1729 Antiquitate Britannicae Ecclesiae by Matthew Parker. Folio. 29 plates. Likely royal paper ed.


1729 Antiquitate Britannicae Ecclesiae, by Matthew Parker, with 29 plates, and (likely; see note below) on "royal paper". Provenance of Sir Gilbert Elliot (ex libris plate). This printing edited from the 1572 edition by Samuel Drake, with an introduction. Like the 1572 edition, it also has the Academiae Historia Cantebrigiensis at the rear.

About the Work -

“Matthew Parker (1504-1575), Archbishop of Canterbury, was one of the earliest Anglo-Saxonists; his work had the political purpose of attempting to bolster the Church of England's split from Rome by using Anglo-Saxon ecclesiastical texts as evidence that the English Church was the most authentic form of Christianity, especially with regard to episcopal authority and transubstantiation. This work was first printed in 1572 and may be the first privately printed book in England.” (University of Notre Dame Rare Books Collections, web posting)

“Parker's historical research was exemplified in his De antiquitate Britannicæ ecclesiae.” -1905 New International Encyclopedia

About the Paper -

The printer, Bowyer, kept records which state that 500 copies of this edition were printed on regular paper, 100 on royal paper, and 3 on imperial paper. I cannot find record of how to discern which paper is which, so I conducted my own research. Often this copy has the watermark of a fleur de lis, or Strasburg Lily. Other known "Royal Paper" editions by Bowyer have the Strasburg Fleur de Lis, indicating that what Bowyer considered "royal paper" was produced in Strasburg, and this copy is likely the Royal Paper edition. Also, if you look at the copy scanned to Google Books, it has smaller margins; this might just be through binder trimming, but if you combine the size consideration with the Strasburg Lily watermark, it builds a strong case that this is the "royal paper" edition.

Physical Attributes -

Measures 42 x 26.5 x 6.5 cm. Calf (respined/rebound; see condition). Six raised cords to spine; top and bottom compartment blind stamped with circle grid, four compartments with central floret, and one compartment with author and title in gilt on red Moroccan. Boards gilt ruled, edges rolled. 29 plates (unnumbered). Pages - flyleaf, frontis, title page, ii-Samuel Drake dedication, iii - Preface new edition, A1-A4 - Preface. B1 - Page 1. 592 numbered pages (I found no pagination errors). Index - 7m-7s2 or 14 leaves. Tabulae Chronicae 7T-7z2 and 8A to 8B1, 15 leaves total. 8B2 to 8L2 - Lucturi Samuel Drake Emendatione, 19 leaves. Title page - Academiae Historia Cantebrigiensis; pages numbered i to lxiv. Flyleaf.

Condition -

See pictures. Respined and recorded/rebound at that time - original boards used. Shelf wear. Edges worn; corners bumped/frayed. Several small cracks along front joint. Ex libris on pastedown. Pencil notes bookseller on flyleaf and pen gift inscription. "RV 1763" upper left margin of title page. Foxing along left edge of frontis. Thumbing on title page. 2 ink smudges on title page, no text impacted. Moisture mark at top right of page 75, no text impacted. Occasional dust on top-edge margin. Some plates have ghosted facing pages, before rebind. Upper right margin corner repaired on pages 357 and 359. Ink thumb print on page xxxiii (last section). A handsome, strong, tall and thick copy, previously restored and ready for action.

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