1662 Basilika, The Workes of King Charles the Martyr. 1st edition.


Cost-effective opportunity to own the first edition 1662 of the Workes of Charles I; The Life of Charles I here first printed. The binding is in poor condition, but still an attractive folio with three handsome engravings that extend across two leaves, in addition to the frontis coat-of-arms and engraved title page.

In addition to Charles edicts, letters, etc., the printer included Eikon Basilke, a supposed autobiography of Charles I, first printed just after he was executed, and acting something as an apology to the English people. It served to turn the people towards the King and was an effective Royalist political tool.

This, Workes, also includes a revised version of the illustration in Eikon Basilke, presenting Charles as a martyr.

There are several other well-executed illustrations. One depicts The Parable of Jotham, and another represents the Catholic church as the true tree of religion, with pruners trying to cut back the growths of reformers (and standing on them). All of this work, and it's allegories, were highly political and charged in the context of the Civil War and religious trials of the 17th century.

Charles I's writings show that unwavering, and unforgiving, opinions are not a great way to get ahead.

About Charles I (in extreme brief) -

From the beginning of his reign, Charles I clashed with the Parliament of England to increase its revenues, while the latter sought to limit the royal prerogatives, which the king considered to be of divine right. His interference in the religious affairs of the churches of England and Scotland, and his tax hikes without the consent of Parliament, were very unpopular with some Protestant preachers, who regarded him as an absolute monarch and tyrant.

His refusal to sustainably support the Protestant forces during the Thirty Years' War, associated with his marriage to a Catholic princess, Henriette-Marie de France, also raised questions about his religion. Charles I also allied himself with controversial ecclesiastical figures, such as Richard Montagu and William Laud, whom he appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. As a result, many subjects, including the Puritans, felt that the Church of England was too close to the Catholic Church. Finally, his attempts to impose religious reforms in Scotland were the cause of the Bishops' Wars, which strengthened the position of the English and Scottish parliaments, and precipitated his downfall.

The last years of Charles I were marked by the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the First English Revolution, in which he clashed with parliamentary forces. His troops were defeated in the First Civil War (1642–1645); Parliament then expected that it would accept his demands for a parliamentary monarchy. However, he refused to negotiate and forged an alliance with Scotland, before fleeing to the Isle of Wight. This sparked a second civil war (1648–1649), and Charles I was again defeated, then arrested in 1649, tried and executed for high treason.

Bibliographic Details -

Universal Short Title Catalogue reference number 3081597.

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 37 x 23 x 4 cm., folio. Leather binding. Spine with six raised bands; tooled in gilt, but flaking.

Pages -

Volume 1 - xvi, 120, (2 plate leaves), 458, (1 blank).

Volume 2 - viii, 733, (1 blank), 4 pages of table, 1 page of colophon, and one blank page.

Collation -

Volume 1 - A6, a-f6, g-i4, k-q2, B-Z6, Aa-Pp6, Qq-Rr4

Volume 2 - A4, B-Z6, Aa-Zz6, Aaa-Qqq6, Rrr4

Condition -

See pictures. Bindings were once respined with buckram, but that's become cracked and the rear board of both volumes are loose. Bindings are well-worn with lots or rubs, scrapes, edge wear etc. Spines chipping. Bookseller ticket on pastedown v1.

Bookseller notes on recto of frontis plate. Text block is toned throughout, with moisture mark from the top-edge, which does extend into text. Occasional thumb, dog-eared corner, rust spot, candle ember spot, etc. throughout. Graphite "x" on C6. Damp stain just at fore-edge throughout v1. Some damp-staining at inner gutter at rear of v1. Facing endpaper left paper on printer's mark v2. Stains from edges in v2 also. 3cm ink stain Q2 v2.

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