A Statement of Invoice from Roger Payne (1739-1797), English bookbinder

Statement of invoice prepared by Roger Payne for binding The Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the New. Edinburgh: James Watson, 1715. (Ex) 5179.1715. Ms. stored apart from the book in Manuscript Collection C140, Box 37, folder “Payne.’

In rare book libraries, fine bindings made with great skill are often encountered simply on their own, with little sense of their maker other than a name.  Extraordinarily, on a rare occasion, one finds a description of the binder’s work in his own words.  Such is the case with the undated statement of billing from Roger Payne illustrated here.

Scheide Librarian, Eric White, has said of Payne: ‘Roger Payne (1738–1797), perhaps the most famous of all English bookbinders, was well known both for his exquisite gold tooling and his squalid lifestyle. He worked at Eton beginning in the late 1750s, then at London with the support of the bookseller Thomas Payne (no relation). There he served many illustrious patrons,’ including Dr. Benjamin Moseley, Michael Woodhull, C.M. Cracherode, and the second Earl Spencer.

A near contemporary of Payne, the Rev. Thomas Frognall Dibdin (1776-1847) described Payne’s invoices as ‘original and diverting,’ ‘replete with the garrulous chit-chat of an old stager of four score; in parts resembles a Coach-maker’s account,’ and ‘loquacious and … original specimens of arithmetical compositions.’

Our reaction today is to treat the invoices more fair-mindedly as rare contemporary documentation showing what was regarded as valuable at that time.  In this and other statements (at least, another 13 are known and transcribed; see list below) Payne draws our attention to factors crucial to making the binding.  In this instance, he covers these factors starting from the outside of the book to the inside.  But for purposes of getting a sense of his process, the following comments cover from the inside of the book to the outside.

The first of these factors includes the time and effort taken to clean, unwrinkle, mend and otherwise prepare the pages of the text block: ‘Some few places had a little writing ink I took it out safe.’  Then, he draws our attention to the materials of the binding  ‘back lined with Russia Leather under the Blue Morocco cover very strong’  or ‘sew’d with silk on strong & neat bands.’  He’s stating these terms about materials because he knows that binders can choose cheaper components such as linen thread or lining the spine with paper. Lastly he sets forth details about the finishing of the binding ‘all the gold impressions  … worked first plain afterwards work’d in Gold & Double Gold used thro ye whole Work.’  He sums up the work, and in this case his summary occurs initially, with the words ‘Bound in the best manner’ or, in the example illustrated here, ‘finished in the Richest & most elegant Taste  Richer & more exact than any Book that I have ever Bound.’

At the left upper corner of the statement of billing is a diagram of the lettering on the spine. It appears in just this format on the book itself, an edition of the Authorized Bible printed at Edinburgh in 1715 (ESTC T91151). The binding has the initials ‘T P’ on the front cover.  These are those of publisher and antiquarian bookseller Thomas Payne, who served at Roger Payne’s guardian (supplying ‘regular pecuniary assistance’) during the physical decline of his later years.  The total cost for the binding is £ 2.1.6.

The Holy Bible containing the Old Testament and the New. Edinburgh: James Watson, 1715. Ex 5179.1715 Spine height: 19 cm. Larger image














Ownership history

1877 – Ellis & White, booksellers, London,  item 61* in catalogue 41: Catalogue of Valuable Books comprising Many Volumes of great Rarity and Curiosity, including Early Printed Books n English, Latin, German, Italian, & Flemish: Rare Old English Poetry; Some very Remarkable  Volumes Illustrated with Wood Engravings of an Early Date, &c. &c.’ Priced at £42





1890  – Sale of the books of Sir Edward Sullivan, at Sotheby’s, London, 19 & 27 May 1890, lot 770.  Sold to James Bain Ltd. for £62

1892  – William Lorings Andrews, Roger Payne and his art. A short account of his life and work as a binder.  (New York, 1892), p. 31 states that the book is the possession of a New York collector

1895 – Illustrated in Robert Hoe’s One hundred and seventy-six historic and artistic bookbindings dating from the fifteenth century to the present time pictured by etchings, artotypes, and lithographs after the originals selected from the library of Robert Hoe (New York, 1895)

1911 – Sale catalogue of the Library of Robert Hoe, April 24 and ff., lot 297.   Cyrus Hall McCormick (Princeton class of 1879) purchased the book at the sale for $900

1936 – C. H. McCormick dies in 1936 and the books pass to his widow, Alice Marie Holt McCormick.  She later remarries and becomes Alice H. Brown (Mrs. Marshall Ludington Brown.)

1948 – Alice H. Brown gifts the books of her first husband C. H. McCormick to the Princeton University Library.

List of other statements of invoice by Roger Payne
Dibdin records and transcribed the following bills in The Bibliographical Decameron, London, 1817, vol. II, p. 511 ff.:

  1. Glasguae. MDCCXCV. (ESTC T86592): Dibdin, BD, II, p.512 (also transcribed in C. Davenport, Roger Payne [Chicago, 1929], p. 70, illustrated plate 31), undated original in the John Rylands Library. Invoice total £ 16.7.0
  2. Petrarch, described in Spenceriana, vol. 4, p. 141-143: Dibdin, BD, II, p.512-513 (also transcribed in C. Davenport, Roger Payne [Chicago, 1929], p. 71). Undated. Invoice total £ 4.7.0
  3. C[l]avis Astro[logiæ] Elimata, bound for Dr. Benjamin Moseley (ESTC R39993): Dibdin, BD, II, p.513. Undated. Invoice total £ 0.4.0
  4. Harmony of the World by Heydon London 1662, bound for Dr. Benjamin  Moseley (ESTC R16451): Dibdin, BD, II, p.514. Dated ‘1796, 11th’ Invoice total £ 0.10.6.  This book is held by the Scheide Library at Princeton and will be the subject of a future blog posting.
  5. Soul of Astrology, by Salmon, London 1679, bound for Dr. Benjamin Moseley (ESTC R6301): Dibdin, BD, II, p.514. Undated. Invoice total £ 0.9.6
  6. Vesalli Humani Corporis Fabrica, bill in possession of Edward V. Utterson: Dibdin, BD, II, p.514 (also transcribed in C. Davenport, Roger Payne [Chicago, 1929], p. 72). Undated. Invoice total £ 0.15.0
  7. Sandys Travels MDC.X. Wheeler and Spons Travels M.DC.LXXV, bill in possession of Edward V. Utterson (ESTC S121765 [1615 ed. and many later ed.] and ESTC R9388 [1682 ed.]): Dibdin, BD, II, p.515. Dated ‘Dec. 1st’ Invoice total £ 1.13.0

C. Davenport records the following bills in Roger Payne [Chicago, 1929], in addition to those noted above:

  1. Cambridge 1694 (ESTC R24132): Davenport, RP, p. 69, illustrated plate 29, undated original in the British Library. Invoice total £ 4.9.0
  2. Lilly’s Christian Astrology. London, 1695. Bound for Dr. Benjamin Moseley (ESTC R233955 [1647 ed. and several later ed.]): Davenport, RP, p. 73, (also transcribed in Sydney Glover, ‘A Famous Bookbinder …’, The Collector’s Magazine (London, 1905), p. 42) undated original in 1908 Sotheby’s auct. of the books of Lord Amherst of Hackney. Invoice total £ 1.3.6
  3. The Faerie Queene … MDXCVI (ESTC S117748): Davenport, RP, p. 74, illustrated plate 30, undated original in the British Library. Invoice total £ 2.10.0
  4. Mosaical Philosophy by Fludd. London, MDCLIX (ESTC R6980): Davenport, RP, p. 75, undated original in the British Library. Invoice total £ 1.13.6
  5. Heydon, Elhavarevna. London, 1665. (ESTC R8694): Davenport, RP, p. 76, undated original in the British Library, shelf mark C.66.b.1. Invoice total £ 1.18.0
  6. Plot (Robert). The Natural History of Staffordshire. Oxford, 1686. (ESTC R21986) Davenport, RP, plate 32, undated, original owned by booksellers John Tregaskis and Son, ca. 1929. Invoice total £ 4.14.6


Transcription of Payne’s statement of invoice

"" Letter’d in ye most exact Manner, exceeding rich small Tool Gilt Back of a new pattern studded in Compartments. The outsides finished in the Richest & most elegant Taste Richer, & more exact than any Book that I ever Bound.
The insides finished in a new Design exceeding elegant. Bound in the very best manner sew’d with silk on Strong & Neat Bands. The Back lined with Russia Leather under the Blue morrocco cover very strong & neat Boards.

The Finest Blue Morocco All The Gold Impressions except studds worked first Plain afterwards work’d in Gold & Double Gold used thro ^ye whole Work


Frontispiece was pasted very clumsy on another leaf I took it off & cleaned the paste off & mended 3 places. Title 1 piece

Jeremiah III. Proverbs XIX. Saint Matthew VIII ) Mended and several placed ruled where the pieces was put on.
A hole in ye printing have endeavour’d to make perfect by another Holy Bible. I cleaned all the printing part from ye other side required great care & time & several Back margins mended which cannot now be seen. ___ Some few places had a little writing ink I took out quite safe.


Roger Payne in his workshop. 














By S. Harding. Frontispiece to C. Davenport, Roger Payne (Chicago, 1929).

Sir Thomas Phillipps – Illustrations of his distinguishing marks of ownership in books and manuscripts from the Phillipps Library

Supplementing examples posted by Peter Kidd on his website ‘Manuscripts/Provenance,’ in the entry for Sir Thomas Phillipps http://www.manuscripts.org.uk/manuscripts/provenance/collectors/phillipps.htm

A. N. L. Munby writes in Phillipps Studies No. 4 (Cambridge, 1956), p. 165

In the 1820s Phillipps commissioned an armorial bookplate, which was however inserted very sparingly in books and manuscripts (fig. 1). Many of the early acquisitions bear a stencilled stamp of his crest, a lion rampant, applied rather crudely to the front paste-down or to the first leaf (fig. 2), and, on the paste-down, in the case of manuscripts, was inscribed the number allotted to the book in the Catalogus Librorum Manuscriptorum (fig. 3); in most instances this number was repeated on a tiny printed slip glued to the spine (fig. 4). Many thousands of manuscripts are identifiable at sight by their drab buff boards, Phillipps’s usual binding style. (fig. 5) A very large number of the printed books have no identification of ownership by Phillipps other than the small pencilled initials ‘MHC’ at the top of the front paste-down, denoting that the item in question had been entered, but not necessarily printed, in the Middle Hill Catalogue (fig. 6). Many books in the great residue of the library purchased in 1946 by Messrs Robinson have been provided with a discreet armorial label which identifies their provenance (fig. 7)

Figure 1 – Armorial bookplate

Figure 2 – Stencil

Figure 3 – Stencil with number

Figure 4 – Slip on spine

Figure 5 – Middle Hill Boards

Figure 6 – MHC (Middle Hill Catalogue)

Figure 7 – Bibliotheca Phillippica – W. H. Robinson Ltd.

Charles Lamb’s books at Princeton

Bartlett & Welford’s sale catalogue of 60 lots consisting of volumes from Charles Lamb’s library (February, 1848) [ExL 0513.557.55] The Princeton copy includes a hand written table giving the buyers for each lot and the amount paid.  The catalogue and the mss. table have been digitized.

The story begins in 1848, an annus mirabilis in the tale of Charles Lamb’s library.  This was the year in which 60 lots of Lamb’s books came up for sale in New York. (The 60 lots comprised more than 136 titles in total.)  The lots appeared in a  private sale on the premises of the Astor House booksellers Bartlett & Welford in the first part of the year. The booksellers claimed that the books were selected from the mass of Lamb’s books and ‘the remainder destroyed … so that no other such opportunity can offer to the admirers of C. Lamb, for securing a memento of their favorite author.’  Then, in October, 1848, 17 lots bought by John T. Annan of Cincinnati in the Bartlett & Welford sale were auctioned by the New York firm of Cooley, Keese, & Hill. Unlike collectors across the Atlantic, American book collectors had a special affection for Lamb, his writings, and his books, and were willing to pay strong prices.

The distinct character of this American passion for Lamb is brilliantly recounted in Book Madness: A Story of Book Collectors in America by Denise Gigante (Stanford; Princeton PhD. 2000), recently published by Yale University Press.

The head note in Catalogue of Charles Lamb’s library, for sale by Bartlett & Welford, booksellers and importers, 7 Astor House, New York states
>> During the long illness of Miss Lamb, the collection of books that had formed the solace and delight of her brother’s life, met with neglect and partial dispersion among his friends; at her death the following volumes were selected from the mass as worthy of preservation, containing notes, &c., by the late possessor, and the remainder destroyed—so that no other such opportunity can offer to the admirers of C. Lamb, for securing a memento of their favorite author. The notes, remarks, &c., referred to and quoted in inverted commas, in the following list, are warranted to be all in the autograph of Lamb (except when otherwise mentioned), and it will be seen that many of his most favorite works are there; no attempt has been made to re-clothe his “shivering folios;” they are precisely in the state in which he possessed and left them. <<

Bartlett & Welford didn’t disclose who made the selection of the 60 items. From Book Madness,(p. 42) we learn that it was Charles Moxon, Lamb’s publisher and husband of Lamb’s adopted daughter, Emma, who had inherited the books.  Moxon was quite familiar with the enthusiasm in America for Lamb, and in the autumn of 1847 he worked out a deal with Charles Welford to market the books in America (p. 52).  The  February 5, 1848 issue of Literary World announced ‘These books, which Lamb so loved that they seemed a part of himself, have been plucked from the smoke of London, deracinated from the pavements of Cockneydom, and now they are in the Astor House, all written over in the margin by Coleridge and Southey and Lamb himself. What will their fate be now?’

Evidently during February and perhaps in some following months Bartlett & Welford sold all the lots and a record of the buyers and prices is recorded in the Princeton copy of the catalogue, a gift from Charles Scribner, Class of 1913, as part of his Lamb collection.

Of the 60 lots, the following are now at Princeton

Ben JonsonWorks (London, 1692).
“The blank leaves, margins &c., are filled with extracts from the old Dramatists and early English Writers, with additional poems, corrections of the Text & co. &c., in Charles Lamb’s early hand-writing, forming a most curious and valuable memento of his favorite studies.” (Bartlett & Welford, 1848).  Provenance:
• Lot 20 at  Bartlett & Welford’s private sale of Lamb’s books (February, 1848) purchased by George Templeton Strong for 25 dollars.
• Lot 904 at Bang’s sale of George T. Stong’s books (New York, 1878)
• Lot 964 at Bangs’s sale of the library of Charles W. Frederickson (New York, 1897). Sold to Charles Scribner’s Sons for $375.
• Christie’s NY, Dec. 14, 2000, lot 104 (“Property of a Gentleman”) via James Cummins to Pirie.
• Collection of Robert S. Pirie, Sotheby’s NY, 2 Dec. 2015, lot 987, to Princeton. (Call number: RHT 17th-739a RHT / Digitized )

John SucklingFragmenta Aurea (London, 1646) “Charles Lamb’s copy, with mss notes from Aubrey’s Lives, Notes, & co.” (Bartlett & Welford, 1848). Provenance:
• Lot 48 at  Bartlett & Welford’s private sale of Lamb’s books (February, 1848) purchased by Horatio Woodman for 5 dollars.
• Lot 960 at Bangs’s sale of the library of Charles W. Frederickson (New York, 1897), sold to Frank Howard Dodd and Edward S. Mead for $270.
• Henry Bache Smith (collector), A Sentimental Library ([New York], Privately Printed, 1914) p. 148
• Halsted B. Vander Poel (Christie’s London, 3 March 2004, lot 106). via Quaritch to Pirie.
• Collection of Robert S. Pirie, Sotheby’s NY, 2 Dec. 2015, lot 988 to Princeton. (Call number RHT-551A / Digitized )

The history of Philip de Commines, knight, Lord of Argenton.  
“With interesting MS notes by Charles Lamb at the commencement and ‘Memorabilia’ by Coleridge at the end on the free towns and republics of the Middle Ages & c.” (Bartlett & Welford, 1848). Provenance:
• Lot 59 at  Bartlett & Welford’s private sale of Lamb’s books (February, 1848) purchased by George Templeton Strong for 10 dollars.
• Lot 374 at Bang’s sale of George T. Stong’s books (New York, 1878)
• Lot 960 at Bangs’s sale of the library of Charles W. Frederickson (New York, 1897), sold for $135.
• Charles Scribner’s Sons subsequently purchased it for $180.
• Henry Bache Smith (collector), A Sentimental Library ([New York], Privately Printed, 1914) p. 146
• A.S.W. Rosenbach (bookseller) then sold to Princeton, June 1947. (Call number: Ex 1509.146.26.11q  / Digitized )  N. B. See article about this book by Prof. Jeremiah Finch published in the Princeton University Library Chronicle at https://www.jstor.org/stable/26401659

Old Plays & c. spine title on a sammelband  consisting of 12 items   Lamb lists the contents on the front pastedown.   Provenance:

• Lot 54 in the Bartlett & Welford sale catalogue, but there described as ‘Tracts, Miscellaneous, 1 thick volume, 12mo. Descriptive Catalogue of Pictures, and Poetical and Historical Inventions, by William Blake, 1809. Lord Rochester’s Poems, Lady Winchelsea’s Poems, C. Lamb’s Confessions of a Drunkard, with Corrections, &c., Southey’s Wat Tyler, &c. 12 tracts, with MS list of contents.’  Sold to John T. Annan for $6.
• Lot 376 in Cooley, Keese, & HIll, Catalogue of a private library, embracing a large collection of rare and valuable works in early English literature; … and eighteen volumes from the library of Charles Lamb.  New York, 1848.  Sale consisted of books from the Library of John T. Annan of Cincinnati.  Sold to Campbell for $4.25 (per priced copy of the catalogue at the American Antiquarian Society; thanks to Elizabeth Pope who supplied images of the pages for lots 359 to 376, headed in black letter ‘Charles Lamb’s Books.’)
• Seven Gables Bookshop (NY) to Robert H. Taylor, February 1972.  Taylor legacy to Princeton in 1985. (Call number: RHT 19th-305)


Lamb has annotated the poem ‘A Noctural Reverie’ ‘the best poem in the collection’