set in order, and yet many of our bookmen appear more inclined to re-decorate their neighbour's houses than to do work that still urgently needs to be done at home. The reasons for this transference of energy are not far to seek. It is quite easy to be struck with the inferiority of English books and their accessories, such as bindings and illustrations, to those produced in the same centuries on the Continent. Thus to compare the books printed by Caxton with the best work of his German or Italian contemporaries, to compare the books bound for Henry, Prince of Wales, with those bound for the Kings of France, to try to find even a dozen English books printed before 1640 with woodcuts (not imported from abroad) of any real artistic merit—if any one is anxious to reinforce his national modesty, here are three very efficacious methods of doing it! On the other hand, English book-collectors have always been cosmopolitan in their tastes, and without leaving England it is possible to study to some effect, in public or private libraries, the finest books of almost any foreign country. It is small wonder, therefore, that our bookmen, when they have been minded to write on their hobbies, have sought beauty and stateliness of work where they could most readily find them, and that the labourers in the bookfield of our own country are not numerous. Touchstone's remark, 'a poor thing, but mine own,' might, on the worst view of the case, have suggested greater diligence at home; but on a wider view English book-work is by no means a 'poor thing.' Its excellence at certain periods is as striking as its inferiority at others, and it is a literal fact that there is no art or craft connected with books in which England, at one time or another, has not held the primacy in Europe.

It would certainly be unreasonable to complain that printing with movable types was not invented at a time better suited to our national convenience. Yet the fact that the invention was made just in the middle of the fifteenth century constituted a handicap by which the printing trade in this country was for generations overweighted. At almost any earlier period, more particularly from the beginning of the fourteenth century to the first quarter of the fifteenth, England would have been as well equipped as any foreign country to take its part in the race. From the production of Queen Mary's Psalter at the earlier date to that of the Sherborne Missal at the later, English manuscripts, if we may judge from the scanty specimens which the evil days of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. have left us, may vie in beauty of writing and decoration with the finest examples of Continental art. If John Siferwas, instead of William Caxton, had introduced printing into England, our English incunabula would have taken a far higher place. But the sixty odd years which separate the two men were absolutely disastrous to the English book-trade. Already exhausted by the futile war with France, England was torn asunder by the wars of the Roses, and by the time these were ended the school of illumination, so full of promise, and seemingly so firmly established, had absolutely died out. When printing was introduced England possessed no trained illuminators or skilful scribes such as in other countries were obliged to make the best of the new art in order not to lose their living, nor were there any native wood-engravers ready to illustrate the new books. I have never myself seen or heard of a 'Caxton' in which an illuminator has painted a preliminary border or initial letters; even the rubrication, where it exists, is usually a disfigurement; while as for pictures, it has been unkindly said that inquiry whence they were obtained is superfluous, since any boy with a knife could have cut them as well.

Making its start under these unfavourable conditions, the English book-trade was exposed at once to the full competition of the Continental presses, Richard III. expressly excluding it from the protection which was given to other industries. Practically all learned books of every kind, the great majority of our service-books, most grammars for use in English schools, and even a few popular books of the kind to which Caxton devoted himself, were produced abroad for the English market and freely imported. Only those who mistake the shadow for the substance will regret this free trade, to which we owe the development of scholarship in England during the sixteenth century. None the less, it was hard on a young industry, and though Pynson, Wynkyn de Worde, the Faques, Berthelet, Wolfe, John Day, and others produced fine books in England during the sixteenth century, the start given to the Continental presses was too great, and before our printers had fully caught up their competitors, they too were seized with the carelessness and almost incredible bad taste which marks the books of the first half of the seventeenth century in every country of Europe.

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, as is well known, the French thought sufficiently well of Baskerville's types to purchase a fount after his death for the printing of an important edition of the works of Voltaire. But the merits of Baskerville as a printer, never very cordially admitted, are now more hotly disputed than ever; and if I am asked at what period English printing has attained that occasional primacy which I have claimed for our exponents of all the bookish arts, I would boldly say that it possesses it at the present day. On the one hand, the Kelmscott Press books and those of the Doves Press, on their own lines, are the finest and most harmonious which have ever been produced; on the other, the book-work turned out in the ordinary way of business by the five or six leading printers of England and Scotland seems to me, both in technical qualities and in excellence of taste, the finest in the world, and with no rival worth mentioning, except in the work of one or two of the best firms in the United States. Moreover, as far as I can learn, it is only in Great Britain and America that the form of books is now the subject of the ceaseless experiment and ingenuity which are the signs of a period of artistic activity.

As regards book-illustration the same claim may be put forward, though with a little more hesitation. We have been taught lately, with insistence, that 'the sixties' marked an epoch in English art, solely from the black and white work in illustrated books. At that period our book-pictures are said to have been the best in the world; unfortunately our book-decoration, whether better or worse than that of other countries, was almost unmitigatedly bad. In the last quarter of a century our decorative work has improved in the most striking manner; our illustrations, if judged merely for their pictorial qualities, have not advanced. In the eyes of artists the sketches for book-work now being produced in other countries are probably as good as our own. But an illustration is not merely a picture, it is a picture to be placed in a certain position in a printed book, and in due relation to the size of the page and the character of the type. English book-illustrators by no means always realise this distinction, yet there is on the whole a greater feeling for these proprieties in English books than in those of other countries, and this is an important point in estimating merits. Another important point is that the rule of the 'tint' or 'half-tone' block, with its inevitable accompaniment of loaded paper, ugly to the eye and heavy in the hand, though it has seriously damaged English illustrated work, has not yet gained the predominance it has in other countries. Our best illustrated books are printed from line-blocks, and there are even signs of a possible revival of artistic wood-engraving.

In endeavouring to make good my assertion of what I have called the occasional primacy of English book-work, I am not unaware of the danger of trying, or seeming to try, to play the strains of 'Rule Britannia' on my own poor penny whistle. As regards manuscripts, therefore, it is a pleasure to be able to seek shelter behind the authority of Sir Edward Maunde Thompson, whose words in this connection carry all the more weight, because he has shown himself a severe critic of the claims which have been put forward on behalf of several fine manuscripts to be regarded as English. In the closing paragraphs of his monograph on 'English Illuminated Manuscripts' he thus sums up the pretensions of the English school:—

'The freehand drawing of our artists under the Anglo-Saxon kings was incomparably superior to the dead copies from Byzantine models which were in favour abroad. The artistic instinct was not destroyed, but rather strengthened, by the incoming of Norman influence; and of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries there is abundant material to show that English book-decoration was then at least equal to that of neighbouring countries. For our art of the early fourteenth century we claim a still higher position, and contend that no other nation could at that time produce such graceful drawing. Certainly inferior to this high standard of drawing was the work of the latter part of that century; but still, as we have seen, in the miniatures of this time we have examples of a rising school of painting which bid fair to attain to a high standard of excellence, and which only failed for political causes.'[17]

To this judicial pronouncement on the excellence of English manuscripts on their decorative side, we may fairly add the fact that manuscripts of literary importance begin at an earlier date in England than in any other country, and that the Cotton MS. of 'Beowulf' and the miscellanies which go by the names of the 'Exeter Book' and the 'Vercelli Book,' have no contemporary parallels in the rest of Europe.

When we turn from books, printed or in manuscript, to their possessors, it is only just to begin with a compliment to our neighbours across the Channel. No English bookman holds the unique position of Jean Grolier, and les femmes bibliophiles of England have been few and undistinguished compared with those of France. Grolier, however, and his fair imitators, as a rule, bought only the books of their own day, giving them distinction by the handsome liveries which they made them don. Our English collectors have more often been of the omnivorous type, and though Lords Lumley and Arundel in the sixteenth century cannot, even when their forces are joined, stand up against De Thou, in Sir Robert Cotton, Harley, Thomas Rawlinson, Lord Spencer, Heber, Grenville, and Sir Thomas Phillipps (and the list might be doubled without much relaxation of the standard), we have a succession of English collectors to whom it would be difficult to produce foreign counterparts. Round these dii majores have clustered innumerable demigods of the book-market, and certainly in no other country has collecting been as widely diffused, and pursued with so much zest, as in England during the present century. It is to be regretted that so few English collectors have cared to leave their marks of ownership on the books they have taken so much pleasure in bringing together. Michael Wodhull was a model in this respect, for his book-stamp is one of the most pleasing of English origin, and his autograph notes recording the prices he paid for his treasures, and his assiduous collation of them, make them doubly precious in the eyes of subsequent owners. Mr. Grenville also had his book-stamp, though there is little joy to be won from it, for it is unpleasing in itself, and is too often found spoiling a fine old binding. Mr. Cracherode's stamp was as graceful as Wodhull's; but, as a rule, our English collectors, though, as is shown elsewhere in this volume, many more of them than is generally known have possessed a stamp, have not often troubled to use it, and their collections have never obtained the reputation which they deserve, mainly for lack of marks of ownership to keep them green in the memory of later possessors. That this should be so in a country where book-plates have been so common may at first seem surprising. But book-plates everywhere have been used rather by the small collectors than the great ones, and the regrettable peculiarity of our English bookmen is, not that they despised this rather fugitive sign of possession, but that for the most part they despised book-stamps as well.

Of book-plates themselves I have no claim to speak; but for good taste and grace of design the best English Jacobean and Chippendale specimens seem to me the most pleasing of their kind, and certainly in our own day the work of Mr. Sherborne has no rival, except in that of Mr. French, who, in technique, would, I imagine, not have refused to call himself his disciple.

Turning lastly to bindings, the first point which may fairly be made is that England is the only country besides France in which the art has been consistently pursued with success through many centuries, and that in length of pedigree it far surpasses even France herself. Early in the twelfth century, if not before, the Winchester bookmen turned their attention also to leather-binding, and the school of design which they started, spreading to London, Durham, and Oxford, did not die out until it was ousted by the large panel stamps introduced from France at the end of the fifteenth century. During the first half of this period the English leather-binders were the finest in Europe; during the second, the Germans pressed them hard, and when the large panel stamps, three or four inches square and more, were introduced in Holland and France, the English adaptations of them were distinctly inferior to the originals. The earliest English bindings with gold tooling were, of course, also imitative. The use of gold reached this country but slowly, as the first known English binding, in which it occurs, is on a book printed in 1541, by which time the art had been common in Italy for a generation. The English bindings found on books bound for Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Mary I., all of which are roughly assigned to Berthelet as the Royal binder, resemble the current Italian designs of the day, with sufficient differences to make it probable that they were produced by Englishmen. We know, however, that until the close of the century there were occasional complaints of the presence of foreign binders in London, and it is probable that the Grolieresque bindings executed for Wotton were foreign rather than English. Where, however, we find work on English books distinctly unlike anything in France or Italy, it is reasonable to assign it to a native school, and such a school seems to have grown up about 1570, in the workshop of John Day, the helper of Archbishop Parker in so many of his literary undertakings. These bindings attributed to Day, especially those in which he worked with white leather on brown, although they have none of the French delicacy of tooling, may fairly be said to attack the problem of decoration with a greater sense of the difference between the styles suitable for a large book and a small than is always found in France, where the greatest binders, such as Nicholas Eve and Le Gascon, often covered large folios with endless repetitions of minute tools, whose full beauty can only be appreciated on small decimos or octavos. The English designs with a large centre ornament and corner-pieces are rich and impressive, and we may fairly give Day and his fellows the palm for originality and effectiveness among Elizabethan binders. In the next reign the French use of the semis or powder, a single small stamp, of a fleur-de-lys, a thistle, a crown, or the like, impressed in rows all over the cover, was increasingly imitated in England, very unsuccessfully, and, save for a few traces of the style of Day, the leather bindings of the first third of the century deserve the worst epithets which can be given them.

Until, however, French fashions came into vogue after the Restoration, English binders had never been content to regard leather as the sole material in which they could work. Embroidered bindings had come into use in England in the fourteenth century, and in the sixteenth embroidered work was very popular with the Tudor princesses, gold and silver thread and pearls being largely used, often with very decorative effect. The simplest of these are also the best—but, as a rule, much elaboration was employed, and on a presentation copy of Archbishop Parker's 'De Antiquitate Ecclesiae Britannicae' we find a clever but rather grotesque representation of a deer-paddock. Under the Stuarts the lighter feather-stitch was preferred, and there seems to have been a regular trade in embroidered Bibles and Prayer-books of small size, sometimes with floral patterns, sometimes with portraits of the King, or Scriptural scenes. A dealer's freak which compelled the British Museum to buy a pair of elaborate gloves of the period rather than lose a finely embroidered Psalter, with which they went, was certainly a fortunate one, enabling us to realise that in hands thus gloved these little bindings, always pretty, often really artistic, must have looked exactly right, while their vivid colours must have been admirably in harmony with the gay Cavalier dresses.

Besides furnishing a ground for embroidery, velvet bindings were often decorated, in England, with goldsmith work. One of the most beautiful little bookcovers in existence is on a book of prayers, bound for Queen Elizabeth in red velvet, with a centre and corner pieces delicately enamelled on gold. Under the Stuarts, again, we frequently find similar ornaments in engraved silver, and their charm is incontestable.

Thus while for English bindings of this period in gilt leather we can only claim that Berthelet's show some freedom in their adaptation of Italian models, and Day's a more decided originality, we are entitled to set side by side with this scanty record a host of charming bindings in more feminine materials, which have no parallel in France, and certainly deserve some recognition. After the Restoration, however, leather quickly ousted its competitors, and a school of designers and gilders arose in England, which, while taking its first inspiration from Le Gascon, soon developed an individual style. In effectiveness, if not in minute accuracy of execution, this may rank with the best in Europe. We can trace the beginnings of this lighter and most graceful work as early as the thirties, and it might be contended with a certain plausibility that it began at the Universities. Certainly the two earliest examples known to me—the copy of her 'Statutes' presented to Charles I. by Oxford in 1634, and the Little Gidding 'Harmony' of 1635, the tools employed in which have been shown by Mr. Davenport to have been used also by Buck, of Cambridge—are two of the finest English bindings in existence, and in both cases, despite the multiplicity of the tiny tools employed, there is a unity and largeness of design which, as I have ventured to hint, is not always found even in the best French work. The chief English bindings after the Restoration, those associated with the name of Samuel Mearne, the King's binder, preserves this character, though the attempt to break the formality of the rectangle by the bugles at the side and the little penthouses at foot and head (whence its name, the 'cottage' style) was not wholly successful. The use of the labour saving device of the 'roll,' in preference to impressing each section of the pattern by hand, is another blot. Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to find an English or Scotch binding of this period which is less than charming, and the best of them are admirable. At the beginning of the eighteenth century a new grace was added by the inlaying of a leather of a second colour. The fine Harleian bindings let us down gently from this eminence, and then, after a period of mere dulness, with the rise of Roger Payne we have again an English school (for Payne's traditions were worthily followed by Charles Lewis) which, by common consent, was the finest of its time.

After Payne and Lewis, English binding, like French, became purely imitative in its designs; but while in our own decade the French artists have endeavoured to shake themselves free from old traditions by mere eccentricity, in England we have several living binders (Mr. Cobden Sanderson and Mr. Douglas Cockerell), who work with notable originality and yet with the strictest observance of the canons of their art.

Moreover in the application of decorative designs to cloth cases, England has invented, and England and America have brought to perfection, an inexpensive and very pleasing form of bookcover, which gives the bookman ample time to consider whether his purchase is worth the more permanent honours of gilded leather, and also, by the facts that it is avowedly temporary, and that its decoration is cheaply and easily effected by large stamps, renders forgivable vagaries of design, which when translated, as they have been of late years in France, into time-honoured and solemn leather, seem merely incongruous and irreverent.

In binding, then, as in the other Bookish Arts, Anglo-Saxondom has no need to be ashamed of its record, while, if we look to the work of the present day, there is good reason to hope that our part in the future may be a still worthier one.


THERE are many points in the history of books and of book-collecting which are still tantalisingly obscure. How little we know about the prices of early books, the cost of printing, the relations of printer and publisher or of publisher and author! With the exception of a few royal personages and a few men and women of great wealth and rank, the book-collectors of the two centuries which succeeded the invention of printing are hardly known to us, even by name. A few have gained immortality among book-lovers by clothing their books in priceless bindings; others, like Sir Thomas Bodley, have won a nobler renown by founding libraries in which students should have free access to their treasures. But of the rank and file of the early collectors, the men who bought books not by the cartload, but with individual thought and care, according to the length of purses easily exhaustible—of these for two centuries we know little or nothing. If it had not been for an indiscreet pamphlet published by an English theologian in Holland, our ignorance about English book-collectors might have lasted indefinitely longer. But during his brief stay in his native land the pamphleteer introduced into this country the custom of selling by auction the books of dead collectors, and from the year 1676, when this practice was first adopted, our knowledge about English libraries becomes abundant.

It is not a little curious in itself that we should be able to say with precision that at nine o'clock of the morning, on October 31, 1676, at the house of Dr. Lazarus Seaman, in Warwick Court, Warwick Lane, began the first book auction that ever took place in England. But we can do much more than this. The little world of book-collectors was immensely taken with this new method of book-buying. The catalogues of the first auctions soon came to be regarded as curiosities, and the price fetched by each lot was carefully recorded. The auctioneers were no less interested. They wrote prefaces to the catalogue of each sale, giving us their reasons for the various auction rules, which soon came to assume a form closely similar to those now in use at Sotheby's or Puttick and Simpson's. Moreover, at the end of ten years Thomas Cooper, the leading auctioneer of the time, printed an exact list of the seventy-three sales which had taken place since the introduction of the practice into England, and eleven years later another famous member of the fraternity wrote the following letter, which has recently been acquired by the British Museum, and supplies us with the one link which was needed to complete our chain of information on the subject.

The letter forms part of the 'Dering Correspondence,' which stretches from the reign of James the First to that of George the Second (Stowe ms. 709). It has the double endorsement: (i) 'Mr. Millington, the noted auctioneer, to Mr. Jos. Hill,' and (ii) 'Millington's letter acknowledginge the usefulnesse of sellinge Libraryes by Auction.' Here is the text of the part which now concerns us:—

'Lond. June 25, 1697.

'Reverend Sr,

'I have designd severall Times to wait of sic you when in England to present my service and tender my thanks for your great Service done to Learning & Learned men in your first advising & effectually setting on foot that admirable & universally approved of way of selling Librarys by Auction amongst us. A son of a worthy ffreind of mine, being now in Rotterdam in order to get some Employment there, offering me the Conveyance of mine to your hand, I presume of your Candour to receive my acknowledgements and gratefull Resentments for the knowledge I have got and the benefit I have received by their management, having for severall yeares strenuously Pursued what you, sire, happily Introduced the Practice of into England. I Design you some Catalogues of the Library of Dr Edward Bernard, late Astronomy Professor in Oxford, in which you will find Curious Manuscripts, Libri Impressi collati cum Codicibus MSS., etc'

The letter proceeds to enlarge at some length on Dr. Bernard's books, the best part of which, by the way, had been presented to the Bodleian, and then, with an apology for the writer's presumption in addressing Dr. Hill, is duly signed, 'Your obliged humble servant, D. Millington.' It tells us, it will be observed, with the aid of the emphatic underscoring here represented by italics, that it was Dr. Hill who had 'first advised and effectually set on foot that admirable and universally approved of way of selling libraries by auction amongst us,' and we can see exactly how he came to start the practice.

Joseph Hill was one of the most earnest and the most moderate of the seventeenth-century Presbyterians. His father, Joshua, is said to have died a few minutes before the archbishop's apparitor arrived to cite him for not wearing a surplice; but though the objection to Church discipline was thus hereditary, it does not seem to have been intensified in Joseph. A distinguished career at Cambridge was closed by his refusal to take the oath enjoined by the Act of Uniformity in 1662, and the University authorities 'cut his name out of the books in kindness to him,' to prevent his being formally ejected from his offices. Hill took refuge at Leyden, and was soon appointed to the charge of the Scottish Church at Middleburg in Zeeland. But though a refugee, he remained English at heart, and in 1672 wrote a pamphlet, entitled 'The Interest of these United Provinces, being a Defence of the Zeelander's Choice.' It will be remembered that by the secret Treaty of Dover, concluded between Charles II. and the French king in 1670, Charles was to aid Louis against the Dutch, and receive as part of his reward the province of Zeeland. The French invasion took place in 1672, and it was at this crisis that Hill wrote his pamphlet, which contains a defence of the English king. Though completed on November 30, 1672, it did not appear till April of the next year, when the author at last obtained a publisher, though at the cost of no less a sum than one hundred pounds. In the following August he was ordered to leave Zeeland till the war was over, and on returning to England was rewarded by Charles with a pension of £80, and the offer of a bishopric as the price of his conformity. The offer was declined, and in 1678 Hill returned to Holland, accepting a post at Rotterdam, where we find him when the grateful Millington wrote his letter of acknowledgment in 1695, and where he died in 1707.

When Hill came over to receive the reward of his patriotism in England, he would naturally have revived his acquaintance with an old Cambridge don, Dr. Lazarus Seaman, with whom he had many tastes in common. Seaman had been Master of Peterhouse and Vice-Chancellor of the University. He had written pamphlets endeavouring to keep the Presbyterians in the Church by minimising the importance of episcopal orders, and was just on the right side of the line which shut Hill out from the proffered bishopric. Both were book collectors, both were classical scholars, and when Seaman died during Hill's stay in London, we may be quite sure that Hill was among his mourners.

Seaman's funeral was no small affair. Two broadsides of not wholly despicable verse are still extant to attest his popularity. One is entitled 'An Elegie to the endeared Memory of that Learned and Reverend Minister of the Gospel, Dr. Lazarus Seaman, who died on Friday, the 3rd of September, 1675, and was carried from Drapers' Hall to be interred, with a numerous train of Christian friends bewailing his Death.' The other broadside, which contains the better verse, is more simply inscribed 'An Elegy on the Reverend and Learned Divine, Dr. Lazarus Seaman, sometime Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge, Master of Peterhouse, and late Minister of the Gospel in All Hallows, Bread Street.' Even of this, however, the first six lines may suffice as a specimen:

'What! Seaman dead! and did no blazing star,
No comet béforehand his Death declare?
What, Merlin, not a word of this in thee?
Lilly's but half a prophet now I see:
For had he known it, he'd have quickly said,
This year Presbýtery shall lose its head.'

In no less conceited a vein, but more successful, is the proposed epitaph, the last line of which is really an inspiration:

'Reader, if that thou learned art
O do not urge me to impart
What 'tis I cover; for I fear
Thou'lt be so eager to lie here,
And wish thy life might straight expire.
And wish thy life might straight expire.
Then ask no more, but away go
And send th' unlearned, they may know.
I'll tell none else, for here does lie
Entomb'd a University.'

Thus was the worthy doctor bewailed and buried, and soon his executors were busy realising his effects. What was to be done with his five or six thousand books? He had bequeathed them to no library, and to sell them to the booksellers was to give them away. It was here, then, that Dr. Hill stepped in and 'advised and effectually set on foot that admirable and universally approved of way of selling libraries by auction,' which had long been the practice in Holland, but as yet was quite unknown in this country. The arrangements were soon made, and a catalogue duly printed, for whose title-page no less learned a language than Latin would serve, though we regret to have to note that the worthy William Cooper who compiled it was a sufficiently poor scholar to head one of his sections 'Bibliae Variae,' as if 'Biblia' were a feminine singular of the first declension. The Latin of the title-page is of a kind which every one can read, so that for the sake of completeness we quote it as it stands:—

'Catalogus variorum & insignium librorum instructissimæ bibliothecæ clarissimi doctissimiq; viri Lazari Seaman, S.T.D., quorum Auctio habebitur Londoni in ædibus Defuncti in Area & Viculo Warwicensi, Octobris ultimo. Cura Gulielmi Cooper Bibliopolæ.'

Probably under Dr. Hill's guidance Cooper also drew up the following preface, the rules given in which, as we have already noted, are the progenitors of those still in use in the present day, in which, indeed, some of their actual phrases may be found enshrined.

'To the Reader.


'It hath not been usual here in England to make sales of Books by way of Auction, or who will give most for them: But it having been practised in other Countreys to the Advantage both of Buyers and Sellers; It was therefore conceived (for the encouragement of Learning) to publish the Sale of these Books, this manner of way; and it is hoped that this will not be unacceptable to Schollers; and therefore we thought it convenient to give an Advertisement concerning the manner of proceeding therein.

'First, That having this Catalogue of the Books, and their Editions under their several Heads and Numbers, it will be more easie for any Person of Quality, Gentlemen, or others, to Depute any one to Buy such Books for them as they shall desire, if their occasions will not permit them to be present at the Auction themselves.

'Secondly, That those which bid most are the Buyers; and if any manifest differences should arise, that then the same book or books shall be forthwith exposed again to Sale, and the highest bidder to have the same.

'Thirdly, That all the Books according to the Catalogue are (for so much as we know) perfect, and sold as such; But if any of them appear to be otherwise before they be taken away, the Buyer shall have his choice of taking or leaving the same.

'Fourthly, That the money for the Books bought, be paid at the delivery of them, within one Month's time after the Auction is ended.

'Fifthly, That the Auction will begin the 31st of October at the Deceased Dr.'s House in Warwick Court in Warwick lane, punctually at Nine of the Clock in the Morning, and Two in the Afternoon, and this to continue daily until all the Books be sold; Wherefore it is desired that the Gentlemen, or those Deputed by them, may be there precisely at the Hours appointed, lest they should miss the opportunity of Buying these Books, which either themselves or their Friends desire.'

In subsequent auctions these rules were repeated, with but slight alterations and the addition of a 'Lastly' to the effect that

'If any Gentleman have a desire to view or see any or all of these Books in this Catalogue, or to satisfie themselves in the Conditions and Editions of any of them, they shall be very Welcome to the place aforenamed at any time before the day that the Sale begins.'

To facilitate this inspection subsequent sales were held, not at the deceased collector's house, but at some more convenient place, that from which this rule is quoted, Kidner's sale (February 6, 1677), taking place 'at the sign of the King's head in Little Britain,' possibly a tavern, but more probably the name of the bookseller's shop. It is to Dr. Seaman's house, however, in Warwick Court, that we must take our way at nine o'clock on the morning of October 31, 1676, if we wish to be present at the first English book sale. We shall have Cooper's catalogue in our hands, and note that he has inaugurated the practice, which still makes auction catalogues as difficult to consult as a Bradshaw, of dividing according to their sizes books in folio, in quarto, in octavo, and in duodecimo. He further divides each size of books according to their subjects: 'Patres Graeci,' 'Patres Latini,' 'Biblia,' 'Libri Theologici,' 'Theologi Scholastici,' 'Scriptores in Scripturam,' etc., so that we have no little difficulty in finding out if the particular books of which we are in want are included in the good Doctor's library. As we enter the house we probably find it very full. There are friends of Dr. Seaman's anxious for his books to sell well; poor Divinity students hopeful of picking up a few volumes cheaply; professed book-collectors, who care little for theology, but have an eye on some of the classics, and are curious to see how this new departure will succeed; and a little knot of booksellers, also curious, but on the whole unfriendly. Will. Cooper ascends an impromptu rostrum, an assistant hands up a long set of the works of S. Chrysostom, in Greek and Latin (Paris, 1636), and the bidding begins. If any invocation would persuade the Muse of Learning to tell us 'who first, who last upraised his voice to bid,' that invocation should duly be made. But in the absence of documents the Muse usually abandons us severely to our own imagination, and we are left to wonder whether it was friend, or poor student, or rich collector who made the first bid at the first English book auction. Probably it was one of the last class who secured the prize, for the great Chrysostom fetched no less than £8, 5s., nearly a quarter's income for some of the poorer clergy of those days. This was the highest price fetched by any book in the sale, but its immediate successors were all respectable. A set of the records of General and Provincial Councils (Paris, 1636) fetched £5, 3s.; the works of S. Cyril (Paris, 1638), £5, 1s.; of Theodoret (1642), £4, 8s., and of Epiphanius (1622), £3, 2s. 6d. Thus the first five lots produced twenty-six pounds all but sixpence, and it may greatly be doubted whether, despite the smaller purchasing power of money in these days, they would fetch as much as this if put up to auction at any of our modern sales.

The next twenty books averaged something over a pound apiece, and the prices languished till this division of the sale was over, and the 'Patres Graeci' were succeeded by the 'Patres Latini,' the works of S. Augustine (Froben's edition, 1569) heading the list at £5, 15s. Among the editions of the Bible, 'Bibliae variae,' as the auctioneer called them, the London Polyglot of 1657 was facile princeps, fetching no less than £8, 2s., or within three shillings of the top price of the sale. Rabbinical literature was the next division taken, and here it is curious to note that no single work fetched as much as a sovereign. Then came long rows of classics and theology, with nothing to call for remark till we come to the books of English divinity, among which Fox's 'Martyrs' (London, 1641) fetched as much as £3, 5s. Among the English philologists, a very miscellaneous section, Raleigh's 'History of the World' went for £1, 6s., and Burton's 'Anatomy of Melancholy' (Oxford, 1638) for 6s. Even the latter was not much of a bargain, for it is the first edition (1621), the one in quarto, which is now so highly prized.

When the folios were all sold, the smaller sizes were taken in their order, but either the collectors of the seventeenth century (very unlike in this to their modern successors) valued a book in proportion to its bulk, or else the novelty of the bidding was exhausted. Certainly we have no more high prices to record, and the auctioneer, after a time, had recourse to selling books in bundles or batches. The Oriental works went badly, probably because few could read them; the English divinity, which were sold ten and twenty together, at from a florin to fifteen shillings the lot, even worse, because Dr. Seaman's theology was now discountenanced by Churchmen, and the pockets of the Dissenters were ill furnished. We note a few pearls among these dusty tomes. Fletcher's 'Purple Island' (1633) was sold with six dull tracts for 5s., and Bacon's 'Advancement of Learning' (1605) for 1s. The pamphlets of the Civil War went fairly well, but a collection, which would now be held priceless, of thirty-two tracts on the relation of England and Spain from 1585 to 1591 realised no more than 8s.

The total sum gained by the sale is stated as about £700, a result which I have not had the industry to check by adding together the prices of all the different lots. My impression is that it is rather an under-estimate. Taking it as correct, we may guess the average sum realised by each book as about 3s., for there are 137 pages in the Catalogue, and from 35 to 40 books catalogued on each page, or a total of somewhere about 5,000. A scholar's library, especially a theological scholar's, always sells badly—unless I am mistaken, Bishop Thirwall's books only averaged about 2s. each—and Dr. Seaman's executors probably congratulated themselves on the result of this new method of disposing of old books. They had realised more than could possibly have been obtained on an enforced sale to a single bookseller, and on the other hand, after the ardour of competition for the first few lots had subsided, buyers were able to make bargains which the booksellers would never have allowed them. Every one, save the booksellers, was pleased, and both the general satisfaction and the one discordant note which marred it, are reflected in the preface which the auctioneer wrote for the second book sale, which took place some four months after the first. Here he says:

'The first Attempt in this kind (by the Sale of Dr. Seaman's Library) having given great Content and Satisfaction to the Gentlemen who were the Buyers, and no great Discouragement to the Sellers, hath Encouraged the making this second Trial, by the exposing (to Auction or Sale) the Library of Mr. Tho. Kidner, in hopes of receiving such Encouragement from the Learned as may prevent the Stifling of this manner of Sale, the Benefit (if rightly considered) being equally Balanced between Buyer and Seller.'

There was a danger, we see, of this manner of sale being 'stifled,' and subsequent prefaces show us that the danger came from reports spread by the retail booksellers that the bidding was not always genuine. To meet these reports the auctioneers for a long time refused to accept commissions to bid themselves, lest they should be accused of bidding when there was no commission behind them, merely to run up prices against genuine purchasers. A new rule was also passed, obliging strangers from the country either to pay for and remove books as soon as they were knocked down to them, or else to bid through citizens of reputation, 'and this is the rather desired that all suspicions may be removed of any Strangers appearing there to bid and enhance the Price to others without ever intending to send for what they so buy themselves.'

Fenced round with these regulations, the institution of selling books by auction grew and flourished, so that, as we have said, at the end of the first ten years of its existence no fewer than seventy-three such auctions had taken place. It has certainly made book-collecting a more exciting and more picturesque practice than it could otherwise have been, and enables us not only to reconstruct the library of any famous collector, but often to trace the history of a particular book in a very pleasant and interesting manner. Thus the copy of Dr. Seaman's Catalogue and the two Elegies on his death, at which we have been looking, all once belonged to Narcissus Luttrell, the author of 'Brief Historical Relation of State Affairs,' 1678-1714. According to the crabbed notes of the antiquary Hearne, whom he had offended by refusing to lend him books, Luttrell was not only a book-collector but a miser, who would not have given the judges and other dignitaries who attended his funeral (in 1732) 'a meal's meat' while he was alive. But he was 'well-known for his curious library, especially for the number and scarcity of [books on] English history and antiquities, which he collected in a lucky hour at very reasonable rates.' After Luttrell's death, his copy of Seaman's Catalogue passed into the collection of the antiquary Gough, and then into that of the celebrated Richard Heber, perhaps the greatest of all English book-collectors. At Heber's sale it was acquired by the British Museum, and its literary pedigree thereby closed. But the possession of such a pedigree adds very greatly to the interest of a book in the eyes of book-lovers, and so far as the institution of sales by auction has increased our knowledge of the book-collectors of the past, we have every reason to be grateful to Dr. Joseph Hill who, to return to our text, 'first advised and effectually set on foot that admirable and universally approved of way of selling libraries.'


FROM time to time attention has been called to the letter in which John Durie put together, for the first time in England, a series of suggestions on the duties of a Librarian, but, so far as I am aware, Durie's letter has never been reprinted in full, and I propose here to preface it with a few notes on the author's own career as a librarian, for which the Calendars of State Papers offer some materials. Of Durie's long life—he was born in 1596 and did not die till 1680—we need concern ourselves with only a very few months. As we shall see, his employer Whitelock asserts that he was a German, but this is a mistake, for he was born in Edinburgh, although the persecuted life of his father, Robert Durie, caused him to be educated abroad, chiefly at Sedan. From an early period he devoted himself to the cause of religious unity among the Protestant Churches of Europe, and in this cause he laboured all his life, possibly with more zeal than wisdom. When he found how hardly religious unity was to be achieved he was ready, we are told, to regard the acceptance of the Lord's Prayer, the Apostles' Creed, and the Ten Commandments as the sole requirement for intercommunion. In the seventeenth century this certainly amounted to latitudinarianism, and it is not easy to acquit Durie of a disposition to run both with hare and hounds, which did not escape the observation of his contemporaries. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was a Royalist and acted for some time as Chaplain to the Princess Mary of Orange at the Hague. But he wearied of this employment, returned to England, served the Commonwealth, both as librarian and as literary hack in offices peculiarly distasteful to the Royalists, and yet after the Restoration did not fail to endeavour to explain away his defection. A political comprehensiveness such as this may perhaps explain the reason why, despite his journeyings all over the north of Europe, Durie's efforts after religious unity so signally failed to attract theologians of any party. The believers in black and the believers in white will hardly admire the man who adopts grey as the only wear, and endeavours to make it serve for each in turn.

The excellence of Durie's treatise on library-management speaks for itself, but it seems not altogether unlikely that it was composed for the special purpose of the author's advancement. It is prefaced by a short letter by Samuel Hartlib, the friend of Milton, and Durie, as we shall see, shortly afterwards was employed to translate Milton's 'Eiconoclastes' into French. On August 5, 1650 (the year in which the 'Reformed Librarie-Keeper' was published), Durie had been granted liberty by the Council of State, to which Milton was Latin Secretary, to abide in the Commonwealth, and on August 21 this grant was confirmed by warrant 'granting license to Mr. Durie to stay in England till further order, on security for good behaviour.' Now some weeks before this the Council of State had taken into consideration what should be done with the Royal Collections of books, manuscripts, and medals, and had resolved to appoint Whitelocke their keeper, and to allow him the services of an Assistant. If Durie's 'Reformed Librarie-Keeper' was written at this juncture, at the suggestion of Milton and Hartlib in order to forward his claims to the Assistant-ship, it was certainly very well timed, and it is not unlikely that this was actually the case. Whitelocke's account of the matter, under date July 30, 1650, is as follows:

'July 30. Referred to the Council of State to preserve the books and medals at St. James's from imbezzlement.

'After this Order past, the Council propounded it to me, whether I would take upon me the Charge and Care of these precious Medals and Books, and to be the Library-Keeper, and to appoint whom I thought fit to look to them under me.

'I knew the greatness of the charge, and considered the prejudice that might fall out, by being responsible for those rich jewels, the imbezzlement whereof would be attempted by many, and my other occupations would not permit me to give much personal attendance on this business, nor to enjoy much of the delight of perusing them.

'Yet I, being informed of a design in some to have them sold and transported beyond sea, which I thought would be a dishonour and a damage to our nation, and to all scholars therein, and fearing that in other hands they might be more subject to imbezzleing, and being willing to preserve them for publick use, I did accept of the trouble of being Library-Keeper at St. James's and therein was encouraged and much persuaded to it by Mr. Selden, who swore that if I did not undertake the charge of them—all those rare Monuments of Antiquity, those choice Books and Manuscripts would be lost, and there were not the like to them, except only in the Vatican, in any other Library in Christendom.

'The Council made an order for me to be Library-Keeper of St. James's and to have lodgings in the house belonging to the place, and recommended to me Mr. Duery, a German by birth, a good scholar, and a great traveller and friend to the Parliament, to be my Deputy in that place, but at my liking.

'I was willing to have a Deputy by their recommendation, being thereby I should be the less answerable, and I appointed Mr. Duery to have the keys, to go to Mr. Patrick Young the former Library-Keeper to the late King, to inquire for an inventory of the Books and Medals, and to see an exact one made forthwith of all of them.'—'Whitelocke's Memorials,' p. 416.

Whitelocke's narrative, though under date July 30, of course embraces also the events of the subsequent months. As the following entries from the Calendar of State Papers for 1560 will show, Durie did not receive his appointment till the following October:

'Oct. 28.—24. John Durie appointed Library-Keeper of the books at St. James's, as also of the medals, and to have the lodgings belonging to that place, and to make an inventory of the books, medals and MSS., and present it to Council.

'Oct. 29.—1. Mr. Dury to be Library-Keeper at St. James's House, and Col. Berkstead to appoint convenient lodgings for him.

'Nov. 7.—2. The new chapel of St. James's to be used as a library, and Mr. Durie to take care that the books and medals be removed there as soon as it is finished.

'Nov. 21.—12. Lord Commissioner Lisle, Sir Hen. Vane, and Mr. Challoner added to the Committee formerly appointed for the library—viz., Lord Commissioner Whitelock, Visct. Lisle, and Sir Gilbert Pickering; Mr. Dury, the Library-Keeper, is to apply to them upon all emergencies, and receive instructions for the safe preservation of the library and medals, and to prepare directions to be given to the surveyor of the works for fitting the new chapel for the use of a library.'

We hear no more of Durie till May 20th, 1651, when the Council of State ordered him 'to proceed in translating Mr. Milton's book, written in answer to the King's book, and Mr. Frost to give him such fit reward for his pains as he shall think fit.' In the following October we have this interesting entry, which shows that he was by no means neglectful of his duties:

'Oct. [6?]—56. John Dury, Library-Keeper at St. James's, to the Council of State. The books and manuscripts will be utterly spoiled if not immediately looked after, as they lie upon the floor in confused heaps, so that not only the rain and dust, but the rats, mice, and other vermin can easily get at them, and none of these inconveniences can be prevented, unless you order the trustees for sale of the late King's goods to deliver me the keys.

'The trustees long since made a catalogue of the books, and an inventory of the medals, so that there is nothing more left for them to do, and they might therefore be also desired to deliver up such catalogues and inventory; if there should be anything to complete, I am willing to assist them therein, so that the work may not linger, and the library be utterly spoiled, and remain useless to the public.' [One page.]

This is the last entry we have concerning Durie as a librarian. His translation (published in 1652) of 'Mr. Milton's book written in answer to the late King's book,' i.e. 'Eiconoclastes,' was brought to a completion, and there is an Order in Council that no custom duty should be charged upon its export. Then we have Durie's petition for his fee for the translation, and then he goes off to Sweden with Whitelocke, his rooms at St. James's are assigned to another, and our interest in him sensibly wanes.

The title-page of Durie's tiny pamphlet runs as follows:—'The | Reformed | Librarie-Keeper | with a supplement to the | Reformed School, | as subordinate to Colleges in | Universities. | By | John Durie | whereunto is added | I. An idea of Mathematicks. II. The description of one of the chiefest | Libraries which is in Germanie, erected | and ordered by one of the most Learned | Princes in Europe. | London | Printed by William Du-Gard, and are | to bee sold by Robert Littleberrie at the | sign of the Unicorn in Little | Britain. 1650.'

The supplement to the Reformed School comes first, and our tract is preceded by a false title of its own:—'The | Reformed | Librarie-Keeper. | By | John Durie | [Device of Fleur-de-Lys.] London | Printed by William Du-Gard, | Anno Dom. 1650.' The two letters are preceded by Hartlib's preface, and followed by the two appendices mentioned on the title-page, neither of which, in all likelihood, is by Durie himself. Of the two letters only the first is here reprinted, the second being a mere feeble repetition of it clothed in religious phraseology. The one here given is to some extent marred by Durie's riding to death of the metaphor of 'trading' for exchange of information. Despite this fault, it is full of excellent sense, and shows throughout a lofty sense of the functions of a librarian. I reprint it here as it stands, with a careful retention of the original spelling and punctuation:—


Two Copies of Letters concerning the Place and Office of a

the first letter.

'The Librarie-Keeper's place and office, in most countries (as most other Places and Offices both in Churches and Universities) are lookt upon, as Places of profit and gain, and so accordingly sought after and valued in that regard; and not in regard of the service, which is to bee don by them unto the Common-wealth of Israël, for the advancement of Pietie and Learning; for the most part men look after the maintenance, and livelihood settled upon their Places, more then upon the end and usefulness of their emploiments; they seek themselves and not the Publick therein, and so they subordinate all the advantages of their places, to purchase mainly two things thereby viz. an easie subsistence; and som credit in comparison of others; nor is the last much regarded, if the first may bee had; except it bee in cases of strife and debate, wherein men are over-heated: for then indeed som will stand upon the point of Honor, to the hazard of their temporal profits; but to speak in particular of Librarie-Keepers, in most Universities that I know; nay indeed in all, their places are but Mercenarie, and their emploiment of little or no use further, then to look to the books committed to their custodie, that they may not bee lost or embezeled by those that use them, and this is all. I have been informed that in Oxford (where the most famous Librarie now extant amongst the Protestant Christians is kept), the settled maintenance of the Librarie-Keeper is not above fiftie or sixtie pound per annum; but that it is accidentally, viis et modis sometimes worth an hundred pound: what the accidents are, and the waies by which they com, I have not been curious to search after; but I have thought, that if the proper emploiments of Librarie-Keepers were taken into consideration as they are, or may bee made useful to the advancement of Learning; and were ordered and mainteined proportionally to the ends, which ought to bee intended thereby; they would bee of exceeding great use to all sorts of Scholars, and have an universal influence upon all the parts of Learning, to produce and propagate the same unto perfection. For if Librarie-Keepers did understand themselves in the nature of their work, and would make themselves, as they ought to bee, useful in their places in a publick waie; they ought to becom Agents for the advancement of universal Learning: and to this effect I could wish, that their places might not bee made, as eueriewhere they are, Mercenarie, but rather Honorarie; and that with the competent allowance of two hundred pounds a year, som emploiments should bee put upon them further then a bare keeping of the books. It is true that a fair Librarie, is not onely an ornament and credit to the place where it is; but an useful commoditie by itself to the publick; yet in effect it is no more then a dead Bodie as now it is constituted, in comparison of what it might bee, if it were animated with a publick spirit to keep and use it, and ordered as it might bee for public service. For if such an allowance were settled upon the emploiment as might maintain a man of parts and generous thoughts, then a condition might bee annexed to the bestowing of the Place; that none should be called thereunto but such as had approved themselves zealous and profitable in som publick waies of Learning to advance the same, or that should bee bound to certain tasks to bee prosecuted towards that end, whereof a List might bee made, and the waie to trie their abilities in prosecuting the same should be described, least in after times, unprofitable men creep into the place, to frustrate the publick of the benefit intended by the Doners towards posteritie. The proper charge then of the Honorarie Librarie-Keeper in an Universitie should bee thought upon, and the end of that Imploiment, in my conception, is to keep the publick stock of Learning, which is in Books and Manuscripts, to increas it, and to propose it to others in the waie which may bee most useful unto all; his work then is to bee a Factor and Trader for helps to Learning, and a Treasurer to keep them, and a dispenser to applie them to use, or to see them well used, or at least not abused; and to do all this, first a Catalogue, of the Treasurie committed unto his charge is to bee made, that is all the Books and Manuscripts, according to the Titles whereunto they belong, are to bee ranked in an order most easie and obvious to bee found, which I think is that of Sciences and Languages; when first all the Books are divided into their subjectam materiam whereof they Treat, and then everie kinde of matter subdivided into their several Languages; and as the Catalogue should bee so made, that it may alwaies bee augmented as the stock doth increas; so the place in the Librarie must bee left open for the increas of the number of Books in their proper Seats, and in the Printed Catalogue, a Reference is to bee made to the place where the Books are to bee found in their Shelvs or repository. When the stock is thus known and fitted to bee exposed to the view of the Learned World, then the waie of Trading with it, both at home and abroad, is to bee laid to heart both for the increas of the stock, and for the improvement of it to use. For the increas of the stock both at home and abroad, correspondencie should bee held with those that are eminent in everie Science, to Trade with them for their profit, that what they want and wee have, they may receiv upon condition, that what they have and wee want, they should impart in that facultie wherein their eminence doth lie; as for such as are at home eminent in anie kinde, becaus they may com by Native right to have use of the Librarie-Treasure, they are to be Traded withal in another waie, viz. that the things which are gained from abroad, which as yet are not made common, and put to publick use should bee promised and imparted to them for the increas of their private stock of knowledge, to the end that what they have peculiar, may also bee given in for a requital, so that the particularities of gifts at home and abroad, are to meet as in a Center in the hand of the Librarie-Keeper, and hee is to Trade with the one by the other, to caus them to multiplie the publick stock, whereof hee is a Treasurer and Factor.

'Thus hee should Trade with those that are at home and abroad out of the Universitie, and with those that are within the Universitie, hee should have acquaintance to know all that are of anie parts, and how their view of Learning doth lie, to supplie helps unto them in their faculties from without and from within the Nation, to put them upon the keeping of correspondencie with men of their own strain, for the beating out of matters not yet elaborated in Sciences; so that they may bee as his Assistants and subordinate Factors in his Trade and in their own for gaining of knowledg: Now because in all publick Agencies, it is fit that som inspection should bee had over those that are intrusted therewith, therefore in this Factorie and Trade for the increas of Learning, som tie should bee upon those Librarie-Keepers to oblige them to carefulness.

'I would then upon this account have an Order made that once in the year the Librarie-Keeper should bee bound to give an Account of his Trading, and of his Profit in his Trade (as in all humane Trades Factors ought, and use to do to their principals at least once a year), and to this effect I would have it ordered, that the chief Doctors of each facultie of the Universitie should meet at a Convenient time in a week of the year to receive the Accounts of his Trading, that hee may shew them wherein the stock of Learning hath been increased for that year's space; and then he is to produce the particulars which he hath gained from abroad, and laie them before them all, that everie one in his own facultie may declare in the presence of others that which hee thinketh fit to bee added to the publick stock, and made common by the Catalogue of Additionals, which everie year within the Universities is to be published in writing within the Librarie itself, and everie three years (or sooner as the number of Additionals may bee great, or later, if it bee smal) to be put in Print and made common to those that are abroad. And at this giving up of the accounts, as the Doctors are to declare what they think worthie to bee added to the common stock of Learning, each in their Facultie; so I would have them see what the Charges and Pains are whereat the Librarie Keeper hath been, that for his encouragement the extraordinarie expences in correspondencies and transcriptions for the publick good may bee allowed him out of some Revenues, which should be set apart to that effect, and disposed of according to their joint consent and judgment in that matter. Here then hee should bee bound to shew them the Lists of his correspondents, the Letters from them in Answer to his, and the reckoning of his extraordinarie expence should bee allowed him in that which hee is indebted, or hath freely laid out to procure Rarities into the stock of Learning. And becaus I understand that all the Book-Printers or Stationers of the Common-wealth are bound of everie Book which is Printed to send a Copie into the Universitie Librarie; and it is impossible for one man to read all the Books in all Faculties, to judg of them what worth there is in them; nor hath everie one Abilitie to judg of all kinde of Sciences what everie Author doth handle, and how sufficiently; therefore I would have at this time of giving accounts the Librarie-Keeper also bound to produce the Catalogue of all the Books sent unto the Universitie's Librarie by the Stationers that Printed them; to the end that everie one of the Doctors in their own Faculties should declare, whether or no they should bee added, and where they should bee placed in the Catalogue of Additionals; for I do not think that all Books and Treatises, which in this age are Printed in all kindes, should bee inserted into the Catalogue, and added to the stock of the Librarie, discretion must be used and confusion avoided, and a cours taken to distinguish that which is profitable from that which is useless, and according to the verdict of that Societie, the usefulness of Books for the publick is to bee determined; yet because there is seldom anie Books wherein there is not somthing useful, and Books freely given are not to bee cast away, but may bee kept; therefore I would have a peculiar place appointed for such Books as shall bee laid aside to keep them in, and a Catalogue of their Titles made Alphabetically in reference to the Author's name with a note of distinction to shew the Science to which they are to bee referred. These thoughts com thus suddenly into my head, which in due time may bee more fully described, if need bee, chiefly if, upon the ground of this account, som competencie should bee found out and allowed to maintein such charges as will bee requisite towards the advancement of the Publick good of Learning after this manner.'



WHEN loaves are lacking it seems natural to attach a high value to crumbs, and perhaps this may be accepted as an excuse for printing the following rough notes on the few woodcuts which I have been able to find in editions of English plays printed before 1660. An excuse is needed, because, while the artistic value of the cuts is distinctly low, the plays in which they are found, with the exception of Marlowe's 'Dr. Faustus,' are not of the first interest. On the other hand, as I hope to show, the woodcuts, as a rule, are not merely fancy pictures used only because they looked pretty. They are real illustrations, drawn by men who had certainly read the plays themselves, and in all probability had seen them. To have had, say, the play-scene from 'Hamlet' drawn, however rudely, as a title-cut by a contemporary artist would have been a very pleasant addition to our scanty sources of knowledge as to the appearance of the actors and the stage when Shakespeare's plays were first acted, and, though it is less interesting plays which have come down to us embellished with illustrated title-pages, we may as well take note of what fortune has given us.

Two at least of the old morality plays, 'Every Man' and 'Hyckscorner,' are prefaced with cuts, to some of which the names of the characters are attached on labels, so that we may be sure of their identity. Unfortunately most of these little figures are poor copies of those used in a French translation of 'Terence,' published by Antoine Vérard. In 'Hyckscorner' Wynkyn de Worde went farther. To fill up a gap on his title-page he inserts a picture of an elephant with a howdah on his back. I have read 'Hyckscorner' once, ten years ago, and I hope never to have to read it again. But if my memory serves me, there is nothing about an elephant in it, and this particular elephant agrees so closely with one used by John of Doesborgh to illustrate a tract about Prester John's country that I am afraid he was one of Wynkyn de Worde's job lots. Clearly these earliest cuts throw no light on the contemporary stage.

The title-cut of 'The pleasant and stately morall of the Three Lordes and Three Ladies of London,' printed by 'R. Ihones' in 1590, is of more interest. If I am right in my interpretation of it, it relates not to the play itself, but to a performance of any morality in a private hall. On the right is a philosophical-looking person with a wand in his hand, whom I take to be the 'Doctor' or 'Expositor,' who used to interpret to the audience the meaning of the old miracle plays and moralities. On the left is a man in ordinary dress of the sixteenth century, apparently an actor. Both these are turning their faces to a group of ladies seated on a dais, presumably as spectators. The picture is thus taken from the rear of the actors, and illustrates, though in rather a dull and conventional manner, the performances of a much earlier period than 1590. This is in keeping with the play itself, the 'statelie morall' being a curious hybrid, half morality, half play, the publication of which at a date when Shakespeare and Marlowe were already writing for the stage was a curious anomaly.


Three other sixteenth-century plays, Marlowe's 'Faustus,' Greene's 'Friar Bacon' and 'Hieronimo,' were issued with title-cuts, but not, I believe, in the sixteenth century. The edition of 'The Tragicall History of the Life and Death of Dr. Faustus. Written by Chr. Mar.,' which I have found thus illustrated is that 'printed for John Wright, and to be sold at his shop without Newgate at the sign of the Bible, 1616.' Unfortunately the cut is larger than the page of text, and in the copies both of this and of later editions, to which I have had access, has been cropped by the binder's shears beyond any possibility of reproduction. It shows Faustus, looking rather like some of the least flattering portraits of Archbishop Laud, standing in a magic circle, wand in hand, with the devil he has raised squatting before him on his haunches like a ferocious black poodle.

As in the case of 'Dr. Faustus,' it is difficult to find an uncropped copy of 'The Honorable Historie of Frier Bacon and Frier Bongay. As it was lately plaid by the Prince Palatine his servants. Made by Robert Greene, Master of Arts. (London, Printed by Elizabeth Allde dwelling neere Christ-Church. 1630.)' In the copy accessible to me only about three-fourths of the title-page have escaped the horrid shears; but this suffices to show that we have here one of the few variations from the dramatist's text of which these illustrators have to be accused. Bacon, when weariness compels him to leave to his servant the task of watching the Brazen Head, chides him for slowness in answering his call. 'Think you,' is the answer, 'that the watching of the Brazen Head craves no furniture? I warrant you, sir, I have so armed myself that if all your devils do come I will not fear them an inch.' Unluckily the artist has dressed the servant not as a fighter, but as a bandsman, with drum and a kind of fife, and no visible arms. But the Brazen Head is there, and Bacon very fast asleep, while the labels issuing from the Head's mouth, 'Time was,' 'Time is,' 'Time is Past,' show that the text of the play had been read, though not very carefully.

The illustration to 'Hieronimo' here shown is taken from the edition whose title runs: 'The Spanish Tragedie, containing the lamentable end of Don Horatio and Belimperia: with the pittiful death of old Hieronimo. (London, Printed by Augustine Mathewes, and are to bee sold by Iohn Grismand at his shop in Pauls Alley.)' The original cut is very 'mealy' (a characteristic quite successfully reproduced in the accompanying facsimile of it), and the design has not many artistic merits; but in point of faithfulness it is probably all that could be desired. It will be remembered that as Horatio and Belimperia are toying in an arbour in Hieronimo's garden, the lady hears footsteps. 'Lorenzo, Balthazar, Cerberim, and Pedringano enter, disguised.' Lorenzo, the jealous brother, bids his minions 'Quickly despatch, my Masters,' and according to the stage direction, 'they hang him in the Arbour' (i.e., Horatio, not Lorenzo), and, despite Belimperia's entreaties, stab him to death.


'Murder, murder, help, Hieronimo, help!' cries Belimperia, as in the picture, and though at Lorenzo's bidding, 'Come stop her mouth; away with her,' she is dragged off, the old man hears. The stage direction, 'Enter Hieronimo in his shirt,' has been interpreted liberally, for Hieronimo has nether garments in addition; but he is duly coatless and provided with a torch with which to see the 'murdrous spectacle.'

'Hier. What outcry calls me from my naked bed,
And chills my throbbing heart with trembling fear,
Which never danger yet could daunt before?
Who calls Hieronimo? speak, here I am.
I did not slumber; therefore 'twas no dream.
No, no; it was some woman cried for help.
And here within the garden did she cry,
And in this garden must I rescue her.
But stay, what murdrous spectacle is this?
A man hang'd up, and all the Murderers gone;
And in my Bower, to lay the guilt on me?
This place was made for pleasure, not for death:[He cuts him down.
These garments that he wears I oft have seen:
Alas, it is Horatio, my sweet son!'——

and so he makes his discovery and devotes himself henceforth to revenge. The labels issuing from the actors' mouths show that the artist had studied his text, and I cannot resist remarking on how admirably he has caught the pose of the straw dummy, which must have been left hanging to personate Horatio, in place of the actor, who had doubtless slipped behind the arbour during the scuffle and was now resting after his exertions.

Of plays first acted in the seventeenth century which have woodcuts, the earliest is probably, 'If you know not me, you know nobodie: Or the troubles of Queene Elizabeth. Printed for Nathaniel Butter, 1606.' To render the 'me' emphatic there is a portrait of Queen Bess seated in a chair of state, crowned, and with ball and sceptre in her hands. It is carefully drawn and cut, and no doubt represents the 'make up' which the actors followed. Seven years later the same publisher similarly embellished another chronicle play, 'When you see me you know me, or the famous Chronicle Historie of King Henrie the Eight, with the birth and vertuous life of Edward Prince of Wales. As it was played by the high and mightie Prince of Wales his servants. By Samuel Rowly, servant to the Prince. (At London, Printed for Nathaniel Butter, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules churchyard near S. Austines Gate. 1613.)' In the cut Henry VIII., in his familiar attitude, is standing enveloped in curtains, rather like a stage manager who has come to the 'front' to address the audience.

But for our purpose kings and queens copied from familiar portraits are less important than persons of a much humbler rank, and more interesting than either of the two illustrations just described is that of the heroine from 'The Roaring Girls or Moll Cut-Purse. As it hath lately beene acted on the Fortune Stage by the Prince his Players. Written by G. Middleton and P. Dekkar. (Printed at London for Thomas Archer. 1611.)' Moll Cut-Purse was a real person, of whom, as Mary Frith, a judicial account from the pen of Mr. A. H. Bullen will be found in the 'Dictionary of National Biography.' In the play she frightens a father into allowing his son to marry another Mary by persuading him that it is she herself of whom the young man is enamoured. She is credited with 'the spirit of foure great parishes and a voyce that will drown all the citty,' but the cowardly Laxton, whom she fights, mistakes her in her male attire for a young barrister, and perhaps the Temple produced many rufflers not unlike the figure here shown. Mary Frith herself seems to have had few good qualities, but Moll in the play is an amiable giant, and her promise to her servant of the reversion of her man's clothes 'next week' was probably made in order to persuade the spectators that this masquerading was only an isolated freak.


No less interesting than this, and artistically the best picture we have to show, is the title-cut of 'Greene's Tu Quoque or the Cittie Gallant, as it hath beene divers times acted by the Queenes Maiesties servants. Written by Jo. Cooke, Gent. (Printed at London for John Trundle. 1614.)' Originally known as 'The Cittie Gallant,' this play was renamed after Thomas Green, the actor who so successfully personated 'Bubble,' to whom the 'Tu Quoque' quip is assigned.


Bubble is the type of the foolish young gentleman who wants to know 'the lowest price of being italianated.' No doubt this excellent cut is a portrait of Green in the part as he enters 'gallanted,' and exclaims: 'How apparel makes a man respected, the very children in the streets do adore me; for if a boy that is throwing at his jackalent chance to hit me on the shins, why I say nothing but Tu quoque, smile and forgive the child with a beck of my hand or some such like token: so by that means I do seldom go without broken shins.'


In contrast to these portraits of single characters is the title-cut of 'The Maids Tragedie, as it hath beene diuers times acted at the Black-Friers by the Kings Maiesties Seruants. Newly perused, augmented and inlarged, this second Impression. (London, Printed for Francis Constable, and are to be sold at the White Lion in Pauls Church-yard, 1622.)' Here we have depicted the chief incident of the play, the fight which Aspatia, in man's clothes, forces upon Amintor in order to end her life at his hand. The drawing is a little rude, but, as will be seen from the following quotation, the attitude of Aspatia is strictly in accordance with the text.

'Aspatia. You must be urged, I do not deal uncivilly
With those that dare to fight, but such as you
Must be used thus.[She strikes him.
Amintor.I prithee, youth, take heed.
Thy sister is a thing to me so much
Above mine honour that I can endure
All this—good gods!—a blow I can endure,
But stay not, lest thou draw a timeless death
Upon thy self.
Aspatia.Thou art some prating fellow,
One that has studied out a trick to talk
And move soft-hearted people; to be kickt,[She kicks him.
Thus to be kickt—[aside] Why should he be so slow
In giving me my death?
Amintor.A man can bear
No more and keep his flesh. Forgive me then,
I would endure yet, if I could. Now show
The spirit thou pretendest, and understand
Thou hast no hour to live.[They fight.
What dost thou mean? Thou canst not fight.
The blows thou mak'st at me are quite besides,
And those I offer at thee, thou spread'st thine arms
And tak'st upon thy breast, alas, defenceless!
Aspatia. I have got enough,
And my desire. There is no place so fit
For me to die as here.'

The fight, it will be observed, is akin to that between David Balfour and Alan Breck in Stevenson's 'Kidnapped,' but here the spectators' pity is more keenly worked on by the inexpert challenger being a woman and by the more tragical termination of the combat. As for the artist, no doubt he did his best.

In Beaumont and Fletcher's 'A King and No King,' printed by T. Walkley in 1619, the title-page shows a well-drawn figure of a man, above whose head, half on, half off it, a crown is held by an arm from the sky. In 'Swetnam the Woman-hater, arraigned by women,' printed for Richard Meighen the next year, a fairly good cut, which I regret to have remembered too late to have reproduced, exhibits Swetnam formally tried at bar, before a judge and jury of women.


Our next picture is from 'The Fair Maid of the West, or, a Girle Worth Gold. The first part. As it was lately acted before the King and Queen, with approved liking, by the Queens Majesties Comedians. Written by T. H. (London, Printed for Richard Royston, and are to be sold at his Shop in Ivie Lane. 1631.)' The cut, of course, represents the 'girl worth gold,' and leaves one wondering whether the man who took the part was really able to screw his waist to the fashionable limit here shown.

In 'The Iron Age: Contayning the Rape of Hellen: The siege of Troy: The Combate betwixt Hector and Aiax: Hector and Troilus slayne by Achilles: Achilles slaine by Paris: Aiax and Vlisses contend for the Armour of Achilles: The Death of Aiax, etc. Written by Thomas Heywood,' we have a very pictorial title-page, which duly answers to the stage direction: 'Alarum. In this combat, both having lost their swords and shields, Hector takes up a great piece of a rock and casts at Aiax, who tears a young tree up by the roots, and assails Hector; at which they are parted by both armies.'

In 'The Second Part' (N. Okes, 1632) the title-cut shows Troy in flames, the Greeks issuing from the wooden horse, and in the foreground Sinon and Thersites engaged in a most conventional stage dialogue. The actual greeting of these heroes is in contrast with the earnest mien the artist has given them; for Thersites hails Sinon as 'My Urchin,' and Sinon hails Thersites as 'My Toad.' But these epithets had no doubt a hidden meaning.

Our next illustration is from 'The Foure Prentises of London, With the Conquest of Jerusalem. As it hath beene diuers times acted at the Red-Bull, by the Queene's Maiestie's Seruants with good applause. Written and newly reuised by Thomas Heywood. (Printed at London by Nicholas Okes, 1632.)'

On the whole, I am inclined to think that the picture merely represents the jovial dance of the apprentices, either when their labours are over, or when, after the proclamation for the Crusades, they hold this colloquy:

'Eustace. Ran, tan, tan.
Now by S. George he tells us gallant newes.
I'll home no more. I'll run away to-night.
Guy. If I cast bowl, or spoon, or salt again,
Before I have beheld Jerusalem
Let me turn Pagan.
Charles.Hats and caps, adieu;
For I must leave you, if the Drum say true.
Godfrey. Nay, then, have with you, brothers! for my spirit
With as much vigour hath burst forth as thine,
With as much vigour hath burst forth as thine,
And can as hardly be restrain'd as yours.
Give me your hands. I will consort you too:
Let's try what London Prentices can do!
Eustace. For my Trades sake, if good success I have
The grocers arms shall in my ensign wave.
Guy. And if my valour bring me to command
The Goldsmiths' arms shall in my colours stand.
Godfrey. So of us all. Then let us in one fleet
Launch all together.'

These are brave words, and the coats of arms hung over the 'prentices' heads are in accordance with them. But there is a stage direction later on in the play: 'Alarum. The four brethren each of them kill a Pagan king, take off their crowns and exeunt, two one way and two another way'; and I cannot but regret that the artist did not choose this as the subject of his cut.


In 1655 'The Merry Devil of Edmonton' appeared from the press of D. Gilbertson with a title-cut showing Banks and his famous horse on a platform. Our last illustration is taken, not from this, but from another Edmonton play, 'The Witch of Edmonton, a known true story. Composed into a tragi-comedy by divers well-esteemed Poets; William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, John Ford, etc. Acted by the Princes Servants, often at the Cock-Pit in Drury-Lane, once at Court, with singular Applause. Never printed till now. (London, Printed by J. Cottrel, for Edward Blackmore, at the Angel in Paul's Churchyard. 1658.)'


The illustration in this case is a composite one, referring to three different moments in the play. Mother Sawyer is found by the dog—said dog, of course, being 'a Familiar'—cursing 'that curmudgeon Banks,' the 'clown' of the piece, who, with three of his companions, has been abusing her. A long speech of imprecation ends with the effective line:

'Vengeance, shame, ruin, light upon that Canker,'

and it is then that there appears the stage direction, 'Enter Dog,' his opening remark being the 'Ho! have I found thee cursing? now thou art mine own,' of which part is shown on the label. The dog subsequently explains that it is only when he finds people cursing that he can obtain powers over them of life and death, but before owning to this limitation he has rather unfairly got the old woman to seal the usual covenant with her blood, and instructed her in the art of making herself unpleasant.

'I'll tell thee, when thou wishest ill;
Corn, Man or Beast, would spoyl or kill,
Turn thy back against the Sun,
And mumble this short Orison:
If thou to death or shame pursue 'em
Sanctibicetur nomen tuum.'

In a subsequent scene the Spirit takes the form of Katherine Carter, with whom Cuddy Banks is in love. On her appearing to him he remarks that he will teach her to walk so late! The teaching, however, was not on his side. She trips before him, and his exclamation as he quits the stage, 'Nay, by your leave I must embrace you,' is speedily followed by that quoted in the cut, 'Oh help, help, I am drown'd. I am drown'd.' The stage direction hereupon is 'Enter Wet,' and the dog, after four diabolic 'ha ha's,' bids him 'Take heed how thou trustest the Devil another time!' The tumbling into the water, it will be observed, like the murder of her children by Medea, was enacted behind the stage, probably because on the stage there was no means of simulating water to tumble into. In this case, therefore, the artist, a very rude one, it must be confessed, not only brought three scenes together, but depicted one which the audience could not have witnessed.

Our subject has been limited to woodcuts in old plays, but it should be noted that both the undated editions of Middleton's 'Game of Chess' have engraved title-pages of some merit. As for our woodcuts, I have tried to resist the temptation to claim for them more than they deserve. One or two of them are really good, several others at least interesting, a few, like that at which we have just been looking, poor stuff enough. But they are connected with the greatest period of the English drama, and it has been worth while to collect these notes, if only to show that this is the best that English artists could do, or English publishers had the enterprise to commission them to do, when they were confronted with so unique an opportunity.


TO all but his professed admirers Herrick is chiefly known by a little handful of lyrics, which appear with great regularity in the anthologies, but bring with them a very incomplete impression of their author's personality and life. In the case of Herrick this is no great wonder. The same sensuous feeling which made him invest his friends with the perfume of Juno or Isis, sing of their complexions as roses overspread with lawn, compare their lips to cherries, and praise their silver feet, had also its other side. The unlucky wights who incurred the poet's wrath were treated in a fashion equally offensive to good taste and good manners. Nor are these gruesome epigrams the only apples in the garden of Herrick's 'Hesperides' which have affronted the taste of modern readers. The epigrams indeed, if apples at all, are rather the dusty apples of the Dead Sea than the pleasant fruit of the Western Isles; but Herrick's 'Epithalamia,' odes whose sustained splendour gives them a high rank among his poems, because they sing of other marriage-rites than those of rice and slipper, have also tended to restrict the circle of his readers in an age which prides itself on its modesty. Hence it has come about that while the names of the lovely ladies of the poet's imagination,—Julia, Dianeme, Electra, Perilla—are widely known, those of the men and women whom Herrick treasured as his friends are all but forgotten, and the materials for constructing a picture of the society amid which the poet moved have been neglected and thrown aside.

Like most bachelors, Herrick set a high value upon friendship, and in his sedater middle age, when his poetry had lost something of its fire, he set himself to construct a poetic temple to commemorate the virtues of the men and women whom he most loved or honoured. Sometimes instead of a temple he speaks of a book, sometimes his friends are his 'elect,' his 'righteous tribe,' language which recalls the 'sealed of the tribe of Ben' of his favourite Jonson. Inclusion among them was clearly reckoned as an honour, and many of the poems in which it is conferred were evidently written in response to solicitation, sportive or earnest as we may choose to think. These friends of his later days are not always very interesting. Many of them are of his relations, Herricks, or some of the innumerable Stones and Soames, well-to-do folk with whom the poet claimed cousinship through his mother, Julia Stone. Some of the outsiders are more to our purpose—John Selden the Antiquary, for instance, whose intimacy was no small honour, and Dr. Alabaster, who in his young days had become a convert to Catholicism while serving with Essex in Spain, but whose apocalyptic writings brought him into trouble with the Inquisition, from whose clutches he was glad to find refuge in a return to Protestantism and an English living. Mr. John Crofts, cup-bearer to the King, is another friend who brings with him a distinct sense of reality. Herrick calls him his 'faithful friend,' and their acquaintance was probably of long standing, for we hear of Crofts as in the King's service a year or two before the poet buried himself in his Devonshire living, and on the other hand all these 'Temple' poems impress us as having been written late in Herrick's life. In his younger days Crofts himself may have been a rhymester, for in the State Papers there is a letter from Lord Conway thanking William Weld for some verses, and expressing a hope that the lines may be 'strong enough to bind Robert Maule and Jack Crofts' from evermore using some phrase unknown. Mr. Crofts seems to have had worse faults than this of using incorrect phrases, for a year or two later (1634) there is a record of a petition from George, Lord Digby, praying to be released from an imprisonment incurred for assaulting Herrick's friend under very irritating provocation. Jack had passed some insult on a lady under Lord Digby's escort, had apologised, had boasted of the original offence, and when finally brought to book had interspersed remarks such as 'Well!' and 'What then?' in a manner which made caning seem too good for him. But this is the petitioner's account, and Jack himself might have given a different version.

Others of Herrick's friends seem occasionally to have got themselves into trouble. Dr. John Parry, for instance, Chancellor of the Diocese of Exeter, when first appointed, was accused of having oppressed divers people with excommunications for the sake of fees; but we hear of him afterwards as highly recommended by the Deputy-Lieutenants, and his early exactions must have been atoned to the King's satisfaction, since the chancellor was thought worthy to be made a judge-marshal, and to receive the honour of knighthood.

Many of Herrick's poems bear reference, direct or indirect, to the Civil War. He bewailed the separation of the King and Queen, welcomed Charles to the West in verse which sang the 'white omens' of his coming, congratulated him on his taking of Leicester in May, 1645, and composed an ode, 'To the King upon his welcome to Hampton Court,' in which he took all too cheerful a view of the royal prospects. His book is dedicated to Charles II., and it contains also an address 'To Prince Charlie upon his coming to Exeter,' which probably refers to a visit in 1645. Years before he had sung the Prince's birth in a pretty choral ode, taking note of the star which appeared at noontide when the King his father went to make thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral. Two other incidents in the west-country campaign inspired his muse, the taking and holding of Exeter by Sir John Berkeley, and the gallant victories won in Cornwall by Lord Hopton over very superior numbers. For the rest there is nothing in the 'Hesperides' to show that Herrick was a bigoted royalist. Utterances in favour of the divine right of kings and the duty of implicit obedience are not hard to find; but they are balanced by epigrams which show a much more Parliamentary spirit, and it is often difficult to tell where Herrick is expressing his own sentiments and where he is simply running into verse some sentence or phrase which happened to catch his attention.

When the end came, Herrick, like many another country priest, was turned out of his living, shook the dust of Dean Prior off his feet, and returned contentedly to London, there to take his place in a little band of wits who were able to endure the gloom of the Presbyterian rule which then held the city in its grasp. He passed his 'Hesperides' and 'Noble Numbers' through the press, made friends with young John Hall, then fresh from Cambridge but with a European reputation for cleverness; addressed his 'honoured friend' Mr. Charles Cotton, probably the friend of Izaak Walton and translator of Montaigne; overpraised Leonard Willan, a wretched poet and dramatist, and contributed a curious poem to the 'Lachrymae Musarum,' in which, under the editorship of Richard Brome, all the wits of the day poured forth their lament for the death of Lord Hastings in 1649. Then Herrick vanishes from our sight, and save that he returned to his living after the Restoration and died there at Dean Prior in 1674 we know no more of him.

The mention of Herrick's 'Temple' or 'Book' of his heroes has led us to gossip first of the less interesting half of his life which followed on his acceptance of a country living. The nine or ten years which passed between his leaving Cambridge and his retirement to Devonshire were probably the most poetically productive in all his career, and, from the glimpses which his poems give us, were certainly the gayest and most amusing.

He had gone to the University unusually late in life, in 1613 when he was already in his twenty-first year, that is to say, five or six years senior to the average freshman of those days. After his father's suicide (for the fall from a window following immediately on making his will can hardly have been accidental, and was not so regarded at the time) the care of the poet and his brothers had devolved on their uncles Robert and William, and the latter, who was jeweller, goldsmith, and banker to James I., shortly after receiving the honour of knighthood from the King, on September 25, 1607, accepted his nephew as an apprentice for ten years. Herrick's appreciation of material beauty was so keen that the absence from his poems (so far as my memory serves me) of any striking allusions to goldsmith's work may perhaps be taken as evidence that during his apprenticeship with his uncle he did not make any great progress in the craft. At all events he persuaded Sir William to excuse him the last four years of his time, and betook himself to Cambridge, the poets' University.

Fourteen letters which he wrote to his uncle from his college still survive, all written in a high-flown rhetorical style, sometimes lapsing into blank verse, and with one unvarying theme,—the need of a prompt remittance. His allowance was £40 a year (some £200 present value), probably paid out of the remnant of the £600 odd which came to him from his father's estate. This of itself was no bad 'stipend,' to use the poet's word, and from the tone of the letters we may guess that it was also supplemented by occasional gifts from his uncle and aunt. But it was apparently not paid regularly; Herrick was frequently in pecuniary straits, and about 1616 he migrated from St. John's to Trinity Hall in order to curtail his expenses, taking his bachelor's degree from the latter college in 1617.

It would be placing too touching a faith in under-graduate nature to attach much importance to the fact that the payments which Herrick requests were mostly to be made through booksellers, and that (save once when he confesses to having 'run somewhat deep into my tailor's debt') the need of books or the advancement of his studies are the pretexts mostly given for his requests for speedy payment. But there is no reason to imagine that Herrick's university career was an idle one. His poems show considerable traces of a knowledge and love of the classics. He translates from Virgil that charming passage which describes the meeting of Æneas with Venus clad as a simple huntress, is full of Horatian reminiscences, borrows a few couplets from Ovid, adapts quite a number of epigrams from Martial, makes so much use of his Catullus that we may guess he knew a fair number of his odes by heart, quotes Cicero, turns a tag or two from Sallust and Tacitus, and had a very extensive acquaintance with Seneca. In Greek he takes a couplet from Hesiod as a motto for his 'Noble Numbers,' alludes to Homer, though his reference to Helen at the Scaean Gate is perhaps rather from the 'Love Letters' of Aristaenetus than the Iliad, translates some twenty lines of Theocritus into the pretty poem entitled 'The Cruel Maid,' knew something of the Planudean Anthology, and knew, loved, translated, and mitated the pseudo-Anacreon.

A fuller account of Herrick's indebtedness to Greek and Latin authors will be found in another paper. This brief survey of his classical studies may suffice to prove that he was no idler, and when he left the university and returned to town he must have been well able to hold his own with the best wits of the day. The well-known poem on 'His Age,' 'dedicated to his peculiar friend, Mr. John Weekes under the name of Posthumus,' contains in the printed version some vague reminiscences of their sportive days. In the Egerton MS. 2725 at the British Museum one verse of this poem mentions some of their old play-fellows:

'Then the next health to friends of mine
In oysters and Burgundian wine,
Hind, Goderiske, Smith,
And Nansagge,—'

acquaintances of the years ere yet Herrick had donned his parson's gown, and whose amatory powers he compares to those of Jove himself.

The identity of these heroes is not very easily determined. A friend suggests that Hind may have been John Hind, an Anacreontic poet and friend of Greene, and has found references to a Goderiske (Goodrich) and a Nansagge, of whom, however, only the names are known. Smith, despite the commonness of the name, may almost certainly be identified with James Smith, a poet whose few verses sometimes strike a curiously modern note. Like Herrick he acted at one time as chaplain to a squadron sent to the relief of the Isle of Rhé, and like Herrick also became a Devonshire parson. He was, too, one of the editors and writers of the Anthology known as 'Musarum Deliciae,' and his colleague in that task, the gallant royalist sailor, Sir John Mennis, was also a friend of Herrick, who addressed a poem to him. John Wicks, or Weekes, the 'Posthumus' of Herrick's verses, was another friend of Mennis and Smith, and also a country clergyman. The first poem in the 'Musarum Deliciae' is addressed 'To Parson Weeks; an invitation to London.' 'One friend?' he is told—

'Why thou hast thousands here
Will strive to make thee better cheer.
Ships lately from the islands came
With wines, thou never heard'st their name—
Montefiasco, Frontiniac,
Viatico and that old Sack
Young Herrick took to entertain
The Muses in a sprightly vein'—

an invitation which links together the names of all these topers. Weekes, however, so Antony Wood tells us, was a good preacher as well as a merry fellow. His living was in Cornwall, but he added to it a canonry at Bristol. Herrick addresses two other poems to him; one 'a paraeneticall or advisive verse,' beginning,

'Is this a life to break thy sleep,
To rise as soon as day doth peep?
To tire thy patient ox or ass
By noon and let thy good days pass,
Not knowing this, that Jove decrees
Some mirth to adulce man's miseries?'

lines which seem to show that Parson Weekes took the cultivation of his glebe somewhat too seriously. In the third poem he is again addressed as Herrick's 'peculiar friend,' and having apparently come off better than most royalist parsons under the Commonwealth, is exhorted to hospitality:

'Since shed or cottage I have none,
I sing the more that thou hast one,
To whose glad threshold and free door
I may a poet come, though poor,
And eat with thee a savoury bit,
Paying but common thanks for it.'

If Herrick made some friends among members of his own profession, his love of music probably procured him many more. He addresses poems to William and Henry Lawes, both of whom set verses of his to music; he alludes also to Dr. John Wilson, to Gaulthier, to Lanière, and to Robert Ramsay, in terms of familiarity. The last named, who 'set' his version of the dialogue between Horace and Lydia, may have been a Cambridge friend, as he was organist of Trinity College (1628-1634). With another organist, John Parsons of Westminster Abbey, who died in 1623, Herrick must have been acquainted very shortly after his return from Cambridge. Evidence of the friendship remains in two charming little poems addressed to the musician's daughters, Dorothy and Thomasine:

'If thou ask me, dear, wherefore
I do write of thee no more,
I must answer, sweet, thy part
Less is here than in my heart,'

are the lines which have given the elder sister immortality, while the attractions of the second are for ever celebrated in the couplet,—

'Grow up in beauty, as thou dost begin
And be of all admired, Thomasine.'

Another family into which Herrick's love of music was probably the key which gained him admission, was that of the Norgates. According to the 'Calendars of State Papers,' Edward Norgate the elder was in 1611 appointed, in conjunction with Andrea Bassano, to the office of tuner of the King's virginals, organs, and other instruments; and six-and-twenty years later we find him superintending the repair of the organ in the chapel at Hampton Court. His son, another Edward, was originally a scrivener in the King's service, and was employed 'to write, limn and garnish with gold and colours' the royal letters to a picturesque list of foreign potentates, including the Grand Signior, the King of Persia, the Emperor of Russia, the Great Mogul and other remote princes, such as the Kings of Bantam, Macassar, Barbary, Siam, Achee, Fez, and Sus. From scrivener he was raised to be Clerk of the Signet Extraordinary, and thence to be Windsor Herald, and to fill a variety of small offices of profit. Herrick addresses him as 'the most accomplished gentleman, Master Edward Norgate, Clerk of the Signet to his Majesty,' and remarks that

'For one so rarely tun'd to fit all parts,
For one to whom espoused are all the arts,
Long have I sought for, but could never see
Them all concentered in one man but thee'—

a flattering tribute to the universality of Norgate's talents.

We may pass now to some of Herrick's patrons. His relations with the royal family we have already touched on, so nothing more need be said about them here. After the King, the Duke of Buckingham, whom he accompanied as chaplain to the Isle of Rhé, was probably the most influential of the poet's protectors, and Herrick addresses an effusive poem to him, and a prettier one to his sister, Lady Mary Villiers. With the Earl of Westmoreland, himself the author of a volume of verse ('Otia Sacra'), Herrick was probably on rather more intimate terms. He addresses poems also to the Duke of Richmond and Lennox, the Earl of Pembroke (Massinger's patron), Edward Earl of Dorset, Viscount Newark, and also to the Viscount's son, whom he calls 'Ultimus Heroum, or the most learned and the Right Honourable Henry Marquis of Dorchester.' Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter (his diocesan), and Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, are the only episcopal recipients of his verses. He bespeaks the favour of the former for his book, while to the latter he addresses a carol and a congratulation on his release from imprisonment, in which he speaks obscurely of some ill-turn which Williams had done him. The list of lesser men of rank, knights and baronets, among Herrick's friends is of about the same length. Sir Simeon Steward, who competed with him in writing fairy poems, is still remembered by literary antiquaries, and Sir John Denham, whom he congratulated on his 'prospective poem' ('Cooper's Hill'), is, of course, well known. But Sir Clipsby Crew, Sir Lewis Pemberton, Sir Edward Fish, Sir Thomas Heale, Sir Thomas Southwell, and other worthy magnates of the day, now only survive in Herrick's verse and the indices to County Histories. Sir Clipsby Crew, to whom he addresses five poems (besides two to his lady), was probably the most intimate of these friends, as Herrick speaks of him as 'My Crew,' 'My Clipsby,' and after telling him how he and his friends 'securely live and eat the cream of meat,' quoting Anacreon and Horace the while, bids the 'brave knight' come to visit his cell, an invitation which implies familiarity. Yet it is to be feared that with all these good knights Herrick held the Elizabethan relation of poet to patron rather than a purely equal friendship. Various verses to Sir Clipsby Crew, Sir Lewis Pemberton, Mr. Kellan and others, show that Herrick loved to frequent a rich man's table, and that when his own cellar was empty he was not slow to remind his friends that without Bacchus song is impossible. Herrick's ducal patrons probably repaid his compliments in broad pieces, and even a plain commoner, Master Endymion Porter, is commended for his liberality to poets, in that he 'not only praised but paid them too.'

This Endymion Porter is the last of Herrick's friends with whom we shall concern ourselves, and in many respects the most interesting of them all. Originally in the service of Buckingham, he accompanied the Duke and Prince Charles on their visit to Spain, and passed into the latter's service some time in the year 1624 as a groom of the chamber. He made himself useful to the King in many ways, and as early as May 1625 was granted a pension of £500 a year for life, and three years later was assigned the invidious office of Collector of Fines to the Star Chamber, 'with a moiety of the fines he shall bring in.' Porter was as full also of projects as Steele himself, and turned them, it would seem, to much better account. Thus we hear of ventures of his in ships called the Samaritan and the Roebuck, the latter of which proved so remunerative that the common sailors took £20 apiece as their share. He contracted to drain Somercoates Marsh in Lincolnshire, and complained to the Privy Council when his workmen were interfered with. In 1635 he joined with Lord Conway in petitioning the King for a grant of a kind of inspectorship of silks, for which dues were to be levied and £100 a year paid to the Treasury, the balance passing to the inspectors. Two years later Porter and his son George became deputies in the management of His Majesty's Posts. Then we hear of him as an assistant in the Corporation of Saltmakers of Yarmouth, and a little later he is concerned in the erection of a light-house and harbour at Filey, near Flamborough Head. An invention for perfecting bar-iron without the use of Scotch coal was his next venture, and, having apparently obtained a patent for this, he prays the King for a grant of the forest of Exmoor in fee-farm with a tenure in socage and the liberty of disafforestation. Next year (1638) he was given the reversion of the Surveyorship of Petty Customs in the Port of London (Chaucer's old post), and a little later on, with the Marquis of Hamilton, obtained leave from the King to examine all accounts made to his Majesty, and when they found any accountants to have deceived the King, to make what advantage they could, either by compounding with delinquents of that kind or by prosecuting them, the King to have one half the profit, and Porter and the Marquis the other. Many accountants, we are told, came in and offered very considerable compositions, so much more grist to Porter's ever busy mill. These grants and petitions, it must be confessed, shed but a sorry light on the way affairs were managed during the eleven years of Charles's personal government, but Porter knew how to make himself a favourite with the King by purchasing him works of art, conducting negotiations with Rubens and other painters, and many similar services. The State Papers which give us all these details of his business life tell us also some interesting scraps as to his taste in dress and at the table. He orders wine from abroad, and apparently uses his influence to get it in duty free, while a friend gratefully informs him that he has tried the largest soles he ever saw, fried them and pickled them according to Endymion's directions, and found them excellent. A husband who knows much about cookery does not always contribute to the easy digestion of family meals. If Endymion interfered much in this or other respects, he may probably have repented of it, for his wife, Olive, was plainly a little hot-tempered. While Endymion was absent in Spain the letters of husband and wife are full of pretty quarrels and reconciliations. 'Her will,' he writes once, 'must be done, or else there will be but little quiet'; and again,—'I wish no more wrangling till we meet, absence being punishment enough. I beg you not to beat George (their eldest son) so much, unless he be very like me. I will never beat Charles for being like you.' But Mrs. Porter could be submissive as well as provoking. Her brother tells her that Endymion is very angry, and she writes that—'She did not think he could have been so cruel to have stayed so long away, and not to forgive that which he knows was spoken in passion. She knows not how to beg his pardon, because she has broken word with him before, but she hopes his good nature will forgive her, and that he will come home.' Some day the temptation to piece together these married love-letters, with a sketch of what can be found out as to this interesting man, will become irresistible.[22] Here I must hasten to justify Porter's appearance on the present occasion. Five of Herrick's poems are addressed to him, all in the vein of a poet to a patron with whom he was on familiar terms. One I take to be an answer to a letter of condolence on the death of one of Herrick's own brothers, though it is usually maintained that the death alluded to is that of a brother of Porter himself. The others are all sportive; a letter in praise of a country life, a dialogue in which Herrick and Porter sing in turns the charms of country and court, and two encomiums on Porter's liberality.

'Let there be patrons, patrons like to thee,
Brave Porter! poets ne'er will wanting be;
Fabius and Cotta, Lentulus all live
In thee, thou man of men! who here dost give
Not only subject-matter for our wit
But likewise oil of maintenance for it.'

And again this quatrain, which calls up an amusing picture:

'When to thy porch I come and ravish'd see
The state of poets there attending thee,
Those bards and I all in a chorus sing
We are thy prophets, Porter, thou our King.'

As these verses remind us, Porter was a patron of many other poets besides Herrick, and by them also was duly besung. He was a patron, too (the trait is too delightful to be omitted), of the redoubtable Captain Dover, and in his capacity of Groom of the Bedchamber, gave that worthy a suit of the King's clothes to lend more grace to the celebration of the Cotswold Games. But here, alas, we must bid farewell to him. There are yet others of Herrick's friends of whom we would fain write, notably a group of charming ladies: Mistress Bridget Lowman, to whom he wrote his 'Meadow Verse'; Mrs. Dorothy Kennedy, from whom he parted with so much sorrow; the 'most comely and proper Mistress Elizabeth Finch'; 'Mrs. Catherine Bradshaw, the lovely, that crowned him with laurels'; and last, but certainly not least, that 'Pearl of Putney, the mistress of all singular manners, Mistress Portman.' But these, alas, are as mysterious to us as Julia and Dianeme themselves. The gossip that has here been set down has been gleaned, painfully enough, from old records and registers, and even these seemingly inexhaustible treasures will not always yield the information we desire.


IT would be curious to trace the history of the value we now attach to originality of ideas. Certainly, in the Middle Ages originality was but lightly esteemed in comparison with the appearance of learning which is obtained by frequent reference to older authors. Chaucer, for instance, delights in acknowledgments of his indebtedness to 'oldé bookés,' and even appears to have invented one or two authorities rather than take the responsibility for his statements on his own shoulders. Moreover, in many of his earlier poems his indebtedness to other writers is really great. Thus in the 'Parliament of Foules' we find him taking hints from Boccaccio, from Dante, from Alain de l'Isle, from Macrobius, Claudian, and Statius. Despite this indebtedness his work remains essentially his own; but his borrowings, especially from Boccaccio and De l'Isle, are much more considerable than custom would permit to a modern poet. Shakespeare's royal method of appropriation is something quite different from this, and it is probable that the esteem for originality first sprung up as an incident of that general revolt from the tyranny of authority which marked the sixteenth century. By 1672, when the 'Rehearsal' was upon the stage, the habit of copying old authors had become a subject for ridicule:—

'Why, sir,' says Bayes, 'when I have anything to invent I never trouble my head about it as other men do, but presently turn o'er this book, and there I have at one view all that Persius, Montaigne, Seneca's 'Tragedies,' Horace, Juvenal, Claudian, Pliny, Plutarch's 'Lives,' and the rest have ever thought upon this subject, and so, in a trice, by leaving out a few words, or putting in others of my own, the business is done.' The bolt was apparently only shot into the air, and certainly had not, as far as we can see, any special appropriateness to Dryden, whom Bayes was mainly intended to satirise. But it is curious to note, though Buckingham was probably quite ignorant of the fact, that when the words were first spoken a poet was still living, in a quiet country parsonage, to whom by way of caricature they might have been applied with remarkable exactness. The poet was Robert Herrick, by common consent one of the most individual and original of poets, from whose title to that honour nothing in this paper will in any way detract. For Herrick's borrowings assuredly were the outcome less of his poverty of thought than of his wealth of music. A saying pleased him, and by putting in or leaving out a few words he seems to have made it run into graceful verse with an ease and charm which were wholly his own. A friend to whom the present writer's Herrick-studies are more indebted than he can easily express has made a special investigation into the borrowings, and the results of his inquiries are extremely curious.[24]

It should, perhaps, be premised that, although Herrick does not draw our attention to more than a small part of his indebtedness, he had certainly no wish to conceal it. In the sole edition of his poems published during his life —an edition which served the needs of his few readers for a hundred and seventy-five years—a considerable number of lines are printed in italics. Some of these lines represent a few words of a speech, others are the quotation of a proverb or proverbial saying, but the great majority indicate that the poet is translating from a Latin author. The italicised lines do not by any means exhaust Herrick's obligations to classical writers, and we may conjecture that when preparing his poems for the press he underscored the passages of which he happened to recollect the original, but that his memory in many cases refused to serve him.

Herrick's poems are known to so many readers only by selections and anthologies, that it will probably cause even professed students of poetry some surprise to hear that among his heaviest creditors is the prosaic Seneca, and that he is also considerably indebted to Tacitus, and in some slight degree to Sallust. The popularity of the epigram during the first half of the seventeenth century is an episode in the history of English literature which has been too much ignored. Most of the epigrams themselves are worth little or nothing—often less than nothing, for many of them are vulgar or vile. Neither can it be said that the men who wrote them—Sir John Davies, Bastard, Pick, Parrot, the Mays, and the rest—are of great interest. But the popularity of the epigram, as testified by such a collection as 'Wit's Recreation,' which ran through five editions in the fourteen years, 1640-54, helps us greatly to understand the transition from the luxuriant poetry which flourished in the first half of the century to the colder and more prosaic verse which we associate with Dryden. Now, of these epigrams Herrick wrote somewhat more than his fair share, and they were so much in the temper of the time that in the next edition of 'Wit's Recreations,' which appeared after the publication of his 'Hesperides,' the editors helped themselves liberally from his store. Some of these epigrams had better never have been written, for Herrick, whose sweetness at times almost cloys, was also master of a peculiarly nauseating dirt, which his modern editors surely do well in refusing to print. Most of these unpleasant verses he must take upon his own shoulders, though for a considerable number he found his evil inspiration in Martial. But for his cleaner epigrams he was often indebted, as we have said, to Seneca and Tacitus, and the influence of these authors may also be traced in some of the gnomic sayings which occasionally heighten the effect of his best and most graceful poems. Here are a few instances, chosen almost at random. Herrick's 'Safety on the Shore':—

'What though the sea be calm? Trust to the shore;
Ships have been drown'd where late they danced before'—

is from Seneca, 'Ep.' 4: 'Noli huic tranquillitati confidere; momento mare evertitur; eodem die ubi luserunt navigia, sorbentur.' In Herrick's 'No Bashfulness in Begging'—

'To get thine ends, lay bashfulness aside,
Who fears to ask doth teach to be deny'd'—

the line he italicises is from Seneca's 'Hippolytus' (ll. 594, 5)—'Qui timide rogat ... docet negare.' So too in 'Loss from the Least'—

'Great men by small means oft are overthrown;
He's lord of thy life who contemns his own'—

the quotation is again from Seneca, 'Ep.' 4—'Quisquis vitam suam contempsit tuae dominus est.'

If we turn now to Herrick's borrowings from Tacitus we may take as a good example his couplet headed, 'Things mortal still mutable':—

'Things are uncertain, and the more we get
The more on icy pavements we are set.'

Which is really a wonderful rendering of a saying of the Emperor Tiberius reported in 'Annals' I. 72—'Cuncta mortalium incerta, quantoque plus adeptus foret, tanto se magis in lubrico.' Another good instance is supplied by 'The Eyes'—

''Tis a known principle in war,
The eyes be first that conquered are'—

where Herrick's not very lucid English is explained by 'De Moribus German.' 43—'Primi in omnibus praeliis oculi vincuntur.' Or again, we may take 'Revenge'—a rather longer verse than those we have hitherto quoted:—

'Man's disposition is for to requite
An injury before a benefit:
Thanksgiving is a burden and a pain,
Revenge is pleasing to us, as our gain'—

where Herrick's original is Tacitus, 'Hist.' IV., 3:—'Tanto proclivius est iniuriae quam beneficio vicem exsolvere; quia gratia oneri, ultio in quaestu habetur.'

Herrick's obligations to Sallust are less important than those to Seneca and Tacitus. In one case he mentions the historian by name:—

'Empires of kings are now, and ever were,
As Sallust saith, coincident to fear.'

The reference being to the spurious 'Epist. ad Cai. Caesar. de Rep. Ordinanda.' 'Consultation'—

'Consult ere thou begin'st; that done, go on
With all wise speed for execution'—

is apparently suggested by the 'Nam et prius quam incipias consulto, et ubi consulueris mature facto opus est,' of the opening of the 'Catiline.' There are some three or four other reminiscences about equally close, but they are hardly worth special mention.

As might be expected, many of Herrick's borrowings, especially those from Tacitus, have to do with politics, and commentators who have mistaken his jottings from his common-place book for the expression of his own principles have been rather confused by their alternate leaning to absolutism and its reverse. Thus, in 'A King and no King'—

'That prince who may do nothing but what's just
Rules but by leave, and takes his crown on trust'—

the sentiment is remarkably 'thorough'; but the italics indicate a quotation, and we can hardly be wrong in tracing the lines to the 'Thyestes' of Seneca:—

'Ubicunque tantum honeste dominanti licet,
Precario regnatur.'

Again, in 'Shame no Statist'—

'Shame is a bad attendant to a State:
He rents his crown, who fears the people's hate'—

both lines, though only the last is italicised, are from Seneca; the first from 'Hippolytus' 431—'Malus est minister regii imperii pudor'; the second from 'Œdipus' 701—'Odia qui nimium timet regnare nescit.' On the other hand, the italics in the lines entitled 'Patience in Princes' and 'Gentleness' show that some of Herrick's constitutional maxims were also quotations, though their source has not yet been traced. That of the first is, perhaps, to be found in Seneca's 'De Clementia' i. 22. 'Kings ought to shear, not skin, their sheep' comes from Suetonius, 'Tiberius' 32 ('Boni pastoris est tondere pecus, non deglubere'), and 'Kings ought to be more loved than feared' from Seneca's 'Octavia,' l. 457 ('Decet timeri Cæsarem. At plus diligi'). Even in weightier matters than politics we must be on our guard against the tricks Herrick may play us. The lines entitled 'Devotion makes the Deity'—

'Who forms a godhead out of gold or stone,
Makes not a god, but he that prays to one'—

have recently been quoted as expressing 'for once a really high and deep thought in words of really noble and severe propriety'; yet they are taken almost literally from Martial VIII. xxiv. 5:—

'Qui fingit sacros auro vel marmore vultus,
Non facit ille deos: qui rogat ille facit.'

In his 'Noble Numbers' Herrick quotes or paraphrases in the same way from S. Augustine, Cassiodorus, S. Bernard, S. Basil, S. Ambrose, John of Damascus, Boethius, and Thomas Aquinas. One or two passages have also been traced with absolute certainty to a contemporary theological work, and it fills us with admiration to watch how dexterously Herrick, with a minimum of alteration, turns the prose of the commentator into excellent verse.

If we turn to Herrick's debt to more poetical writers we find that he takes a few phrases from Catullus (his obligations to whom have been absurdly exaggerated), about as much from Tibullus, and a little also from Propertius and Juvenal. To his poem entitled 'The Vision' he transfers from Virgil ('Aeneid' i. 315-20) the charming description of the dress of the Spartan huntress, in which Venus encounters Aeneas. From Horace, whom he occasionally imitates, he borrows many single lines, for the most part acknowledging them by italics. To Ovid his indebtedness for phrases and turns of thought is still more marked. On the whole, however, his chief obligation is to Martial, who supplied him not only with many of his epigrams, both good and bad, but also with suggestions for more important poems. Thus, in his second poem ('To his Muse') he is inspired by Martial I. iv.; a phrase in his third ('To his Book') is suggested by the same original; the reference to Brutus in the fourth is from Martial XI. xvi.; and the next poem is a paraphrase from X. xix. All these poems have to do with his book, and it is needless to say that the amount of borrowing in them is very exceptional; but it was from Martial VII. lxxxix. that Herrick took his lovely 'Go, Happy Rose'; one of his poems on Julia is from Martial IV. xxii.; 'The Lily and the Crystal' is suggested by the same poet (VIII. lxviii. 5-8), and there are numerous smaller borrowings, altogether apart from the epigrams.

Of Greek, it is probable that Herrick's knowledge was only slight. There is even some slight reason to believe that his acquaintance with Greek authors was mainly derived from Latin translations. 'The Cruel Maid' is a very close imitation of part of the twenty-third Idyll of Theocritus; the only other Greek poetry which plays a serious part in his verse is the pseudo-Anacreon. To the collection of sportive poems, whose very slightness is their charm, which passed under Anacreon's name, Herrick's obligations are really immense. It is not only that several of his most charming poems—'The Cheat of Cupid,' 'The Wounded Cupid,' 'On Himself,' 'Upon His Grey Hairs,' etc.—are directly translated or closely imitated from the Greek; but we feel in the case of these lyrics that they really helped the development of Herrick's own gifts in a way in which none of his Latin storehouses even approached. Thus it would be easy to make out a fairly long list of poems, in which he comes so close to the spirit of 'Anacreon' that the curious student of such matters is sent hunting through the pages of his Bergk in a vain search for originals which never existed.

Herrick went late to the University, and, despite the extreme propriety of the language as to his reading which we find in his letters to his goldsmith-uncle when he was in need of a remittance, it is difficult to believe that he was ever a very earnest or laborious student. Thus the list of authors from whom he borrowed comes rather as a surprise. It is probable that a little discount must be taken off the amount of erudition with which it might incline us to credit him. His poems make it absolutely certain that he was steeped in the works of Ben Jonson and well acquainted with Burton's 'Anatomy of Melancholy,' and the Essays of Montaigne. Now Jonson, Burton, and Montaigne, as it is hardly necessary to remark, all three drew inspiration from the classics, and it would not be difficult to prove that at times Herrick's quotations came to him filtered through these authors, and not directly from the fountain head. This helps us to understand some excursions of the poet which seem unusually far afield. For instance, there can be no doubt that the ultimate original of Herrick's—

'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying'—

is from Ausonius (361, ll. 49-50):—

'Collige, virgo, rosas, dum flos novus, et nova pubes,
Et memor esto aevum sic properare tuum.'

But how came Herrick to be reading an author so little known? The probable answer is that he found the lines in Burton (III. ii. s. sec. 5), where they are quoted with the gloss:—

'A virgin is like a flower, a rose withered on a sudden. Let them take time then while they may, make advantage of youth,' etc.

So too when we find Herrick in his 'Jove for our labours all things sells us,' quoting Epicharmus, economy bids us imagine that he found the saying (τôν πονôν πôλοuσιν ηêμιν παντα ταγατη' ηοι Τηεοι) not in Xenophon's 'Memorabilia' ii. i. 20), where it first appears, but in Montaigne (II. 20), where it is quoted. For we know Herrick read Montaigne, and we have no evidence that he read Xenophon. Where the quotation is from Horace, or Martial, or Seneca, or any other author whom we may be reasonably sure that Herrick studied at first hand, it is of course quite as likely that he found it for himself as that his attention was drawn to it by Jonson, Burton, or Montaigne. Probably the poet himself would sometimes have been puzzled to trace his obligations to their sources. In any case, when all necessary allowance has been made, it is obvious that his knowledge of the chief Latin writers was considerable, and that according to the stereotyped phrase, he must have 'kept up his classics' very diligently after leaving Cambridge.

What effect should this tracking out the poet's quotations and adaptations to their sources have on our judgment of his genius? Surely, it should make us rate it more highly. We may almost say that what Herrick borrowed was intrinsically of little more value than the tags from a Latin delectus. He breathed upon them and filled them with his music, so that they assimilate so admirably with his verse, that even when he printed them in italics the meaning of the change of type has long remained a secret to his commentators. It has become a commonplace of criticism to write of Herrick as a 'butterfly,' but he was really a conscious artist, and no mean one. The examples which have been given in this paper have necessarily been chosen chiefly to illustrate the width of his reading. If space allowed, it would be pleasant to adduce others with the special object of exhibiting the skilfulness of his transmutations. Even in those we have given, few genuine lovers of poetry will deny that while to translate 'luserunt navigia' by 'where late they danced' is merely a happy stroke of scholarship, the rendering of 'in lubrico' by 'on icy pavements,' or 'regnare nescit' by 'he rents his crown,' is sheer genius.



IF truth is to be told, I have never as yet met with any amateur who collected books for the sake of the printer's mark at the beginning or end of them. But it has always seemed to me that it would be an agreeable variety of book-collecting to do this, and one which would lead the collector along many by-paths of curious knowledge. For fear of any possible mistake, I should perhaps emphasise the point that the collection must be one not of printers' marks cut out from books, but of books in which the marks are printed. Even in the case of book-plates, it has often been noted how much they gain in interest when they are found in situ, though there is always the haunting fear that the conjunction of book and plate may only be due to the ingenuity of the vendor. Book-plates, however, have of right a separate existence apart from books, since they are made separately and must await their owners' pleasure before they can be set to their proper work. But the printer's device is an integral part of the book in which it occurs, nor can any limpet torn from its rock look more unhappy than one of these marks cut out from the page on which it was printed, and pasted in a scrap-book. Unhappily, it must be said that, like the book-plate, though more rarely, a device is sometimes found attached to a book to which it does not belong. Thus, in the last Inglis sale an edition of a 'Defensorium Curatorum' by an unknown French printer, was catalogued as from the press of Colard Mansion on the score of Mansion's device, cut out with extraordinary neatness, being pasted on the last leaf. The buyer of it certainly bid with open eyes, but it is annoying to pay even a few shillings more because of such a freak. So, too, a leaf with Caxton's device bound at the end of Pynson's edition of the 'Speculum Vitae Christi' led the late Mr. Blades to believe that Pynson was Caxton's apprentice. But these misdeeds or mishaps are exceptional, and it is the collector of scraps, from Bagford downwards, whom the printers' device has chiefly to fear.


The merits of printers' devices are twofold—many of them are very pretty, and all of them, when duly studied, are capable of throwing considerable light on the history of printing, more especially on the often important point of the order in which books were issued and the year, or even the month, to which an undated book belongs. The prettiness or beauty of some of the designs will be shown by our illustrations, nor is it difficult to explain how the devices throw light on the careers of their printers.

Always executed in the manner of wood-cuts, that is to say, in relief, some of them were cut with a knife in wood, others with a graver on very soft metal. The lines of the wood block break with use, the lines of the metal block bend, and by careful examination of any two prints a good guess can mostly be made as to which was the earlier. A palmary instance of this is a metal block which Richard Pynson began to use in 1496. Its lower border began to bend almost at once; by 1503 the bend was as much as an eighth of an inch, and year by year it increased, till in 1513 the border broke altogether. Needless to say, that every undated book in which this border appears can be dated almost as easily as if the year of publication were printed in it. When several examples by the same printer are brought together, a little observation, if carefully verified, will give a good clue to the date at which a device first came into use and when it was abandoned for another, and herein lie both the usefulness and the sport which may be obtained from the study of printers' devices. What the collector should aim at is to obtain the earliest book in which the mark is used, and to make notes of its subsequent history.


Perhaps from the fact that the Anchor and Dolphin which Aldus adopted as his device were counterfeited with evil intent, it has sometimes been said that the devices were used as trade marks to protect the copyright of the books in which they occur. Copyright as such did not exist in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and books could only be protected by their printer obtaining a special 'privilege' either for an individual book or for books of a particular kind. With this the devices had nothing to do, and although a pleasing design often begat a whole progeny of similar ones, this copying, when it was not merely lazy, was probably complimentary rather than competitive. We must take it that the devices were purely ornamental, aiming, no doubt, at the glorification of the printers who used them, but not possessing any commercial significance. Hence, perhaps, the variety we find in them. They may be simply personal, containing only the printer's private arms or in some few cases his portrait. They may join his initials or some motto of his choice to the arms of the city in which he worked, or to some more or less graceful scroll work. They may reproduce the sign of his shop or the figure of his patron saint; or lastly, a kind much in vogue in the sixteenth century, they may be allegorical. As we should expect, there is a fairly steady movement from simplicity to ornateness. The earliest device (the first of our illustrations), that used by Fust and Schöffer at the end of the Latin Bible they printed at Mainz in 1462, consists only of two shields slung from a branch. That of Arnold ther Hoernen, of Cologne (about 1470), is in the same style, but even more modest. A few years later, Günther Zainer, of Augsburg, showed greater ambition in his mark, which represents a wild man holding a shield, on which is a crowned lion rampant. But though Schöffer, ther Hoernen, and Zainer thus led the way, their example was very little followed in Germany during the fifteenth century, and it is in other countries and in the books of native printers rather than of the German teachers of the craft that the development of the ornamental device must be looked for.


In Italy, despite what has just been said, the earliest device known is that of a German printer, Sixtus Riessinger, who worked at Naples, 1471-80. It represents a woman holding a shield, while behind her is a scroll bearing the letters 'S.R.D.A., Sixtus Riessinger de Argentina,' i.e. of Cologne. This device stands by itself, the real sequence of Italian designs beginning with that used at Venice by Nicolas Jenson and John of Cologne in 1481. This consists of a circle and of a straight line, crossed by two bars, rising at right angles to the base of a segment of it. It was imitated by one Italian printer after another at Venice, Pavia, Brescia, and elsewhere, and with various ornamental modifications re-appears in quite three out of four of the fifteenth century Italian devices. From Italy it passed to France, and from France to England, where it was used by Julian Notary. The design, by dividing the circle into three parts, allows the printer to place his initials in them, and this was frequently done. Jenson was also a very famous printer, and his example would naturally be imitated. But how it came to be imitated so widely, and whether any meaning, symbolical or otherwise, can be extracted from the design, are problems to which no satisfactory answer has been returned. Among the prettier modifications of this too popular design are those used by Franciscus de Mazaliis, of Reggio, and by Egmont and Barrevelt, the printers of the Venice edition of the Sarum Missal. The latter is shown on page 229.

Among designs of other patterns, mention may be made of the crown used by Mazochius, of Ferrara; the 'putti' of Filippo Giunta, and the crowned dolphin of Piero Pacini, both of Florence; the fourteen varieties of angels which appear on as many devices used by the brothers De Legnano, of Milan; the shielded warrior of Bernardinus de Garaldis, of Milan; the S. Jerome of Bernardinus Benalius; the fleur-de-lys of Lucantonio Giunta; the S. Antony of Philippus Pintius; the S. George and the Dragon of Giorgio Rusconi; and the mouse-eating cat of J. B. Sessa, reproduced on page 231. The last five printers all worked at Venice, and almost all of those we have named belonged not only to the fifteenth century, but to the sixteenth, in which the vogue of the Jenson model at last came to an end.

It has already been said that for variety and artistic treatment among printers' devices, the first place must be given to those found in French books. Yet their beginning was poor enough, the representation of the ship, taken from the arms of the city of Paris, which was used by Louis Martineau about 1484, being badly cut and quite insignificant. Jean Du Pré (for his first device), Pierre Levet, Jean Lambert, and one or two other French printers at Paris, used some of the features of the normal Italian design, though in a far more elaborate and decorative form; while at Lyons, where Italian influence was always strong, simple copying was thought good enough.


But the typical French device is much more pictorial than any of these. The arms of France and of the city of Paris are prominent in many of them, and in that of André Bocard both are used at once; but the printer used often to take a suggestion from his Christian name, from the sign by which his shop was known, or from the motto with which most early French devices are encircled. The second device of Antoine Caillaut (reproduced on p. 241) is a beautiful and early example of the appearance of a patron saint in a device; while that of the two swans used by Du Pré, whose printing house had the 'Deux Cygnes' for its sign, is a good example of the second class. The device here chosen for our second French illustration I take to be an example of the pictorial expansion of a motto, Regnault's expression of trust in God being well represented by this quiet little pastoral scene (see page 234).


Though far inferior to the best French examples, the printers' marks used in the Low Countries are also numerous, varied and good. They range from the twin shields of Veldener and Gerard Leeu to such imposing devices as the elephant and howdah used, with punning intent, by an unknown printer ('G.D.') at Gouda, and the bannered castle, the arms of the city of Antwerp, adopted by Thierry Martens. Among the earliest are the small portraits of the printers themselves found in some of the books of John and Conrad, of Paderborn, in Westphalia. That of the former, here reproduced, is sometimes found in red ink as well as black, and is referred to in one of his colophons as 'meum solitum signum.' The bird-cage used by Godfrid Back at Antwerp has no parallel among devices that I know of, but as a specimen of the larger Dutch marks we will take that of his fellow-citizen, Matthias van der Goes, which represents a very vigorous 'wild man' with club and shield (see page 228).

Spanish devices are in some cases adapted from the French or Italian, in others rather dull and uninteresting. Of those which belong to neither of these classes, by far the finest as a piece of decorative work is that of Diego de Gumiel, of Valladolid (see page 236), the effect of which is as rich as that of the best of William Morris's initial letters.

Next in interest to this we may perhaps rank the rather elaborate device (see page 230) of Arnold Guillem de Brocar, the printer of the Complutensian Polyglot, who at different times in his career had presses also at four other places. The motto upon it, 'Inimici hominis domestici ejus,' though it has been made the basis of some theories as to Brocar's career, is still unexplained. If the 'domestici,' the 'those of his own household,' could be extended to Brocar's workpeople, we should have here a fine example of an early grumble by a master printer, but the suggestion is perhaps more pleasing than probable. Cryptic mottoes seem to have run in Brocar's family. His son Juan adopted an extraordinary device of a knight seizing a lady by the hair, with an inscription 'Legitime certanti,' which must be taken as sarcastic.


The history of printers' marks in England begins with that used by Caxton for the first time as late in his career as 1487. Out of respect for his master, Wynkyn de Worde adopted the essential parts of this, i.e. the initials 'W.C.' and the interlacement between them in all his fifteen different devices, thus conferring on them a rather painful monotony. English printers, indeed, seem to have set little store on originality in these matters, the earliest device of Pynson being adapted from that of Le Talleur, of Rouen, that of Richard Faques from Thielmann Kerver's, the 'wild men' of Peter Treveris from those of Pigouchet, and John Byddell's unprepossessing figure of Virtue from that used by Jacques Sacon, of Lyons. Nevertheless, English devices at once interesting and original are not lacking. That used by Pynson at the end of Lord Berner's translation of 'Froissart' (see page 232) is one of the largest and not the least fine of armorial marks, the interlaced triangles of William Faques make a singularly neat device, and John Day's picture of two men gazing on a skeleton, with the motto, 'Etsi mors indies accelerat vivet tamen post funera virtus,' has its own merits. England also contributes two of the very small number of portrait marks, a large one of Day and a smaller one (here reproduced) of John Wight,[26] a bookseller of St. Paul's Churchyard, who published a few books between 1551 and 1589. It seemed permissible to come down as late as this in the case of our own country, but to speak of the French and German devices of the middle of the sixteenth century would open up too large a field. All that has been attempted here is to give a few characteristic examples of comparatively early date, so as to exhibit the different styles of printers' marks, used in different countries by one generation of printers. I hope that any of my readers who had not hitherto made the acquaintance of these little designs will have been convinced that they are worthy of further study.

Any one who desires to take up the subject more or less seriously will find a considerable literature ready to his hand. To Messrs. Bell and Co.'s 'Ex Libris' series Mr. William Roberts has contributed a pleasant volume, which offers an easy introduction for beginners. More serious students will find an almost exhaustive series of woodcut copies of French devices in Silvestre's 'Marques typographiques,' and much prettier facsimiles abound in M. Claudin's great 'Histoire de l'Imprimerie en France,' though this as yet treats only of Paris printers of the fifteenth century. For Italy, Dr. Kristeller's 'Die Italienischen Buchdrucker und Verlegerzeichen bis 1525' is excellent, and its publishers (Heitz and Mündel) have brought out similar monographs on the marks used at Strasburg, Basel, Frankfort, and Cologne, and also in Spain and Portugal. The earlier Low Country marks will be found in Holtrop's 'Monumens typographiques des Pays-Bas'; the earlier English ones in the 'Handlists of English Printers' issued by the Bibliographical Society.

As to collecting, it is certainly a little alarming to have to buy a whole book for the sake of a single device in it, or at most two. On the other hand, the books are pleasant things in themselves, and there is an alleviation in the fact that the devices only begin to abound a little before 1490, and that books of this date can be acquired, even now, at prices which seem reasonable compared with those fetched by the real first-fruits of the press. Many very pretty devices will be found in the thin volumes of Latin verse published at Paris in the early parts of the sixteenth century, and a bookman who meets a 'tract-volume' containing several of these bound together, will probably find sufficient devices among them to start his collection.



SOME little time after the death of Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks the Library of the British Museum acquired, through the kindness of his successor in the Keepership of Mediæval Antiquities, Mr. C. H. Read, some three hundred books, of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, bearing on their bindings armorial book-stamps. For lack of a better word these three hundred books have been dignified in the heading of this article by the title of a 'collection,' but it is due to the great reputation of Sir Wollaston Franks as a collector to say that he himself would probably have smiled if he had heard them called so. As all bookish people know, one of his real hobbies was the collection of book-plates, his countless specimens of which passed at his death to another department of the British Museum, that of Prints and Drawings, where considerable progress has been made in describing and cataloguing them. By the side of his thousands of book-plates these three hundred or so old books with armorial stamps on their covers are a merely subsidiary collection, sufficient to illustrate the method of marking ownership, which book-plates first rivalled and then, alas, almost entirely superseded.

The £500 which Sir Wollaston Franks gave for the copy of the 'Ptolemy' of 1490, with the badge of Mary Queen of Scots, recently the subject of one of the Bibliographical Society's Monographs, shows the spirit in which he would have pursued the collection of armorial bindings had he taken it up seriously. As it was, he seems to have given a standing order to several booksellers to send him any books or odd volumes, of which the chief value lay in the stamped arms, and which they were willing to sell for a small sum, and to have taken his chance. There are worse ways of collecting than this, for a bookseller who knows that he can always place a book of a certain class with a customer, will often be content to buy it at a venture for a small price and pass it on at once at a few shillings' profit without examining it very carefully or inquiring too curiously into its market value. As will be seen from some of the books soon to be mentioned, this was certainly the experience in this instance of Sir Wollaston Franks, and the foregoing depreciation of the specimens he thus got together must be understood as written solely to prevent his name in the title of this article from raising expectation too high.

Before describing any individual specimens, it may be worth while to say a few words about book-stamps in general. Compared with book-plates, of which the literature during the last ten or twelve years has grown with such rapidity, they have as yet received very little attention outside France, where Guigard's 'Armorial du Bibliophile' in its second edition (1892) gives as full information about most French examples as can reasonably be desired. In the third volume of 'Bibliographica,' Mr. W. Y. Fletcher wrote an interesting article on 'English Armorial Book-stamps,' and it is much to be wished that he could be persuaded to print in full his notes on the subject, which are certainly more complete— or less incomplete—than those in the possession of any one else. A few years ago the Grolier Club of New York held an exhibition of books bearing these marks of ownership, and printed a small catalogue of it, which I have not had the advantage of seeing. Other information, as far as I am aware, can only be obtained by painful search in books of heraldry and genealogy and in biographies.

Towards the close of the age of manuscripts, it became a fairly common practice, more especially in Italy, for book-lovers to cause their arms to be painted as part of the decoration of the first page of text. In the last years of the fifteenth century book-plates came into use in Germany, and during the next hundred years were slowly adopted both in France and England. But until the sixteenth century was far advanced the commonest way of marking possession of a book in England remained that of inscribing the owner's name on the title-page or a fly-leaf. Thus all the books in the large libraries of Archbishop Cranmer and Lord Lumley bear their names, 'Thomas Cantuariensis' and 'Lumley,' in the handwriting of their secretaries or librarians. One or two instances are found of names printed or written on book-edges. That of 'Anna Regina Anglie,' i.e. Anne Boleyn, on a vellum presentation copy of Tyndale's New Testament of 1534, is a well-known example of this. On the outside of books names are found from a very early period; but in the fifteenth century and the early years of the sixteenth they are mostly those, not of the owners of the volume, but of the bookbinder, as in the case of Conrad of Strasburg, Johann Richenbach, and André Boule. Every one, however, knows the inscriptions which the three great collectors, Grolier, Maioli, and Lauwrin put on their books. As the sixteenth century grew older the names or initials of the owner, with sometimes a date added, are found on a fair number of bindings. In Germany such names and dates were frequently branded in black on pigskin bindings. In other countries the names are, as a rule, stamped in gold. As late as the eighteenth century Lord Oxford used to stamp his name, 'Robert Harley,' on his books, in addition to his arms.

Coming at last to armorial book-stamps, we find that from the fifteenth century onwards books were often impressed with the royal arms. These were used both as marks of possession and also, at least in England (as noted by Mr. Davenport in his article on 'Some Popular Errors as to old Bindings' in vol. ii. of 'The Library'), as decorative designs on the trade bindings of loyal stationers. Crowned initials and royal badges are often found, and these nearly always mark royal ownership. When this use of armorial book-stamps was first adopted by collectors beneath the royal rank is not easy to say. Grolier is said to have occasionally placed his arms on his books, but I believe that until about 1560, the practice did not become at all common even in foreign countries, and in England it was probably some ten years later. It is, perhaps, worth noting that in France the fashion must undoubtedly have received a great impetus from the sumptuary law of 1577, which restricted the use of the elaborate 'fanfare' style of ornamenting books to those in royal ownership. The splendid bindings of a few of the books of Jacques Auguste de Thou (associated, rightly or wrongly, with the name of Nicolas Eve) must all have been executed before this date. Thereafter he adopted the plain morocco covers decorated only with the stamps of his arms with which all book-lovers are familiar. Other collectors followed his example, and in their respective kinds both the strong, massively stamped books of De Thou, and the more finely grained red moroccos of later French bookmen, in which the tiny stamp of arms has a Legasconesque delicacy of finish, offer examples of simple decoration which the wealthiest collector may well imitate.


Of books bearing the arms of French collectors upwards of one hundred and fifty were brought together by Sir Wollaston Franks, but the English stamps, which number rather over a hundred, must engage our first attention. One of the earliest of these is a small stamp of the arms of Archbishop Parker, forming the centre of a rather decorative binding, obviously of English work. The book it is found on is a copy of Beza's Latin New Testament, printed at London by Vautrollier, in 1574, on the yellow paper occasionally used during the middle of the sixteenth century, presumably as less trying to the eyes than the ordinary white. Parker's patronage of John Day is well known, but in view of the likelihood of this being a presentation copy to the Archbishop from Vautrollier, it would be rash to credit Day with the binding of this volume, which is, moreover, not quite so original as Day's work at its best.


Two other books in the Franks collection are connected by their stamps with Parker's royal mistress. One of these bears the well-known Falcon badge which Elizabeth adopted in imitation of her mother. This is found on a copy of Etienne Dolet's 'De Latina lingua' printed at Basel in 1539. I do not know if the point has been raised and settled as to whether this badge was used by Elizabeth, both as queen and as princess, but there is at least nothing to prevent our supposing that this treatise of Dolet's was one of Elizabeth's school-books, and thus often in her hands. It is at least a point in favour of such a supposition that the badge in this case is sharper and fresher than on any other book I have ever seen. The other Elizabethan book in the collection is even more interesting, for its covers are embossed with the portrait-stamp of the queen here reproduced, and no other instance of the use of the stamp is recorded. The book is the Plantin Greek Testament of 1583, an edition which the queen would be very likely to possess. But whether this copy was ever in her library we have no means of deciding, the alternatives of presentation to and presentation by, of ownership by the original of the portrait or by some loyal subject, being very equally balanced. The stamp in this case is slightly raised, and is the earliest instance of a cameo stamp on any English binding.

The only other sixteenth-century English armorial stamps in the collection are two examples of the stamp used by William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, one in gold on a copy of the Greek Testament of Erasmus printed at Basel in 1570, the other in silver on a Hebrew Bible issued from the press of Plantin in 1583. It is certainly a very decorative stamp, but I must confess to preferring to it the simple inscription 'William' and 'Mildred Cicyll' on a binding which entered the Museum with the old Royal Library. In the present collection a little Lyons Virgil printed by Gryphius in 1571, though with a decorative instead of an heraldic stamp, bears the initials, 'W.P.,' of an English owner, a book-plate of 'The Right Honble. Robert James Ld Petre, Thorndon in Essex,' combined with a manuscript note, dated 1589, enabling us to identify W. P. with William Petre the second Baron (1575-1607). The note, apparently written when Petre was fourteen years old, records that the book was acquired by exchange with a certain Dominus Bigge.


Passing to the seventeenth century, we may notice first two books which bear the Towneley arms, Nichols's translation of Thucydides printed at London in 1550, and the 'Scholia in quatuor Evangelia' of Lyons, 1602. The arms are stamped in silver instead of the more usual gold, and alone of all the book-stamps with which I am acquainted they bear a date, that of the year 1603. Readers familiar with Mr. Hardy's excellent little treatise on Bookplates may remember that the Towneley plate which forms its frontispiece bears the date 1702, just a century later. The two marks of ownership are really, however, separated by a somewhat smaller interval, for while 1702 is no doubt the date of the plate (such dated plates being unusually common at the beginning of the eighteenth century), the 1603 of the book-stamp is probably the birth-date of Christopher Towneley, the antiquary, who was born at Towneley Hall, Lancashire, on 9th January 1603, old style.


We come now to an interesting group of books, once in the possession of Ralph Sheldon, the seventeenth-century antiquary. The first of these bears not his own arms but those of Augustine Vincent, the Windsor Herald, which two years ago attracted attention from being found, stamped in blind, on the splendid copy of the first Folio Shakespeare presented to him by William Jaggard, one of its publishers.28 In the present instance they are impressed in gold on Estienne de Cypres' 'Genealogies de soixante et sept tres nobles Maisons,' printed at Paris in 1586. Augustine Vincent died in 1626, and his son sold his books to Ralph Sheldon, who on his death in 1684 bequeathed his manuscripts to the College of Arms. The printed books apparently remained for some time in the possession of the family, for this volume bears a Sheldon book-plate, and Sir Wollaston Franks was able to purchase two other books with Ralph Sheldon's book-stamp, Campian's 'Historia Anglicana' (Douay, 1632), and the 'Prophecies' of Nostradamus (London, 1672). On both of these the Sheldon arms are quartered with those of Ralph's wife (Henrietta Maria, daughter of Thomas Savage, Viscount Rock Savage), and both books have written in them the motto, 'In Posterum,' apparently in Ralph's autograph. A third book, Greenway's translation of the 'Annals' of Tacitus (London, 1640), bears on its title-page the autograph of 'Geo. Sheldon,' and on the cover the Sheldon arms as here shown.


The next two volumes we may note are Thomas Mason's 'Of the Consecration of Bishops in the Church of England' (1613), and the 'Works' of King James I. (1616), both of them bearing the Hatton arms. From their dates these must therefore have belonged not to Elizabeth's favourite, whose arms are figured in Mr. Fletcher's article, since he died in 1591, but to a son of his cousin of the same name, of Clay Hall, Barking. This third Christopher Hatton was baptized and probably born in 1605, and was a prominent man during the reign of Charles I., by whom he was created Baron Hatton in 1643. He was responsible for an edition of the Psalms with prayers attached (1644), which went by the name of Hatton's 'Psalter,' and was philosopher enough to be able to make himself happy with his 'books and fiddles' while a Royalist exile.

A few of these early seventeenth-century books possess bindings interesting for other reasons besides their marks of ownership. Thus, a fine Hebrew folio is decorated not only with the arms of John Williams, Bishop of Lincoln, but with some striking examples of the handsome, if heavy, corner-pieces in vogue in the reign of James I. On a copy of Brent's 'History of the Council of Trent' the arms of Berkeley look all the better for being inclosed in a handsome scroll-work centrepiece. So again we find both fine cornerpieces and a good central stamp on the three volumes of the works of that learned divine William Perkins (London, 1612), which bear also the initials H. L. beneath a coronet. The owner was presumably Henry Yelverton, created Viscount Longueville in 1690, to whom also belonged a copy of the 1660 edition of More's 'Explanation of the Grand Mystery of Godliness.' On the Perkins volumes his coroneted initials were plainly added as an afterthought, while a much smaller M. Y., inclosed in the cornerpieces as part of the original design, suggests that the volume had in the first instance belonged to Mary Yelverton, the wife of the Judge of Court of Common Pleas, who died in 1630.

The works of Perkins were popular in the seventeenth century, and Sir Wollaston Franks acquired another edition of them, that of 1626, bearing the arms of one of the descendants of Thomas Smythe, Farmer of the Customs in the reign of Elizabeth, whose arms combined with those of his wife, Alice Judde, were figured by Mr. Fletcher. The coat now in question may have belonged either to his grandson, Thomas, who was not created Viscount Strangford until two years after the publication of the book, or to the Viscount's brother, the ambassador to the Court of Russia, who fitted out an Arctic expedition, and has his munificence commemorated in the name of 'Smith's Sound.'

A copy of the 1617 edition of Spenser's 'Faery Queen,' bearing the initials M. C. beneath a coronet, offers another example of a mark of ownership attached by a descendant of the original possessor. Who M. C. was is explained by the pretentious inscription on a book-plate inside the cover, which proclaims itself the property of 'The Right Honble Mary, wife of Charles, Earle of Carnarvon & Sister of James, Earle of Abingdon.' The Earl of Carnarvon here named was the second earl, Charles Dormer, who died in 1709, and his countess was the daughter of Montague Bertie, Earl of Lindsey, by his second wife Bridget, Baroness Norreys of Rycote. This descent accounts for the inscription on the title-page, 'Norreys, 1647,' and we may conclude that the volume was at one time owned either by the Baroness Norreys or her first husband. The book-plate of the Countess of Carnarvon is here reproduced as presumably a rather early example of a lady's plate in the heraldic style. It certainly does not deserve the honour for its artistic merits, the design and engraving being as poor as the inscription is foolish.


Copies of a Commelinus Tacitus (1595) and a Horace, Persius and Juvenal (London, 1614-15) bear the arms of John Maitland, created Viscount Lauderdale in 1616; those of the Earl of Huntingdon are found on a Camden's 'Britannica' of 1627; those of William Covert of Sussex, on the 1615 edition of the works of Gervase Babington; The Right Hon.ble Mary Wife of Charles Earle of Carnarvon & Sister of James Earle of Abingdon those of Chetwynd, on Matthew of Westminster's 'Flores Historiarum' (Frankfort, 1601); those of Wilmer on Stowe's 'Survey of London,' 1618. Further investigation would no doubt yield a tale as to each of these volumes, but we may not linger over them. We must stop, however, to note that the arms of Archbishop Laud, on a copy of his 'Relation of a conference with Fisher the Jesuit,' do not clearly indicate that this was his own library copy, since an inscription (apparently in Laud's handwriting) informs us that the book was 'presented by ye author to Sr Jo. Bramston, Ch[ief] Ju[stice] of the K[ing's] B[ench],' a book-plate of one of whose descendants, 'Thomas Bramston, Esq., of Skreens,' is found in the volume. In the same way, in the next century, we find Speaker Onslow possessed of a copy of Locke's 'Letters concerning Toleration,' presented to him by Thomas Hollis, and bearing some of the donor's favourite emblems, the cap of liberty, the owl of Minerva and a pen, with the motto 'Placidam sub libertate quietem.' There is no special reason to suppose that either Archbishop Laud or Hollis intended these volumes originally for their libraries, and after having had them bound with that intention subsequently gave them away. It may, of course, have been so, but we should not entirely exclude the supposition that books were also sometimes impressed with the arms or device of the donor, in order to remind the recipient of the source whence the gift came, just as we find gift-plates alongside of the more usual book-plates denoting personal ownership.


Owing to the library of Sir Kenelm Digby having been seized after his death in France under the inhospitable French law which gave to the king the chattels of strangers dying in his country, books with his arms are not often found in England. Sir Wollaston Franks was, therefore, fortunate in obtaining three volumes thus decorated, two of them showing his coat with that of his first wife, Venetia Stanley on an escutcheon of pretence, as figured in Mr. Fletcher's article, while the third bears his coat impaled with hers, and is much more finely cut.


The arms of the Duke of Albemarle are found on the 1634 edition of Harrington's 'Orlando Furioso,' those of the Earl of Arlington on a copy of a Spanish religious work, 'Trabajos de Iesus,' printed at Madrid in 1647, those of Lord Cornwallis, with a cipher imitated from that of Charles II., on a 1669 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. Other seventeenth-century collectors of minor note might be mentioned, but we must pass on now beyond the Revolution of 1688, and notice a few coats of later date. A copy of Dryden's 'Miscellany Poems' of 1702 bears the arms of Charles, Lord Halifax ('the Treasurer'), as well as a book-plate dated with the same year, 1702; a Roman History of 1695 and a Prayer Book of 1700 carry two different stamps of the arms of John, Lord Somers; there are three books with the stamp and name of Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, and three with the Carteret arms. Of these last two, Hammond's 'Sermons' and the 'Divi Britannici,' both published in 1675, bear 'the bloody hand' that marks a baronet, while a Horace of Paris, 1567, shows Lord Carteret's arms as a peer. On Sanderson's 'Nature and Obligation of Conscience' (1722) we have another instance of a lady's book-stamp, that of Cassandra Willoughby, Duchess of Chandos; the arms and book-plate of the Duke of Montagu are found on a copy of Bishop Berkeley's famous treatise on the virtues of tar-water (1744); lastly, a Utrecht Callimachus of 1697 is adorned with the arms of Sir Philip Sydenham, Bart., and with the book-plate of John Wilkes, who, if a demagogue, was a demagogue of classical tastes.

These eighteenth-century books and their owners are somewhat less interesting than the earlier ones to which most of this article has been devoted, and in attempting to enumerate them it is difficult to avoid the style of a catalogue. The danger is all the greater when we turn to the French books, for here Guigard has been before us, and there is no purpose to be served by making extracts from his pages. As might be expected, the collection contains more than one specimen of the books of De Thou, in which the British Museum was already fairly rich. Among other notable stamps of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries we may mention that of Antoine de Leve, Abbé de l'Isle en Barrois, on three books published between 1574 and 1624; of Estampes de Valency on a book of 1557; of Peiresc (on a 'Harpocrationis Dictionarium,' 1614), and of Louis Philippeaux, Seigneur de la Vaillière. Of later date are those of the Comtesse de Verrue, Beatrix de Choiseul, La Rochefoucald, President Seguier, Turgot, Montausier, Marie Leczinska, and a host of others too numerous to mention.

The German books are few and apparently unimportant, the Italian mostly ecclesiastical, those from the Low Countries mostly school-prizes. There are also two or three Spanish books, all the more welcome because Spanish bindings are so seldom met with in England, and a few fairly good specimens of the bookbinder's craft without armorial stamps. But the English books are the main feature of the collection.


(By Alice Pollard)

SOME forty years ago there was picked up in the cellar of a large private bank in Lombard Street a little pocket-book, which must have lain there for at least a century. Its parchment covers were yellow and time-stained, and the brown ribbon which fastened them together had become ragged and moth-eaten, but despite its somewhat faded brown ink the crabbed handwriting remained as legible as ever. After its removal from the Lombard Street cellar the queer little book lay for another forty years in the musk-scented drawer of a Chippendale secretaire, which formed for it a not unfitting resting-place. Thence it has to-day been unearthed, and is now to be made to tell its old-world story. This, in truth, is but a simple one, as the book contains chiefly a very carefully kept memorandum of the moneys spent by its owner during his youth and early manhood; but running through these accounts we can trace something of his family history, of his employments, tastes, and habits, and so, I think, gain a very fair idea of the writer's individuality. Now and then, as if to help us, he uses a page as a diary, and by means of such entries as births, deaths, and marriages, we can piece our story together.

'John Payne, 1699,' that is the first information which our book gives us, and we turn from the fly-leaf, where it is boldly written, to inquire who this John Payne was, and what was his business and rank in life. We start with a predisposition to believe that he was a banker, because it was in a bank which still bears his name that his pocket-book was picked up; but the pocket-book itself has nothing to say about banking, while it is very profuse on the subjects of 'Linsayes, dyapers, Westfalia linen,' etc., and informs us that its owner was frequently sending home house linen and dress stuffs to his mother, sisters, and friends. Somewhat reluctantly, therefore, we conclude that our hero began life as a draper, and it is with satisfaction (for we would fain have him cut a figure) that we note sundry entries of a Sir James and my Lady, a Sir Stephen, and a Lady Langham in a connection which shows them to have been either relations or old family friends. There are not wanting other indications that our young draper came of a well-to-do stock, and we may, therefore, conclude that in coming to London to serve a seven years' apprenticeship, he was only acting on the excellent rule that to win success as a merchant (or anything else) you must begin at the beginning. As has been already said, the date inside the pocket-book is 1699, but the accounts begin on January 10, 1696, so that those of the first three years have evidently been copied in from some earlier notes. This ascertained, we become excited to find the entry of the purchase of the book itself, and are rewarded after a little search by the information that, together with some paper and quills, it only cost one shilling and fourpence, certainly no excessive outlay for a book constantly in use for over a quarter of a century. In copying his back accounts into his new purchase, John divided his book into two halves, keeping the first for 'what I have layd out since I came to London on my Father's charge,' and the second for his disbursements from 'the money that I did bring up to town at the first coming up (4l 8s.), and sent me since and given me by freinds.' In looking over his accounts for him we will follow the order of his own choosing, and begin with his expenditure for what he considered the necessaries he might fairly charge to his father.

On his first arrival in town the youthful John evidently found himself somewhat behind the times in the cut of his clothes and the fashion of his hair, for on the first page of the book we have distinct suggestions of visits to his tailor and the barber, who between them arrayed his outer man for a first entry into town life, and managed to do so at the moderate cost of £5, 3s. 6d. Here are the items:

Layed out between ye 10th of January & ye 20th of February 1695/6.
A paire of Gloves000102
A box & hatband000206
A pennknife000008
A Queer of paper000006
A Coppy Booke000008
A Porter & letter000006
The Barber00 00 03
Sugar Candy00 00 02
Damask 4 yds00 14 06
2 yds ¾ of Bd Cloth01 13 00
5 yds of Shaloone00 11 00
Buttons & fustin00 10 11
Buckrum & Canvis00 01 03
Glazd Lin:00 00 05
The Taylors Bill01 06 00
 05 03 06

Tailors were evidently more modest in their charges in those days. It is difficult at first to see under what pretext John could have set down twopennyworth of sugar candy under the head of 'Thinges layd out on my Father's charge,' but we soon find a further entry of 'Things for my cold,' and doubtless the sugar candy might also have come under that head; indeed, the London fogs seem not to have agreed with the Huntingdonshire lad, for more than once in each year we find references to colds which mostly appear to have been treated by blood-letting.

After the first month of 1695/6 the father could have had no cause to complain of his son's extravagance, for his whole expenses for the next quarter come to seventeen shillings and fourpence, even including 'Sister Betty's fringe,' for which he paid eightpence, a tip of sixpence given to 'Ye Maide,' and 'Close mending from Top to Toe,' which cost him four shillings and threepence! During the next year and a half he has a fair number of new clothes and makes some wonderful bargains, obtaining 'A Comb: Sisers: Blade & Buttons' for one shilling and ninepence. His barber is still an expensive item, for his 'Peruke' needs constant attention; his cold also requires 'sugar candy and other things,' but he executes a great piece of economy by having 'Wastcoate turned to Breeches' at a cost of only 2s. 1d. In 1699 his 'wigg' again proves costly; it appears to have been thoroughly done up and trimmed to the latest fashion previous to a visit to his home, for we find two entries following each other:

My Wigg & its Mending010400
My place ith' Coach & charge on the Roade010000

The remaining accounts which he sends in to his father from time to time have no particular interest, being more or less repetitions of those which have gone before, but on the last page of the book he sums up the whole seven years as follows: 'Spent on father's acct in ye whole 7 years of Apprenticeship, 64l. 19s. 11d. Spent on my own acct on Self and freinds, 19l. 15s. 9d. Spent less than I had saved before and given me after I came to towne in ye 7 years, 3l. 13s. 5d.' The seven years' private accounts start as follows:

The Money that I did bring up to town att y^e first coming up was 4l. 8s. 0d.

Lent me since yt & given me by freinds:

By father0 17 0
By Mother0 13 6
By Grandmother1 19 6
By Sr James and my Lady2 18 0
By Cousen Betty0 12 0
By Sr Stephen0 11 0
By Brother0 16 0
By Uncle & Aunt0 03 0
By Sisters0 13 6
Hog Money & old Coate0 06 0
By several0 04 6
By ye Box Money of ye first ½ of my time0 18 6
By ye King's Entry0 03 0
By Aunt Wikes0 02 6
By father more0 09 0
By my Lady more0 10 0
 16 01 0

7s. 6d. I had given me more not sett down because layd out againe In Tokens.

The private accounts are only entered in detail for one half the time of his apprenticeship, and with one or two additions may be all summed up under the following heads:—'Fruit: Necessarys: Lost in wagers and other wayes: on ye Poore: Spent with kindred and acquaintance: Tokens: & given.'

The regularity with which the accounts are kept is only equalled by the remarkable steadiness of his expenditure; the first and third years showing an outlay of exactly £1, 2s. each, whilst the second and fourth each run to precisely £2. Perhaps it will be most interesting to examine the four years side by side.

In fruit610½807575
Lost in wagers & other wayes211627 11
On Ye Poore16261712
Spent with Kindred & acquaintance46846150

The additional expenses are unnoteworthy with the exception of 'A Key to a Pen,' which certainly arouses curiosity; the price of the key was one shilling, but its size, shape, and use remain a mystery to us.

The next page or two are filled with desultory memoranda of small sums received in the form of 'tips,' and ending up with these two statements:

This being Septr ye 29th 1699 I find I have spent this first half of my time on my own charges 06l. 4s. 00d..

Spent on my own acct in ye 7 years 19l. 15s. 9d.

One is tempted to speculate as to what form his greater extravagance during the second half of his time took, but on this point the book is silent.

The apprenticeship ended in the early part of 1703, but John apparently stayed on in the same business for several years afterwards at a weekly wage of £5. That this did not constitute his entire income is clear from a page of his diary, which records: 'Father recd of Jos. Atkins for my rent Dew at Lady Day 1701, 16l. 13s. 00d. taxes being Deducted'; and again, after more references to Jos. Atkins: 'Recd of my tenant in all 64l. 17s. being 2 years rent due att Michaelmas 1703.'

We do not find any references either in the diary or the accounts to the time when the young man began to think of taking to himself a wife, but his income at the high value of money in those days would now be quite sufficiently large to enable him to do so, and some time within the next three years he wooed and won his bride. Of the nature of that wooing one would gladly learn a little more, for even with the help of a decided love-letter written to his mistress within six months of their marriage we cannot divine much. How this letter (probably only one amongst many of a like nature) ever fell again into the hands of its original writer, to be placed by him in the pocket of the little account-book, we are unable to say; but there it is, yellow and stained with age, and worn with much folding and refolding. It is written on the thin, rough, large square note-paper of the period, sealed with a monogram and elaborately addressed on the back:

For Mrs. Lydia Durrant att
Mr. Henry Woodgate's in
By Stone Crouch Bag

The letter is so short and so quaint that I transcribe the whole.

I gladly embrace ys first opportunity to tell you dearest Mdm yt I arrived Safe in towne ys evening with a great deal of ease both to my horse & self; The Roads I found much better than by way of Tunbridge & Weather Thanks be to God pretty favourable, My greatest trouble was to think ye nearer I was to my journeys End, yt I was still ye farther from yr Dear Self. Do me so much Justice Mdm as to believe yt it is impossible for me to have any interest or concern nearer my heart then you & I am sorry so great a truth and pure cannot be expressed in other Words then such as sometimes are forced to serve ye profane use of Complements. I wish it were any way in my power & I hope it will 'ere long, to shew ye true affection I have for you & I value myself upon ye opportunity I promise myself of shortly kissing yr hand. I have not mett with father as yett but trust I shall tomorrow morning. Yr letters to Hackney shall be delivered with care and speed. I beg Mrs Woodgate's acceptance of ye oranges designed her ys week by Caryer, I shall rejoice to hear ye little one is come safe to towne & Aunt in a way of recovery but above all to hear of yr good health wch will be an infinite joy. If you did believe or could Imagine how great a refreshment a letter from you would afford me at this melancholy distance you would not faile to write by the first post, & ye hopes I conceive you will do so support me under ye misfortune of yr absence. It is late so adding my humble service to Unkle's & Mr Paris's family with a thousand thanks shall extend this no farther than ye subscribing myself with a most sincere and hearty affection

Mdm yr most humble admirer

John Payne.

March 12th 1705/6 Fetter Lane.

'My greatest trouble was to think the nearer I was to my journeys End, that I was still the farther from your Dear Self'—that is a very prettily turned sentence, and yet with a ring about it which sounds straight from the heart. Throughout the whole letter, indeed, there is a delightful simplicity and homeliness which even the stilted phraseology of the period cannot quite spoil, and which tempts us to think that when the 'melancholy distance' (of some thirty miles) no longer kept the lovers apart, John may possibly have greeted his lady just a little more warmly than with that respectful touch of her hand which was all that epistolary conventions allowed him to propose to himself. At any rate his suit prospered, for in the middle of his pocket-book we come across two pages of diary pure and simple which show us that just five months after his letter the wished-for opportunity of showing his 'true affection' was granted by his marriage with Mistress Lydia Durrant in September of the same year. Immediately following this record of his entrance 'into ye holy state of Matrimony, Sept. 4, 1706,' we have the beginning of his household accounts. On the credit side they run as follows:

Recd Sept. 27th, 1706—£s.d.
4 weeks money from Shop20 00 0
5 weeks do. Nov. 2d25 0 0
Recd Fa[ther] pr. Bror Woodford20 0 0
Recd Brother Woodford more than layed out2 11 0
Nov. 16. 2 weeks' money10 00 0
—  23. 1 week's money50 0
Dec.  7. 2 weeks' money100 0
Jan. 18. 6 weeks' money30 00 0
Jan. 25. 1 week's money5 00 0
 127 11 0

The debit side is evidently headed by expenses in connection with the wedding, and it would appear that, when John had brought his wife to town, the young couple finished the furnishing of their house together.

Septr 29, 1706.£s.d.
Pd for hatt11100
Other small things0 10 00
Mantle pr. glass2 10 00
Wife2 10
Charges of journey6 9 00
Pd Father for house6 15 00
Pd for Chaires4 8 00
2 Kills Beere 0 10 00
Wife for house2 6 00
Self for Pockett1 00 00
Glasses 12s. 6d., Table 8s.1 00 06
Chest of Drawers & Do. 3 16 00
Nov. 18th.   
Wife for house2 00 00
Linen5 6 00
Shoes 9s., house 2l.2 9 00
Knives 30s.1 10 00
Months Rent, Board, & Servts wages to Michms9 17 6
Pd wife for house2 00 00
Linen for Ditto3 00 6
Buttr, Cheese, & Bacon1 12 6
W. Clark, Upholster10 12 6
W. Litchfeilds Bill5 2 00
House 6 weeks12 00 00
Pd for Plate & Spoons12 5 6
Pd Cheesemonger, St Martins2 0 0
House 2l., Handk. & Muz. 31s.3 11 00
 106 12 00

On the next page we have a reference to Sarah's wages, which were £2, 3s., but as no dates are given we are unable to decide whether this represents three or six months' hire.

We now begin to notice that besides 'wife for house,' there is another entry of 'wife for self,' which occurs pretty often, 'wife' receiving from two to three pounds at once, and finally she receives five pounds for her 'occassions,' a mysterious allusion which is perhaps explained by a reference later on to 'Parson and Clark, 13s. 3d.,' and 'Cradle and Baskitt, 11s. 6d.' Turning to the 'Diary,' we have the simple record of the birth, and sad to say the death, of his first child:

My Dear first child was born y^e 23^{rd} of June, 1707, about 10 in ye forenoon.

Christened by ye name of Eliz. ye 25 of ye same month, & dyed ye 19th of July following about 11 at night, & lyes in ye vault in St Voster's, Londn.

With the birth of the child the household expenses increase, and we find in addition to 'House 2l.' further expenses, which are noted down as 'extraordinary,' but soon cease to be looked upon as anything but ordinary.

The household seems to have been kept up on a fairly large scale, for we have mention of a 'Kate' and a 'Betsy' who also receive wages as well as 'Sarah'; but it is evident from the other side of the page that the wife's father lived with the young people and kept his own manservant, paying them for board two sums of £47, 10s. within the twelve months. Items for wine and beer are very common, one brewer's bill for six months being ten pounds! It is difficult to guess what became of the money allowed for 'House,' since the master paid servants' wages, and bills for wine, beer, coals, groceries, house-linen, butcher, butter-man, and taxes! His wife's allowance also was very liberal, and at various times he pays for the following items besides: 'For Wife's Scarf, 2l. 10s. 0d.; Wife's Callico, 1l. 7s.; Wife's Silk, 6l. 10s. 00d.; Wife, for tippet, 4l. 6s. 00d.'; in fact, according to his own showing, he appears to have given his wife ample means of providing both for the house and herself, and then to have paid all her bills as well!

Under date October 1708, we come across evidence of the arrival of another child to replace the one too soon lost. This time 'Parson and Clark' head the list, receiving 13s. 3d.; 'Gossiping money' comes to £1. 2s. 6d.; 'Coates for child, 1l. 1s. 6d.'; 'Midwife and Nurse, 3l. 4s. 6d.,' and the Diary says:

My second child John was born Octr 13th, 1708, & was baptised ye Sabbath Day following by W. Benjn. Ibbatt.

There is still another record of the birth of a daughter, who, like the first, lived but a few days.

My daughter Ann was born Novr ye 12th, 1709, & Dyed ye 19th Ditto.

After this the regular accounts stop, as does also the Diary, but from stray notes scattered through the book there would appear to have been born yet another daughter who survived infancy, but whose health must have given cause for anxiety. Thus in February 1716, we read: 'Pd Nurse Patch fifteen Pounds twelve shillings in full for nursing and boarding my Daughter to the 20th of this Instant February.' And again, in February 1720, the child and nurse were evidently sent on a long visit to Huntingdon to Grandmother Payne: 'Pd Mother Febry ye 16th, 1720/1, Thirty seaven Pounds fourteen shillings & 6d. in full for Butter, Interest, Child, and Maide's board and wages and all accts.'

After November 1709 there are no more regular house-accounts, and the little book is used principally for jotting down moneys received and larger sums paid out to his mother and sisters. The shop also ceases to be mentioned, and we have numerous entries of rents paid by tenants in Huntingdon;—indeed it would seem that soon after the death of his wife's father, which occurred in June 1709, John Payne left London and went down to manage his estates in Huntingdon, where he seems to have been in possession of about £1000 per annum in landed property, chiefly consisting of small farms let to tenants at from £20 to £50 per annum. Out of this property, however, he has to pay quarterly dividends to his mother and sister Anna, though their income, like that of most widows and unmarried daughters of the time, was very small and could form no great burden on the estate. At what period John Payne again left his country house to mix once more in London business life, whether he was personally connected with the bank or only lent his money and his name, or whether indeed he ever was one of the founders or left that honour to his son John, is all a matter of conjecture; yet one closes the quaint little old book with feelings of regret, and would fain follow its owner a little further. The last date is 1726, when he must still have been a comparatively young man.

The publication of this little article had the pleasant result of enabling the writer to restore the Pocket-Book to a descendant of the original owner. Further notes on some of the persons mentioned will be found in a 'Sequel' contributed by Mr. John Orlebar Payne to the next number (that for April 1889) of 'Longman's Magazine.'



(By Alice Pollard)

The title of this article is not of my own choosing. It was fore-ordained for me some time back by the rather excited correspondents of a daily newspaper, which opened its columns to as many solutions of the riddle as ingenuity could devise. It may fairly be objected that the riddle is no riddle at all, but rather belongs to the class of question-begging queries of which 'How long have you ceased beating your mother?' is the most famous example. As a matter of fact, most men do marry, and it seems, therefore, unreasonable to be asked to explain why they don't. But on this one point my sex is perhaps a little unreasonable. Women have never acquiesced wholeheartedly in Mr. Stevenson's assertion that though the ideal woman is a wife the ideal man is a bachelor, and so long as even a small minority of men of presentable appearance and some visible means of subsistence persist in denying themselves a man's highest privilege, the problem will doubtless continue to be stated in the sweeping form which I here adopt.

The most hardened offenders are undoubtedly the members of a single class: pleasant young fellows, with an income of three or four hundred a year and no prospect of increasing it. A bachelor with £400 a year, if he live within it, persists in regarding himself as a miracle of economy, but with even the smallest gift of husbandry is probably as rich as any man in the kingdom. To marry on the same £400 means a terrible falling-off in the standard of comfort, and the one luxury which these pleasant fellows religiously deny themselves is that of a wife.

The story is not a new one, and the other day, in looking over some pamphlets in a great library, I came across a thin quarto, entitled, 'The Batchelor's Estimate of the Expences of a Married Life In a Letter to a Friend. Being an Answer to a Proposal of Marrying a Lady with 2000l. Fortune.' The date of the pamphlet is 1729, and in it the situation is set forth with so much circumstance, and in so engaging a manner, that I thought there might be some readers who would care to spend a few minutes in looking at it with me.

A gentleman, himself a married man, having a relation a spinster of a marriageable age, and possessing also the, for those days, by no means despicable fortune of £2000, has proposed to a bachelor friend to negotiate a marriage between them.

The bachelor has no innate objection to marriage as such—on the contrary, he looks upon it as 'an agreeable state'; but he cannot 'at present accept the proposal' because 'the following necessary expenses arise so frequently and so openly to his view' that they deter him from considering marriage as possible.

Up to the present time he has lived in chambers at the moderate rent of £12, 10s. per annum. But so impressed is he with the probable requirements of a lady with the 'handsome Fortune' of £2000, that he sees himself at once obliged to secure a house with a rental of £50.

As a bachelor in chambers he has been lucky enough to escape all 'Church, Window and Poor's Taxes, Payments to Rector, Reader and Lecturer, Water Rates, Trophy Money,31 Militia, Lamp, Scavengers, Watch, Constable, etc.' As a married man he calculates that for these things alone he will be mulcted to the extent of 'at least' £9 per annum.

Our friend was, we presume, in the habit of taking his morning cup of coffee at a coffee-house. Now he sees in imagination not only his own and his wife's daily supply of coffee to be provided, but he pictures the innumerable 'dishes of tea' which will be consumed by her and her maids, not to mention the additional quantity for gossips and card parties. Thus, 'Tea, Coffee, Chocolate, Sugar, Spirits and Fresh Supply of China will cost 12l. per annum.' We are tempted to inquire what proportion of this sum must be set aside for 'spirits' and broken crockery, and why, indeed, there should be any connection between them, unless tea-drinkings in the early part of the eighteenth century were too often modelled on the style of a certain famous one known to readers of Dickens.

The consideration of tea, this being essentially a domestic article, leads our bachelor to the question of servants. For his own use he has been content with the services of a bedmaker, to whom he gave 50s. a year. He forgets to add an unknown sum to pay for the waste, impositions, and perquisites inseparable from a bedmaker's existence. In the future the dignity of a citizen, a householder, and a married man has to be supported, and the weight of this can only be sustained by a staff of 'two Maid-servants and a Man'—the man to be in livery. Yet even these luxuries will not cost him such a very large sum, since he reckons to procure them all, livery included, for an additional £17, 10s. per annum—i.e. £20 in all.

We are next let into his confidence with regard to the proper amount of entertainment he will think it fit and necessary to allow his wife. She must certainly go to the play, but a lady of independent fortune, the mistress of a grand house and a servant in livery, cannot be expected to walk out in evening-dress, so a coach or chair must be provided for her conveyance, and for the hire of these he makes a yearly computation of £3, 10s. 'Her expenses at these Diversions' (which included, doubtless, entrance fees and refreshments) would amount to another £3, 10s. As a staid and steady bachelor not given (as he tells us later on) to 'sauntering at Coffee-Houses' or playing at hazard, he has been content with going to the play about once a year, but now, as 'it would not be proper she should go alone,' this exemplary husband will even sacrifice his own inclinations, and, obeying the call of duty, attend his wife at a cost of £1, 10s. a year! Not only is he considerate in the matter of providing for his wife's pleasures, but he seems to us decidedly liberal in the matter of pin-money, as he sets aside £30 for her personal expenses.

Coals and candles weigh heavily on his mind. His landlady has hitherto kept him sufficiently warm for an annual 40s. (coals must have been much cheaper, landladies less of harpies, or the winters much milder in those days!), but in his new establishment coals and candles will run up to the large sum of £15.

His bachelor dinners have cost him an average of 10s. per week; when married he must still dine, and even divert himself with 'evening expenses' common both to married men and bachelors, so that instead of a modest £25 for dinners he will now have to pay the following yearly bills:

The Butcher350000
Wine, Cyder, etc., at a moderate computation300000
The Fruiterer011000
The Milk-Woman010000
Salt, Small-coal, Rotten-stone, Brick-dust, Sand, Oat-meal, Whiteing and many other little Ingredients in House-Keeping I am ignorant of020000

This detailed calculation over, we again catch a glimpse of the man's personality and his conception of what is due from him towards a wife. 'If my Wife pleases me, as I do not doubt but your Relation will, (I know my own Temper so well in that Respect that) I shall be often making her Presents of either Rings, Jewels, Snuff-Boxes, Watch, Tweezers, some Knick-Knacks, and Things of that Nature, in which, one Year with another, I am sure I shall spend 5l.' After this it occurs to him that he has left out one important source of expense which he 'least wishes for,' but which 'happens in most Families'—that is, the fees of doctor and apothecary, which will, he fears, average £5 per annum.

'As for Children, we may reasonably expect one in every two Years, if not oftener.' Reckoning the 'Expence of Lying-Inne, Child-Linen, Midwife, Nurses, Caudles, Possets, Cradle, Christenings, etc.,' the annual expense consequent on being a family man will be £15. But the initial expense is not all: 'Nursing, Maintaining, Education, Cloathes, Schooling,' and—here, surely, we have found the prototype of Mr. Walter Besant's ideal father—providing an endowment or fortune for each child will require a sum of £30 per annum; and he is 'satisfied' that he has stated a sum 'vastly less' than is likely to prove needful in the end—a foreboding in which he was certainly justified, for of payments for school and 'cloathing,' now as then, there is no end!

Having provided himself in imagination with wife, house, servants, and children, our far-seeing friend suddenly remembers that his dignity and respectability will require to be supported by a seat in church, so we find an entry, 'Pew in Church,' £2. This is followed, although we cannot trace the connection, by an estimate of £8 per annum for 'Washing his wife's and the Family Linen,' and we wonder how laundresses managed to live in those days. But so far the house is not furnished, and an initial £350 must be found for that. Fifty pounds is to go for plate alone, 'without which, being so moderate a Quantity, I daresay my wife, nor indeed should I myself be satisfied.' This £350 he calmly proposes to deduct from his wife's fortune, reducing it, therefore, to £1650.

This £1650, placed out at 5 per cent. interest, will bring in an income of £82, but the cautious bachelor says 5 per cent. is not likely to continue, therefore he will reckon interest at 4 per cent. only, and at this rate the wife's fortune will produce an income of only £56. He then proceeds to show that, adding together the foregoing items, he will have to spend on his wife £215, or even £231, 10s., 'above the Income of the Fortune she brings, besides the Hazard and want of certainty for the Money, which ought to be considered.'

And now the pamphlet draws to an end, with a conclusion we will give in the writer's own words:

'These Things considered (and he that marries without previous Consideration acts very indiscreetly), I do not see how I can marry a Woman with the Fortune you propose, or that I should better myself at all by it, and in Prudence, People should do so or let it alone; (not that I propose or think to have more) I must therefore live single, though with some regret that I cannot do otherwise, and increase my own Fortune, which happens to be sufficient for my own Maintenance till (if I may so call it) I can afford Matrimony.

'I wish the Lady all Happiness and a better Husband, and if it be for her Satisfaction, one who has thought less of the Matter; not but that I have a very good Opinion of Matrimony, and think of it with Pleasure, as hoping one time or other to enter into its Lists, but I now wait with Patience till my Circumstances or Thought vary. One Thing I would not have you mistaken in, is, that I do not mean, that your Relation will be thus expensive to me, more than any other, only that whenever I marry, let her be who she will, I must necessarily (if She has no more Fortune than you propose) expend considerably more than 200l. a year on her, above the Income of her Fortune, and at present I cannot persuade myself to be at so great an Expense, for the value of trying a dangerous Experiment, whether the Pleasures of Matrimony are yearly worth that Sum.'

And all this is submitted to the proposer by his 'Obliged and Humble Servant.'

The whole question of marriage, with its arguments for and against, seems to have been as engrossing a topic amongst English men and women in the early part of the eighteenth century as it certainly is with us now, and the bachelor's pamphlet brought forward at least two replies, which we found bound up with the original. One of these, purporting to be by the lady herself, and signed 'Philogamia,' may be dismissed in a few words; its arguments are neither serious nor to the point, and such wit as there is is of a low order, and too much in the tu quoque style to be amusing. The second rejoinder is by the 'Woman's Advocate,' and is probably not, as it pretends, written by a man on behalf of women in general, but rather by an irritated member of the weaker sex, who finds herself and her fellows insulted en masse by the bachelor's refusal to marry one of them.

The 'Advocate' takes the various items of the 'Batchelor's Estimate' one by one, and proceeds to demolish them to the best of her ability, sometimes with a certain degree of success, due, we fancy, to the more intimate knowledge of housekeeping details naturally possessed by a woman. She at once attacks him on the subject of house-rent, and with truly feminine malice reminds him how she has often heard him praise a friend's house rented at £24, and declare that he 'could wish for nothing better.' This rather reminds us of a young lady who advocated the claims of a somewhat uninteresting young man by saying he would make 'such a delightful brother-in-law.'

Has not our sex, too, been accused, with some degree of justice, of practising little meannesses, and does not the 'Woman's Advocate's' confession that she 'has lived 10 years in one Parish and never paid a penny to the Church' smack slightly of this feminine vice?

She goes on to say: 'To the Rector you will give 6d. as an Easter offering—to the Lecturer what you please. Trophy-money is but 6d. per annum. You need not join the Militia. Lamp, Scavenger, and Watch seldom amount to thirty shillings, and as for the Constable's Tax, I never heard of such a thing in my Life.' So the £9 is reduced to £2.

On the estimate for servants, especially for the footman in livery, the 'Woman's Advocate' pours great scorn. 'A man in livery forsooth! Have the two maids so little to do that you must e'en employ a man to play with 'em?'

But it is perhaps in her attack on the actual house-keeping estimates that the 'Woman's Advocate' is at her best. She does not always assign her reasons, but boldly makes such statements as the following: 'Your Butcher's Bill is over-rated at least one Third. Your Poulterer's and Fishmonger's more than two Thirds. As for the Herb-Woman you have overtopt her with a Vengeance; Twelve pence a week is more than enough for greens etc., and besides' (does not this bear some resemblance to the traditional postscript?) 'half the year but few sorts are in Season.' There is more banter about greenstuff and salads, during which the bachelor is taunted with being 'a meer Frenchman to eat seven Pounds per annum in Salads,' and with 'outdoing the Italians in oiling it,' and is, moreover, advised to buy his oil direct from the ship instead of from the tavern, thereby effecting a saving of 10s. per quart!—a hint we should imagine well worth carrying out.

Words fail the 'Advocate' in which to pour sufficient contempt on the estimates for grocer and confectioner: 'If you are sweet-Tooth'd,' she says, 'I will allow you now and then a Pennyworth of Sugar-Plumbs, but think 40s. per annum in that kind of Trash too much for a Person of your Years and Frugality; and I could really wish, for your own Sake, you had omitted that Article in your Estimate.'

The mention of the doctor's and apothecary's fees, which he 'least desired,' gives the 'Advocate' a final opportunity for crushing her victim, and will serve as a very fair example of her style of rejoinder throughout the whole answer when she is not dealing with concrete materials: 'I believe you wish for no one Article of Expence; could you have a Wife that would wear no Cloathes, eat no Victuals, bear no Children, never be sick, and bring you 2 or 3,000l., the more the better, I suppose your self-conceited Worship would marry, who imagine, no doubt, you merit a Fortune of 50, nay, 100,000l. To conclude I pronounce Bachelors the Vermin of a State. They enjoy the Benefits of Society but contribute not to its charge, and sponge upon the Publick, without making the least return. Had I any Power in the Legislature, you should not only be punished for Mischievous Libel, but all Batchelors above the age of Thirty should be double Tax'd.'

Edinburgh: Printed by T. and A. Constable

Transcriber's Notes:

Variations in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained except in obvious cases of typographical error:

"...is a (familar -->) familiar feature in mediæval art..."
"...the zeal of (Phinehas -->) Phineas in..."
"...and there (aret wo -->) are two more..."
"...picture by (Verrochio -->) Verrocchio in Or S. Michele,..."
"...and in the 'Rudimenta Grammatices' of (Donatu -->) Donatus 1493,..."
"...his R (represensing -->) representing Lot,..."
"...One Missal was printed at (Basle -->) Basel,..."
"...Caxton, had (introdnced -->) introduced printing into England,..."
"...it is only in Great (Britian -->) Britain and..."
"...that manuscripts of literary (inportance -->) importance begin..."
"...be so eager to (ie -->) lie here,..."
"...in reference to the (Autor's -->) Author's name..."
"...bears the (initals -->) initials, 'W.P.,'..."
"...combined with a (manuscipt -->) manuscript note,..."

Footnotes have been moved to end of document.

Images interrupting paragraphs have been slightly moved.


1 Reprinted, by leave of the editor, from 'The Pageant.'

2 Reprinted, by leave of the editor, from 'The Library,' 1902.

3 Reprinted from 'The Newberry House Magazine' by leave of Messrs. Griffith, Farren, Okeden and Welsh.

4 Partially reproduced in photographic facsimile by Mr. Henry Littlehales. (Rivingtons, 1890.)

5 Reprinted by leave of Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co., from 'Bibliographica,' vol. ii. (1895).

6 One of those on the recto has a common original with that of an elephant with a howdah in Doesborgh's 'Van Pape Jans landendes.'

7 e.g. The cut of a preacher preceded by his little crucifer in the 'Doctrina delle Vita Monastica' of Lorenzo Quistiniano (Venice, c. 1495) to a picture by Gentile Bellini in the church of S. Maria del Orto; the cut of S. Thomas in the 'Epistole et Evangeli' of 1495 to the picture by Verrocchio in Or S. Michele, and that of the beheading of S. John from a Pollaiuolo in the Baptistery at Florence. The case of the illustrations to the 1467 'Meditationes' of Turrecremata, which are professedly copied from the frescoes in the church of S. Maria di Minerva at Rome, is an interesting example of this copying, the excellence of the original designs sometimes triumphing over the rudeness of the engraving. Unluckily the frescoes themselves have perished.

8 The Venetian origin of this cut is made almost certain by the character of its border. In style and touch (cleverly as the reproduction here given has been made from the thickly-painted original, the lines are necessarily thickened) the design is closely akin to the borders in the 'Omelie et Sermones' of S. Bernard (1491), and the 'Dialogo de la Seraphica Virgine S. Caterina' (1494), while in the border and woodcut initials of the 'Supplementum Chronicarum' of 1492 we get both the bull's skull and the dolphin's, and in the 'Rudimenta Grammatices' of Donatus 1493, a top border to the first page which resembles the lower border in our cut. There is no suggestion of copying here, but a series of designs probably all by the same artist which begin with this border to the 'Arte' in 1490 and can be traced for several years, always at Venice.

9 Reprinted from the King's College School Magazine by leave of the editor.

10 In this very medieval Latin the master is always addressed as 'vos,' never as 'tu,' the use of the singular, except to inferiors or as a mark of affection, being regarded as an insult.

11 Read before the Bibliographical Society, April 1896.

12 An important extension to the subject, but one which I have not the knowledge to deal with, would treat of the Service-books prepared especially for the English market in Flanders and the north of France during the two centuries preceding the invention of printing. These are often claimed as of English origin, owing to their having English saints in their calendars, but their real provenance is indisputable.

13 Reprinted, by leave of Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co. from 'Bibliographica,' vol. iii. (1896).

14 Hopyl's initials are an inch and a half square on a dotted background. They were evidently designed specially for a Missal, the pictures being appropriate to the services to which the initials belong. They do not make up a complete alphabet, but of several letters there are two or three variants, e.g. for R there are pictures of Death, of the Annunciation, and of the Resurrection; for S, of SS. Cosmo and Damian, of S. Martin and the Beggar, and of the Blessed Virgin.

15 Since this paper was in type I have been shown an earlier example of this letter in a book printed by R. Wolfe in 1563.

16 From the introduction to the 'English Bookman's Library,' by leave of Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co.

17 'English Illuminated Manuscripts.' By Sir Edward Maunde Thompson K.C.B. (Kegan Paul, 1895), pp. 66, 67.

18 From 'Longman's Magazine,' by leave of the publishers.

19 From 'The Library,' by leave of the editor.

20 From 'The Library,' by leave of the editor, and Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner and Co.

21 From 'Macmillan's Magazine,' by leave of the editor and publishers.

22 Since this article was written, a pleasant volume on the 'Life and Letters of Mr. Endymion Porter' has been brought out by Dorothea Townshend (Fisher Unwin, 1897).

23 From 'The Guardian.' By leave of the editor.

24 I am glad in reprinting this article to be allowed to give his name, the Rev. C. P. Phinn.

25 From the 'Connoisseur,' by leave of the editor.

26 Our illustration shows the cut in an interesting state, when the original I. of the first initial had been altered to an R. to suit John's descendant Robert. The change is one of a kind with which collectors of book-plates are familiar.

27 From the 'Library,' by leave of the editor.

28 This copy, in the possession of Mr. Coningsby Sibthorp, of Sudbrooke Holme, Lincoln, to whose family it has belonged for more than a century, is fully described by Mr. Sidney Lee on p. 171 of his 'Shakespeare's Life and Work.' By a curious coincidence the copy he describes on the previous page is one, now owned by the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, which formerly belonged to Ralph Sheldon, who bought Vincent's library. Presumably both copies at one time belonged to him.

29 From 'Longman's Magazine,' by leave of the publishers.

30 From 'Longman's Magazine,' by leave of the publishers.

31 Trophy money was a duty paid by householders for providing the militia with harness, drums, colours, etc.