([Westminster: William Caxton, 1482]). 268 x 178 mm. (10 1/2 x 7"). 40 lines and headline, gothic type.
Attractively matted. Paragraph flourishes, one two-line initial painted in red. Marginal annotations in red, apparently by the rubricator, one of them giving the date of 960. Duff 172; Goff H-267; STC 13438. Faint marginal dampstains (one entering a few lines of text on each side) a handful of small (but darker) spots, also in the margin, the leaf a little soft (but still quite attractive when viewed through its mat, which obscures almost all of the marginal imperfections). Not without faults, but about typical for Caxton leaves.
From the press of England's first printer, this is a leaf from the "Polycronicon," a world history based principally on the Bible, written by the monk Ranulf Higden (or Higdon, ca. 1299-1363) of Chester. This popular work, originally in Latin, was first rendered into English by our translator, John of Trevisa, and his version is of considerable interest to scholars for its English usage. Caxton (ca. 1422-92) originally established a press in Bruges, where, in 1473, he issued the first book to be printed in English, the "Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye." In 1476 he settled at Westminster, where he printed more than 100 books, many of which he had edited or translated himself. For the "Polycronicon," Caxton revised the whole of the chronicle, continuing it up to the year 1460; this continuation is the only extant piece of Caxton's own composition. Our leaf, from Chapter Nine of the sixth book, relates the time at which Edgar, then "sixtene yere old, was made kynge" of the English in 959 A.D. The costs of the few complete Caxton works to be found today are staggering, making leaves like this one the only affordable way to own a piece of work done by England's proto-typographer. (ST15609-9)
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PJP Catalog: ABAAvfMay20.032