The Britwell Court Copy of an Important English Reformation Polemic


(London: Jhon Herforde, 1546). 159 x 105 mm. (6 1/4 x 4 1/4"). xxxii, [4], xxxiii-cxxxiii [i.e. cxxxi], [1] leaves. FIRST EDITION.

xxxx19th century full brown crushed morocco by W. Pratt, covers with gilt supralibros of Christie-Miller, raised bands, gilt titling, turn-ins densely gilt with floral roll, all edges gilt.
Front pastedown with morocco bookplate of Sinclair Hamilton. STC 11591. xxxxFront joint partly cracked (with just a hint of give), leaves perhaps pressed and washed, but still quite an agreeable copy, especially for a cheaply made English book from this period, the leaves consistently clean, fresh enough, and showing virtually no signs of use.

This is the Christie-Miller copy of quite a rare work from the English Reformation, penned by a bishop whom DNB describes as "one of the giants of Tudor politics." According to DNB, "Gardiner published a series of English polemics," the second of which was the present work "in defence of the real presence in the Eucharist. . . . During the reign of Edward VI the Eucharist became Gardiner's principal theological preoccupation. . . . Among the English statesmen of the sixteenth century, only Wolsey, Cromwell, Cecil, and perhaps Walsingham exceeded him in stature. Few other politicians of the age had a career of comparable duration. Gardiner was a figure of the first rank for almost thirty years, surpassing the records of his first patron, Wolsey, and his great rival, Cromwell. Moreover, as the leading English religious conservative of his time, Gardiner bulks large in political, intellectual, and ecclesiastical history. He enjoyed a European reputation as a theologian, second only to Fisher among his English contemporaries." This copy once graced the Britwell Court library, which De Ricci says was simply the most outstanding collection of English books ever assembled. The voracious book collector William Henry Miller (1789-1848) was a bibliophile who, in de Ricci's words, "literally bought by the cartload." He was a major buyer at the Heber sales, which featured much early English literature. The books were kept at Miller's Britwell Court estate in Buckinghamshire, where they were added to substantially by successors Samuel Christy (d. 1889) and Wakefield Christy (d. 1898), both of whom took the name Christie-Miller. Their immense library was sold between 1916 and 1927 at Sotheby's, bringing in more than £500,000. Later owner Sinclair Hamilton (1884-1978) was a lawyer, book collector, and preeminent authority in the field of early American book illustration.

Add to Cart Price: $9,500.00

PJP Catalog: 75.144


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