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Heinrich Glarean (1488-1563) and his Chronologia of the Ancient World

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Detail from Glarean’s Chronologia with annotations in the hand of his student Gabriel Hummelberg II. This issue of the Chronologia was published as part of an edition of Livy’s history of Rome published by Michael Isengrin in Basel in 1540. Call number: (Ex) 2010—0227q. [Acquired by the Princeton University LIbrary in December 2007].

Anthony Grafton and Urs B. Leu have completed two studies of Princeton’s copy of the Chronologia:


Published in August: “Chronologia est unica historiae lux: how Glarean studied and taught the chronology of the ancient world” in Heinrich Glarean’s Books: The Intellectual World of a Sixteenth-Century Musical Humanist edited by Iain Fenlon and Inga Mai Groote (Cambridge University Press, 2013). See:


Forthcoming: Henricus Glareanus’s (1488-1563) Chronologia of the Ancient World. A Facsimile Edition of a Heavily Annotated Copy Held in Princeton University Library (Leiden: Brill). See:

A full scan of this notable annotated humanistic book is available in the Princeton University Digital Library. See:

Standard categories for bookplates, such as armorial, pictorial and others are commonly found in Franks.  One norm of the vast majority of plates is that they declare ownership simply by stating the name of the owner.  Sometimes added to the name may be the title of honor, honorific, and / or name and location of his estate.


Contrasting with these straightforwardly 'nominative' bookplates, there is a small minority that label the collection to which the book belongs rather than simply stating the owner's name.  

It is easy to provide  20th century examples of this sort of 'collection' bookplate.   See, for example, that for, Ellis Ames Ballard Kipling Collection,

Franks gives a 19th century example, being that for the Bewick collection of the Rev. Thomas Hugo, F.S.A. (1820-1876). 

However, when I recently came upon the bookplate illustrated at right I began to wonder: could this be the earliest example of a 'collection'  bookplate? The instance I came upon was that for the Militar[y] Collection of the Hon[orable] L[ieutenan]t Gen[era]l G[eorge] L[ane] Parker. [Bibliographical details in note 1 at end.]

Many books with this bookplate have been on the market in recent years because they all trace back to the library of the Earls of Macclesfield, the first portion of which was auctioned in 2004 and continued to 12 parts in all, the last being in 2008.

Edward Edwards in his 1864 description of the Macclesfield library states that Gen. G. L. Parker was the second son of the 2nd Earl and upon his death his collection of military books was added to the main Macclesfield stock in Shirburn Castle (ca. 1791). (Cf. Libraries and founders of libraries, Chap. X, p. 325 ff).

What are we to make of this bookplate, so unlike the normal 'nominative' plate?  If Gen. G. L. Parker added this plate to his books then his practice was perhaps indicative not only of the newly emerging trend in specialized collecting but it was also perhaps avant garde in his providing plates marking his collecting practice rather than just stating his name as possessor. I think this later hypothetical is a bit of a stretch.

An alternative possibility is that the plates were added to the books after their receipt at Shirburn Castle as a means of marking them out from the rest of the collection. I don't know if this possibility has been noted before.  I lean toward this later explanation for the following reasons.  

Conventions about how a proper 18th century bookplate should look were fairly rigid.  The norm was a two part arrangement:  if armorial, then achievement of arms at center with name of owner set off below.   This plate does not conform to this convention.

The visual convention of this bookplate is more that of the cartouche of an 18th map or the trade label of an 18th century craftsman. The title or name is worked into the overall baroque design.  This style is the customary for naming what an object is, or what an artisan does, rather than just signalling a possessor. 

Moreover, there was a antecedent at Shirburn for the "Militar." case.  Consider the case of another Macclesfield bookplate -- that with the caption "Of the Collection of W. Jones, Esq."

Arthur J. Jewers in his article on the Macclesfield bookplates says that the 2nd Earl had this bookplate "specially engraved for a valuable collection of books bequeathed to him by W. Jones, Esq., who died in 1749, thus giving us very nearly the date at which the plate was cut."  My conclusion is that the Jones bookplate is a model for the "Militar." plate. (Cf. "Parker Bookplates" Journal of the Ex Libris Society (London, 1898-99), vol. viii, p. 180 ff. and vol. 9, p. 9 ff.) [See illustration at right.]


• A further particular about the copy in which this "Militar." plate appears  • Apart from the curious character of this "Militar." bookplate, the Parker "Militar." plate  had been pasted completely over that of the book's first owner,  Alexander Dury.

When the book was first encountered, the Dury plate was partially visible as showthrough.  Only the last few letters of Dury's name were originally visible underneath the Parker plate. What's more, stamped on the spine was an heraldic crest.  No crest was listed in British Armorial Bindings as belong to the Earls of Macclesfield, so the question became "Whose crest is this?"  Once the Parker plate was partially lifted by a conservator, then all was relieved:  full name of the first owner,  a display of his achievement of arms, including his crest, a demi-lion rampant.



Note 1: This bookplate is on the front pastedown of Voltaire, 1694-1778. Le siècle de Louis XIV : publié par m. de Francheville ...Londres : chez R. Dodsley, 1752. Call number (Ex) Item 6357495q


Constitutions des treize états-unis de l'Amérique. A Philadelphie [i.e. Paris] et se trouve a Paris, chez Ph. - D. Pierres, Imprimeur Ordinaire du Roi, rue Saint-Jacques. Pissot, pere & fils, Libraires, quai des Augustins, 1783. Call number: (Ex) 7583.01.267.11 copies 1-4.

Benjamin Franklin provides two key quotes regarding this book.

❧ First, on June 10, 1783, Benjamin Franklin wrote to printer Philippe-Denis Pierres

"Sir, I received the Exemplaire of the Constitutions. ... I desire to have 50 of the 8vos bound in Calf, and Letter'd, and 50 half bound, that is, between Paste boards, with a Sheepskin Back and Letter'd, but not cut, I desire also 6 of the 4tos bound in Morocco. ..."

Ex7583.01.267.11.copy4 -sm.JPG❧ Ex copy 4 is one of the "50 of the 8vos bound in Calf and letter'd" (Franklin to the printer Pierres, 10 June 1783). Ex copy 4: Inscribed by Benjamin Franklin on t.p.: "Translated by the Duke de Rochefoucauld, and the Translation revised before Impression by B.F." Note illustration above. Gift of Andre de Coppet.
Ex7583.01.267.11.copy3 -sm.JPG❧ Ex copy 3 is one of the "50 half bound, that is between Paste Boards with a Sheepskin Back, and Letter'd but not cut" (Franklin to the printer Pierres, 10 June 1783). Ex copy 3: Presentation copy to George Hammond from Benjamin Franklin with inscription by Mr. Hammond. It remains both uncut and unopened.

❧❧ Secondly on December 25, 1783, Franklin wrote to Thomas Mifflin " ... The extravagant Misrepresentations of our Political State, in foreign Countries, made it appear necessary to give them better Information, which I thought could not be more effectually and authentically done than by publishing a Translation into French, now the most general Language in Europe, of the Book of Constitutions which had been printed by Order of Congress. This I accordingly got well done, and presented two Copies handsomely bound to every foreign Minister here, one for himself, the other more elegant, for his Sovereign. It has been well taken, and has afforded Matter of Surprise to many, who had conceived mean Ideas of the State of Civilization in America, and could not have expected so much political Knowledge and Sagacity had existed in our Wilderness. And from all Parts I have the Satisfaction to hear that our Constitutions in general are much admired. I am persuaded that this Step will not only tend to promote the Emigration to our Country of substantial People from all Parts of Europe, by the numerous Copies I shall dispense, but will facilitate our future Treaties with Foreign Courts, who could not before know what kind of Government and People they had to treat with. As in doing this I have endeavour'd to further the apparent Views of Congress in the first Publication, I hope it may be approved, and the Expence allow'd. ..."

❧ Franklin's "two Copies handsomely bound to every foreign Minister here, one for himself, the other more elegant, for his Sovereign" included 4to editions. For example, the 4to at the New York Public Library is printed "sur papier d'Annonay" and has the supra-libros of Louis Joseph de Bourbon-Condé (1736-1818). A 4to at the Bibliothèque Nationale has the arms of Marie-Antoinette. ❧ Moreover, 8vo copies stamped with arms are known. Princeton has such an 8vo. At left is Ex copy 1: Stamped on spine with arms of the La Rochefoucauld family. Given the "accolé" character of these arms, they may be those for the Duke's mother, Madame d'Enville (the Dowager Duchesse de la Rochefoucauld d'Enville; Marie-Louise Nicole Elisabeth de La Rochefoucauld, 1716-1797), also a friend of Franklin. This copy also has the 19th century booklabel of James Toovey (d. 1893). Presented to the Library by Junius S. Morgan, accessioned May 10, 1893. [Note: A 4to bound in red morocco with the supra-libros of LaRochefoucuald was sold at Sotheby's, Monaco, on 9 December 1987. See: Bibliothèque La Rochefoucauld au château de La Roche-Guyon: provenant de la succession de Gilbert de La Rochefoucauld, Duc de La Roche-Guyon (Sotheby's Monaco S.A., 1987) lot 641. The 4to binding is reproduced as the frontispiece to the catalog.]

For more on the publishing history of this book see Echeverria, Durand, "French Publications of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitutions, 1776-1783," Bibliographical Society of America, Papers, 47 (1953) p.313 ff.

Touching provenance

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Isolating the elements of provenance feels like making a form of art. On the one hand, the process of discovering provenance is documentary, albeit selective and editorial.  But beyond the experience of recording fact, the process induces a sense of search and wonder  -- who were all these different owners and, particularly, why did they succeed each other as they did?

Inscriptions, embossments, stampings, applications of arms, crests, badges, labels, and plates -- all these bespeak a past conversation between owner and book.  We'll never know precisely what was the piece-by-piece context of their original conversation.  But by looking closely, recording, reassembling, and presenting our findings we get something new and old at the same time.  The ideal of provenance research is more than just utterance of facts. The ideal is to create a kind of emblem crystallizing a book's career of ownership.

And isn't that art?  Transportive, on the one hand;  transformative, on the other.

"Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright" • Who was "J. Wright"?

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wright.jpg “Feb. 6 1722/23 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright” on leaf facing title page of H. Grotius, Poemata (Leiden, 1545) Call number (ExV) 2949.411.

John Carter in ABC for Book Collectors states “When [one] pencils on the endpaper ‘collated and perfect’ (or simply ‘c. & p.’), he is using it in the special sense of ‘to examine the sheets of a printed book, so as to verify their number and order’. The operative word is ‘verify’. Verify by what? If no bibliographical description of a book is available and no other copy for comparison, collation in this sense can do no more than reveal obvious imperfections.”

Fair enough, but when did this practice begin? And who might have first used it? Perhaps the case of “J.Wright” will give some clues.

❧ Ten libraries report owning books marked with the “Collat.” formula signed and dated by J. Wright.

They are found on incunables at several libraries:

• University of Glasgow. Shelfmark: Bl9-g.25 “Feb. 10. 1723/4 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright.” [Image of inscription] and By.3.38“June 26. 1723 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright.” [Image of inscription]
• Houghton Library. Call number: Inc 4142.10 “June 27. 1723. Collat. & perfect. J. Wright”
• Bodleian Library. Shelfmark Auct. L 1.2-5. “Collat. & perfect Jan. 8 1724/25”
• Princeton. Call number: PTT 2865.341.007 “Jan. 25 1722/23 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright”

Then on later books such as the following at

•John Rylands Library: Livy (Venice, 1520) “Collat. & perfect. [?] J. Wright” JRUL copy at R213746
•Several examples listed in the ESTC for copies at Huntington, Folger, University of Wisconsin and Yale. Search the copy-specific notes for ‘Collat.’ and ‘Wright’ and six entries return; imprints dating between 1601 and 1689. Inscriptions:
“Feb. 5. 1722/23 Collat. & perfect [?] J. Wright”; “Mar. 1. 1723 Collat. & perfect J Wright; Fawsyde, Bervie, N.B.”; “Oct. 5. 1723. Collat. + perfect. J. Wright”; “Dec 2. 1723. Collat. perfect. P.[?] Wright”; “Dec. 2. 1723. Collat. & perfect. J Wright.” “Dec. 5. 1723. Collat. & perfect. J. Wright”
•Two are listed in the Hunt Catalogue by Allan Stevenson: 351 and 385 “Dec. 9 1723. Collat. & perfect. J. Wright.”
•Four others at Princeton: imprints dating between 1543 and 1706. Inscriptions: “Feb. 6 1722/23 Collat. & perfect. p[er] J. Wright.”; “Oct. 23 1723 Collat. & perfect. J. Wright”; “Oct. 29 1723 Collat. & perfect. J. Wright”; and “Dec. 10 1723 Collat. & perfect. J. Wright.”

[There’s even a Wright book on sale at Bibliopoly! “June 14 1723 collat[ed] & perfect p[er] J. Wright” (The Great and New Art of Weighing Vanity, Glasgow, 1672).]

❧ Inspection of these books shows frequently they contain another concurrent mark of provenance along side that of Wright’s inscription. Commonly, they carry “Dupplin Castle” (inscribed, together with shelfmark), or the armorial bookplate of the Right Honorable Thomas Lord Viscount Dupplin, Lord Balhousie, dated 1699, or the armorial bookplate of Thomas Earle of Kinnoull Viscount Dupplin Lord Hay of Kinfauns (motto “renovate animos”). In sum, many books Wright marked trace back to the seat in Perth of the Hay Earls of Kinnoull. A contemporary of Wright tells us that the coincidence of his name with that of Kinnoull is not an accident.

❧ So who was J. Wright? “Lord Kinnouls Library keeper,” John Wright, according to Humfrey Wanley (1672-1726), librarian for Robert Harley. In his diary, Wanley records meetings and transactions with Wright during the 1720s. The following summarizes Wanley’s diary entries:

“John Wright was described by Wanley on his first recorded visit to the library (8 February 1722-23) as ‘a Scots Gent’ and of him we know nothing more except that he is said, again by Wanley, to have been ‘my Lord Kinnouls Library keeper’. This was George Henry Hay, seventh Earl of Kinnoull, who had succeeded to the title in 1719 and was married to Robert Harley’s youngest daughter, Abigail. On his first visit Wright brought a small group of MSS and old printed books to sell; subsequent entries show that the printed books were rejected and that the prices he asked for his MSS were considered too high; only on his abatement of these prices did Harley buy them. Thirteen in number, they are listed by Wanley under 24 June 1723 in the addenda to the second volume of his diary.” [C.E. Wright “Manuscripts of Italian Provenance in the Harleian Collection in the British Museum: Their Sources, Associations, and Channels of Acquisition,” in Cecil H. Clough (ed.), Cultural Aspects of the Italian Renaissance: Essays in Honour of Paul Oskar Kristeller (Manchester, 1976), pp. 472]

Provenance evidence on Flickr

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“Frances Wolfreston hor book bot of soldars” inscribed on the front free endpaper of Bartas His Deuine Weekes & Workes Translated: & Dedicated To the Kings most excellent Maiestie by Iosvah Sylvester. London, Printed by Humfrey Lownes, 1605. Princeton call number:RHT-17th-223. • Frances Wolfreston, the English woman book collector of the seventeenth century, has been the subject of a number of studies, the most notable of which is Paul Morgan’s article characterizing her library and published in The Library, 6th series, vol. XI, no. 3 (September 1989), pp. 197-219. In a recent essay Arnold Hunt expands Morgan’s study by drawing attention to Wolfreston books in the British Library overlooked by Morgan. Cf. Arnold Hunt “Libraries in the Archives: Researching Provenance in the British Library” in Libraries within the Library: The Origins of the British Library’s Printed Collections. Ed. by Giles Mandelbrote, and Barry Taylor. London: The British Library. 2009, pp. 363-384. • Re: “Bot of soldars.” Some military veterans, able or disabled, after service earned a living as pedlars. A report published in 1886 records the Royal Library of Denmark having a copy of The lyf of saint katherin of senis inscribed “Frances Wolfreston bot of a soldar.”

The web and social media are providing means for controlling book ownership data. Already in the ESTC many thousands of copy-specific notes fill out the holdings records. Records for STC books in the Folger Library are quite full — all useful results from a cataloging grant project. Incunabulists now turn to Paul Needham’s IPI for an listing of more than 12,000 recorded owners, both institutional and personal, of fifteenth century books]. Nota bene: owners of incunabula were also likely to own worthy books printed post 1500, so provenance researchers for books of any period may profit from consulting IPI.

These verbal tools are being supplemented by the visual. A number of these visual data were noted by binding historian Mirjam Foot in 2005: “The most common ownership marks found on books, either on their first bindings, on later re-bindings, or added to or subtracted from existing bindings, are coats of arms, armorial charges, inscriptions, mottoes, monograms, initials, full names, symbolic tools, badges, or structural features.” (See One could add to these markings bookplates, bookstamps, owner’s codes, and a host of other features.

To access the visual, websites such as those at the British Library [ and] or St. John’s College, Cambridge [] offer remarkable help, to name just a few such.

Recently emerging visual tools are a number of provenance-related sites on Flickr. They offer striking, colorful evidence of the range, complexity, and vitality of marks of ownership in early printed books. They also offer sites at which collaborative identifications can be recorded, comparable to CERL’s Can you help? website.

Here’s a short list of notable sites:

University of Pennsylvania Libraries project cataloging the Culture Class Collection

Smith College • Mortimer Rare Book Room

David Pearson • English book owners in the seventeenth century

University of Glasgow Library

Heraldic Bookplates (Group pool)

Pratt Libraries Ex Libris Collection

Settle bindings reconsidered

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Arms of Coville covering 1705 Eusebia Triumphans bound with 1707 Carmen Irenicum Call number: RHT 17th-771
Arms of Morrison impaling Webb covering 1709 Eusebia Triumphans Call number: RHT 17th-773

Illustrated here are Settle bindings.   Howard Nixon (1909-1983), in his Five Centuries of English Bookbinding, describes these, with some disdain:

“Elkanah settle, who was born in 1640 and had been hailed as a rising playwright in the 1670’s, had dwindled by the end of the century into a hack versifier holding the unremunerative post of ‘City Poet.’  In 1700 he started to work what can only be described as a successful racket, which he carried on for the rest of his life. He composed topical poems, at first on political events and later on more personal subjects such as births, deaths and marriages in the families of the great and wealthy. They were put into leather bindings with elaborate (if not very good) gold tooling embellished with the arms of the likely patron, to whom they were dispatched in hopes of a suitable reward.  Should the reward not be forthcoming and the book be returned to Settle, he had the original recipient’s arms covered with a leather only on which were then tooled those of a suitable candidate.”

Despite the contemptuous regard of earlier book historians, these bindings are nonetheless remarkable artifacts documenting a writer’s effort to cultivate patronage during the period 1703 to 1723.  Initial estimates show that perhaps 100 or more of these survive.  

Settle’s letter of presentation once pinned into a copy of his 1707 Carmen Irenicum inscribed on the title page: “Ex Libris Edwardi Haistwell xvto Cal. Martis 1710.”
“Sir: Be pleased to give me Leave to make you once mre an humble present, on this great subject, the Union of the Two Kingdoms; hoping it may find Your Acceptance from Your most obliged and most humble Servant. E: Settle.”
Call number: RHT 17th-785.

Gathered within them, there is much to analyze, be it social, cultural, or design history.  Created as objects for presentation to nobility, they raise many questions surrounding such objects. Recipients range from earls down through the ranks to knights and wealthy merchants. So, why was a particular recipient chosen?  Was the present planned to initiate a connection or to sustain one already formed?  Did the present result in an exchange for Settle? Did he obtain any remuneration for his art?

The bindings also provide a moment in the history of English bookbinding styles.
The elements of the typical Settle layout are threefold:   1) perimeter frame of single fillet enclosing 2) corner-ornamented inner frame filled 3) with the arms of the recipient.  The effect of the layout is to focus attention on the arms;   they are the centerpiece of the over-all design.  When thought about in three dimensions, the frames are pedestals; the centerpiece is the exalted object at the summit.

The centerpiece within frames style, based on the progressions of stylistic changes presented in David Pearson’s English Bookbinding Styles, 1450-1800,  first appeared on English bindings in the mid 16th century and occurs on bindings through the 17th century.  The extra workmanship and gilt marked it as ‘upmarket.’  Settle’s choice of binding style associated him with an established luxury tradition.

If there are elaborations in a Settle layout, they normally occur relative to the second element: for example, the perimeter of the inner frame might have winged heads added at each midpoint between corners, or, the field of the inner frame might be stained darker than the surround.  Sometimes the surround is treated to resemble marble.  The corner ornaments are likely to be only one of two types: either an abstract flower ornament or one resembling a thistle.   Initial findings show that the flower tool was used on Settle poems dating from 1703 into 1707;  the thistle tool was used on those dating from 1707 down to his death in 1724.


One exception to this corner ornament pattern has been found.  Covering a 1703 poem, the binding consists of the typical perimeter frame and inner frame ornamented at corners. Rather than the expected flower tool, the corner tool is the thistle. In addition, no arms are present.  What can be made of these incongruities? Rather than being a binding made contemporaneous with the imprint it covers, perhaps this is a  ‘blank’  prepared ca. 1707 as a trial effort for the new thistle tool.

Apart from the ‘blank’ mentioned above, there is one other variation from the threefold layout. It involves an example with arms including a royal crown. This exemplum has neither corner piece nor gilt frame(s).  Why this elimination occurs is only a matter of speculation:  perhaps the sparer layout was regarded as more chaste or perhaps removal of the inner frame was intended to focus keener attention on arms of such high rank.

P8230007-gules four lions rampant quarterly or-Wales-small.jpg

Gallery of images available at

Bindings from the shop of John Bateman, Royal Binder

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Front cover: arms of George Stuart,
Lord d’Aubigny impaling Howard


Back cover: arms of George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury

Captain John Smith. The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles (London, 1624) [Call number (ExKa) Americana 1624q Smith copy 3]
Mirjam M. Foot assigns the above binding to the shop of John Bateman, Royal Binder to James I.
Cf. The Henry Davis Gift. A Collection of Bookbindings. Volume 1. Studies in the History of Bookbinding, (London, 1982) p. 35-49. This is number 65 (p. 49). She evidently based her attribution on the illustration of the front cover published in the Sotheby’s auction sale catalogue of the books belonging to the Duke of Leeds on June 2-4, 1930. This book was lot 606 and it was purchased by A.S.W. Rosenbach for £1400 who eventually sold it to Grenville Kane to add to his outstanding collection of Americana. In the late 1940s, Princeton purchased the Kane collection.

The above example is a confirmed case of a binding from the shop of John Bateman. Are there others in the Library? This is indeed likely so, but to determine such will require further work. One tempting example is at right. It is the binding on John Adamson, The Muses Welcome (Edinburgh, 1618) [Call number (Ex)14431.113q]. A comparable copy is described by M. Foot in her entry 60 (p. 49). The cornerpieces on the Princeton binding match closely those Foot identifies as A1 and A2 on page 41.


An illustrative chart by William S Heckscher, probably drawn in the 1950s.
[Click on thumbnail above to see much larger image.] This is a chart meant to be read two ways.
    First, reading from left to right gives a sense of chronological change, from ancient times on the left to the seventeenth century on the right. Secondly, the chart can be read in zones, as follows:
• Focal point of the chart is the first emblem book, the Emblematum liber by Andrea Alciati, first published in Augsburg in 1531.
•To the left of the focal point are arrayed 19 sources and seven antecedents.
•To the right are a series of branching diagrams covering seven diverse types of emblem books developing after Alciati. These are heroic, moral, and didactic, together with their subdivisions.
   Note the foot of the chart: here are glosses for the labels above. For example, at lower left, the label ‘Egyptian: Hieroglyphs’ is explained as ‘Obelisk in Rome’. Much of the text of this chart was reworked in 1954, when it was incorporated into the Library’s exhibition The Graver and the Pen: Renaissance Emblems and Their Ramifications. (ExB) 0639.739 no. 12 [link to full text ]
   Prof. Heckscher was a keen collaborator in the Library’s efforts to collect and interpret emblem books. He collaborated in publication of the 1984 short- title catalogue of emblem books in the Library. He complied The Princeton Alciati Companion: A Glossary of Neo-Latin Words and Phrases used by Andrea Alciati and the Emblem Book Writers of his time, including a Bibliography of Secondary Sources relevant to the Study of Alciati’s Emblems (New York, 1989). At present, Princeton’s holdings of emblem books and their cognates number more than 700. The collection continues to grow yearly.

Reading Decorative Papers III: A new finding about FH

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Infrared reflectography has more to tell us about the over-marbled sheets of Fanny Hill. The IR image below, labeled ‘NjP’ in the upper left, is the lower portion of FH page 13. (This FH fragment is on the front cover of Princeton’s copy of The Medical Repository (New York, 1810) [Ex item 5483676])

Note the line below the last line of text reads ‘Vol. I B’ — Such a notation, called a ‘signature,’ signaled to both printer and binder that all text printed on this sheet was a unit which in turn was part of series. Text on sheet ‘B’ follows text printed on the sheet signed ‘A’, and in turn, is followed by text on sheet ‘C’, and so on.

The Princeton example is not the only ‘B’ sheet fragment known. There are others at the American Antiquarian Society, under call number BDSDS 1810. However, the following image, labeled ‘AAS’ in upper left, is an unmarbled fragment and it shows theirs is a variant ‘B’ sheet. At the foot of AAS’s p. 13, the ‘B’ is positioned under the ‘r’ and ‘e’ of ‘frequently’ and lacking the preceding notation ‘Vol. I’ (In the Princeton example, the ‘B’ is below the ‘y’ of frequently.)


What can we learn from the above evidence? First, this evidence contradicts what Richard Wolfe says about the printing of FH in his Marbled Paper (Philadelphia, 1990). He states “…its first twenty four pages had been printed (that is, one whole sheet had been perfected)… (p. 91)” Clearly, the case is otherwise: more than one sheet was involved, viz. sheet ‘B’ and a sheet prior to ‘B’ were printed. In fact, at AAS, among the FH fragments, are a group of 11 that clearly belong to the sheet prior to ‘B.’ This sheet is signed ‘☞ 2’. (Piecing together the ‘☞ 2’ fragments shows that the original sheet size was 43.5 cm. wide by several mm. more than 55 cm. long. These dimensions are within the range of the paper size contemporarily called ‘printing demy.’)

Second, the signature ‘Vol. I B’ in the Princeton fragment, in contrast to the ‘B’ alone in the AAS fragment, provides a more nuanced understanding of the printer’s thinking the project. ‘Vol 1’ implies at least a second volume. Indeed, late 18th century London editions were issued in two volumes. Moreover, fragments of sheet ‘☞ 2’ at AAS, include the title page, here transcribed: MEMOIRS of a WOMAN OF PLEASURE. Written by herself. Volume I. — Seventeen Edition. With Plates designed and engraved by a Member of the Royal Academy. LONDON: Printed for G. Felton, in the Strand, 1787.

Reading Decorative Papers II: Infared reflectography

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Front cover: The Scholar’s Arithmetic, Keene, N.H., 1814

Back cover: The Scholar’s Arithmetic, Keene, N.H., 1814

We’re still not there yet, that is, at a full answer to the question about how this fragment of Fanny Hill was used as covering material. However, we now have a better sense of what the fragment looks like overall. Thanks to the work of Ted Stanley, Special Collections Paper Conservator, Princeton University Library, we now have two images of the printed fragments of “Fanny Hill.” These pictures were obtained by a method called “infared reflectography.” [ ] In brief, he used a high quality SLR digital camera with a filter than excludes visible light but passes infared. The CMOS array of the camera is sensitive to the IR end of the spectrum, 830-1100 nanometers. The technique is useful in this case because the printer’s ink has different optical properties from the pigments of the marbling. In other words, the ink absorbs / reflects light differently than marbling paints. This differential is then carried over into an image which is visible, with the ink rendered darker than the pigments.

[More is available on this technique in C. M. Falco, “Invited Article: High resolution digital camera for infrared reflectography,” Review of Scientific Instruments 80, 071301 2009 [link]

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  • Mobil Sedan Corolla: Terima kasih infonya, sangat bermanfaat. semoga selalu ada info menarik read more
  • Kathryn Richter: I have a copy of ths book also. Do you read more
  • Mia: Thank you for sharing the full letter. Belle is a read more
  • Susan Naquin: Such a fine photograph of this Qing dynasty statue is read more
  • AR Cee: Offering the Paris Exposition book, art lithos and story..." 1878 read more