Polychronicon

Title

Polychronicon

Creator

Ranulf Higden, -1364

Publisher

Westminster: William Caxton

Date

after 2 July 1482

Format

364 ff (of 450); Leaves lacking are: a1-8, b1-8, c1-4,1.1-5 and 8, 2.1-8, 3.1 and 8, 4.1, 27.2 and 4-8, [1], 46.5, 49.4, 50-52 1-8, 53 1-8, 54 1-8 and 55 1-8

Description

Translated and continued by John Trevisa; revised and expanded to 1460 by William Caxton.
Imprint from ISTC; colophon (referring to the preparation of the text) reads: . ended the second day of Iuyll the xxij yere of the regne of kynge Edwardthe fourth [and] of the Incarnacion of oure lord a thousand four honderd foure score and tweyne, fynysshed per Caxton.
Signatures: a-b⁸ C⁴ 1-28⁸ [A]² 29-48⁸ 49⁴ 50⁸ 52-55⁸ (4.3 signed 3.4, 5.3 signed 5.2, 25.2 signed 5.22, 35.3 signed 35.2) (first and last leaves blank).
Leaves 1.2-55.7 are foliated in Roman numerals: 1-159, 161-232, 234-414, 414-[427].
Initial spaces with guide letters. Queen's copy is fully rubricated with initials and marginal notes.
Includes index.

Provenance

"[I]n a rich and quite extraordinary mid 18th century binding unquestionably bound for James West, to his designs, in full red morocco. The boards feature a large ornamental gilt framework border identical to that used on his copy of the Caxton Chaucer (now called the Rockingham Chaucer and one of the most valuable English books to have ever sold at auction). This binding is known to have been replicated on at least 5 Caxton printings from West's collection of English incunabula and for his personal collection and library. The elaborately gilt tooled spine features five raised bands separating magnificently designed gilt compartments executed in the architectural "Gothic Window" pattern designed by Mr. West and identical to those used on a number of his books. The design most likely was established to mimic the windows of the owner's library at Alscot. Two gilt lettered and gilt decorated green morocco labels fill two compartments, there is giltwork to the board edges and gilt dentelles at the turn-ins, and all edges are gilt. The original blue endpapers and silk marker are intact. This is clearly a binding of importance and once a part of one of the greatest Caxton collections ever assembled, much of which was purchased by the King of England for his royal library at the sale of West's collection in the late 18th century. 364 ff (of 450), nearly complete as to the text of the 'Polycronicon' but without, as is often true, the preliminaries, Book VIII, 18 text ff and 3 blanks. Leaves lacking are: a1-8, b1-8, c1-4,1.1-5 and 8, 2.1-8, 3.1 and 8, 4.1, 27.2 and 4-8, [1], 46.5, 49.4, 50-52 1-8, 53 1-8, 54 1-8 and 55 1-8. A highly important book and an extremely handsome and very pleasing copy of this rare and early work, in a binding of significance and importance. With scholarly and abundant early manuscript notations throughout in English, generally a bit cropped, a few margins strengthened, some expected minor staining, first ff loosening, hole in blank inner margin of quire 28, CCClxxxvj torn with loss of a few letters." (Bookseller's description)

Contributor

John Trevisa, -1402, translator

Language

English

Identifier

ISTC no. UKBYIH00267000-E
Ricci, S. de. Census of Caxtons 49

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Files

Dated1482.C39.jpg
Dated1482.C39_frontboard.jpg
Dated1482.C39_spine.jpg

Collection

Citation

Ranulf Higden, -1364, “Polychronicon,” Schulich-Woolf Rare Book Collection, accessed December 17, 2017, http://schulichwoolf.omeka.net/items/show/310.