Proofs of Pine’s Horace (1731-1733)

Princeton is fortunate to own what are the only recorded marked-up proof pages from one of the most famous illustrated engraved books of eighteenth-century England, commonly known as Pine’s Horace published in London, 1733-1737.   [For full details about Pine’s Horace see “Engraved Throughout: Pine’s Horace (1733) as a Bibliographical Object,” the 2015 Lyell lecture given by Prof. Michael Suarez]

The proofs are bound in early 20th century brown polished goatskin and consist of the first 67 pages of volume one.  They were gifted to the Library in 1916 by Robert Patterson, Class of 1876, as yet another donated accession to the large collection of editions of Horace that he had first established by the academic year 1908-1909.

We have no idea how they came into Patterson’s hands because there are no marks of provenance within the book.  During the decades that the  proofs have inhabited the shelves, they seem to have been overlooked by scholars, because there is no mention of them in academic or library publications.

What follows is a glimpse of some of the salient features of the proofs, which taken together give some sense of the process by which this famous book came into being.

These features fall into two groups: on the one hand, the proof pages themselves independent of any correctors’ markings and, on the other hand, the annotations supplied by various correcting readers, which are quite numerous, occur on almost every page, and can be identified as tracing back to four separate readers.

First, the pages, themselves.  There are several points here:  1) the proofs are on the same paper as the finished book. laid paper watermarked with ‘Strasbourg Bend’; 2) the leaves are are a mixed set, that is, a few are proofs before letters (such as p. 67), but most are proofs with lettering; and 3) on page 31 the proof has a vignette of Prometheus being tortured by the raven whereas the finished book depicts Prometheus fashioning a human skeleton.

Second, the annotations:  There are 4 distinct sets of annotations, each in a different contemporary hand.

  1. A red ink now much faded marking usually single variations from the copy text, such as noting that the copy text had a ‘J’ where Pine engraved an ‘I’
  2. A closed up italic hand rendering several types of notes: 1) observations about the images ‘A large wolf would have been properer here. Or a Moor with a bow and quiver’ (p. 42) beside the full length figure of Hercules; 2) regarding typographic style ‘You have never before put a capital to a common noun  …’ (p. 28) or ‘This e should be of the small size …’ (p.20)
  3. A larger looser italic responding to the notations rendered by 1 and 2 above; examples: ‘that y should not touch the l = I doubt its too late to put it back’ (p. 21);  ‘Put the admiration after ludo!’ (p. 4) [That is, put an exclamation mark after  … — ed.]
  4. Pencil annotations correcting the Greek inscriptions in the illustration on page 40

Of the for 4 sets of annotations, set number 3 turns out to be of  particular interest. The writer of set number 3 pays especial attention to textual matters, orthography, and indentation relating to the layout of stanzas.   Those attentions suggest someone particularly interested in the text of Horace rather than the illustration.  To find a candidate for these annotations, I looked at the roster of names acknowledged in Pine’s preface.

In the front matter to the book, Pine acknowledges the following for their aid in the project.

  • Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork (1694-1753); known as the ‘Architect Earl’
  • Thomas Herbert, 8th Earl of Pembroke and 5th Earl of Montgomery (c. 1656-1733); collector of fine art and ancient coins
  • Sir Andrew Fountaine (1676-1753); art collector
  • Sir Richard Mead (1673-1754); eminent physician, collector
  • Sir Thomas Sadler, Deputy Clerk of the Pells
  • Thomas Bentley L.L.D. (1693-1742); classical scholar; onetime librarian of Trinity College, Cambridge; edited editions of Callimachus, Caesar, et al.

Of these 6, Pine especially notes Thomas Bentley as ‘eminent in learning’ and given that Bentley edited an edition of Horace in 1713, I suspected that the notes of set 3 might be his, but I needed to find examples of his handwriting.

One contemporary example is a 1731 letter written by Thomas Bentley to Zachary Pearce (1690-1774) preserved in the Turnbull Library at the National Library of New Zealand, Wellington.  The letter was reproduced in facsimile in the Turnbull Library Record, vol. xiv, issue 1, 1 May 1981.

The convergence of the hand of the set 3 annotations and the hand of the Turnbull letter is convincing, as in the example below  (Turnbull left; Princeton right)


Lastly, when you compare the corrections in the Princeton proofs with the finished book, it is clear that in a number of cases Pine made the requisite changes.  This brief description and analysis are by no means exhaustive.  There is still much more to learn from these proofs.

>>> Census of other copies of the proofs

  1. Copy described by Maurice de Péreire in his article ‘Notes d’un amateur sur les livres illustrés du xviii siècle (suite 1) published in Bulletin de bibliophile et du bibliothécaire.  (Paris: Henri LeClerc, 1921) p. 197 to 200.  Present whereabouts not known.  De Péreire describes this copy has having the prospectus title page with date Feb. 24, 1730-31, followed by a list of subscribers, together with the first 67 engraved pages.
  2. Bodleian, Oxford – Proofs of vol.1, pp.1-67. Preceded by a list headed Subscribers, with an additional list in MS. by J. Pine. Pasted in are Proposals for engraving by subscription. The date is erased]. Shelfmark: Pre-1701 Weston 590502835
  3. Morgan Library, New York City — Prospectus volume for Pine’s edition of Horace, 1733, containing ‘Proposal’, printed list of subscribers, and early proof impressions of book I, pl. 1-67 of Odes.  Bound in contemporary calf.  Shelfmark: PML 65587
  4. Victoria and Albert — Library states that this copy is ‘assumed lost’  — 24, 1730-31. Proposals for engraving by subscription, on copperplates, the works of Horace … as the specimen annex’d. Shelfmark: Forster 12mo 6931  [Given the February date of the prospectus, it is assumed that this copy had proofs of vol. 1, pp. 1-67]
  5. Princeton University Library. Shelfmark: PTT 2865.321.233



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.