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Full text of "The book fancier : or, The romance of book collecting"

r-t^ 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



I » 



THE BOOK FANCIER 



OR THE 



iRomance of JSooft Collecting 



BY 

PERCY FITZGERALD 



LONDON 
SAMPSON LOW MARSTON & CO., LTD. 



PRINTED BY 

THE LONDON AND NORWICH PRESS, LIMITED 

LONDON AND NORWICH 






TO 

GEORGE A UGUSTUS SALA, 

CRITIC AMD CONNOISSSUR, 

Sbt6 IDolume, 

ON A 

SUBJECT CONGENIAL TO HIS TASTES, 

IS 

INSCRIBED BY HIS FRIEND 

THE AUTHOR 



662851 



Digitized by tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2007 witii funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



littp://www.arcliive.org/details/bookfancierorromOOfitziala 



PREFACE 

Within the last few years there has been a revival 
of the old and elegant taste of the book-fancier, 
as well as of that passion or faith which is described 
with such amiable enthusiasm in the little tract of 
the worthy Bishop Richard of Bury. The history 
and pedigree of books, of printers, &c., has always 
been a favourite study with the learned, attested by 
the profound and scholarly treatises of the Panzers, 
Hains, de Bures, Brunets, and our own Lowndes. 
But this subject has its popular graces also, and 
there is a sort of romantic interest attached to all 
that is associated with books — the rare old edition, 
the old printer, the blear-eyed collector, the binder, 
the sale, and the stray survivor of a whole edition, 
by some miracle preserved to our time. These topics 
seemed to kindle such writers as the late Dr. Hill 
Burton — perhaps the first in our time to deal 
popularly with such matters ; Mr. Andrew Lang 
being the latest to illustrate this subject from his 
abundant stores of knowledge. Having from the 
earliest date had a taste for this fascinating pursuit 
— and when a boy I formed a very respectable 
collection of Elzevirs, and looked on auction days 
as festivals — I have ventured to add my contribution 
to the rest. This little volume will be found to 
contain many curious and interesting things not 
readily accessible, and deals in some fashion with 
almost everything that is connected with " book." 



vi PREFACE 

Due allowance must be made for the enthusiasm of 
the collector, who from the days of the excellent 
Dr. Frognall Dibdin has been good-naturedly 
allowed ever to see gold and silver and jewels in his 
mouldy treasures. 

For some curious information concerning book- 
binding I am indebted to the papers of the late Mr. 
Sanders of Oxford. Other obligations I have 
acknowledged in the notes. 

Athenaeum Club. 



CONTENTS 



BOOK COLLECTORS AND DEALERS 

THB MAZARIN BIBLE 

THE INCUNABLES . 

ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS . 

CAXTONS AND ENGLISH PRINTERS 

OF THE LIBRARY . 

BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 

CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 

GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 

" LUXURIOUS EDITIONS " 

OF THE AUCTION-ROOM . 

SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 

L'ENVOI .... 

INDEX 



PAG9 

I 

17 
32 

47 
67 
82 
99 
136 
168 

193 

222 
253 
307 
309 



THE BOOK FANCIER 



Booft Collectors ant> dealers 

" O MY darling books 1 " exclaims an enthusiastic 
collector, Silvestre de Sacy ; "a day will come 
when you will be laid out on the saleroom table, and 
others will buy and possess you — persons, perhaps, 
less worthy of you than your old master. Yet 
how dear to me are they all ! for have I not chosen 
them one by one, gathered them in with the sweat 
of my brow ? I do love you all ! It seems as 
if, by long and sweet companionship, you had 
become part of myself. But in this world nothing 
is secure." 

Some such pang or foreboding as this has often 
wrung the collector's heart as he surveys his 
treasures ranged within their glass-bound tene- 
ments ; for he knows that, whatever securities he 
may contrive, their dispersion is almost inevitable. 
The more precious the collection, the more certain 
the temptation ; and there is even a grim legend 
of one library carried to the saleroom, " by order 
B 



2 THE BOOK FANCIER 

of the relatives," on the very day after the 
interment of the owner. Yet here there is a 
righteous Nemesis ; for too often, indeed, the 
" hobby " has been ridden at the sacrifice of 
family comforts, and even family embarrassment, 
— Whence the pressing temptation to recover what is 
thought to have been unrighteously abstracted. 
Yet a cloud of pleasant romantic associations still 
envelops the amiable collector, often a man of simple 
manners and tastes, whose holiday is a prowl among 
the " old bookshops," and whose triumph is his 
return home with some mouldy but precious little 
duodecimo. He will exhibit to you with trembling 
glee his Elzevir Rabelais, secured out of a book-box 
at the door, " all at a shilling," or his rare Jenson 
in folio, purchased from a " country dealer " for the 
vast price of £io, but which " he knows is worth 
five times the money," — as indeed it is. But 
alas ! behind all this is the grim tragic idea of, 
as it were, " writing in water," of gathering for 
dispersion, of heaping up only for scattering, of 
that final, fatal day when all shall be sold 
and others buy again ! He is but a bibhophihst 
Danaid, vainly filling his pitcher — the water run- 
ning out at bottom ! 

The book-collecting passion was alluded to long 
ago in Lucian, who asks : " Why do you buy so 
many books ? You are blind, and you buy a grand 
mirror ; you are deaf, and you purchase fine musical 
instruments ; you have no hair, and you get yourself 
a comb." This is perhaps the most bitter stroke 
yet given to the bibhomaniac. More pleasantly 
sarcastic, too, are the lines of old Brandt in his 
" Ship of Fools," where our maniac is ever a con- 
spicuous passenger : — 



BOOK COLLECTORS AND DEALERS 3 

" Still am I busy bookes assembling, 
For to have plentie it is a pleasaunt thing 
In my conceyt, to have them ay at hand, 
But what they meane do I not understande," 

One might weep over the mad folly of old Maglia- 
becchi — " the Glutton of Books " — who covered 'floor, 
bed, and every portion of his house with books. 
When he wished to sleep, he would throw an old 
rug over any books that were on the floor, and 
stretch himself upon them, or he would cast himself, 
completely dressed, into his unmade bed, which was 
filled full of books, taking a basin of coals with him. 
Often he thus, quite unintentionally, set himself and 
his bed on fire. Notwithstanding this confusion, he 
could lay his hand on any book at any moment, 
though buried under a load of disorderly volumes. 
But most " untidy " literary men and scholars can do 
this, to a great extent, in the case of their papers 
as well as of books. To the housemaid eye there 
is a hopeless confusion. 

No " hobby " is so old, so enduring, or respectable 
as this. Almost from the first days of writing it 
declared itself, and down to this hour it has flour- 
ished. The very literature of the subject is enor- 
mous, and would fill a small library. There is a 
dictionary on the subject of books that deals 
with books — that is, things of paper and print. 
About printers and printing alone, its various styles 
and forms, there are treatises without end ; grand 
encyclopaedic dictionaries written by the pundits — 
Hain, Panzer, De Bure, the greater Brunet, and 
many more. There can be no doubt, indeed, that 
a book falls within the domain of art, for it is a 
thing of arrangement and disposition, and with such 
elements it is obvious there must be one sort of 



4 THE BOOK FANCIER 

arrangement or disposition that is more pleasing than 
another. 

The ordinary book-hunter, stall-ranger, or " prow- 
ler " has a store of joys and delight, even in anticipat- 
ing their fruition, which he can gratify to the full in 
this London of ours, as well as did old Monkbams in 
the " W5mds " and purlieus of Edinburgh. He 
becomes a character. "Of the old bookstall 
hunters," writes Mr, Sanders in his MS., penes me, 
" Richard Smyth, one of the Secondaries of the City 
of London from 1644 to 1655, was said to be so 
devoted to the pleasant toils of book collecting, that 
he resigned his office (and emoluments of £700 a year) 
expressly that he might take his rounds among the 
booksellers' shops, especially in Little Britain. Dr. 
John North delighted in the small editions of the 
classics by Seb. Gryphius. His biographer says : * I 
have borne him company at a bookstall for many 
hours together, and minding him of the time he hath 
made a dozen offers before he would quit.' Sterne 
was fond of looking over bookstalls, and writes 
exultingly of a bargain made by Mr. Shandy, who had 
the good fortune to get Bruscambille's Prologue on 
Noses [i2mo, Paris, 1612] almost for nothing, that is, 
for three half-crowns. ' There are not three Brus- 
cambilles in Christendom [said the stall-man] except 
what are chained up in the libraries of the curious. 
My father flung down the money as quick as lightning, 
took Bruscambille into his bosom, hyed home from 
Piccadilly to Coleman Street with it, as he would have 
hyed home with a treasure, without taking his hand 
once off from Bruscambille all the way.' The Rev. 
Richard Farmer, D.D., was a great lover of bookstalls. 
His library sold in 1798 for £2,210, his pictures for 
£500, aU of which, it is believed, were purchased by 



BOOK COLLECTORS AND DEALERS 5 

the Doctor for much under £500. The Rev. J. 
Brand, F.A.S., whose compact Hbrary of ' unique, 
scarce, rare, and curious works ' was sold at the 
beginning of the century for upwards of £6000, ahnost 
daily visited the bookstalls between Piccadilly and 
Mile End — a rather extensive range — and generally 
returned from these excursions with his deep and 
wide pockets well laden, and it is said his volumes 
were chiefly collected in this way, and for compara- 
tively small sums. The old Duke of Roxburghe 
wandered industriously and zealously from bookshop 
to bookstall over the world, just as he wandered over 
the moor stalking the deer. Madame D'Arblay men- 
tions that Queen Charlotte, speaking of a book in her 
hbrary, said, ' I picked the book up on a stall. 
Oh, it's amazing what good books there are on 
stalls ! ' On which Mrs. Del any, fancying that her 
Majesty was in the habit of exploring bookstalls in 
person, expressed her surprise. ' Why,' said the 
Queen, ' I don't pick them up myself ; but I have a 
servant, very clever, and if they are not to be had at 
the booksellers', they are not for me more than for 
another.' Still Dr. Croly says that Queen Charlotte 
was in the habit of paying visits, with a lady-in- 
waiting, to Holywell Street and Ludgate Hill, where 
second-hand books were offered for sale. ' In no 
instance,' says he, ' was her Majesty recognised or 
interfered with.' Her Majesty's taste went further, 
and it is not generally known that she had a private 
press of her own. This we learn from a volume, 
' Miscellaneous Poems, printed in 1812 by E. Hardy 
for her Majesty Queen Charlotte, at the Frogmore 
Lodge Press,' Only thirty copies were printed as 
presents for the Queen's select friends. Most of the 
royal family had this taste for typography and books. 



6 THE BOOK FANCIER 

and the author possesses some verses printed in red 
ink by George Prince of Wales (afterwards George 
IV.) when a child, George III. at one time proposed 
setting up a press in the palace. 

" ' How often,' says Sir Walter Scott, speaking with 
the voice of the old antiquary, Monkbams, ' have I 
stood haggling on a penny, lest, by a too ready acqui- 
escence in the dealer's first price, he should be led to 
suspect the value I set upon the article ! How have 
I trembled lest some passing stranger should chop in 
between me and the prize ; and then, Mr. Love], the 
sly satisfaction with which one pays the consideration 
and pockets the article, affecting a cold indifference 
while the hand is trembling with pleasure ! ' South ey 
could not pass a stall without ' just running his eye 
over for one minute,' even, we are told, if the coach 
which was to take him to see Coleridge at Hampstead 
was within that time of starting. The great lawyer, 
Francis Hargrave, is said to have formed his exten- 
sive library merely by ' picking up ' at bookstalls, 
seldom, if ever, purchasing a volume at what is called 
a ' regular ' bookseller's. This library was purchased 
for £8000 for the British Museum. Charles Butler, 
another lawyer of eminence, also ranged bookstalls, 
and many a rare book he has secured for a few shil- 
lings, worth as many pounds. This was his frequent 
boast. Lord Macaulay was pecuUarly fond of rum- 
maging the bookstalls, and scarcely a dusty old book- 
shop in any by-court or out-of-the-way corner in 
London escaped his attention. No one so ready to 
mount a ladder and scour the top shelf for quarto 
pamphlets or curious literary relics of a bygone age, 
and come down after an hour's examination covered 
with dust and cobwebs, sending for a bun to take the 
place of his usual luncheon. He was not ashamed 



BOOK COLLECTORS AND DEALERS 7 

to act as his own porter, and, like most of the eminent 
bookworms, ancient and modern, was not above 
carrying a shabby old folio through a fashionable 
thoroughfare." The late Mark Pattison had a 
special fancy for the little antique Latin pocket 
volumes pubUshed in myriads a couple of centuries 
ago. It is curious to think of scholars " wise and 
old " issuing their profoundest lucubrations in 
volumes about the size of a small Prayer-Book or 
Pocket Testament ; but such was the fashion. Long 
histories, such as Strada On the Belgian War, a work 
as long as " Hume and Smollett," or even " Gibbon," 
were thus squeezed into portable shape. Eyes in 
those days must have been stouter and clearer. 

The bookworm, bibliophihst, or book fancier is a 
favourite and almost dramatic figure, with his dim 
eyes, rusty clothing, and eccentric affection for his 
treasures. We have a sympathetic tenderness for 
his lone, solitary ways, his self-denial and privations, 
his hungry ardour and prowlings after his " midnight 
dariings." If the truth were known, this sympathy 
would be found to be thrown away ; for his greed, 
akin to that of the miser, would make him sacrifice 
all that is human to all that is of paper. He is hkely 
enough to be morose, snarling, grasping, and would 
find the most exquisite pleasure in getting from some 
poor but ignorant dealer for a shilling what was 
worth guineas. This is the triumph of the chasse a 
livres. The prospect of parting with his old friends 
adds a new pang to death. Friends, relatives, he 
can leave behind with indifference, but his dear books 
" cannot bear him company." Here was the de- 
parture of a late book lover thus quaintly por- 
trayed : — " He had a quite human fondness for his 
books ; nothing annoyed him so much as to hear one 



8 THE BOOK F*ANCIER 

of them fall ; and dusting them, which he reduced to 
a science, seemed to give him real pleasure. In his 
last illness the sight of any of his favourites depressed 
him greatly. ' Ah ! ' he would say, ' I am to leave 
my books ; ' and sometimes, ' They have been more 
to me than my friends.' He would ask for them one 
after the other, till he was literally covered almost 
to his shoulders, as he lay, and the floor around 
him was strewn with them. He used to say that 
the sight of books was necessary to him at his 
work ; and once reading how Schiller always kept 
' rotten apples ' in his study because their scent 
was beneficial to him, he pointed to some shelves 
above his head, where he kept his oldest and most 
prized editions, and said, ' There are my rotten 
apples.' " * 

In the last century there flourished — if the term 
be not too extravagant — a book hunter named Wil- 
son, better and more ungraciously known as " Snuffy 
Davy," who once picked up on a stall in a Dutch 
town a small black-letter quarto, for which he paid 
twopence. This proved to be one of the first English- 
printed books, Caxton's " Game of Chess." He sold 
it to a London bookseller, Osborne, celebrated for 
being knocked down by Dr. Johnson with one of his 
own folios, for £20. Osborne disposed of it to Dr. 

• Mr. Gladstone is a diligent searcher of the stalls. The 
book fancier often comes on his track, and hcis seen a little 
parcel — a bit of old theology, a rare poet, a nice old edition 
of Lamb — set aside to be sent home to Downing Street. Some- 
times, when he is cheapening a book in a more public place 
than Holywell Street, a curious crowd will gather outside, 
staring in unmeaningly, as the vulgar gaper knows how to do. 
This " draws " the eminent virtuoso, who strides out impatiently, 
the stall-man execrating the idlers, who, perhaps, have hindered 
a bargain. All catalogues are sent to him and read, and returned 
marked with orders. 



BOOK COLLECTORS AND DEALERS 9 

Askew for £65 ; and on his death it was purchased 
for the Windsor library for £370. At the present time 
the original twopence would have multiplied into a 
thousand pounds. All your book hunters will tell us 
that such surprises are part of the joys of their call- 
ing. Yet I fancy the loyal heart would feel a twinge 
or scruple as he carries off from the humble and 
ignorant dealer, for a shilling or two, a volume that 
may be worth ten or twenty pounds. No sophistry 
will veil the sharpness of the transaction, in which 
profit is made of poverty and ignorance ; and it 
would not be difficult to make an equitable decision, 
the buyer, as discoverer, being entitled to perhaps 
the larger share, and the owner to the rest. Instances 
of trouvailles of this sort are within the experience of 
every book fancier. 

A few lots that in 1807 were bought for £8 is., 
produced at Heber's in 1836, £238 17s. At the 
same time the " Chronica Gulielmi Thom " sold for 
£85, having in 1807 changed hands for 12s. This 
famous library consisted of 105,000 volumes. " The 
Storye of Frederick of Jensen," Anwarpe, 1518, with 
that of " Mary of Nemegen " and the " Lyfe of Ver- 
gilius," bound in one volume, cost the Duke of Rox- 
burghe also 12s., and produced at his sale in 1812, 
£186 14s. Dr. Gosset had seen in his lifetime the 
first Psalter of 1481 sold at Wilcox's for 5s., resold to 
Dr. Askew for 5 guineas, at whose sale it fetched 16 
guineas. He had seen Dr. Farmer give 5s. gd. for 
Painter's " Palace of Pleasure," and the same resold 
for 20 guineas ; and at Brand's sale he saw a black- 
letter article, the original cost of which was 3s. 6d., 
rise in a second sale to £100 and upwards. Of the 
" Tragedy of Dido, Queen of Carthage," written by 
Marlowe and Nash, printed by the Widdowe Orwin, 



10 THE BOOK FANCIER 

quarto, London, 1594, only three copies are known 
to exist. The Duke of Devonshire's copy cost Hen- 
derson the actor fourpence ; it sold at the Heber sale 
in 1834 for £39 ! Another was purchased by Malone 
at Dr. Wright's sale, 1787, for 16 guineas ; a third, 
purchased by Mr. Reed for eighteenpence, of Mr. 
Flackton, bookseller, Canterbury, and presented by 
him in exchange to Stevens, sold at the latter's sale in 
1800 for £iy. Again, Mr. Rodd, the eminent book- 
seller, bought in the early part of this century a 
volume of rare tracts for threepence three-farthings 
(being its fair weight when put in the scales), which 
he sold about 1830 to Mr. Heber for £50 ! And again, 
for the " Mirror of Magistrates " (by G. H.), quarto, 
1618, a bookseller at Lancaster gave the sum of 
threepence and sold for 10 guineas. It produced at 
Sotheby's in 1857, £20 los. 

Malone, the Shakespearean scholar, tells of a 
precious little collection bound in one volume, and 
which contained some ten tracts of poetry by Daniel 
and others, written circa 1590. " Its history," he 
says, " is a curious one. The volume is just fit for 
the waistcoat pocket — four and a half inches long by 
three broad — pretty thick, well printed, and in good 
condition. It was sold at the sale of Dr. Bernard's 
books in 1698 for one shilling and threepence. After- 
wards, probably passing through many hands, it 
came into the possession of a broker at Sahsbury, 
where, about thirty years ago, Mr. Warton found it 
among a parcel of old iron and other lumber, and I 
think purchased it for sixpence. Since his death, his 
brother, Dr. Joseph Warton, very kindly presented 
it to me ; and I have honoured it with a new cover, 
and have preserved above the name of my poor 
friend, Mr. Thomas Warton, which was written at 



BOOK COLLECTORS AND DEALERS ii 

the inside of the old cover, as a memorial of that 
very elegant and ingenious writer." 

This would now be priced at thirty or forty 
guineas. But a much more extraordinary illustra- 
tion of the " ups and downs " of sales was exhibited 
at the Roxburghe sale, when there were offered no less 
than ten " Wynkyn de Wordes," with a " Pynson 
and a Wyer," which in all brought ;^538. Yet 
these rarities had actually formed a single volume 
when in Dr. Farmer's possession, and at his sale 
fetched but twenty guineas ! 

The system of " old book dealing " has been so 
perfected or methodised, that the days for the patient 
explorer going his rounds with the certainty of 
" picking up," as it was called, some treasure or 
rarity, seem to have departed. The value of every- 
thing really worth anything is known ; no hunting in 
" book-boxes " or on the outside shelves of the stall 
will discover a prize. The finding of an old quarto 
Shakespeare bound up with a lot of tracts is a 
dream. Still the man of taste and judgment may 
make his rounds, and find pleasure in redeeming 
many a pretty and useful volume, worth much more 
to him than the shilUng or two he pays. 

The " old book " sellers of London and of portions 
of the country are an interesting class, many of 
them enthusiasts, all knowing their business thor- 
oughly, and some with that pleasant quaintness 
wluch has often come from living retired in dark 
Rembrandtish shops, among their antique and musty 
volumes. The amount of bibliographic lore they 
acquire and spend over their catalogues is often 
surprising. They maintain a correspondence with 
half the literary men of the kingdom, and this adds 
a tone to their minds. The latter rely on their 



12 THE BOOK FANCIER 

humble friends and assistants, who, when these 
patrons are in want of some special work, exert 
themselves and put certain " sleuth-hounds " — well 
known to the trade, with a strange faculty for 
" nosing " books — on the track. Most litterateurs 
will admit that they always find in good catalogues 
agreeable and piquant reading, and there are some 
— such as Ridler's of Booksellers' Row, Salkeld's, 
Georges's, Bennett's of Birmingham — which are 
really most entertaining as well as instructive. My 
worthy ally of Booksellers' Row has a style of his 
own, and I often envy his readiness of knowledge 
and resource. His bazaar has an antique look ; the 
venerable boxes and shelves look into the street ; 
within these are the darkened chambers where 
volumes are stored and stacked, and old monks 
might be at work. No enthusiast of printing could 
sing with more appropriateness the merits and 
charms of his tomes. Here is an honest bit of enthus- 
iasm : — " Aldine. — Hieronymi Opera, 2 vols, in i, 
thick folio, rubricated throughout in red and blue 
(with the exception of a slight water-stain), a very 
fine large copy of this noble volume of early typo- 
graphy, new calf gilt, exceedingly rare, £2 12s. 6d. 
Venet., A. de Torresano de Asola, 1488." 

On which he comments : — " This interesting publi- 
cation is connected with the early Aldine press, 
the printer being the father-in-law and afterwards 
partner of the elder Aldus. Dibdin says of this 
volume — ' If the lover of fine and legible printing 
wishes for a specimen of one of the choicest pro- 
ductions of the XV. Century, let him lose no oppor- 
tunity of obtaining the present impression when a 
reasonable hope of its possession is held out to him ; 
nor is the work less intrinsically valuable than its 



BOOK COLLECTORS AND DEALERS 13 

exterior form is inviting. A nobler book cannot 
grace the shelves of any collection.' " 

Or better still : — " Mentelin's Press, 1465. — 
Conradi de Alemania, Concordantiae Bibliorum, thick 
roy. folio, first edition, black letter, the first page 
surrounded with a broad illuminated border in gold 
and colours, and illuminated throughout. A most 
superb copy of this early monument of typography 
in its infancy, printed by one of the secret workmen 
of Guttenberg, handsome copy, bound in hogskin, 
gold and blind tooling on back and sides, from the 
Syston Park Collection, of the greatest rarity, four- 
teen guineas. Strasburg, J. Mentelin, 1465. First 
edition and the first Bible Concordance ever printed. 
Cost Sir John Thorold £30 los., bought of Payne 
and Foss, 1829. See also his MS. note ; not in the 
Spencer Collection, ascribed by Panzer to the press 
of Mentelin. The birthplace of printing has been 
hotly disputed ; there are partisans who have en- 
deavoured to prove that Strasburg was the original 
seat of the invention, and assert Mentelin the real 
inventor of the art, and describe Guttenberg as the 
robber of his priceless secret, &c. See a long 
account of this famous printer in Humphrey' s History 
of Printing. Any one wishing to possess a fine and 
beautiful specimen of early typography could not 
require a more desirable book than the above. In 
fact, a more noble volume could not grace the shelves 
of the finest collection." 

Who would not be attracted by this glowing 
language ? The praise of this book is like the taste 
of rich ripe fruit in the mouth. For this enticing 
treasure £24 was asked. Yet at a sale in 1827, 
Herbert's copy sold for £1 13s. 

Most of these men can tell us curious and interest- 



14 THE BOOK FANCIER 

ing incidents of their experience of buyers in the 
olden days. So Mr. Stibbs, on allusion to Charles 
Lamb, will relate how he had many of his foHos — 
" huge armfuls " — the " midnight darhngs " he 
bewailed, passing through his hands. He noted what 
ragged veterans they were, how soiled, thumbed, and 
generally dirty. His confrere, Wilson, has had 
Cobbett, Leigh Hunt, and others of the time, drop- 
ping in. Many of these men have been writers 
themselves, such as Hindley, who has worked on 
Catnach literature — street cries, ballads, &c. One 
of the most interesting of this class was an old and 
rather wizened man, who, when dealing, invariably 
pointed his speech with a succession of short grunts 
increasing in intensity as he grew obdurate, dis- 
appearing wholly when the bargain was a very good 
one for him. He lived in a little den of books, and 
was usually interrupted when pursuing " his literary 
avocations." He was easy to sell, but terrible to 
the peripatetic vendor of a stray volume, whom he 
greeted with a sort of ferocity. Yet this man was 
amiable, had a simplicity worthy of Goldsmith — 
wrote in a charming, easy, unaffected style ; indeed, 
he had once been a schoolmaster. He collected 
folk-lore, and at last made a collection of stories of 
fairies, &c., which he had picked up himself, and 
which was published with much success. He signed 
himself quaintly " Philomath." He had never been 
in London or the great cities, and once wrote to me 
that he " could picture me sitting of some fine 
summer's evening with a book under the trees in 
Trafalgar Square." 

Foremost among them is the now celebrated Mr. 
Quaritch of London, the very Napoleon of book- 
sellers. His enterprise and daring has really had a 



BOOK COLLECTORS AND DEALERS 15 

momentous influence in stimulating prices. He 
suggests one of those great financiers who rule the 
market with a nod. He has brought books, as it 
were, " within the range of practical politics." No 
one who passes his rather dark and unpretending 
place of business at No. 15, Piccadilly, could guess 
at the vast character of his transactions ; neither 
would any one who sees at some great sale his plain 
figure, somewhat of Jewish cast, with the ancient felt 
hat to which his friends attach a sort of mysterious 
and superstitious power, donned on great occasions, 
suppose that this was the careless bidder of hundreds 
and thousands of pounds. In that repository of his 
are stored away priceless volumes.* Lately inter- 

* " Mr. Quaritch is by no means an easy man to get at, unless 
you wish to see him on business. He was in his sanctum, a 
small, dark room, almost filled with the table, a few chairs, and 
two or three bookcases, containing several thousand pounds' 
worth of rare volumes, protected from the dust by glass doors. 
He discoursed in a pessimistic strain of the decadence of the 
general buyer and collector, ' a sign of the materiaUstic age we 
live in.' Book buying and book collecting in its proper sense 
has gradually declined since 1830. It was before that time that 
the great Ubraries were formed. ' At the Hamilton sale I spent 
;^40,ooo, and at the Sunderland sale ;^33,ooo ; and most of my 
purchases are now in the house here. I have known well most 
of the collectors of my time ; three Dukes of Hamilton, for 
instance ; and there you see the portrait of one of my best cus- 
tomers — the late Earl of Crawford, whose body was stolen. 
But, as I have said, the fashion has changed now-a-days. Col- 
lectors go in for first editions of Keats, Shelley, Thackeray, 
Dickens, and for the engravings of Cruikshank and Phiz. Then 
sporting literature is greatly in demand. Another very good 
customer is the country gentleman, who generally aspires to have 
in his Ubrary the best books on his county history. But I cannot 
enumerate the demands and crazes. Show me a man's library 
and I will tell you his character and his attainments.' He began 
business in Castle Street some fortj' years ago — never mind how 
old he is now. No one having talked five minutes to the Bismarck 
of the book trade could fail to see that he had to do with a 
keen trader, up to every move on the board, and to every trick 
of the trade. His hunting-grounds are all over the face of the 



i6 THE BOOK FANCIER 

viewed by an agent of the Pall Mall Gazette, he 
communicated some very interesting information. 

The great book dealer added the careless remark, 
" Most of my purchases " — made in the great sales 
two and three years ago — " are in the house here ; " 
these costly things lying there, as it were, at interest, 
which the buyer may have to pay. But the market 
for the greater books is scarcely in London. There 
are the grand collectors abroad, such as the Duke 
of Aumale and Rothschild, makers of grand and 
costly libraries. 

earth ; he gathers his harvest from the five continents, and stores 
it up in Piccadilly. ' Now will you come with me, and I will 
show you a few of the rooms here.' And as we went, my guide 
pointed with pride to this case and that, to this pile and that. 
Here was a bundle of Eastern manuscripts worth thousands, 
there was a case full of Mexican manuscripts written at the time of 
the conquest ; here was the ' pigsty,' as he calls one of the rooms, 
full of musty tomes and books as yet uncatalogued. Mr. 
Quaritch proceeded to expatiate upon his morocco bindings, his 
russia leather, his rare editions, his illuminated missals, his 
black letters, his manuscripts, his breviaries and psalters. He 
declares that he sells everything, and never refuses an order. 
Each of these rooms contains priceless treasures, the value of 
which is known only to the great man himself, for he marks the 
price of each book. It is impossible to deceive Mr. Quaritch by 
any fliihsy pretence to book-learning. ' If I hear any one talking 
about Ekevirs and Aldines, / know he is an ignorant ass.' Mr. 
Quaritch speaks plainly, and this outburst was, I must confess, 
apropos of an unfortunate remark of my own concerning Elzevirs. 
' Elzevirs and Aldines, indeed ! a pack of ignoramuses 1 ' 'I 
suppose you like the excitement of a great sale ? ' ' No, sir ; 
there is nothing I abominate so heartily as the dreary hours 
I have to sit in those dreary auction-rooms. Once or twice 
one gets excited, and one's blood is up like the blood of a gambler ; 
but how often ? No. I am happiest here.' " 

The little intolerance as to the man who talks about Elzevirs 
and Aldines " being an ignorant ass " is characteristic enough. 
Many of this class are probably good customers. I fancy talking 
about Elzevirs and Aldines betokens a taste for rare things, and 
an amiable, well-meaning fancy to learn more. It was intended, 
no doubt, in the sense of the rebuke to those who " talked of 
Coreggios and stuff." 



TTbe /IDa3atin Bible 

When we think of our modem press, that 
of books there is now no end, being stacked 
away by the miUion in the Hbraries, it is surely 
with a feeUng almost of awe and reverence that 
one calls up the earliest of the kind — the primeval 
Adam and Eve. And then to take in one's 
hand the first of the " race " of books — to think 
of its age and its necessary vicissitudes ; this 
leaves a strange mysterious feeling. On the eve of 
the famous Syston Park sale there were seen in 
the Sothebys' modest auction-room half-a-dozen 
volumes, laid out on the table under glass, on which 
one of the " old " booksellers made this specu- 
lation, not without point : — " It would be a curious 
thing," he said, " to bring some of these country-folk 
who are up for the cattle-show, and show 'em these, 
and then put this question to 'em, " What now would 
you fancy was the value of these half-dozen plain- 
looking volumes, and what are they likely to fetch ? " 
The rustics might think they were going ridiculously 
high if they named ;^5 ; but how dumfounded they 
would be if assured that ;£io,ooo would probably be, 
and almost was, the figure realised ! — the Mazarin 
Bible, its successor the " Codex," and some others 
fetching near that sum. It was a strange feeling to 
c 17 



i8 THE BOOK FANCIER 

take the volumes into your hands, turn over the 
leaves, admire the long " black-letter," the mellow 
satin-like paper, and then reflect — " And this is the 
first, or first known of all the books ! And it has 
survived all the storms and troubles, the kings and 
princes, and armies and revolutions, and rough 
usage. And further, this sheaf of leaves, in its 
modest, rather common leather binding, will to a 
certainty survive to the end of the world." A little 
volume might be written on these now famous books, 
and it must be confessed that there is a sort of flavour 
of romance attached to them. 

This grand book — the Mazarin Bible — was actu- 
ally discovered, dug up, as it were, like a piece of an- 
tiquity, by an accomplished bibliographer, De Bure. 
In his own agreeable narrative he shows that this was 
almost an accident. " Mere chance," he tells us, 
" led me to the discovery of this precious edition, to 
which we have given the title of ' The Mazarin Bible,' 
and I do not hesitate an instant to give it the first 
place, not only above all Bibles, but above every 
known book ! When making some explorations in 
the Mazarin Library, that is, of the College of the 
Four Nations, we were not a little surprised to find 
this first and most celebrated work of the press, 
which a simple impulse of curiosity caused us to 
open." It should be said, however, that the exist- 
ence of such a book was long suspected, and there is 
an actual allusion to it in the Chronicle of Cologne, 
which speaks of the jubilee year 1450, when the first 
book, a Bible " of the larger type " Scriptura gran- 
diosi, was discovered. 

There is much disputing of a dry-as-dust kind 
over the origin of printing, the inventors and place 
whence the first book was issued. As no dates 



THE MAZARIN BIBLE 19 

were attached to the first printed books, there must 
be always something speculative in the discussions 
as to priority of issue ; but it is marvellous what 
comparative certainty has been reached owing to 
the ingenious exercise of wits. The matter lies 
between two or three of those pristine efforts. 

There are some three or four great and famous 
books of the world, which are progenitors of the 
millions that now, like the human population, swarm 
over the earth. But it is a surprise to think that in 
workmanship these fairly distance the most perfect 
specimens of the modern press. The history of this 
well-known Mazarin Bible, which attracted such at- 
tention of late, deserves to be told, like that of some 
well-known historical personage. Other works issued 
by the Mayence press about the same time — so far as 
can be speculated — as the famous Bible, are not of 
the same importance, such as the " Durandus," 
printed about 1459, which exhibits the first specimen 
of the smallest letter, and which a rapturous admirer 
declares " strikes one as the most marvellous monu- 
ment of early printing." This is indeed no exaggera- 
tion, and one does look with astonishment at the 
fancy and elegance displayed in the design and cut- 
ting of the type. Of the Mazarin Bible it is reckoned 
that there are in the world nineteen copies — on paper, 
mark ; but on vellum, not more than five. It was at 
the great Perkins sale, whose catalogue sells now for 
a couple of guineas, held in the great library at 
Han worth Park in June, 1873, that the grand copy 
made its appearance, and was thus gloriously de- 
scribed by the auctioneers, a prosaic firm of land- 
agents (Messrs. Gadsden and Ellis). Kept as a 
bonne-bouche for the last lot of the last day. No. 864, 
no wonder it was regarded with veneration, for it was 



20 THE BOOK FANCIER 

the first best-known regularly printed volume in the 
world. 

It is a rather happy tribute to Christianity that 
this first printed book should have been the first issue 
of the Scriptures. But let us hear the auctioneer : 
" A most splendid and magnificent copy, printed 
upon vellum, with the capitals artistically illuminated 
in gold and colours, and in magnificent binding, with 
clasps and bosses." It was styled " Mazarin " from 
the first discovery of a copy in Cardinal Mazarin's 
library. It is printed in double columns, in large 
letters, much like those used in the Missals. " In 
contemplating this work," says our auctioneer, as 
though speaking of a statue or picture, " the mind 
is lost in astonishment that the inventor of printing 
should by a single effort have exhibited the perfec- 
tion of this art." A very just remark, and what 
always strikes us when looking at any of these early 
works. Of the five copies known, all on vellum, 
" not one is believed to be absolutely perfect." This 
Perkins one was considered " the finest of the few 
known copies, whether for amplitude of margin or 
purity of vellum, it being as clean as the day it 
issued from the press." It however was declared by 
Dr. Dibdin to want two leaves, which were " supplied 
in facsimile by Whitaker," one of those amazing 
persons who perform such feats, and so successfully 
that, as the auctioneer tells us, "a very careful 
examination has revealed one leaf which appears 
doubtful, but has quite failed to discover the 
second."* This copy came from the University 

* There are in London now one or two persons who perform 
these feats. They seem amazing. I was shown lately by Mr. 
Toone, of Leicester Square, a httle duodecimo of an old and 
rare Missal, but from which the title-page had been torn away. 
One of these artists suppUed the loss, reproducing the red and 



THE MAZARIN BIBLE 21 

of Mentz, whence it was obtained by Messrs. Nicol.* 
Three of the five vellum copies are in public libraries, 
including one at Paris. A fourth belonged to Mr. 
Grenville, who left it to the British Museum, and 
the fifth came up for sale on this memorable day, 
" unquestionably the most important and distin- 
guished article in the whole annals of typography, 
and a treasure which would exalt the humblest and 
stamp with a due character of dignity the proudest 
collections in the world." Allowing a little for " high 
falutin' " here, there is no doubt a modicum of truth 
in all this, as there is no one but must look with 
reverence on this true Adam of all the millions of 
books that have followed. It was sold to Mr. Ellis, 
in trust, for Lord Ashbumham, for the sum of 

£3400 ! 

A copy on paper was next sold for £2,690. It 
was declared that "it is unquestionably the first 
time, as it may with almost absolute certainty be the 
last, that two copies of this work were sold in one 
day." It was strange that a copy of so world- famed 
a book was not secured for some foreign state. But 
the price was prohibitive, particularly, as the auction- 
eers said, truly, it was virtually a unique, and no 
other copy is ever likely to come into the market, 
as they are secured in public libraries. 

black inks, the woodcut in the centre, the faded tones of the 
ink, and nearly (but not so perfectly) matched the quaUty of the 
old paper. 

* A Mazarin Bible was once sent over by Mr. Home, and 
consigned to Mr. Nicol. Dr. Dibdin describes the illuminations 
as being " in a quiet and pleasing style. The volume is absolutely 
cased in mail by a binding of three hundred years' standing, upon 
the exterior of which are knobs and projections injbrass, of a 
durabiUty and bullet-defying power which may vie with the coat 
of a rhinoceros." The style of the Doctor, it will be seen, is 
vivacious and graphic. 



22 THE BOOK FANCIER 

In the same year Mr. Quaritch was offering his 
copy for 3,000 guineas, describing it as " the original 
genuine issue of the book, printed on paper, as dis- 
tinguished from the second issue made by Fust and 
Schoffer, to which all the copies on vellum belong, a 
perfect and extraordinarily fine copy, of the full size, 
most of the leaves being rough and uncut, so as even 
to show the ancient MS. signatures and chapter- 
numbers, as written down by Guttenberg himself 
for the guidance of the binder and the illuminator ; 
in blue morocco extra, from the libraries of Sir Mark 
Sykes and Mr. Henry Perkins, 3,000 guineas. Mentz, 
about 1455-'' 

To appreciate this enormous price, we may trace 
the career of another copy, known as Count Mac- 
carthy's, and which is now one of the glories of the 
British Museum. These volumes were originally in 
one M. Gaignat's library, and thence passed to Count 
Maccarthy, who secured it for a bagatelle or " song " 
of £85 ! At his sale, which was inevitable to take 
place (the only sure protection against the billows 
of prompt realisation being the safe harbour of re- 
fuge of a public library), it was purchased for that 
most elegant of collectors, Mr. Grenville, who paid 
for it just £250. He bequeathed his fine collection 
to the English public, who can every day walk 
through its spacious hall, lined with cases in which 
are enshrined these treasures, all handsomely clad. 
This monument passed with them, which had thus 
in about fifty years advanced to nearly twenty times 
its price. 

On this romance of the auction-room, let us hear 
that congenial and competent judge and true biblio- 
phile, my friend Mr. Sala : — 

" With perhaps only one exception — and even this 



THE MAZARIN BIBLE 23 

is doubtful — of the magnificent collection by Mr. 
Thomas Grenville to the British Museum, the Per- 
kins library has long been famous in Europe as the 
finest private collection that has ever been amassed 
by any English bibliophile ; and when on Friday — 
the final and fourth day of the dispersion — the last 
lot was knocked down for £3,400, a buzz ran round 
the room, which told that the entire proceeds of the 
four days' sale had been upwards of £26,000. 

" It seems incredible — £3,400 for a single book ! 
The money would buy a small estate ; it would pur- 
chase a comfortable annuity ; it would cover the 
expenses of a contested election. Yet the purchaser, 
Mr. Ellis, is a happy man, and one to be congratu- 
lated. Twenty years hence the precious volume 
will in all probability be worth twice or thrice the sum 
it fetched last week. The costly book was none other 
than a vellum copy of the famous Gutenberg and 
Fust Bible — ' the most important and distinguished 
work in the whole annals of typography ' — the first 
edition of the Holy Scriptures — the first book printed 
with movable metal types by the inventors of the art 
of printing. One such copy exists in the National 
Library of Paris, and but seven others are known in 
all, of which one, lamentably marred by the irretriev- 
able loss of two pages, was sold in 1825 for no less 
than £504. Even paper copies of this wonderful and 
precious work fetch fabulous sums. Mr. Quaritch 
bought one on Friday for £2,690. Nor was the 
price at all exorbitant. This very copy was pur- 
chased by the then Bishop of Cashel, and at his 
death in 1858 it was knocked down to Mr. Perkins 
for £596. It now fetches, in 1873, more than four 
times the price paid for it by Mr. Perkins in 1858, 
and fourteen times the price given by the Bishop of 



24 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Cashel in 1843. What, then, the vellum copy, for 
which Mr. Ellis has just paid ;£3,400, will fetch in the 
year 1900 it is difficult to conjecture." 

There had been, however, an earlier appearance 
of this wonderful volume in the year 1847, when it 
was thus introduced : — 

" A remarkably fine copy of this splendid speci- 
men of the typographic art. The margins of the 
first page are filled with rich illuminated borders, 
and the capitals throughout are finely rubricated, 
2 vols., old blue morocco, gilt leaves, without name 
of printer, place, or date, but attributed to the press 
of Gutenberg at Mentz, between the years 1450-55. 

" It is printed in double columns, in imitation of 
the large letters used by the Scribes in the Church 
Missals and Choir Books. 

" On our first acquaintance with this extraordinary 
production [say the auctioneers] we were inclined to 
the opinion of Laire, that there existed two perfectly 
distinct editions of this Bible, printed with the same 
type ; but on a more minute examination and colla- 
tion of the two so-called editions, we are perfectly 
convinced they are essentially the same. They are 
indeed^the same book in different conditions of pub- 
lication, occasioned by the cancelling and reprinting 
of certain sheets." 

At Lord Gosford's sale, which took place a few 
years ago, there was but a tranquil interest excited 
by the appearance of what may be called an odd 
volume of the Mazarin Bible. It was only the first 
volume, and was arrayed in its old original mon- 
astic binding — " in an oak case, with twelve brass 
bosses." It brought a price that rather surprised 
the public, and was secured by Mr. Toovey, of Picca- 
dilly. This copy was sold for £500, so that we 



THE MAZARIN BIBLE 25 

were then a long way from the days of huge prices. 
To illustrate further its rarity, it may be mentioned 
that the Duke of Sussex, who had an extraordinary 
craze for collecting Bibles in every known tongue 
and edition, had all his life been striving vainly to 
acquire one on vellum. Alas ! he died, unhappily, 
without attaining his desires, much as the late Earl 
of Derby failed to secure the " Blue Ribbon of the 
Turf." He had ruefully, we are told, to content 
himself with a copy on paper, for which he gave 
£100, and which at his sale in 1844 brought £190. 
Some years ago an odd volume made its appearance 
and caused a sensation, and was sold for a large 
price. 

But it was now to figure in the most *' sensational," 
as it is called, of modern book sales, and which rose 
to the dignity of a struggle, viz., that known as the 
Syston Park Library, which took place on December 
12, 1884. Sir John Hayford Thorold had indulged 
his passion for books for nearly fifty years, from 
about the time of the French Revolution to the date 
of the Reform Bill. He had collected all the noblest 
" monuments " of printing, with such success, that it 
was said he possessed nearly all of the " incunables,' 
and certainly all the first editions of the Classics, 
with the exception of only two or three. The result 
was a grand and imposing collection, which, after his 
death, slumbered peacefully for nearly fifty years at 
his seat, near Grantham. These treasures — stately, 
impressive tomes — were magnificent in their calm 
dignity and rich but sober dress, and one could not 
but admire the taste which brought together such 
stately veterans of typography — notably that band 
of " Editiones Principes " — conceived and brought 
forth in days when the printer seemed to enter into 



26 THE BOOK FANCIER 

competition with the artist or painter, and to apply 
the canons of art to his page. 

For two days these veterans were being widely 
dispersed, some to meet again on a new friendly 
shelf ; but it was not until the fourteenth mom that 
the " Mazarin Bible " — a work of which few had 
even heard, but with which everybody became of a 
sudden familiar — was to be contended for. The 
bibliophiles and critics grew excited as they dwelt 
with pardonable exaggeration on its charms. A 
fevered excitement was in the air. It was described 
as " a superb work, the printing on paper as thick and 
rich in tone as vellum, with glossy ink intensely 
black, and very uniform in the expression ; in double 
columns, the letters large, and similar to those 
written by scribes of the Church missals and choral 
books." " After a preliminary fever of excitement, 
as the wonderful book was passed with great solem- 
nity up and down before the two rows of professional 
and amateur bibliophiles seated in front of the ros- 
trum, the first bid of £500 was made, and immediate- 
ly met with one of £1000 from Mr. Quaritch, who had 
to advance on the biddings on commissions made by 
the auctioneer's clerk, Mr. Snedden ; and so the con- 
test went on by bids of £50 ; the excitement rising 
higher and higher, as £3,000 was called for Mr. 
Quaritch, followed by ;£3,ioo from his opponent, while 
each seemed to get fresher with the fight up to the 
fifty-seventh round, when at £3,650 the commission 
was exhausted, and at Mr. Quaritch's bid of £3,700, 
everybody expected the hammer to fall. But here 
Mr. Ellis, who had hitherto only watched the con- 
test, joined issue with two or three splendid bids, and 
a last one of £3,850, leaving it to Mr, Quaritch to 
possess this splendid Mazarin Bible at the enormous 



THE MAZARIN BIBLE 27 

price of ;^3,90o. There was a buzz of applause as 
the hammer fell, and there was some minutes before 
the excitement subsided." 

Talking over his purchases, the enterprising 
Quaritch, then the hero of the hour, said : — " That 
of five copies of the Mazarin or Gutenberg Bible 
known, three had passed through his hands. The 
first he purchased when a young man in business, 
for what was then an enormous sum, £590. He 
had no commission for it, but offered it at the same 
price to the Earl of Crawford. The Earl (who had 
left a commission of £500 for the book) accepted 
his offer, and was always after a good patron of his. 
' The present copy ' (the Syston) , Mr. Quaritch 
went on to say, ' I have also bought for my stock, 
and it is purely a speculation of my own. I do not 
expect to keep it long.' A copy was sold to Mr. 
Huth for £3,500, he himself securing the paper copy 
for £2,690. This, from a bookseller's point of view, 
is worth more money than the vellum copy, from the 
fact that two of the five copies are on paper, the 
remainder being on vellum. The sum of £3,900 is 
the largest ever paid for a book, the nearest approach 
being the £3,500 above." 

This extraordinary and extravagant price — which 
suggests the Dutch tulip mania — had scarcely ceased 
to be talked of, with much uplifting of hands and 
eyebrows, when the memorable day of December 
19 came round, revealing a more startling sensation. 
For now the " Psalmorum Codex " — a portion 
only of the Scriptures, an older work, and fixed as 
belonging to the year 1459 — was to be contended 
for. 

Now, great as was the fuss and excitement pro- 
duced by the appearance of the Mazarin Bible, this 



28 THE BOOK FANCIER 

was a yet rarer volume, though only a Latin Psalter 
or Codex, four years younger ; there are supposed 
to be some five copies of the Bible for one of this 
volume, but the latter is somehow not nearly so 
" sensational " a volume, and like many a modest 
man of merit, had not been put forward. Here is 
its official declaration : — 

" Psalmorum codex, Latine cum Hymnis, Oratione 
Dominica, Symbolis et Notis musicis, folio, printed 
on vellum, very fine copy, with painted woodcut- 
capitals, in red morocco extra, borders of gold, gilt 
edges, by Staggemeier, Moguntiae, J. Fust et P. 
Schoifher, 1459. This excessively rare edition is the 
second book with a date, and contains the Athana- 
sian Creed, printed for the first time. In rarity it 
equals that printed in 1457, of which only eight copies 
are known, and of this only seven, all printed on 
vellum. The Schoeffer Psalter [says Mr. Quaritch in 
his Catalogue] (first produced in 1457, next in 1459) is 
the first and almost the only early example of print- 
ing in colours, the large initials being impressed, each 
in at least two colours, from wooden or metal blocks. 
Of the seven surviving copies of the 1457 edition, 
most are imperfect, and all but Lord Spencer's are 
in public libraries. Of the seven or eight (two or 
three of the ten formerly known having now dis- 
appeared) extant copies of the 1459, all are in public 
libraries except Lord Spencer's and the Thorold 
copy. Hence it was not surprising that the collec- 
tors engaged in keen competition to secure the only 
copy of the book that is likely ever to come into the 
market." 

There has been much debate as to whether these 
colours are hand-painted, but the best judges, with 
the aid of magnifying glasses, &c., have decided that 



THE MAZARIN BIBLE 29 

at this early stage these wonderful printers were 
equal to this most difficult art of printing in various 
colours.* 

The Codex was in vellum, and displayed five 
painted capitals with initial letters in red, and also 
musical notes. The second book in our wide world 
with a date, mark ! and, more interesting still, with 
the Athanasian Creed thus making its first appear- 
ance in print. At the end was the usual printer's 
signature. There was no expectation of what was 
to come. Very many were present : there was no 
excitement. But there were bibliophiles there who 
knew what was involved. 

There it lay — what perhaps is one of the earliest 
and oldest of printed books ! Four hundred and 
twenty-five years had elapsed since Gutenberg had 
looked on it. Its history was clear for nearly a hun- 
dred years. It had been in Count Macarthy's 
collection, where it had been bought by Sir Mark for 
only £134, a great price : at the latter's sale it had 
fetched £2 los. more. Mr. Quaritch was heard to 
declare that " in his experience of forty years he had 
never handled a copy." The second book published 
with a date. It was indeed one of the " grand old 
men " of typography. Its grand splendid page 
was noted and admired — its vellum, its " painted 
capitals, its red letters, and musical notes." It was 
proclaimed as being " bound by Steggemeier, in red 
morocco, and is in an exceptionally fine state." 

• Mr. Quaritch, the happy possessor of the latest sold copy, 
now offers it — or did lately — among his numerous other costly 
treasures, for the sum of £4,095 ! He thus seems to be paying 
about ;^I50 a year — that is, loss of interest on the sum laid out 
— for the custody of the treasure ; just as the late Lord Dudley, 
who secured a famous pair of Sevres jars for /io,ooo, was paying 
^500 a year for the pleasure of gazing on them. 



30 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Again the same graphic enthusiast describes the 
scene. " It was put up with a brief eulogy from the 
auctioneer, Mr. Hodge, at £500, and the biddings 
steadily advanced by fifties to over £2,000, there 
being only three competitors in the field, Mr. Snow- 
den A. Gierke, Mr. Quaritch, and Mr. Ellis (the 
Bond Street bookseller), who, however, soon far dis- 
tanced the commission, and brought the biddings to 
over £3,000, while the audience looked on in dead 
silence, wondering if it could possibly beat the £3,900 
of the Mazarin Bible. To the astonishment of every 
one, this was soon not only reached, but surpassed 
by more than £1000, Mr. Ellis gallantly bidding 
£4,900, Mr. Quaritch immediately topping it with 
£4,950, at which, after calling this enormous price 
three times, Mr. Hodge raised his hammer for the 
last time, and sealed the purchase of the famous 
Codex to Mr. Quaritch amidst the loudest applause 
ever heard in the room." 

There is yet another of this primeval company — 
known as the " Catholicon " of Johan Balbi de 
Janua — which is considered to be the fourth book 
printed with a date, two copies of which rarity have 
made their appearance recently. This distinguished 
work, " The Catholicon, was printed and completed 
in the gracious {alma) city of Mayence, of the glorious 
German nation, in the year of the incarnation of our 
Lord, 1460." This has been styled by an enthusiast, 
Lambinet, " souscription sublime." 

The date and place, says an enthusiastic auction- 
eer, Evans of Pall Mall, are sufficient to excite the 
curiosity of the collectors of rare and ancient produc- 
tions of the press. It is allowed by the most eminent 
bibliographers that this is one of the very few works 
printed by Gutenberg. It is interesting, too, as one 



THE MAZARIN BIBLE 31 

of the works of his new press, after Fust had seized 
on his presses and established, as Mr. Quaritch says, 
" the second printing-office of the world." 

Up to the year 1813 not three copies had been 
seen in England for fifty years. The paper is of 
surprising strength and beauty, making us acknow- 
ledge how little has been gained, or rather how much 
has been lost, in modern manufacture of this article, 
by having recourse to what is called chemical im- 
provements. Mr. Stanley Alchorne, of the Mint, pos- 
sessed a copy — sold in 1813 for £58. Mr. Quaritch, 
some seventy years later, was offering " a superb 
copy in old calf gilt, with the Royal Arms of Bavaria 
stamped in gold on the side," for £250 ; while at 
Sir Mark Sykes's sale, about fifty years ago, it 
brought but £^0. Strange to say, within the last 
four years no less than two copies of this rare book 
have appeared. This, of the Syston Park sale, 
brought £400 ; the second, at the WoodhuU sale 
— though boasting " painted capitals and bound 
by Roger Payne " — fetched but £310. There is a 
curious caprice in these prices. 



zrbe Jncunables 

Many a " gentle " or unkindly reader, while 
feeling due respect for these antique books, 
has associated them with something musty 
and dusty, something more curious than beauti- 
ful — magis adntirandum quam imitandum. A 
genuine old ecclesiastical library, where all 
the old calf volumes are grown rusted and 
mouldy, with the rows of vellum-bound things, 
mainly theological, their names and titles written 
in large characters on their backs, offers but a 
cheerless spectacle at best. But there are few 
who have seen and handled the splendid pro- 
ductions of the first presses. To the general they 
are '• caviare. Fewer will have seen them when 
enshrined in some great library, like that of Al- 
thorpe, richly bound, waited on by guardians and 
menials, and sumptuously treated. But even under 
less favourable conditions, it is astonisliing what 
splendid things these works are — perfect works of 
art, triumphs of unassisted genius, at a time when 
everything had to be devised. We look at them 
with wonder and admiration, as we would at 
some graceful and elegant memorial in some old 

32 



THE INCUNABLES 33 

Italian city. And here is the further surprise. 
While the first printed book of importance takes 
rank also for design, execution, excellence of ma- 
terial, and price ^as one of the great books of the 
world, viz., the Mazarin Bible, all those that followed 
it within so short a space as twenty years, are about 
the noblest, grandest works that ever were issued 
from the press. Vellum used for paper, with 
magnificent effect, or paper almost like vellum in its 
size and strength ; large and brilliant type, capitals 
rubricated, and wrought by hand with a florid 
variety ; other capitals " illuminated " in colours, 
and golden miniatures with bindings to match — 
such were the glories of the first printed books. Their 
size was often two feet high, and as to their number, 
here is one significant fact. In the Royal Library at 
the Hague there is a collection bequeathed by a 
Flemish nobleman, one Baron de Westreenen, and 
which contains no less than twelve hundred of the 
rarest editions, all printed before the close of the 
fifteenth century — that is, during the forty years 
from 1460 to 1500. The works of Virgil in the 
noblest folio shape, printed in large type, expands 
over a vast surface, and makes a huge volume, printed 
with labour and expense : yet a single library — that 
of Althorpe — possesses no less than fifteen of these 
great Virgils, all printed before the year 1476, 
Fifteen great editions of a classic in eight or ten 
years ! Again, among the delusions of centuries 
one is that we owe the publication of the Bible to 
the Reformation. But it is a fact that fifty years 
before the Reformation there had been issued a 
dozen editions in Germany, while over the world it 
was a favourite " venture " with publishers. Ko- 
burger issued editions as early as 1476 and 1478. 



34 THE BOOK FANCIER 

It was natural, after so constant a use of vellum 
for MSS., that the same material should be adopted 
for printing. Yet almost at once we find that, in 
printing the first books, only a portion of the im- 
pression was taken off on vellum, and another on 
paper. To the close of the century this practice was 
adopted, and hence we find all the collectors of grand 
editions disdaining any save those printed in this 
splendid and costly form. In Lord Spencer's superb 
library there are nearly one hundred of these vellimi 
impressions, worth on an average from two to three 
hundred pounds apiece. The National Library at 
Paris is said to possess more than any other. The 
expense of securing suitable parchment is an element 
in the value, together with the difficulty of working, 
drying, &c. In modern times we have occasionally 
a few copies of small works taken off on vellum, but 
this is merely a fantasy, and somehow, from the lean, 
attenuated character of modem type, the effect does 
not correspond to the trouble. The enthusiast, Dib- 
din, when publishing the magnificent Typographical 
Antiquities, on which no money was spared, deter- 
mined to have a copy taken off on vellum for his 
patron's library, but after printing only twenty-four 
pages, was compelled to give up the task. "I at- 
tempted it," he says, " with every possible attention 
to printing and to the material, but I failed at every 
point. And this single wretched-looking book," adds 
the disgusted bibliophihst, " had I persevered, would 
have cost me about seventy-five guineas." The 
most important and ambitious attempt in this 
direction was made under the direction of an 
amateur whom no one would ever have expected to 
see figuring in such a capacity — no other, indeed, than 
Marshal Junot, Duke d'Abrantes. For this eminent 



THE INCUNABLES 35 

soldier, Didot, the great publisher, took off a whole 
series of French dramatists on this costly material, 
over thirty in number. Many have, of course, had 
in their hands some small vellum MS., say a " Book 
of Hours," which, from its small size and liability to 
lie open and be crushed, will show much soiling and 
hard usage. But it is otherwise with a grand vellum 
tome that has calmly reposed for centuries in the 
libraries, and has been treated daintily, and petted, 
as it were. The spreading leaves have acquired a 
tone like ivory, and, indeed, seem of the texture of 
some precious metal, so stout and enduring do they 
appear. They are like veneer of ivory, and there 
is a golden mellow shaded tone over all. Then the 
ink seems blacker, and glistens like polished ebony. 
The gold and colours of the illuminated capitals and 
borders secure more effect on this ground. There is, 
too, the idea of costliness, of endurance, of skill and 
care in the working, for the printing requires infinite 
art and trouble. 

What strikes us in these early works is their 
magnificent size and grand amplitude. They are 
indeed vast tomes, and it is curious that the first 
editions, or Editiones Principes, should be the finest 
of any. The publishers, in thus printing but one 
to three hundred copies, looked on each volume as 
a publication — it was a monument for the public 
library, or for the wealthy amateur. The miniatur- 
ist, now out of work, was called in to fill up the spaces 
left vacant for the initial letters ; while the scrivener, 
with extraordinary diligence, " rubricated " each 
page with a series of small " caps " done in a flowing, 
dashing style, which gave quite a free artistic air to 
the whole page. This decoration, while it added 
seriously to the expense, imparted a separate indi- 



36 THE BOOK FANCIER 

viduality to each copy. The front page was always 
specially glorified with a fine border and arabesque 
initial, and often had the escutcheon and devices of 
the owner set out at the foot in gold and colours. 
The sort of link between the fast decaying miniatur- 
ists' art and the new born typographer is curious 
and interesting. 

In England, Caxton and his successors had not 
the same tastes. Their books seemed conceived in 
a timorous spirit ; they were small, thin, and com- 
paratively inexpensive ventures, as though they 
feared to run risk. Perhaps the truth was that those 
splendid foreign publishers. Fust, Gutenberg, Jenson, 
Vindelin de Spira, Aldus, Pannartz, with others — 
and what a melodious roll in their names ! — could 
justly count the whole Continent as their customers ; 
whereas Caxton, with his English and French works, 
could rarely reach beyond the shores of his own 
country. Even now abroad Caxton's are regarded 
with but a languid interest, and do not excite the 
enthusiasm that the work of other printers does . The 
same reasoning applies at the present time. English 
works are printed for the English or Americans, 
whereas costly books published at Paris or Berlin 
have the world for a market. 

It is wonderful to think that every incident con- 
nected with the making of a book was to be found 
within ten years from the introduction of printing 
almost exactly the same as it is now — the water- 
mark, the system of noting and registering the sheets, 
binding, &c. This grandeur of treatment, which 
made a book a sort of monument, left its impression 
on the men who conceived and carried out the enter- 
prise. Many a noble tome is associated with a story 
of energy, perseverance, or romance connected either 



THE INCUNABLES 37 

with the author or the publisher. In the days of 
Gutenberg, or Vindelin de Spira, curious tales have 
come down to us of struggles to raise money to com- 
plete some huge tome, as though one were striving to 
complete a house. As is well known, the founders 
of printing had to suffer cruelly. The story of the 
publisher's hfe has often been told, always chequered 
with a dogged perseverance, a generous ardour, if not 
enthusiasm, a venturesomeness, combined with tact 
and instinct. All this seems to suggest the career of 
a successful merchant. 

The supremacy of German energy and enterprise 
has never been so triumphantly shown as in this de- 
velopment of printing, and the obligations of the 
world to this great nation are extraordinary. The 
old controversy between Mentz and Haarlem for the 
honour of the discovery may be considered as settled 
in favour of the German ; but it is really the German 
character of the early printing that is the most 
irresistible of the arguments.* It is calculated that 

* It is not known generally what escapes from destruction 
some of the MSS. of the classics have had. In a dungeon at 
the monastery of St. Gall, a writer in The Fireside tells us 
Poggio found, corroded with damp and covered with filth, the 
great work of Quintilian. In Westphalia a monk stumbled 
accidentally on the only manuscript of Tacitus. The poems of 
Propertius were found under the casks in a wine-cellar. In a 
few months the manuscript would have crumbled to pieces and 
become completely illegible. Parts of Homer have come to light 
in the most extraordinary way. A considerable portion of the 
Iliad, for instance, was found in the hand of a mummy. The 
Ethiopics of HeUodorus was rescued by a common soldier, 
who found it in the streets of a town in Hungary. The 
Thurloe State Papers were brought to light by the tumbUng in 
of the ceiUng of some chambers in Lincoln's Inn. The letters of 
Lady Mary Montague were found in the false bottom of an old 
trunk ; and in the secret drawer of a chest the curious manu- 
scripts of Dr. Lee lurked unsuspected for years. One of the most 
singular discoveries of this kind was tlie recovery of Luther's 



38 THE BOOK FANCIER 

there were over one hundred German printers 
established in the great cities of Europe within forty 
years of the discovery of printing. In Venice and 
in Rome we find the names of some twenty great 
German printers. More interesting is it to see how 
native force is thus tempered by local association and 
Italian elegance. Thus as we look at one of those 
portly Bibles of Koburger, the Nuremberg printer, 
issued in 1478 and 1480, we are struck with their rude 
stalwart proportions, the rough stoutness of the paper, 
the vigorous " blackletter," and blackness of the ink. 
The leaves lie in close together, board-like and com- 
pact. There is a general air of " burliness," owing 
to a lack of proportion between the thickness and 
other dimensions. But when we come to the work 
of Pannartz at Rome, or Jenson at Venice, we find 
a greater delicacy. The paging is laid out with more 
beauty and elegance, and the size of the volume more 
handsomely proportioned. 

We are so accustomed now to this " Roman type " 
— almost always in use in England, France, and Italy 
— that we are apt to forget that the Germans to this 
day have merely retained what was originally the 
imiversal form of type, viz., the smaller blackletter, 
or " German text," though it has lately become the 

" Table Talk." A gentleman in 1626 had occasion to build upon 
the old foundation of a house. When the workmen were engaged 
in digging, they found, " lying in a deep obscure hole, wrapped in 
strong hnen cloth which was waxed all over with beeswax w ithin 
and without," this work, which had lain concealed ever since its 
suppression by Pope Gregory XIII. We are told that one of the 
cantos of Dante's Paradiso, which had long been mislaid, was 
drawn from its lurking-place (it had slipped beneath a window- 
sill) in consequence of an intimation received in a dream. One 
of the most interesting of Milton's prose works — the essay on the 
Doctrines of Christianity — was unearthed from the midst of a 
bundle of despatches, by Mr. Lemon, deputy-keeper of the 
State Papers in 182^. 



THE INCUNABLES 39 

fashion to issue scientific works in the Roman letter. 
The earliest printed works, such as the famous Bible, 
were in the elongated blackletter, which speedily 
took the shape of the small German text, as we have 
it to-day, and which in that country has scarcely 
changed in shape to this hour. It was so in Italy, 
Belgium, and England. In the latter country the 
old blackletter lingered on in Acts of Parliament 
till a recent period. The bright, stout blackletter 
of Caxton was almost the same as that used in 
Belgium, and was brought by him from that country, 
and became larger and longer in the hands of Wynkyn 
de Worde. 

It will not, perhaps, occur to many that these 
early forms of type were merely copies or imitations 
of the existing handwriting, as found in the MSS. 
Italy was the first to adopt another form of letter, 
which it had ready to hand in the abundant Roman 
inscriptions, said to be first used by the " eminent 
firm " of Sweynheim, in 1467. It is wonderful to 
think that only two years' practice should have 
resulted in the magnificent works of the Brothers de 
Spira, which shows a perfect famiharity with the 
handling of this new-born type. More wonderful, 
indeed, is it to turn the pages of their great Pliny, and 
think that the style of type displayed was but two 
years old. The well-known Aldine type — the origi- 
nal " Italic " — was simply copied from the running- 
hand " of the time ; and it is said that it was 
Petrarch's handwriting that formed the model. These 
elegant works deserve their reputation, and the little 
thin quartos, with the well-known anchor on the 
title, the pretty turns and flourishes of the italic 
letter, are ever pleasing to the eye. The greater 
massive f ohos of the same pubhsher — ponderous arm- 



40 THE BOOK FANCIER 

fuls, each page " packed " with matter, yet clear and 
uncrowded — impress one with the sense of a magnifi- 
cent power. We feel that one of these grand volumes 
was a storehouse or magazine of learning. It was to 
its surroundings what the chained Bible was in the 
church — a tome to be read from, for the benefit of all. 
But would we dazzle the careless inquirer, and 
show him one of the statehest, most imposing efforts 
of the early press men, we would exhibit two noble 
tomes, grand folios, the work of Zainer, gro^vn ripe 
and mellow with age, though literally defying " the 
ravages of time." It came from his press, in 
1474, and is a " Pelagius de Planctu," " thick Royal 
folio." Here is Mr. Ridler's enthusiastic description : 
" As large as the Nuremberg Chronicle, blackletter, 
with woodcut borders, and large capital letters, sup- 
posed to be the first of their kind ever engraved. 
Splendid copy, the capitals filled in with red ink by 
the rubricator, with old blue morocco extra, full gilt 
back by Derome. A more glorious production of 
the fifteenth century, or a more beautiful specimen 
of early typography it would be impossible to pro- 
duce. It is in the finest state imaginable, the paper 
is of the firmest texture, and as clean as on the day 
that it was issued from the press : it is so large a copy 
that it might almost be emphatically called uncut. 
— ^Thorpe's long printed article is inserted on fly- 
leaf, which copy was priced £31 los." As these 
grand volumes are taken down and laid open re- 
verently, we are struck by the beautiful proportions, 
the noble margins of the natural size — not artificially 
or studiously made large, the dazzling brilliancy of 
the Gothic letters, the sobriety of the binding, and 
the curious woodcuts flourishing around the capital 
letters, delicately coloured by some artist. 



THE INCUNABLES 41 

It would not be fanciful to say that the posses- 
sion of such a treasure would have an elevating and 
refining influence, and one would be almost bound, 
like the possessor of the old china teapot, " to try 
and live up to it." 

One of the rarest of the early Greek books is the 
" Lascaris Grammatica Grasca," the first Greek hook 
printed, the first edition, which is a small quarto, 
printed at Milan 1476. Only five or six copies are 
known. The one in the British Museum was picked 
up by Mr. Pryse Lockhart Gordon in 1800 for his 
friend Dr. Burney, and was after his death sold to 
the British Museum for the extraordinary price of 
£600. 

As one dwells on these grand books and grand 
printers, we seem to be dealing critically with pic- 
tures or other works of art. But it should be re- 
membered that almost every copy thus had an indi- 
viduality of its own, and was distinguishable, having 
been " worked on," decorated, and otherwise glorified 
as a true work of art. There are, however, some 
half-dozen grandly conspicuous works of this era, 
which it is impossible to gaze on without admiration. 
Apart from their typographical merits, there is a 
strange feeling in the thought that these noble tomes 
are the very first editions of Homer, Virgil, Horace, 
Dante, and among them is the book that is second 
only in popularity to the Bible, " The Imitation of 
Christ." It is extraordinary to think that these 
noble volumes — the first appearance of their authors 
in print — remain, strange to relate, the most dignified 
forms in which they have ever appeared. They are 
grand, solid, substantial, well printed, and well 
edited (for the time). Hear Mr. Quaritch on one of 
these primaeval volumes for which he demands the 



42 THE BOOK FANCIER 

sum of one thousand pounds : — " Its first page," he 
said, " is decorated with a magnificent border, on 
which architectories and arabesque ornament are 
combined, with exquisite figures of winged and wing- 
less angels, those in the bottom painted with camien 
blue, the whole picture radiant with gold and lovely 
with harmonising colours of floreate scroll-work and 
ornamental vases, with entwined handles in green on 
a gold ground. The initial to the first book " — and 
this gives a good idea of the magnificent style in 
which the threshold to one of these stately tomes 
was decorated — " was a full-length figure of a warrior 
in pale blue, in a floreate letter in crimson, on a 
golden ground ; in the centre of the right-hand mar- 
gin was a highly-finished miniature of a doge ; in the 
corner a coat of arms upheld by Cupids — while some 
of the epitomes were written in blue and gold. " 
There is many an opening page thus set forth in this 
combinationof pictorial and typographical splendour. 
A short time ago Mr. Quaritch was in possession 
of more book rarities than ever were found in the 
hands of one single owner before. He was fresh from 
the spoil of the Sunderland, Syston Park, Beckford 
and Hamilton sales. There were to be seen the 
Mazarin Bible, Psalter, Codex (before described), 
and, above all, the first of the classics that was put 
in print, namely, the Cicero of 1465. It is extra- 
ordinary all that is conveyed in this simple phrase, 
for it was not only the first printed Cicero, but the 
first of the classics printed. Then we turn the 
catalogue of the British Museum, under the heading 
" Cicero," and find some thousand editions. What a 
leap ! He had also the first editions of Livy, and of 
Bibles the first Polyglot, the first Greek Bible, the 
first English, Latin, German, Icelandic, Swedish, 



THE INCUNABLES 43 

Welsh, and American-Indian ; nine Caxtons ; the 
(rarissimus) Boke of St. Albans ; the Shakespeare, 
folio, fifteen of the quartos ; the first edition of 
Don Quixote ; Blake's Works and other rarities, 
to say nothing of all the great binding masters, and 
a host of books that had belonged to kings and 
queens. 

Of the finest and most " desirable " of these patri- 
archs, and rarest of rare Aldines, is the Virgil of 150 1, 
an ordinary octavo of no striking merit. But mark ! 
" It is," says Mr. Quaritch, offering a copy, " the 
first book printed in italic type by Aldus Romanus, 
slightly wormed, else good copy, in red Italian calf 
extra, borders of gold, gilt edges. To find the first 
Aldine Virgil in perfect condition is almost hopeless. 
Neither Mr. Beckford nor the Duke of Hamilton, 
who would have become purchasers at any price, 
could ever secure even tolerable copies, those occur- 
ring for sale being defective." A sad state of things, 
but warranting the seller in asking for his small 
octavo £112. But this should be further noted. Even 
in these pristine days the forger and imitator was at 
work, and so desired and " desirable " was the Aldine 
octavo that there was issued at Lyons, to meet the 
demand : " The Aldine Counterfeit, with facsimiles 
of the title and last leaf of the real Aldine Edition, 
probably to pass it off for the original, the book beifig 
perfect without that imprint, red morocco extra, gilt 
edges, with Aldine anchor in gold on sides, 150 1, 
£15 15s." This volume was the first issued by the 
Lyonese forgers in imitation of the Aldine type, and 
is perhaps quite as rare, if not even rarer, than the 
original. Bishop Butler's copy sold for ^^22. 

The next desirable of these grand old monuments 
is the Livy of the De Spiras of Venice, issued in the 



44 THE BOOK FANCIER 

year 1470 in two great folio volumes. Everything 
stately and beautiful seems to have been lavished on 
these noble tomes. Dibdin's tongue seems to " grow 
wanton " in their praise. " This great printer," he 
exclaims, " is praised, not because he produced many 
volumes, but because he gave the world what was the 
most beautiful and best." This was a work of 
supreme rarity ; on vellum, probably not more than 
three copies are known. It was one of the most 
superb works offered at all the recent sales. It was 
arrayed in contemporary oaken binding, covered 
with stamped leather, the first page of each volume 
exquisitely illuminated in choicest Italian style, and 
each chapter heading illuminated in gold and colours. 
Well kept and taken care of through four long cen- 
turies, richly yet soberly dressed, these treasures 
repay the kindness with which they are treated, 
and might be well enshrined in cabinets. 

The sense of possession adds hugely to the power 
of enjoyment of such treasures. Shown so rare a 
volume in another's library, there is not time leisurely 
to weigh and appreciate its merits. Somehow a book 
in a public library seems to be beyond sympathies. 
It is under government, under the care of officials — 
not to be handled tenderly by one kind and anxious 
master. When it is your own, however, you can 
cultivate its acquaintance day by day, and get to 
know it. But to these grand " Incunables " or 
Cradle-Books, with their miniatures and capitals 
glowing with gold and colours, the ordinary book 
forager hardly dare raise his eyes. He may handle 
at auction-rooms Jenson's Pliny — the " glory of his 
press ; " but £35, the price at the WoodhuU sale, is 
too vast. The companion Pliny of the Venetian 
De Spiras seems a nobler and rarer volume, worth 



THE INCUNABLES 45 

pausing over a few moments as it strikes the specta- 
tor with more astonishment and admiration than any 
other work of its day. It would be difficult to give 
an idea of its sumptuous and noble aspect. It is one 
of the monumental works, and might be laid apart by 
itself, on a great reading-desk, as though it were a 
Bible or Missal. There was a copy on vellum with 
" painted capitals " in the Sunderland sale which 
fetched £82 ; but Jenson's Pliny at the same sale, in 
its blue morocco jacket, brought no less than £220 ! 
One day exploring the shelves of a favourite old 
book shop in Holywell Street, and groping in the dim 
mysterious light within, I came upon a maimed im- 
perfect copy of this De Spira Pliny. Leaves were 
wanting at the end, it was grievously mauled and 
soiled in places, and it was execrably clothed, by 
some profane vandal of an owner, in the commonest 
of modern jacket — oh ! vile profanity ! — in " half 
calf," with marble paper sides ! But there was still 
left many a painted capital, richly dight, though 
many a one had been cut out — beautifully designed 
things — the larger letter in burnished gold, brighter 
even than it was 420 years ago, and encircled with 
lacertine devices of an Irish pattern. These, I was 
assured, if " cut out " and sold separately for mount- 
ing in books, would have brought money as little 
works of art ! The glory of the whole, however, was 
the front page — the threshold of the volume — en- 
circled by a florid bordering with burnished gold and 
flowers and arabesque. The date of this huge volume 
was 1469, and it was to be noted that the leaves 
were without numbers, but a scribe had placed a 
number at the head of each page. More curious 
still, as Greek characters had not then come into 
use, and words in Roman letters were used cor- 



46 THE BOOK FANCIER 

responding to the sound ; exactly as Jenkinson is 
described in the " Vicar of Wakefield," when quoting 
his cosmogony. Rudely handled as it had been, 
I was glad to carry the old tome home, to pour oil 
into and bind up his wounds. He became mine for 
something about three pounds, which it was well 
worth. It is pleasant and refreshing to take him out 
occasionally, and think of the eyes and hands of 420 
years ago. Not less pleasant is it to show it to a 
visitor as an illustration of what could be done in 
those days. His surprise is great, for he expects 
some rude and clumsy effort. Such " a find " as 
this more than rewards the book fancier. But all the 
De Spira books — and they are very few — have this 
elegant and romantic air. 



Bl3e\)frs mb Ql^ printers 

Occasionally in his wanderings the old-book 
collector turns up in the book boxes laid out at the 
stall-door a likely compact little volume, about the 
size of a small Prayer-Book, but prettily printed in 
close but brilliant type. This is an Elzevir, a charm- 
ing little pattern of book, full of artistic merit in 
its title-page, " colophon," and in its paper, print, 
and legibility everything that can be desired. This 
famous house was a family of printers for many 
generations, and flourishing for nearly a century and 
a half. It began with Louis Elzevir, who was fol- 
lowed by Bonaventure, Abraham, Isaac, and others. 
They were originally fixed at Ley den, and a great deal 
of their work was the routine University business, the 
printing of theses, examination papers, and books 
necessary for education. They afterwards moved to 
Amsterdam, whence the more famihar imprint, 
Daniel and Louis Elzevir, was issued. In time busi- 
ness gradually fell away, owing to the neglect of 
members of the firm, and it was noted that their 
works became as remarkable for misprints and gen- 
eral carelessness as they had before been for scrupu- 
lous accuracy. Towards the close of the seventeenth 

47 



48 ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 

century they ceased to work, or adopted the 
modern principle of getting other printers to 
do their books for them. What first brought 
them into notice was the simple innovation of 
issuing small and portable editions of the 
classics, instead of the vast and ponderous folios 
formerly thought de rigueur. They went to 
the opposite extreme, issuing little miniature vol- 
umes handy and elegant. They brought thought, 
money, and toil to the task, which was of enormous 
difficulty, for such compression, as we have seen, 
might necessitate small and illegible type ; but they 
contrived by the clearness and beauty of their letters, 
and by bringing the rules of art and proportion to 
bear, to furnish all that could be desired. They im- 
ported the finest French paper, and employed a skil- 
ful engraver, C. Van Dyck, to design their types ; 
and the beauty of their work, and its hearty appre- 
ciation, shows that their labour was not thrown away. 
The painter Meissonier has devoted himself to small 
cabinet pieces, worked with an almost photographic 
minuteness, yet it has been remarked that there is as 
much dignity and " largeness " in the effect as if it 
was on a great scale. There is much the same 
result in this kind of printing, which, without art and 
taste, becomes mean, petty, and unpleasant to look 
at. The secret seems to be in avoiding the excessive 
" spacing," or intervals between words and letters, 
which is supposed to give clearness. The letters are 
put closely together, and each word has a massive 
air. Again, each letter is well designed and has a 
characteristic of its own, and there is an avoidance 
of those unmeaning hair-strokes now fashionable. 
There were also a great number of shapes of letters 
and pretty forms which lent a variety. Above all, 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 49 

the paper was close and strong, ivory tinted, and 
velvety to the touch. 

There are three little works, which are considered 
their chefs d'ceuvres, namely, the Pliny, the Terence, 
and the Virgil. These bring great prices ; but the 
eager connoisseur looks jealously at the Terence to 
see that it is the genuine first edition. For two fol- 
lowed which are held to be spurious ; that is, they 
were issued bonh fide by the firm and reprinted line 
for line, but the old engraved title was used again to 
save expense, and without alteration in the date. 
The paper, of Angoul^me make, for the three little 
books was exquisite, and used in no others, which, 
cries an enthusiast, " turns what is simply silver into 
pure gold."* Some idea of the operations of this 
great firm may be conceived from the list of their 
works, which reach to some hundreds, including all 
the Latin, French, and Italian classics, besides a 
vast number of light and curious books of the belles- 
lettres class. Here we find Rabelais, plays of Moli- 
ere and Corneille, the " Provincial Letters," books of 
controversy, and some not very proper books. .A 
few are ridiculously recherche. At one time it was 
assumed that a reprint of a French cookery-book, the 
" Pastissier Francois, "wa.s truly " precious " and one 
of the greatest rarities. It may be said, en paren- 
thlse, that this sort of rarity is often the creation of 

• So with the Virgils, which a passage from Mr. Quaxitch 
shows us how to distinguish. " Virgilii Opera, i2mo. The 
genuine edition, with the two passages in red and bufialo head 
on dedication, vita and page i, fine copy, ruled, in red morocco, 
gilt edges, by Roger Payne. Lugd. Bat. Elzevir, 1636. — 
Also Virgilii Opera. The reprint with the two passages 
in black, buffalo head only on the dedication and the errata, 
fine copy, ruled, in red morocco, gilt edges by Roger Payne, 
Lugd. Bat. Elzevir, 1636." For the first twelve guineas were 
asked 5 for the second, only four. 

X 



50 THE BOOK FANCIER 

some rich bibliomaniac, who officiously announces 
that the case is so, or gives some large price, which 
leads eventually into the domain of ridiculous and 
fantastic cravings, when the poor sufferer is more 
lit for restraint than many a regular Bedlamite. 

There has at times been a " rage " for Elzevirs 
akin to the Dutch tulip mania, but extending only 
to the choice and rare copies, whose margins were 
nicely measured in millimetres ; such as the Mon- 
taigne, in three volumes " thick i2mo " — it is 
recorded that Beckford's copy sold for £200, and 
Benzon's for more. Wonderful to relate, a copy, 
" a large tall one," and bound by Courteval, and 
whose only blemish was being " slightly ,wormed," 
could lately have been had for three guineas. These 
fluctuations are marvellous. The craze will come 
again, nay, is likely to come speedily. There is a 
hterature on this subject, and the History of the 
Firm, with grave learned disquisitions on the merits 
of their books, lists of every work, duly catalogued, 
has been written several times. The judicious 
collector can even now secure, at very low prices, 
charming specimens of these famous printers. 

The fashion in which one or two of these little 
volumes have attained celebrity has been revealed 
to us. Thus of the " Pastissier Francois," one of 
the oldest cookery-books, it is said that a biblio- 
grapher named B6rard was the first to give it a 
reputation by declaring that he knew of only two 
copies in the world ! Instantly the cry of rarity was 
raised, with the result that in 1843 nearly ten copies 
were discovered, while a later writer was enabled to 
count up no less than thirty or forty ! Still this is 
about the same proportion to existing demand as 
the two copies were fifty or sixty years ago, and even 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 51 

now the matter is brought to a fair test in a copy 
being offered at the choice and wonderful sale of the 
Syston Park Library, when two copies were sold at 
moderate prices. 

The little Elzevir Cicero is also much sought. 
But have a care, stall-fancier ! for some are printed 
on a fine paper, the others on an inferior paper. 
These little books are actually appraised by measur- 
ment, the finest copies, we are told, being from 132- 
138 millimetres high. Count D'Hoyn, whose golden 
library-stamp on the side of a book adds an infinite 
value, was the blessed possessor of a copy bound by 
Padeloup, and which sold for £400 ! Charles Nodier 
tells us that the genuine Elzevir of the old catalogues 
is beyond all price when it is large. A hair's-breadth 
increases its value in the proportion of carats in the 
case of diamonds. " We have seen," he tells us, " a 
Cicero, bound by Derome, sell for 600 francs, while 
next it was another scarcely worth 60 francs. In this 
increase 300 francs was put on for three breadths 
of white paper, and 240 francs for the binding." 
- At this moment I have in my hand one of their 
typographical feats, a small edition of Livy, to be 
carried in the pocket. It is of i2mo size, and the 
modern printer would lift up his eyes in wonder 
at the problem successfully solved of compressing 
into so small a space, as to be read with ease, the 
contents of the vast closely printed folios which this 
voliuninous author fills. There are nearly 800 pages, 
and each page contains 144 lines, or about 850 
words. When it is considered that an octavo of our 
day, with a well-filled page, contains about 30 lines, 
or 300 words, it will be seen what a feat has been 
here accomplished. Yet the whole is brilliant, 
clear, and can be read with comfort by ordinary 



52 THE BOOK FANCIER 

eyes. The effect is very different from those painful 
" diamond " editions which used to be issued by a 
few of our pubHshers. The Httle thing which I pos- 
sess is charming in every way, bound exquisitely in 
solid Mazarin blue morocco. 

There is one antique printing house still standing, 
whose history and associations add to the romance 
of books. In the old printing city of Antwerp, close 
to one of the new Boulevards, is an old, iron-grey, 
picturesque building, with a tranquil air of monastic 
retirement ; not, too, without architectural merit. 
This, for the visitor of taste, is the " sight " in the 
old town which leaves the most pleasing agreeable im- 
pressions. It is the Plantin Museum, the offices of a 
great printing firm that flourished for a couple of 
centuries. Their chief function was supplying the 
ecclesiastical world with those fine quarto missals 
and office-books, printed in cheerful red and black, 
which are still often found in old chapels and mon- 
asteries. Gradually the business decayed, though 
it was continued until a recent period. The old 
offices were left deserted until some amateurs, true 
artists, exerted themselves to have the place pur- 
chased for the town and preserved. 

The effect of the grave, solemn place is extraordin- 
ary. There is a strange tranquillity, a church-like 
shade, that we never can forget. Never was printing 
so housed before. The charming, spacious court- 
yard ; its mullioned windows, struggling with leaves 
and nearly obscured ; the creepers, the old vines, the 
'scutcheon — all on the iron-grey background — leave 
a soft contemplative impression. A Renaissance 
colonnade on one side suggests some of the colleges at 
Cambridge. " The aspect of this place," as has been 
truly said, " imprints a lasting impression on the 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 53 

mind of the thinker and artist." The noise of the 
world outside cannot penetrate to this sohtude ; and 
yet it is not the sohtude of desolation, but an isolation 
which invites meditation Time has indeed left his 
mark, but has altered nothing and destroyed nothing. 
This is no exaggeration, and many a traveller wearied 
with the official shows of the Flemish town has testi- 
fied to the extraordinary and ever-enticing charm of 
the old printing-office. We enter to the same 
solemnity ; the shade awaits us within, in the suitable 
halls rather than rooms, through whose diamond- 
paned windows the light comes shaded by the vines. 

Here everything is preserved as if from yesterday 
— the old " formes," the black oaken desks, the types 
and woodblocks, as if the workmen had but just gone 
away. In these halls the dim light comes through 
the diapered frames, and the greenery of the court 
flutters before the windows. It seems some old 
monastic retreat. Our thoughts fly back to the 
modern Babel of a printing-room, with the whirhng 
wheels, the noise of the machine, the white walls, 
and the general manufacturing air. But here there 
is the grey and revered tone of age ; and so com- 
pletely in order is everything, that one almost expects 
in a moment to hear the old bell ring out, the 
tranquil dream to come to an end, and to find the 
Plantin workmen busy once more at their cases and 
" puUing proofs " at the old presses. The whole is 
certainly unique. 

The work-rooms have a charm and grace that 
must have lent a dignity to the work, and are deco- 
rated with medalhons, escutcheons, paintings, and 
other ornaments of the most refined and pleasing 
style. Plantin was the great Catholic printer, as 
the Elzevirs were the great Protestant printers, and 



54 THE BOOK FANCIER 

the works of both reflected these influences. From 
the former presses issued all the grand missals and 
prayer-books and religious works, while invocations 
to the Blessed Virgin and pious inscriptions graced 
the rooms in which the work was carried on. The 
Elzevir presses groaned with fierce controversy and 
abundant attacks on the old faith. The productions 
of both were almost on a level for typographical 
merit ; but the Elzevir press has obtained a far 
higher reputation among book amateurs. The old 
presses, standing idle, but in excellent order, are 
notable for a certain artistic elegance of design and 
construction, and one is amazed at their number : in 
one room there being more than twenty-two. In the 
correctors' room — a noble apartment, where once 
Moretus, Rapheling, and Lipsius, all scholars, sat 
and worked — the drawers are filled with corrected 
sheets and old authors' manuscript, the furniture and 
armoires are all of fine design and solid make, and 
it is to be noted that the correctors sat upon a high 
platform to pursue their labours. It is a chamber 
worthy of the dignity of the calling, and very dif- 
ferent from the little " den " so often allotted to 
that functionary with us. Upstairs there is the foun- 
dry, with the furnaces, the stores of matrices and 
type, and vast masses of woodblocks : three thous- 
and for a single book, The History of Plants, reaching 
to some fifteen thousand in all. The curious have 
noted among the type some few of silver, thus 
giving support to what has been often stated, 
that certain books, either Plantins or Elzevirs, have 
been printed with silver type. This might seem a 
rather convincing proof of the fact, for to have cast 
only a few letters of this precious material would be 
unmeaning. The probability is that on ceasing 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 55 

business the silver type must have been taken away 
and sold or melted down. Otherwise it would 
have been like leaving so much money among the 
types. 

Though their list of works printed is not nearly so 
abundant as that of the Elzevirs, it must be remem- 
bered it was a far older firm, and began its labours 
about 1555. Its grandest achievement was the 
great Polyglot Bible, in seven large volumes, and in 
five languages, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Chaldaic, and 
Syriac. This was attempted in 1573, under the 
direction and patronage of Philip II. of Spain, 
and at his cost. Such a work nowadays would 
tax the energies of our most important printers, and 
it may be imagined how difficult it was to secure 
competent workmen equal to the duty of setting up 
such " outlandish " dialects. And yet it was accom- 
plished in splendid style, in the course of only four 
years, employing the labour of forty men. The cost 
too was comparatively small, 40,000 crowns, or 
£10,000, equivalent, we may suppose, to about 
£20,000 in our day. 

Combined with the printing-office was the dwelUng- 
house of the family, which is exactly as it was in 
their day, with its rich yet chaste furniture, fine 
pictures, manuscript and other treasures. The old 
printer who produced such grand works was an 
interesting and even heroic person ; the bringing out 
of some of his great folios was an enterprise — like 
launching a ship. He laid all his energies to the 
work, was often in straits for means to complete it : 
had to encounter jealousies and hatred, desertion 
and rivalries. He seemed to be carried through, 
inspired by a genuine faith and enthusiasm, as 
though it were a solemn thing to introduce one of 



56 THE BOOK FANCIER 

these great things into the world. There was infinite 
thought, labour, and cost in the planning of such 
books, with also much anxiety and distress. 

Such was the old printer's life — something of an 
art : for the workman brought with his strong arms 
and delicate touch a certain individual feeling. Many 
a compositor, as in the case of Franklin, would 
" set " the type of a book entirely by himself or 
aided by a companion : the pressman as he " pulled " 
the sheets made the task an individual, or separate 
art, carefully scanning and correcting defects for the 
next effort. He therefore strictly " printed " the 
book. So the work went on tranquilly and leisurely 
in the sober and comparatively silent buildings ; the 
Leyden scholars, sitting upstairs each in their calm 
retirement, officiating as " correctors." Now for 
a curious contrast, when we change the scene after 
an interval of say two hundred years. 

It is the afternoon of a busy London day, and we 
turn out of Fleet Street into Bouverie Street, lined 
with ranges of great factories, all blackened and 
grimed, the rows of windows incrusted with the dirt 
of years. Nothing here but gloom. The cross lanes 
that join this street to its parallel neighbours are 
also lined with the factory buildings, behind which 
peeps up a stunted chimney belching rolls of smoke. 
Strange Cimmerian regions these — men in dirty caps 
and blackened arms hurry to and fro, and stray about 
the doors. The ground throbs, and in the cellars the 
pulses of engines beat. The perpetual clank, clank, 
clatter of " the machine " strikes the ear from all 
sides. Flywheels whirl, the presses strike and crash, 
and it seems a matter of labour, and often pain, to get 
an impression or ' ' proof. " For this is modern Printing 
Land, where the newspapers with " largest circulation 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 57 

in the world," &c., are engendered, books struck off 
at white heat, great ink-rollers glisten with jet ink, 
cobra-like ; drying, boilers, flywheels, engines so 
many horse-power, men and boys like imps ; and the 
" fair, white," unsoiled paper — one of the most deli- 
cate things — is produced, odd indeed ! by such agents. 
Within nought but bare white-washed walls ; the 
composing-room a vast cheerless factory, where there 
seems a sense of huddle and little ease ; foremen 
seeming to work under temporary conditions, in 
accommodation knocked up, as it were ; corrector 
hard by, in a rudely got-up enclosure ; a tortuous 
stair, like that of the gallery of a theatre, perpetually 
promenaded up and down by the blackened boys and 
men aforesaid ; pots of beer going up ; a man keep- 
ing the " times " of the men in a little sentry-box 
hutch ! Here is a suggestion of the " behind the 
scenes " in some great theatre ; the rudely whitened 
walls, the revolving wheels aloft — ropes, " belts," &c., 
helping the idea. Here, as by necessity, everything 
is wrought by " the machine ; " the boy stands at its 
mouth to " feed "it, the great white sheet is swept 
in, tossed out in a half second at the other end 
printed ; nay, the setting, though done by fingers, is 
under machine influence, for the " copy " is cut into 
short slips, and a column distributed among a score, 
regardless of sense or sentence. What a contrast this 
to the old printers and their art ! Yet this change 
is unavoidable, " cannot be helped," under the con- 
ditions ; being, moreover, a wonderful spectacle of 
energy, " saving of labour," and unrest. 

How often the character of the old printer seemed 
to answer to his work ! The more eminent have inva- 
riably been men of force of character, " adventurers," 
as it were, and of a life that interests all. This may 



58 THE BOOK FANCIER 

come of the speculative cast that attends this venture, 
the need for sagacity and for making a coup. Their 
lives have been not without romance — there is some- 
thing in the tone of the " chapel " — the intercourse 
with their authors — the busy workmen — that tends to 
this. The story of the very first of them all, Guten- 
berg, is a sad one of struggle and fortitude. How 
interesting and even exciting is that of the Italian 
Aldine family, and that of the French Stephens, 
the Elzevirs, and Plantins ! In England, too, the 
story of Caxton is full of interest ; while in modem 
times we have the spirited careers of the Tonsons, 
Dodsleys, Strahans, Baskervilles, Boy dells ; while the 
history of the Ballantynes and Archibald Constable 
lends much that is dramatic to the life of Scott. In 
our day the story of the Chambers's (Robert and 
William), Black, and Macmillan have been all told at 
length. The printers associated with Boswell and 
Johnson acquire a charming and original interest. So 
with the Dillys, Charles and Edward, the hospitable 
entertainers of Wilkes, and Johnson, and Bowyer.* 
There is always an interest in the hard-working, 
painstaking, never-flagging " reader," who sits up 

* A good tradition is handed down of the amiable delusion 
under which amateur writers labour as to the cost, sale, &c., of 
their productions. A simple country- clergyman had written a 
sermon, in which he had exceeding faith, and came up specially 
to London to arrange for its pubUcation. He waited on the 
worthy Bowyer, who was of the old type of publisher. The 
vicar was poor, but full of enthusiasm. The publisher asked 
him how many copies he would have taken off. " Why, sir," 
rephed the vicar, " I have calculated that there are in the king- 
dom so many thousand parishes, and that, at the lowest com- 
putation, each parish will take at least one copy, and others 
more, so that I think we may venture to print thirty-five thous- 
and, or say thirty-six thousand copies." The printer listened 
gravely, the matter was arranged, and the vicar returned to his 
parish. After waiting impatiently two months for the piece to get 
into iaij circulation, he wrote for the account of sales, adding, 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 59 

aloft, anywhere or anyhow, and does his work. Of 
hhn it was written : — 

" His brain must be cool, 

As an eagle his sight ; 
And chained to a stool 

From morning till night, 
He must read and correct 

Typographical matters, 
Taking care to detect 

All the wrong fonts and batters. 

He who seeks for the place 
Must have ' worked at case,' 

Must be also ' well up ' in typography ; 
Of each science and art 
Must at least know a part : 

Must be thoroughly versed in geography. 
German — French — Latin — Greek 
He must read (if not speak), 

Must of course be a thorough grammarian. 

however, that there was no hurry as to the cash settlement. He 
received in reply the following account : — 
" The Rev. , Cr. 

By sale of 17 copies of Sennon . . /i 5 6 

By printing, paper, &c., 35,000 copies . 785 5 6 

Balance due to Printer . . ;f784 o o" 

In a day or two followed another letter from the worthy pub- 
lisher, who was a good-hearted man. 

" Dear Sir, — I beg pardon for innocently amusing myself at 
your expense, but you need give yourself no uneasiness. I 
knew better than you could do the extent of the sale of single 
sermons, and accordingly printed but 50 copies, to the expense 
of which yon are heartily welcome, in return for the liberty I 
have taken with you," &c. 

Thus was the poor vicar relieved. Yet those who take a cynical 
view of human nature and of authors' vanity, might be inclined 
to add a sequel, viz., the second thoughts of the disappointed 
vicar, when wounded vanity might begin to take effect. If a 
larger number had been put into circulation, as he had directed, 
why, the sermon might have sold. The publisher might surely 
have pushed it, instead of taking on himself to extinguish the 
work so effectually . 



6o THE BOOK FANCIER 

Quite an fait to the rules 
Of the various ' schools,' 
Not merely an Abecedarian. 

Then he'll read — read — read, 

Till his eyes grow weary and dim, 
And read — read — read, 

Till exhausted in every limb, 
'Midst the clamour of boys, 
Interruption and noise ; 
The uproarious revels 
Of young ' Printer's Devils.' 

Pray, how should you Uke to be HIM ? '* 

How this useful being pursues his monotonous 
functions is shown in a pleasant sketch by a once 
popular writer : — 

" While the ' reader,' " says Sir F. Head; " is seated 
in his cell, there stands beside him a small intelligent 
boy^who is, in fact, the reader — that is to say, he reads 
aloud from the manuscript while the man pores upon 
and corrects the corresponding print. This child — 
for such he is in comparison with the cige of the master 
he serves — cannot be expected to take any more in- 
terest in the heterogeneous mass of literature he emits 
than the little marble cupids in Italy can be supposed 
to relish the water which is made to everlastingly 
stream from their mouths. In our cell we find the 
boy reading aloud to his patron a work or paragraphs 
in the French language, which he had never learned, 
and which, therefore, he was thus most ludicrously 
pronouncing, as if written in English : ' Less ducks 
knee sonte pass,' &c. {i.e., ' Les dues ne sont pas,' &c.) 
To the ' reader's ' literary ears this must have been 
almost as painful as is to common nei*ves the cutting 
of a saw ; yet he patiently listened, and laboriously 
proceeded with his task." 

When the " proof " is returned to the compositor, 
he amends it, and from it is printed another impres- 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 6i 

sion, which is styled a " clean proof," also " author's 
proof," which is sent to the author, and if he on read- 
ing it has no occasion to make many alterations, he 
may not think it necessary to require another proof 
(or " revise," as it is termed), in which case he writes 
the word " Press " upon it ; and having been finally 
" read " in the office, it is then printed off. But 
when the author or editor makes on it any alterations 
or amendments, the compositor is paid for the time 
occupied in so rearranging the type. Stower adds 
that if errors be discovered when it is too late to 
have them corrected, then the word " Press " is to 
the " reader " as the signature of the death-warrant of 
his reputation. It is absolutely required, therefore, 
that a " reader " should be a man of one business — 
always on the alert — all eye — all attention. It was 
a saying of Godeau, a bishop of France {oh. 1671), 
that to compose was an author's heaven, to correct 
his proofs an author's purgatory, but to correct for 
press an author's hell. 

The following account of the various types will be 
found useful. These are double pica, paragon, great 
primer, English, pica, small pica, long primer, bour- 
geois, canon, brevier, minion, nonpareil, ruby, pearl, 
diamond, and brilliant. Pica, from being used in the 
pica or liturgy of the Church, was called by the French 
and Germans Cicero, the epistles of that writer being 
first done in them. Brevier had its name from being 
used for the Roman breviary. The French call it 
little text, and the Germans maiden letter. Canon 
was first produced by the French for works relating 
to the canons of the Church, to which the German 
title missal alludes. It came into use about 1695. 
Bourgeois also came from France, where it is called 
gaillarde, and was dedicated to the master printers 



62 THE BOOK FANCIER 

there. It first appeared about 1529. Office-books 
of prayer suggested primer (from primarius), some- 
times called Bible text. Great primer is the largest 
type ever used for books. The French call it Great 
Roman. English (or Old English — so called from 
its having been used in early times for printing our 
books of laws, statutes, &c. — one of the founts known 
among printers as " blacks "), is called by the Ger- 
mans mittel (by the French and Dutch St. Augustin, 
that saint's writings being first produced with it). 
Small pica is called brevier by the Germans, and 
philosophie by the French. Long primer is called 
Little Roman by the French, the Germans Corpus, it 
having been first used for printing the Corpus Juris. 
Union-pearl is a letter of fancy created somewhat 
past the middle of the eighteenth century. It is said 
to have receive this name from the pearls which grow 
in couples, to which the nodules in the letters were 
conceived to bear some resemblance. Paragon, or 
*' perfect pattern," which the word implies, happen- 
ing to turn out a well-shaped letter and better than 
the last, was so named by the French. It is the only 
letter which has preserved its name among all nations. 
Minion, a size between brevier and nonpareil, is so 
called from the French mignonne, or favourite. The 
Germans call it colonel. Emerald is a small kind of 
minion. Nonpareil (from the French and German 
nonpareille) so called because at its introduction it 
was without a peer in comparative size to the larger 
type. Ruby is so named by Mr. Hansard, he " hav- 
ing felt it absolutely necessary to give some distin- 
guishing appellation to its size." 

Of printers' errors, &c., there are innumerable good 
stories, and every busy writer could relate some 
piquant instances. Many, however, have the air of 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 63 

being manufactured. These American instances, 
however, are very good. A country editor, dwelling 
on the death of a village maid, whose obituary he was 
writing, detailed her dying injunction that no monu- 
ment should be placed above her grave, but a plain 
slab, with the simple inscription " Mary." On read- 
ing the proof of his article, however, he became doubt- 
ful of the correctness of her Christian name, and 
hurriedly ran his pencil through it as a preliminary 
to correction. One of the townsfolk dropping in at 
that moment assured him that the young girl's name 
was " Mary," and he accordingly dotted a line below 
the erased word, writing in the margin of the proof 
the usual direction " stet " (let it stand). He was 
somewhat astonished the next morning on learning 
from the paper that the dying girl had requested, as 
a last favour, that upon her tombstone should be 
placed " the simple inscription, * Stet,' " It availed 
him nothing that he endeavoured to explain to the 
tearful but indignant parents that the mistake, after 
all, was not so very bad. Many of the people be- 
lieved that he had actually attempted to improve the 
poor girl's dying injunction with his " college lingo." 

A widower in the same place wished his elderly wife 
to be celebrated, and he himself was allowed to write 
the obituary. In the proof the editor noted that the 
lady was described as " being remarkable for her chas- 
tity " — instead of " charity " — an odd commendation. 

There is a work greatly recherche from a singular 
oddity : — Dr. Bonnell Thornton was passing through 
the press a splendid folio work. In a certain page 
a space (as printers term it) stood up : the Doctor 
(and this shows the misfortune of not understanding 
" printers' marks "), instead of writing or making the 
sign for dele opposite the line with the objectionable 



64 THE BOOK FANCIER 

little mark, wrote on a head-page " take'out horizon- 
tal line at page so and so " — the compositor inserted 
these words as a displayed line in the head-page 
whereon they were written ; the " reader " passed it 
in the revise, and it was so worked off ! Being 
eventually detected, the leaf was of course cancelled. 
Any copy, therefore, with these wrongly inserted 
words, is consequently eagerly sought after. Such 
errors arise, of course, from indifferent and bad 
writing, some of which is absolutely distracting. 
But it is a fact that no matter how indifferent or 
difficult to read, the printers, if they have to deal 
with much of it, soon learn to read it. They more 
protest against the confusion of alterations and inser- 
tions, which are often impossible to follow. Burke's 
" Letter to a Noble Lord " was printed off and the 
proof sent to him, but was returned to the printing- 
office with so many alterations and passages inter- 
Uned that the compositors refused to correct it as it 
was, took the whole matter to pieces, and reset the 
copy ; and there is little doubt that to the illegible 
caligraphy of many writers with their sometimes 
innumerable alterations, additions, &c., is to be 
attributed much of the " Errata " to be found in 
most publications. Truly some " copy " looks as if 
a spider had been dipped in ink and permitted to 
perambulate the paper, and so cover it with un- 
decipherable hieroglyphics ; this was the character 
in which the poetry of the Rev. W. Lisle Bowles was 
written. Of the writing of Dr. Rees, the well-known 
editor of " The Cyclopaedia," it is said it seemed as 
if he had used a burnt stick, and that on one occasion 
the printers clubbed their money and presented him 
with a hundred good pens, begging him to use them 
for their sakes if not for his own. The " Georgian 



ELZEVIRS AND OLD PRINTERS 65 

Era " states that there is an instance on record of 
three volumes of corrections being written to one 
volume of proofs ! 

In the history of the " chapel " or printing-office 
there are many strange incidents. How curious, 
for instance, are those beings who at their desk 
have " composed " their types without " copy," being 
author and printer at the same moment. The inter- 
mediate writing was omitted. There are many books 
which have been made in this fashion. 

Thus, there was a book published in 1844 called 
" Colloquies Desultory, but chiefly upon Poetry, &c." 
— a volume of 250 pages, but not a word of it was 
really ever written. The clever author, printer, and 
publisher, Mr. Lordan, of Romsey, set up the types 
as fast as he mentally composed the book, and 
the latter, as a critic truly says, is highly creditable 
to the author, who, however, never wrote it. It has 
been affirmed that Dugald Graham, the Rhyming 
Chronicler of the Rebellion of 1745, used to com- 
pose and set up his works in type without com- 
mitting them to writing. There was a French 
novelist who, being hke our Richardson, a printer, 
composed a volume in type, and thus this book 
was likewise printed without having been written. 
William Cowdroy, editor, proprietor, and printer of 
the Manchester Gazette (1814), whilst employed at 
Chester as editor and compositor, displayed this 
faculty of composing his paragraphs without writing 
them. The practice was first adopted by Thomas 
Jonathan Wooler, the printer of the Black Dwarf. 
He was also its editor and article-producer, — " com- 
posed " his articles (in a double sense of the phrase) 
at case. E. W. Forster, of the Hants Guardian, 
used to relate : — " From my earliest connection with 



66 THE BOOK FANCIER 

a newspaper, now many years ago, it has been my 
practice to compose all leaders from case direct, 
without the help of any copy whatever. I have 
followed this plan in many other ways connected 
with newspaper work ; and what it is desirable to 
communicate to the public is the fact that the rate 
of ' composing ' coincides admirably with the flow 
of thought ; that to furnish a good leader, or any- 
thing else, it is a great advantage to produce it from 
the head direct, ignoring the use of pen and paper." 



Cajtons ant) JBnolisb iprinters 

The subject of our English printer Caxton is 
really a fascinating one, and has furnished food 
for the artist, the poet, and the story-teller. The 
learned and laborious Blades has written a profound 
account of his life and works in one of the most in- 
teresting of such treatises — a dungeon of learning, 
though perhaps too technical for " the general." In- 
deed, it is surprising to see what the indefatigable 
labour of antiquaries and expenditure of money have 
done both for Caxton and Shakespeare. But by this 
tremendous and assiduous toil, and the premium 
offered in the shape of costly prices, an astonishing 
number of the printer's works have been recovered, 
and will be preserved securely for generations born 
hundreds of years hence — unless, indeed, convulsions 
arise, such as the descent of barbarian hordes, or a 
revolutionary rising, when these libraries may be 
sacked or burnt, as in the case of the revolutions of 
1830 and 1870. 

One of the Spencer family, in an interesting 
lecture on the Althorp Library, gives a summary of 
the Caxton treasures in that wonderful library. Mr. 

67 



68 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Blades has also enumerated ninety-nine productions 
of his press as in existence. The British Museum 
possesses the largest number of copies ever brought 
together, between eighty and ninety — of which 
twenty-five are duplicates. The collection of Cax- 
tons in the Spencer Library is more complete, num- 
bering fifty-seven separate works, of which thirty-one 
are perfect and three unique, namely, " The Four 
Sons of Aymon," " The History of Blanchardin and 
Eglantine," and a folio broadside of " Death Bed 
Prayers," which is in perfect condition, and measures 
II by 3 inches. An important relic connected with 
the house inhabited by our first printer, and affording 
the earliest known instance of a broadside printed in 
England, is to be seen in the Althorp collection in 
the shape of an advertisement, of which only one 
other copy, and that an imperfect one, existed. It 
consists of a single paragraph of seven lines, the 
longest measuring five inches, and which read as 
follows : — " If it plese ony man spirituel or temporel 
to bye ony pyes of two and thre comemoracios of Sal- 
isburi use enprynted after the forme of this present 
lettre which ben wel and truly correct, late hym 
come to Westmonester into the almonesrye at the 
reed pale, and he shal have them good chepe."* 

* From Mr. G. Sanders's laborious MS. notes I take the follow- 
ing curious comparison of prices, and of the rise in prices paid 
for Caxtons : — 

" The Recuyell des Histoires de Troyes," fol. 1472, was sold 
by Dr. Bernard in 1698 for 3s., whilst at the Roxburghe sale 
(1812) the Duke of Devonshire gave ;^io6o for a copy. " Chess 
Book," fol. 1475, R. Smith in 1682, 13s. 2d. ; Mainwaring in 
1837, ;^ioi. " Le Recueil," fol. 1476, Eames in 1760, ^2 12s. ; 
E. Spencer in 1823, ;^205 i6s. ; M. Libri in 1844, ;^2oo. " Pro- 
positio Johannis Rupell," quarto, four printed leaves, John 
Brand in 1807, ^2 5s. ; Marquis Blandford in 1819, ^^126. " The 
Dietes and Sayings of the Philosophers," fol. 1477, Osborne in 



CAXTONS AND ENGLISH PRINTERS 69 

Mr. Quaritch, the possessor of many treasures, 
can of course boast some rare and choice Caxtons. 
Let him introduce — " The first book printed in 
England. Westminster, William Caxton, 1474. 
Caxton's ' Game and Play of Chess, Moralised ' (trans- 
lated 1474), first edition, folio, 65 leaves (of the 72), 
bound in old russia gilt. An extremely large, 
though somewhat imperfect copy of the first book 
printed in England, from Caxton's press. Mr. Blades 
quotes 9 copies (4 perfect, 5 imperfect), and the 

1751, £1 lis. 6d. ; Earl Spencer, ;£263 los. ; " Chaucer's Can- 
terbury Tales," Joseph Ames in 176-, £z; Mr. Huth, ^^200. 
" Boethius," fol. 1479, Osborne in 1751, £1 is. ; Gardner in 
1854 (imperfect copy), ;^70. " Mirrour of the World," fol. 1481, 
R. Smith in 1682, 5s. ; Duke of Devonshire in 1812, £^51 15s. 
(it cost the Duke seven guineas). " TuUy of Old Age," fol. 
1481, 15s. 3d. ; Dr. Bernard in 1698, 4s. 2d. ; Duke of Rox- 
burghe, ;^ii5 ; Willett in 1812, ;^2io ; Mr. Huth in 1857, 1^15- 
Second edition " Game of Chess," Dr. Bernard in 1698, is. 6d. (!) 
Duke of Devonshire, ^£173 5s. " Godfrey of Boulogne," fol. 
1481, R. Smith in 1682, i8s. 2d. ; Dr. Bernard in 1698, 4s. ; 
Marquis Blandford, £21$ 15s. " Polychronicon," fol. 1482, 
Ames in 1760, 14s. ; Sykes, 1815, ^^150. " Confessio Amantis," 
fol. 1483, Osborne in 1745, 14s. ; Mead in 1755, 26s. ; Duke of 
Devonshire in 1812, ;^336 ; Willett, 1813, ;^3i5 ; at Sotheby's in 
1872, ;^670. " Golden Legend," 1484, W. Fletewode in 1774, 
7s. ; Due de Aumale, ;^230. " Troylus and Creside," fol. 1484, 
J. West in 1773, ;^io los. ; J. Towneley in 1814, ^252 2S. " King 
Arthur," fol. 1485, Osborne in 1748, £$ ; Earl Spencer in 1816, 
^320. " Fayts of Arms, &c.," fol. 1489, RawUnson in 1756, 
IIS.; Duke of Devonshire in 1812, ;^336 ; M. Libri in 1862, 
£2$$. " Eneydos," fol. 1490, R. Smith in 1682, 3s. ; E. Jeans, 
in 1859, ;^ioo ; B. Quaritch in 1874, ^^191 (copy wanting two 
pages). " Chastising of God's Children," fol. 1491 (?), Smith, 
5s. ; Earl Spencer, ;£i40. " St. Catherine," fol., Osborne, 
£1 IS. ; J. Townley in 1814, ;^23i (now in the Grenville or 
British Museum Library). 

At the sale in 1773 oi the curious library of James West, Esq., 
the following were disposed of : — " The Prouffytable Book for 
Man's Soul," £5 (at the Roxburghe sale sold for ;^i4o) ; " The 
Mirrour of the World," £2 13s. (Roxburghe, ;^35i 15s.) ; " Golden 
Legend," ^12 i6s. (Roxburghe, imperfect, ;^3i) ; " TuUe of 
Old Age," £5 los. (Roxburghe, ;£ii5 ; Willetts, ;^2io) ; "The 



70 THE BOOK FANCIER 

present is the tenth known copy, and is taller than 
even the Grenville — hitherto the tallest known copy ; 
my copy measures ii|^ inches in height by 8 in 
width, whilst the Grenville body (also imperfect) is 
only II inches high. No copy of this edition has 
been sold for years ; in 1813, Alchome's copy, want- 
ing first two leaves, the last two leaves, and two 
leaves in the second chapter of the fourth tractate, 
fetched at Evans's, £54 12s. The value of this 
class of book has much risen since then, and may 

Boke of St. Albans," imperfect, £1^ (Roxburghe, £iij) J 
" Fayte of Arms," ;^io ids. (Roxburghe, ;^336) ; " Passe Tyme 
of Pleasure," £i 3s. (Roxburghe, ;^8i) ; " Tragedy of Sir Rd. 
Crinville," 5s. (or 12s. 6d.), Bindley, £4,0 19s. Here a 4to 
volume of theological tracts sold for £^ 3s., but in 1856 six of 
the lot reaUsed respectively thirty-five times the amount, 
1^1 10 5s. Caxton's " Mirrour of the World," 1481, in good con- 
dition, and for a copy of which at the Duke of Devonshire's sale 
in 1812 /351 15s. was given, was purchased in 1828 of a poor 
illiterate widow for 2s. ! 

Dr. Morell tells a story that " Dickey Dalton, his Majesty's 
librarian, in garbhng the library, threw out several Caxtons as 
things that might be got again every day." The most beautiful 
production of this press is thought to be " I^ng Arthur," fol. 
1485. The British Museum has eighty-five examples of Caxton's 
press, which is the largest number ever brought together ; 
owing, however, to duplicates, the real number of works is but 
fifty-three. Earl Spencer's collection is therefore more complete, 
as it contains no less than fiftj^-seven separate and independent 
works. Cambridge has thirty-eight separate works, the Bodleian 
twenty-eight, and the Duke of Devonshire twenty-five. Mr. 
Blades gives a list of 540 extant Caxtons more or less com- 
plete, some being mere fragments. These comprise ninety-four 
separate works and editions, but out of these ninety-four works 
no less than thirty-three are known to us by single copies or 
by fragments only. With respect to the sizes of early printed 
books, they were generally either large or small folios, or at least 
quartos. Caxton printed 67 folios, 23 quartos, 2 octavos, and 
one i2mo (" The Horas," a unique fragment of eight pages). 
His own translations into English amounted to twenty-two, 
containing upwards of 4,500 printed pages. The total produce of 
his press, not reckoning the books printed at Bruges, reaches to 
above 18,000 pages, nearly all folio size. — From the Sanders MS. 



CAXTONS AND ENGLISH PRINTERS 71 

now be considered as ten times greater." For this 
treasure the sum of £400 was asked. The same 
bookseller also offers : — 

" ' Tour-Landry.' On p. 9, leaf a i, ' Here 
begynneth the book which the knight of the foure 
made, and speketh of many fayre ensamples and 
thensygnementys and techyng of his doughters/ 
small folio, splendidly bound in dark green morocco, 
covered with blind tooling, joints, blue morocco 
linings covered with gold tooling, silk fly-leaves, gilt 
edges, by Lewis, from the library of the Rev. Thomas 
Corser." 

Next followeth its history : — " Excessively rare ; 
only three other perfect copies are known, of which 
two are in the British Museum and one in the library 
of Earl Spencer. There is besides one imperfect 
one which is in the Bodleian. It is easy therefore 
to conceive that the present perfect copy may be 
considered unique as far as the collector is concerned : 
Lord Spencer's copy is never Hkely to come into the 
market (why not ? more likely than unlikely), the 
other two are, of course, inaccessible, and the one 
now described is probably the only copy that can be 
offered for sale within the next hundred years. Since 
the year 1698 only one other copy has been seen in 
the public auctions ; it was purchased by Earl 
Spencer at Brand's sale in 1807. The present one 
was bought at the Marquis of Blandford's sale in 
1819, by G. W. Taylor ; from him it passed into 
the hands of Mr. Jolly, at the sale of whose books in 
1843 it became the property of Rodd, the bookseller. 
Since that time it has been in the possession of the 
Rev. Mr, Corser." For this treasure £616 is asked. 

Again, let us usher in " ' The Mirrour of the 
World. Now at this tyme rudely translated out of 



72 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Ffrensshe in to Englissh by me symple p.sone 
William Caxton,' sm. folio, numerous fine woodcuts, 
editio princeps, with engravings, two leaves, and the 
last page in facsimile, otherwise a fine copy in brown 
morocco extra, gilt edges, by Bedford. Excessively 
rare, Mr. Blades enumerates fifteen copies, six of 
which are imperfect, while the other nine are locked 
up as follows : — in the British Museum (two), the 
Bodleian, and the libraries of the Duke of Devon- 
shire, the Earl of Jersey, Earl Dysart, Earl of 
Macclesfield, Earl Fitzwilliam, and Earl Spencer. 
The Devonshire copy was acquired in 1812 at the 
price of £351 15s. ; and no copy of any kind has 
appeared in a public sale since an imperfect one was 
sold in 1835. Of the imperfect copies, three are 
safely laid away in the Cambridge, the Windsor, and 
the Ashburnham libraries ; the other three are in 
private hands, and one of them is merely a fragment. 
The woodcuts are very remarkable as the first exist- 
ing specimen of English engraving." For this 
£400 is asked. 

He has also " * Higden's Polychronicon. A very 
fine and morocco copy in morocco extra, gilt edges, 
with joints, by Lewis, from the Dent and Perkins 
libraries. The last copy, even approximately per- 
fect, which was sold, produced at Lord Charlemont's 
sale in 1865, the sum of £477 15s., although it wanted 
two leaves. In fact, it would be difficult to name 
any perfect copies, except that in the Spencer library, 
and the fine one which is now under description." 
For this £500 is demanded. 

When Lord Charlemont's library was offered, this 
" Polychronicon " was secured by Mr. Toovey, 
another spirited bookseller of Piccadilly. This 
" wanting two leaves " offers another marvel, as we 



CAXTONS AND ENGLISH PRINTERS 73 

may be amazed considering how these leaves are 
attached by the frail " suture " of old thread, and 
how more frail still is the paper, that they should 
have held together so long, and that the whole 
had not gradually been frayed away. 

All these were thought great prices. But, as usual, 
when we come to the year of grace and of sales, 
1885, in the month of May, the great leap to vast 
prices was taken. The rare Caxton, " Le Fevre 
Recuyell of the Historyes of Troy." one of the 
first books printed, was sold, and, as was to be 
expected, the leviathan buyer was the hero of the 
day. The book was put in at £200, and by bids 
of £lo and ^^20 run up to the sum of £1,820, and 
fell to Mr. Quaritch for that sum ! Shortly after, 
the auctioneer, Mr. Hodge, informed the buyer 
that in 1756 the same copy was sold for £8 8s., 
adding, " I wouldn't tell you before it was yours, 
Mr. Quaritch, in case you would not bid." This 
astonishing price was approached by that of Gower's 
" Confessio Amantis, 1493," " a fine and perfect 
copy, bought for £810 by Mr. Quaritch ; " while 
" ' Vyrgle Boke of Eneydos ' reduced into Englysche 
by me Wyllyam Caxton, black letter, perfect copy, 
rare folio, W. Caxton, 1490." was sold for £235 to 
the same buyer. 

One of the most interesting features in the old 
tomes of this era is the variety of type. Our modern 
type is monotonous ; but these old printers seem to 
have exerted their fancy, and yet, as we have seen, 
printing had been but a few years discovered. One 
of the most beautiful shapes is a sort of small 
shortened text, only infinitely clearer, and which the 
amateur will recognise in many of Caxton's books. 
This was after a Flemish model, and Caxton adopted 



74 THE BOOK FANCIER 

it. It is curious, too, to find the same printer also 
adopting a very shabby form of type — a kind of 
elongated black-letter. He is often very careless 
about ink or paper. One of the most beautiful 
works of its size, modest pretensions and price, is a 
small quarto, Petrarch's " Rerum Memorandarum, 
&c.," printed in the year 1487, and now penes me. 
This is scarcely distinguishable from a Caxton, and 
is remarkable for its fine creamy vellum-toned paper 
and ebony letters of the small German text. The 
whole is set off with red and blue flourishes. It cost 
but £2, and is indeed a choice work. It was printed 
in Belgium, and shows clearly whence Caxton brought 
his types. 

Caxton' s books leave very much the same pleasing 
impression, and the unfamiliar reader who is shown 
one of his choicer volumes for the first time is 
astonished to see, instead of a rather rude, antique, 
and quaint-looking thing, showing age and decay, a 
fresh, clean, and brilliant work, wrought with ele- 
gance even, and lustrous with its cream-tinted paper 
and resplendent type. 

Excellent, however, as are Caxton's best produc- 
tions, it must be admitted that they cannot be put 
beside the triumphs of the foreign printers, neither 
in their sumptuously ambitious size nor in the style 
of workmanship. These seem to have become at 
once past masters in the art, and there is a perfect 
ease and variety in their mode of treatment. Cax- 
ton's are slight and unpretending efforts by compari- 
son with their stately volumes, as though his estab- 
lishment lacked resources, both of money and mech- 
anism. The type and printing, too, will not bear 
minute criticism, which the foreigners seemed to 
invite or defy. This is clearly shown by the diffi- 



CAXTONS AND ENGLISH PRINTERS 75, 

culties restored and reparators encountered — on 
which Dr. Dibdin, an enthusiast in all that has typo- 
graphical merit, declares " that some of Caxton's 
letters are so riotous and unruly, that the mere casting 
of a fount after his models would not ensure an accur- 
ate reproduction, while the ' setting ' is decidedly bad 
and disorderly, the letters being set up irregiilarly 
and at unequal distances, leaning various ways, and 
altogether so rude and barbarous that no printer 
could set up a line to correspond with the original." 

About thirty years ago a beautiful and successful 
facsimile was issued of " The Game of Chess," with 
which enormous pains were taken, and much cost 
was incurred. It was not one of the common photo- 
graphic facsimiles now in fashion, but a reprint or 
reproduction, letters being specially cast for the 
purpose. The paper and water-marks were made 
specially to approach the original as nearly as pos- 
sible : the result is very satisfactory, and is really 
about equal to the prototype. In a hundred years or 
so, when it has duly mellowed, it will cause some con- 
fusion, but all imitations are readily distinguishable.* 

The sad necessity of many a fine old volume want- 
ing a leaf or title, or, it may be, a corner of a page 
torn away, has engendered an art of reparation and a 
race of doctors skilful in healing and restoring. It is 
a marvel what an infinite cleverness is here displayed 
— pages of print imitated, the tone of the paper 
copied, or a new corner joined to the frayed portion 
so as almost to escape detection. In the British 

* A very curious instance is the case of the beautiful and 
celebrated " Giuntd " edition of the " Decameron," 1527, which 
so far back as 1727 Consul Smith at Venice had reprinted Une 
for line and with the same title, tint of paper, &c., so that now, 
at an interval of 160 years, it is difficult to distinguish. But the- 
skilled eye detects it. 



76 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Museum is often seen one of the reparators at his 
work, for there he finds the original, which he can 
copy. Some httle old quarto play lacks the title-page 
or a half-page torn across. A new title is traced, a 
piece of old fly leaf is chosen, and with Indian ink 
and a brush the whole is copied in a manner " to 
defy detection." The joining of the leaves is con- 
trived in a marvellous way, the edges being " pulped" 
or softened, and then squeezed together in a press 
with a little paste. The letterpress is then copied. 
During the last century there was a person called 
Whitaker, who worked for Lord Spencer and others, 
and who performed prodigies in this way. His great 
feat was the supplying of two leaves in facsimile 
for a copy of the Mazarin Bible, and Mr. Nicol, its 
owner, was often puzzled to point out which were the 
two furnished. It is said that there is a lady who 
now earns a livelihood by skilfully filling up worm 
holes in old books, each leaf being separately and 
patiently dealt with, the material being chewed or 
" pulped," and pressed into the hole. The charge is 
said to be sixpence a hole. 

Whitaker's Caxton restorations were really works 
of extraordinary labour and art. The inferiority of 
a facsimile or photograph is evident ; for print is 
an impression that is forced into the paper, whereas 
the imitation is merely the appearance of being im- 
pressed. Hence it is readily distinguishable, and has 
a disagreeable sham look. But this conscientious 
person set to work in the spirit that became the 
situation, so precious a book as a Caxton requiring 
the most exceptional treatment. His mode was 
this. He had the missing passage traced from a 
perfect copy, some founts of Caxton letters cast, 
and each fixed in a sort of binder's tool. But then 



CAXTONS AND ENGLISH PRINTERS ^^ 

came the difficulty — Caxton had no uniformity, and 
had sometimes twenty variations of the same letter. 
The restorer had then with his binding tools to stamp 
off every letter, guided by the tracing, and thus pro- 
duced, at a great cost, certainly, what seemed all 
but identical with the copy. 

From Caxton' s day to our own, English printing 
has not been conspicuous, though, taken en hloc, 
there have been some admirable printers, whose 
work is of high merit. It may be said, indeed, that 
there is only one that has received the stamp of 
a foreign reputation or approbation, viz., Basker- 
ville.* Baskerville was an artistic printer ; for to 
secure beauty in typography, art must be applied 
to the paper and tone of the paper, margin, ink, 
spacing, size of type, &c. The secret is the find- 
ing out an elegant proportion in all, i.e., in a small 
book the type should not be thick or too black, nay 
even in the shape, cutting of a letter, quality and 
fitness is evoked ; it should harmonise with the mass 
of letters, and yet be distinct. Here was the beauty 
of the Elzevir type, each letter having a firmness and 
character of its own, and yet not offering harshness 
of detail. Uniformity having taken the lead in the 
commercial side of printing and " machining " with 
a vastness and rapidity that has no rival, the nation 
has sacrificed the other graces. 

Baskerville, Foulis of Glasgow, Tonson, and Bul- 
mer are perhaps the finest of the older generations 
of printers. Baskerville's types were purchased by 
a French company, and will be recognised by the 

* The exhaustive monograph on this great printer, recently- 
furnished to the National Biography by Mr. Tedder, the 
librarian of the Athenaeum Club, should be consulted by all 
book-lovers. 



78 THE BOOK FANCIER 

critical in the grand seventy-volume edition of Vol- 
taire's works, issued under the direction of Beau- 
marchais at the close of last century, where it has 
an odd masquerading effect. The bold, honest, Eng- 
lish type is in protest, as it were, against the French 
minauderies and refinements it is compelled to ex- 
press. So looks a Frenchman in English clothes. 
The force of expression goes deeper than might be 
supposed. There is something singularly odd in an 
English work printed in French type, and vice versa. 
Baskerville, it is said, produced his chief effects by 
rapidly drying his printed sheets in ovens before the 
ink had time to sink into the paper.* 

Some of Tonson's folios have a noble air, the 
paper is so stout and thick, the type so large, black, 
and handsome. There is a Lucretius of his, which 
is sometimes met with arrayed in old crimson morocco 
a. la Derome, which has an air of what the French 
call distinction. Bulmer's great quartos — the cele- 
brated Boydell Shakespeare, Milton, &c., are fine, 
ambitious works, but the type seems to lack force 
and dignity in the large expanse. It must be con- 
fessed that some of the Foulis folios have a greater 
dignity and are more impressive with less pretension. 
They are more after the stately sober pattern of the 
older progenitors — the pristine " Fifteeners." 

English works, whether illustrated or otherwise,are 
little sought abroad, as any one who consults foreign 
catalogues may discover. One conspicuous work, 
however, always brings an enormous price, provided 
it be the right edition. This is Pine's Horace., a 

• Baskerville lost heavily in his enterprise, and received 
but ;^3,700 from the French for his splendid fount. These 
types finally descended to the base use of figuring as ordinary 
newspaper " print," and were employed for the daily Moni- 
ieur. 



CAXTONS AND ENGLISH PRINTERS 79 

rather fantastic and stiff-looking book, which is 
illustrated on every page, and which is literally not 
printed with type. It is engraved on copper-plates, 
words and all, from beginning to end. 

One of the grandest sets of books ever published 
was the Delphin Classics, a series of all the Latin 
and Greek writers, specially prepared, " for the use 
of the Dauphin." They run to many volumes, and 
bring a great price. An enterprising English printer, 
Valpy, reissued them about the year 1820, with 
variorum notes, in 152 volumes. A splendid copy 
was on sale not long since — a magnificent set of 
books from Colonel George Meek's fine library. 
The volumes bound in morocco and calf have his 
arms in gold on sides, the half-bound volumes have 
his book-plate. The work was published at over 
£400, and the owner must have paid Mackenzie 
nearly £200 for the binding. Yet Charles Lamb 
might have counted these books among the books 
which " no gentleman's library should be without." 
But this item shows what a terrible costly and serious 
thing a great library must be — from the vast amount 
required for such " long sets," their ponderous weight 
and the cost of glass cases. 

The Scotch, in truth, have always not only ex- 
celled in publishing enterprises, but have been con- 
spicuous in bringing typography to its greatest per- 
fection. Most of the great London publishing 
houses owe their prosperity to some sturdy plodding 
Scottish pioneer, and the names of Andrew Millar, 
Dodsley, Strahan, Foulis, Constable, Murray, Cadell, 
MacmiUan, Black, Blackwood, and many more, 
show what success has attended these efforts. One 
Scotch firm belongs to the roll of the masters of the 
art, and the works of the Foulises of Glasgow bring 



8o THE BOOK FANCIER 

fancy prices at the sales. Their fine foUo Homer 
is " desired " by every collector, and their Virgil 
and other editions of the classics are as pleasing to 
look at as many of the older masterpieces of typo- 
graphy. There is a calm dignity, an unobtrusive 
harmony, in the large page and its proportions and 
tint, that at once excites admiration. These great 
printers took such a pride in the thoroughness of 
their work that, as the legend runs, they challenged 
all comers to discover a single error in their work.* 
This steady level of excellence has been maintained 
down to our time. The press of the Ballantynes, 
under the inspiration of Sir Walter Scott, issued 
marvels of brilliant and effective printing, which 
seem to ripen with age. A more beautiful, legible, 
and satisfactory edition could not be well imagined 
than that of the long set of the Waverley Novels, 
published about " sixty years since." The size, 
paper, illustrations, and extraordinary briUiance of 
the type, make it quite a favourite edition — indeed 
the famous tales seem to read differently in the 
" Abbotsford " and later editions of more show and 
pretence. This firm still pursues its labours, but has 
not equalled this feat. 

Other later Scotch publishers have issued works 
that approach more nearly to the older excellence 
than anything that can be named of modern date ; 
and certain works issued by Messrs. Edmonston & 
Douglas are really astonishing for the nobility of the 
letters and the grand paper. It is uncertain, how- 
ever, whether these will stand the test of time, or, 

* So reasonably proud were the Scotch printers of one of their 
elaborate classics, the " Immaculate Horace," as it is called, 
that they set up on the gate of Glasgow College a notice offering 
a reward for the detection of any errata. Some, it is said, were 
discovered. 



CAXTONS AND ENGLISH PRINTERS 8i 

like the older monuments, improve and mellow with 
years. There is no guarantee for the excellence of 
modem materials, paper, ink, &c., and there is a 
hurry, roughness, and violence in the processes of 
machinery which are not found in the care and 
deliberation of the old hand-work. Each sheet was 
the distinct and separate result of the workman's 
labour. The making of a great book in the old early 
days was like making a monument, such as building 
a house ; now it seems Uke a manufacture, and 
copies are turned out like so many " pieces " of 
cloth. 



®t tbe Xibrar^ 

Few things so effectually transport us back to 
the older ages as the rare spectacle of a library of 
chained books. In the picturesque old Abbey of 
Wimbourne there is an antique chamber, small, 
decayed, low-roofed, high up in the church. Round 
it are arranged some rows of tall ancient tomes 
in their mouldering calf and vellum, each secured 
with its chain hanging down. The effect of all these 
chains is graceful and bizarre, from the abundant fes- 
toonings with which every tome is furnished. There 
is also the accompanying shelf below ; for the book 
thus secured must be consulted in its own neighbour- 
hood.* In one of the libraries at Cambridge, that of 
Trinity Hall, the old-fashioned system of a seat that 
drew out for the reader under the books, with a desk 

* In the church of Grantham, Lincolnshire, was a Ubrary 
remarkable for being one of the few remaining that had its 
volumes chained to the shelves. The removal of Selden's books 
(about 8,000) from London to the Bodleian IJbrary, Oxford, 
besides costing ;^34, the providing chains for them cost ^^25 los. 
more. This charge occurs so late as 175 1. In 176 1 there was a 
payment for unchaining 1,448 books at a halfpenny each. The 
Bodleian still preserves some of the loose chains as relics. Bodley 
in one of his letters " advised the binding sundry authors to- 
gether, that the multiphcity of chains might not take away the 
sight and show of the books." 

82 



OF THE LIBRARY 83 

to place it on, is, or was, retained until lately. The 
system, too, of turning the books with the backs to 
the wall and their leaves to the front, on which was 
written the name of the work, is still to be seen in 
one or two old libraries. A bar with a ring and pad- 
lock ran in front, and gave protection to the long 
line of volumes. 

There have existed, in our own day even, what 
seems to be appropriate tenants for these antique 
retreats. Such would exclaim, like Heinsius, " No 
sooner have I come into the library than I bolt the 
door to me, excluding Lust, Ambition, Avarice, and 
all such vices, whose nurse is Idleness, the mother 
of Ignorance and Melancholy. In the very lap of 
Eternity, amongst so many Divine souls, I take my 
seat with so lofty a spirit and sweet content that I 
pity all our great ones and rich men that know not 
this happiness." Such were these retiring men, whose 
studies have been as profound and interesting as those 
of the past. It has been the custom to point to old 
Burton as a miracle of quotation and display of omni- 
vorous research ; but there died not long ago a student 
whose works offer far more astonishing exhibitions of 
reading and study. This was the late Kenelm Digby, 
whose " Mores Catholici " and succeeding works 
astound us, and almost take the breath away by their 
vast stores of wisdom and poetry, quoted from almost 
every known book. He appears to have read almost 
everything ; and the effect of the whole is not that of 
" scrappy" mosaic or patchwork. The body of the 
work is in itself a monument of good sense and 
thought, and the quotations are only used to illustrate 
the author's views, and seem to have been fur- 
nised from the memory, which must have been 
of prodigious power. The whole is conceived in 



84 THE BOOK FANCIER 

a quaint antique strain. With these old scholars, 
limited and cramped in means, often dim-eyed, it is 
impossible not to have a deep sympathy. They seem 
to have grown into the very fashion of their idols, 
were mouldy, " fly-blown," wormed. One such is 
before me now — a worthy antiquary, and one that 
might have been treated by Dickens, There in his 
scant, curious library he sat, the dim, grimed panes 
of the old episcopal library, the atmosphere in which 
floated the dust of decayed leaves ; with gaunt 
shadows, the slumbering volumes, the long windows 
uncleaned for a decade of years, the complete stillness, 
and he, the old, absorbed librarian, bent down to his 
folio ! Or I have met him on some country road, 
striding on to his duty — a strange Dominie Sampson 
figure — with invariably a tiny volume, an Elzevir it 
might be, held close to his dim bleared eyes. 

Every important librarian of our day can tell his 
story of the pilferer, nearly always a person of re- 
spectable rank. Borrowing is often akin to robbery. 
The private individual who lends has almost in- 
variably to bewail his good-nature. The borrower 
himself knows not what has become of the volume. 
It is lost. There is a pleasant menace written for 
the benefit of such delinquents. 

" Si quisquis furetur, 

This little Libellum, 
Per Phaebum, per Jovem, 

I'U kill him— I'U fell him : 
In ventrem illius 

I'll stick my scalpellum, 
And teach him to steal 

My little Libellum I " 

At the British Museum there often occurs an epi- 
demic of unmeaning spoliations, a page or two, or a 
print, being found to have been torn out of valuable 



OF THE LIBRARY 85 

books ; and the reader will recall the time when one 
or two of these outraged volumes used to be set 
up on a stand as a warning and an exhibition. 
How often the librarian of some college at the Uni- 
versities can tell his tale of volumes mysteriously 
abstracted in a steady course, and how at last suspi- 
cion rested on one much-respected scholar, perhaps 
an ecclesiastic, at whose rooms were found a whole 
shelf of purloined volumes. This distressing discovery 
is usually " hushed-up," as it is called — the offence 
being indulgently considered a sort of disease. 

With the growth of modern libraries has arisen a 
sort of profession — a class of learned experts, well 
skilled in all the mysteries of books — an accom- 
plished, and, it must be said, rare class of professors. 
The modern librarian is now recognised. There is a 
powerful guild of librarians, who hold their congresses 
and issue their Transactions. Reading these, one 
sees how truly scientific is the subject, and how 
necessary that the subject should be scientifically 
dealt with. In the enormous and overwhelming 
production of books, it needs a rare instinct and 
knowledge to know what books are to be selected as 
having a representative character ; and there are 
a thousand minor questions of arrangement, treat- 
ment, issue, checks, and the like.* 

On the topic " Catalogue," what an elaborately 
scientific article might be written ; for the proper 
arrangement, disposition, &c., of a library have exer- 
cised the labour and speculations of some of the 
cleverest men. Some curious and unexpected read- 
ing on this interesting matter will be found in the 

• Mr. Tedder, one of this body, has written an agreeable 
and scientific little tract, in which are set out the librarian's duties 
with a view of all the v£urious qualifications necessary. 



86 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Parliamentary Blue-book on our Museum. Classifi- 
cation is always perplexing, but the classification of 
books now reckoned by millions is the most perplex- 
ing of all. Would we enter " Coningsby," for instance, 
imder Disraeli or Beaconsfield ? It might be said 
that the principle of modern cataloguing is to adhere 
strictly to an inflexible rule, even with the result of 
some inconveniences ; but to make up for this, outjof 
pure good-nature they set up signposts to direct the 
searcher to the right road wherein he shall search. 
Thus, it being fixed that names, but not titles, should 
be used, we may conceive one searching for Lord 
Malmesbury's Diary. If he were ignorant of the 
family name, Harris, he could not find the volume ; 
but a signpost, good-naturedly set up, points the 
right road, " Malmesbury — see Harris." 

The British Museum Catalogue is, like the Mu- 
seum itself, one of the sights of London. It extends 
to nigh two hundred great folio volimies, ranged 
in convenient circular shelves, accessible to all. 
Considering that the books are pouring in at the 
rate of some thousands a day, and which have to be 
entered, one gazes with astonishment at the feat of 
a catalogue that remains the same in form, for 
daily use, and yet is daily expanding. This marvel of 
steady perseverance and ingenuity is thus contrived. 
The title of every work is written out in a sort of 
uniform " Museum hand " and by manifold ink some 
half-a-dozen copies are made. These slips are pasted 
into the folio volumes in their order. The folios are 
all bound with abundant " guards." so that when a 
leaf is filled with the slips, new leaves are attached 
to the adjoining guards. And here is shown the in- 
genuity. The slips are pasted in a peculiar fashion ; 
only at the ends, not at the top or bottom. A paper- 



OF THE LIBRARY 87 

knife will detach them in an instant ; and such is the 
quality of the Museum paste and the handiness of 
the system, that the operation can be repeated again 
and again. When it is necessary for the purpose of 
rearrangement, as when a page is filled, that the 
new entry should have a place found for it among 
the others, in a few seconds the paper-knife has 
set free all the entries : the new leaves and the 
old ones are now all blank ; the whole can be re- 
arranged, and spaces left here and there, &c. When 
all the guards have been filled, and the volume 
will absolutely hold no more, it is taken to the 
binder's, divided into two, each being filled up to the 
old measure with new blank pages and new guards. 
By a new system the printing of the entries has 
been adopted, thus making an enormous saving of 
space, a third or fourth of the old space now sufficing. 
This is making steady progress, many letters having 
been completed. The system is a costly one, but 
not so costly as might be supposed ; and it is 
a further testimony to English spirit and energy that 
it should have been the first to carry out, on this 
great scale, a plan from which other nations have 
shrunk. 

Of late years a fashion has obtained of giving 
exact reprints of first editions of such books as " The 
Complete Angler," Bunyan's " Pilgrim's Progress," 
Shakespeare, &c. One or two of Caxton's very 
earliest books have been thus reprinted. This opens 
a curious matter for discussion : the vulgar idea 
being that nothing can be more correct than thus to 
go back to the fountain-head, where you find the pure 
text. The truth is, these editions, with their simu- 
lated antique type are no more than simple " curios." 
Little value is attached to the disorderly first folio 



88 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Shakespeare, with its antique spelling and mistakes, 
and queerly shaped letters. But even in the case of 
modem authors, the first-edition theory will not serve. 
The truth is, once the book is published, the text 
ceases to be controlled by the author, and he 
himself becomes one of the speculators and con- 
jecturers as to his own text. This is one of the 
penalties of print. Even as to the meaning of a 
passage, it has been superficially thought that the 
author is the best judge of what was intended. But 
it is really what meaning the text will bear, not what 
he intended, — which, however, may be accepted out 
of compliment to him. " There are some books," 
says Mr. Palgrave in a pleasant essay, " of which 
we cannot tell whether the author sanctioned what 
was printed in his lifetime. There are many of which 
we cannot tell which edition represents his final 
intention. Simply to take the last published coram 
vivo would be a coarse and imperfect expedient ; for 
by that time the copyright has often passed from his 
possession, or the works have been reprinted without 
his oversight, or he may add and alter many times." 
This has been done notably by Wordsworth, and in 
our own day by Tennyson, with bewildering effect, 
and many have not accepted the later shapings and 
changings. 

We might fairly urge that his first imprint was 
final and complete — one might as well alter a face 
when born. The alteration of a verse is a new 
effort by the author, to be accepted quantum valeat ; 
" The Grand Old Gardener," for instance, has been 
reshaped — thought vulgar — but the author cannot 
unget his own. Then, again, it has been said by the 
same authority, that " it may be doubted if there are 
ten English poets of whose texts an editor could 



OF THE LIBRARY 89 

swear in court that they are demonstrably the exact 
mirror of the poet's intention." And many of 
Shelley's works were printed after his death. 

" Elia " had an exquisite sense of the becoming 
accidents, as they may be called, of books ; and no 
one has expressed with greater delicacy the special 
charm of what seems indescribable and indeed im- 
palpable. How common to hear some matter-of-fact 
reader, and an enthusiast too, say that all editions, 
pages, paper, print, are to him the same — matter, not 
manner, is for him. Yet it is a truth that certain 
authors " read better " in certain editions. So much 
in reading depends on " the humour " or gusto with 
which a book is taken up, that the costume and 
decoration of an author is not to be put aside 
lightly ; as in real life we would have the friend 
whom we love costumed appropriately, and in a 
fashion that harmonises with his character. There 
are editions of Shakespeare, for instance — the stereo- 
typed, double-columned, and in " one volume octavo, 
boards " — which no one that respects himself or his 
author could read with comfort or dignity — asso- 
ciated meanness and cheapness with cheeseparing, 
squeezing, huddling ; the contrast with the large 
ability of the author and the sumptuousness of his 
treasures, will intrude and disturb. On the other 
hand, the grand pompous edition equally distracts 
with its lavish amplitude of margin, vast " spacing," 
huge type, and large engravings. Here the splendid 
clothing diverts attention. But Lamb analysed these 
fancies with his charming touch. Thus he contrasts 
the older editions of " the Bard," with its ordinary 
unambitious " cuts," " which to him were more ex- 
pressive, since they, without pretending to any sup- 
portable emulation with it, are so much better than 



90 THE BOOK FANCIER 

the Shakespeare Gallery engravings, which did. I 
have a community of feeling with my coimtrymen 
about his plays, and I like those editions of him 
best which have been oftenest tumbled about and 
handled. On the contrary, I cannot read Beaumont 
and Fletcher but in folio. The octavo editions are 
painful to look at. I have no sympathy with them. 
If they were as much read as the current editions of 
the other poet, I should prefer them in that shape to 
the older one." 

In truth, an essay might be written by way of com- 
mentary on this pregnant passage. There is even a 
deeper significance in his praise of the older illustra- 
tions, which applies with even greater force to the 
illustrations of our own time. These older plates 
were all of the most general kind, of a rude imagina- 
tive treatment — warriors and tents, and flowing 
robes. They seem knights and heroes. Our modern 
illustrator makes all realistic, and copies from the 
men and women about him. This lends an earthi- 
ness and a prosiness inconsistent with the text. 
There is an air of old-fashion, too, about these older 
editions that is in keeping, and that being " often- 
est tumbled about and handled," really means a 
human association, sympathy, or fellowship, which 
is always welcome. It must be said, too, that 
these old editions have merit, the paper and print 
being good. What Elia adds about not being " able 
to read Beaumont and Fletcher but in folio," is not 
purely fanciful. For these dramatic folios, the Ben 
Jonson, Beaumont and Fletcher, and Shakespeare, 
are exceptional volumes, convenient in size, and with 
an air of quaint antiquity that harmonises with the 
subject. There is a pleasant old fashion in the 
arrangement of the page, the double column, the 



OF THE LIBRARY 91 

border, the catchword at foot, the old speUing and 
lettering ; these being natural and belonging to the 
age, not affectation, as the modern " old-faced " type 
and imitation " old editions." The paper, too, is 
grown tawny. They are really interesting volumes 
these folios. There is a deeper philosophy, at which 
we can only hint here, in the expansive page, into 
which is gathered the substance of many pages. 
There is more before the reader's mind ; his eye can 
travel, and he can feel himself in company with 
many more images and thoughts. He can have 
anticipation and retrospect without trouble, and he 
is not cribbed and cabined within the limit of a small 
page holding a few lines. This sense of mental 
space may seem a refinement, but it has its signifi- 
cance. The octavo editions, with which Elia had 
" no sympathy " — he means doubtless those issued 
by Gifford and Weber — being now nearly a century 
old, would be more satisfactory in his eyes, as by 
time and change of fashion they have an antique air 
of their own. 

Elia's other protest might well be taken to heart 
by reckless publishers. " I do not know," he says, 
" a more heartless sight than the reprint of the 
' Anatomy of Melancholy.' What need was there of 
unearthing the bones of that fantastic old great man, 
to expose them in a winding-sheet of the newest 
fashion to modern censure ? What hapless stationer 
could dream of Burton ever becoming popular ? " 
And a " heartless " sight it is, as any one who has 
held the work in his hand will own. This grave 
reverend " Don," now pedantic, now grimly humor- 
ous, now learned, the quintessence of the wisdom 
of others as of his own, to be dressed up in "a 
cheap edition," on mean paper, in a poor pimping 



92 THE BOOK FANCIER 

type ! The effect of the contrast between the antique 
diction and solemnity and the vulgar popular shape 
almost shocks. But who could express it so happily ? 
" Heartless " was the word exactly. 

Few have an idea of the amount of industry 
and knowledge that has been brought to bear on the 
science, as it may be called, of books. Bibliography 
can boast its Owens and Buffons, who can classify 
and supply genus and species from a mere fragment. 
For centuries the fascinating study has engaged the 
attention of profound scholars, who have left be- 
hind them exhaustive works exhibiting vast research, 
and this too applied to everything that concerns the 
accidents of books. For these scholars do not regard 
the matter of which a book is the vehicle : just as 
I have known a first-rate philosopher and mathe- 
matician who mastered the whole science of music, 
and could compose you a fugue secundum artem, 
yet to whom musical sounds were unintelligible and 
odious. It was he who once declared that a fine 
melody " suggested to him the idea of chloride of 
lime ! " 

It is pleasant to reflect that the first and earliest 
writer upon books and book-loving was an English- 
man, the old Bishop Richard, of Bury, the popular 
author of the well-known " Philobiblion," issued in 
1473. He was Bishop of Durham and Lord Chancel- 
lor, and wrote this ardent praise of a library : " In 
Paris he found delightful libraries in cells redolent of 
aromatics ; there flourishing greenhouses of all sorts 
of volumes ; there academic meads, trembling with 
the earthquake of Athenian Peripatetics pacing up 
and down ; there the promontories of Parnassus, and 
the porticoes of the Stoics. There, in very deed, with 
an open treasury and untied purse-strings, we scat- 



OF THE LIBRARY 9J 

tered money with a light heart, and redeemed 
inestimable works from dirt and dust." 

Him followed a long and respectable line of cdhi- 
mentators and classifiers, whose works are quoted 
wherever the subject is dealt with, some writing in 
Latin, some in German, French, or English. Panzer 
is a dungeon of learning on " incunables " and early 
editions, followed by Hain. The French De Bure 
treats his subject in an agreeable popular style, but 
Brunet is the indispensable handbook and com- 
panion. For English books there are Watts and 
Lowndes, or Bohn's Lowndes, to which the present 
writer furnished some humble aid. 

But apart from these solemn official treatises^ 
there are some pleasantly garrulous little books, writ- 
ten with a light heart and out of pure love of the 
subject, and which offer very agreeable reading. Does 
not the following promise pleasantly as a " Book 
upon Books " ? " Book Rarities in the University 
of Cambridge, illustrated with anecdotes of biblio- 
maniacs, original letters, and notes, biographical, 
literary, and antiquarian. By the Rev. C, H. Hart- 
shome." More amusing is Davis's quaintly named 
" Two Journies Round the Library of a Bibliomaniac, 
with notes concerning rare, curious, and valuable old 
Books. Written in 1821." Dr. Dibdin's treatises 
are well known and unique from their exaggerated 
raptures ; his earlier works are little known, such as 
the " Literary Directory." or the " Bibliographical 
Miscellany : an Essay on Bibliography and the Love 
of Books," issued 1806. There is a little set of small 
octavos by Dr. Adam Clarke, which contain much 
curious information descriptive of old and rare vol- 
umes, and " Oldys' British Librarian," published in 
1738. But this subject requires a treatise in itself ; 



94 THE BOOK FANCIER 

and as, of course, there has been written a stout 
volume containing a hst of all the works written on 
bibliography. It may be mentioned that not long 
since there was offered for sale for two guineas what 
appears to be the first attempt at classifying books in 
England, " A Catalogue of the most Vendible Books 
in England, orderly and alphabetically digested under 
the various heads, with the Supplement ; by William 
London, 4to, calf, 1658. very scarce." It is added 
that this is " the first priced bookseller's catalogue 
ever compiled, and now of great rarity. The excel- 
lent * Introduction to the Use of Books ' was gener- 
ally considered to be by Bishop Juxon, but was really 
written by a Newcastle-upon-Tyne bookseller." 

Bibliography being a matter on which large sums 
are invested and study and labour expended, has 
become almost scientific, with its systems and 
methods and tests. In the case of rare old volumes, 
whose lives are counted by centuries, troubled adven- 
turous lives too, in which storms, buffetings, and 
ill-usage have been encountered, the purchaser may 
not venture to take their merits on trust. There are 
registered descriptions carefully and minutely made 
by which they must be tested. This is the " colla- 
tion," often a laborious process when it has not been 
already officially made. In the case of an old 
" incunable " or cradle-book belonging to the early 
printing days, there is often no paging, and the 
purchaser, with his book in good condition and old 
binding, cannot tell whether it has its proper number 
of leaves. The knowledge of the " Register " in- 
volves many intricacies, and it is often a complicated 
thing to investigate the state of a volume before it 
can be warranted sound and perfect. Bibliographers 
of the first rank do not disdain this labour, and their 



OF THE LIBRARY 95 

descriptions of rare volumes are founded on diligent 
and minute comparison with some rare and not com- 
monly accessible copy. Here, for instance, is a good 
description of a very rare book : — " The Workes of 
I Geffray Chau | cer newly printed, with | dyuers 
workes whi | che were neuer in | print before: | 
, . . small folio, black letter, woodcuts, editio 
pHnceps, title inlaid, fine copy in old panelled calf. 
London, Thomas Godfray, M.D.xxxii. {1532)." 

Collation : Sig. A, 4 leaves, containing general 
title and preliminary matter ; B, 6 leaves, of which 
the first is the title to the Canterbury Tales ; C — T, 
V, X, Y, Z, in sixes ; Aa, 6 leaves, of which the first 
is the title to the Romaunt of the Rose ; Bb — Pp, in 
sixes (of which Hhi is the title to Troylus and 
Creseide) ; Qq, 9 leaves ; Rr — Tt, in sixes (Tti the 
title of Boetius de Consolatione) ; Vv, Xx, Yy, Zz, in 
sixes ; Aaa to Vvv in sixes (of which Ddd 3 is a title, 
" How pite is ded," and Llli the title of the Testament 
of Love). There are no blank leaves in the book, 
every folio bearing letterpress." With this before him, 
the purchaser of a copy of the Chaucer of 1532 would 
have no difficulty in testing the merit of his copy. 

In the old Aldine folios, such as that of Georgius 
Valla {penes me), an italic "register" at the end 
gives the letter or signature, with the beginning word 
of every page, so that every page is, as it were, in- 
dexed. Often, however, the pages of " incunables " 
are found to be numbered in the handwriting of the 
illuminator. Many of the old MSS. are found to 
have signatures for the benefit of the binder.* 

* The first printed signatures, according to Palmer, appeared 
in a Terence, 1470, and were introduced by Anthony Zarot, who 
started the first press in Milan. Others say they were invented 
by Koelhof at Cologne in 1472. They first appeared in Paris in 
1476. Our Caxton first used them in 1480. (Sanders MS.) 



96 THE BOOK FANCIER 

The great " Nuremberg Chronicle " is numbered 
in a stately fashion — folium |. or |||. being placed 
on every page at the corner.* 

It is remarkable that two of the most useful and 
laborious encyclopaedias of reference should have 
come to us from America. The idea of these is 
original, and entailed enormous drudgery. One is 
" Alibone's Dictionary," in three portly volumes, 
giving references and quotations dealing with every 
celebrated person connected with letters. Thus in 
the case of, say, Sheridan, all the more famous pas- 
sages and criticisms of his speeches are given, with 
references to nearly every book which gives informa- 
tion about his life. No one who has not yet seen 
this work can conceive how Herculean was this task. 
The merit of it is, that reference is made to many 
recondite and little known quarters where informa- 
tion is to be found. The other work is " Poole's 
Index to Periodical Literature." The author had 
gone through all the long-protracted series of House- 
hold Words, Macmillan's Magazine, &c., and noted 
everything under its proper head. This spirited 
gentleman tells us that when he was a student at Yale 
College, from pure love of work and humanity he 
prepared a MS. index to such periodicals as were in 
the library, which was so much used, and became so 

* Signatures are now put at the bottom of the right-hand 
pages of sheets, and when the alphabet is finished a second 
begins Aa (instead of a single a), and when that is terminated 
Aaa are given for the third, and so on. In order to indicate 
more correctly the order of each sheet, printers add to the initial 
letters some figures on the third, fifth, and seventh pages. The 
numbers of these figures which do not pass the middle of the 
sheet point out the size of the edition — thus A2 on the third 
page, A3 on the fifth, and A4 on the seventh page, shows the 
work to be in octavo. In the duodecimo size A5 occurs on the 
ninth page, and a6 on the eleventh page, &c. 



OF THE LIBRARY 97 

popular as to be frayed into destruction. It was 
then printed, making a small volume ; a larger 
edition was prepared, and finally, on the co-opera- 
tive system, librarians agreeing to help him by 
indexing such periodicals as they had, it grew to 
its present size, nearly two thousand closely-printed 
pages. 

Few who carelessly turn to the last pages of a 
thick volume " to consult the index " can imagine 
the art, not less than the labour, that is necessary to 
furnish a good index that shall be a guide to the 
contents of the volume. With some, it is enough 
to meet the name of a person to put it in the index. 
Thus : " Mr. Sheridan, after complimenting his 
friend Mr. Burke," would certainly be referred to as 
" Burke, p. 120." The difficulty of abstracting what 
is essential and of referring it to its proper head 
is enormous. The well-known story of " Best, Mr. 
Justice Best, his great mind," need only be alluded 
to. What can seem more drudging ? And yet 
there is a certain meritorious charm in it. Thus 
poor Mr. Hodman labours on with a certain pride 
and purpose. There have been some prodigies of 
this sort of navvy-work in our day — 

" How index-learning turns no student pale, 
Yet holds the eel of science by the tail." 

Fuller quaintly says, " Without an index a large 
author is but a labyrinth, without a clue to direct a 
reader therein. I confess there is a kind of learning 
which is only indical, when scholars (like adders, only 
bite the horse-heels) nibble but at the tables, neglect- 
ing the body of the book. But though the idle 
deserve no crutches, pity it is the weary should be 
denied the benefit thereof." 



98 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Alas ! the drudges are not all so handsomely 
remunerated as were certain barristers who in 1778 
were appointed to index the journals of the House 
of Commons, for which they received close on 
£14,000. 



BlnDina ant) its Curiosities 

It is natural perhaps, when all that concerns 
" books " is so precious, recherchS, and of exceed- 
ing interest, that the protecting covering (without 
which the leaves would all part company 
one by one) should become a subject of 
desire for the collector, ravening for what is 
collectable. Hence the rage for " Bindings," 
which has only comparatively recently attracted 
the gatherer of voracious appetite. In our own 
generation, opulent amateurs have entered this 
department, and " run up " prices to the most 
extravagant pitch. Few men, indeed, are above the 
influence of binding ; for Roscoe, remarking on the 
taste for the decoration of books, says, "It is per- 
haps difficult to discern why a favourite book should 
not be as proper an object of elegant ornament as 
the head of a cane, the hilt of a sword, or the latchet 
of a shoe." Another says, " The binding is the robe 
of honour in which we invest a noble book, and upon 
the binding we impress its external insignia of rank 
and merit." Adam Smith, one of the least showy of 
men, confessed himself to be a beau in his books, and 
probably the majority of men of letters are so to some 
extent. Thomson, however, used to cut the leaves 
with the snuffers. 

99 



100 THE BOOK FANCIER 

" Bindings " is one of the most fascinating and, 
alas ! costliest of the many tastes or manias which 
pursue the bibliophilist. It may, indeed, ultimately 
become a rabies, when the unfortunate victim must 
buy regardless of cost, even unto beggary, until, by 
a fitting Nemesis, he is ruthlessly stripped of the 
treasures that beggared him. Old bindings of the 
first class are now ardently sought, and at huge prices, 
and the matter is complicated by an additional taste 
for gold scutcheons and devices on the outside, and 
for book-plates within ; nay, some of them, such as 
those with the De Croy arms and Grolier's, are 
secured at fancy and almost terrific amounts. We 
thus arrive at this odd inversion, that books are to 
be bought for the sake of the binding, not the bind- 
ing for the sake of the books. There is indeed an 
air of romance about many of these old coverings, 
and we gaze with curiosity and reverence at the 
elegant and decorated volumes which have come 
from the libraries of those light and airy ladies, 
Margaret of Valois or Diana of Poitiers. Of late 
years a good many specimens belonging to these 
personages have come under the hammer, and these 
are distinguished by a charming elegance of treat- 
ment, set off with piquant devices. They are, be- 
sides, the handiwork of eminent masters. Clovis Eve 
was the artist who adorned the volumes of Margaret, 
and on his volumes, besides the fine workmanship, is 
to be noted her motto, Expectata non eludet, and that 
pretty device, the daisy. Many of them are clcissics 
and modern Latin works, giving us an idea of the 
owner's accomplishments. Thus even in the auction 
room we can fortify or illustrate our history. 

What associations come back on us as we take 
the dainty volume into our hands — say the " Cent 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES loi 

Nouvelles." There are visions of the League, Henry 
the Fourth, all faded out, extinct, and dim ; and yet 
the little tome was once in her hands ! Diana of Poi- 
tier's piquant books are also coveted. Is there not 
a melodious sound in the names of the old binders, 
such as Clovis Eve ? At the sound the collector or 
the dealer pricks up his ears, and his eyes kindle. It 
is as though he were enjoying some full and juicy 
fruit ; and " binding by Derome, with his ticket," to 
the enragi collector has the melody of an organ chant. 
This taste for beautiful bindings by masters of the 
art has sprung up within the last few years, and 
if not carried to extravagance, can hardly be pro- 
nounced an illegitimate one. For as binding is an 
art, so there must be specimens some more beautiful, 
and professors more skilful than others. At the 
great sales of fifty years ago, it has been noted the 
names of Pasdeloup, Derome, &c,, were never quoted 
as recommendations to a volume, though " English 
binding " was a charm that might stimulate bidders. 
About thirty years ago the eager pursuit of biblio- 
pegistic treasures — is not this a truly absurd title ? 
— began, set on foot, it is said, by a certain eminent 
bibliophilist, Brunet. This connoisseur, the greatest 
authority on all that is old and rare, was bitten in his 
old age with this binding mania or phrenzy. His 
new passion was said to have been really prompted 
by a singular scene which took place at the Parison 
sale in Paris, where a little obscure " Telemaque " of 
the date of 1725, and which in ordinary course 
might be worth a few francs at most, was put up for 
competition. But one bibliophilist, or rather biblio- 
pegist, had noticed that it bore on its cover a rich 
device of the Golden Fleece, which had been selected 
by a certain tolerably obscure dramatist. Brunet 



102 THE BOOK FANCIER 

saw a piquancy in this copy, and determined to 
secure it, but found that a wealthy financier coveted 
the book also. To the astonishment of the room, the 
two bid against each other furiously — avec acharne- 
ment, we are told. No one could understand it in 
those days of darkness. The bibliophilist finally 
carried off the " Golden Fleece " device (not the 
book) for the enormous sum of £68. " Madness ! " 
" Folly ! " " Ridiculous caprice ! " — such were the 
criticisms, and the purchaser himself was much dis- 
turbed at his victory. But he was not far out after 
all. At his sale in 1868 it was sold for £88, and 
has since been on offer at £160. The same amateur 
was in possesion of a La Fontaine, a " Farmers- 
General " copy, the rare edition of 1762, binding 
by Pasdeloup, described as "of a mosaic kind, 
laid out in compartments of red and green morocco, 
on a yellow ground of fruit and flowers." For this 
he had paid but £13, but the book was actually sold 
for £288, and finally passed to the cabinet of a rich 
amateur for £560 ! 

Some of the finest existing examples are to be 
seen in the great libraries and treasuries of Europe, 
e.g., the cloisonnee enamel cover of the Greek 
Gospels in the library of Siena ; an ivory cover of 
Byzantine school at Wiirzburg, in Bavaria ; the 
remarkable early pieces in carved ivory at Berlin ; 
the Codex Wittikind ; the very early cover in the 
Hildesheim Treasury, " open cut," studded with crys- 
tals, gems, and cameos ; the most interesting ivory 
carved cover of the Psalter of Charles the Bald, pre- 
served in the Imperial Library of Paris ; the beautiful 
cover in copper-gilt and niello of the Sainte-Chapelle 
New Testament at Paris, besides several other 
remarkable examples in our own National Museum. 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 103 

One of the most interesting and remarkable books 
in the world, both for its contents and its binding, 
belongs to the British nation, viz., the Bedford 
Missal, which has a regular pedigree, and whose 
history can be traced. This work was a book of 
prayers, executed for John, Duke of Bedford, Regent 
of France, " containing fifty-nine miniature paint- 
ings, which nearly occupy the whole page, and abcrve 
a thousand small miniatures, of about an inch and a 
half in diameter, displayed in brilliant borders of 
golden foliage, with variegated flowers, &c. This 
rich book is 11 inches by 7|- wide and 2^ thick, 
bound in crimson velvet, with gold clasps, on which 
are engraved the arms of Harley, Cavendish, and 
Mollis, quarterly. 

" It was in the year 1430 that Henry the Sixth 
is known to have gone on a visit to Rouen ; so it fell 
probably at the siege of Rouen into the hands of 
Charles the Sixth. By Henry the Second of France 
it was subsequently decorated with the arms of Diana 
de Poictiers and Catherine de Medici. From this 
period, and two hundred years later, it came into 
the hands of Sir Robert Worsley of Appuldurcombe, 
in the Isle of Wight, Bart., to whose lady it had 
descended from her mother, Lady Francis Finch, by 
whom it had been purchased in France for £100. 
Lady Worsley sold it to Edward Harley, second 
Earl of Oxford, who prefixed to it the arms of Harley 
and Hollis, and bequeathed it to his daughter, the 
Duchess of Portland. At the Duchess's sale in 
1786 it was purchased for two hundred and three 
guineas (George the Third having bid up to two 
hundred), by Mr. James Edwards, the bookseller, at 
the disposal of whose library in 181 5 it was bought 
by the Marquis of Blandford, afterwards Duke of 



104 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Marlborough, for six hundred and fifty-five guineas 
(the contest for which is described in Dibdin's De- 
cameron). The Duke afterwards parted with it, on 
consideration of a loan of three hundred guineas, 
to John Milner, Esq., who afterwards became the 
owner, it was rumoured, at £800. Mr. Milner dis- 
posed of it to John Broadley, Esq., F.S.A., and at 
the sale of that gentleman's library on June 19, 
1833, it was purchased by Mr. Cochran, the book- 
seller, on commission for Sir John Tobin, Alderman 
of Liverpool, for the sum of one thousand guineas. 
In the year 1838 it became the property (by gift) 
of the Rev. John Tobin, M.A,, Incumbent of Lis- 
keard, near Liverpool, who sold it in January, 1853, 
together with other splendid manuscripts, to Mr. W. 
Boone, bookseller, of Bond Street, who directly 
offered it to the Trustees for the sum of £3000."* 

How say you, amiable and interested reader, is 
not this story of the vicissitudes of a book curious ? 
And how strangely linked to the course of human life! 

The common mode of binding in the sixteenth and 
seventeenth centuries was a simple parchment wrap- 
per, with the edges folded down. Where oaken 
boards were used, " waste " leaves of other works 
were pasted in as a lining, while the boards were 
covered with sheepskin, marked with a pattern in 
circles, &c. Caxton is said to have adopted this 
mode, and Mr. Blades gives an interesting illustra- 
tion of what may be gathered from so trivial a thing 
as the lining of a book-cover. For from a copy of 
Boece, and from some fifty-six half-sheets gathered 
from other volumes, it was found that these must 
have been fragments of three works of Caxton hither- 
to quite unknown. 

♦ Sanders MS., penes me. 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 105 

As was to be expected, binding being a fine art, 
there are authorities and elaborate works on the 
subject — Dibdin, Peignot, and Paulin. There is also 
Jacob's " La reliure depuis I'antiquite jusqu'au dix 
septieme siecle," which is found in the author's " Le 
Moyen Age." Techener has an elaborate work, 
" Histoire de la Bibliophilie," with facsimile illustra- 
tions. Monographs on celebrated pieces of binding 
are to be found scattered about, notably in the 
" Bulletin de Bibliophile," and in catalogues such 
as that of the Libri Library. Finally comes the 
latest, the treatise of Mr. Zaehnsdorf, a pleasing work 
by a practical and tasteful workman. 

The recent sales offered a goodly display of bind- 
ings. The Sunderland was notably rich in specimens 
— witness the noble folio " in Grolier style by Clovis 
Eve, distinguished as much by the exquisite style of 
the design as by the condition and extraordinary 
finish of the work, which is elaborately tooled and 
painted in compartments. It was bound, we are 
told, for a collector whose name it bears — R. D. Man- 
aldi — but who is now unknown to fame, though his 
book has a pedigree from the library of Thuanus and 
the Marquis de Menars, who, however, was vain 
enough to stamp his arms in gaudy gold in the very 
centre of the beautiful design of Clovis Eve." The 
book itself, which measures 14 inches by 10 inches, is 
of no great merit. Another singularly interesting 
book is Grolier's own dedication copy of Rhodoginus, 
" Antiquae Lectiones," with a beautifully painted 
large monogram of all the letters of his name in 
capitals interlaced, and on another page bearing the 
dedication and arms finely painted in gold and col- 
ours, with his mottoes. A more interesting and bril- 
liant collection was now to come. The Duke of Hamil- 



io6 THE BOOK FANCIER 

ton had married the daughter of the well-known Mr. 
Beckford, a virtuoso of the old magnificent school, 
albeit eccentric. He was a writer, too, of no mean 
capacity and much picturesque power. His son-in- 
law also had a taste for rare and costly books, though 
in a different direction ; and the two splendid collec- 
tions, after the deaths of their owners, came under the 
same roof at Hamilton Palace, though kept apart and 
distinct.* The Beckford was noted for the superb 
collection of bindings — beautiful bindings in them- 
selves, but remarkable also as having come from the 
collections of famous amateurs of binding. Here 
were seen in profusion works from the libraries " of 
Popes and Cardinals, Kings and Queens of France, 
Grand Seigneurs of all kinds, whose books glittered in 
gold and devices of their owners," folios from the 
Papal palace and from cardinals' and bishops' libra- 
ries, usually sumptuous-looking things, from their 
splendid golden escutcheons, tiaras, and cross-keys, 
and the cardinal's hat or mitre displayed on old crim- 
son morocco. Here, too, were seen the finest produc- 
tions of the finest binders — Le Gascon, Pasdeloup, 
Derome, Thouvenin, Monnier, Desseuit, Nicholas and 
Clovis Eve ; Roffet, Meux, Ruette, Boyer, Baum- 
garten, Kalteeber, Staggemeier, Walther, Roger 
Payne, Welkher, Hering, Charles Lewis, and Bedford. 
There were many books from libraries of royal and 
other amateurs known to be luxurious in the matter 
of bindings or sumptuous in their tastes. Then there 

* It may be mentioned, in connection with the subject of this 
union of libraries, that the present Lord Malmesbury enjoys the 
usufruct of no less than three libraries. His grandfather, the 
well-known philosopher, had formed one in his own Une ; liis 
successor, the diplomatist, made another abroad, chiefly of 
foreign works and elegant literature ; while the present holder 
of the title made another after his own taste. 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 107 

were books that had belonged to Francis I., Henry 
III. and IV., Louis XIV., Marguerite de Valois, to 
famous Popes, to Christina of Sweden, James I., 
Queen Anne, Queen Mary II., and George IV. ; be- 
sides books from such famous Hbraries as the Dukes of 
Grammont and Montmorency, Villars, and Richelieu 
(what a ring in these august names!), Prince de 
Soubise, Prince Talleyrand, Duchess of Berry, the 
Italian families of Cornaro and Contarini, " all 
arrayed in magnificent coatings, displaying the exqui- 
site bibliopegistic skill " of every celebrated binder. 
Here also were seen specimens of binding from 
famous libraries, such as that of Maioli, which cer- 
tainly brought absurd prices, solely for its devices 
and bindings. Thus a " Boccaccio," in one volume, 
with " Thomas Maioli et Amicor," and on the re- 
verse his motto, " Inimici met mea mihi non me 
miht," very rare, brought £365. A " Book of 
Hours," with " Grolier tooling," fetched £349. Of 
all these choice works, those belonging to Grolier' s 
library seem to be most recherche, and fetch prices 
that seem extravagant, if not ridiculous. The 
" Toison d'Or," by the Prince Jasn, 1563, but having 
the interlacing arms of the Due de Guise painted on 
the side, brought ;£405. A rare Scotch work, a poeti- 
cal translation of the Psalms, a beautiful copy in 
olive morocco, the sides and back covered with gold 
tooling in the Grolier style, the first arms of Thuanus 
forming the centre ornament, fetched ;^3io. But 
the following, for its associations and general 
beautifyings, was one of the gems of the sale : — A 
beautiful copy of the " Heptameron of Marguerite 
de Valois," which belonged to Louis XIV., bound 
in brown morocco extra, with elegant border, on 
which are introduced the crown, fleur-de-lys, stag. 



io8 THE BOOK FANCIER 

cock and star, having as a centre ornament the 
arms of France, all worked in gold, lined with 
vellum, covered with gold tooling, having " May, 
1695," in the centre, gUt marbled edges by Ruette. 
No wonder it brought £406. 

At the Sunderland sale a specimen of Monnier's 
binding brought £530. 

Many years ago there was shown in the Stowe 
Library a book of singular historical interest, and 
which was also remarkable as a specimen of the old 
fashion of binding. This was the " Book of Gos- 
pels " on which the early English kings down to the 
time of Edward VI. took the coronation oath. It 
was arrayed in ponderous oak boards an inch thick, 
fastened by huge leathern thongs. The corners were 
protected by huge bosses of brass, while on the 
cover was a huge brazen crucifix which the monarchs 
kissed. Brazen clasps mounted in leather secured 
the volume. This interesting relic, after figuring in 
the possession of a Norfolkshire gentleman, was 
some years ago heard of as being the property of 
" a lady in Belgravia." 

The name of Grolier ever kindles the eye of 
the bibliophilist. The sight of one of this master's 
books fills him with enthusiasm. Grolier really takes 
rank with the painters, and excites a keen competi- 
tion. He was one of the four treasurers of France 
during the reign of Francis I., and the most cele- 
brated of old book collectors. The binding he 
adopted was remarkable for the fine character of its 
interlaced ornament, which is said to have been 
designed by himself in moments of leisure. We 
find it recorded with astonishment, some twenty or 
thirty years ago, that a bookseller gave ^^150 for 
an Aldus, " rich and refulgent, yet quiet through 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 109 

its Grolier tooling." Each volume of his library was 
adorned with the amiable inscription, " The property 
of John Grolier and his friends " — a curious contrast 
to that of another French collector, whose book-plate 
bears a text from the parable of the Ten Virgins : 
" Go to them that sell, and buy for yourselves," 

The prices realised for specimens of the ancient 
bindings were perfectly marvellous at the sale of the 
choicest portion of the library of M. Libri, the most 
eminent of modern book-collectors, which took place 
in London in the beginning of i860. " The collection 
exhibited specimens of the finest bibliopegistic skill 
from the fifteenth century to the present time, and 
embraced not only the magnificent samples of bind- 
ing bestowed on the volumes by private amateurs 
like Grolier, Maioli, De Thou, Count d'Hoym, Longe- 
pierre, and others equally celebrated, but was par- 
ticularly rich in books, which formerly had been the 
private property of popes, emperors, kings, princes, 
cardinals, and reigning sovereigns of England, 
France, Italy, Germany, &c., all magnificently 
bound, and bearing either their arms or the devices 
known to have been adopted by them. These seem 
to have been collected with a view of tracing the 
history of ornamentation. They had availed them- 
selves of the skill of the best artists to obtain designs 
or patterns, several of which are known to have been 
furnished by Giovanni da Verona, Andrea del Sarto, 
la petit Bernard, and even the great Raffaele himself." 

The characteristics of the binding of this school 
were an elegance and delicacy of touch, the gilt lines 
flowing and interlacing with much freedom — a free- 
dom that was secured by not sinking the golden lines 
so deeply as is done now ; they were more on the 
surface. It may be conceived, too, that the leather 



no THE BOOK FANCIER 

cannot be so indented or scored as to avoid break- 
ing the surface ; whereas by the hnes being traced 
lightly, the gold is shown to better effect. The work 
of these old masters seems to have the freedom of 
etching or engraving, so airy are the lines. 

It would almost seem that the designs for binding 
of Grolier, Maioli, and Clovis Eve, and kindred mas- 
ters, were often suggested, if not copied from the 
florid frameworks of the title-pages of the French 
and Italian little quartos in the sixteenth century. 
These seem again to be taken from the free-hand 
carved frames and florid scroll-work of the day. The 
idea seems to have been to decorate the sides as a 
framing for the device. Grolier' s library contained 
about three thousand volumes, and it is declared that 
each fetched about £120. Each side was decorated, 
one with the device above quoted, the other with the 
pious one — " Let my portion be in the land of the 
living." The variety and ingenuity of his interlacing 
of patterns of different shapes crossing and intersect- 
ing each other is very pleasing. Bonaventure d'Ar- 
gonne, an amateur of the day, thus described Grolier's 
collection : " We might almost think that the Muses, 
who had done so much for the inside of the books, 
had striven to take their share in the outside, so much 
art and esprit is seen in these decorations." They 
are gilt with a delicacy unknown to later gilders. 
The compartments are often painted in colours, are 
admirably designed, and are all of dfferent shapes. 
Clovis Eve's style was more purely geometrical, while 
Le Gascon is associated with the beautiful tracery 
which covered the sides like a golden net, though the 
effect was found at last a little monotonous. Often it 
takes the shape of a golden spray. One work of his, 
" La Guirlande de Julie," is considered a triumph, and 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES iii 

never to have been surpassed in the tone of the gild- 
ing, finesse, and workmanship. 

The treatment of large quartos and folios by 
binders of the present century has seemed always to 
be directed by wrong principles. It is only when we 
contrast it with the simple and perfectly effective and 
legitimate system of the older masters that we see its 
failings. English binders of this school were particu- 
larly favourable to a sort of buff-coloured calf, which 
makes but an insipid contrast with the profuse gild- 
ing, scored at the edges with a rich flowery pattern, 
so as to give the idea of a border. Most of the books 
in the Syston Park Library were bound in a fashion 
that has long since gone out, but which was in vogue 
some fifty years ago, the principle of which seems to 
have been an elaborate bordering, of a geometrical 
kind, very broad bars, and rich gold. The effect was 
unmeaning and heavy. It seemed to suggest an imi- 
tation of a raised or mechanical border. The fashion 
of our day is to make the tone and workmanship of 
the leather the main object. The light line of gilding 
is adopted to set off the covering, as a light trimming 
would a dress ; whereas the former system was the 
reverse — to use the leather as a means of setting off 
the gilding and decoration. The placing a golden 
border on the edge of anything is as false a principle 
as placing a rich lace border at the edge of a lady's 
dress next to the ground, where rough usage and con- 
tact with the ground would soon destroy it . The solid 
lines of border should be traced at some distance from 
the edge, and thus preservation as well as effect is 
secured. Within, the linings were well tooled and 
scored with parallel lines and flourishings at each 
corner. These lines, much attenuated, lack force and 
breadth, and the whole effect is poor. The leaves are 



112 THE BOOK FANCIER 

" shaved " smooth, and the gilding shows in one 
unbroken surface. Now, compare the olden style 
as displayed in some folio or spacious quarto handled 
by Derome or La Ruette. Here a well-grained 
fine skin is selected, of rich ripe plum colour, and the 
idea is to show that it is a leathern cover or jacketing 
for the volume. In the decoration the skin is treated 
as a skin. In the centre on this ground may be 
displayed the coat of arms, while the leather is 
allowed to be seen at the edges without gilding — a 
sign of practical purpose and use, besides being con- 
trasted with the sinuous and irregular " old gold " 
leaves. But within a quarter of an inch of the edge 
are drawn three delicate gold lines running all round, 
which have a strange simplicity and elegance con- 
joined, and are infinitely more effective than the 
English bordering. The English boards of this 
period lie as square and stifily as if made of timber ; 
the foreign work has a flexibility, and offers curvings. 
Again, the ornaments used in modern binding are 
too meagre and stereotyped, and different from the 
bold, rich, and effective floweret, scroll, or fleur-de-lys. 
Leather is not suited to such fine lines or designs, 
save only when delicately touched and on the surface, 
for even with Le Gascon's network the general 
effect is as of a mass of gold. The tendency of the 
binding of our time is in the direction of this olden 
simplicity ; large, expansive, and well-toned skins, 
treated with consummate workmanship, and with 
few or delicate " toolings " on the slightest and most 
modest scale. 

The latter part of the eighteenth century saw 
English bookbinding carried to its highest pitch of 
celebrity by the remarkable skill of Roger Payne. 
He came to London about 1700, and soon acquired 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 113 

a reputation in his art which placed him above 
rivalry, notwithstanding his utter want of prudence 
and orderly habits. Towards the end of his life he 
worked for John Mackinlay, one of the most popular 
binders of the period in London, under whom many 
of the later English binders of chief note learnt their 
trade. David Walker was contemporary with Mac- 
kinlay, to whom Charles Lewis was apprenticed in 
1800. To the skill and judgment of Roger Payne, 
Lewis added business qualities which won for him 
respect as well as admiration. Dibdin says of him, 
" The particular talent of Lewis consists in uniting 
the taste of Roger Payne with a freedom of ' forward- 
ing ' and squareness of finishing peculiarly his own. 
His books appear to move on silken hinges. His 
joints are beautifully squared, and wrought upon 
with studded gold, and in his inside decorations he 
stands without a compeer." 

It is rather difficult to understand the admira- 
tion for the work of this most famous of English 
binders, Roger Payne. It has certainly the merits of 
a plain severity and simplicity, and of excellent work- 
manship ; but there is a monotony in his favourite 
red and absence of tooling. There is also a lack of 
that elegance of touch and daintiness which dis- 
tinguishes the old foreign binders. We note also the 
absence of that proportionate treatment which is the 
charm of artistic work. For we find that too often 
the little pocket Elzevir is treated on about the same 
scale as a large quarto, Roger using the same roughly 
grained red morocco and simple tooling as he did 
for some huge tome. Neither are the joints so free 
and like to a hinge, and there is a faint idea of 
clumsiness. His peculiar red tint is inharmonious 
compared with the rich mellow plum colour of 



114 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Derome, while his " tooling " is stiff, without that 
unobtrusive delicacy of the gold lines and borders 
of the French artist. 

This binder, like so many other persons of talent 
and genius, was an eccentric enthusiast, never in 
possession of money, and fond of drink. His appear- 
ance was that of a quaint and attenuated old man ; 
but his work had an unmistakable cachet or " touch," 
and very little experience enables one to recognise a 
Roger Payne binding. There was a little roughness 
and clumsiness, as we have said, about the back, but 
there was a bold effective treatment about the rest 
of the volume, and he seemed to keep in view, what 
many binders forget, that the leather was the main 
element, not to be too much overlaid with gilding 
and decoration. It was a fortunate day for him when 
he secured the patronage of that munificent amateur, 
Lord Spencer, who trusted him with his finest and 
most precious volumes to dress. Some of his bills 
have been preserved, which are as quaint and eccen- 
tric as himself, and often embody a vindication of 
his charges. Thus, for binding an old edition of 
Petrarch : — 

i s. d. 
The paper was very weak, especially at the back 
of the book. I was obliged to use new paper 
in ye washing, to keep the book from being tome 
or broken. To paper for washing . . .020 

To washing. There was a great deal of writing ink 
and the bad stains. It required several wash- 
ings to make the paper of the book quite safe. 
For tho' the book with one or two washings 
would look as well as at present, it will not 
stand the test of Time without repeated wash- 
ings — carefully and quite honestly done . .090 

To siseing very carefully and strong . . . .076 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 115 

/Eschylus. Finished in the most magnificent manner, 
embordered with ermine, expressive of the high 
rank of the noble patroness of the designs, the 
other parts finished in the most elegant taste, 
measured with the compasses. It takes a great 
deal of time making out the different measure- 
ments, &c. ...... .£12 12 o 

Roger Payne ended a life of labour, poverty, and 
intemperance in St. Martin's Lane, and was buried 
at the expense of his friend, Mr. Payne, the book- 
seller. This iEschylus is deemed his chef d'ceuvre. 
He was very singular in his conduct ; made all his 
own tools, and never would work before any person, 
but always in some secluded cellar, and only when 
his necessities called upon him for exertion. 

The late Mr. Bedford was perhaps the greatest 
and most elegant of modern binders, combining the 
characteristics of solid English workmanship with 
the finish of the foreign school. Our present school 
of binding is a good deal imitative, Zaehnsdorf and 
others reproducing the Grolier and Derome workman- 
ship with perfect success. 

In binding, as in other departments of art, to pro- 
duce success it is necessary to follow strictly the 
aims and principles of propriety and good sense. 
How often we see the whole inside of the cover lined 
with morocco and " tooled," with the idea of adding 
to the magnificence of the whole. Testing it artistic- 
ally, we find that the first result is the enfeebling 
of the general effect of the outside. The reflection 
also occurs, if the leather is to protect and make 
serviceable the outside, the same material must be 
quite unsuited for what is within. It becomes so 
must waste. Again, the inside splendour is shut up, 
excluded from the air, and rubbed by the pressure of 
the opposite pages, and this idea of friction or pres- 



ii6 THE BOOK FANCIER 

sure is at once hostile to the use of any precious or 
decorated material. This suggests that one of the 
most tasteful and beautiful effects produced by the 
old masters of binding was the perfect entente be- 
tween this lining and the outside decoration, both 
being, as it were, harmonised when the volume was 
opened. This lining in Derome's books was almost 
invariably a richly mellowed and deep-toned marbled 
paper, which suggested the idea of service as well as 
of beauty. Many of his linings were exquisite in 
their taste and rich harmony. The idea suggested 
was that of something subsidiary to the purpose of 
the outside. The common marbled papers of our 
time are inferior and staring. Neither are the poorer 
papers — speckled like plover's eggs — more effective. 
The truth is, all should be designed together, lining 
and outside. For large books a larger treatment 
and larger pattern and bolder colours are requisite. 
At the present moment the rage for collecting 
bindings is at its height. There are amateurs, like 
the Duke d'Aumale, who will give any price, not for 
a fine piece of binding, but for pieces of a master's 
work. One of the later binding fanciers was the late 
Baron F. de Rothschild, of Paris. This accomplished 
man, who was remarkable as a financier, railway 
director, &c., and took a conspicuous share in the 
direction of his great house, was cut off at the early 
age of thirty-seven. His taste lay in the direction of 
early French romances, poems, &c., of which he had 
collected a vast number. His taste and knowledge 
was proved by his extraordinary gift of endurance in 
that most painful of all drudgeries, copying. With 
his own hand he had copied an enormous mass of rare 
papers and unique volumes. He was often seen at his 
laborious task in our Museum, and he seems to have 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 117 

taken pleasure in the monotonous duty. He was 
accustomed to say that this he found the best mode 
of reading and studying a writer, for he could remem- 
ber the smallest detail of any manuscript or book he 
had copied, and this extended even to variations of 
the text, &c. When he had once undertaken to 
transcribe a work, he never omitted doing some of 
the copying every day. He had also a wonderful 
instinct for the true vadue of everything that was old 
and valuable ; he was not one of those magnifi- 
cent purchasers who leave great orders at auctions, 
but always attended in person, and bid on rational 
principles ; not, as too many do, for the applause of 
" the gallery." There was a pleasant simplicity and 
honest enthusiasm in his "ways," for any day at a 
particular hour he was to be found at a bookseller's 
in the Passage des Panoramas, Morgand & Fatout's, 
surrounded by a number of amateurs, with whom he 
discoursed on this darling topic. At a later hour he 
appeared at Rouquette's in the Passage Choiseul, 
where we are told he met a class of fanatics devoted 
to the collection of illustrated romances published 
some sixty or seventy years ago, above all, with 
the original paper covers on. This foolish craze now 
obtains with us, and large sums are given for early 
" Pickwicks," &c., with their "green wrappers " on. 
These people he pleasantly satirised by purchasing 
a cheap copy of Hugo's poems in a villainous yellow 
paper cover, which he would not have bound or 
disturbed, but placed in a morocco case specially 
made for it. To some it seemed that this was 
genuine enthusiasm, but it was in truth a pleasant 
jest. He used also gravely to point out to them that 
they were neglecting a really important branch in 
not collecting the paper hacks of these illustrated 



ii8 THE BOOK FANCIER 

tomes, with their dates and inscriptions. His superb 
Ubrary, so rich in early French Uterature, was a 
monument of taste and erudition, of which a sump- 
tuous catalogue raisonni had been prepared by his 
own laborious hand, with a title and proper descrip- 
tion of each work. This sensible bibliophile, it is 
noted, never indulged in the usual exaggerated and 
unfounded encomiums of books, such as " very rare," 
" fine copy," '* believed to be unique." He was a 
particular amateur of the old bindings, and here 
again he was nice and exigent, for he allotted no 
piece of work to Pasdeloup or Le Gascon on the 
testimony of their tooling, &c., but only on their 
official signatures. This fine catalogue, in thick and 
sumptuous royal octavo, is notable for some rather 
original illustrations of binding. Four or five exqui- 
site specimens are shown, the covers, gold, &c., 
exactly reproduced, with even the raised embossing, 
the sunk " tooling," the actual texture of leather, 
&c., and the effect is really marvellous. 

Jules Richard, a French amateur, tells us with 
much gout : " Like all great artists, great binders 
are intractable. We have not only to cover their 
productions with gold pieces, but must wait their 
convenience fifteen or eighteen months, even two 
years, be you king or prince, or even," he adds with 
sly sarcasm, " President of the Republic. You 
should always," our Frenchman goes on, " bind up 
with a book its printed cover, even though the cover 
be the same as the title. Every good bibliophilist 
will take care to add to his book everything that will 
enhance its price. You should have a copy taken 
on the finest paper, or, if this be impossible, one 
without blemishes. Then a portrait of the author 
should be got, his autograph, engravings made from 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 119 

other editions, and in different states," Our biblio- 
philist then adds this emphatic declaration : "I 
declare," he says, " that if a library were formed on 
this plan, begun say in 1882, composed mainly of 
first editions, and kept steadily up for twenty years 
on this plan, at the rate merely of a hundred volumes 
a year, it would be worth by that time fully £2,000." 

As a little indication of what collectors seek with 
avidity, we come on the following : — " Thuanus, His 
First Marriage. — Clamengiis (N. de) Opuscula Au- 
reum, Paris, 1512-21, in i vol. sm. 4to, fine copy, 
in old sage green morocco, with the large Arms of 
J. A. Thuanus in gold on sides, and Monogram inter- 
laced with that of Marie, his First Wife, in gold 
on back ; " also, " Thuanus, His Second Marriage 
— Bossche, Historia Medica, fine copy, bright old gilt 
calf, very neat, with the Arms of Thuanus and Gas- 
parde de la Chastre, his Second Wife, in gold on 
sides, and interlaced Monogram in gold on back, very 
rare." This opens a subdivision ; for you may pos- 
sess the De Thou monogram interlaced with that of 
his first wife, but without the second you are utterly 
incomplete ! To show how endless the business is, it 
must be known that if you collect bindings, you must 
display specimens of the grand libraries, such as that 
of Colbert, Harlay, &c., and, above all, specimens of 
that tasteful Marquise de Vielboisy, " Louise-Fran- 
9oise d' Harlay de Celi," whose collection was noted 
for being bound by the most celebrated bibliopegistic 
artists of her time. Well might we covet her Del- 
phin Livy, in six volumes quarto, dressed in fine old 
morocco, extra gilt and marbled edges (pretty com- 
bination), and her arms and cipher stamped in gold 
in four compartments. 

A much-debated question arises as to the " plough- 



120 THE BOOK FANCIER 

ing " (as it is called) of the leaves, thus saving the 
reader the trouble of using the paper-knife. This 
seems a convenience ; but it is beyond question ob- 
tained at the sacrifice of artistic considerations and 
injures the book. Shaving or ploughing the edges 
should properly not be done at all, that is, not with 
the guillotine, which pares away wholesale with 
beautiful accuracy. Under the old system of a knife 
used by the hand, it was possible to apply a certain 
delicacy, and do little more than trim the rough 
edges. But when the book is issued with shaved 
edges, a portion of the margin is cut away ; and 
when it is sent to be bound formally, there is a second 
shaving, and it becomes a maimed, cut-down, poor 
thing. This smooth edge, too, contrasts hideously 
with the cloth cover of the unbound book ; it is 
like putting fine lace on a frieze coat. But, in truth, 
the making the gilt edges as smooth as though they 
were planed is also a falsely inartistic principle and a 
disguise ; for the leaves are separate things and are 
details, and their expression should be retained. 
Nothing is more rich than the effect produced by the 
old binders, such as Derome, who allowed each leaf to 
express itself in wavy lines with a dull " old gold " 
colour. 

Intimately connected with this is the question of 
margin. It is foolishly imagined that a margin is a 
thing of arbitrary caprice. There is a law regulating 
this, as everything else, based on proportion, and 
arising really out of the mechanical arrangement of 
the printer. His " formes " are made to contain so 
many pages, laid out according to the size of the 
sheet ; the margin is the expression of the interval 
between each page as they lie before him. Margins 
must, therefore, increase at the expense of the 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 121 

page, till the absurdity is reached that a book's size 
is regulated by the size of the paper space, not by that 
of the printed portion. Thus a duodecimo page 
might rank and fold as an octavo. But this is a tech- 
nical view. " Large paper copies," as they are 
called, are a different thing from these exaggerated 
margins. These expensive luxuries are furnished by 
the printer, who, after the impression has been taken 
off, has to arrange his pages in larger formes, filling 
the additional space with wedges, an operation of 
expense. But it was worth the cost, and the effect 
was handsome ; a thicker or more solid paper was 
necessary, to be in harmony. Still the effect is often 
bizarre and odd, owing to the type, which seems out 
of proportion. 

Vast margins are often ridiculous exaggerations — 
" rivulets of type running through a meadow of 
margin " — and present a greater superficial surface 
of blank paper than does the type itself, as though 
the fringe or border of the garment were broader 
than the garment. 

Of course the extravagance in bindings has often 
furnished an opening for the display of fantastic 
tricks and fads, and the foolish have chosen to dis- 
play their humour in this way, much as some vapid 
dame will dress up her honest dog and make him 
ridiculous. We have only to enter our libraries to 
find some of these exhibitions. A " Manual of 
Woodcarving " has been bound in wood by Bemrose 
& Sons. In a bookseller's catalogue we read of a 
Latin copy of Apuleius' " Golden Ass " (1501) bound 
in ass's-skin. The Duke of Roxburghe's library 
contained a collection of pamphlets (1724, &c.) res- 
pecting Mary Tofts (who pretended to be confined of 
rabbits), of Godalming, Surrey, bound in rabbit-skin. 



122 THE BOOK FANCIER 

The Hon. George Napier had a work relating to the 
celebrated dwarf, Jeffrey Hudson, bound in a piece of 
Charles the First's silk waistcoat. At Perry's sale, a 
copy of the " New Year's Gift," also bound in a piece 
of the waistcoat of Charles the First, sold for £8 8s. 
Mordaunt Cracherode, the father of the celebrated 
book-collector, wore one pair of buckskin breeches 
exclusively during a voyage round the world, and a 
volume in his son's collection (now in the British 
Museum) is bound in a part of these circumnavigating 
unmentionables. " Tuberville on Hunting " was 
bound by Whittaker in deer-skin, on the cover of 
which was placed a silver stag. Fox's " Historical 
Works " were bound in fox-skin, and Bacon's works 
in hog-skin. It is said Dr. Askers had a work bound in 
human skin, for the payment of which his binder pro- 
secuted him. One offspring of the horrors of the first 
French Revolution was this grim humour of binding 
books with the skin of human beings. A Russian poet 
is said lately to have offered to the lady of his affec- 
tions a collection of his sonnets bound in leather — 
human leather — which the poet himself furnished ! 
On falling from his horse one day he broke his thigh, 
and being obliged to undergo amputation, he had the 
skin carefully tanned and reserved for some purpose 
of the kind. A public library in Bury St. Edmund's 
contains an octavo volume, consisting of a full report 
of the trial and execution of Corder, who murdered a 
young woman named Martin at a spot called the Red 
Barn in a neighbouring village about forty years ago, 
together with an account of his life and other cognate 
matter. This volume is bound in the murderer's skin, 
which was tanned for the purpose by a surgeon in the 
town. The human leather is darker and more mottled 
than vellum, of a rather coarse- textured surface, with 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 123 

holes in it like those in pigskin, but smaller and more 
sparse. A collector happened to be in a bookbinder's 
shop about twenty years ago, on St. Michael's Hill, 
Bristol, when he was shown several volumes which 
had been sent from the Bristol Law Library to repair. 
These were all bound in human skin, specially tanned 
for the purpose ; and some curious details were fur- 
nished of several local culprits executed in that city, 
who were flayed after execution to furnish forth the 
leather for binding together some contemporary legal 
lore. On May 15, 1874, was sold in Paris, by 
auction, the first part of the curious library of the late 
M. Lucien de Rosny, father of the eminent Japanese 
scholar. It was rich in fine and, above all, eccentric 
bindings, such as in skins of cat, garnet coloured and 
buff, crocodile, mole, seal, fur of the Canadian black 
wolf, royal tiger, otter, white bear, sole, and rattle- 
snake. 

It has been often noticed that there is a physiog- 
nomy in books, which the very character of their 
contents enforces. Who does not recognise from 
its back or outside the " Poems by Tennyson " a 
small green dainty volume, or the Macaulay His- 
tory ? Some books are intended for ornament. We 
know the gaudy volumes that repose at all the 
points of the compass on the drawing-room of the 
apartments to let, or those on the dentist's or doctor's 
table in the room where the patients bide their time 
sadly. Every judicious binder will have the decency 
to bind his volumes according to their degree and 
quality. He will not, for instance, dress the " Annual 
Register " or the " Year-Book of Facts " in morocco 
extra. These are surely Lamb's " things in books' 
clothing " ; who justly complains of the disappoint- 
ment, " To reach down a well-bound semblance of 



124 THE BOOK FANCIER 

a volume, and hope it some kind-hearted playbook, 
then, opening what ' seems its leaves,' to come bolt 
upon a withering population essay." These indeed 
are doleful and dispiriting experiences ; an idea most 
eloquently expressed by Shakespeare, and linked by 
his poetry to human sympathies — 

" O rare one I 
Be not, as is our f angled world, a garment 
Nobler than that it covers : let thy effects 
So follow, to be most unlike our courtiers, 
As good as promise." 

So, too, Juliet, hearing that Romeo has slain Tybalt- 

" Was ever book containing such vile matter 
So fairly bound ? " 

Each of the three daughters of Louis the Fifteenth 
had her own library, the volumes of which are easily 
recognised. Madame Adelaide had all her books 
bound in red morocco, Madame Sophie's were in citron 
morocco, while Madame Victoire selected green mo- 
rocco. A somewhat similar practice is adopted at the 
British Museum. There the great majority of the 
books are bound in half morocco, with cloth to 
match the leather. Historical works are in red, 
theological in blue, poetical in yellow, natural history 
in green. Besides this, each part or volume is 
stamped with a mark by which it can be distinguished 
as their property, and of different colours : thus red 
indicates that a book was purchased, blue that it 
came by copyright, and yellow that it was presented. 
The Bodleian use the following colours : arts and 
trade maroon, theology black, medicine light brown, 
mathematics and physics light green, history dark 
red, poetry dark green, philology light red, classics 
neutral tint, miscellaneous dark blue. 

There is a device for giving effect to the leaves 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 125 

which is scarcely worthy the dignity of the hbrary. 
For this purpose the edge of the book is well scraped 
and burnished ; the leaves on the fore-edge are 
evenly bent in an oblique manner, and in this position 
confined by boards tied tightly on each side, the fore- 
edge in this position receives a coat of colouring 
matter, generally red ; when this is dry, the boards are 
removed, the edges regain their ordinary position, 
and in this form are gilt (sometimes marbled), the 
gilding being afterwards duly burnished. When the 
book is closed, the gilt edge only is visible ; when 
opened, the obliquity of the leaves shows the red or 
whatever other colour was adopted. In like manner 
the same steps are taken when it is desired to paint a 
landscape on the edges instead of a whole colour. In 
the library of the British and Foreign Bible Society 
there is an old Swedish Bible that has a picture 
painted on the edges of the leaves, which is not to 
be seen when the book is closed, on account of the 
gold covering it ; but one cover being thrown back 
and the leaves slightly separated, the gilding dis- 
appears and you perceive an antique figure of Chris- 
tian on his journey up the straight and narrow way 
to the Heavenly City, beside portraits, emblems, 
views, &c. 

This brings us to one of those bits of facetiousness 
to which the scholar occasionally condescends, as if 
to lighten his graver pursuits. Most persons have 
seen in libraries those " dummy " things, after the 
pattern of backgammon boards, which, appearing to 
be ranged on shelves, simulate the titles of honest 
books, to hide a door. This system has exercised 
some of the best wits. Thus in Sir Thomas Acland's 
library we find " Friend's Right of Entrance," " Trap 
on Fictitious Entries," " Treatise on the Law of Par- 



126 THE BOOK FANCIER 

titions," "Noah's Log-Book," "Millington on 
Covered Ways," " Snug's the Word, by a Clerk of the 
Closet." Near the hinges of the disguised door the 
titles run — " Squeak on Opening," " Bang on 
Shutting," and " Hinge's Orations.!' 

In the Army and Navy Club library, Pall Mall, 
are, or were to be found, quips in the same spirit. 
" The Art of Turning, by Handle," " The Rape of the 
Lock," "The Law of Substitutes," "Treatise sur les 
Sorties Imprevues," " Essay on Woodbind," " Pasley 
on Passages of Communication," " Viner on Stop- 
pages in Transitu," " Blacklane on Fictitious Entry," 
" Le Livre Ferme," " The Blockade of the Sublime 
Porte," and " Rien du Tout, in six volumes." These 
are not over-sparkling. But of a very different kind 
were the exercises of the ingenious Tom Hood. 
He supplied to the Duke of Devonshire, for a door- 
way out of the library at Chatsworth, some droll 
titles : — " Percy Vere in forty volumes," " Dante's 
Inferno, or Description of Van Demon's Land," 
" Lamb's Recollections of Suet," " Malthus's Attack 
on Infantry," " Macadam's Views in Rhodes," " Bish's 
Retreat of the Ten Thousand," " PygmaUon, by 
Lord Bacon," " On Trial by Jury, with remarkable 
Packing Cases," " Memoirs of Mrs. Mountain, by 
Ben Lomond," " Boyle on Steam," " Rules for 
Punctuation, by a Thorough-bred Pointer," " Book- 
keeping by Single Entry," " John Knox on Death's 
Door," " Designs for Friezes, by Captain Parry," 
" On the Site of Tully's Offices," " The Rape of the 
Lock, with Bramah's Notes," " Haughty-cultural 
Remarks on London Pride," " Lamb on the Death of 
Wolfe," " Annual Parliaments, a Plea for Short 
Commons," " On Sore Throat and the Migration of 
the Swallow," " Debrett on Chain Piers," " Voltaire, 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 127 

Volney, Volta (3 vols.)," " Peel on Bell's System," 
" Freeling on Enclosing Waste Lands," " Johnson's 
Contradictionary," " Life of Jack Ketch, with cuts of 
his own execution," " Barrow on the Common Weal," 
" Cursory Remarks on Swearing," " Shelley's Con- 
chologist," " The Hole Duty of Man, by J. P. Brunei," 
" The Scottish Boccaccio, by D. Cameron," " Cook's 
Specimens of the Sandwich Tongue," " Hoyle on the 
Game Laws," " In-i-go on Secret Entrances." 

But at Gad's Hill, the late Mr. Charles Dickens, 
ever pleasant and mirthful, devised a series of sham 
titles for his shelves which are good of their kind, 
and to these his friend Mr. Forster added the follow- 
ing : — " Dr. Kitchener's Life of Captain Cook," 
" Adam's Antecedents, from the Family Papers," 
"The Poetry of Doctors' Commons (Proctor)," 
" Vestiges of the Unnatural History of Taxation," 
" Bishop Philpott's Wanderings in the Holy Land," 
" The Corn Question, by John Bunyan," " Retreat of 
the Ten Thousand, by the Earl of Cardigan," " Savage 
on Civilisation (2 vols.)," " An Impartial View of 
the Gorham and Denison Controversies, by Henry, 
Bishop of Exeter," " Mr. J . Homer on Poets' Corner."* 

Librarians and others who give out large quantities 
of books for binding can record some amusing mis- 
takes as to the " lettering " and titles placed or 
misplaced on the backs. Thus, such a publication 
as " Thomas Adam's Works on Private Religious 

•A singular library exists at Warsenstein, near Cassel ; the books 
composing it, or rather the substitutes for them, being made of 
wood, and every one of tliem is a specimen of some different tree. 
The back is formed of its bark, and the sides are constructed of 
polished pieces of the same stock. When put together, the 
whole forms a box ; and inside of it are stored the fruit, seed, and 
leaves, together with the moss which grows on the trunk, and 
the insects which feed upon the tree ; every volume corresponds 
in size, and the collection altogether has a singular effect. 



128 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Thoughts," has been returned as " Adam's Private 
Thoughts," and " Buffoon's Natural History " looks 
like a practical joke. Recently Bishop King's disser- 
tation on the " Origin of Evil " was sent home from 
the binders lettered " King's Evil." Dr. Trusler's work 
on " Synonyms, showing the distinctions between 
words generally esteemed synonymous," was lettered 
" Trusler's Synonymous Distinctions." It has been 
humorously remarked that the indorsements at the 
back of books do not always intimate what is to 
follow, for neither the " Novella of Leo," or the 
" Extravagantes," as edited by Godefroi, contain 
matter of a light, airy, or amusing kind. " The 
Diversions of Purley " is deemed the toughest book 
in existence. Edgeworth's " Essay on Irish Bulls " 
was actually ordered by a farming society. M. Ewan 
" On the Types," a book treating of the types of 
Christianity in the old law, has been deemed utterly 
useless by a compositor or journeyman printer, who 
naturally expected to find the book honestly descrip- 
tive of the tools of his trade. There are an infinite 
number of pleasant mistakes and misapprehensions 
connected with the titles of books. The late Mr. Le 
Fanu, the novelist, when a child, mystified the book- 
sellers by ordering in the name of his father, a clergy- 
man, a work called " Dodd's Holy Curate," and which 
could not be found, though sought for "high and low." 
Everything, indeed, connected with " Book " is 
" collectable," or made a subject for the devotion of 
the connoisseur. A pleasing custom that has long 
been in vogue is that of the owner placing his book- 
plate or registry in the beginning of his books. 
They pass from owner to owner, from library to 
library, and each new possessor adds his own plate, 
which often gives a singular interest to a book thus 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 129 

inherited,* Some of these decorations are exceed- 
ingly artistic and also characteristic ; some of the 
older ones in a fine, bold, and flowing style. Others 
are in the nature of a " device " with a chosen motto, 
quaint and suggestive, some artist friend, such as Mr. 
Stacey Marks, having often designed them. Mr. F. 
Locker, in a note to his Catalogue, states that the late 
Sir W. Stirling- Maxwell designed nearly a hundred 
for his acquaintances and friends. It is pleasant 
to open some tome from an old library, and be 
greeted by a flamboyant coat of arms — it may be 
ducal — with supporters in all due state ! It was 
natural that the eager, greedy eye of the collector 
should take note of these artistic adornments ; 
why not collect, scour high and low, " lay down," 
neatly paste, classify into countries ? Accordingly he 
has long been at work at his gruesome function, pur- 
chasing books — odd inversion — for the sake of their 
title escutcheons. The back in most cases is stripped 
off ; but the more reverential have a deft mode of 
extracting the plate by means of a press and moisture. 
It seems the most distinguished collector in the 
kingdom is the Rev. Thomas Carson, of Dublin, who 
has gathered the most artistic specimens, and is deeply 
skilled in the lore and philosophy of such things. 
The specimens given by Mr. Warren show that there 
is a principle involved in such designs, and we are 
amazed at the boldness and beauty of some of the 
bookplates. There are innumerable forms — some 

* The first who used armorial or other bookplates it would be 
difficult to ascertain ; they were certainly in general use on the 
Continent before the end of the sixteenth century. Mr. Hodgkia 
of West Derby has a 4to volume, printed at Strasburg about 15 15, 
with a bookplate of H. Eck, of a date he thinks not later than 
1530. However, in the December, 1869, Catalogue of M. Bache- 
lin-Deflorenne, bookseller, Garrick Street, Covent Garden, is a 
description of two bookplates dated respectively 1279 and 1314. 
K 



130 THE BOOK FANCIER 

allegorical, some heraldic, and different styles, such 
as the Jacobean, &c. One very commonly met with 
is what may be styled Chippendale, modelled on the 
shape of the mirrors and other ornaments of that 
designer. Cardinals and bishops command a special 
decorative advantage in the showy and effective hat 
and tassels which serve as crest or canopy. As a 
matter of course, there is a system and handbook 
for the subject, and the Hon. J. Leicester Warren has 
issued a pretty little volume dealing with what may 
be called the science of the " Ex Libris," for such is 
the technical name. Intimately connected with this 
department is, of course, the subject of devices 
stamped in gold on the sides of books, which 
being more ambitious, are the desire of the opulent 
collector. There is something almost ludicrous in 
the idea of having to secure some huge and heavy 
folio on a dreary subject for the sake of the escut- 
cheon on the side ; but done it must be. It would 
not do to cut out the device, as it could not subsist 
without the support of the book. This, as may 
be well imagined, opens up one of the most costly 
of collecting departments ; for all the potentates, 
kings, popes, princesses, have their arms em- 
blazoned with great state and splendour ; the 
" masters," Clovis Eve, Le Gascon, and others. 
" tooling " away exquisitely all round the emblazon- 
ment, embroidering initials and monograms and 
arabesques. 

There is a Count D'Hoym, whose device on a book 
has been for some time the rage, and this a mystery, 
for it is noted to be of an unostentatious character. 

Yet another proof of the knowledge and skill ex- 
pended on these trifles is that these arms and escut- 
cheons, whether French, or German, or EngUsh, are 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 131 

generally identified and their owners announced. 
Connected with which a new craze has been recently 
announced. Some one has discovered that the dis- 
used well-worn engraved copper-plates have beauty 
from the richness of detail. At least they can be 
collected, framed, made into caskets, and the owner 
can point to them as being the original of some fam- 
ous engraving on paper. But there is no end to these 
absurdities. 

There have been a great many devices and sys- 
tems introduced by the ingenuity of binders in 
connection with the wholesale trade. It must be 
remembered that binding also belongs to publish- 
ing, as distinguished from the other departments 
affected by the amateur and collector, the latter 
department only being artistic. In old libraries and 
on the stalls we see almost every book of the last 
century dressed in the invariable brown calf, the 
livery of the publishers. All the books " which no 
gentleman's library should be without" display this 
dress. Who, for instance, has ever seen Goldsmith's 
Histories or "Animated Nature," or Hume and 
Smollett, or Robertson, or Fielding, or the pretty 
little " Shandys," without these calf " jackets " ? 
They seem to have been thus issued from the pub- 
lisher's office, though copies could be had in boards. 
Up to thirty years ago the circulating-library novel 
was always in boards, covered with a sort of grey or 
mud-coloured paper. It was only lately that a won- 
derful change was made, which really created a trade, 
namely, the use of the now prevailing " cloth covers," 
the introduction of an enterprising and energetic 
Scottish firm. This has developed in an almost 
stupendous way, and has become universal in publish- 
ing. It has since become susceptible of decoration and 



132 THE BOOK FANCIER 

endurance, while the appHances of machinery have 
been made so effective that " covers " can be turned 
out as rapidly as the printed copies demand. In 
1835 the late Mr. Archibald Leighton introduced the 
use of cloth for covers, the first publisher to adopt 
it being Mr. Pickering, and the first work so bound 
being Lord Byron's complete works, with a little gilt 
ornament. Most of our books at the present time 
are cloth-bound, and many of them of a certain 
elegance ; and amongst the names of the designers 
are to be found some of the most noted decorative 
artists of the day. In this we have created a style 
the admiration and wonder of all foreigners — toile 
Anglaise being known for its excellence of workman- 
ship and taste over the whole world. In short, our 
English cloth-binding is as superior to that of the 
rest of the world as a Sheffield blade is to one of 
Paris make. It would be an interesting speculation 
to investigate why one nation, like France, invariably 
prefers paper copers, and another the more perma- 
nent cloth. The theory of the fashion after which 
popular French works are sewn in paper covers seems 
to be founded on portability {pour la foche), and a 
saving in price ; with choice between preservation in 
regular official binding, if the book be worth it, to 
be thrown away if otherwise. The cost of binding in 
thin staring paper boards of the railway novel would 
be twopence or threepence, while the three volumes 
of a novel can actually be done up "in cloth gilt" 
for so low a figure as fourpence or fivepence a volume, 
on a large number being taken. Much fault has been 
found with the French system, the three- franc or two- 
franc yellow novel soon dismembering, the sheets 
tumbling apart. But this seems exaggerated. The 
book holds together long enough to be read by two 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 133 

or three of the family, and even if the threads have 
given way, it is still not inconvenient to read. But 
for decent binding the advantage is obvious. Our 
cheap " ploughed " railway novels cannot be bound 
"without losing their already shorn margins. There is 
nothing meaner or more miserably starved in con- 
sequence than our two-shilling railway novel when 
bound, for it is then stripped of its gaudy picture 
cover, and, with its stunted margin, is positively 
-degrading to read. 

Some years ago it was calculated that the mere 
waste-paper shavings of the London bookbinders 
amounted annually to upwards of four hundred tons, 
while the consumption of leaf-gold amounted to little 
short of four milhon square inches weekly. Rags 
are used in removing the superfluous gold during the 
process of lettering, ornamenting, and edging. They 
are burnt, and the yield would astonish the majority 
of people. It is known in the trade as " skewings." 
There is a newly-introduced system of fastening the 
sheets together by wire stitching, which is being 
generally adopted, notably for such publications as 
Mr. Labouchere's Truth. 

There were some examples of costly English bind- 
ings in the Exhibition of 1862. A book of Bedford's 
binding took some two months to finish, and cost 
forty guineas. Shaw's " Decorations " was lavishly 
enriched with tooling and jewels, said to be of the 
value of £100. Zaehnsdorf, of Brydges Street, ex- 
hibited Dor6's Dante's Inferno in folio, the binding 
and decoration of which, after the Grolier and Maioli 
style, cost one hundred guineas. Messrs. Leighton, 
Son, & Hodge in later years introduced silver on the 
ornamentation of books, or rather, it should be said, 
aluminium, for silver too soon tarnishes to be useful. 



134 THE BOOK FANCIER 

A unique specimen of binding was recently executed 
by Messrs. Peacock. It was a large quarto Altar 
Service in crimson morocco, with massive side orna- 
ments incrusted with precious stones. A painting 
on porcelain of our Saviour, framed in a band of 
gilt metal studded with pearls, filled the centre^ 
This was surmounted by a cross, also set with pearls, 
and with a large diamond in the middle. Below was 
the emblematic eagle of St. John, blazing with ame- 
thysts, garnets, and diamonds, and a lily, emblem of 
the Blessed Virgin Mary, set with black and white 
pearls. An elaborate border of gilt metal was thickly 
studded with topaz, pearl, amethyst, malachite, and 
turquoise, with beautifully carved cameos at intervals 
and large rock crystals mounted at the angles. The 
gems, several of which are of considerable size, were 
alone said to be worth more than £200. 

Turning to the comparative value of different ma- 
terials for binding, Mr. J. Leighton (Luke Limner), in 
a paper read by him before the Society of Arts in Feb- 
ruary, 1859, calls morocco " the prince of leathers," 
Hogskin he considers " a nice and durable leather," 
though not much used, and it takes " blind-tooling " 
admirably. Russia leather, except extremely thick, 
is apt to become rotten. It is principally prized for 
its odour and pleasant tone of colour. It has been 
said, indeed, by experienced binders, that the dura- 
tion of Russia binding in the atmosphere of London is 
but three years. It is certain, indeed, that Russia 
backs always "go." Vellum is extremely strong and 
useful, but hard to work. All the tree-marbles, 
sponge-dabs, and other stained fancy patterns, he 
also considers must in time injure the leather, on 
account of the acids used in producing them. Brown 
and black are the only fast colours in cloth bindings. 



BINDING AND ITS CURIOSITIES 135 

Red, green, and blue are nearly so. In calf-binding 
yellow or tan is the only colour that will not fade. 
It wears best. Blue calf fades and rubs white. The 
quietest colours — neutral shades — will satisfy the eye 
longest. What are called " purple " and " wine " 
colours — solferino and magenta in binders' phrase — 
have been known to fade out entirely in a month. 
Wine — that is " claret " — is nearly a fast colour, 
somewhat like green and red. 

Paintings on the edges of books, or sometimes 
with the edges of the leaves embossed, or the title of 
the work written or impressed on them, have been 
amongst the most interesting features of the ancient 
ornamental art of bookbinding. At that time books 
were generally kept fiat on shelves or on appropriated 
reading-desks, without any ornament or lettering on 
the back. We frequently see such positions of old 
books represented in the illuminations or woodcuts 
of the period. In some places the practice of letter- 
ing books on the edges had not been discontinued 
till comparatively recent times, for we find in a copy 
of " Locke on the Epistles " a written memorandum, 
made in 1711, stating that the " more convenient 
manner of placing books in libraries is to turn their 
backs outwards, with the titles and other decent 
ornaments in gilt- work, which ought not to be hidden, 
as in this library, by a contrary position, the beauty 
of the fairest volume is ; — therefore, to prevent this 
for the future, and to remedy that which is past, if 
it shall be thought worth the pains, the new method 
of affixing the chains to the back of the books is 
recommended, till one more suitable shall be con- 
trived." What are known as " index edges," such 
as we see in the huge Kelly's Post Office Directory, 
are said to have been introduced by Messrs. Leighton. 



Curiosities ot printina 

The mere oddities and eccentricities connected 
with books and printing are as endless as the 
curiosities of hterature itself. There are books 
which exhibit in their paper and print freaks and 
" fads " of the strangest kind. One can hardly 
believe the excessive length to which amiable 
fanatics have indulged in their dealings with 
honest serviceable type and paper. The most 
singular displays of oddity have been in the choice 
and contrasts of paper and print. 

A French bibliophile, M. Peignet, has actually 
published a work supplying a list of these fantastic 
productions. Thus in the year 1822 we find the fol- 
lowing : " Aristarchus, or the Principles of Composi- 
tion," 1822, which was printed on about fifty different 
coloured papers, and only twelve copies were struck 
off. The most extraordinary of these caprices is an 
" Elegy on the Death of Prince Henry," published in 
161 3, printed on black paper with white letters ! 
There have also been blue, yellow, and harlequin 
papers. In the Bodleian Library is a copy of 
" Textus Decretalium Bonifacii VIII." (1473), printed 
on alternate sheets of vellum and paper. We also 

136 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 137 

find '* A Sermon Preached before Charles the First," 
by the Rev. Joseph Howe, 1644, and thought to be 
the only known copy out of thirty printed, which is 
printed throughout in red ink. Other works, such 
as Chidley's " Complaints," 1652, Wilkes's " Essay 
on Woman," 1772, " Red Book," Dublin, 1790, are 
also printed in red ink. " Le Livre de Quatre 
Couleurs " (Paris, 1720) is printed in four different 
coloured inks. The " Book of Four Colours," by 
one Caracicoli, printed in Paris in 1757, is printed 
in four different coloured inks, gamboge, ultramarine, 
sepia, and vermilion. Babbage's " Specimens of 
Logarithmic Tables " is printed with different-col- 
oured inks on various coloured papers (to ascertain 
by experiment the tints of the paper and colours of 
the inks least fatiguing to the eye), in twenty-one 
volumes, 8vo, London, 1831. Of this work one 
SINGLE COPY ONLY WAS PRINTED. There were one 
hundred and fifty-one variously coloured papers 
chosen, and the following coloured inks were used : 
light blue, dark blue, light green, dark green, olive, 
yellow, light red, dark red, purple, and black. Vol. xxi. 
contains metallic printing in gold, silver, and copper 
bronzes, upon vellum and on various coloured papers. 
" Le Livre de Demain " was printed on various 
kinds of paper with different coloured inks. The 
contents consist of selections in prose and verse, as 
well as an account of inks, paper, and the art of 
typography. The peculiarity of the book is the 
endeavour to suit the paper, ink, and type even, to 
the subject of the selection. The author, M. de 
Rochas, contends that a love-poem printed with 
light ink on rose-coloured paper will make a far 
deeper impression than if printed in black ink on 
white paper. There was a book published in 1832 



138 THE BOOK FANCIER 

entitled " Typographical Curiosities," printed on 
paper manufactured from white lead, and weighing 
two pounds. A curiosity, too, must be a book that 
appeared in 1800, being an account of " all the 
substances that have been used to describe events 
and to convey ideas," by one Koops, and which itself 
claims to be the first book printed upon straw paper. 

Our great himiourist, Sterne, in his first work, 
" Tristram Shandy," condescended to some fantastic 
tricks. Thus in Vol. I., at page 73, after the death 
of Yorick, we come on an entirely black page, in sign 
of mourning ; at pages 169, 170, we find two pieces 
of marbled paper pasted on the regular page, " mot- 
ley emblem of my work," he says ; to say nothing of 
a chapter made to comprise two pages and left blank ! 
At another passage, where Trim is described as 
making a flourish with his stick, a diagram of the 
flourish is represented on the paper. Stars are 
profusely used, sometimes for half a page, to convey 
the idea that something very emotional has been left 
out. It is remarkable, too, that in every copy of the 
two or three earlier volumes the eccentric author 
signed his name, which must have entailed much 
labour. Certain careful and fastidious writers have 
with their own hand corrected glaring misprints. 

Indeed, there is no end to these curious tricks 
and devices, which are really unworthy of the great 
art. In the Exhibition of 1862 was shown a sort of 
typographical tour de force by one of M. Dupont's 
compositors — a statue of Gutenberg, a portrait of 
Beranger, and Cupid and Psyche (an odd company) , 
all set up in " leads," and at a proper distance 
looking exactly like engravings. At the previous 
Exhibition of 1851, the printer of a Scotch news- 
paper, The North British Advertiser, displayed a view 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 139 

of the Free Church College, which was composed of 
twelve thousand five hundred pieces of type, and 
eighty feet of " brass rule " the whole at a distance 
being easily taken for an engraving. 

Porro, bom at Padua, 1520, is mentioned by 
Strutt as having engraved a print, " The Passion of 
Christ," in which the lines constituting the shading 
are found, when examined with a magnifying-glass, 
to be formed of small writing. In like manner, 
Strutt, in his " Common Prayer Book " 1717 (all 
engraved on 188 plates), prefixed an engraved bust 
of George I., the shading lines of which contain the 
Lord's Prayer, Creed, Commandments, Prayers for 
the Royal Family, and the Twenty-first Psalm. 

In 1862 appeared Mr. Peter's machine for micro- 
scopic writing, whereby it is stated that the words 
" Matthew Marshall, Bank of England," can be 
written in the two and a half millionth of an inch in 
length, and it is actually said that calculations made 
on this data show that the whole Bible can be written 
twenty-two times in the space of a square inch ! 
The Lord's Prayer has actually been written this 
way in a space not exceeding the one-fifty-third of an 
inch square ; when examined with a high magnifying 
power each line of the letters was perfectly distinct. 

The eccentric printer has always striven to dis- 
tinguish himself by some vagary of this kind, and 
every age has boasted of its own special extrava- 
gance. Oddly enough, these feats, unremunerative 
to the projectors, have become profitable to those who 
come after. Thus, miniature volumes, printed in 
Liliputian type that can scarcely be read without 
glasses, seem to have had a fascination for certain 
printers, on account of their involving the solution of 
difficult problems. A large and respectable coUec- 



140 THE BOOK FANCIER 

tion could be made of these tiny performances. The 
most tempting object of the printer has always been 
to produce little miniature volumes, which shall hold 
as much and be as legible as some of the huge and 
grosser tomes. The conditions attending on such a 
work are most difficult of attainment, legibility and 
thinness of paper being the chief. Minuteness of 
type is not, however, as might be supposed, incom- 
patible with legibility, as the Elzevirs have shown in 
their dainty volumes. It requires extraordinary 
skill and thought to design letters which form words 
that shall be small and yet clear, and as the paper 
must be thin, to prevent the ink showing through on 
the other side. The problem has, nevertheless, 
always had a sort of attraction for printers, both in 
England and in other countries, and has been 
attempted frequently. One of the earliest attempts 
in this direction was the little Pindar issued in 1757 
by the Foulis Press. Some fifty or sixty years ago, 
the printer Pickering issued a series of " Diamond 
Classics," marvels of minute typography, arrayed 
in silk binding, in which the whole of Virgil, Horace, 
&c., was compressed into a thin and tiny volume, 
very legible and " black in the type." These are 
now scarce and bring good prices. The Whitting- 
ham and Pickering " Shakespeares " are each in 
one substantial little volume, about half the size 
of the Globe " Shakespeare," but difficult to read, 
since the type, though brilliant, is crowded. There 
is another charming edition of the Pickering and 
Whittingham " Shakespeares," each in eight or ten 
volumes, legible and fairly readable, and illustrated 
Avith graceful and spirited cuts. The Pickering set is 
deservedly admired. 

Didot, the famous Paris publisher, printed in 1828 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 141 

a " Horace " in a remarkably small and exquisitely 
beautiful type called " caracUre microscopique." It 
is eclipsed, however, by another called brilliant, so 
named by its makers, Messrs. Miller & Richard, 
on account of its exquisite appearance when printed. 
Of this microscopic type, it takes 4,000 i's to make 
a single pound, and about 6,300 of the thinnest pieces 
for spaces. At the Exhibition of 1851, Gray's 
" Elegy," of thirty- two verses of four lines each, was 
printed in a space of four inches by three. Mr. 
Hotten issued a " Keepsake for Smokers " in this 
type, said to be " silver-faced," and the smallest 
type ever made. In 1884, Messrs. Field & Tuer 
pubUshed a tiny little book entitled " Quads," not 
more than an inch square, printed on " bank note- 
paper," and in what was pleasantly called " midget 
type." But all these tours de force were carried to 
extravagance towards the end of the last century, 
when some absurdly small books were issued in 
England and France. There is a httle " Thumb 
Bible," as it was called, which contains some score 
of leaves, has copper-plate pictures, is bound secun- 
dum artem, and yet is no bigger than a postage stamp. 
I have also seen a French almanac of about the 
same size : in fact, there is no reason why a collector 
should not appear on the scene to devote his days 
and purse to gathering specimens of the Liliputian 
press. 

The most thorough and rational feat in this direc- 
tion was successfully carried out some years ago by 
Mr. Bellows, who planned a waistcoat-pocket English- 
French Dictionary, which was to be profound and 
scientific, and yet at the same time of the smallest 
dimensions for reference. The work is said to be 
admirably written, and a perfect success. The fact 



142 THE BOOK FANCIER 

of a dictionary comprising idioms, roots, &c., all on 
the most elaborate scale, entailed the idea of vast 
space. Johnson's vast and massive " huge armful " 
and this tiny manual represent the two extremes. 
The first point was to secure the very thinnest paper 
consistent with stoutness, and by a consultation with 
an eminent French firm of papermakers at Angou- 
16me, Messrs. Laroche, a very fine thin article was 
secured, which was opaque, and firm enough to bear 
printing on both sides. A special type was designed 
and cast in Edinburgh of the sort known as " bril- 
liant," only this was claimed to be the smallest ever 
cast, even two sizes smaller than that of the smallest 
Testament known. It was quite legible, and the 
author considered that it would not try the eyes, as 
dictionaries are not used for reading but for consulta- 
tion. The paper was tinted buff, while a red line 
ran round each page with pleasing effect. It is, in 
short, a most singular little book, and the first edition 
was disposed of in a very short time. 

We may contrast with these tiny performances 
some grotesquely Brobdingnagian efforts, typographi- 
cal monsters made for the private reading of giants. 
Some of the grand Aldines are enormous armfuls, 
that require strong persons to handle, intended, as 
we have said, to be read missal-like on a desk. 
Perhaps the hugest work known is the vast Denon 
collection of illustrations, which cannot be fitted 
into any known library shelf, but require to repose 
prone on their sides.* 

* A pleasant traveller thus describes some gigantic volumes 
at the Escurial, where it " seems there is an elephantine lectern, 
weighing six tons, but moving very easily indeed on a pivot, 
and on its ledges repose the books used by the choristers. The 
volumes are about six feet in height by four in breadth, bound 
in that famous yellow leather of Cordova, and heavily clasped 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 143 

The most extraordinary feat in cheap printing in 
our time was the issuing of an edition of a substantial 
novel of Dickens's, filling three volumes octavo, in a 
pamphlet shape, for one penny. The paper was 
good and tough, and in amount was equal to three 
quires of cheap note-paper. In each page there were 
about fourteen hundred words. How it was done, 
or on what chance of profit or repayment it was 
based, it is difficult to say. For the very cheapest 
paper that could be brought into the market could 
hardly be supplied under the price of a penny a 
quire. Then there was the " setting," ink, working, 
stereotyping, &c. But there are wonderful and nice 
problems in these matters, and it was calculated that 
if the sale was only large enough the projectors would 
be repaid. The same difficulty occurs in the case of 
the Times newspaper, sold to dealers, I believe, at 2|-d. 
a copy. Here the paper is fine, good, and stout, and 
the sheets that make up a copy, including supplement 

and clamped with brass. The parchment pages, every one as 
big as the lease of the Castle of Otranto or Mrs. Shandy's marriage 
settlement, have the staves ruled blood-red, and on them rest, 
or rather ride, the notes. Such notes ! such quadrangular 
blotches of gUstening carbon ! Every crotchet is as big as 
a blackthorn walking-stick with a knob at the end, fit to crack 
the head of Goliath. As for the words beneath the notes, so 
monstrous were those black-letter achievements, that, turning 
the crackling parchments over, it seemed that ' Non ' took up 
one page, and ' nobis ' two, and ' Domine ' half-a-dozen. I 
never saw such books out of a pantomime." In the Royal 
Library at Stockholm there is shown a monster manuscript, the 
" Codex Giganteus," so called on account of its colossal size. 
It is two Swedish ells in height, and of proportionate breadth. 
This code is, in fact, a species of Ubrary in itself ; it contains, 
beside a Vulgate, a collection of writings upon the Jewish 
Antiquities by Josephus, Isidorus, &c. Also the " Comes 
Pragensis Chronicon Bohemiae." Many, struck with the 
enormous size of the volume, and with its singular illuminatioa, 
have agreed in calhng it " La Bible du Diable " or "Codex 
Diaboli." 



144 THE BOOK FANCIER 

and extra half-sheet, would be equivalent to some 
nine or ten sheets of good foolscap or " demi," which 
could not be bought under threepence the half-quire, 
thus leaving nothing for " setting " copy, money to 
editors, leader-writers, and reporters, or for working. 
Yet, as is known, there are vast profits. These arise, 
however, from the advertisements, which are thus all 
clear gain without deduction. In this connection it 
is evident that an excessive circulation beyond this 
proportion of profit must only increase the expense 
of production, while the advertisements remain a 
fixed quantity, and thus it would be conceivable that 
the expenses would exceed the advertising returns. 
And this accounts for what sometimes happens in 
the case of the Christmas numbers of the illustrated 
papers, where each copy costs a large sum to pro- 
duce, leaving a slender margin of profit. Any fresh 
issue entails a capital expense, and the advertise- 
ments being already paid for and exhausted, addi- 
tional copies become a matter of loss. Nor must we 
pass by, as a wonderful feat, Dick's humble edition 
of Shakespeare, sold at a shilling. The thought, 
organisation, and calculation necessary to produce 
this work successfully, required commercial talent of 
a high order. There is, or was, a bookseller's shop 
in Oxford Street, with which is associated a curious 
and perhaps unique incident in the trade. Mr. 
Home, a poet of merit of the last generation, once 
published an epic called " Orion," and which, like 
many a good epic, was not as much appreciated by 
*" the general " as it deserved to be, though by " the 
judicious" it was duly admired. One day he deter- 
mined to prove that the cost, at least, of his work 
should not stand in its way, and the front of the 
shop was covered with advertisements announcing 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 145 

that the poem could be had within for one farthing. 
I lately had this book in my hand — a rare one, and 
** marked with three R.'s in the catalogues." It is 
printed on the thinnest paper, is bound in cloth, and 
filling more than one hundred pages. But on the 
first day only three copies were sold, and by the end 
of the week only a few more. The truth is, low price 
will not tempt purchasers. A publisher once in- 
formed me that of a volume of poems he had hterally 
sold two copies, and these were purchased by a 
friend of the author's. This, he said, was unique 
in his experience. 

Cheap literature, or books for the masses, has at this 
moment been carried to the lowest point in the great 
countries of France, England, and Germany. France 
led the way with its " Bibliotheque Nationale," 
which was begun in 1863, and furnished for twopence- 
halfpenny a series of little volumes containing the best 
home and foreign literature. Since then some ten 
millions of copies have been issued. Next followed 
a Leipsic bookseller, Reclam (a good suggestive 
name), who established the " Universal Library," 
at the same price, and has issued some eighteen 
millions of copies. Finally, in 1885, came the 
English attempt, started by the Cassells, who issued 
little works at threepence a copy ! Their series is 
superior in paper and print to its foreign rivals, con- 
tains nearly 200 pages of print, and is issued every 
week. It will be interesting to see the result of this 
experiment. 

The extraordinary results of machinery and divi- 
sion of labour has of course been applied to printing, 
and some wonderful tours de force have been accom- 
plished in the way of rapid and cheap production. 
There is nothing so wonderful in these feats after all. 



146 THE BOOK FANCIER 

as it only amount to putting a sufficient number of 
workmen to the task. Thus, a three-volume novel 
may consist of some seventy or eighty sheets, and if 
a skilled workman could " set " a sheet in the day, 
the whole would be accomplished, on pressure, by 
seventy or eighty compositors in a single day. On 
the occasion of the Caxton celebration, a show feat 
of this kind was performed, which Mr. Gladstone, 
with a rather rhetorical flourish, described as " the 
climax and consiunmation of the art of printing." 
A hundred copies of the Bible were commenced at 
two o'clock on the morning of a commemoration meet- 
ing at South Kensington, and before two o'clock in 
the afternoon a copy was handed on to the platform 
perfectly finished. The book, with its 1,052 pages, 
had been printed, dried, pressed, sent up to London, 
collated, sewn, rolled, bound in Turkey morocco, its 
edges gilt, the cover embossed with the Univer- 
sity arms and an appropriate inscription, in less than 
twelve hours. Here, however, the " setting " had 
been done previously. Another fantastic perform- 
ance was the issue of the Revised Version of the 
Bible, which was, in truth, an extraordinary com- 
mercial operation, admirably developed and worked. 
For one of the Testaments some 300 tons of paper 
were used, the presses were kept groaning night and 
day for months before issue, while a perfect dearth 
was caused in the leather market by the demand for 
skins for binding. Never was there such a foolish 
craze founded on pure curiosity, and it may be 
suspected, without breach of charity, from no burn- 
ing ardour to be in possession of the purest and most 
genuine version of the sacred text. Nor must we 
pass that surprising feat of the Bible Society, the 
issue of the " Penny Testament," which, filling 240 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 147 

pages, bound and sewn, and respectably printed on 
good paper, is issued for that sum.* 

The mention of Bibles leads to that of certain 
extraordinary editions of the sacred text which have 
received names, or even nicknames, " in the trade," 
from some absurd mistake in the printing. These, 
of course, commend them to the notice of the inge- 
nious collector. There is the well-known " Breeches 
Bible," which turns up frequently enough in an 
imperfect state. A Breeches Bible in fine con- 
dition is highly valuable. This sobriquet is owing 
to the quaint translation — " Adam and Eve made 
themselves breeches," &c. Nor must we omit the 
" Bugge Bible." There is also the" Vinegar Bible," 
the words " parable of the vinegar " being used in- 
stead of " vineyard." A Belfast Bible, 1716, has " sin 
on more," instead of " no more." More curious is the 
■" Leda Bible " of 1572, so called from the careless 
profanity of the publisher, who, wishing to adorn the 
work with illustrations, used an old block of " Leda 
and the Swan." Field's " Genuine Pearl Bible " of 
1633, which has been described as "The Wicked 
Bible," and is complacently recommended in the 
catalogues as " famous for its errors " (6,000), 
deserves notoriety for its translation of a passage 
in the Corinthians — " Know ye not that the unright- 
eous shall inherit the kingdom of God ; " and also, 
" Ye cannot serve and mammon." These strange 
misprints were amended by cancelling some pages, 

* " From the beginning of August, 1884, to March i, i886,'* 
writes to me Mr. Brown, the secretary of the Societ>', " 1,310,000 
copies of the Penny Testament were issued by this Society. The 
first milUon copies were sold within ten months. The cost of 
printing and binding the book is a small fr2u:tion under two- 
pence." The book was therefore produced at a loss of about 
three-farthings a copy. 



148 THE BOOK FANCIER 

which the collector rejects contemptuously, seeking 
copies " without the cancels." The well-known 
Catholic version, the " Douay Bible," issued in 
1609-10, has been called the " Rosin Bible," owing 
to the translation of the passage in Jeremiah, " Is 
there no rosin in Gilead ? " Even the folio autho- 
rised version (Barker's of 161 1) has been termed the 
great " He " Bible — why I know not. 

There have been, of course, collectors of Bibles — 
a really stupendous undertaking — of which the most 
serious and ambitious was the late Duke of Sussex, 
who sought them in every language, and amassed 
some two thousand. The catalogue of this wonderful 
collection no real Bible-collector " should be without," 
His Royal Highness was a fair Hebrew scholar, and 
his collection was rich in Hebrew Testaments. 

It had long been established that the earliest 
printed Paris Bible was that dated 1570, and all 
accredited bibliographers and commentators, having 
settled this point, worked from it as a base. One 
day there was discovered in Archbishop Moore's 
well-known library a copy of a Bible with a date 
much earlier. The confusion and bewilderment 
among the cognoscenti was incredible. It was found 
impossible that such a thing could be ; yet there it was, 
uncontrovertible. An acute Mr. Johnson, however, 
scrutinising the date narrowly, " cried out that there 
had been an erasure, and that the new figures were 
written with printing-ink on the scratched part, other- 
wise no bad imitation, and upon the whole a very 
ingenious counterfeit." An ordinary piece of illumi- 
nation had been drawn over the place for better dis- 
guise. There was also a rent, with a piece of thin 
paper pasted on the back, seemingly in a careless 
manner. " Thus was exposed one of the greatest 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 149 

difficulties that have clogged the annals of the 
press." It may be said that the wary eye of the 
modern old bookseller would have detected the cheat 
at the first glance. 

As an illustration of the historical suggestiveness 
of books, it may be mentioned that there was a copy 
of Caxton's " Legende of Saintes, by me Wynkyn 
de Worde," which had this inscription in the begin- 
ning : "I take this to be the edition of 15 17. This 
is one of the few copies which have escaped the exe- 
cution of the remarkable inquisition of Henry VIII. 
to expunge or deface the life of St. Thomas of 
Canterbury, and the word Pope wherever it might 
occur. — W. Herbert, 1827." 

In the case of a work of Tyndale's, the " Penta- 
teuch," it was directed by Parliament in 1540 that 
all the marginal notes should be cut off, which was 
actually done. The Grenville copy, however, escaped 
the massacre or mutilation, and is therefore con- 
sidered a choice rarity. Another book, " Fabyan's 
Chronicle," was suppressed so successfully by Wol- 
sey that only one copy survives. 

There is a class of collectors who collect every- 
thing on a favourite and particular subject. These 
elements fall under the denomination of " cuttings," 
and it is surprising how, with the diligent aid of a 
pair of scissors, the mass soon begins to accumulate. 
The accumulation is for the most part rubbish ; but, 
to one writing on the subject, it often supplies valuable 
indications of topics and matter worth investigation. 
Some of these " dust-bins," which often contain a 
stray silver spoon or fork, are of the oddest character, 
as " A Collection of many Hundreds of Bills, chrono- 
logically arranged, from 1741 to 1868, including 
Astley's, Ducrow's, Coburg, Surrey, Tottenham 



150 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Street, Sadler's Wells, Drury Lane, Adelphi^ 
Olympic, Covent Garden, Haymarket, Theatre in: 
Guildhall (1758), New City, Garrick, Deptford, City 
Pantheon, King's, Soho, &c.. Menageries, Exhibi- 
tions, &c., with a large collection, many thousands of 
cuttings from various sources, extending over a period 
of nearly 100 years, a number of orders and tickets 
of admission, with interesting autographs." 

Another person with great industry brings together 
everything that can bear on " Waxwork Exhibitions, 
Panoramas, and other Shows of London, from early 
in the Eighteenth Century dowTi to our times (a few 
country items included). It comprises a very large 
number of cuttings, bills, handbooks, catalogues, ad- 
vertisements, admission orders, &c., &c., to Fantoc- 
cini, Shadows, Puppets, Marionettes, Automata, Tab- 
leaux Vivants, Penny Shows, &c., and represents the 
under-current of Metropolitan amusement with its 
frequent pandering to the morbid tastes of the last 
hundred and fifty years' populace. Of Waxworks it 
is believed that a larger collection does not exist in 
one body ; in that branch are Anatomical Venuses, 
Chambers of Horrors, distinguished persons, scenes, 
&c., from 1729 downwards. Panoramas, dioramas, 
cosmoramas, sculpture, paintings, giants, dwarfs, 
monsters, entertainments, and very many items 
which, while legitimately belonging to the history' of 
London life, and nearly allied to the lower stratum 
of the histrionic profession, are but poorly repre- 
sented in even the richest collections relating either 
to our metropolis or to the drama." 

Another curious collection is one on Dr. James 
Graham's exhibitions : " The Temple of Health and 
Hymen, the Celestial Bed, Exhibitions (Rare and 
Curious), &c., a curious collection of prints, views. 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 151 

songs, music, poems, manuscripts, matters, portraits, 
accounts of lectures and exhibitions, advertisements, 
&c. (including an account of Lady Hamilton) , mounted 
and arranged in a 4to volume, new half-red morocco, 
cloth sides, gilt edges, curious and rare." And also 
the next on ballooning : " An Extraordinary Collec- 
tion of 960 Engravings, Newspaper Cuttings, Auto- 
graph Letters, Documents, Advertisements, Broad- 
sides, Handbills, Posters, Water-Colour Drawings, 
and other papers relating to Aeronautical History 
from 1724 to 1854. Arranged in chronological 
order, and very neatly mounted on 102 sheets of 
drawing-paper. The collection comprises 81 plain 
and 22 coloured plates, many of which are very 
scarce (and the large tinted engraving of Lunardi's 
balloon at the Pantheon especially so), 105 woodcuts, 
8 caricatures, 23 portraits of aeronauts ; 5 water- 
colour drawings, 20 large posters for walls, advertis- 
ing f^tes at Ranelagh, Vauxhall, Cremorne, and other 
places of amusement ; 62 broadsides and songs, some 
with woodcut headings ; 45 autograph letters ; nume- 
rous admission tickets initialled by Green ; and 10 
pieces of silk of various colours cut from balloons. 
The remainder are cuttings describing every event 
between the dates named, including the opening of 
London Bridge, the fete in St. James's Park, &c., &c., 
Having been formed by Mr. Green, the famous aero- 
naut, the collection is perhaps the most complete it 
would be possible to form. Several autograph letters 
of his are inserted, together with accounts of ascen- 
sions by him and Coxwell at Cremorne, Vauxhall, 
and elsewhere." 

Among other strange and unexpected subjects, we 
have Willshere on " Playing-Cards " in the collection 
in the British Museum, which amounts to about forty 



152 THE BOOK FANCIER 

packs of all nations. This is said to be " the most 
elaborate and authoritative of all recent works on 
playing-cards, containing a great many illustrations 
of all kinds. Also many interesting curiosities con- 
nected with playing-cards, including a facsimile adver- 
tisement of the patriotic American Decatur cards, of 
which the backs were adorned with a cut of Decatur's 
victory, various comic cartoons and caricatures in 
imitation of playing-cards, a lot of the internal reve- 
nue stamps issued by playing-card manufacturers, 
and specimens of the ' marked back ' playing-card 
used by gamblers," But there is a literature on play- 
ing-cards. The really grand work on the subject is 
that of the Society of French Bibliophilists, a grand 
folio volume, containing lOO coloured plates, and 
going back to the fourteenth century. 

There is a well-known dictionary called " Men of 
the Time," which appears at intervals. The impres- 
sion of 1856 is greatly sought because of a bizarre 
account of Wilberforce, then Bishop of Oxford, who 
was described as " a sceptic as regards religious reve- 
lation ; he is nevertheless an out-and-out believer in 
spirit movements." The fact was, this sentence had 
slipped out of the preceding article on Robert Owen, 
and got mixed up with the account of the Bishop, 

Prince Ferdinand of Portugal recently made a col- 
lection of all works that had been suppressed by 
governments, the total amounting to many thousands. 

Among the innumerable odd subjects to which 
books have been devoted, there is the odd one of 
caligraphy, or " flourishing " penmanship, once a 
sort of art, held in favour when schoolmasters culti- 
vated drawing, with bold sweeps of the pen, swans, 
and other devices. Some of them are wonderful pro- 
ductions indeed, and the art was in demand for the 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 153 

preparation of addresses, &c., often seen hung up in 
old mansions and places of business. 

It might be a fair speculation why it has not oc- 
curred to some collector to form a gathering of books 
each of which had some odd adventure or association. 
For there are numbers of books the very titles of 
which suggest some strange history, or have been 
connected with some crisis. Here, for instance, 
opening a catalogue, the eye falls on Henry VIII. 's 
famous work, with its full style and title : — " Assertio 
Septem Sacramentorum adversus Martinum Luther- 
um sedita ab invictissimo Angliae et Franciae Rege, &c. 
Henrico ejus nominis octavo. RomcB, opera Stephani, 
Guillereti, 152 1. — Literarum quibis invictissimus 
Princeps Henricus Octavus, Rex Angliae, Fidei De- 
fensor respondit ad quandam Epistolam Martini 
Lutheri ad se missam. Romce, apud F. Minitium 
Calvum, 'LS'27' In one vol. 4to, fine tall and clean 
copy in the original limp vellum, -£7 los. This ori- 
ginal Roman edition of Henry VIII. 's famous book 
against Luther is still more rare than that printed in 
England, and contains in addition Pope Leo's letter 
to Henry conferring upon him the title of Defender 
of the Faith, which was not reprinted in later 
editions. This appears to be one of the earliest 
copies issued, as it has not the supplementary sheet 
containing Dr. Clerk's Address to the Pope. Con- 
cerning the second piece in the volume, the Gren- 
ville Catalogue says, speaking of the London edition, 
* This original edition of Henry VIII. 's answer to 
Luther's letter to him is of great rarity. Strype says 
he once saw it in the exquisite library of the Bishop 
of Ely.' The Roman edition is probably even more 
rare. This volume is from the ancient library of the 
Altieri family, and bears marks of having been in 



154 THE BOOK FANCIER 

days of yore in the hands of the Roman Inquisitors, 
for the name of Henry VIII. and Martin Luther are 
struck through with a pen, or have paper pasted 
over them." 

There are some curious incidents connected with 
the first edition of Milton's great poem, which in. 
small folio is readily procurable. But the informed 
collector knows that the publisher issued it with a 
series of different title-pages — seven or eight, if not 
more. You must describe your copy carefully, as 
the " first edition with the seventh title-page," or one 
with the third or fourth. But one with the first title- 
page and the first edition is priced by Mr. Quaritch 
at £40. 

How curious to come on the quarto pictures of 
Lady Hamilton in her " attitudes " — a tribute paid 
her by her foolish worshipping husband. We think 
of Nelson, of her strange adventurous life, and her 
dying in debt and destitution at Calais. So to come 
upon a book printed that is " set " by the venerated 
hands of Benjamin Franklin. Such is " Cicera 
Cato Major, with explanatory notes. Philadelphia, 
printed and sold by Benjamin Franklin, 1744." For 
this small quarto ten guineas was asked many years 
ago ; now, with the " fury " for things American, it 
would be offered at double the money. In Mr. 
William George's Bristol catalogue, quaintly entitled 
" Bibliotheca Antiqua et Curiosa ; a descriptive and 
priced list of some old and curious books, being 
the fifteenth collection under that title," we find 
Milton's " History of Britain, collected out of the 
antientest authors thereof. Portrait by Faithorne. 
First edition. Quarto, original calf, 1670." On 
which it is pointed out that " the beautiful portrait 
of John Milton in this work is one of the few English 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 155 

portraits cut on copper from the life. Each impres- 
sion has the rank of an original portrait of Milton^ 
and, as such, an impression hangs in the National 
Portrait Galley." Or here is a specimen of the 
minute fashion in which the bibliographer marshals 
evidence : — " Charles the First. — Eikon Bazilike, the 
Portraicture of his Sacred Majestic [&c., with two 
mottoes and date]. Folding frontispiece by Mar- 
shall. Tall octavo, original calf, 21s. 1649. The 
largest edition of the ' Eikon,' with fine impression of 
the folding plate having engraved verses. This 
copy, being in its original binding, it is interesting ta 
note that the place of the plate is facing its ' Explana- 
tion,' and not facing the title-page, which is preceded 
by a leaf on which the royal arms are printed." 

A very odd and handsome book, published in 1754, 
is " The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker's Director, 
being a large collection of most elegant and useful 
designs of Household Furniture in the Gothic, Chi- 
nese, and Modern Taste, with proper directions for 
executing the most difficult pieces, the mouldings 
being exhibited at large, and the dimensions of each 
design specified, 157 copper plates, folio, calf, by 
Thos. Chippendale." Now every one knows the 
merits of the " Chippendale furniture," the curious 
designs and carvings, unmistakable in their character. 
It is one of the scarcest of volumes, as Mr. " Rainy 
Day" Smith, after duly praising it, prophesied it would 
be. It now brings from fifteen to twenty guineas ! 

First editions of even living authors seem to be- 
come rare within a very few years. One of the most 
precious of volumes is the " Poems by Two Brothers," 
issued in 1827, which was the first appearance of 
Alfred Tennyson, and for which ten guineas is an 
average price. A copy of the " Poems by Alfred 



156 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Tennyson, 1833," has cost ;£i4. A whole set of the 
green-coated volumes, first editions, would be worth 
a large sum, and there would be found plenty of opu- 
lent collectors ready to give what is called " any 
money " for the set. They could then have them 
dressed up in " crushed levantine " morocco, to form 
" a superb monument of the bibliopegistic art." 

These early Tennyson editions are sought for chief- 
ly by students and admirers, on account of the rather 
capricious variations the author is fond of making 
in successive editions. " The Grand Old Gardener " 
has thus been reshaped and altered many times and 
a new phrase substituted. " Timbuctoo," his prize 
poem, has been sold for five guineas ; but the rarest 
of his books remains the " Poems by Two Brothers." 

Shelley's works attract the attention of the curious, 
such as the early editions of " Queen Mab," " Ado- 
nais," printed on rude paper and with ruder type. 
To this category also belong the works of Lamb, 
Southey, Coleridge, and many more, and their works 
are now greatly sought. These are elegant httle 
volumes, set off with " plates by Westall " or by 
Stothard. There is an impression of grace and re- 
finement left as we look at these illustrations ; they 
are conceived in an abstract and poetical spirit ; 
the figures, limbs, and draperies are elegant, and 
seem the work of masters. It is when we contrast 
these with the modern illustrations to Longfellow, 
Tennyson, &c., that we are drawn down to earth, 
so coarse and purely unpoetical are these things. 
Lamb's works in their original edition have an excep- 
tional flavour. The "Tales from Shakespeare" 
derive an additional value from the plates being by 
Blake. A copy of the " Album Verses " was offered 
lately, and was of great interest. " Three copies. 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 157 

each of peculiar and exceptional interest to the col- 
lector, all in original boards, uncut, viz., the original 
proof copy, with corrections in the author's hand- 
writing (one leaf of which is missing) ; the copy 
formerly belonging to J. G. Towers (the friend of 
Charles Lamb), and presented by her brother (page 
12 is composed of verses from the album of Mrs. 
Jane Towers) ; and the copy purchased at Samuel T. 
Coleridge's sale, with the following note on card- 
board affixed to the fly-leaf in Charles Lamb's auto- 
graph : — ' At No. 64 New Bond Street is to be seen a 
capital picture of Milton, the property of C. Lamb, 
which he thinks would gratify Mr. Coleridge to see 
when he is in town and can spare a minute.' It is 
interesting to remark that this particular portrait 
found its way into a London auction about two years 
ago, and the advertiser, after a spirited competition, 
let it fall at £355." Rarest of all is the " Devil's 
Walk," a poem of which but a single copy was known 
to be in existence — I think in the possession of 
Messrs. Moxon. But one little work, " The Poetry 
for Children," containing some verses by Lamb and 
his sister, had altogether disappeared. For years a 
copy was sought ; high rewards were offered, but in 
vain. Strange to say, it at last turned up in one of 
the colonies, was sent to England and reprinted. It 
should be known that poems and essays by Lamb 
are scattered about in all directions in such little 
books as the " Pocket Magazine," Selections from 
" The Champion " newspaper, and in Cottle's " An- 
thology." Very rare is the Coleridge little volume 
published at Bristol, in which are some of his friend's 
sonnets. His works extend, as may be conceived, to a 
vast number of volumes, all uniform in size and stylei 
The late Lord Houghton, among other fancies, col- 



158 THE BOOK FANCIER 

lected all the poets of this century, great and little, 
and which were printed in this uniform shape. 

In a previous page was detailed the fashion in 
which certain works have been saved from destruc- 
tion. Boswell's entertaining Letters to Temple were 
discovered in a shop in Boulogne, in use for wrapping- 
paper. More extraordinary still, Mr. Gibbs, of Bath, 
related to me how, searching in some old house, he 
found Sterne's Diary kept for Eliza in a plate-warmer! 

It is much the fashion now to simulate the old edi- 
tions, mimicking, as it were, the paper, type, and 
general air of a favourite work, Mr. Stock has given 
us some curiously exact facsimiles, such as those of 
" Walton's Angler " and, more singular still, a tiny 
volume reproducing the original black-letter writing 
of the immortal " Imitation of Christ." The two 
little inviting volumes, the original " Vicar of Wake- 
field," retiring, unobtrusive — like the Vicar himself — 
have recently been revived, an exact copy in its 
boards, paper, and print. So with the first Kilmar- 
nock edition of " Burns' Poems " and Bunyan's " Pil- 
grim's Progress," and many more. It would be an 
interesting speculation to think how these copies will 
mystify generations two hundred years hence. But 
with such things Time is the great distinguisher. As 
in painted imitations of wood, every year shows more 
clearly that it is paint and not wood, so in these vol- 
imies the points where likeness was attempted will 
become more glaringly revealed. One of the latest 
and most far-fetched absurdities of pubUcation is a 
posthumous work of a popular writer, announced as 
the " last work of the late Hugh Conway." This is 
an oblong volume with facsimiled handwriting of this 
rather over-praised author. It is given with all era- 
sures, &c., and is not, Uke all MS., very easy reading. 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 159 

The modem devices for setting off books are end- 
less in their variety. Photography in its numerous 
forms — photogravure, phototype, &c. — is made to 
bring colour and mechanism to our aid, and it must 
be said with singularly pleasing and apparently artis- 
tic effect. The latest French works " of luxury." 
display on the finest paper the most exquisite draw- 
ings, printed in a rich blue, brown, or green tint, 
figures, arabesques, landscapes " embordering " the 
page. These are not engraved, but are the original 
drawings or water-colours reproduced by the process. 
They are, however, delusive enough. In course of 
years they will fade or at least " grow flat," for by a 
curious law of retribution all mimicries and pretences 
in time must prove their inferiority, and the weak 
places are revealed. The older finely finished en- 
gravings are " impressions," i.e., a magnifying-glass 
would show that every line is raised on the paper, 
which gives a sort of relief and the brilliancy of relief. 
On the other hand, a literal photograph of an engrav- 
ing, the tone of the ink copied and every line re- 
produced, lacks this relief, or rather simulates it.* 

* Here is a description of one of these bizarre works, which 
first brought this style into fashion. " Uzanne (Octave). — 
L'Eventail — L'Ombrelle — Le Gant — Le Manchon. Profusely 
illustrated with charming engravings by Paul Avril, exquisitely 
printed in various delicate tints, and having inserted sets of 
proofs on Japanese paper, printed without the letterpress, 2 vols, 
imperial 8vo, superbly bound by Riviere, in blue and orange 
morocco extra, the original silk covers used as linings, £<\o. Two 
remarkable books, illustrated in a manner entirely novel, and 
probably destined to effect a revolution in the art of book- 
illustrating. M. Brunox writes of them, ' Rarement livre fut 
accuelU avec un succfes plusvif, et, disons-le, plus merite que 
/ ' Eventatl. Son apparition fut, pour les bibhophiles, un eblouis- 
sement.' Both works rapidly became out of print, and the 
publisher guarantees not to reprint them. Of the sets of proofs 
only loo were printed, and that to L'Ombrelle is a picked set, 
bearing the artist's autograph." Forty guineas was the price. 



i6o THE BOOK FANCIER 

During the last ten years another mania has ob- 
tained in Paris for issuing exquisitely printed little 
books with red-letter titles, it may be, and tiny etch- 
ings, of Elzevir shape or series. The paper is a little 
rough, the print " old faced," the margins large. 
Several firms have distinguished themselves by issu- 
ing these dainty books, such as Lemerre, Glady, &c. 
One would think it was a simple matter to do this, so 
many copies at such a price. But the jaded stomach 
of the bibliomaniac must be tickled by congenial 
devices. So : (i) every copy must be numbered ; 
(2) there must be a limited number, say 300. The 
numbering gives an individuality to each copy of the 
300. Say thirty are printed on " Turkey mill-paper ; " 
then for coquettish amateurs we have the following : 

Printed on choice grape-paper . . . i copy. 



choice parchment 
Japanese quarto 
Imperial Whatman paper 
Chinese do. . 
Van Gelder's Dutch 



2 copies. 

50 „ 
50 „ 
200 



On this scale was the choice " Manon Lescaut " 
brought out. The English Whatman hand-made 
paper is highly appreciated in France. Most of these 
little books are designed to furnish opportunities for 
the binding maniac, who finds thus a choice subject 
to exhibit some exquisite exercise of the bibliopegis- 
tic skill. 

Returning to other " oddities," the old halfpenny 
ballads have always had an attraction for the collector, 
and Macaulay's taste in this direction is well known. 
Playbills also are sought ; and there is something 
attractive " in the casual sight of an old playbill." 
the memories attached, its own frail texture con- 
trasting with the stouter and more enduring tenure 
of those whose doings it chronicled, and who are long 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING i6i 

since mouldered away. Yet this shred and patch en- 
dures. Mr. HaUiwell-PhilUpps has a bill of Dryden's 
arrangement of " Troilus and Cressida," in the time 
of William III., than which there is none older exist- 
ing. As, however, there are no actors' names, this is 
hardly a bill proper. Perhaps the scarcest of bills is 
that of Garrick's first appearance. I myself possess 
" a poster " of Mrs. Siddon's last appearance. The 
most famous collection of halfpenny ballads is that 
known as the " Roxburghe," partly formed by the 
Duke of that name, and sold at his sale in 1812 for 
£482. They are now in the Museum, having been 
secured for £535. But this was exceeded at the 
Brindley sale, when eight volumes of halfpenny bal- 
lads were disposed of for £837 ! 

Yet another amiable craze is that for "chap-books," 
dihgently collected, small pamphlets, things sold by 
hawkers for a halfpenny and a penny, from ten to 
fifteen pages long — " Goody Two Shoes," " History 
of England," &c. There are those who boast their 
*' finest collection of chap-books in England." There 
is a legend, moreover, that some of these have " cuts 
by Bewick," and that some, at least certain children's 
books, were written by Goldsmith. They are poor, 
starved things, uninviting, on rough, villainous paper 
— " wrapping," apparently — and wholly undesirable* 

An odd and interesting department of which a col- 
lection might be made are journals and magazines 
published at schools and colleges, and to which men 
afterwards celebrated contributed. Among these 
are " The Microcosm," published at Eton, to which 
Canning furnished some lively, precocious trifles. 
Also, at the same place, " The Eton Miscellany," by 
Bartholomew Bouverie, now of Eton College (Eton, 
1827), " containing thirty contributions by W. E. 

M 



i62 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Gladstone, five by Arthur Henry Hallam, and others 
by Colvile, Doyle, Gaskell, Hanmer, Jelf, Law, Pick- 
ering, Selwyn, Shadwell, Skirlow, Wilder, Frederic 
Rogers, G. A. Selwyn, and others anonymous." 

The familiar " Arabian Nights," delight of our 
childhood, one might fancy was accessible enough. 
However, Mr. John Payne, of the Villon Society, 
conceived the idea of translating these old tales on 
the principle of calling a spade a spade throughout, 
with this result, that every judjcious bookseller 
secures a copy when he can, and invites the purchaser 
on these tempting grounds : " The Book of the 
Thousand Nights and One Night, now first complete- 
ly done into English prose and verse, from the original 
Arabic, by John Payne, 9 vols., very scarce, 1882-84. 
Intending purchasers are strongly recommended to 
lose no time in securing this valuable work, as every 
month it greatly increases in price, and the limited 
number printed quite precludes the possibility of its 
value decreasing. Only 700 copies were issued, each 
numbered and signed by the printer. It consists of 
a perfectly free and literal translation from the 
original Arabic, and was printed for the Villon Society 
by private subscription, and for private circulation 
only." For these nine volumes, now grown scarce, 
twenty-two guineas are asked. No doubt the attrac- 
tion is what the French call " scatological " or 
" Pantagruelic." Captain Burton has renckeri on 
the idea, and recently published a new translation, 
and being still more literal, or, as our neighbours 
would say, " naturalistic," the demand is far greater. 
The copies are rising in price. 

A recommendation often found in a catalogue runs, 
" The edition nearly all destroyed in the Fire of Lon- 
don." It has indeed been said that in this calamity 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 163 

£200,000 worth of booksellers' property was lost. 
Whole editions were burnt on their shelves. In Lin- 
coln's Inn Library is one survivor curiously pre- 
served, viz., " Prynne's Introduction, or An Exact 
History of the Popes." Every copy was supposed 
to have entirely perished, until one was found to be 
in the library of the Duke of Buckingham at Stowe. 
It was never completed, but ends abruptly at page 
400 in the middle of a sentence. The Benchers of 
Lincoln's Inn possessing the volumes comprising the 
body of the work (and which are of extreme rarity in 
a complete shape, " a large portion of the impression 
having been burnt in the Great Fire "), on the 
occasion of the sale of the Stowe Library in 1849, 
determined at any cost to possess this Introduction 
of two hundred fragmentary leaves. They secured 
it at the price of £335 ! 

Who would not hugely covet works of which lit- 
erally there is only a single copy known to be in exist- 
ence ? This is the case in the instance of one of 
the old English writers, Barnfield, of whose " Lady 
Pecunia " there has been but one copy found. Some 
old bookhunter in the last century, prowling about 
the Barbican, saw it on a dust-heap and rescued it. 
Of other books there have been only a few copies 
printed, which has of course engendered an insane 
longing to possess them. Thus Lord Peterborough 
issued a work called " Succinct Genealogies," of which 
there were only twenty-five copies printed, a single 
one of which has brought £74, £98, and even £100. 
More extraordinary still is the French work, " Ta- 
bleau des Moeurs du Temps," of which only a single 
copy was printed. In such cases the book cannot be 
considered as printed ; it ranks with things in manu- 
script. Dr. Madden's " Memoirs of the 20th 



i64 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Century," the bibliophilist Davis tells us, " published 
in 1733, is considered one of the rarest in the English 
language : it was intended to have been comprised in 
six volumes, only one of which was ever printed. In 
order to expedite the printing and delivery, three 
printers, Bowyer, Woodfall, and Roberts, were em- 
ployed, and one thousand impressions of the first 
volume struck off, but suppressed on the day of publi- 
cation. Eight hundred and ninety copies were 
delivered to Dr. Madden, and all were supposed to 
have been destroyed by him." In this short epitome, 
what a picture of reckless waste, indecision, and folly. 

The second edition of Woolaston's " Religion of 
Nature " has deservedly an interest, as Franklin had 
a share in printing it, or rather in setting the types. 
The " Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum " is notable, 
because Erasmus, on the eve of a serious operation, 
was seized with such a violent fit of laughter when 
reading it, that the " imposthume " burst, and he 
was saved. 

There are two homely English books which at a 
sale would bring good prices — Mrs. Glasse's famous 
Cookery-Book, of " first catch your hare " notoriety, 
and " Cocker's Arithmetic," of " according to Cocker " 
fame. A living London journalist found the first 
edition of the first, " The Art of Cookery," folio, in 
the New Kent Road, and secured it for sixpence ! 
He had it superbly bound, and now values it as a 
unique at £100. The first " Cocker " was published 
so long ago as the year 1677 or 1678, andof this ex- 
cessively rare book not more than three or four copies 
have been heard of. The twentieth edition appeared 
in 1700, and the thirty-second not long after. The 
indefatigable Dr. Dibdin could never succeed in 
meeting a copy earher than this. The late Professor 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 165 

De Morgan was all his lifetime engaged in trying to 
get together a series of the earlier editions, but could 
not succeed. Poor Professor ! dying in despair ! 
Rarest of this class is the famous "Joe Miller's 
Jests, or the Wit's Vade Mecum . . . most 
humbly inscribed to those choice spirits of the age. 
Captain Rodens, Mr. Alexander Pope, Mr. Professor 
Sacy, Mr, Orator Henley, and Job Baker, the kettle- 
drummer. Printed and sold by T. Read, in Dog- 
well Court, Whyte Friars, Fleet Street, 1739. Price 
one shilling." 

Our old friends Stemhold and Hopkins are cele- 
brated not for what had been their praiseworthy 
ambition, viz., versifiers of the Psalms, but as fur- 
nishing the happiest specimen of bathos or doggerel 
known. They suggested a happy jest to Tom Hood, 
who described a game of leap-frog by their familiar 
names. A desirable copy of these worthies' work 
was offered some time ago : " Booke of Psalmes, 
collected into English meeter, by Thomas Sternhold, 
John Hopkins, and others, in 1624, i8mo, bound in 
contemporary maroon satin, entirely covered in rich 
embroidery of gold and silver threads and pearls, 
gilt edges, and accompanied by a beautifully worked 
silk bag, embroidered in colours with trees, flowers, 
animals, &c., and gold and silver thread, the whole 
displayed in a specially prepared morocco case, 
lined with maroon velvet, with glass lid and lock 
and key." Thirty guineas was asked, and it was 
claimed that this was " a highly interesting historical 
relic, the volume and bag having been found in the 
pocket of Charles I. after his execution. In the 
early part of the present century it was purchased by 
Mr. Pickering, who sold it to the late Mr. Bedford, 
the eminent bookbinder, and while in the possession 



i66 THE BOOK FANCIER 

of the latter it was exhibited at the Manchester 
Exhibition. The bag is beheved to have been the 
work of Queen Henrietta-Maria." 

Should you come upon an old folio Livy, with 
portrait of Livy, and device of cat and mouse on 
title, large copy, original vellum binding, 1520, 
think of what the late Bishop of Ely used to say, 
" Whenever you see a book with a Cat and Mouse in 
the frontispiece, seize upon it, for the chances are as 
three to four that it will be found both curious and 
valuable : — admonition from such a quarter is not to 
be slightly rejected." — Dibdin's Bibliog. Decam., ii. 
231. There is something quaint in this piece of 
advice. 

" Robinson Crusoe " went through more editions in 
a short space of time than any other book — forty- 
one editions in forty years. It has been translated 
too into every modem language. I have a few 
numbers of a newspaper, " The Intelligencer," in 
which it appeared as a serial. A popular school- 
book, however, goes through innumerable editions 
with a steady, certain progress that the author of 
genius might sigh for. In 1829 a book appeared 
known as " Butler's Spelling-Book," and it has since 
reached to nearly its 350th edition ! while the better- 
known " Mavor's English Spelling-Book " is advanc- 
ing " by leaps and bounds " to its 400th edition ! It 
has been said that Longfellow's " Miles Standish " 
ran through forty editions in a month. 

John Kemble, when an obscure actor at York in 
1780, published a little volume of " Fugitive Verses," 
of which, when he grew into celebrity, he became 
ashamed, and whenever a copy was announced to 
be sold by auction, he sent to purchase it at any 
price ; and once had to pay an enormous sum, owing 



CURIOSITIES OF PRINTING 167 

to the competition of a rival purchaser, who was 
determined to secure it. Hence it was considered 
to be exceedingly scarce. Now it would not be 
difficult at any time to secure a copy.* 

* The veteran bookseller, Mr. Stibbs, one of the good old 
type, can relate many a legend of this kind. Once the Duke 
of Wellington wished to secure an old pamphlet written by Lord 
Wellesley, and directed his bookseller to purchcise it for him at 
an auction. His brother, however, wished to have it, and also 
sent a commission. The shiUing pamphlet was actually bid up 
to close on a hundred pounds, to the amazement and anger of 
the Iron Duke. He was appeased, however, when reminded 
by his agents that they had only " obeyed orders." Mr. Stibbs 
makes book-buying journeys through Holland in quest of rare 
" incunables " and mouldy tomes reposing in old dimly-lighted 
shops at Amsterdam and the Hague. His experience is that 
there is no level of price for these treasures, which, on the whole, 
bring far higher prices in foreign countries. There is an intimate 
communication between our dealers and the foreigners, who 
give commissions at auctions at Rome and Berhn. 



Oranaerlsing ant) Bicftensiana 

" Grangerising " is a term familiar enough 
to the initiated, but possibly a mystery to 
" the general." There is many a book which 
a nice instinct feels ought to be illustrated, 
such as histories, accounts of persons and 
places. Hence it is that certain ingenious 
persons, with plenty of money and more 
idle time on hand, have devoted their lives to 
the Grangerising some favourite work. To this 
pursuit they have devoted energy and purpose, 
hunting up and hunting down, tearing and cutting 
out, ransacking generally, until they have secured 
what they desired. It is in this way, as Mr. Blades 
shows, that fearful havoc has been wrought, and 
thousands of fine books mutilated and destroyed 
by the Grangerites. And why Grangerites ? It 
seems that a Rev. Mr. Granger came into the world 
specially for the benefit of these Attilas, having 
written a large " History of England," in which 
he made allusion to every celebrated person and 
place connected with the chronicles of England. 
It may be conceived what welcome volumes these 
were to the collecting " Grangerite," and from that 

168 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 169 

time to the present there have always been a number 
of persons diligently engaged in the task. Some of 
these collections have cost fortunes. The " Bindley 
Granger " was celebrated. The late Mr. John Forster 
had two Grangerised copies of " Granger," one in 
fourteen folio volumes, the other in seventeen. To- 
gether they contain between five and six thousand 
portraits, many of which are singularly rare and costly 
and might count as originals. The incidental ex- 
penses of Grangerising are serious, owing to the nice 
*' laying down " of the prints on extra fine paper, and 
of the " inlaying to foUo size " of small printed pages, 
which is an expensive operation. 

Dr. Dibdin, in his most sarcastic vein, gives a 
happy instance of this mania. " Take this passage," 
he says, " from Speed : ' Henry Le Spencer, the 
warlike Bishop of Norwich, being drawn on by Pope 
Urban to preach a crusade, and to be general against 
Clement.' To be properly illustrated, (i) Procure all 
the portraits, at all periods of his life, of Henry Le 
Spencer. (2) Obtain every view, ancient or modern, 
like or unhke, of the city of Norwich, and, if fortune 
favour you, of every bishop of the See. (3) Every 
portrait of Pope Urban must be procured, and as 
many prints and drawings as will give a notion of the 
crusade. (4) You must search high and low, early 
and late, for every print of Clement. (5) Procure, 
or you will be wretched, as many fine prints of 
cardinals and prelates, singly or in groups, as 
will impress you with a proper idea of a conclave. 
The result, gentle reader, will be that you will have 
work enough cut out to occupy you for one whole 
month at least." He then adds that " a late distin- 
guished and highly respectable female collector, who 



170 THE BOOK FANCIER 

had commenced an illustrated Bible, procured for 
the illustration of verses 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25 
of chapter i. of Genesis no less than 700 prints ! " 

It will be a surprise to know that even in the pre- 
sent time there is sometimes a wealthy amateur who, 
with a love or passion for a particular subject, deter- 
mines to adorn it in a special fashion, and gives an 
order for a superb memorial to be prepared, set off 
with exquisite writing, a series of drawings and svater- 
colours, the whole being bound with all the luxury 
" the bibliopegistic art " can furnish. It is thus that 
we find many a superb volume prepared, to celebrate 
this generous ardour. 

One of the most tastefully printed modern works 
is Dore's famous Bible, published at Tours, the Eng- 
lish edition having but small pretensions. It is 
adorned with a vast number of illustrations ; but an 
enterprising Grangerite has gathered every Scripture 
print procurable, including all the most famous line 
engravings, each of which is a thing of cost and 
rarity, and has thus enlarged the work from two to 
ten sumptuous volumes. 

Men the most unlikely have engaged in this 
fascinating craze. In the last century there was a 
Mr. Storer, one of the wild set led by the Duke of 
Queensberry, who never flagged in collecting, and 
left the result of his labours to his University. 

An extraordinary monument of pains, patience, 
and expense in this direction is " Clutterbuck's 
History of Hertfordshire," which an enthusiast 
adorned and expanded in this fashion, regardless of 
expense. Starting with some fifty plates of its own 
of antiquities, seats, castles, plans, &c., proof impres- 
sions, superb copy on large paper, it was enlarged 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 171 

from three volumes to ten volumes, folio, and " illus- 
trated by eleven hundred original landscapes, archi- 
tectural views, and portraits, beautifully painted in 
water-colours by Buckler, Harding, and other eminent 
artists ; also fourteen hundred drawings of coats of 
arms, beautifully emblazoned by Dowse, and nearly 
six hundred additional engravings, comprising views, 
old buildings, antiquities, portraits, &c., by Hou- 
braken, &c., fine and large mezzotints and brilliant 
India proofs in folio, russia extra, gilt edges, by Hol- 
loway." This, we are told, was " a magnificent 
monument of industry and liberality, and the finest 
copy which has ever been offered for sale. The work 
of many years, it was executed regardless of expense, 
and cost thousands of founds to produce." The name 
of this Grangerite was John Morice, Esq., F.S.A. 
Eight himdred guineas was asked for this treasure 
by Messrs. Robson & Kerslake, the vendors. 

Another of these costly and stupendous enterprises 
was the copy of " Pennant's London," illustrated by 
a Mr. Crowle, and bequeathed by that gentleman to 
the British Museum, where it now reposes. Pennant 
is a favourite subject, as the prints of London build- 
ings and London streets are to be found in enormous 
abundance. But what was this to the prodigious 
" Clarendon and Burnet," a collection of illustrative 
pictures formed by Mr, Sutherland, of Gower Street, 
continued by his widow, and by her presented to 
the Bodleian Library ? It has been said that this 
is the richest and most extensive pictorial history 
in existence, or ever likely to be in existence ; and 
this will be admitted when it is stated that there are 
nearly 19,000 prints and drawings. The scale on 
which it is carried out may be conceived when we 



172 THE BOOK FANCIER 

find it contains no less than 731 portraits of Charles 
I., 518 of Charles II., 352 of Cromwell, 273 of 
James II., and 420 of William III. If we only 
think how few are the portraits of Charles I. that we 
ourselves have seen, mostly copies after Vandyke, 
we shall have an idea of the labour and exploration 
necessary to gather up the 731. Think also of the 
labour, pains, and cost in cleaning, " laying down," 
" insetting," and " inlaying " these portraits, the 
binding, arranging, &c., and we shall not be sur- 
prised to learn that this folly occupied the eccentric 
and fanatical Sutherland forty precious years of his 
life ; that it fills sixty-seven huge volumes, and cost 
twelve thousand pounds ! We may conceive all the 
visitings of print-shops, the turning over boxes of 
prints, the visiting of wynds and lanes, the corre- 
spondence, and the endless paying of money. To 
give a finish to his labours, a catalogue was prepared 
of all the engravings, and which fills two great 
quartos. 

Portraits en masse have little value, as they are 
mostly copies one from another. " There is a 
charm," it has been said, " in collections of the 
human face divine," though it must needs be power- 
ful to call forth, as it does, twenty or thirty or fifty 
guineas from a collector's pocket for a coarsely 
executed cut of some Meg Merrilees, or a con- 
demned criminal of which the only value is being 
" mentioned by Granger." The illustrator of Bos- 
well's " Johnson " will find allusions to a malefactor 
called Rann, otherwise " Sixteen-String Jack " and 
to Johnson, a circus-rider, whom the great Doctor ad- 
mired for riding several horses at a time. There 
are actually in existence some cheap common sketches 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 173 

of these worthies, the latter shown riding the horses. 
These are singularly scarce, as may be imagined, and 
your " Boswell " would be halting and incomplete 
without it ; so any price must be given, on the 
ground that all that had been paid would be thrown 
away without them. It might be worth while almost 
to have the plate re-engraved, and printed off on old 
paper, say the fly-leaf of some contemporary volume, 
and the result will serve. Not unfrequently, by a 
happy chance, old copper-plates turn up, and new 
impressions can be taken. Some such discovery has 
been made in the case of Bartolozzi, the mania for 
whose red-tinted oval plates has been to dealers one 
of the wonders known in modem times. 

Boswell's " Johnson " is certainly the most favour- 
able object on which this taste may be exercised. 
What can be done with this book was once shown by 
a splendid memorial made by Mr. F. Harvey, of St. 
James's Street, whose pleasant magasin is as enter- 
taining to the passer-by outside as to those within, 
for he liberally takes pains to put his best and dearest 
proofs in the window, no niggard evidences of what 
is in store within. The pages of Boswell are so full 
of allusions to persons and localities, and these again 
are of such celebrity, and have been so handsomely 
glorified by art, that the task may be undertaken 
under the most favourable conditions. Mr. Harvey 
justly terms his work " the grandest literary monu- 
ment erected in honour of Dr. Johnson." 

The " Life of Boswell " selected was Croker's edi- 
tion in five volumes, which was enlarged and inlaid to 
sixteen volumes folio, by the addition of autographs, 
portraits, views in water-colours, mezzotints and line 
engravings. A general dealer in pictures, autographs, 
prints, has immense advantage in his system ; for 



174 THE BOOK FANCIER 

out of the great masses of " papers " which he pur- 
chases, the great portion is certain to prove useful 
for some one or other of these purposes. The num- 
ber of articles illustrating them, including twenty por- 
traits of the writer, are nine hundred and eighty-two, 
each one of which has been inlaid and enlarged, 
cleaned, and laid down with the greatest neatness, 
care, and cost. 

The supplement, a single volume, was enlarged to 
six folio volumes. How rich and curious the contents 
are will be seen from the fact that it contains many 
original MSS. of the Doctor, including the famous 
letter to Macpherson, and which was worth £50, 
the draft of the plan for his Dictionary, and which 
was sold at auction for £57. There were water- 
colours by Pyne and others. For the whole set of 
twenty-two volumes, handsomely bound in morocco 
extra, with the title-pages, table of contents, and 
printed specially, the large but not excessive sum of 
one thousand and fifty pounds is asked. The 
Grangerised Kemble is enlarged from two into nine 
volumes, with all the luxe of special water-colours, 
bills, &c., proof prints, &c., and is valued at £300. 
But in these instances, it need not be said, the outlay 
has been purposely kept within measurable bounds. 
But the wealthy reckless amateur need only to give 
his commission and the book can be illustrated regard- 
less of cost. 

The pitiless Grangerite slaughters a book for a 
few pictures, just as an epicure has had a sheep 
killed for the sweetbread. At the Bemal sale there 
was a collection of pictures to illustrate Shakespeare : 
" An Extensive and Valuable Collection of Engrav- 
ings made for various editions of the Plays of Shake- 
speare, formed with the intention of illustrating the 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 175 

Works of this celebrated writer (!) by the aid of pic- 
torial art, comprising the series published to several 
editions, viz.. Bell's first edition, with the Actors in 
Costume, large paper, 170 plates ; Inchbald's Theatre, 
23 proofs on India before the writing ; Singleton's 
designs, 44 plates ; Pickering's edition, 39 large 
paper, india paper ; Smirke's designs, by Taylor, in 
ovals, nearly all paper ; Woodcuts to Scholey's edi- 
tion (23) ; Jennings and Chaplin's series of 40 proofs 
before the letters ; Smirke's Illustrations (40) ; Sar- 
gent's Landscape and Architectural Illustrations, 9 
parts, 45 plates, india proofs ; How and Parsons, 
1841 ; the Union Shakespeare, 6 parts, proofs before 
the letters ; Theobald's edition, 39 plates mounted ; 
Bell and Kearsley, 106, mostly mounted ; Kearsley's 
edition, 75 plates mounted ; with others from Ballan- 
tyne, Thurston, and Whittingham's editions ; in all, 
above eight hundred engravings. A choice collec- 
tion, mostly proofs." 

But what is all this to the following stupendous 
monument :* " Blomefield's Norfolk Illustrated. — 
Blomefield's (Francis) Essay towards a Topographi- 
cal History of the County of Norfolk, new edition, 
with Continuation, 11 vols., large paper, richly illus- 
strated by the insertion of additional manuscript and 
printed matter, the arms coloured throughout, and 
many hundred drawings of arms, seals and other 

* In a recent catalogue was offered a volume of miniatures 
and illuminated capital letters cut from the old MS., and about 
150 in number. Conceive of the sacrilegious Goth at his work, 
slicing and snipping from the reverent tawny leaves of the 
thirteenth century, it may be, and flinging away the useless 
vellum I There is an instance, too, of another devastator who 
wished to illustrate the History of Printing in the most effective 
style, and formed a collection of title-pages cut from books, with, 
specimens of ordinary pages. These he accumulated in thous- 
ands, each specimen entailing the sacrifice of a volume. 



176 THE BOOK FANCIER 

interesting objects upon the margin ; half nissia. 
Original Drawings to illustrate Blomefield's Norfolk ; 
also a very extensive Collection of engraved Illustra- 
tions, together amounting to about seven thousand 
subjects, 29 vols, half russia, and 12 vols, in cloth ; 
also a few additional drawings, unbound. Yarmouth 
Town Rolls ; ancient manuscripts, neatly laid down 
and bound in i vol. half russia. Original Deeds and 
Charters, two hundred and twenty-four in number, in 
I vol. half russia. Miscellaneous Deeds, about two 
hundred and thirty in number, arranged in 11 solan- 
der boxes, russia backs, uniform with the rest. A 
Collection of 224 Seals, embracing conventual, paro- 
chial, corporate, and private seals, many of high 
antiquity ; arranged in trays, enclosed in a case with 
russia back. List of Norfolk Portraits, Manuscript, 
I vol. half russia. Index of Illustrations, arranged 
according to Parishes (royal 8vo, privately printed, 
inlaid to a size uniform with the rest), with copious 
MS. additions, i vol. half russia. Together 70 vols, 
and cases." 

" To speak of this article summarily as presenting 
the finest illustrated county history ever formed would 
perhaps be its only fitting and sufficient description. 
It may, however, be stated that of the total number 
of seven thousand illustrations (without estimating at 
all those to be found in the printed volumes), about 
four thousand are beautiful original drawings." One 
feels a sort of pity for this poor demented collector, 
with his " eleven solander boxes," and his " trays with 
russia backs," and his bills to the artists and binders, 
and the jackals employed to search the country for 
prey. 

These " County Histories " are a favourite and in- 
variable subject. Sometimes the wealthy amateur. 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 177 

full of his pet subject, has given an order regardless 
of expense for the illustrators by pen and pencil, gold 
and colours. This seems turning the clock back- 
wards, as these modem imitators, from want of 
practice, lack the certainty and freedom of the older 
masters of the craft. It was thus that some one 
interested in the meeting of the Field of the Cloth of 
Gold commissioned artists and scriveners to prepare 
him an illustrated chronicle of the ceremonies, with 
the result of a superb volume : — " Field of the Cloth 
of Gold. — Le Champ de Drap d'Or ; or, Account of 
the Interview between Henry VIII. and Francis I. on 
the Field of the Cloth of Gold, near Guisnes in 
Picardy, in the year mdxx, with a particular detail of 
all the magnificent ceremonies there observed, from 
the contemporary chroniclers. A beautifully-written 
Manuscript, within borders of gold, by Adams, the 
caligraphist, containing 80 original paintings by 
Stephanoff, Cooper, Willement, R. T. Bone, Har- 
lowe, and Kenny Meadows, royal 4to, purple morocco 
super extra, joints double with vellum, completely 
covered with hand-worked gold tooling in a remark- 
ably handsome pattern, vellum fly-leaves, gilt gaufr^ 
edges, by C. Lewis, and preserved in a green morocco 
case lined with velvet." The price for this gem was 
one hundred guineas " A volume which is in every 
way a superb work of art ; and it has been justly 
said that nearly two centuries and a half have passed 
since any manuscript so richly decorated has been 
executed. It formerly belonged to Mr. Hanrott, the 
eminent bibliophile, and after his death was pur- 
chased for £173 5s. by Sir John Tobin, whose arms 
were drawn and illuminated on the first leaf." It con- 
tained portrait of Henry VIII. in water-colours by 
Willement, after Holbein ; portrait of Francis I. in 

N 



178 THE BOOK FANCIER 

water-colours, slightly touched with oil, by R. T. 
Bone, after Titian ; portrait of Francis I. in chalks 
on blue paper by Harlowe, from the original picture 
at Paris ; three water-colour drawings by Stephanoff ; 
two water-colour drawings by Cooper, R.A. ; thir- 
teen historical oil paintings by R. T. Bone, and eight 
smaller ones ; one water-colour drawing by R. T. 
Bone ; three water-colour drawings by Kenny 
Meadows ; illiuninated title by T. Willement, bear- 
ing portraits of Henry, Francis, their Queens, and 
Wolsey, coats of arms, &c. ; and forty-seven exquis- 
ite emblematic and heraldic head and tail pieces, 
initial letters, and vignettes, very beautifully illumi- 
nated in gold and colours, by Willement. 

Nothing would have caused so much amusement 
and surprise to the late amiable and brilliant Charles 
Dickens had he been assured that one of the fashions 
in which his posthumous fame would have been 
celebrated was to be a mania for collecting " early 
clean or uncut " copies of his works, in various 
" states " and conditions. This sort of compliment 
would have brought a pleasant twinkle in his eye, 
anticipatory of some quip more pleasant. Still, 
though careful to preserve for himself the series of 
his works in due order as they were issued, he had 
Uttle toleration for the fads of the bibliophihst, 
as Uttle as he had for " fads " of any kind. Thacke- 
ray, it is known, hke many other copious writers, 
used to complain rather piteously that he could never 
lay his hand on, or keep a copy of, his own books, 
which were usually begged or borrowed, stolen or 
given away. On the other hand, the less-appreci- 
ated author has generally a stock on hand, and is 
ever ready to bestow a copy on a favoured friend. 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 179 

enriched with a presentation formula in his own 
autograph. 

It is only within the last few years this eager quest 
for early copies and first editions of Dickens's works 
has developed to an extraordinary degree. Every- 
thing written by this master when in its " first state " 
fetches extravagant prices. All sorts of refinements 
or variations are carefully noted to enhance the 
price. Within the last two years a new " sense " 
has been created by two or three enterprising Lon- 
don booksellers, who have contrived to stimulate an 
€ager demand for rare copies and editions. Pos- 
sessors of early editions will be astonished to learn 
what prices can be obtained for these rarities, or for 
a " Pickwick " in " fine condition." A " Pickwick " 
arrayed in its green covers, it may be said, should 
be bound up with these adornments, including all the 
advertisements, the British Museum having ruled the 
precedent, and binding up its magazines in this 
fashion. A nice point is thus raised, it being urged 
that these are legitimate and component parts of the 
work, as being issued with it ; more especially as 
among them will be found " the two scarce ad- 
dresses " of the author to the reader. " Nickleby " 
and its successors cost from three to four guineas, 
according to condition, while " Oliver Twist," owing 
to the masterly plates by Cruikshank, reaches to five 
and upwards ; for here the claims of collectors of 
Cruikshankiana and Dickensiana come into conflict. 
Next comes " Great Expectations," a first edition of 
which is almost impossible to procure, buyers having 
to be content with a first or second volume, making 
up the rest from the second or third. The reason 
given for this scarcity is a curious one. The work 
was issued in the " Mudie " or three-volume form 



i8o THE BOOK FANCIER 

and was thus promptly thumbed, torn, marked, and 
even dismembered, by the professional reader ; 
whereas works issued in numbers were bought by 
private purchasers and preserved for binding. It is 
indeed pathetically complained, " We have had to 
use fourth editions for vols. ii. and iii. Vol. i. is a 
first edition, and very clean. A complete copy of 
the first is of extreme rarity, and even when offered 
is generally very dirty in all volumes. When it is 
remembered that the whole of the first issue was 
sold out the day of publication, and the greatest 
number of them went to the libraries, its scarcity 
is understood." The little Christmas stories, truly 
charming volumes, gems of art and typography, 
fetch five or six guineas a set, according to condi- 
tion. We remember not long since when they could 
be procured for three or four shillings apiece. What 
is really introuvahle is " The Story of the Bible," 
" written for my children," and which, though 
printed, was, we believe, never published. The truth 
is, the early editions of Dickens's works have great 
typographical merit, and are really handsome vol- 
umes. Nothing now produced can compare with 
" Master Humphrey's Clock," its large noble page 
and type, and its exquisite Cattermole etchings set in 
the type.* 

* Mr. Jarvis, an enterprising bookseller in King William 
Street, has recently issued a little " Dickens Catalogue," con- 
taining all the works, with additional " Dickensiaaa," reaching 
to some four hundred items, all richly bound in " crushed 
green levant morocco by Zaehnsdorf," and which includes " an 
almost unique collection of portraits, some seventeen in number." 
Here we find the rare playbills of the amateur performances, 
the various farces and plays he wrote, and which Mr, R Heme 
Shepherd ventured to reprint in two portly volumes, thereby 
bringing down on his head a swift and effectual stroke from 
Mr. Wilkie Collins, who suppressed the work by force of law. 
They are divided under heads, " The Green Leaf Series," the 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA i8i 

This fancy for Dickens is therefore not so unmean- 
ing or exaggerated as might be supposed. It seems 
to be founded on a certain intrinsic excellence in the 
articles that are so recherche ; later editions, being 
^' cheap " and thrown off hastily, have really few 
attractions. As I have said, some of the prettiest 
volumes ever turned out were the little Christmas 
annuals, in their gold and crimson " jackets," effec- 
tive and dainty titles, and exquisite engravings. The 
way these are combined with the type, the romance 
and sympathy in the touches, the beauty and dreamy 
character of the whole, make these most charming 
little works, and quite account for the general desire 
to possess them. A set in fine condition is a welcome 
treasure indeed. 

*' Bound Works," and " Dickensiana," all the books and pam- 
phlets that have been written on our author or in imitation 
of him. Mr. R. H. Shepherd has written a very interesting 
volume called the " BibUography of Charles Dickens," in which 
he has noted all his works, editions, letters, &c., with the dates 
of pubhcations. Here are found all the theatrical adaptations, 
the imitations, " catchpenny " and otherwise, such as " Pickwick 
Abroad," " Pickwick in America," " The Penny Pickwick 
by Boz," " The Peregrinations of Pickwick," " Dombey and 
Daughter," by the notorious " Chief Baron Nicholson " ; 
" Nickleby Married," &c. Even an attenuated httle volume of 
poems by the " horse-riding " Ada Menken is much sought, 
owing to a letter of our author which is given in the preface, 
A most curious feature is that his wonderful descriptive faculty 
has been found of value in describing scenes or buildings that 
have now been swept away ; hence we have volumes on his 
connection with Old London, and its demohshed streets and inns 
— " Charles Dickens in Kent," " Rochester and Charles Dickens," 
" Dickens and Lxjndon," " Dickens in England " — ^while one 
person has used his scissors to make up a pleaising little book 
of sketches of old streets, inns, houses, &c., described by the 
great author. In short, the fashion in which this wonderful 
master has leavened social talk, allusions, jokes, characters, 
places, &c., is one of the most singular phenomena of the age, 
and as unique as it is extraordinary. No other writer, save 
perhaps Shakespeare, has been so reprinted or so illustrated, and 
it now looks as though this prestige is entering on a new lease. 



i82 THE BOOK FANCIER 

The " Sunday Under Three Heads," like all pam- 
phlets of small circulation, is singularly scarce. I 
recall the delighted chuckle of a well-known collector 
who at a sale bid carelessly for a small volume of 
tracts, secured for a shilling or two. He was pre- 
sently showing his friends, in unconstrained dehght, 
the " Sunday Under Three Heads," bound up with 
the rest. " Worth a couple of guineas," he cried ; 
" the rarest of Dickens's works." The merits of the 
" Sunday Under Three Heads " are set out thus offi- 
cially : — " By Timothy Sparks (the only instance of 
the use of this nom de plume by Dickens) . With all 
the woodcuts (early specimens of the work of H. K. 
Browne, otherwise * Phiz '), and both the wrappers,, 
fine copy. The first and probably the scarcest of all 
Dickens's published works. ;^ii 15s. 1836." But 
for another copy ;^io is asked, and this has merits of 
its own, being " an exceptionally large copy, with 
the edges quite rough and uncut. It has been gene- 
rally found in stiff boards, with the edges cut ; the 
present copy is the largest the writer has ever seen." 

The ordinary mortal might esteem himself fairly 
happy in the possession of a good legible copy of 
" Pickwick " which he can read with comfort. One 
more ambitious will show with pride his copy of " the 
original edition, sir, very rare, and picked up for a 
trifle — old gold." Alas ! he has but little idea of 
the knowledge, the necessary perfections and beau- 
ties that go to make up that really perfect and entire 
chrysoHte, a first edition of " Pickwick " in a good 
" state." That it should be " clean," " uncut," i.e., 
the edges not pared by the binder's knife, are mere 
elementary conditions, but there are far more impor- 
tant questions. Are the numbers in the original 
green wrappers with all the advertisements ? Has it 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 183 

the " suppressed plate " by Seymour, or can it show 
the " Buss " plates ? and, above all, the recently dis- 
covered Buss plate of the Review ? Has it Alfred 
Crowquill's set of forty extra illustrations, or the set 
of thirty-two illustrations by Onwhyn in the " green 
wrappers as originally issued," or the " twelve curious 
ones " by Strange, or the original cover containing 
fourteen portraits of characters, or Sir John Gilbert's 
thirty-two illustrations, or Leslie's frontispiece, or, 
finally, Mr. Pailthorpe's twenty-four etchings, done 
lately, which it must be said are admirable and full 
of a Cruikshank spirit. When all these additions 
have been secured, and the whole splendidly and 
suitably bound in " whole crushed green levant 
morocco by Zaehnsdorf in the best style," then in- 
deed you may sit down contentedly in possession of a 
real first edition of " Pickwick," that is not only 
" worth looking at," but worth a great deal of money. 
Such has been priced at ;^28. 

In this connection may be mentioned the extra- 
ordinary Cruikshank controversy, the delusion of 
an old man — the claim to the invention or sugges- 
tion of part of the story and characters of " Oliver 
Twist." The same claim was made to some of Ains- 
worth's stories, and finally some members of the Sey- 
mour family put forward a similar pretension. Mr. 
Seymour's widow seriously urged the claims of her 
husband in a tiny pamphlet of a few leaves, but so 
scarce and almost introuvable that a copy was lately 
offered at ten guineas. To this unhappy and clever 
artist we owe the original sporting complexion of 
" Pickwick," but he committed suicide during its pro- 
gress, and threw the young author's venture into con- 
fusion. These claims seem ludicrous. One of the 
last plates, " Rose Mayhe and Oliver," was so inferior 



i84 THE BOOK FANCIER 

that it had to be cancelled. " With reference to the 
last one," wrote Mr. Dickens to the artist, Cruik- 
shank, " without entering into the question of great 
haste or any other cause which may have led to its 
being what it is, I am quite sure there can be little 
difference of opinion between us with respect to the 
result. May I ask whether you will object to design- 
ing this plate afresh, and doing so at once, in order 
that as few impressions as possible of the present one 
may go forth ? " This change was accordingly 
made ; but it will be undisputed that " the few m- 
pressions " that did go forth have since become ex- 
ceedingly precious and rare. An " Oliver Twist " 
with this cancelled plate is a thing to be the collector's 
glory and pride.* 

The " Memoirs of Grimaldi," which Dickens 
revised rather than wrote, is also much recherche 
on account of its spirited etchings by the admirable 
George. It has become, too, a favourite book for 
" enlarging " and illustrating. The quaint old 
theatre of Sadlers Wells, where many of its scenes are 
laid, the old style of entertainment, the pictures of 
Old London life, all furnish, as it were, so many pegs 
on which to hang the dresses and properties of decora- 

* It is the same with " Nickleby " and " Humphrey's Clock," 
for which various artists have furnished extra illustrations, viz^ 
Sibson, " Charley Chalk," Hablot Browne with his " eight 
scarce plates," Peter Palette, Onwhyn, &c. These extra illus- 
trations have an artificial and arbitrary air, for the first regular 
illustrations were done under the inspiration and promptings of 
the writer. Hablot Browne after " Copperfield,*' fell strangely 
away, and his figures seem to have httle significance. Yet still 
when a change of artists was made, none of his successors seem 
to have caught the spirit of the great novehst. It may be 
repeated, however, that those of Mr. Pailthorpe are excellent, 
and the one of the Pickwickians leading the horse and pre- 
senting themselves at the roadside inn is in the best vein of 
comedy. 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 185 

tion.* Even the little green pamphlets prepared for 
the " Readings," " Dombey and Son," " Christmas 
Carol," &c,, and sold at the doors for a shilling, are 
now grown to be rarities, and fetch a pound or pounds. 
The great " edition de luxe," issued at vast trouble 
and expense, is described as " splendidly printed in 
large type, and illustrated with upwards of 700 
engravings, including the whole of the original plates 
by George Cruikshank, Seymour, H. K. Browne, 
Machse, &c., executed on china paper in 30 vols., 
imp. 8vo, cloth, uncut, published at £^0, and offered 
for £24, and of which the edition was limited to 
1000 copies." 

There live and flourish in London litterateurs 
whose industry, at least, cannot be contested — pains- 
taking, industrious men, who make themselves 
specially useful in compiling what are called " Biblio- 
graphies " of these works — picking up with a pointed 
stick every scrap or chiffon of composition, and 
tossing it into the basket on their shoulders. A 

* We thus find copies of this character : — " Grimaldi (Joseph). 
— A number of unique portraits, views, scenes, and playbills, 
illustrating the Memoirs, by ' Boz,' of the greatest of English 
clowns, consisting of engraved and artistically painted portraits 
in water-colours by the artist, H. Browne, representing Grimaldi 
in private dress and in bis favourite characters ; the Times 
report of his last appearance, together with liis farewell speech ; 
interesting scenes of himself and son ; views of Sadlers Wells, 
coloured ; an etching of the exterior in 1760 ; fishing scene by 
Woodward, 1794 ; exterior, 1813, 2 views ; races in 1826 ; the 
Clown Tavern opposite. Also 12 playbills, T. R. Covent Garden, 
in which Grimaldi is cast for clown in pantomimes, Haxlequin 
Mother Goose, Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, Asmodeus, Whit- 
tington, Dragon of Wantley, Gulliver, Cinderella, Mother 
Bunch, Vision of the Sun, Mother Shipton, &c. These 
have an extra interest, as they contain the casts of many 
of Shakespeare's plays, with such notables as Kemble, 
Young, Cosway, Miss O'Neill, and others, a most interesting 
collection," 



i86 THE BOOK FANCIER 

little work on Dickens is, it must be said, a monu- 
ment of careful and useful labour, for here we have 
every book and pamphlet of the great novelist, with 
date, place, and number of the edition, while almost 
every letter that he wrote is duly noted. This has 
been exceeded by the final tribute, " Dickensiana," 
for which every conceivable fact and criticism has 
been gathered by Mr. Kitton. 

It is not unnatural that there should be curiosity 
and interest about some of our novelist's earliest and 
scarcely acknowledged productions. Who, for in- 
stance, is acquainted with the " Library of Fiction,, 
or Family Story-TeUer, Original Tales, Essays, 
and Sketches of Character," 14 plates by Seymour 
and H. K. Browne, &c., 2 vols, post 8vo, half calf, 
very scarce, published in 1836-37, and containing 
the " Tuggs at Ramsgate," and a little talk about 
" Spring and Sweeps," by Boz, pieces by Mayhew, 
Douglas Jerrold, Stirling Coyne, &c. Rarer still is 
what is open before the writer at this moment, a 
number of the " Monthly Magazine," containing 
" Horatio Sparkins," the second number to which he 
contributed. It is a curious and melancholy sensa- 
tion to look at the characters of this juvenile attempt. 
We stretch back over the long, long interval, to the 
gay, spirited, handsome youth, now first trying his 
powers — the brilliant career — fame, honour, profit 
— a name to be known all over the world and in 
every generation to come ; yet here he was, obscure, 
unknown, unthought of — making this first jocose 
effort — and the tale unpaid for ! Rare, also, the 
strange story he contributed to the " Picnic Papers," 
a venture on behalf of a publisher who had shown 
singular greed in his dealings with him, and whom 
he repaid, as Mr. Pickwick did Job Trotter, with a 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 187 

" Take that, sir ! " — not a blow, but the most un- 
wearied exertions for him, and for his widow and 
children. 

The most wonderful and flattering monument, 
however, to the memory of Dickens was the work 
of Mr. Harvey of St. James Street. This is the 
" Forster Life," comprised in thirteen large folios, 
and illustrated by all that industry and money could 
acquire. To begin with, each octavo was expanded 
into a folio by the process known as " inlaying " or 
" insetting," a costly thing in its way, and which 
requires pressing and delicate pasting with a " feather 
edge," and which has to be paid for at the rate 
of fourpence a leaf. Every notable name has its 
portrait, and every place visited by our author an 
illustration. Every portrait had its autograph letter, 
and the author himself was glorified by a series of 
no less than sixteen. Here were all sorts of inter- 
esting curiosities, such as his " Manual of Short- 
hand," written out by himself and dealt with in a 
very original way, and a review of a pamphlet done 
in the vigorous Crokerish style fashionable fifty years 
ago. There are bills of his early plays, pictures of 
the actors who created their parts, scenes and bits 
of Old London, with even a water-colour sketch of 
the " Fox-under-the-Hill," an old public-house on 
the banks of the Thames, where the child Dickens 
occasionally forgot his early miseries over a glass of 
ale. It would take long to describe this wonderful 
collection, which, I believe, was sold to a wealthy 
American, and for which the comparatively small 
sum of ;^35o was asked. 

It is evidence of the extraordinary interest in his 
works that several of his little early books have been 
reprinted in facsimile. The " Sunday Under Three 



i88 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Heads," before alluded to, has been thus treated 
by two publishers ; so have the plays, in a fashion 
which can scarcely be distinguished from the 
original. Perhaps the rarest of these little trifles is 
the " Dance Round a Christmas Tree," a little story 
of a few leaves, which was, I believe, written for a 
bazaar, and is eagerly sought, and at an extravagant 
price.* 

One of the least known of our author's works is 
" The Loving Ballad of Lord Bateman," with the 
plates by George Cruikshank, in which Dickens 
treated the ballad with all the gravity of a classical 
commentator, furnishing notes and " various con- 
jectural readings " in a most diverting fashion ; but 
we must see and get the " scarce original issue," and, 
better still, have " the original " cloth covers pre- 
served. For his friend Miss Pardee he was induced 
to write something for one of the volumes, gorgeous 
in crimson watered silk, that she edited ; and in 
" The Keepsake " of 1852 is to be found a story by 
him, entitled, " To be Read at Dusk." This, of 
course, is rare. Some industrious ones have traced his 
very earliest productions, carried by their ardour 

* Among the " ana " is a curious little book on the " Origin 
of Sam Weller," published by Mr. Jarvis, and which certainly 
supports its title in showing how Sam was suggested. It seems 
that there was an actor of the name of Sam Vale playing at the 
Olympic some sixty years since. His chief and most popular 
part was that of " Sam Splatterdash " in the " Boarding-House," 
m which he introduced those odd similes which made Sam 
Weller so popular, such as " ' Come on ! ' as the man said to the 
tight boot " ; " ' Why, here we are all mustered,' as the roast 
beef said to the Welsh rabbit " ; " ' Where shall we fly ? ' as 
the bullet said to the trigger " ; " ' I know the world,' as the 
monkey said when he cut off his tail " ; " ' There she is, musical 
and melancholy,' as the cricket said to the tea-kettle." This 
subject has been recently dealt with by my friend Mr. Charles 
Kent in a curious little volume — " Wellerisms." 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 189 

into very speculative regions, as when it has been 
assumed that he contributed to " ' The Town,' a 
journal of original essays, characteristic of the 
manners, social, domestic, and superficial, of London 
and Londoners, containing an interesting condemna- 
tory notice of the ' Penny Pickwick ' edited by Boz, 
and has probably unrecognised contributions by 
Dickens." Another journal, " Figaro in London," 
was also considered to have " probably unrecognised 
contributions," and accordingly is priced highly. It 
may be added that " Bentley's Magazine," which he 
edited, has been found to contain many addresses 
and ephemeral contributions which the diligent 
collector will take care not to overlook. In the 
Daily News, in an odd company, are to be found 
several of his poems and letters. Then there 
are prefaces, such as he prefixed to Overs, the 
" working man's " book, and to Miss Procter's 
poems. 

A no less extraordinary testimony to the popular- 
ity of this great and charming writer are the number 
of imitations, sequels, &c., to his works, attempts 
made during his lifetime to secure one faint puff even 
from the full gale of his popularity. These also have 
been collected, and fall into the ranks of " Dicken- 
siana. ' ' To this category belong the ' ' Sketch-Book ' ' 
by " Boz," containing a great number of highly inter- 
esting and original tales, sketches, &c., &c., curious 
rough woodcut illustrations {circa 1837), very scarce ; 
" Pickwick Abroad, or The Tour in France," by 
G. W. M. Reynolds, plates by CrowquHl and Phil- 
lips, 8vo, 1839 ; " Pickwick in America ; " " The 
Penny Pickwick," edited by " Boz " (the first 54 
niunbers of this very remarkable plagiarism, many 
rough woodcuts, has the curious original wrappers to 



190 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Part I, many advertisement leaves, and the title, very 
rarely to be met with, 8vo (one page slightly defect- 
ive), 1842 ; " The Peregrinations of Pickwick." 
The unfinished fragment of " Edwin Drood " has pro- 
duced quite a literature in itself, and the commonly 
found being, who rushes in where a more super- 
natural power might fear to tread, has exercised his 
art freely in speculative continuations and arrange- 
ments, dramatic and narrative. There are many of 
these continuations, such as " John Glasper's Secret.' 
There is also " Christmas Eve with the Spirits, or 
The Canon's Wanderings through Ways Unknown, 
with some further tidings of the Lives of Scrooge and 
Tiny Tim, with illustrations ; " and " The Mystery 
of Edwin Drood," an adaptation by Orpheus C. Kerr, 
i2mo, half morocco uniform, original illustrated 
covers preserved. 

A celebrated but not distinguished character of 
forty years ago was the so-called or self-styled " Chief 
Baron Nicholson," who presided at the " Judge and 
Jury " Club. This personage, turning author, wrote 
a continuation of Dombey, which he styled " Dom- 
bey and Daughter, by Renton Nicholson, Lord Chief 
Baron of the celebrated Judge and Jury Club, with 
numerous engravings, the rare original edition, very 
scarce." And later, some one, issuing a series of 
" Sketches of Celebrated Characters," was pleased to 
include our novelist, who was complimentarily 
marked " No. i " in the gallery of portraits, a mark 
of favour that must have been distasteful to its 
object. The number of persons who have described 
him, recorded their " recollections " of him, sketched 
the places he resorted to, is enormous. We have 
accordingly his " Youth and Middle Age," his " Child- 
hood," "The Story of his Life," "A Day with 



GRANGERISING AND DICKENSIANA 191 

Dickens," " Charles Dickens as a Reader," the " Phil- 
osophy of Dickens," his " Humour and Pathos," 
" About England," with him " In Kent," Dickens 
as a " Journalist," " In Rochester," also among 
the " Worthies of the World," a title that would have 
amused him. Then the adaptations for the stage 
is in itself a long catalogue ; and it is remarkable 
that every one of his stories has been dramatised, 
some of them many times over. 

The portraits of the departed master form another 
department for the collector. Some of the early ones 
show how bright and interesting was the face when 
he was a young man, and the eager, quick eyes, so 
likely to rivet attention. Maclise had a happy faculty 
for reproducing this grace. It seems there was to 
have been a portrait prefixed to " Copperfield," but 
which, being " suppressed " for some reason, has, of 
course, become desirable. The Laurence portrait, a 
brilliant head, we are told, was " much esteemed by 
the family." Some of Cruikshank's careless sketches 
have been reproduced. Some years ago a pencil 
drawing by Cruikshank was discovered and repro- 
duced in facsimile by Messrs. Robson & Kerslake. 
This characteristic sketch has an interest of its own, 
though, of course, it is stamped with that curious air 
of aerial grotesqueness which was the author's char- 
acteristic. We are told that it is " one of the ear- 
liest, if not the first, and perhaps the most interesting, 
of all the portraits of Dickens. It appears that in 
1836 or 1837 both he and Cruikshank were members 
of a club of literary men which had but a brief ex- 
istence, under the title of the ' Hook-and-Eye Club.' 
At a meeting one night Dickens was seated in an 
arm-chair beside a table, book in hand, conversing, 
when Cruikshank exclaimed, ' Sit still, Charley, 



192 THE BOOK FANCIER 

while I take your portrait.' " Finally comes the 
French translations, such as " Les Aventures de 
Monsieur Pickwick," which read strangely. How, 
for instance, can Count Smoltork's broken English 
be translated, " How you well. Peek Veeks ? " 
There was a regular series of translations formerly 
arranged for with Hachette on one of Dickens's 
visits to Paris ; but Amadee Pichot, a diUgent writer 
of all work on the French press, was the first, we 
believe, to introduce him to the French public. 



"Xuyudous BWtions" 

In further proof of the wonderful growth of the 
art of printing, which seemed to escape, equipped, 
as from the head of Minerva, it can be shown 
that the now popular form of illustration and 
engraving reached almost at once a surprising 
perfection. The combining of wood blocks in the 
same page with type has always been a matter of 
much nicety and difficulty, while copper engrav- 
ings offer greater difficulties. This seemed child's- 
play to the early printer, who essayed works of 
magnitude which even the most speculative of 
modem publishers would hesitate before attempting ; 
and as we open their broadly spreading pages, we are 
amazed at the abundance, the wealth of resource and 
general effect. Some of the most extraordinary pro- 
ductions of those early days of printing are what 
many called the great " picture books," folios filled 
with copious illustrations in the manner of Albert 
Diirer and his school. These are rude but spirited, 
with little shading ; and it amazes us to see the 
freedom and boldness of these things, and with 
what ease the difficulties of " working " them were 
overcome. 
One of the oldest illustrated books known is an 
o 193 



194 THE BOOK FANCIER 

edition of ^Esop's Fables, published about 1471, 
with numerous initial letters and upwards of 160 
very curious woodcuts in the text, bound in the 
original thick oak boards covered with stamped 
leather. The " Libro di Monte Sancto di Dio," 
Florence, 1477, with three engravings by Baccio 
Baldini after the designs of Botticelli, so rarely met 
with in the book, is considered to be one of the earliest 
samples of engraving on copper plates for book illus- 
tration. But the most celebrated of this class is of 
course " The Nuremberg Chronicle," a huge portly 
volume, thus lately described by Mr. Ridler : " The 
Nuremberg Chronicle, best Latin edition, thick royal 
folio, with large and spirited woodcuts, all brilliant 
impressions, and uncoloured (except two genealogies 
that are coloured), very large sound copy, in old 
black morocco, very neat, the sides richly blind tooled, 
printed by Koberger, 1493. So fine a copy has not 
occurred for sale for several years past. The book is 
genuine, and perfect throughout ; no wash'd leaves, 
and all the large capitals filled in by the rubricator 
in different coloured inks ; it has the blank leaves, 
and six additional leaves at end, which Brunet says 
are nearly always wanting." This astonishing vol- 
ume contains between two and three thousand pic- 
tures or impressions of the most varied, grotesque, 
and entertaining kind. There are large plates nine 
and ten inches square, one a well-known composition, 
representing Almighty God seated on His throne, and 
which the wary collector turns to, as it is often miss- 
ing, cut out by the " spoliator." This was a truly 
astounding feat for a publisher, considering that 
printing and woodcutting were then scarcely out of 
their cradles. When we think of the difficulties that 
always attended woodcutting, the warping of the 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 195 

wood, the tools, it is amazing to see with what ease 
these obstacles were surmounted. In each of these 
there is good drawing, and a strange lurid imaigina- 
tion in the display of human forms with animals' 
teads, or of human heads united by the neck of a 
snake with the trunk of a man. In the old cuts of 
this era, in initial letters there will be found a sug- 
gestiveness and display of dramatic action, within 
perhaps an inch square. These little sketches will 
bear study and also repay study. The earlier num- 
•bers of Punch exhibit this minute and artistic abund- 
ance to an extraordinary degree, and in the floriated 
borderings in a single page the astonished reader 
will trace hundreds of little fairies, goblins, beautiful 
nymphs, pursuing strange games and gymnastics 
among the capital letters ; all drawn with an amaz- 
ing spirit and originality by Richard Doyle. 

Here is the style and title of another copy, and 
it should be noted what a difference in price the 
element of " condition," i.e., size of margin, bril- 
liancy of impression, &c., causes — the former copy 
<:osting only six or seven pounds ; this one five-and 
thirty : — " Nuremberg Chronicle, by Schedel (Hart- 
mann), first edition, royal folio, with fine original 
impressions of the 2,250 large woodcuts of towns, 
historical events, portraits, &c., by Michael Wolge- 
muth (the master of Albert Diirer) and William 
Pleydenwurff ; very tall copy, measuring 18^ inches 
by i2|-, beautifully bound in morocco super extra, 
dull gilt edges, by Riviere, £35." 

" A volume," adds the vendor enthusiastically, " of 
which Dibdin says, ' If Koberger had printed only 
this Chronicle, he would have done enough to place 
his name among the most distinguished of his typo- 
graphical brethren.' Many of the initials in this 



196 THE BOOK FANCIER 

copy are coloured, and the original owner's coat of 
arms, finely illuminated in gold and colours, is added. 
Probably no taller copy exists, as the edges of some 
of the leaves are in their original state, rough and 
uncut. Mr. Bedford's copy, in no finer condition,, 
sold for £49. It is only upon comparison with 
the edition with German text, published later in 
the same year (a book of much smaller value), 
that the full beauty of the original impressions is 
apparent."* 

Open before me now — mine own too — is a goodly 
exemplar of this monumental old tome, arrayed in 
solid oak, covered with a brown calf hide scored 
and tooled, with an escutcheon of some German 
baron deeply sunk, and the date of binding, 1583, 
a very rare thing, displayed below. Nothing can 
be finer than the title-page, flourishing away with its 
great German ecclesiastical letters more than an inch 

* These are, in truth, the ordinary copies that come into the 
market, but they would not satisfy the collector of taste and 
long purse. Any one that has placed a proof impression of a 
fine engraving beside a later worn one, has to own that the 
two are as different as though they were of different subjects ; 
and so with a tall clean copy of a famous work, unblemished 
and in sound " desirable " condition. Who would not covet 
such an exemplar of the " Chronicle " as this ? — " A very large, 
complete, and fine copy, with capitals beautifully illuminated in 
colours, and all the blank leaves " (this is a characteristic touch), 
" in the original oak boards." " This," says the enthusiastic 
writer of the catalogue, " is probably the largest and finest copy 
in existence after Lord Spencer's." In 1873 a copy measuring 
18 by 2.\ inches was sold as the finest then known; but the 
present one measures nearly 18 J inches by 12 J om the paper only ; 
while along the boards it is 19I inches by 13, and 3^ thick. 
This belonged to Mr. Dunn-Gardiner, one of the most accom- 
plished of collectors, a book of whose is always honourably dis- 
tinguished as " Dunn-Gardiner's copy." Dibdin says, " Let me 
entreat you always to pay marks of respect to the productions of 
the first printer of Nuremberg, Anthony Koberger. His ample 
margins betray a thoroughly well-cultivated taste," 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 197 

long, and laid out with good effect. A good and 
true copy boasts the wholly blank pages near the 
close, which are yet duly pciged ; but the author 
thoughtfully explains that they have been left blank 
purposely, so that, after he had brought all down " to 
date," the " courteous reader " might write in any 
particulars he listed. In short, a grandly " designed " 
book, if one may use the phrase ; and the very 
" amplitude " of the title, with its bold stately pro- 
clamation of what is within — the inscription on the 
portal — impresses us with respect, if not with awe. A 
book of this kind is surely a monument, and excites 
wonder and astonishment. 

Yet another of these wonderful picture-books came 
from France in 1491, and is thus described : — " Orose 
:{Paul). — History of the World (in French), with the 
Book of the Four Vertues of Seneca, black-letter, 
3 vols, in one, thick royal folio, with very beautiful 
ornamental borders, large map, and nearly 300 large 
and splendid woodcuts, all fine bright impressions, 
illustrating history from the Creation, large sound 
-copy in old brown calf neat, from the Sunderland 
Collection at Paris. Anthoine Verard, 1491." " This 
most rare volume," says the book-dealer " (which is 
the size of the Nuremberg Chronicle), is one of the 
most magnificent and splendid productions of the 
■early Paris press, was fully expected to have pro- 
duced over one hundred guineas in the Sunderland 
Sale ; it has a slight defect, corner of two leaves being 
mended, otherwise it is in fine crackling state. Brunet 
could never have seen a copy. He states it was 
printed near the end of the fifteenth century, whereas 
the date 1 491 is given at the conclusion of the second 
volume. It must be an almost unique volume, since 
the celebrated bibliographer only refers to the sale 



igS THE BOOK FANCIER 

of one copy sixty years ago." Twenty pounds is 
surely not too much. A companion chronicle is that 
of Cologne : — " Cologne Chronicle. — Chronica van 
der Hilliger Stat Coellen, Coellen, J. Koelhoff, 1499. 
Gothic letter, folio, with a large number of curious 
woodcuts of battles, historical events, portraits of 
popes, emperors, kings, and others, all coloured by a 
contemporary hand, olive morocco extra, gilt and 
marbled edges by Zaehnsdorf, rare, £12." Of this 
interesting and important volume Dibdin says, 
" There are few ancient books so rarely seen. I think 
there are not three copies of it in this country, and the 
evidence of De Bure leads us to suspect that no copy 
of it was known at Paris." It contains an important 
passage relating to the invention of the art of print- 
ing with metal types, in which the author says, " The 
beginning and progress of the before-mentioned art 
was told me, by word of mouth, by the worthy man. 
Master Ulrich Zell, printer at Cologne," &c. It con- 
tains the suppressed account of Pope Joan, with her 
portrait, carrying a child. 

Passing by the " Ortus Sanitas," 1497, the " Ship 
of Fools," 1488, crammed with strange illustrations, 
we come to what is really the most important of these 
old illustrated books, and with which is associated 
some rather ludicrous incidents. This unpretend- 
ing series has been the occasion of a craze that has 
lasted nearly two hundred years, and at this moment 
diligently excites the longings of first-rate collec- 
tors. I refer to the well-known De Bry volumes — 
a sound at which the bibliognoste pricks up his ears 
and feels his heart palpitate between hope and 
despair. For he may see a volume of the well- 
known Voyages in a catalogue, but this will give him 
no satisfaction, for the same editions differ, and only 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 199 

the most laborious collation can decide whether the 
work will suit him. It indeed belongs to the haute 
icole, and is really only within reach of the greater 
circles, the Rothschilds, Crawfurds, and the like. 
Near the close of the sixteenth century there was a 
publisher at Frankfort named De Bry, who about the 
year 1590 conceived a plan of bringing out a series 
of travels with illustrations. He was a dealer in 
books and also an engraver, which double calling no 
doubt led him to this choice of subject. He began 
with the work of an English traveller named Hariott, 
and issued the book in four languages — English, 
German, French, and Latin — using the same engrav- 
ings for each, and thus " got off " his stock of illus- 
trations in the different countries. This he followed 
up with the same travels in two languages, and be- 
fore his death, which took place in 1598, had issued 
some six portions of what he intended to be a long 
series. There were to be the " Greater Travels " to 
the West Indies, and the " Little Travels " to the 
East. His widow and sons, finding the venture suc- 
cessful, carried on the scheme, and a period of forty- 
four years was covered by the joint enterprise. Of 
the first division there were thirteen parts in Latin, 
fourteen in German, &c. ; and of the second, twelve 
in Latin and fourteen in German. In due course 
the first portions became " out of print," and sub- 
scribers to the later issues naturally wished to " com- 
plete their sets ; " hence there were reissues, with 
certain alterations and corrections and additions. 
And in this fashion the work was completed, so far 
as it went and has come down to us. Taking up a 
volume of it, we shall find that there is nothing very 
attractive about it, the frontispiece being in the style 
which was then in vogue, the title being set in the 



20O THE BOOK FANCIER 

centre of an elaborately florid decoration. Who 
would think that to possess " a set " was the longing 
desire of the first-class bibliophilist ? But a reflec- 
tion or two will show that it possessed the proper 
elements for stimulating this craze, i.e., almost in- 
superable difficulties in the way of getting a complete 
set. At great cost, and as the work of a lifetime, 
you may have secured all the successive parts, but 
you were only beginning ; had you the parts with 
the variations, or had you these parts with the 
variations in the different languages ; or, had you 
these, did you know that you had all ? The best 
collection is likely enough to be incomplete. No one 
can conceive the lore, the discussions, the elaborate 
distinctions, the exquisite instinct and knowledge 
necessary to a genuine part from one that was issued 
" made up " of other editions. Mr. Quaritch had 
copies of the same editions, which, as he shows, 
differed, the one having an " « " more than the other. 
So if you had the " i"- less one you were undone. 
Some, too, of the same edition had the vignettes 
altered. Under the dreadful fascination of tracing 
these things, collectors since the year 1740 have 
been writing volumes on the subject — Camus, Brunet, 
De Bure, &c. Brunet has over fifty closely printed 
columns, De Bure the same ; while, latest of all, 
comes the Earl of Crawfurd with a splendid quarto 
full of facsimile illustrations. For thirty years he 
tells us pathetically he has devoted his labours to the 
scientific study of the innumerable De Bry's and 
their variation of copies, and in this work printed in 
three columns side by side these trivial changes and 
alterations. But the truth is, this investigation seems 
endless, and there is the secret of its fascination. 
Almost from these times down to our own times. 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 201 

the line of costly illustrated works has been main- 
tained almost unbroken. The feebly monotonous 
character of the " trade " illustrated books in our 
■day is well known, and has happily tired out the 
public. Indeed, there is hardly a single ambitious 
work of the kind that can be pointed to with satis- 
faction. Whether it be Shakespeare, or Milton, or 
Tennyson, there is the regular procedure. It is too 
often put into the hands of stock artists and wood- 
cutters, and usually with the same result. There is 
little time to prepare the greater engravings. In- 
deed, one of the single flowing-line engravings out of 
the old works would take one of our engravers half 
a year to prepare. A curious note, too, of those 
modems' illustrations is that a single glance seems 
to reveal all that is in them, whereas the older ones 
are full of suggestion and thought, and bear study. 
The French have introduced a class of work of this 
kind, under the auspices of Lacroix (the bibliophile 
Jacob), Charles Yriate, and others, who have " done " 
the " arts of the middle and other ages," Florence, 
Rome, Venice, &c., setting off their work with in- 
numerable illustrations, all of the same weary pattern. 
Dore is accountable for a great deal of this " job " 
work, and though all admire the inexhaustible variety 
of the artist, there grew up at last a sort of sameness 
in his work, no doubt the result of the publisher's 
ceaseless calls on his imagination. His Bible is 
considered one of his most successful achievements, 
and the execution of this work by printer and pub- 
lisher is a true specimen of what is artistic in that 
direction. As a good illustration of how the machinery 
of trade may vulgarise what is good and noble, it 
may be related that when it was determined to adapt 
this work for the English market, cliches, as they 



202 THE BOOK FANCIER 

are called, of the engravings were sent over, and a 
well-known firm proceeded to bring the work out. 
Large type was selected, good paper chosen, and the 
book duly " machined " through one of the great 
presses. But the result was anything but effective. 
There was no homogeneousness. This compatibility 
between the various portions of a book is too often 
forgotten. The whole should be designed together, 
like any other artistic work, so that the smallest duo- 
decimo may show signs of elegance of design as well 
as the greater octavo. It must be admitted, however, 
that modems labour under serious disadvantages 
compared with their predecessors, for the grand folio 
and quarto engravings, after reproduction of the works 
of great painters, offer space for breadth of effect and 
imposing design which is quite lost in small efforts. 

In the old French work, so exquisitely carried out 
by Eisen and others, the appropriateness of their 
culs-de-lampe, vignettes, &c., to the position in the 
page, was one of the charms of the work. Type, 
spacing, headings, all calculated on principles of 
proportion, make up the indefinable attraction of fine 
typography. It is thus that the little Christmas 
volumes of Mr. Dickens are so deservedly admired 
for their elegance and the harmony and appropriate- 
ness of their illustrations. In the " Chimes," for 
instance, we are struck with the fashion in which the 
delicate fancies of Richard Doyle are blended with 
the text — the old church, the bells, fairies, &c. — the 
eye wandering from the suggestions of the writer 
to those of the artist. But in latter days an idea was 
conceived of issuing " editions of luxury " on a large 
scale — the works of Thackeray, Dickens, Shakespeare,, 
and others — and all the illustrations, great and small, 
were collected, and dispersed through the work on a 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 205 

large page " with all the amplitude of margin." Artists^ 
of different styles and era were mixed in confusion, 
and a picture meant for a small page was set in the 
centre of a large one. It is obvious that this was a 
false and inartistic principle. 

Of the falling off in English typography, looking at 
it as an art, there can be no doubt ; and the late 
American bibliophilist, Mr. Henry Stevens, of Ver- 
mont, who has judiciously investigated the matter, 
concurs in this view in a production entitled 
" Who Spoils Our New English Books ? — Asked and 
Answered." " The sinners who combine together to 
spoil our new English books are no less than ten, viz. 
(i) the author, (2) the publisher, (3) the printer, (4) 
the reader, (5) the compositor, (6) the pressman or 
machinist, (7) the papermaker, (8) the inkmaker, (9) 
the bookbinder, and (10) the consumer. In what 
proportion each one of the above contributes towards 
the spoiling of the books which pass through his 
hands, it would be unfair to divulge, for it would sim- 
ply be taking the spirit out of the little book. Let 
every representative of the combination buy a copy of 
it for himself, and if authors are thus taught to admit 
their ' ignorance,' publishers their ' fussiness ' and 
their desire to cheapen and ' shoddy ' literature ; 
printers their carelessness and want of taste ; binders 
their greed of * shavings ' ; inkmakers their shoddy 
inks, which turn brown so soon, then we shall have 
read them a very valuable lesson." 

This is not merely a speculative opinion, but a de- 
liberate verdict founded on investigation. Our author 
founds his opinions partly upon long personal obser- 
vation, and partly upon discussions, in many of 
which he participated ; upon reports issued by the 
juries of the several great Exhibitions since 185 1 ; 



-204 THE BOOK FANCIER 

and, finally, upon the verdict of the last three, held at 
Vienna, Philadelphia, and Paris, at which the best 
and latest books of all nations were subjected to the 
closest inspection of experts. Each of his associates, 
he tells us, almost without exception, " felt and 
expressed his disappointment at the comparative 
quality of English exhibits in this class ' ' Finally, he 
hopes " the art of bookmaking will drift back into 
the practice of those same laws of proportion, taste, 
and workmanship so well settled and displayed in old 
manuscript and old books, large and small, long before 
and long subsequent to the birth of typography." 
This is a serious and well-founded indictment. 

It has often been urged in regard to original work 
that the round of subjects — novels and fiction — must 
have been exhausted, and that there is now no striking 
out anything that is original ; whereas the truth is 
that the originality is inexhaustible because founded 
on the possibility of looking at the same subject from 
ever so many different points. This view is oddly 
fortified by the instances of Dor6 and Gavarni, two 
French artists who came specially to London to por- 
tray for their countrymen " The English at Home." 
The result was most extraordinary, for the subjects 
are little recognisable as English. The two artists 
unconsciously brought with them the atmospheric 
effects and associations of their beloved Paris, and 
one would think we were looking at French- 
men and French scenes. A more curious effect 
^ould not be conceived. It may be said that 
the system which has grown up of illustrating 
-ephemeral scenes for the weekly papers has had 
prejudicial effects on art. We have grown so fami- 
liar with this sort of hurriedly done picture that we 
accept it ; but there is no doubt they are as unfaithful 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 205 

as they are superficial. There is no roundness of 
drawing — all is coarse " scratching," and those who 
have witnessed the particular scene will scarcely 
recognise it. William Harvey was the last book 
illustrator who seemed to possess sentiment, as alt 
who own the early edition of Knight's " Shake- 
speare " will admit. There is here a grace and sym- 
pathy, a harmony and fancy, that is inexpressibly 
pleasing, and contrasts favourably with the utter in- 
expressivensss of our modern illustrations. Another 
cause of this modern failure is the realistic spirit in 
which all modern art works — most figures and scenes 
being sketched from living models, without any 
attempt at abstract grace. The older illustrators 
all aimed at elevating the reader and putting them- 
selves on a level with the poetry of the narrator. 

It is only those who are familiar with the grand 
libraries that can form an idea of the splendid scale 
on which illustration was carried on a century ago. 
The " spaciousness," the grand ambition, and even 
splendour, of the older school may be illustrated by 
a few of their huger efforts. What will be thought 
of a comprehensive work such as the " Grand Theatre 
Historique," 5 vols, folio, map of the world, and 
many hundred fine plates of battles, sieges, execu- 
tions, historical events, many English in the style 
of Callot, very fine copy, in rich old crimson morocca 
extra, full gilt back, gilt and marble edges. Leide, 
1703 ? It may be added that nothing can be more 
spirited than the battle-pieces often supplied to 
historical works of this kind. The folio " Strada's 
Belgian War " is full of dashing etchings, highly 
imaginative, no doubt, but curious as showing the 
costumes, arms, &c. Picart was one of the great and 
most industrious of artists for this class of work, his- 



i2o6 THE BOOK FANCIER 

labours showing an infinite boldness and variety. One 
of his monuments is " The Ceremonies and Reli- 
gious Customs of all Nations," a most astounding 
work for its elaborateness and finish of execution, to 
say nothing of the encyclopaedic knowledge and 
accuracy necessary, for it embodied " all ancient and 
modern superstitions." There are eleven great foUo 
volumes, overflowing with finely engraved copper- 
plates, representing processions, sacrifices, costumes, 
and the most extraordinary rites and ceremonies. 
Every figure is well drawn, finished, and studied. One 
might spend days and weeks over it and find ceaseless 
entertainment. A copy " bound in rich old red 
morocco by Derome " was sold at the Perkins sale, 
and fetched £98 ; yet not long since we " picked up," 
as it is called, seven volumes of the work on a stall for 
twenty-five shillings ! But of this class of work there 
is no end. As another illustration I will describe one 
•out of my own modest collection, and which is a 
pleasant recreation to look at for a few minutes, so 
grand and noble is it. This is an enormous Venetian 
book, the size of a large atlas — a huge armful indeed 
— a collection of engravings of the antique statues 
and busts in the Museum, engraved in a fine " large " 
style. But the charm is in the pages of description, 
each set in an exquisitely engraved and more exquis- 
itely designed border. All is worked on one side of the 
page only on paper like cardboard. It is heralded by 
a grand title-page, a portrait of the King of Sweden, 
to whom it is dedicated, with the favourite apotheosis, 
always a welcome introduction. It is bound in a 
massive style, and came from the Townley Collection, 
finding its way to the outside shelf of a stall, marked 
twenty shillings. As an old writer remarks, it is a 
pleasant humane task to redeem such captives from 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 207 

iheir degrading slavery. This same Picart brought 
•out another siunptuous work, " Le Temple des Muses, 
the rare original edition, with descriptions in French, 
English, Dutch, and German, royal folio, large paper, 
sixty large and very beautiful plates, brilliant proof 
impressions, each plate surrounded with broad and 
elegant borders, fine copy, French calf gilt, full gilt 
back, gilt edges, £5 5s. Amst., 1733. Descriptions in 
French, Dutch, &c. ! This shows the clientile to 
which the artist appealed. The fine " style " of 
the work, its beautiful borderings, all commend it to 
the amateur of taste, though the treatment, however 
classical, goes beyond the limit of propriety. 

Perhaps the more imposing and more pretentious 
work is the " Gallery of Versailles," from Le Brun's 
paintings, executed in the old, large, bold sweeping 
copperplate style, on board-like paper. One always 
admires even the frontispieces of these fine pictorial 
volumes, with their gods and nymphs disporting, 
combined with some architectural work, the title 
mixed up with abundant scrolls and flourishings, the 
inscription seeming as though it were carved on the 
walls of some old monument. This truly regal work 
is worthy of the Grand Monarque and the creator of 
Versailles. I take the description from the Perkins 
Collection, where a copy was sold for £130 : — " Cabinet 
<iu Roi. A magnificent collection of engravings exe- 
cuted at the expense of Louis XIV. for presentation to 
crowned heads and ambassadors resident at his court. 
Bound in twenty- three volumes." These enormous 
-volimies are in the binding of the time, secured 
between planks of wood, the paper like a " board," 
and the engravings in the fine sweeping masculine 
style so effective in these great books. The printing 
was no less splendid — large, sohd letters, proportioned 



2o8 THE BOOK FANCIER 

to the space covered — a matter utterly neglected in 
our time. The very title-page,with its fine characters 
and the royal escutcheon, is ennobling to look at. 
This work was issued at twenty-five francs, and only 
1000 copies were taken off, about 150 remaining over ; 
these were sold as a bonus for the engravers. In 
works like this we are attracted by the vignettes 
and tailpieces, conceived in a singularly free and 
flowing style, full of fancy in the disposition of shields 
and cupids and scroll-work — often, indeed, rising to 
the dignity of a regular picture. It is of what is called 
" atlas folio " size, with the royal arms on the side. 
It contained the King's own pictures, each a finely 
engraved copperplate ; the battles of Alexander, 
after Le Brun ; medals, French and Roman ; plans 
and pictures of the Louvre and Tuileries ; of Ver- 
sailles (in itself a monument) ; ancient and modern 
statues ; the royal tapestries, fetes, and " carousals " 
(always an entertaining form of illustration, from the 
admirable spirit, and crowds, figures, costumes, &c. 
&c.) ; all the palaces and celebrated buildings in 
Paris ; the battles, sieges, marches, processions, &c., 
of the Grand Monarque, &c. &c. It may be said 
truly that each copperplate in the collection, in size 
about three feet by two, is in itself worthy of being 
hung up and framed, the lines are shadows so rich 
and bold, and the whole effect so masterly. An 
objection is of course the unwieldy, unmanageable 
size of these monsters, and the difficulty of storing 
them. On the walls of the long galleries in noble- 
men's houses we often find large prints of this char- 
acter, and fine portraits of cardinals and French 
statesmen hanging, each in its old-fcishioned ebony 
frame ; and as we pause and survey them to our great 
interest and entertainment, we scarcely think that 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 2og 

they have formed but one in an immense company, 
and have been separated from their fellows. 

Another department of these grand art works is 
the glorification of theatres. This in England is 
unknown ; indeed, there are not more than two or 
three English works on the construction or theory of 
theatres, and those of an unpretending sort. Abroad, 
where a theatre is a public monument for the city, as 
much as the Exchange or the Town Hall, the highest 
talent of the country is evoked to produce what shall 
be an ornament to the city and to the stage. Hence 
we have everywhere splendid and interesting build- 
ings, each with a significance of its own ; and almost 
every theatre of importance has been celebrated by a 
magnificent work, setting forth all the plans to scale, 
with views of the interior and exterior, front, sides, 
sections, &c. In these works the amateur finds a 
certain charm, a savour of the entertainment of the 
stage itself ; and the style of engraving, in some in- 
stances, is of the highest order. The writer possesses 
a collection of these great works, the pleasure of look- 
ing over which is almost akin to that of seeing a play. 
One of the best is that noble tribute to a noble theatre 
— of atlas folio size — the account of the great theatre 
at Bordeaux. The San Carlo, the Scala, the Russian 
theatres, the new Opera House at Paris, and our 
Drury Lane, have all been illustrated in this sump- 
tuous fashion. Besides the architectural plans, done 
minutely to scale, there are given views of the exterior 
and interior wrought in artistic fashion ; and in the 
case of the Bordeaux house we see the audience, com- 
posed of innumerable figures in bag wigs and sack 
backs, the king and his courtiers in the royal box, the 
wax lights blazing away, the whole conveying an 
idea of elegant festivity. 



210 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Another department of sumptuous volumes, issued 
not for profit, but to minister to the glory of some 
opulent patron, is found in what are styled " Galler- 
ies." These noble works, of grand dimensions, noble 
type, lavish, if not exquisite art, are a reproduction, 
with fine plates and minute description, of the pic- 
tures in some public gallery, issued at the expense of 
the State ; or in some private collection produced at 
the expense of the owner ; or of some artistic palace 
like that of the Farnese or Pamphili at Rome. These 
fine testimonials to art would fill a library in them- 
selves ; and on them have been expended all the 
treasure of printing, paper, engraving, and binding. 
Most costly is the well-known " Musee " of the 
Louvre, issued by Napoleon at a time when he had 
ravished all the museums of Europe and gathered 
them in Paris. The work fills many atlas folio vol- 
umes, and is, indeed, a cynical monument of plunder. 
For the Mus6e Fran9ais the Napoleon publishers 
received £307 as the subscription price, and a copy 
sold by auction at Sotheby's in i860 produced £102. 
At the same time, by a proper retribution, it became 
a mere temporary memorial, as almost before its com- 
pletion the works had been restored to their lawful 
owners. The engravings in these huge volumes are in 
that rather pretty style which was fashionable, and 
reflected the finish of David's pictures, then much 
copied ; but the effect lacks boldness and breadth. 
No expense was spared, but, like other productions 
of the Imperial Press at this time — such as Denon's 
great work on " Egypt " — there is not the general 
solidity and boldness of the older works. Its merit is 
the vast number of subjects, and the vastness of the 
enterprise. Still, these five grand folios are a surpris- 
ing achievement, having been produced with a com- 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 211 

parative ease which is astonishing to us. Every sort 
of engraving is here found, including " line," eau 
forte, worked after the fashion of regular engraving, 
but all showing honest and finished labour. These 
volumes do not often come into the market. 

The successor of Napoleon was stimulated by his 
example to produce the " Gallerie Royale," a work of 
the same pretension, full of highly finished engravings 
and finely printed. The " Florence Gallery " and 
many others followed, but none rival the state and 
splendour of the works of the last century. Two of 
the most elegant and finished form the " Gallery of 
the Palais Royal," describing the collection of the 
Duke of Orleans, a series of beautiful engravings in 
the Moreau style, each plate having an elegant bor- 
der, while the description is engraved below. The 
" Dresden Gallery " is in two splendid tomes, full of 
the finest lithographs, the best and most effective sort 
— to say nothing of the " Gallery of the Pitti Palace." 
The library of the Athenaeum Club is particularly 
rich in works of this class, boasting a large number 
of these costly and entertaining tomes. Many were 
bequeathed by the Rev. Mr. Turner. But, as I say, 
none are so sumptuous or impress one so much as 
those of the last century. Not less remarkable is the 
variety of forms in which this royal encouragement 
of art would display itself. Such noble patronage 
seemed to be ingeniously lavish in devising oppor- 
tunities. 

Yet another sumptuous work was brought out to 
minister to the glories of the Grand Monarque. Con- 
ceive of a fine, crimson-coated folio, stout, but well- 
proportioned, in old raspberry-tinted morocco, by 
the court binder, Ruette. The leaves display the 
rich " old gold." On the sides is the escutcheon 



2M THE BOOK FANCIER 

of Louis XV., the collar of the St. Esprit and Crown^ 
the back exquisitely tooled, the monogram " L.L." 
and crown elaborately repeated. This noble " piece," 
intended as a royal present, is devoted to a series of 
pictures of medals illustrating the achievements of 
the great king. Each page is devoted to a medal,, 
and there are 318 medals, and consequently pages, 
but printed on only the one or the recto side. Each 
page is in an exquisitely designed border by Coypel 
and Le Clerc, exhibiting a great variety of treatment. 
The medal is shown at the top, in two views, the 
obverse and the reverse — the first by Edelinck, the 
latter by Picart. Then follows a handsome printed 
historical description, while at the bottom is a grace- 
ful vignette. The whole was produced at the Royal 
Press, with a splendid frontispiece by Coypel, and 
makes, from its glorification of the king in every page, 
a most flattering and sumptuous picture. It is cer- 
tainly worth possessing such a memorial, which is as 
entertaining as it is beautiful. To this class of work, 
so artistic, one can come and come again. Our 
modern editions of luxury will not bear these recur- 
ring visits. A more wonderful, amusing, and costly 
collection could not be conceived. 

The Popes, too, have contributed some noble works 
to this category, such as the " Musee Pie Clemen- 
tino," ten enormous vellum-bound folios, full of 
pictures of statues and antiques, wrought in the 
native rough Italian manner. 

It is seldom recollected that the infamous Regent 
of Orleans, whose name is odious, was one of the 
most brilliant and accomplished men of any age — a 
fine musical composer, well and deeply read, a skilled 
politician, and an exquisite artist, whose works are 
said to bear comparison with some of the masters of 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 2J3 

his day. A translation of Longus's " Amours de 
Daphne et Chloe " was illustrated by his pencil, and 
engraved by Audran. This exquisite work, in an 
artistic sense a companion to the " Temple de 
Guide," is sold at a great price. 

One of the most extraordinary and brilliant books 
of illustration is the collection of Piranesi's views. 
These immense etchings are remarkable for their 
brilliant coal-black effect. The surprising dash, cer- 
tainty, freedom, and chiaro-oscuro effects are truly 
astonishing — not less surprising are the number. In 
many a country house we may find in the library two 
of the huge folios and spend a morning looking 
through them. But there are some twenty-six vol- 
umes — and there may be more — containing nearly 
twelve hundred of these great plates, " comprising," 
says one bibliopole, " the grand series of splendid 
engravings of the buildings and antiquities of Rome, 
the prisons, picturesque architecture, classical orna- 
ments, Herculaneum and Pompeii, statues, vases, 
■candelabra, sarcophagi, &c.; remarkable Rembrandt- 
like compositions." And this praise is not over- 
charged. 

An extraordinary feature is the taste the Dutch 
have shown for the great works illustrated with 
copperplates. Most of the leading engravers were 
Dutch or Flemish ; and it is a fact that there is 
hardly a town in Holland that has not its folio 
volumes of description, set off with profuse plates of 
its buildings, &c., devoted to its glories. One of the 
most exquisitely done of these tributes is Rada- 
maeker's small quartos — a series of miniature views, 
done with a Meissonier-like grace and feeling. The 
connoisseur should secure a copy when he can of this 
work, as I have done. 



214 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Thus gradually making our way down the biblio- 
graphic stream, we shall find that each era has a 
special taste and treatment of its own, and an origin- 
ality quite marked. The French have ever been 
unrivalled in this elegant taste, and above all in the 
tasteful art of combining illustration in its proper 
proportion with typography. About the middle of 
the last century in France, there was introduced a 
species of elegant illustrated quarto, rather thin in 
contrast to the solidly abdominal English quarto, 
and something smaller. And here again we find the 
homogeneousness of which we have spoken, and 
which contributes so much to the artistic merit of a 
book. It would seem that in " designing " a book — 
and the term is appropriate enough — the publisher 
took all the departments — binding, type, illustra- 
tions, paper — into consideration. For we find that 
the binding is uniform — a sort of mottled calf, laid 
out with a sort of mixture of fruit colour, bordered 
with three close lines of gold, the edges of the leaves 
wavy, and of an " old gold " tint, each leaf being dis- 
tinct, with richest effect. Such was the binding of the 
little " Barbou " volumes. Not so long since I re- 
deemed from the stalls, for three shillings, a couple of 
pretty quartos — the plays of Crebillon, printed at 
the Royal Press in such style, with an exquisite vign- 
ette on the title of Cupids, &c., " composed and 
designed by Boucher, painter to his Majesty," and 
" engraved by Le Bas, engraver of the King's cab- 
inet." There is even a delicacy in the way this little 
inscription is set down. And how jet-like the ink, 
how beautifully composed the page, how charming 
the general effect ? This book, as the author tells us, 
was printed by order of his Majesty, and is worthy of 
such patronage. Such works recovered from the stall 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 215 

are among the pleasant incidents of the book-hunter's 
pilgrimage. In this shape appeared a number of the 
French classics, such as Racine, Comeille, and others, 
and which are all of the same pattern. But they 
bring large prices now when in fine condition. 

Of all books, the French seemed to have honoured 
the graceful and ever-popular " La Fontaine " most, 
and the elegance and grace of the various editions are 
truly remarkable. It was in 1762 that the opulent 
Farmers-General of France subscribed to issue an 
edition of the Contes which is a model of taste and 
beauty. It was printed by Barbou, prefaced by 
Diderot, illustrated with " eighty exquisite plates by 
Eisen," one of the " little masters," supplied with 
fifty-seven elegant " tailpieces " by Choffard — a 
combination of printers, illustrators, author and 
editor truly remarkable. By a common fiction it 
was, oddly enough, supposed to be issued at Amster- 
dam. As may be conceived, the ordinary price of 
this work is large, and the two small volumes, with 
the additional merit of Derome's binding, were 
lately offered for £520 ! Seventy-five years before 
an edition of the Fables was issued at Amsterdam, 
which has become celebrated for Romeyne de 
Hooghe's vigorous but rather coarse plates. 

Three years after the Farmers-Generals' edition 
another beautiful edition made its appearance. This 
was in six volumes octavo, illustrated with hundreds 
of beautiful engravings, vignettes, culs-de-lampe, by 
Monnet, Huet, Loutherberg, the letterpress being also 
engraved, so that the whole was printed from copper- 
plates. But the collector must be warned that these 
names only belong to the " first state," and if the 
name of Deslaurier is found at the corner of the plates 
he must reject them as inferior, and not of the premier 



2i6 THE BOOK FANCIER 

tirage. But the really remarkable edition of " La Fon- 
taine " is the one in four folios, of the date 1755-59, 
and finely printed, with humorous and bold illustra- 
tions, engraved in the most spirited style, after 
Oudry, the French painter. This book is occasion- 
ally found in old libraries. The engravings are the 
work of Cochin, Tardieu, and others, and there is, 
sometimes lacking, a fine elaborate portrait of Oudry. 
From £60 to £200 has been paid for fine copies of this 
edition. It indeed adds to the entertainment to read 
the pleasant fabulist in this shape. 

In our own way, in this country, we can point to en- 
terprising and costly efforts to do honour to the great 
classics, and our publishers have never spared money 
or enterprise in great speculative ventures of the kind. 

It is when we compare the manner in which Shake- 
speare has been honoured in England with that in 
which the great classics of France have been cele- 
brated by their country that we see the extraordinary 
interest excited by the English bard. In England 
itself no other writer has been so dealt with, or in such 
costly fashion. I do not refer to the ordinary edi- 
tions, stereotyped and others, brought out to satisfy 
the current demands, but to those " labours of love," 
grand editions, on which scholars have expended a 
goodly share of their lifetime, or to those more 
sumptuous volumes, set off with all the magnificence 
that paper, print, and illustrations could furnish. But 
first of all let us see what our neighbours have done 
for their Moliere, Racine, and others of their leading 
and most popular classics. Of the first, whom they 
usually couple with Shakespeare — a compliment to 
us — there are literally not more than half-a-dozen 
important editions, set out with fine margin and 
plates. 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 217 

At first there were some poor little duodecimo 
sets of Moliere's plays, such as are seen on the 
stalls ; and not until 1734 do we find a really hand- 
some edition, in six quarto volumes, adorned with cuts. 
There was another quarto edition in 1773, furnished 
with the younger Moreau's plates. In 1792 Didot 
issued a fine quarto edition. In 1819 there came an 
octavo edition in nine volumes quarto, with plates ; 
while in 1824 there was the Variorum edition in eight 
volumes octavo, with notes and plates. There have 
been one or two more important editions since, such 
as Tony Johannot's, and lately they have been issuing 
something like our reprints of the original editions of 
the separate plays. This exertion, spread over 250 
years, does not argue much generosity or enthusaism. 

Not till 1760 was Racine glorified with a fine quarto 
-edition in three volumes. Till the end of the century 
there were only three other editions, one of which was 
adorned with Gravelot's plates. Then the first year 
of the century was celebrated by a really splendid 
effort in the shape of Didot's magnificent Folios, 
claimed to be " the finest edition of any author in any 
country," and set off with nearly sixty plates by the 
first artists. Up to 1844 there were about seven more 
of any pretence, one of these being a superb folio 
edition in three volumes, printed by the famous 
Bodoni, at Parma, under the patronage of Murat. 

For all these varied efforts due credit may be given 
to our neighbours, but they cannot compare with 
what we have done in our own sturdy, positive way 
for Shakespeare. This shows a sterling apprecia- 
tion, unrivalled by any nation or time. 

Mention has been made of Bodoni of Parma, cer- 
tainly one of the most magnificent and elegant of 
modem publishers. Under the encouragement of 



2i8 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Murat he produced some magnificent editions of 
the French classics — Racine, La Fontaine, and others, 
some of which were taken off on vellum. No one, 
Dibdin tells us, had such an eye for laying out or 
composing a page. These charming duodecimos, 
somewhat after the pattern of Barbou, often turn up 
on the stalls. I myself possess, with nearly every 
known edition, some forty illustrated editions of " the 
Bard," each extending from six to a dozen volumes. 

We shall conclude this view with two specimens, 
and which perhaps for expense and luxury deserve to 
be placed at the head of the list, " Bastard (Comte 
Augustus de) Peintures et Ornemens des Manuscrits 
Fran9ais, depuis le Huitieme Siecle jusqu'a la Fern du 
Seizieme, twenty parts (all at present published), in 
five portfolios imp. fol. Par. 1835, &c." " This is," 
says a panegyrist with a reasonable pride, " without 
exception the most sumptuous, unique, and costly 
work that has ever been produced. Each part con- 
tains eight splendid plates, copied from the most 
beautiful examples known to exist, coloured and 
finished with gold and silver equal to the exquisite 
originals. The whole series extends to one hundred 
and sixty engravings. No perfect copy of this mag- 
nificent work has occurred for sale in this country 
prior to the present." 

" This wonderful performance is remarkable for 
the price at which it was issued (and to subscribers 
only), as well as for the extravagant patronage 
it received from the government of the ' citizen 
king.' There were twenty parts published, but 
the work was to have gone on to a much greater 
extent. Each part cost £72, so that the subscriber 
had to pay nearly £1,500 for his ' five portfolios ! ' 
This, as we have said, was but a tithe of what was 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 21^ 

intended, for there were to be two other sections de- 
voted to France, which would have brought the sum 
up to £4,500. If the succeeding portions deaUng with 
other countries were carried out, the luckless or 
insane subscriber would have been bound for some 
£10,000. The French Government patriotically sub- 
scribed for sixty copies, representing a donation in 
money of £90,000. One copy, put up in an English 
auction saleroom, M. R. Cutler-Fergusson's, brought 
only £200," Yet another of these gorgeous works, 
coloured sumptuously in a style that puts our modem 
efforts to the blush, is Du Sommerard's " Les Arts 
du Moyen Age," in which all the most striking works 
in the Hotel Cluny and the Roman Palace at Paris, 
and in other collections, were reprinted. This was in 
five superb volumes, and contained over five hundred 
illustrations, all " so accurately coloured as to convey 
a lively description of the exact appearance of 
the originals." This, auctioneers boast, is more than 
warranted. These are all, as were the illustrations of 
the time, coloured hy hand in the most masterly style, 
and here one is struck by the difference of the action 
of time on works of this kind and on the modern 
printed colours. The latter gradually fade and 
become hard and flat, and even disagreeable. " A 
magnificent copy of this most splendid work, admir- 
ably bound in smooth red morocco extra," was sold 
twenty-four years ago for £92. 

All know the celebrated column of Antoninus at 
Rome, round which runs to the summit a spiral band 
containing hundreds of groups and figures all cast in 
bronze. To draw them correctly from top to bottom 
must have been a task of amazing difficulty and in- 
convenience, yet it was accomplished in a most min- 
ute and thorough fashion nearly two hundred years- 



220 THE BOOK FANCIER 

ago ; and we have a splendid folio, by one Peter 
Bartoli, containing " seventy-eight large plates of 
battles, processions, thousands of figures that adorn 
this column, brilliant impressions, and descriptions in 
Latin, quite complete." What astonishes us in this 
class of work, of which there is an abundance, is the 
laborious, conscientious thoroughness with which the 
task is carried out, contrasting strangely with the 
perfunctory, hurried style in which works of the 
same kind are attempted now. Such labour indeed 
could only be secured at an enormous cost nowadays. 

There is a whole department of illustrated works 
devoted to " costume," to the dress of different 
nations. There are some sumptuous volumes on this 
subject, France being conspicuous — even the military 
dress of this nation being pictorially represented 
from the earliest times. The theatrical costumes are 
also separately dealt with from 1600 to 1820 in 104 
coloured plates. 

So with scenery. Forty or fifty years ago there was 
a fashion in England for issuing in quarto parts views 
of the different countries, under the name of " The 
Beauties," while there was a distinct class of writers 
engaged in " writing up " " to " the plates. These are 
generally insipid representations done on steel. Of 
course there were brilliant exceptions, such as Turner. 
Nothing, however, can be compared with the older 
works. 

Any one who set himself to collect books with 
architectural illustrations of town churches, cathe- 
drals, castles, &c., would require enormous and vast 
library space indeed. There are booksellers devoted 
to this one branch alone, notably Parsons in the 
Brompton Road, who within his shop has costly 
treasures galore, while outside there is a curious sur- 



"LUXURIOUS EDITIONS" 22r 

vival in the shape of a bookstall, with boxes (" all at 
threepence ") and loose prints of all kinds strung to- 
gether, " from a penny each." This suggests the 
" Omnium Gatherum " on the Quai D'Orsay. Among 
these old strangers and pilgrims there is of course 
much that is artistically bad and mediocre, but the 
true connoisseur should never fail to secure the fine 
series of views abroad of old Flemish and French 
cities and churches, done on a grand scale by one 
Coney, now forgotten, but a man of singular taste 
and power. These are a series of large etchings, atlas 
folio, represented with a singular breadth, consider- 
ing they are in outline, and not in the elegant black- 
ness of the modern school. There is a poetry, a 
feeling, a tone of the place shown, and a dramatic 
animation ; to say nothing of their value as records 
of what has long since been altered or what have 
passed away. The courteous reader, securing his 
" Coney " — soon to become scarce — for thirty 
shillings, will be grateful for this piece of advice. 

Such is a glimpse, and a little more, of this vast 
domain. 



®t tbe Huction IRoom 

With what mixed feelings one regards the book 
auction-room ! Many a bibhophilist might look on 
it as the scaffold whereon his darling " hobby " will 
one day be done to death. Like death itself, he may 
think the idea is remote and will not affect him. 
Yet each recurring sale seems to say " to-day for 
me, to-morrow for thee ! " Considering the costly 
nature of these operations, the vast sums involved, 
the " drawing and quartering " of whole libraries, 
it is astonishing how prosaic is the scene, how homely 
the properties, going little beyond a general tone of 
" green baize," and rude, raw-looking shelves. There 
must be a secret dramatic history connected with 
many a book or library that has found a few weeks' 
lodgings in these rooms. One collection, and 
now another — comrades once, during a century's 
span — arrives ; a glorious compact companionship, 
in all honour and distinction, in a few days to be 
disintegrated, sold into captivity, scattered or 
adopted into a new collection. With them the late 
owner's soul is associated. How has his long life been 
bent or coloured by their familiarity ; how has he 
stinted or spent for them, to ruin almost ; or it may 
be some inheriting prodigal who is delighted to find 
an asset on which money can be obtained, and which 

222 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 223 

he at once despatches to the auction. Then the 
smaller passions of greed, longing, envy, recklessness, 
all exhibited in the biddings ; the contrasts of 
■character — the opulent collector with few real 
treasures to boast of ; the poor, rustily-clad one who 
<:an yet boast rare and splendid things at home. 
Then the " seamy side," the craft and scheming, the 
wrecking of a sale, and the robbery by " knock out." 
The dealer can tell you strange legends of the capri- 
cious fate of many a rare volume. One wonders as 
some mouldy fellow tells the craft of his journey 
three hundred miles, it may be, down to the country 
to attend some obscure sale of a " gentleman's 
effects," for here he draws in his lottery or lucky bag. 
Here he may win for " a song " or a shilling or two 
some rare volume worth many pounds.* 

The rooms where these holocausts are offered 
lip in London are the well-known Sotheby, Wilkin- 
son & Hodge's in Wellington Street, Strand, and 
Puttick & Simpson's in Leicester Square. These 
are the historic marts where all the great sales 
have been held time out of mind. To the Sotheby's 
modest rooms you scale a steep ladder-like stair. The 
place is small and unpretending, the business is trans- 

* There are stories of a first Shakespeare folio " knocked out " 
for twelve or sixteen shillings and resold for ;^400, It is in 
country sales of Great Britain that this system of " knock 
out " is brought to bear with fruitful effort. The " knock out " 
is a nefarious proceeding, and is often carried on in country 
sales. The principles of the knock out are two — combination 
against the innocent buyer and combination against the seller 
or owner. In the first instance the book is bid up against the out- 
sider, who is not allowed to buy save at some extortionate price, 
and if it be bought by one of the conspirators at an extravagant 
figure, he is indemnified by the rest or the book sold after the 
sale. In the second, where it is purchased for some ridiculously 
low figure — for " a song," in fcict — it is allowed by sufferance 
and a fresh sale takes place at some public-house among the 
dealers themselves, where it is bought at a dealer's price. 



224 THE BOOK FANCIER 

acted in a quiet fashion ; but it is astonishing what 
sums have been here transferred in the course of a 
few days. More interesting are " the rooms " in 
Leicester Square, where the august genius, the shade 
of Sir Joshua, hovers over the scene. For this, as is 
well known, was his residence and studio, the latter 
a noble spacious apartment, serving now as the sale- 
room. Worn and somewhat roughly used as it has 
been owing to the traffic, the visitor will note the 
elegance of the town mansion of those days, the airy 
stone stair and rail, its graceful pente, the classical 
doorways, the fine proportions (it is probably a work 
of Sir W. Chambers), and the genuine air of dignity. 
Here we see the collectors and the " dealers," and if 
a field day, some notable buyers from Paris and 
Berlin. The collectors now give their " commission," 
but formerly the noble gatherers attended themselves 
and did their own buying. As we survey this interest- 
ing scene, one of the most fantastic bibliographical 
tricks, one connected with the auction-room, played 
in the year 1840, recurs to us, when the sale of the 
Count J. N. A. de Fortsas' rare and valuable collec- 
tion was announced all over Europe. " The sale," 
says a pleasant bibliograph essayist, writing in the 
daily paper, " was advertised to take place at the 
office of a notary residing at Binche, an insignificant 
town in Belgium. The catalogue covered only 
fourteen largely printed pages, and contained a 
hst of the fifty-two books forming the Count's 
collection, each of which was unique. It was 
added that M. de Fortsas would keep no volume 
if he found it mentioned in any bibliography. 
The catalogues were sent to the great book- 
collectors of France, England, and the United 
States, and each recipient supposed himself to be 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 225 

specially favoured, and kept the secret to himself. 
Two days before the sale, Brunet, Nodier, Techener, 
and Renouard met accidentally in the diligence 
which ran from Paris to Brussels, and each hoped 
that his neighbours had heard nothing of the wonder- 
ful auction which was about to take place at Binche. 
It was related that M. Castian, of Lisle, took great 
interest in a work said to have been published by 
Ceistman, of Tournay, on the subject of the Belgian 
Revolution of 1830, the entire edition of which had 
been suppressed, although M. de Fortsas had been so 
fortunate as to gain possession of a single copy. Being 
a little incredulous as to a library of which he had 
never heard, M. Castian stopped at Tournay and 
called on the publisher to inquire if such a work had 
ever been issued by his firm. M. Castman had him- 
self forgotten all about the edition in question, but his 
foreman recollected it and its author, M. Lecocq, 
perfectly — a fact which at once silenced the inquirer's 
suspicions. The Baron de Reiffenber, director of the 
Royal Library at Brussels, asked for a special appro- 
priation to buy some of the Count de Fortsas' 
treasures, which was immediately granted. One 
ardent bookseller made the journey from Amsterdam 
to Binche in order to see a single volume — the 
' Corpus Juris Civilis,' printed by the Elzevirs on 
vellum. The Princesse de Ligne, anxious to pre- 
serve the reputation of her grandfather from 
obloquy, wrote to a commissioner to buy ' No. 
48 ' for her at any price. The Roxburghe Club 
was represented at the sale ; and, singularly 
enough, there were books in the catalogue which 
appealed to the taste of every distinguished col- 
lector. On the day before the sale the good people of 
Binche were astonished at the number of mysterious 
strangers who had suddenly appeared in their midst 
Q 



226 THE BOOK FANCIER 

without any ostensible cause. At last the eventful 
morning arrived, and in the newspapers circulated at 
Binche there appeared a curt notice that the library 
of the Count de Fortsas would not be sold, as the 
Municipal Council had resolved to keep it in honour 
of its collector, their distinguished fellow-townsman. 
It now came out that the Count de Fortsas was 
a myth ; his chateau and his library were both 
apocryphal." 

As we walk through the auction-room ghostly 
figures seem to rise before us, the old heroes of many 
an exciting contest. It would almost seem that for 
them the spirit of competition was the charm. 
The shades of Lord Spencer, Heber, Bernal and 
others must haunt these places. The glory of 
English collectors was certainly the Lord of 
Althorp, who, from the calm retirement of his 
library, regarded his son as he fought political 
battles, and waged many a contest in the auction- 
room when his heir was " taking divisions " in 
the House. Never was collecting pursued under 
such magnificent conditions. A fortune splendid as 
his taste ; a noble mansion to contain his treasures ; a 
period when books were to be " picked up " cheaply ; 
while he was guided by an adviser and agent of re- 
markable ability, taste, and knowledge — such were 
the advantages that favoured the noble amateur. The 
adviser and agent was the well-known Dr. Frognall 
Dibdin, F.S.A., and never was such talent so encour- 
aged and supported. The enthusiasm of this enthu- 
siast seemed to gather every hour. Appetite, " grow- 
ing by what it fed on," became at last voracious and 
incontroUable. No bibliophilist had so enjoyable a 
life. He was sent on missions to France and Ger- 
many, visiting all the libraries, and monasteries, and 
shops, and bookstalls, tempting the monks and 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 227 

librarians to dispose of their treasures by a display of 
his noble patron's gold. He published accounts of 
his travels, produced in royal style, and sumptuously 
illustrated. These noble volumes, set forth in all the 
epicureanism of " large paper copies," are now 
precious things when found in a " fine state ; " and a 
set of Dibdin's works fetches a very startling sum 
indeed. 

It is pleasant, as it is interesting, to read the amiable 
ravings of this honest collector, who by living in one 
long dream came at last to persuade himself that he 
was dealing with precious stones, and all that was 
rare and costly in the world ! His style, from this 
generous ardour, was passionately expressive — full 
of quaint and gorgeous turns, with a power of de- 
lineating character that wins his readers. His career 
and story is valuable as exhibiting the very highest 
and most expressive form of which bibliophilism is 
capable. 

So sumptuous was the system on which his catering 
for the Earl's taste was carried out, that merely good 
copies of any work were almost considered a little 
better than having no copies at all, or at best but a 
substitute, en attendant a fine one. Again, a fine one 
was unsatisfactory should a finer appear in the mar- 
ket. This fastidiousness required the deepest purse, 
but the result has been a collection that is unequalled. 
It was thus that the Earl purchased a superb Livy 
from the collection of another amateur, magnificent 
in ideas as himself. (" It was, I believe, this book," 
says his Doctor, " and the Psalter of 1457, that the 
Abb6 Strathman, librarian to the Emperor, declared 
he would carry away with him, one imder each arm, 
should the French come.") Notwithstanding this 
enthusiasm we hear that " his Lordship threw it out " 
of his collection ; the truth being that he had found 



228 THE BOOK FANCIER 

another whose charms surpassed it — a noble copy 
truly, bound in blue morocco. This system of 
" throwing out " culminated in a formal sale by 
auction of a collection of " incunables " — in itself 
enough to form a distinguished one, but rejected by 
the Doctor and his patron as not up to the standard of 
their library. " Our failures," he might call them, 
like Brummel's valet. 

The Doctor devoted some of his magnificent tomes 
to a detailed acoount of the Althorp Library and its 
contents. He described the rooms, and gave the 
history of each rare work, too often straying off into 
raptures — as when dealing with a certain "Pliny upon 
Paper." " How can I convey an idea," he exclaims, 
" of its condition and amplitude ? Think, enthusiastic 
collector, of the uncontaminated snow upon the summit 
of the Apennine peaks, and you will have an idea of 
the size and colour of the Spencer copy. The press 
work of this surprising volume is quite perfect." * 

By way of contrast it is pleasant to reflect how 
much can be done with small resources, but large 
indeed in their efficacy, without outlay of little be- 
yond trouble, time, and patience. In a provincial 
town of some note I recall the figure of a retiring man 
of modest means, but sufficient — and with nothing to 
do — who spent his days during the past forty years in 
a sort of unexcited, though careful, sensible, and dili- 
gent attendance at auctions. For him the sale day 
was a regular gala. Forty years have been thus 
spent, and he still pursues his quiet labours. He had 
a calm, accurate judgment, and a quick eye. The city 
he lived in was but indifferently stored with " curios," 
and our friend's purse, as I said, was but indifferently 

* A collection of the Dibdin publications, all tall splendid 
volumes, is rare indeed. One such (large paper) was the glory 
of a great American collector's library. 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 229 

lined — I doubt if he laid out twenty pounds in the 
year. But during these forty years he pursued his 
course unflinchingly, securing now the print, now the 
rare play, the old book, the unique pamphlet, the 
playbill, the MS., the picture, the " bit " of china, 
until he is absolutely, at this moment, in possession of 
one of the most interesting and valuable collections 
conceivable. It is impossible to name anything rare 
of which he has not got a specimen and generally a 
very choice one. He will tell you that " he has got a 
few old plays," but these are sure to prove to be of 
the rarest sort. " Yes " — this modestly — " he had a 
fine copy (uncut) of Marlowe's ' Faustus/ also of the 
' Rich Jew.' " He had mezzotintos in the finest 
states, and somehow contrived to have those which 
were unique, or of which only a few were in existence. 
He rarely contrived to pay more than a shilling or 
two for each. 

What a contrast this to the opulent collector, who 
looks through his catalogues, and sends an order to 
his chosen dealer or broker to bid for him, and has 
thus to secure at the highest possible market price 
anything he desires to possess. There money is no 
object, and things thus purchased in market overt 
contrast strangely with the treasures so quietly and 
cheaply acquired by the collector just described. 
Him a strange good fortune seemed to attend. 
Perhaps it was that he never hesitated, but struck in 
time. Frappez vite and jrappez fort should be the 
book-hunter's motto. 

Perhaps the most extraordinary of book-gatherers 
was the famous Heber, brother of the better known 
Bishop. This poor delusionist carried book-collect- 
ing over the borders — into lunacy almost. No poor 
sot ever swilled glass after glass so greedily as this 
Heber devoured books. He bought libraries without 



230 THE BOOK FANCIER 

seeing them, and died before he had seen all the books 
he possessed. But at last the end came, and the hour 
struck when he could see or handle books no more. 
No friend stood by his bedside, save the insensible 
quartos and folios to which he had sold his soul. That 
great auctioneer Death had his hammer raised for the 
final " going, going, gone ! " This was in November, 

1833. No one cared for the loss of this poor foolish 
buyer. But now the cry was " the library ! " What 
was to become of that ? There is an unpublished 
letter of the famous bibliophilist, Rev. Mr. Dyce, to 
another as ardent. Sir Egerton Brydges, which exhi- 
bits a melancholy picture. 

Hearken to this brother collector : " Poor man ! " 
he wrote, " he expired at Pimlico, in the midst of 
his rare property, without a friend to close his eyes, 
and from all I have heard I am led to believe that 
he died broken-hearted : he had been ailing some 
time, but took no care of himself, and seemed 
indeed to court death. Yet his ruling passion was 
strong to the last. The morning he died he wrote out 
some memoranda for Thorpe about books which he 
wished to be purchased for him. He was the most 
liberal of book-collectors : I never asked him for the 
loan of a volume, which he could lay his hand on, he 
did not immediately send me." 

The sale of this library is one of the great " book 
eras " of the century ; and the prices, appearance of 
rarities, &c., have all the interest that " a leading 
case " has for barristers. It took place in April, 

1834, and was extended over some years, which was 
natural, considering the vast number of volumes that 
were to be disposed of. The catalogue is itself a 
treatise, extending to six thick volimies, closely 
printed, and containing a vast amount of bibliophilite 
lore. There is a copy in the Athenaeum Library — 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 231 

the official one it may be called — which was presented 
to it by Messrs. Payne and Foss, the booksellers, who 
prepared it ; and at the commencement is given an 
exhaustive MS. analysis of the prices, number of 
volumes, loss or gain on the sale of each volume, &c. 
From this it would seem that there were 119,613 
volumes sold ! which it required no less than two 
hundred and two days, or nearly seven months, to 
sell ; and the sum realised was ^^56,774. 

Few have a conception of what a serious thing a 
well-furnished library is, until he has turned over these 
marvellous pages ; or even of a single department, in 
which there maybe thousands of volumes whose titles 
he may have never seen or heard of before. Thus 
a volume was devoted to " early English " works — 
old quaint things of the sixteenth century, prose and 
poetry, masques, interludes, drameis, &c. Indeed " it 
may be asserted that so complete an assemblage of 
plays, extending from the earliest period at which 
they were printed down to the closing of the theatres 
in 1647, was never seen." The value and rarity of 
which may be conceived when it is stated that it is 
now difficult to procure an " interlude " or pageant — 
a single one of which may cost ten, twenty, or fifty 
pounds. 

Book catalogues have ever a certain interest and 
fascination, they contain for the fanatically curious 
such an odd and heterogeneous amount of informa- 
tion. The odd notes, the prices, the glowing descrip- 
tions, all make these records pleasant reading, and 
form part of the romance of the saleroom. Some 
collectors write their own catalogue, as did Mr. 
Henry Huth, whose five magnificent volumes printed 
at the Chiswick Press " on hand-made paper and 
strongly bound in half morocco, top edges gilt, 
Roxburghe style," form a treatise on bibliography 



232 THE BOOK FANCIER 

rather than a catalogue. Ten guineas is the price of 
this record, and the " impression," we are told, 
" has been almost disposed of." 

Every collection seems to reflect its owner's char- 
acter ; and there is a curious interest in contrasting 
the different sides of character of men like George 
Steevens, Malone, Cole, George Daniel, and others, 
whose books and MSS. denote what is delicate and 
interesting, but whose character to the world was 
rough, violent, and insolent. George Steevens 
seemed indeed an odious person — truculent and 
malignant in his resentments, tortuous in his pro- 
ceedings, and, as Miss Hawkins hints, reported to have 
died like one who had sold himself to the evil one. 
Yet among their books these men were all interesting. 
I own to a fancy for collecting the catalogues of cer- 
tain famous men — actors, poets, &c., which reveal by 
many little touches their characters. Thus I have 
the one of Garrick's elegant library, in all the lan- 
guages, showing the taste and accomplishments of the 
owner : of Topham Beauclerk's, interesting to the 
Johnsonian (the owner is said to have departed but 
once from his inflexible rule of never lending a book) ; 
Kemble's, the junior James Boswell, a most interest- 
ing one full of records of the Doctor, the famous 
Perkins, Henderson the actor, the Stowe, Duke of 
Sussex, &c. 

Among the famous sales were Mr. Meade's, in 1754, 
Mr. Woodhull's, in 1803, " rich in editiones pHncipes " 
(he had thus a sale in his lifetime and one after his 
death) ; the Lansdowne, in 1806, 31 days ; Brand 
in 1807, 37 days, a remarkable assemblage on typo- 
graphy : " hundreds of uniques, Caxtons, Wynkyns, 
a most covetable tout ensemble ; this glorious sale 
realised £17,000" (so sings our bookseller) ; Stanley's, 
in 1813, " which realised over £1000 a day, being rich 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 233 

in Italian and Spanish works ; " the Morley or Willet 
sale, in 1813, of block-printed chronicles, vellum and 
large paper copies, and other indescribable treasures ; 
Borromeo (good name of an owner of volumes), in 

1817, " the rarest and most curious assemblage of 
early Italian volumes ever offered ; " the Bindley, in 

1818, a truly remarkable sale of " rare, curious, and 
early English literature " ; the Fonthill, of 20,000 
volumes, in 1823 ; the Hibbert, in 1829, a collection 
formed to illustrate the history of printing, and there- 
fore offering the most splendid and unique examples ; 
George Chalmers, in 1841 ; Bright, in 1845 ; Upcott, 
in 1846, remarkable for its works made up of " cut- 
tings ; " Bernal, in 1855 ; Sir M. Sykes, in 1824 ; 
Whiteknights, in 1829 ; G. Daniel, in 1864 ; to say 
nothing of innumerable others. 

It is curious that within recent times there have 
been at least two casualties at auction-rooms which 
have wrought havoc on famous collections. Mr. 
George Offers' collection was to be sold in 1865, and 
was one of the richest gatherings of early Scripture 
editions — Liturgies, Fathers, " Bunyaniana," Cax- 
tons. Books of Hours, &c. There were to be eleven 
days' sale of these treasures ; but the prices are only 
marked down to the end of the second day, when a 
conflagration took place at Sotheby's, which des- 
troyed almost the whole. Many purchasers had 
left their books, but the wisely cautious book-buyer 
always takes his purchases away on the day he buys. 
The Charlemont collection was also partially burnt, 
and many works irreparably injured by water when 
they escaped the fire. 

A great day or days at Sotheby's — not the sale 
days, which are theatrical, but the quiet or viewing 
days, when you can inspect and compare at leisure, 
for hours if you will — furnishes a charm and instruc- 



234 'THE Book fancier 

tion which would have dehghted Doctor Dibdin him- 
self, or the amazingly erudite author of " Mores 
Catholici." 

The last four years have been notable for some 
famous sales, and opportunities, which will not occur 
again, have been offered of seeing some of the most 
famous books in the world. Indeed it might be said 
that all the Masterpieces of Printing have been laid 
open to view in the Sunderland, Hamilton, Beckford, 
and Syston Park sales. 

' : The earlier months of the year 1881 were notable 
for an announcement that went forth, that the 
Blenheim Library was shortly to be sold. Already 
the fine collection known as the " Marlborough gems," 
which had been celebrated in a volume, had been dis- 
posed of en bloc to a private purchaser. The books 
were now to follow, while later in the year of grace 
1884 the gems of the picture-gallery — great and fam- 
ous works of Velasquez, Raphael, and Rubens — were 
sc^d to various purchasers. Soon the halls of the 
great palace will be left vacant and the walls stripped. 

The news of the coming sale fluttered the book- 
collecting and bookselling circles all over the world, 
for it was known that this Sunderland Library was 
among the most famous, and stored with articles that 
would have rejoiced a Frognall Dibdin to celebrate. 
The sale was fixed for December i, 1881, and occu- 
pied ten days, during which Messrs. Puttick's histori- 
cal rooms were crowded with buyers from the chief 
capitals of Europe. The books themselves astonished 
many who were not curious or interested in such 
things, from their magnificent character, though it 
was remarked that the old calf bindings showed neg- 
lect, and were in rather sorry condition. For some 
time after were seen on the stalls many a stray vol- 
ume, with the florid arms and escutcheons of the 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 235 

ducal house on the sides, fallen from their high estate 
and palatial lodgment. 

The first portion was announced as being " a re- 
markable collection of the Greek and Roman classical 
writers, in first, early, and rare editions, with a large 
series of early-printed Bibles, in various languages ; 
rare editions of the great Italian writers, notably 
Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Ariosto ; of chroni- 
cles in Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French ; 
while there were many very curious tracts relating to 
English and French politics, with first editions of the 
writings of the chief French, Italian, and Spanish 
poets of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries." 
Here were also found the first editions {editiones pHn- 
cipes), nearly eighty in number, of all the Greek and 
Roman classics and classical writers, besides numer- 
ous other early editions in profusion, innumerable 
Bibles, polyglot and others. But what this collection 
was chiefly remarkable for was the vast number of 
books printed upon vellum, and which, it was claimed, 
was unrivalled in this respect by any library in Eur- 
ope. There were no less than fifty-eight of these choice 
and desirable works, most of them belonging to the 
" incunable," or " cradle " category, dating from the 
fifteenth century — noble, splendid works, most of 
them set off with illmninated borderings on the front 
leaf, and with initials in gold and colour at the begin- 
ning of every chapter. 

Here too were sold an Anacreon on vellum, " per- 
haps the only copy known," for £221 ; an Ariosto for 
£300 ; the Romance of King Arthur, a manuscript 
with annotations, for ^^535 ; and the " fourth printed 
book with a date," to wit " Balbus de Janua," for 
£285. There were no less than 166 rare Bibles set up 
for sale, of which Cardinal Ximenes' famous " Poly- 
glot " of 1514, in six volumes, brought £195. There 



236 THE BOOK FANCIER 

also appeared here the famous Bible of 1462, printed 
on vellum, a copy of which, at the Perkins sale, 
astounded all by the price it brought. 

But the real excitement of the sale was the sale of 
the two editions of Boccaccio. The first is stated to 
have been the " first book printed at Bruges," by 
Colard Manson, who is connected with our Caxton. 
This volume was measured scrupulously as being 
I4|- inches by 9I-. It was sold for £960. But then 
the decks were cleared for the Boccaccio, the famous 
" first edition of the Decameron with a date," " of 
extraordinary rarity." It was described with nice 
and minute accuracy as being " printed in Roman 
letters, lines without numerals, catchwords, or signa- 
tures, four leaves missing, the plain margin of columns 
212, 242, 259, and 260 mended, two corners defective. 
It measured I2| inches by 8^, being nearly an inch 
taller and half an inch wider than the Roxburghe 
copy, and made such a sensation at the beginning of 
the nineteenth century and realised such a sum at the 
sale of the library of John Ker, third Duke of Rox- 
burghe, in 18 1 2, as no single printed volume ever did 
before or since." Such was the only perfect copy 
known of the world-famous edition of the Decameron 
of Boccaccio, a small folio printed by Christopher 
Valdarfar, Venice, 1471, black letter, in faded yellow 
morocco binding, and originally published, it is be- 
lieved, for about ten shillings. About this famous 
work hovers a sort of bibliographical romance. Only 
three copies were known — one in Lord Spencer's 
library at Althorp ; one in the Sunderland ; and the 
third said to be in the National Library at Paris — but 
only " a cruelly washt and cropt " thing. The most 
famous is the one which produced the excitement at 
the great Roxburghe sale. 

Dr. Dibdin, who styled this auction of the biblio- 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 237 

maniacal Duke " the Waterloo of Book Sales," gives a 
graphic description of it in the " Ninth Day of his 
Bibhographical Decameron " (vol. iii., pages 62 and 
117), from which we gather that no less than three 
noble candidates had gathered to struggle for the 
prize, the Duke of Devonshire (who at the same sale 
gave £1,060 for Caxton's " Histories of Troy "), Earl 
Spencer, and the Marquis of Blandford (afterwards 
Duke of Marlborough). The scene is described by 
Dr. Dibdin with bated breath. The sale was held at 
the Duke's house in St. James's Square, where he had 
expired, his bedroom adjoining his beloved library. 
The eagerness, the prices given, vast for those days, 
were extraordinary. 

Mr. Evans, the auctioneer, prefaced the sale of the 
articles by an appropriate oration, concluding by in- 
forming the company of the regret and even anguish 
of heart expressed by a foreign connoisseur that the 
Imperial Library had not a copy. It was known that 
an agent of Bonaparte was present. " Silence fol- 
lowed the address," says our Doctor. " On his right 
hand, leaning against the wall, stood Earl Spencer ; a 
little lower down, and standing at right angles with 
his lordship, appeared the Marquis of Blandford. The 
Duke, I believe, was not then present ; but my Lord 
Althorp stood a little behind to the right of his father. 

" The honour of making the first bid was due to a 
gentleman from Shropshire, who seemed almost elec- 
trified at his own temerity in offering ' 100 guineas.' 
Soon, however, the bidding rose to 500 guineas (the 
sum Beloe had prophesied it would fetch) . At length 
1000 guineas is named by the Earl Spencer, to which 
the Marquis of Blandford quietly added ' ten.' From 
this point these two worthy noblemen were the only 
hidders, neither evincing any desire to yield. '£2,000,' 
says the Marquis ! For a quarter of a minute the 



238 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Earl hesitated, at length he boldly cries, ' £2,250 ; ' 
nothing daunted, the Marquis as quietly adds his 
usual ' ten ' ; and after due and deliberate suspension 
' in mid air,' down drops the hammer before the 
amazed and excited auditory at the last-named hand- 
some figure, namely, £2,260. When the Marquis bid 
the last £10 Lord Spencer said, ' I bow to you.' Pre- 
sently, after the Marquis offered his hand to Lord 
Spencer, saying, ' We are good friends still,' his Lord- 
ship replied, ' Perfectly, indeed I am obliged to you.' 
* So am I to you,' said the Marquis, ' so the obliga- 
tion is mutual.' He declared it was his intention 
to have secured it at any price." 

It seems the Marquis possessed another copy, but 
which, alas ! wanted five leaves, so that, as his dis- 
appointed rival remarked, he might be said to have 
given that great sum for the five leaves. The book 
itself, the subject of this mad and ridiculous contest, 
was described as being certainly one of the scarcest, if 
not the scarcest, book that ever existed. It is known 
that it was a bone of contention among the collectors 
in the reign of the first two Georges. Lord Sunder- 
land had seen it, and Lord Oxford cast a longing eye 
upon it. In 1497 the work was pubhcly burnt, and 
copies in the beginning of the fifteenth century were 
scarce, and this identical copy, it is thought, owed its 
safety to the ingenuity of a former owner, a Jesuit, 
who had it lettered on the back " Concilium Triden- 
ti " and was so accidentally discovered by a book- 
worm. It came into the possession of an ancestor of 
the Duke of Roxburghe, previous to the year 1740, at 
the price of £100, then considered an extravagant 
sum. How it first reached the Duke was curiously 
explained to Mr. Beloe, the " septuagenarian," by Mr. 
G. Nicol. It appears that this copy was in the hands 
of a London bookseller, who showed it to Lord Oxford 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 239 

and Lord Sunderland, then the great collectors of 
books, and competitors for rare publications, and 
asked 100 guineas for it, which they hesitated to give. 
Whilst they were deliberating, an ancestor of the 
Duke's saw and purchased the volume. The two 
noble collectors were invited to dinner, and the sub- 
ject of Boccace being purposely introduced. Lord Ox- 
ford and Lord Sunderland began to talk of this parti- 
cular copy. The Duke of Roxburghe told them that 
he thought he could show them a copy of this edition, 
which they defied him to exhibit. To their mortifi- 
cation and chagrin he produced the book in question. 
" I have a perfect recollection," goes on Dibdin, " of 
this volume in the library of the Duke. It had a 
faded yellow morocco binding, and was a sound rather 
than a fine copy." It may be said that foreign 
writers and book-fanciers were as much amused as 
astonished at this fancy price, and threw serious 
doubts on the rarity of the volume. They have since, 
however, established their claim to be as frantic and 
extravagant in the pursuit as the English are. So re- 
solved was the infatuated Marquis upon the acquisi- 
tion of this book that he was prepared to give £5,000 
to obtain it. The object of this struggle subsequent- 
ly came, at the sale of the Marquis of Blandford's 
library in 1819, into the possession of the Earl Spen- 
cer for the sum of £918, in whose library at Althorp it 
now rests. The Earl had the book bound in the most 
superb style by Charles Lewis, having the arms of the 
Duke of Roxburghe within, and his own without, on 
dark green.* 

• This is perhaps the only instance of an English duke devoting 
himself to the bibliomania. His name is honourably associated 
with the club that bears his name. Dr. Dibdin and Joseph 
Hazlewood were instrumental in founding this club of noblemen 
and gentlemen, which was hmited to forty members, called 
the Roxburghe Club, and inaugurated at the Old St. Albaa's 



240 THE BOOK FANCIER 

At this Roxburghe sale there were other extraor- 
dinary prices obtained for objects that seem quite 
beyond their value, as, for instance, that " collection 
of twopenny portraits of criminals," which fetched 
£94, and the selection of old halfpenny ballads, which 
would have delighted Macaulay, " pasted in three 
volumes," which fetched i^^j. 

Caxton's " Recueil " was also the subject of an- 
other ridiculous contest. This was the first book 
printed in the English language, but it wanted the 
last leaf. Lord Spencer had a copy that wanted the 
first. It had been sold at the Steevens' sale, and 
secured by the enthusiastic Earl for £200. Sir Mark 
Sykes, Lord Blandford, and Mr. Ridgway, acting for 
the Duke of Devonshire, contested for it. Sir Mark 
retired when he reached £500 ; the Marquis went to 
£1000, " Let them be guineas," cried Mr. Ridgway, 
and the baffled Marquis making no sign, the book be- 
came the property of the Duke. " Why," says Dibdin 
pathetically, in a letter, " tear open wounds which 
promise in due time to be closed ? More mischief has 
ensued, more bibliomaniacal wretchedness has en- 
sued, than the healing influence of an undisturbed 
century may be able to counterbalance. It has been 
a sort of book earthquake." These people seem to 
have lost their wits. 

With these traditions, one of the cherished glories 

Tavern, London, dating from Thursday, 17th June, 181 2. 
Each member undertook to give his brother Roxburghers, in 
turn, a volume printed for the special occasion. It is now, how- 
ever, arranged that an annual subscription of five guineas is 
received, which is devoted to the publication of some unpubhshed 
MS., or the reprint of some rare and valuable work. The collected 
works of the club always reahse high prices. At Lang's sale 
m 1828 thirty-nine volumes fetched ;^iii 6s. ; Hazlewood's, 
in 1834, forty-four volumes, /115; Sir F. Freeling, in 1834, 
forty-four volumes, ^qo ; and at Harvard's, in 1858, sixty -one 
volumes (sold separately) produced ;^i25 2s. 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 241 

of the book auction-room, it may be conceived how 
eagerly, after an interval of nearly seventy years, the 
reappearance of such a treasure with such a history 
was looked for. Still, after all the speculation, it 
brought but £585 ; a vast sirni certainly, but still a 
sad falling off as compared with the £918 and the 
enormous £2,260. 

The second edition of the same book brought £400. 
Later came some astonishing prices ; a superb "St. 
Augustin de Civitate," printed by Jenson on vellum, 
produced £1000 ! Bourbet's " L'Amoroux," £640 ; 
and the " Voyages de Bry " (1590), in a few parts, 
the astonishing sum of £750. The grand competitors 
through the various contests were Mr. Quaritch of 
Piccadilly, and a foreign dealer, M. Techener, who 
contended with each other regardless of limit ; but 
it was nmioured that each represented influential 
patrons, such as Baron Rothschild of Paris, the Due 
d'Aumale, and other connoisseurs. The total cash 
received during these ten days was £19,373 los. 6d. ! 
No wonder the hopes of the family ran high as to the 
prospective gains from future sales. But these fell off 
considerably, and never approached that magnificent 
return. Many valuable books went at extraordinary 
low prices — for odd shillings and half-crowns ; and 
the skilled amateur, for months afterwards, might 
have seen on the various stalls innumerable " desir- 
able " lots to be secured "for a song." Shrewd 
American dealers bought enormous quantities, en 
gros, as it were, of these serviceable works, and 
shipped them home. The total sum realised was 
about £73,000. 

The Syston Park Library, a model for the splendid 
condition of its treasures, offered a curious show, from 
the quahty and rather monotonous tone of the bind- 
ing. What the nice connoisseur noted was the 



242 THE BOOK FANCIER 

absence of a certain style and character. Every work 
was plentifully overlaid with gilding, but no volume 
had a character of its own, and there was often a 
strange lack of appropriateness in the dress adopted 
for each. The stately " Fifteeners," as they are 
vulgarly termed, the grand old signors of the early 
years of printing, so noble and dignified, were mostly 
dressed in buff coatings, their backs squared and 
stiff, the lettering rather thin and poor, and not very 
brilliant. Elaborate gold tooling on a pale yellow 
ground is not effective. How different is the charac- 
ter imparted by the old bindings ! The rich, deep- 
toned crimson morocco, and the sparing use of gold, 
would surely have been a more appropriate roque- 
laure for these hidalgoes. This gives a sinuosity to the 
sides, which bend inwards to the edges of the leaves, 
while the rounding of the backs and the bold ribs 
furnish detail and protection. The remarkable 
feature of this library was the collection of first edi- 
tions of the Classics — books almost like MS., on which 
we look with admiration, reverence, and wonder. 
They suggest old Venetian portraits, so stately and 
noble are they, so rich and costly and elegant in their 
material. As was justly said by a critic, " Those who 
admire the magnificent editiones principes from the 
famous early presses of Italy and France, when the 
printer was the rival of the painter in the love and 
worship of his art, will find an ample feast of delight 
in reviewing a collection wonderfully fine for condi- 
tion and remarkable beyond most for completeness. 
Almost the only lacunce are the absence of a Phajdrus 
and the want of one volume of the Ovid, first edition 
of 1471 of three volumes, the rarest of all, and of 
which only one perfect copy is known, the first book 
printed at Bologna, and of which Brunet had never 
known a copy sold in his time. Many are the choice 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 243 

editions of the Aldines and Elzevirs, several on vel- 
lum or large paper, generally in exceptionally good 
condition and superb bindings, from the libraries 
of such high historic repute as those of Lorenzo de' 
Medici, Marguerite de Valois, Diane de Poictiers, 
Barbarigo, Doge of Venice, and Catharine de' Medici, 
Thuanus, Maioli, De Menars, Grolier, and of more 
modern collectors." 

At the present moment the cultured amateur — 
rather the dilettante — flourishes to a degree that has 
never before been known, and to all the arts brings a 
taste, knowledge, and above all a purse, which has 
hitherto never been rivalled. " He holds the field." 
He is the " patron." His gifts are elegant and solid, 
and there is little of that ridiculous affectation and 
" airs " which was the stock-in-trade of the old ama- 
teur. This cultivated being stamps his own graces 
upon his collection to a degree that could scarcely be 
conceived. And it is only when we compare a gather- 
ing of the kind, to whose selection patience, time 
and taste has been brought, with the larger " om- 
nium gatherums," that we recognise the immeasur- 
able superiority of the former. Open before me is an 
elegant monument of this elegant ease in the shape of 
a finely-printed catalogue, significant of the owner 
and his library, which is the work of Mr. Frederick 
Locker Lampson, of Rowfant. Herein he describes 
his elegant and valuable collection — a dainty record 
— adorned with an etched portrait of the owner, and 
a Cruikshank sketch of his study ; while Mr. Andrew 
Lang, a congenial and well-skilled expert, ushers the 
whole in with a ballade on " the Rowfant Books :" — 



" The Rowfant books, how fair they show. 
The quarto quaint, the Aldine tall ; 
Print, autograph, portfolio ! 

Back from tiie outer air tliey call 



244 THE BOOK FANCIER 

The athletes from the tennis hall ; 

The rhymer from his rod and hooks. 
Would I could sing them, one and all, 

The Rowfaint books I 

The Rowfant books 1 These long ago 

Were chained within some college hall ; 
These manuscripts retain the glow 

Of many a coloured capital j 
While yet in satires keep their gall, 

While the pastissier puzzles cooks, 
There is a joy that does not pall — 

The Rowfant books 1 " 

The merit of this collection is that it was formed on 
a system steadily pursued — for the illustration of old 
English, modern poetry, and drama — to be accom- 
phshed by selecting only the rarest and most taste- 
ful exemplars. The test is that the scholar in such 
department would here find himself fully equipped. 

There is a quaint " relish " in the owner's introduc- 
tion of his cherished tomes. " It is a good thing to 
read books, and it need not be a bad thing to write 
them ; but it is a pious thing to preserve these that 
have been some time written : the collecting, and 
mending, and binding, and cataloguing of books are 
all means to such an end. This is my apology for 
the present volume. I had intended to annotate 
some of the more curious and rare volumes, for I have 
a decided opinion about a good many of them. By 
doing so I should have given my catalogue the 
distinct quality that comes of ownership and affec- 
tion." 

First editions of poets during that dainty era, 1550- 
1600, abound, and forty choice Shakespeare quartos, 
headed by the first folio in fine condition, fill the con- 
noisseur with envy and admiration. While, of a later 
generation, the first editions of Lamb, Byron, Tenny- 
son, Coleridge — always dainty things, and now much 
coveted — swell the ranks of the modems. The owner 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 245 

of Rowfant has himself laboriously appraised and 
collated each volume, sternly rejecting all that is 
not choice and perfect, and has added many a 
piquant note of his own, or inscription into the book 
itself. 

It may be added here that this gathering together 
of old plays has always had a fascination for collect- 
ors. Those who are not inclined to anything else are 
drawn by the wish to accumulate these elegant little 
volumes, with their quaint old spelling and tawny 
paper, each, according to strict bibliograph etiquette, 
a volume in itself. There is, as usual, a melancholy 
interest in looking over such a collection. Many will 
be found to have three or four book-plates, showing 
the different owners, how it has passed from hand to 
hand, the owner himself having passed away ; and 
each is generally bound in the best style, often " by 
Bedford." This cost may be set down at a guinea, 
while the little book itself may have been secured for 
five shillings. Not long since, we saw one of Mr. J. 
Payne Collier's little reprints, issued at is. 6d., com- 
ing from Mr. Ouvry's rare and valuable library — a 
trifle, which yet had been bound in exquisite fashion, 
certainly at a cost of a couple of guineas. Many col- 
lectors consider their books as ornaments also ; they 
please themselves by taking them out of the glass- 
enclosed bookcases — fondling them, as it were. This 
binding is a difficult question, for to see some rare 
little tome " done up " in ragged " Aa//-binding " — 
that is, covered with marbled paper and cheap roan — 
is revoltingly inappropriate, or, as Lamb would say, 
heartless. At the same time, new and brilliant bind- 
ing, gilt edges, &c., are equally out of keeping with 
the sober dignity of an Elizabethan play, though by 
and by, when thirty years have mellowed it, it will 
be fit enough. 



246 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Mr. Malone's valuable collection of " Old Plays " 
now reposes in the Bodleian Library. The founda- 
tion of his dramatic collection was, he tells us, one 
hundred and nineteen volumes of old plays printed 
in quarto, containing on an average eight plays in 
each volume, given him by George Steevens, I believe 
in 1778. To these he added forty-eight in quarto, 
twelve in i2mo and 8vo, besides an almost perfect 
collection of single plays of all the early dramatic 
writers. Among these were such rarities as the 
" Gorboduc " of 1562 ; also Lyly's plays in one vol- 
ume quarto. " This," said the owner, " is one of the 
most curious and expensive volumes in my library. 
The plays were purchased for the most part at very 
dear rates, and are not to be had now at any price. 
For Midas alone (a ' Children of Paules' play) I think 
I paid seven guineas and a half ! " 

Another " amateur," Mr. Ruskin — one of the most 
interesting personalities of his time — some years ago, 
in protest against what he considered the grasping 
dealings of publishers, determined to publish his own 
works himself, selecting " Mr. George Allen, Sunny- 
side, Orpington," as his agent or deputy. This is 
really a unique enterprise, and one of great extent and 
importance from the long list of issues, reprints, &c., 
which the author's works now fill. But this dispens- 
ing with a middleman is only to be done by a Ruskin, 
and the general principle is not practicable. There is 
something specially appropriate in a writer like Mr. 
Ruskin supplying his own books ; for as the writing 
and matter represent his mind, so does the book — its 
type, shape, &c. — express the form and pressure of 
the author's mind. There is an elegance of grace 
and dignity about his grander works, such as " The 
Modem Painters " and the " Stones of Venice," that 
marks this impress in the most striking way. Even 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 247 

the exceptional size has a nobility. There was infin- 
ite care used in the working, hence the grace of the 
illustrations. A fine copy of " The Modern Paint- 
ers " has been priced at £40 ! and a fine set of Ruskin 
is of extraordinary value. His publishing notices 
are characteristic, and show his own familiar touch : 

" Works by Mr. Ruskin published by and to be had 
of George Allen, Sunnyside, Orpington, Kent (five 
minutes' walk west of Orpington Station, South- 
Eastern Railway). 

" Advice by Mr. Ruskin : ' I have directed Mr. 
Allen, in this and all future issues of his list of my 
purchaseable works, to advertise none but those 
which he is able to despatch to order by return of 
post. The just estimate of decline in the energy of 
advancing age — the warnings, now thrice repeated, 
of disabling illness consequent on any unusual 
exertion of thought — and chiefly, the difficulty I now 
find in addressing a public for whom, in the course of 
the last few years of Revolution, old things have 
passed away, and all things become new, render 
it, in my thinking, alike irreverent and unwise to 
speak of any once-intended writings as "in pre- 
paration." 

" ' I may perhaps pray the courtesy of my readers 
— and here and there, the solicitude of my friends — 
to refer, at the time of the monthly issue of maga- 
zines, to this circular of Mr. Allen's, in which they 
will always find the priced announcement of anything 
I have printed during the month. May I also venture 
to hint to friends who may at any time be anxious 
about me, that the only trustworthy evidences of my 
health are my writings ; and that it is a prettier 
attention to an old man to read what he wishes to say, 
and can say without effort, than to require him to 
answer vexing questions on general subjects, or to 



248 THE BOOK FANCIER 

add to his day's appointed labour the burden of 
accidental and unnecessary correspondence.' 

" Mr. Allen has positive orders to attend to no 
letter asking credit. All books are sent carriage paid 
to any place in the Postal Union on remittance (in 
advance) of the full prices of the volumes required. 
In the case of foreign countries, it is suggested that 
the cost of registration for the more expensive works 
be added to their prices, to insure safety in transit. 
N.B. — Correspondents are respectfully requested to 
note that the utmost despatch is used in replying to 
orders and letters of inquiry ; but as these are very 
numerous, it is not always possible to attend to them 
at once, especially at the time of issue of new publica- 
tions. Much trouble and delay will be saved if corre- 
spondents will invariably give their ixAl address, and, 
in advising change of residence, their former one also. 
Stamps not accepted for sums over half-a-crown. 
Amounts of less than five shillings not acknowledged 
unless a stamped envelope is enclosed." 

The American amateurs now compete with the 
British, and some very fine and rare treasures and 
choice editions are being collected into libraries by 
opulent bibliomen with long purses. We hear of 
first folios and rare things of the kind finding their 
way across the Atlantic. In the very handsome cata- 
logue of an American bibhophile, Mr. Farmer, the 
true principles of the collection were set out judi- 
ciously enough. 

" Mr. Farmer's theory was large paper copies rather 
than small ; the relicures of Hayday, Riviere, &c., in 
preference to cheap store bindings ; limited editions 
on fine paper instead of unlimited on wood pulp ; 
unique extra illustrated copies rather than volumes 
manufactured by the thousand with well-worn plates 
and indistinct impressions ; the choicest examples of 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 249 

American printed books, reprinted by the Riverside 
Press, or of the British printing-offices, exhibited in 
the typographical beauties of Baskerville and Whit- 
tingham — in fact, always editions de luxe; uncut 
copies not ravished by the binder's plough, and above 
all, original editions, if with plates, but if not, then 
the best printed and the best edited the book market 
has to offer." 

The late Mr. Bohn's catalogue, an enormous bulky 
volume, weighing many lbs., was supposed to be the 
biggest in the world. It seemed by actual measure- 
ment to be about a foot thick. He was in truth an 
extraordinary man, combining original taste in all 
departments of art and literature with singular know- 
ledge. He, like many successful bibliophilists, was a 
German. His " Bohn's Library " was a truly magni- 
ficent enterprise, carried out with extraordinary spirit 
and ambition. His collection of china was vast. He 
had also collections of paintings, virtu, books, rarities 
of every kind, all selected with the same judgment, 
which at his death were sold at very remunerative 
prices. He brought to his task powers of tact and 
energy, and an instinct akin to the political or finan- 
cial. He appeared to forecast prospective rises in 
value. Like many others of his countrymen he rose 
from being a humble assistant in a bookseller's 
" store." 

At all periods the amateur has been eager to indulge 
in the luxury of a press of his own. There is much 
to be said for this costly fancy ; for if taste and char- 
acter are present it is sure to impress itself on the 
works, and even on the printing. Such form and 
pressure of the mind reveals itself. This is particu- 
larly manifest in the work of Horace Walpole, whose 
books betray an elegance of subject, touch, and senti- 
ment that betokens the man of congenial refinement 



250 THE BOOK FANCIER 

and makes them quite distinct from the ordinary 
work of eminent pubhshers. His own compositions — 
such as the pleasant apology for Richard III., and the 
" Royal and Noble Authors " — are admirably adapted 
to the mode of expression used. It is a claim on pos- 
terity to have issued Gray's Odes. There is a distinct 
physiognomy in these charming little books. Among 
them are Lord Whitworth's account of Russia in 1710, 
Lady Temple's poems, Henault's tragedy " Comelie," 
Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Life, trifles by Sir 
William Jones and Hannah More, and so serious and 
important a work as the " Anecdotes of Painting." 
On an average about two hundred copies only were 
printed of each. Perhaps the rarest is the hierogly- 
phic Tales, of which only six copies are said to have 
been printed ; the printer's private copy sold for £16. 
Rarest perhaps of all are these occasional leaves of 
congratulatory verses which the virtuoso used to 
have " worked " off for some visitor of distinction. 
Kirkgate, his printer for a long period was, however, 
left by the noble owner without even the slightest 
mention in his will. 

Another important private press was that of Lee 
Priory, directed by Sir E. Brydges, but not at all so 
attractive, though the collection is much sought, and 
brings in good prices. As of course the subject is 
large enough to be treated in a volume devoted to 
itself. There were also the Boswell, Philips, and 
other presses. 

A collector of much taste and judgment was the late 
Mr. John Forster — " mine own fast friend " — whose 
handsome library at Palace Gate was richly stored 
with rare and interesting volumes, autographs, and 
prints, to say nothing of pictures and sketches. The 
interest of the collection is found — it can be seen at 
South Kensington Museum, to which he bequeathed 



OF THE AUCTION-ROOM 251 

it — in the intimate connection of these treasures with 
famous men, and particularly with the famous liter- 
ary personages with whom he had been associated all 
his life. His own admirable literary work — always of 
the best and most finished kind — brought him into 
further connection with literary memorials of every 
description ; and there was no greater treat than to 
turn over one of his well-stored portfolios. His 
artistic friends seemed to have delighted in recording 
their connection with the many social hours he fur- 
nished them, by pleasant, spirited sketches — perhaps 
the happiest souvenirs that could be devised. Among 
his books he delighted to have such as had been in the 
possession of famous writers, and were enriched with 
signatures and inscriptions. He possessed most of 
the correspondence of Garrick, filling many great 
tomes ; and his more precious volumes were bound in 
a solidly sumptuous style, to do honour to the subject. 

There is another class of amateur not so inviting or 
acceptable. He is figured in the worm which feeds 
on books. This " prowler " scans the catalogues care- 
fully for anything in his line, and there are dealers 
who purvey for his taste. 

In certain booksellers' catalogues this department 
is often labelled " Facetiae," supposed by the innocent 
readers to stand for books of a humorous or Rabe- 
laisian character. In this class might be included 
" Macaronic " poetry. It is lamentable to relate, 
however, that there is a demand for books written in 
Latin and French, and often in very elegant Latin 
and French, of such a character as to forbid them the 
freedom of the drawing-room table. There are many 
such, belonging chiefly to the seventeenth century, 
and one, a notorious one, by a professor. There have 
been collectors of these odious things. Selwyn men- 
tions a noble lord of his acquaintance who imported 



252 THE BOOK FANCIER 

some thirty copies of one of Crebillon's stories, which 
he disposed of to his loose friends — an instance of 
rare good nature. There was an EngUsh earl who in 
1789 " privately " reprinted the works of one Baffo, 
an Italian writer, styled Le Rimeur le plus obscene et 
le plus sale de son temps, to give away for presents I 
It is now, we are told, very scarce. Mr. Beckford 
enjoyed the privilege of a copy, which was sold for 
£11, solely upon its claim to saleti. 

One person not long since dead was held to possess 
" one of the finest collections " of these things conceiv- 
able, and which he later sent to the Continent for 
sale. " FaceticB ! " Heaven save the mark ! We 
should like to hear the burning tongue of Thomas 
Carlyle on this abomination. 

As to the insect book-worm, few have an idea of the 
ravages caused by these deadly enemies of books. 
Their performances excite amazement. As when we 
see some huge foho — a St. Thomas or Bellarminus — 
bored straight through with a tiny tunnel, the 
material in each leaf being cut out and carried off. 
One such tunnel literally destroys a book. There is 
something painful in finding leaf after leaf unto the 
end thus pierced. These depredators are so tiny as to 
escape detection, though not so long since one was 
captured flagrante delicto, and exhibited to the curious. 



Sbaftespeare jfolfos an^ (Siuattos 

Shakespeare, so philosophical and occult — inex- 
haustible, almost, in repaying the student's labours 
— so overlaid with speculation and commentaries, 
has naturally furnished a vast contribution to the 
" libraries of the curious." He stands alone in this 
fruitfulness ; Racine, Moliere, and other great classics 
offering their text without exciting much con- 
troversy. But we must add to this fruitfulness the 
strange dispensation which attends the greater genius, 
that sense of mystery and obscurity which prevents 
us ever reaching, with anything approaching assur- 
ance, to the knowledge that we have what Shakespeare 
really wrote. Depending on various and conflicting 
versions, we are forced to hold the general sense, as in 
the sense of the oracles, but the literal and exact form 
escapes us. There is no authorised canon of Shake- 
speare ; and, strangest of all, the writer of these 
immortal pieces, unlike other authors, seems to 
have been least concerned with their publication and 
editing. He who wrote for all time seems not to 
have cared to bring his work before the British pub- 
lic, nor to have bethought him of editing, printing, or 
correcting for the press, nor of any of the welcome 
incidents that attend on authorship. 

253 



254 THE BOOK FANCIER 

This curious fate has naturally had extraordinary 
results. The plays given to the press by others than 
the author, as they were found, picked up, or copied, 
naturally reflected their disorderly origin ; each shape 
being different, and often opposed to the other. The 
plays were clearly printed from notes or recollections, 
and rude playhouse copies. Further to complicate 
the matter, the compositor did his best to add to the 
disorder, and every page of the first folio " teems with 
errors." In truth, it is with the works of Shakespeare 
as with the Scriptures ; there is no original text, but 
only the best, or what is thought to be the best. In the 
case of the Scriptures there are the various recognised 
MSS., the Vatican and others, while of Shakespeare 
there are the little quartos and the four folios. None 
of these can be shown to have been in relation with 
the author or with his original MS. Hence no one 
has more special claim to authority than its fellows. 
Round the quartos and the four folios there floats 
a cloud of almost romantic details. An army of 
laborious commentators has given days and nights 
and^their whole lives to the comparing of copies, the 
counting of lines, the searching for analogous passages 
in other authors, until a flood of light has been shed 
upon the question. Behind these are ranged the col- 
lectors and their searchings — the story of the rare 
quarto, the restorations, and above all, the " fear- 
some " prices. These, it may be conceived, will rise 
with every year, owing to the demand in America and 
the Colonies. 

Nothing is more mysterious than the fate that has 
pursued this comparatively modern volume, the First 
Folio : works a hundred and a hundred and thirty 
years older have fared infinitely better, and have 
swept down the rapids of time without damage or 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 255 

wreckage. But this work is usually found frayed, 
maimed, soiled, smeared, imperfect, leaves and sheets 
torn out in the middle, the beginning, and end. 
Almost every copy, save two or three that can be 
named, is " made up " — that is, the defects of one 
are supplemented from others. 

George Steevens supplies a fair, sensible reason. 
" Of all volumes," he says, " those of popular enter- 
tainment are soonest inj ured. It would be difficult to 
name four folios that are oftener found in dirty, muti- 
lated condition than this first assemblage of Shake- 
speare's plays, ' God's Revenge against Murder,' ' The 
Gentleman's Recreation,' and Johnson's ' Lives of 
the Highwaymen.' The folio Shakespeare," goes on 
Steevens, " was generally found on the hall tables of 
mansions, and that a multitude of his pages ' have 
this effect of gravy ' may be imputed to the various 
eatables set out on the same boards. I have repeatedly 
met with flakes of pie-crust between the leaves of our 
author. These unctuous fragments, remaining long 
in close confinement, communicated their grease to 
several pages deep on each side of them. Since our 
breakfasts have become less gross, our favourite 
authors have escaped with fewer injuries. I claim to 
be the first commentator who strove with becoming 
seriousness to account for the frequent stains that 
disgrace the earliest folio edition, which is now become 
the most expensive book in our language. For," 
asks the astonished Steevens, " what other EngUsh 
volume, without plates, and printed since the year 
1600, is now known to have sold more than once for 
thirty -five pounds fourteen shillings ? " There is a 
pleasant quaintness in all this. He tells us, moreover, 
that most of the first folios then extant belonged to 
ancient families resident in the country. 



256 THE BOOK FANCIER 

Every possible adulteration, he tells us, has of late 
years (that is, sixty years since) been practised " in 
fitting up copies of this book for sale. When leaves 
are wanting, they have been reprinted with battered 
types, and foisted into vacancies. When the title has 
been lost, a spurious one has been fabricated, with a 
blank space left for the head of Shakespeare, after- 
wards added for the second, third, or fourth impres- 
sions. To conceal these frauds, thick vermiUon lines 
have been usually drawn over the edges of the engrav- 
ings, and discoloured with tobacco-water till it had 
assumed the true jaune antique. Sometimes leaves 
have been inserted from the second folio, and, in a 
known instance, the entire play of Cymbeline, the 
genuine date being altered. And this is the more 
easy, as the matter of both editions corresponds ex- 
actly page by page and line by line, though differing 
in words." 

It is difficult to account for this craze, or indeed to 
define the element that is priced so highly. It is not 
the text, for that is accessible in facsimile reprints ; 
nor is it the scarcity, for there are other works far 
more rare, yet not so costly. It seems really a com- 
pliment to the surpassing merit of the bard himself 
combined with the other elements. Fine choice copies 
are also extraordinarily few, and bring increasing 
prices. It will be interesting to note the steady 
growth of this amiable mania. 

In 182 1 a pleasant writer, Mr. Davis, in his " Jour- 
ney Round the Library of a Bibliomaniac," quotes 
prices for this interesting monument. In 1792 Daly's 
copy brought £30 ; Heathcote's (title wanting), £37 ; 
S. Ireland's, in 1801, £14 ; Duke of Roxburghe's, 
£100 ; Sebright's, in 1807 (title wanting), £30 ; Stan- 
ley's (title also wanting), £37 ; Sir P. Thompson's, in 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 257 

1815, ;^4i ; and in 1818, at the Sanders sale, " a fine 
original copy in a genuine state " brought £121. The 
third edition is nearly as valuable as the first ; the 
second is " adulterated " in every page. Droeshout's 
portrait served for all the four editions. " Good 
or first impressions of this portrait are valued 
by judges at about five guineas ; inferior ones are 
scarcely worth a guinea, as the lines have been 
crossed over the face to give strength to the 
impression." 

A leading bookseller was offering some years ago a 
set of the four folios. He gives accurately (though 
incidentally) copies of the title-pages of each edition, 
which is interesting, and shows how damages are 
repaired and the book can be " made up." The third 
edition, it is known, did not go off briskly, and was, as 
it were, reissued with the seven additional plays. The 
prices asked were not too much. The titles are given 
in full, and will be found interesting ; for, with the 
quaint titles of the separate plays, they have been 
abolished by modem editors. 

" Shakespeare. — Mr. William Shakespeare's 
Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, pubhshed accord- 
ing to the true original copies. London, printed by 
Isaac laggard and Ed. Blount. 1623. Folio, first 
edition, the title containing the portrait and verses 
opposite to it in facsimile, so' well done as to almost 
defy detection ; otherwise perfect and genuine 
throughout. Size, I2| x 8|^. 

" The second impression. London, printed by T. 
Cotes for Robert Allot, and are to be sold at the Signe 
of the Blacke Beare in Pauls Churchyard. 1632. 
Folio, portrait on title and verses opposite. The verses 
are mended, and a portion filled in, but only an ex- 
perienced eye could detect it. Some of the end 



258 THE BOOK FANCIER 

leaves are mended a little at the corners ; otherwise 
perfect and genuine throughout. Size, i2f x8^, 

" The third impression, and unto this impression is 
added seven plays, never before printed in folio, 
viz., Pericles, Prince of Tyre ; The London Prodigal ; 
The History of Thomas, Lord Cromwell ; Sir John 
Oldcastle, Lord Cobham ; The Puritan Widow ; A 
Yorkshire Tragedy ; The Tragedy of Locrine. Lon- 
don, printed for P. C, 1664. Folio, portrait, with 
the verses underneath opposite the title. The por- 
trait, title, and margins of a few leaves at end are 
mended and filled in, and the dedication is entirely in 
facsimile, the whole most beautifully done ; other- 
wise perfect and genuine throughout. Size, I2| x 8|. 

" The fourth edition. London, printed for H. Her- 
ringman, E. Brewster, and Rd. Bentley, at the An- 
chor, in the New Exchange, the Crane, in St. Paul's 
Churchyard, and in Russel Street, Covent Garden. 
1685. Folio, portrait and verses opposite the title in 
facsimile, beautifully done. The title has the 
bottom corner slightly mended ; otherwise perfect 
and genuine throughout. Size, 141^x9. 

" A very good set. The four voliunes beautifully 
and uniformly bound, by Riviere, in the best French 
morocco, paned sides, full gilt backs, and gilt 
edges." 

Four hundred and fifty pounds was the price ! But 
it is clear these were ordinary things, without pedi- 
gree — " not born," as is said of an inferior German 
prince. " Perhaps," says Beloe, " there is no book 
in the English language which has risen so rapidly in 
value as the first editions of the works of our great 
national poet. I can remember a very fine copy to 
have been sold for five guineas. I could once have 
purchased a superb one for nine guineas. At the sale 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 259 

of Dr. Monro's books it was purchased for thirteen 
guineas ; and two years since I was present when 
thirty-six guineas was demanded for a copy." But 
there are notable copies of noble dimensions, 
and which can be traced from owner to owner, each 
having its story, its life and adventures, as it were ; 
while of the owner or possessor something curiously 
interesting might be detailed. George Daniel (the 
predecessor of Lady Burdett Coutts in the ownership 
of a famous copy) had a curious history — himself one 
of the strange combative bibliomaniacs ; while 
George Steevens's copy would suggest the history of a 
learned and stormy collector. Of his " second folio." 
now in the King's Library of the British Museum, this 
history is given : — " This had belonged to King 
Charles L, who with his own hand had written in it 
these words : ' Dum spiro spero, C.R.' " And Sir 
Henry Herbert, to whom the King presented it the 
night before his execution, had also written : "Ex 
Dono serenissimi Regis Car. Servo suo Humiliss. — T. 
Herbert." 

This precious volume came into the possession of 
Dr. Askew — a well-known scholar — ' a fine copy " it 
was called — and at his sale it was purchased by 
Steevens for the sum of £5 los. Yet the new owner 
says, " I gave this enormous sum." Askew had 
bought it at Dr. Mead's sale for two guineas and a 
half. At Steevens's sale it was bought for George HL 
for eighteen guineas, thus oddly returning into royal 
custody. There is another royal association con- 
nected with this copy. Steevens had written in it that 
its former owner. Sir T. Herbert, was Master of the 
Revels to King Charles L, whereas it was Sir Henry 
Herbert who held that office. This mistake was im- 
mediately detected and ratified by George HL, in his 



26o THE BOOK FANCIER 

own hand, and thus this interesting copy possesses 
the autographs of two sovereigns of England. Be- 
neath the words of Mr. Steevens his Majesty has 
written thus : " This is a mistake, he [Sir T. Herbert] 
having been Groom of the Bed Chamber to King 
Charles I. ; but Sir Henry Herbert was Master of 
the Revels." 

Steevens supposes that the original edition was not 
more than 250 copies. Before 1649 they were so 
scarce that King Charles, Mr. Malone says, was 
obliged to content himself with a copy of the second 
edition ; though it is likely his Majesty preferred a 
revised and more carefully printed edition to the old 
one. Ten shillings, it is supposed, was the selling 
price. 

But now for the successive appearances of these 
four folios in solemn sets ; for " no gentleman's 
Shakespearean library should be without them." At 
Heber's sale in 1834 we find the four, the first re- 
ceiving this handsome panegyric : " An extraordin- 
arily fine copy, and one of the tallest known." This had 
been Lord Denbigh's, and had come to him from the 
Broadley sale. It fetched, however, only £57 15s. — 
a huge price then. But it lacked the Ben Jonson 
verses, and the title and his imprint torn off, with 
other blemishes. The second folio brought £9 15s., 
the third £26 los., and the fourth only £4 4s., about 
£100 covering the whole.* 

At the well-known sale of Mr. Dunn-Gardner, a 

• The reader will be amused to see the jealous nicety with 
which the marks and tokens of this great book have been set 
down. The following is Mr. Frederick Locker Lampson's " col- 
lation " of his own copy : — 

Shakespeare, William. — Mr. WiUiam Shakespeares Come- 
dies, Histories, and Tragedies. PubUshed according to the 
true originall copies. London, Printed by Isaac laggard & 
Ed. Blount. 1623. Colophon ; Printed at the charges of W. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 261 

gentleman who admitted nothing but what was 
choice and as nearly perfect as possible, a set of the 
four folios were sold. They were thus described : — 

" Shakespeare. First edition. This copy, from 
the libraries of Mr. Hibbert and Mr. Wilks, is one of 
the finest copies known, and without doubt the finest 
that has ever been sold by public auction. It may, 
though bound in russia, with border of gold, in the 
quiet and good taste of Montague, be called in its 
original state, and may be fairly stated, as far as a 
book can be so designated, an immaculate copy. 

" Shakespeare's (Mr. William) Comedies, &c., as 
before. The second impression, russia, gilt edges. 
The leaf with the lines preceding the title is in this 
copy shorter than the work itself, that being un- 
usually large. 

" Shakespeare's (Mr. William) Comedies, &c., as 
before. Third edition. 

" Shakespeare's (Mr. William) Comedies, &c., as 
before, to which is added seven plays never before 

Jaggard, Ed. Blount, J. Smithweeke, and W. Aspley, 1623. 
Folio. A, 8 leaves : A — Cc 2, Aa 3 — 6 : b — ^g 6 ; gg i — 8 ; 
h— i 6 : f 1—6 : t—x 6 : H 1—6 : Ulf 6 : HHIf i : aa— gg 3 : 
gg2 — 6: hh — tti: tt3: vv6: xi — 6yyi: y2 — 6 : zz — ^bbb6. 
In sixes. Title Ai : Dedication by " John Heminge " and 
" Henry Condell," " To the most noble," &c., A 2 : Address " To 
the great variety," &c., by the same, A 3, recto, verso blank : 
verses to Shakespeare's memory by L. Digges, i M : Ben Jonson 
and Hugh Holland, 3 leaves, verses of ist and 3d blank. " The 
names of the Principall Actors " and " A Catalogue " of two 
leaves, versos blank : The Comedies, pp. 303 and a blank page : 
Histories, pp. 232, " The Tragedy of Troylus," &c., not men- 
tioned in the catalogue of contents, 15 leaves, the second only 
paged, and that incorrectly, as 79 and 80 : Tragedies, pp. 309 
(misprinted 993), last page blank." 

Beneath the titles and occupying two-thirds of the title-page 
is a portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout, facing which, 
upon the opposite page, are ten hues of verse on the author, 
addressed " to the reader," and numbered " B i " The volume 
measures 13 in. X 8|. 



262 THE BOOK FANCIER 

printed in folio, &c. Fourth edition. The same por- 
trait was used for this edition, after having been re- 
touched ; it here occupies the upper part of a leaf pre- 
ceding the title, having the metrical lines beneath it." 

Here begin all the niceties of folio measure- 
ments, marginal width, pedigree, and the rest. This 
first folio measures i2| x 8 inches, and could be 
traced to the Hibbert Collection, where it had been 
bought for £85, and to the Wilks ditto, where it had 
leaped up to £155. At the Dunn-Gardner sale it was 
redeemed from captivity for £250 by Mr. Huth, in 
whose library it now reposes. In the choice Corser 
Collection, sold in 1868, there was, of course, found a 
fine quartette of folios. The first, described as " a 
very desirable copy of this ever-to-be-coveted vol- 
ume, was, with the exception of the letterpress of the 
title-page and the comers of a few leaves which have 
been admirably supplied in facsimile by Harris as 
almost to defy detection, quite complete." It was 
tall and broad, measuring fully i2| by 8|- inches. It 
fetched £160. The second folio excited attention as 
being " a genuine unsophisticated copy in its original 
state, remarkably tall, measuring 13! by 8| inches." 
It had this oddity ; the imprint in this copy is differ- 
ent from any hitherto described, the words " at this 
shop " being omitted. It brought £49, while the 
third fetched £yy, and the fourth £12 ; total £398. 

But now to introduce a more distinguished set still. 
In 1880 Mr. Quaritch was offering an extraordinary 
collection of Shakespeare's editions. There were no 
less than three copies of the first folio, the first " a 
good and sound copy," desirable and perfect all to two 
leaves. It measured I2|- by 8 inches, and its price 
was £136. It came from the Brand HoUis Library. 
The next copy was also defective by two leaves, but 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 263 

was " a very fine tall copy, of unusual size," measuring 
13^ by 8f , from a well-known library ; a difference 
which exactly doubled the price, which was £300. 
The third — but let us hear the vendor himself : 
" With title, portrait, verses, and all preliminary 
leaves in splendid original condition, untouched by 
the hand of any modern renovator ; a very fine and 
large copy (i2f by 8f inches), red morocco extra, gilt 
edges, by Bedford, enclosed in a red morocco case 
with key. Price £880." 

" To some this price for a fine copy may seem sur- 
prisingly large, but not to those who are aware that 
this is probably the only copy, undoctored, genuine, 
sound and fine, which can come into the market for 
probably another quarter of a century. Even if the 
Huth Library had been sold, as at first announced, it 
would merely have produced a short and not over- 
desirable first Shakespeare. Since the beginning of 
this century, only four perfect and satisfactory copies 
(besides the above) have been sold, and all but this 
are now in safe keeping, inaccessible to many eager 
purchasers on both sides of the Atlantic. 

" Should it be considered that this first folio, be- 
sides being the first authorised edition of Shakes- 
peare's plays, contains editiones principes of no less 
than twenty pieces, we thus learn to estimate the real 
value of a fine, unmixed, unsophisticated copy. As 
all the first editions in this volume amount to twenty, 
it may be said that a set of separate first editions of 
any twenty plays would cost from £500 to £4000." 
Note the pleasant bibliophilist phrase. There was 
also for sale " a fine large, genuine, undoctored copy " 
of the second impression, measuring i2| by 8| inches. 
But there was yet another second foho, which 
claimed to be " probably the finest copy in existence," 



264 THE BOOK FANCIER 

measuring 13I by 8f inches, and in as pure, clean 
condition as when issued from the press. The old 
binding is also in a fine state of preservation. Sir W. 
Tite's copy sold, we are told, for £45, G. Smith's for 
;^58, and Daniel's " the largest ever seen," for £148. 
For this £84 was asked. There was also a third folio, 
" a fine and sound copy," measuring 12^5 by 8f inches, 
in Bedford's binding ; portrait, " with the verses 
printed upside down above it." A hundred and 
sixty pounds was demanded for it. The fourth was 
to be had for £25. Thus we might equip ourselves 
here with the four fine copies complete for the modest 
sum of nearly £1,200. But this did not exhaust the 
Shakespearian treasures of our bibliopole. There was 
a rare supplementary stock of the dainty quartos, 
fifteen in number, early " Hamlets," first edition of 
" Midsummer Night's Dream " (1600), and a " Tam- 
ing of the Shrew" uncut — conceive it ! — rare, if not 
unique in this state ; and for the fifteen, five hundred 
guineas was asked. Seventeen hundred pounds for 
an armful of old books ! 

When that eminent and noble amateur the Duke of 
Roxburghe determined to add a first folio to his col- 
lection, it seems to have been a nervous and serious 
business. He empowered his friend Mr. Nichol to bid 
for him at the sale, saying in his letter : " If I am not 
present, I desire you will be excessively bold ; and if I 
should be present, your courage need not fail you till 
you see me turn my back and walk out of the room." 
Which sounds something like the soldier before battle, 
" If I should fall," &c. He, however, attended the 
struggle in person. At the agitating moment of the 
bidding, we are told that " his Grace had retired to 
one end of the room, coolly to view the issue of the con- 
test. The biddings rose quickly to twenty guineas 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 265 

— a great sum in former times — but the Duke was 
not to be daunted or defeated. A slip of paper was 
handed to him upon which the propriety of discon- 
tinuing the contest was suggested. His Grace took 
out his pencil and wrote on the same slip, " Lay on, 
Macduff." The Duke was of course declared victor, 
and marched off triumphantly with the volume under 
his arm, having secured the precious volume for 
" about £35." It measured 13^ by 8| inches. This 
copy was sold at his sale for £100 to the Duke of 
Devonshire, in whose library it now is. Sir M. Sikes, 
we are told, would have gone to ;^8o for the treasure. 

But at the famous Perkins sale in 1873, where 
everything was of the choicest and finest, there were 
to be seen the four folios, justly described as " a; 
superb set." All were bound in crimson morocco, 
with joints and gilt leaves, and by measurement 
were 13!^ inches by 8|- inches for the first, 13 inches 
by 9 inches for the second, 13^ inches by 8f inches 
for the third, and 14 inches by 9 inches for the fourth. 
It was noted, with just pride, that the first folio was 
of exactly the same dimensions as that of the famous 
Daniel copy, while the third was " an eighth of an 
inch taller ! " 

This Perkins first folio ushered in the series of 
startling prices. It had come from the Dent Collec- 
tion, and now fetched what seems the immense sum 

of £585. 

The great actor Kemble had, of course, a copy 
among his dramatic treasures at his sale, which was 
bought by Mr. Boswell, the Shakespearian, the bio- 
grapher's second son, for £112 — a huge price sixty 
years since. But then, was it not very nicely inlaid 
throughout, bound in Venetian morocco, enclosed in 
a russia bookcase ? 



266 THE BOOK FANCIER 

The sale of his miscellaneous library was com- 
menced by Mr. Evans on the 26th of January, and 
terminated on the 26th of February. It contained 
some extremely curious articles, but the rarest of his 
dramatic works were not brought to the hammer, 
having been previously selected and purchased 
by the Duke of Devonshire for two thousand guineas. 
The books fetched very good prices at the sale. He 
seems, indeed, to have been a most indefatigable 
annotator, and had compiled MS, indexes to several 
of his books. The total amount of the ten days' sale 
was £2,665 I2S. The Drury Lane Playbills from 
175 1 to 1818, sixty-five vols, half-bound, with MS. 
indexes, notes by Mr. Kemble, and extracts from 
an unpublished diary of Hopkins, the prompter, 
father of Mrs. Kemble, were sold for £120 15s. A 
similar one of Covent Garden, from 1758 to 1819, 
sixty-two vols,, brought ;^68 5s, These sets of bills 
excited much curiosity, and gave rise to much specu- 
lation as to the price they would fetch. It was a very 
general impression that they ought to have been 
deposited in the British Museum. Mr. Booth, the 
bookseller, was the highest bidder, and is understood 
to have purchased them for Sir Gregory Page Turner. 
His Majesty sent a commission of seventy guineas for 
the Drury Lane set, and the Duke of Devonshire one 
hundred and fifty guineas for the two sets. The 
room was excessively crowded. 

Mr. Boswell, the younger, when he purchased his 
copy of the desired folio, seems to have regarded his 
acquisition with mixed feelings. " ipse miserimus 
gave a much larger sum at Mr. Kemble' s sale, but I 
could not bring myself to a cold calculation of the 
value of a copy which was at once a memorial of 
Shakespeare and of Kemble." Ipse miserimus/ 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 267 

Surely a lugubrious tone for an ardent collector, such 
as Mr. Boswell was. At his sale it was disposed of 
at a small increase, for £120. 

Lord Spencer, that most fastidious of amateurs, 
felt that he must have a folio to make his happiness 
complete. But as a typographical performance he 
ever felt that it was not in harmony with its nobler 
brethren, and his librarian thus apologises for its 
presence : — " The knowing," he says, " need not be 
surprised at the price and importance of this impres- 
sion ; yet a tougher question is rarely agitated 
amongst bibliographers than as to what constitutes a 
fine and genuine copy of it. After having seen a 
copy lately obtained by Mr. Grenville, and that yet 
more recently by Mr. James Boswell, and carefully 
examined the present, I am abundantly convinced 
that this is after all but a disagreeable book. As to 
typographical execution, every leaf of the present 
copy was carefully examined by the late George 
Steevens for his Lordship, a task requiring no 
ordinary skill." 

Mr. Garrick was fortunate enough to pick up a copy 
of the second folio from " Mr. Payne of the Meuse- 
gate " — in York, I presume. " After the death of our 
Roscius," says Mr. Steevens, " it should have accom- 
panied his collection of old plays to the British 
Museum, but had been taken out of his library, and 
has not been heard of since." This he secured for 
the small sum of ;^i i6s.* It, however, was said to 

* In a bookseller's catalogue I have seen the seventh volume 
of Warburton's small Shakespeare. It had belonged to Garrick, 
and his wife had written in it, " This Book whent with us to 
Althorp on Dec. the 30th, 1778 : my husband never travelled 
without some work of Shakespeare." How interesting is this 
and illustrative too! 

Turning over the catalogue of Mr, Garrick's library, the com- 



268 THE BOOK FANCIER 

want the Ben Jonson verses. His beautiful collec- 
tion of plays, thus generously bequeathed, formed 
with great assiduity during the course of his theatri- 
cal life, is uniformly bound and distinguished by his 
initials, and prompted that charming handbook to 
the English Drama, " The Specimens " of Charles 
Lamb, which has educated several generations in 
dramatic literature. The copy of the first folio, 
however, could scarcely be ranked in the collection of 
" Old Plays," which were all of the separate " little 
quarto " pattern, and more than forty years later it 
reappeared in the sale of Garrick's library, where it 
brought £34 2s. 6d. In 1844 it again changed hands, 
and was resold to Mr. Tolley for £86. 

Garrick's second folio long after was offered for sale 
and seems to have been a " folio of pretension " from 
the description, for it was " a fine tall copy in russia 
extra, gilt edges, with arms stamped in gold on the 
sides." Thirty guineas was the price asked. " A copy 
of unusual interest, partly from the fact that it be- 
longed to David Garrick and contains his bookplate, 
and partly because copies are rarely found with such 
large margins. It measures 13^ by 9 inches, and has 

position whereof was evidence of his accomplished mind, I 
came upon a book, " Le Jardin des Racines Grecs," with this 
interesting little note in Latin : — " The gift of Gilbert Walmesley 
of Lichfield to Garrick at the age of sixteen, on the condition 
that he shall every day learn a page by heart, word for word, 
so that he shall be always ready to repeat without book and in 
the same words. — 3d July 1732." 

The worthy Dibdin makes this reckless charge against Garrick 
without offering any proof. " Garrick had free access to the 
library at Dulwich College, founded by Alleyn, and pillaged it 
without scruple or remorse. He did pretty nearly the same 
thing with Sir Thomas Hanmer's library. No wonder, therefore, 
that the Garrick Collection, now deposited in the British Museum, 
presents at once an object of vexation, envy, and despair to 
the bibliomaniac." This is incredible, as such spoliation would 
not have been tolerated. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 269 

some of the leaves with rough uncut edges, in which 
state no copy is on record but that of George Daniel, 
which was the largest example known, and sold for 
;£i48. The Perkins copy, measuring half an inch 
less than this, brought £44 ; and the Ouvry copy, 
which was smaller still, sold for £46. The verses 
opposite the title and a portion of the last leaf are in 
admirable facsimile, and a part of the margin of the 
title has been skilfully repaired." 

This " uncut edge " in so old a book is really a 
rare and remarkable instance, for it proves that the 
book had not been bound, and had escaped the 
shears. It is a nice question whether the original 
sheets of so old a book constitute the identity, and 
whether the substitution of a sheet, practically the 
same, makes any legal difference. The truth is, the 
original sheets belong to each other, and acquire 
from the companionship a special cast — they are 
found under the same atmosphere, the same pressure, 
the same sewing and binding, the same " lie," as it 
were. A new intruder is a disturber, and does not 
belong to the party. It is curious, too, how this is 
betrayed to the skilful and practised eye. Mr. 
Croker, suspecting from the text some suppression 
in the second edition of Boswell's " Tour," took the 
book to pieces, and discovered " a cancel " — that is, 
only a portion of a sheet had been sewn in. 

Another notable copy was the Grenville one, now 
in our Museum. This came from Sanders' in Fleet 
Street sale in 1819, and measures 12^ by 8f inches. 
Mr. Grenville paid £121 i6s. for it. The Stowe copy 
was another giant — i2f by 8| inches — and was sold 
for £76. There were copies sold by the Sothebys in 
three successive years — 1854, 1855, 1856 — the first 
12^^ by 8^ inches ; the last i2|^ by 8^, which was 



270 THE BOOK FANCIER 

bought by Lord Gosford for ^^164 17s. The copy 
sold in 1855 was of extraordinary interest from its 
having " two cancelled leaves " in the play of "As 
You Like It." 

In the Hartley sale, held in June, 1885, was offered 
a " first folio," about which, it was rumoured, hung a 
curious history. It was sold at some rather obscure 
sale, and adroitly manipulated by the system of 
" knock out," being bought for £20, to be later dis- 
posed of by the fraternity among themselves for a 
much larger sum. This sacrifice, produced by these 
" shady " tactics, was illustrated by the price 
brought at this unlawful sale, which was no less a 
sum than £480, or, as another account says, £525. 

But we now are arrived at the really great day for 
the folio — the greatest since Mr. Herringman issued 
his volume in 1623. This was on the occasion of the 
sale of Mr. George Daniel's books in 1864, after his 
demise. This well-known critic, writer, and collector 
had fixed himself at Islington, and dwelt in that 
curious old tower which still rises, though in sad 
decay, and which has ever had a series of literary 
tenants from Goldsmith's time. Never was there 
such a collection of rarities and uniques offered, and 
never again will collector be offered such opportuni- 
ties, or be so prompt to avail himself of them. The 
sale occupied ten days, but " the Shakespeare day," 
as it was called in the Times, drew an eager and 
excited audience. There were seen abundance of the 
rare Shakespeare quartos, that are well-nigh introuv- 
ahle, which the wary and enterprising Daniel had 
secured in lavish profusion — rare and dainty little 
quartos, many of them with but two and three com- 
panions in the world. But resplendent among them 
all were the four grand fohos. The " first " had been 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 271 

in the possession of Daniel Moore, Esq., F.R.S., and 
by him had been bequeathed to William H. Booth, 
who also left it by will to John Gage Rokewode, from 
whose hands it passed to Mr. Daniel. An enthusi- 
astic critic fell into raptures over it, called it " a mar- 
vellous copy, of unrivalled beauty, unquestionably 
the finest that can ever occur again for public sale. 
The copy will to all future time possess a world-wide 
reputation. It was cased in beautiful old russia 
binding, and preserved in a russia leather case." 
It was by measurement a grand specimen. After a 
spirited and exciting contest, in which the price rose 
and rose, the astonishingly unheard-of sum of £716 2s. 
was bid by Mr. Radcliffe, to whom it was knocked 
down. When it was known that the prize had been 
carried off by Miss Burdett Coutts, the room re- 
sounded with acclamation. The treasure now reposes 
in a stately case made out of the wood of Heme's 
oak. Nor is this price excessive, for it is admitted by 
experts that in all " points " — condition, dimensions, 
and general proportion — it could not be matched. 

In its way the " second folio " was no less meri- 
torious, and possibly the finest of its generation. 
With a quaint enthusiasm the owner thus expatiated 
on its charms. It is like a little biography : — " This 
genuine and beautiful copy was bought by Mr. Thorpe 
at the sale of the library at NeviU Holt, Leicester- 
shire, and bought of him by me this the i6th day 
of September, my birthday." Adds the collector, 
1848, " / never saw its equal for soundness and 
size." It was, moreover, the largest example 
known, and brought the surprising, for a second 
folio, price of £142. The third went for £46, and 
the fourth for £21. Lord Charlemont's first folio 
was pronounced to be one of the finest known. 



273 THE BOOK FANCIER 

measuring i2f by 8^ inches, arrayed handsomely 
in red morocco with tooled borders. It fetched 

£455.* 

The grand copy and its price was destined to retain 
its undisturbed glories for over twenty years, until 
the year 1881 came round — that of the Thorold or 
Syston Park sale. This copy shows that the apprecia- 
tion of the precious volume has been carried to the 
highest point of finish. This copy was described with 
a tender minuteness, as though it had been some old 
picture by Raphael or Rembrandt. First it is proudly 
claimed to be " the largest and finest copy known," or 
rather would be, save for some trifling but sad blem- 
ishes. The titles and verses had been very neatly 
inlaid, and, owing to some defect in the paper, it was 
carefully computed that about eight or ten letters 
were deficient in three of the leaves. An expert de- 
clared that these restorations could not be detected 
by ordinary observers, so skilfully were they effected, 
but in looking close it might be made out that the 
" Mr, William " of the title-page had been put in in 
facsimile ; the last five letters of " Shakespere " 
are also supplied. " Tails " of letters in the name of the 
printer, Jaggard, and one of the figures in the date 
are also restorations. Notwithstanding these blem- 
ishes — serious in bibliomaniacal eyes — the present 
" very large copy," was found to be by measurement 
13! inches by 8^ inches, or a quarter of an inch taller 
than Lady Burdett Coutts' famous copy. It was in- 
teresting to see that noble lady busily scanning the 
proportions of the rival copy. Another extraordinary 
incident connected with this copy is that some of the 

* Copies have turned up in a strange, odd way. In 1857 one 
was discovered in a carpenter's shop at Maidenhead, which had 
been bought for a few shillings at a country auction. Another 
turned up in Germany. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 273 

leaves are " uncut," on the top, front, and bottom 
margins, which enables us to know the exact size 
of the original edition as issued. In ordinary 
cases the top margin is f of an inch, the front 
Ifths of an inch, and the bottom i|^ inch — pre- 
cious details, that may excite a smile, but are ele- 
ments of value when dealing with hundreds of 
pounds. This copy was further adorned by a fine red 
morocco " jacket" from the hands of Roger Payne. 
It sold for the large sum of £590. 

Is the collector happy or wretched who can gaze 
on the four folios — his own — in " fine condition," 
" pure copies," but representing an outlay of £1000 ? 
He has virtually to pay £50 a year interest during 
his natural life for this enjoyment. Indeed, I have 
heard one bewail his folly bitterly, and wish he had 
his money back again. Much comes, however, to 
the collector who can watch and wait, and he need 
then have no qualms of conscience. There are 
the ambitious, who set their minds to the attaining 
some grand post or alliance, bearing in mind their 
Shakespeare declaration, that the " hatted dame " 
is as attainable with daring and perseverance as the 
lowly maid. In this spirit I dete^^mined to watch and 
wait patiently, and secure, not only a folio, but the 
four, and in less than two years success crowned me ! 
I began with a second foHo, and found an honest, 
respectable copy, lacking, of course, portrait, title, 
and last two leaves, which could be " supplied in 
facsimile." For him I paid £2 los. Next came 
a damaged fourth folio, secured for "a song," but 
which, exchanged, brought a perfect one at a cost of 
£7. Next followed a first folio for £12, wanting a 
play at the end and the title, but having all the 
" prefatory matter." Lastly came the third, for £8. 



274 THE BOOK FANCIER 

The total was under £30. These will soon be put 
in order. I picked up also some fine russia bindings, 
discarded by the late Mr. Bedford for some folios he 
was treating, and had them reclothed. Now here 
was a modest outlay, unattended by prickings of con- 
science, and the quartette, as they stand, are worth a 
goodly sum. This little bit of bibliographical adven- 
ture is mentioned pour encourager les autres. 

It will amuse the reader to give an instance of what 
minute and laborious investigation is brought to test 
the merits and defects of these precious tomes, and 
reasonably, considering the vast prices given. Here 
we find a particular copy thus jealously scrutinised. 
The Ben Jonson verses are " neatly inlaid," that is, 
" inset " in new paper so deftly as to escape the ordi- 
nary reader's eye. In the title-page the words " Mr. 
William " are supplied in facsimile, and the scraps of 
paper on which they are displayed are neatly joined 
to the rest, matching in colour and texture ; while 
the last five letters of the name, " peare," are also 
reproduced, only the " Shakes " being original. This 
is counting after the principles of Sir John's stocking. 
But mark this — " the tails of the letter G in the name 
of the printer (Herringman) and of the figure 3 in the 
date have also been added." 

We speak of the " four first folios " or of the 
" first four folios " (according as the grammarians 
shall decide), but in strict truth there are five. The 
third was issued in 1663, but did not " go off," so the 
publisher in the following year added seven spurious 
plays and supphed a new title. It must be noted of 
this first third edition that the copy has the portrait 
in the centre of the title-page, and the Ben Jonson 
verses face it on another leaf. " In this state it is 
excessively rare," says Mr. Lilly, who protests that it 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 275 

is unknown to Lowndes " in this peculiar and pristine 
state." Nor does "J, Lilly " recall the sale of any 
copy save one, which he sold to Mr. Dunn-Gardner, 
and which is now in the Huth Library. The reader 
will admit that so far few known works offer such per- 
plexing oddities. But there is yet another surprise. 
Editions may legitimately differ, but copies of the 
same edition do not. Yet it has now come out that 
there are copies of this mysterious first foHo which 
disagree. How strange it is that its paging should 
be all astray and capricious ! The numerals do not 
follow, and many are doubled ; many more are left 
out, as though we went, say, from 10 to 15. But, 
most singular of all, there are copies of the first 
edition itself which so vary from each other as to 
have different readings. Thus it is said Messrs. 
Longman's once had a copy in which, instead of 
Roderigo's speech in " Othello " (p. 333), the line 
ran " And Hell gnaw his bones." A Bishop Butler 
possessed a copy with a proof leaf of a page in " Ham- 
let," and Messrs. Arch of Cornhill had one with the 
date 1622 instead of 1623. 

Mr. O. Halliwell-Phillipps has a copy of the first 
folio, containing misprints, which indicate the 
priority of the impression.* Thus, on the second 
column of p. 172 of the Histories, at line 13 and is mis- 
printed add, and in the second line following, tis 
instead of kiss, the correct readings being found in all 
other copies excepting in one in the library of the Earl 
of EUesmere. These variations are of course of no 
value in themselves. Mr. Lenox, the well-known 
American collector, possessed a copy which had 
many variations, even in the signatures, and the 
title-page had the date of 1622 instead of 1623 ; but 
* This, we may presume, is the copy which cost him ^^4 10 in 1867. 



276 THE BOOK FANCIER 

it is suspiciously " inlaid " below this date, and the 
owner cautiously adds, "If by this means the last 
figure has been tampered with, the alteration is very 
successfully concealed." As to how these things are 
to be accounted for I can offer no suggestion except 
it be from carelessness. It is sad and perplexing 
to think that this famous volume is one of the worst 
printed in the world. The book might almost be said 
to be unique in this respect. Professor Craik made 
some calculations, and discovered that there were 
some twenty mistakes in each page, which made a 
total of nearly 20,000 ! It is indeed stated on the 
title that it was " published according to the true 
and original copies," but it is beheved that these 
were burnt with the Globe Theatre ; and the mis- 
takes in the sense and spelling, and the startling dis- 
crepancies between the folio and the previous quartos 
show that the edition was fashioned exactly as we 
might expect, from stray and imperfect copies, recol- 
lections of actors, and such printed copies as could be 
got. Thus, Mr. Dyce tells us of the " Hamlet," as it 
appears in the edition of 1623 : — " While the editors 
added considerably to the prose dialogue in Act II., 
Sc. 2, inserted elsewhere lines and words which are 
wanting in the quartos of 1604, &c., and rectified 
various mistakes of those quartos, they — not to men- 
tion minor mutilations of the text, some of them 
accidental — omitted in the course of the play about 
a hundred and sixty verses (including nearly the 
whole of the fourth scene of Act IV.), and left out a 
portion of the prose dialogue in Act V., Sc. 2, besides 
allowing a multitude of errors to creep in passim." 
Mr. Collier says : — " Any editor who should content 
himself with reprinting the folio, without large addi- 
tions from the quartos, would present but an imper- 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 277 

feet notion of the drama as it came from the hand of 
the poet. The text of * Hamlet ' is, in fact, only to be 
obtained from a comparison of the editions in quarto 
and folio." 

Few can have an idea of the drudgery of collation 
and the conscientious enthusiasm that will carry a 
book-lover through the monotonous labour of com- 
paring two long works hne by line. When the re- 
print of the first folio was issued, it was hailed with 
delight as an aid to students, though published at 
five guineas. It was soon discovered, however, that, 
though a reprint of a book that teemed with errors, 
it had a fresh crop of its own ! All faith being gone, 
no one could rely on it, as the mistakes were unascer- 
tained. To make all clear, Mr. William Upcott in 
the year 182 1 undertook a laborious collation of the 
reprint with the folio, and with the following result : 
" Four months," he writes, " and twenty- three days 
were occupied during my leisure moments, at the 
suggestion of our late librarian. Professor Porson, in 
reading and comparing the pretended reprinted fac- 
simile first edition. With what accuracy it passed 
through the press, the following pages (26 folio leaves), 
noting 368 typographical errors, will show." 

The booksellers, who had expended a large sum on 
the reprint, when they had heard of this grew 
alarmed, and made many overtures for the purchase 
of the MS. ; and " Mr. Upcott was induced to part 
with it to Arch & Co., from whom he expected a 
handsome remuneration ; but all he got was a single 
copy of the work. This copy, however, he disposed 
of to Perry (of the Chronicle) for six guineas, at 
whose sale it brought twelve." - ft;- 

The well-known rude and coarse portrait by Droes- 
hout has been the subject of discussion and debate. 



278 THE BOOK FANCIER 

filling books and pamphlets. Every line on it has 
been scanned and appraised. It has been searched 
with magnifying glasses and reproduced with labori- 
ous care. It has been found that there are " states " 
of this print, and that the shading of the forehead was 
deepened for the later editions. Nearly every copy 
offered for sale lacks this portrait ; to find it separate 
is therefore hopeless ; even a damaged impression 
would fetch a great sum. A facsimile is priced at 
£2 los. Mr. Boaden wrote a volume in which he 
compared all the known portraits of Shakespeare, the 
Chandos, &c., and others. I fancy it would pay an 
engraver to re-engrave it with the minutest care, line 
for line, and issue impressions on old fly-leaves.* 

* Mr, Lenox writes that the common description of the 
genuine state, that the shading is expressed by single uncrossed 
Unes is incorrect, the genuine portrait being known by observing 
that the cross Unes do not occur on the right side of the face. 
The cross lines were added for the fourth edition. Among 
the "fifteen hundred rarities" collected by Mr. O. Halliwell- 
Phillipps to illustrate Shakespeare, and preserved at HoUingbury 
Copse, is a proof copy of the Droeshout portrait of 1623, and is 
the only likeness of Shakespeare in existence which has come 
down to us in an original unaltered state. " No other copy of the 
engraving in this reliable state has yet been discovered, the only 
ones in all other hbraries being those taken from a retouched 
plate. The latter is one of the only three impressions known of 
the title-page of the edition of 1632 before the spelhng of the 
word coppies was altered, a circumstance which, although appar- 
ently trivial, is of value as showing that it includes one of the 
earhest impressions from the plate after it had been used for the 
first folio." Of this portrait Mr. Fairholt wrote : " The portrait 
in this state of the engraving is remarkable for clearness of tone, 
the shadows being very delicately rendered, so that the light falls 
upon the muscles of the face with a softness not to be found in 
the ordinary impressions. This is particularly visible in the 
arch under the eye, and in the muscles of the mouth ; the ex- 
pression of the latter is much altered in the later states of the 
plate by the enlargement of the up-turned moustache, which hides 
and destroys the true character of this part of the face. The 
whole of the shadows have been darkened by cross-hatcliing and 
coarse dotting, particularly on the chin ; this gives a coarse and 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 279 

The passion for these early editions, and the de- 
vouring fanatical craze led, not unnaturally, to a 
whole chapter of forgeries. The story of the Ireland 
forgeries is familiar, carried out, as it was, with such 
enterprise and apparent ingenuity, to the extent of 
imposing on a generation ; only a few competent 
scholars declining to accept what seemed to them a 
transparent imposture. Some time ago collections 
of these " original " efforts were being offered for sale. 
It seems that one such bantling was actually made a 
present of by the forger to a friend, as if strangely 
indifferent to the propriety of his gift. " These speci- 
mens of my Shakespearian fabrication, " he wrote, 
" are presented to my friend Mr. Moncreiff with best 
regards. — W. H. Ireland." We might as well con- 
ceive the late Mr. Fauntleroy, if happily pardoned, 
giving a friend with best regards one of his " imita- 
tions " of Miss Young's signature.* 

undue prominence to some parts of the portrait, the forehead 
particularly. In this early state of the plate the hair is darker 
than any of the shadows on the head, and flows softly and 
naturally ; in the retouched plate the shadow is much darker 
than the roots of the hair, imparting a swelled look to the head 
and giving the hair the appearance of a raised wig. It is remark- 
able that no shadow falls across the collar ; this omission and 
the general low tone of colour in the engraving, may have induced 
the retouching and strengthening wliich has injured the true 
character of the Ukeness, which, in its original state, is far more 
worthy of Ben Jonson's commendatory lines." 

* This cadeau took the shape of a 4to volume, containing a 
series of seventeen original fabrications by W. H. Ireland, 
specially collected and neatly arranged, with autograph notes 
describing each specimen by himself. And the contents con- 
sisted of: — I. Tracings from the authenticated signatures of 
Shakespeare. 2. Three fabricated signatures of Shakespeare. 

3. Tracing from an authenticated signature of Queen EUzabeth. 

4. Fabricated signature of the Queen. 5. Acrostic on the name 
of Elizabeth, signed by Shakespeare. 6. Acrostic on the name 
of Mary, Queen of Scots, signed by W. S. 7. Spurious signature 
of Lord Southampton. 8. Facetious Letter to WilUam Cowley, 
the player, signed by W. S. 9. Singular Portrait of Shakespeare, 



28o THE BOOK FANCIER 

If we take some of these things in our hand and 
scrutinise them, we shall be astonished to note how 
poor and clumsy the imitation is, how feeble and 
modem the characters. At the present day such 
could not be even attempted. The late Mr. Henry 
Bradshaw detected the forged " Codex Sinaiticus " 
simply by the smell, when separating the genuine 
leaves. 

A much more skilful and serious attempt was that 
which was known as " The Corrector's Folio," intro- 
duced by the late scholar, J . Payne Collier. Its his- 
tory, as told by himself, was as follows : — In the year 
1847, when turning over some old books in a shop in 
the Seven Dials, he lighted on an old copy of the 
second folio, which he thought might serve for " mak- 
ing up " some deficiencies in his own. He paid 30s. 
for it. It was, as usual, " much cropped and very 
greasy," and did not suit his purpose. By laborious 
investigations he traced it to the family of Gray at 
Upton Court, where one Perkins, who may have been 
connected with the stage, was living a few years after 
the date on the folio. It seems extraordinary that 
the pages of a work such as this, covered with MS. 
corrections, should not at once have attracted the 
wary eye of our collector. But it was not until later, 
he said, that he noted it. It was illustrated from be- 

of which Ireland writes : " The above document was enclosed 
in the foregoing epistle, and christened by the believers in the 
MSS. as a witty conundrum invented by Shakespeare I " 10. 
Tracing from Heminge's authentic autograph. 11. Spurious 
signature of John Heminge. 12. The jug water-mark. 13. 
First signature of Shakespeare produced, and affixed to the 
spurious deed of Michel Fraser, on vellum. 14. Signature 
of Fraser written with the left hand (on vellum). 15. Shakes- 
peare's signature annexed to the Fraser deed, with the Quintin 
seal. 16 and 17. Spurious signatures affixed to the deeds 
purporting to be between Shakespeare and Lowin and Coadel 
the players (on vellum). 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 281 

ginning to end with marginal notes or " corrections." 
These became the sensation of the hour. The writ- 
ing was presumed to be contemporary ; some one, 
probably with the original MS. copy before him, had 
corrected the text. The Duke of Devonshire de- 
frayed the expenses of printing. But at the British 
Museum there were some shrewd and competent men, 
who, when the original was submitted to them, pro- 
nounced it an imposition. They found by chemical 
tests that the writing was not in ink, but in a sort of 
water-colour mixed to imitate old ink, while under- 
neath the characters had been first traced in pencil 
and imperfectly rubbed out ! There were many 
other certain indications of the forgery, but that one 
was sufficient. An old and learned scholar like Mr. 
Collier is entitled to indulgence, and it would be 
ungracious to hold him accountable for the imposi- 
tion. In any case, one would prefer to say nothing ; 
only it is well known that the fanatical passions of 
some scholars have led them to break through all res- 
traints, much as some eminent mineralogists will not 
be trusted alone in the cabinets of the curious. In Mr. 
Collier's case it would be affectation to deny the 
suspicion that attaches to his attempts to appropri- 
ate discoveries brought in aid of his side of the 
controversy.* 

We now pass from the folios to the little quarto 

* In the catalogue of his late sale there was a copy of the 
" Taming of the Shrew," on whose title was a " curious contem- 
porary MS. note " — " 1607 played by the author," the rest being 
unfortunately " cropped by the binder," probably the name of 
the character he played, with more of the kind. When the rare 
" Hamlet " was discovered it is significant that he declared that 
some ten or twelve years before he had " a large portion " of 
a copy of this very edition put into his hands, mysteriously 
formed of " fly-leaves and linings of bindings." Strange to say, 
he refused to buy it for the modest price of £10, saying he had 
the use of the Duke's copy, and there was, moreover, a reprint. 



282 THE BOOK FANCIER 

plays, and nothing is more interesting than the study 
of the contending claims of the different editions and 
readings. The labour and cost that has been in- 
curred, the nimiberless facsimiles of every page and 
word, so that the explorer should have the various 
editions before him for his studies, is truly extra- 
ordinary. These facsimiles have been several times 
produced, either in perfect facsimiles or in ordinary 
type, and are of great value to the student. In 1871 
that spirited Shakespearian, Mr. Halhwell, issued fac- 
similes of the early quarto plays of Shakespeare, 
including every known edition of all the plays which 
were issued in the dramatist's lifetime. " There 
were forty-eight volumes, small quarto, half morocco. 
Only thirty-one copies were privately printed ; five 
or six sets have been destroyed, several broken up, 
and others locked up in public libraries, so that com- 
plete sets are now becoming exceedingly rare." A 
hundred and sixty pounds was demanded as the price 
of this collection ! At the present moment a fresh 
edition is being issued under the direction of the New 
Shakespeare Society, while will only cost about £10. 
They are exact facsimiles. Unfortunately, a fire at 
the lithographer's premises has destroyed some of the 
impressions. There have been repeated facsimiles of 
the folio, notably Mr. Staunton's, but the effect is not 
pleasant. It is curious that as the new series of quar- 
tos is being issued, almost before it is half completed 
the first issues are disappearing and becoming scarce. 
It is in the fascinating drama of " Hamlet," how- 
ever, that all devotion centres, bibliographically as 
well as intellectually. It is here that the quartos and 
folios concentrate all their interest, and the compari- 
son of the seven or eight copies and their variations 
has exercised the wits of all commentators. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 283 

The first " Hamlet " quarto is thus introduced : 
" The Tragicall Historic of Hamlet, Prince of Den- 
marke, by William Shakespeare, as it hath beene 
divers times acted by his Highnesse Servants in the 
Citie of London : as also in the two Vniversities of 
Cambridge and Oxford, and elsewhere. At London, 
printed for N. L. and John Trundell, 1603." 

The second quarto : — " The tragicall historie of 
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, by William Shakespeare. 
Newly imprinted and enlarged to about as much 
againe as it was, according to the true and perfect 
coppie. At London, printed by L R. for N. L., and 
are to be sold at his shoppe under Saint Dunstan's 
Church in Fleet Street, 1604." 

The third edition appeared in 1605, and is from 
the same " types and formes." 

Next followed : — " Shakespeare (William) Tragedy 
of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, newly imprinted and 
enlarged according to the true and perfect copy lastly 
printed. Morocco, by Bedford, edges uncut, pro- 
bably the finest copy known. Printed by W. S. for 
John Smethwicke, and are to be sold at his shop in 
Saint Dunstan's Churchyard in Fleet Street, under 
the Diall, n.d." This undated edition is assigned 
to the year 1607, on the excellent authority of the 
Stationers' Registers. 

Then came " Shakespeare (William) Tragedy of 
Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, newly imprinted and 
enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, accord- 
ing to the true and perfect copy. Morocco, gilt 
edges, by Bedford. At London, printed for John 
Smethwicke, and are to be sold at his shoppe in Saint 
Dunstan's Churchyard in Fleetstreet, under the Diall. 
1611." "A perfect genuine copy, with the original fly- 
leaf. An edition dated 1606 is mentioned in some lists 



284 THE BOOK FANCIER 

but no copy is known. The present, of which no copy 
has appeared for sale for many years, is in all proba- 
bility the next edition after the preceding article." 

It will be seen by comparison of the titles of the 
two editions that the first was merely from a copy 
used by the players, and with which the author had 
nothing to do. The second claims to be " the true 
and perfect copy." 

The singular variations between the first quarto 
and the second are well known to scholars, and show 
convincingly how the text was obtained. In the 
first, the old Polonius is called Corambis ; and 
though there are many speeches in which the subject 
of the incident is treated in the same fashion, the 
words are quite different. It seems likely that this 
copy was, as it were, picked up from hearsay, or from 
the actors, altered and made effective according to 
their lights, in default of written copies. It has been 
suggested, indeed, by Mr. Aldis Wright and Mr. 
Halliwell, that they were taken from a vulgar stock 
play on the same subject which is known to have been 
often acted before Shakespeare took it up. But it is 
not probable that Shakespeare would have conde- 
scended to borrow the literal handling of a passage 
from such a source. 

Every one of these editions of " Hamlet " is of a 
rarity that seems extraordinary, considering the 
period and the abundance of other books of the same 
era. Of the first edition, that of 1603, there are but 
two copies known. Of that of 1604 there are only 
three copies : one in the Duke of Devonshire's, one 
in Mr. Huth's, and one in the Stowe Collection. Of 
that of 1605 there is only one perfect copy, which is in 
the Capell Collection. There is another in the British 
Musemn, but it wants the last leaf. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 285 

But a curious little romantic adventure attends the 
first quarto of 1603. Down to fifty years ago such a 
thing was unknown and unsuspected, but in the year 
1825 Messrs. Payne and Foss, eminent bibliopolists in 
Pall Mall, brought the Duke of Devonshire a little 
volume containing some rare and valuable old plays 
by Green and others, dated before the year 1600, and 
among them, mirahile dictu, nestled this precious 
little quarto " Hamlet " of 1603. True, the last leaf 
was gone, and no one knew, or was likely to know, 
how the piece ended. For £100 it became the Duke's 
property, and was added to his " Kemble Plays " at 
his house in Piccadilly. The Duke immediately 
ordered a reprint to be made, in which, as Mr. Collier 
declared, for a wonder, he could only find two letters 
and one " stop " wrong. Thus, with the most argus- 
eyed and vigilant corrector, blunders will escape 
notice. 

The noble amateur might be justly proud of his 
" unique," displayed, no doubt, with a pardonable 
elation, to the curious. Others might have their 
folios in better or worse condition, but the single 
" Hamlet," species and genus together, put to shame 
the National Library, Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps ap- 
plied for leave to facsimile it for his grand folio sub- 
scription " Shakespeare ; " but this was refused, 
possibly under the Collier influence, which had then 
the ducal ear. But however that might be. Nemesis 
came speedily. The Duke was to enjoy his superior- 
ity but thirty years in all. It came to pass that in 
1855 an English student went to study at Trinity 
College, Dublin, bringing with him a few old pam- 
phlets as a " memento " of his old home. He took 
some of them to a Dublin bookseller living in Grafton 
Street, named Rooney. Rooney, it was said, " gave a 



286 THE BOOK FANCIER 

shilling for the lot " — such is rumour, for he does not 
directly tell us what he gave. On looking over his 
purchase, he saw there was a copy of " Hamlet," and 
he tells us that seeing there a character called Coram- 
bis, and not Polonius, he knew at once it was the same 
edition as the Duke's unique. Unfortunately, the 
first leaf was missing — the title, in short. Now this, 
no doubt, prompted the first step taken by Rooney, 
which was the sensible one of applying to the Duke 
himself, owner of the precious unique. The Rooney 
last leaf would have supplied the want in his copy ; 
he might have destroyed or preserved the rest, and he 
would remain the owner of the play now made perfect. 
But he, unluckily, took no notice of the communica- 
tion, which he no doubt for the rest of his life bitterly 
regretted. The next step was to apply to the emin- 
ent Shakespearian, Mr. Halliwell, who at first doubted 
but was convinced, we are told, by some quoted 
readings, though, considering there was a reprint, this 
was no proof. He then offered fifty guineas, but a 
hundred was asked, which " could be got from the 
Museum." Mr. Halliwell declined to make any 
advance, adding in an injudicious spirit, " that he 
might whistle " for his hundred from the Museum ; 
on which Rooney repaired to London, bringing with 
him the treasure. He saw the officers of the Museum 
who treated him, he says, de haul en has, sneering at 
its " cut-down " look, finally telling him if he liked to 
leave it for some indefinite time they would see about 
it. This he declined. Again he offered it to Mr. 
Halliwell, who declined to go beyond the fifty pounds. 
Taking it to Mr. Boone, a well-known bookseller, he 
sold it to him for lyo, and Mr. Boone promptly resold 
it to Mr. Halliwell for £1^0 ! This sibylline system is 
more common than is supposed in book-buying, 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 287 

what is too dear when the book is cheap, becoming 
absolutely cheap when the price is raised later on.* 

It may be conceived from this httle adventure 
what a craze there must be for securing these precious 
little volumes, which are really put tenderly in cases 
and cabinets like jewels. We take one of these little 
dainties in our hands, a pretty little tract of some 
fifty or a hundred leaves. Any editions of " Romeo 
and Juliet," " Much Ado," &c., late or early, fetched 
a goodly sum ; but the first, of which only two or 
three existing copies can be counted up, would be bid 
for in hundreds of pounds. Here again has been dis- 
covery, and increase of price by " leaps and bounds." 

Dodd the actor, so graphically portrayed by Charles 
Lamb, had the actor's taste for gathering up old 
plays. " Dodd," he says, " was a man of reading, 
and left at his death a choice collection of old English 
literature," of course promptly submitted to " the 
hammer." He had " picked up " his plays on the 
stalls, probably at a few shillings a piece, and there is 
an astonishing contrast between the prices at his sale 
and at that of Mr. George Daniel in 1864. His 
" Midsummer Night's Dream " of 1606 brought 
£1 i8s. ; " Henry V." (1622), £3 8s. ; " Richard III." 
(1621), £1 13s. ; " Merchant of Venice " (1600), £3 
5s. ; " King Lear " (1608), £5 2s. 6d. ; " Romeo and 
Juliet" (1599), £8 15s.; " Troilus and Cressida" 

* Apropos of lost leaves, it may be mentioned that a happy 
piece of luck once attended two eminent collectors in " making 
up " their defective copies. The Duke of Devonshire and Earl 
Spencer each possessed a copy of the grand and rare Aldine 
Homer, each of which, alas ! was imperfect. Fortunately a 
third copy, not perfect either, came into the market. The Duke 
and Earl joined purses, and bought it between them, each repadr- 
ing their defects from its pages, and each fortunately finding the 
leaves he lacked. The first volume of Lord Spencer's copy is 
regarded with a pathetic bibliomaniacal interest, it being the last 
that Roger Payne bound, or rather, death surprised him in the act. 



288 THE BOOK FANCIER, 

(1611), £4 los., and that of 1578, £7 los. ; while the 
precious " Gammer Gurton's Needle " (1575), one 
of the earliest and rarest of plays set by Shakespeare, 
but three guineas. 

With these lordly prices let us now compare a 
well-known author's collection, sold in 1857, and the 
titles of the plays shall be given at length, as a pleas- 
ant contribution to the restoration of Shakespeare.* 

Thus here we read of : "A pleasant conceited His- 
torie called the Taming of a Shrew, as it was sundry 
times acted by the Right Honourable the Earl of 
Pembrooke his servants. Printed at London by 
Peter Short, and are to be sold by Cuthbert Vudlie. 
1594. This copy differs from later editions in the 
same fashion that the first ' Hamlet ' differs from its 
successors. The names of the characters being 
changed, &c." A curious bit of information from a 
catalogue. This rarity sold for £2 1 . 

" Shakespeare (William) History of Henrie the 
Fourth, with the battell at Shrewsburie between 
the King and Lord Henry Percy, sumamed 
Henry Hotspur of the North, with the humorous 
conceits of Sir John Falstaffe, newly corrected 
by W. Shakespeare. Second edition, fine copy, 
extremely rare, a few leaves inlaid, morocco by 
Bedford. At London, printed by S. S. for Andrew 

* Those who are accustomed to the modern editions of Shakes- 
peare can hardly conceive how much that is decorative has 
been added. Turning to our early foUos and quartos, we 
are surprised to find not a word about scenic locahty, all being 
left " general " by the author, to be indicated in a broad way by 
the words and action of the scene itself. This much is surely 
gained by comparing the early editions ; for it shows us that was 
all indifferent to the great mind, and he by anticipation rebuked 
the late authors of sumptuous revivals. There is no doubt, too, 
that for the reader the quaint, pedantic setting out of the title 
would have a more old-fashioned charm thaui the ordinary 
modem abridged one. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 289 

Wise, dwelling in Paules Churchyard at the signe of 
the Angell, 1599. ' The present,' says the owner, ' is 
probably the finest copy known of one of the most in- 
trinsically valuable of all the early quartos. My other 
copy, which is in most wretched condition, cost me 
;^26 5s., so largely have these rarities risen in value. 
Amongst many other localities that have been 
searched, it may be interesting to some to know that, 
recollecting the occupation of Flushing by the Eng- 
lish in the time of Shakespeare, early editions might 
have been carried thither, especially as English plays 
were performed there, I was at the expense of sending 
an intelligent agent through Zealand, unfortunately 
without any useful results. In fact, bearing in mind 
the expenses of searches of this kind, and the neces- 
sity of buying duplicates for the sake of securing 
others, I may safely say no Shakespearian quarto 
ever came into my hands at a reasonable rate.' " This 
is a melancholy confession. The copy brought £75. 

" Shakespeare (William) Tragedie of King Richard 
the Second, as it hath been publikely acted by the 
Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Ser- 
vantes, by William Shakespeare, a fine genuine copy. 
Printed by W. W. for Mathew Law, 1608. This edi- 
tion is of the greatest curiosity and rarity, and must 
not be confused with the more common one of the 
same year, ' with new Additions of the Parliament 
Sceane.' It is, indeed, so scarce that Mr. Collier, in his 
edition of ' Shakespeare,' vol. 4, p. 105, describes the 
Duke of Devonshire's copy as unique." This brought 
£30. 

" Shakespeare (William) First and Second Part of 
the troublesome Raigne of John King of England." 
This was sold for £iy ids. 

" Shakespeare (William) Most Excellent and Lam- 



290 THE BOOK FANCIER 

entable Tragedie of Romeo and Juliet, as it hath been 
sundry times pubUkely Acted by the Kings Majesties 
Servants at the Globe. Very fine copy, edges entirely 
uncut, morocco by Bedford, 1637. This, and another 
sold at the last sale, are believed to be the only 
entirely uncut copies of this edition known to exist." 
Uncut or not, it fetched only £5 15s. 6d. 

But now begins a crescendo in prices. 

" Shakespeare (William) True Chronicle History of 
the Life and Death of King Lear, and his three 
Daughters, with the unfortunate Life of Edgar, sonne 
and heire to the Earle of Glocester, and his sullen and 
assumed humor of Tom of Bedlam, as it was plaid 
before the Kings Majesty at Whitehall uppon S. 
Stephens night in Christmas HoUidaies by his Majes- 
ties Servants playing usually at the Globe on the 
Banck-side. Good copy, morocco, gilt edges, by 
Bedford, Printed for Nathaniel Butler, 1608. The 
copy of this edition sold by us last year realised 
£22 los." This year it brought £20. 

" Shakespeare (William) True Tragedie of Richard 
Duke of Yorke, and the death of good King Henrie 
the sixt. The first edition, of which only one copy 
is known, produced £131 at Chalmer's sale. The 
present is the second edition, and is also of the great- 
est rarity when, like this copy, in an absolutely 
perfect state." On this occasion it brought £63. 

" Shakespeare (W.) Much Adoe about Nothing, 
it hath been sundrie Times publikely Acted by the 
right honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Ser- 
vants. Written by William Shakespeare. First 
edition, extremely rare, fine copy, morocco by Bed- 
ford. London, Printed by V. S. for Andrew Wise 
and William Aspley, 1600." £65. 

" Shakespeare (WilUam) Second Part of Henrie the 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 29I 

Fourth, continuing to his death, and coronation of 
Henrie the Fift, with the Humours of Sir John Fal- 
staffe and swaggering Pistoll, as it hath been sundrie 
times pubhkely acted by the right honourable the 
Lord Chamberlaine his Servants, written by WiUiam 
Shakespeare. First edition, a perfect genuine uncas- 
trated copy. Printed by S. for Andrew Wise, 1600. 
It is scarcely possible to overrate the curiosity and 
importance of this edition, which is almost the rarest 
of first editions of Shakespeare, for to the best of our 
knowledge, only one other copy, viz. that which sold 
at Heber's sale, ii. 5460, for the then liberal sum of 
£40, is the only other copy that has hitherto been 
submitted to public competition. It is almost the 
only first edition wanting in the Capell Collection. 
This edition must not be confused with the spurious 
one, which contains two scenes less, but has the same 
date, title, and imprint ; for whereas Heber's copy of 
the present one fetched ;^40, the other edition at the 
same sale sold for only £2 los. Long notes are care- 
fully avoided in this catalogue, but it can scarcely be 
thought irrelevant to observe that the present is the 
rarest of any of Shakespeare's genuine plays that 
have occurred for sale during the last twenty years. 
' Nothing,' says a MS. note, * would induce me to part 
with it, had I not a copy largely made up with excel- 
lent facsimile, which, though of slight comparative 
pecuniary value, is as useful to me for the purposes 0/ 
collation.' " This brought £100. 

" Shakespeare (William) True Chronicle History 
of the Life and Death of King Lear and his three 
Daughters, with the unfortunate Life of Edgar, sonne 
and heire to the Earle of Glocester, and his sullen 
assumed Humour of Tom of Bedlam, fine copy, 
printed by Jane Bell, 1655. The rarest of the latest 



292 THE BOOK FANCIER 

quartos. With the exception of a copy sold by us last 
year for ;^io los., we do not trace another for many 
years. Lowndes notices only one copy." It fetched £ii. 

These prices are extraordinary enough, but it was 
at the Daniel sale in 1864 that the astonishing value 
of rare exemplars of these little tracts was revealed. 
The well-skilled owner had secured about a score of 
the very earliest of these Shakespeare plays, and 
these twenty little pamphlets — for they did not rise to 
greater dignity of shape — fetched about £3,500 ! The 
play of " Richard II." was sold for £341 5s. ; another 
copy for £108 3s. ; " Richard III." for £351 15s. ; 
" Love's Labour Lost," £346 los. ; " Henry IV. " 
£115 los. ; " Romeo and Juliet," £52 los. ; " Henry 
v.," £231 ; " Merchant of Venice," £99 15s. ; " Much 
Ado about Nothing," £267 15s. ; " Midsummer 
Night's Dream." £241 los. ; " Merrie Wives," £346 
los. ; " King Lear," £29 8s. ; " Pericles," £84 ; 
" Troilus and Cressida," £114 9s. ; " Hamlet " 
(1611), £28 7s. ; and " Othello " for £155. These 
seem enormous prices, and are perhaps owing to the 
furore of the sale. But at the Corser sale in 1868, 
where about a score of these little quartos were sold, 
prices went so low as £2, £7, £10, and £26 ; while a 
copy of the precious " Troilus," which at the Daniel 
sale brought £114 9s., here fetched only £37, but then 
" the headlines were cut off a few leaves." 

The httle volumes of the Poems, Sonnets, " Venus 
and Adonis," " Rape of Lucrece," are equally 
precious. Mr. Quaritch shall usher in the " Poems : 
written by Wil. Shake-speare. Gent. sm. 8vo. (i2mo) 
with the rare portrait by W. Marshall, fine copy in 
brown morocco super extra, gilt edges, the sides 
covered with gold tooling, after an old English 
pattern, by F. Bedford. T. Cotes, 1640. Very rare. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 293 

G. Daniel's copy sold for £44. I have since sold a 
defective one for £36 ; but these prices are only a 
slight indication of the tendency of the market. 
Good copies will in the future continue to rise in 
value." This was priced at £70. 

Next for " The Rape of Lvcrece, by Mr. William 
Shakespeare. Newly reuised, i2mo, blue morocco 
extra, gilt edges. I. B. for Roger lackson, 1624. 
Very rare ; only one other copy has occurred for sale 
during a great many years. There is none in the 
Huth Collection, and there was none sold at Sir 
William Tite's sale." For this £42 was the price. 

But this is not the first edition, which is dated 

1594. Of this rare little tome it is said that only five 

perfect copies are known, of which two are in the 

Bodleian Library. Mr. Combe, we are told, could 

boast a copy, but " it wanted the last leaf." The fly 

in the ointment ! The fifth copy of the little book, 

" a fine and perfect copy, extraordinarily rare," was 

sold by auction at Baron Bolland's sale in 1840. This 

amateur, it seems, secured it in a rather odd way. 

Dibdin rummaging other books in the Canon's 

Library at Lincoln, came upon a little bundle of 

tracts, which he says he hoped to tempt them to let 

him have for £80. But they refused him. Later, 

dining with Baron Bolland, his host showed him in 

triumph the bundle, which he had secured for the 

very sum. A single tract proved to be this " Rape 

of Lucrece," which at the Baron's sale brought one 

hundred guineas. The " Venus and Adonis " is 

another precious little volume almost introuvable. 

Baron Bolland died happy in possession of a copy, 

which at his sale was purchased by Mr. Bright for 

£91 ; at Bright's sale, Daniel became the purchaser 

for £91 los. ; while at his sale it brought three hun- 



294 THE BOOK FANCIER 

dred guineas ! Last come the " Sonnets." The 
Daniel copy belonged originally to Narcissus Lut- 
trell, who paid one shilling for it ; it afterwards 
passed to George Steevens, and at Daniel's sale was 
sold for £215 ! This little book has been often re- 
printed line for line and in imitation of the original. 

Some years ago a copy with the imprint " G. Eld, 
1609," was sold by auction, and the following interest- 
ing account was added : — " The present fine and 
perfect copy of the Sonnets is in its genuine original 
state, not made up in any way, but is precisely in the 
condition in which it was found in a volume of tracts 
bound up about the year 1725. The original binder 
cut the top margins too close, and some of the head- 
lines are cut into the print ; but although the oppor- 
tunity presented itself of remedying this defect by 
means of another copy, it was thought that the 
extreme firmness and genuineness of the state of the 
leaves throughout, and their sound condition, amply 
compensated for it, and that it was more desirable in 
its original state." We can imagine the bibliophile's 
distraction at this crisis. The " top margins cut too 
close " and the headlines " cut into the print " were 
terrible things, and prompted the intrusion of the 
leaves of the supplementary copy. But then there 
was compensation in the " extreme firmness and 
genuineness " of the maimed leaves. They had 
" sound condition," at least, and everything, after all, 
is " more desirable in its original state." 

This question of copies of folio and quarto editions 
is not so idle or barren as might be supposed, and 
bears in a highly important way on the poet's share 
in the work. Thus one of the first interesting points 
to ascertain is how many plays were published before 
Shakespeare's death, which took place in 1616. There 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 295 

were some fourteen that thus appeared, and it might 
be assumed that so many could not have been issued 
in succession without his knowledge and approba- 
tion. Yet this presumption wholly fails us, as we 
find several editions of a particular play differing in 
an extraordinary degree. One speculation might be 
that the author did not publish his pieces, but toler- 
ated their being published, and that all he was con- 
cerned for was their being acted or published on the 
stage. This is shown particularly in the discrepancies 
between the quarto editions of " Hamlet ; " and their 
variations, though making it a perplexing and almost 
hopeless task to search out the poet's mind, still add a 
never-faihng piquancy to the pursuit, and stimulate 
the editorial hound. How few know that in the first 
folio of " Much Ado about Nothing " a scene in the 
fourth act is headed, " Enter Leonato and Jacke 
Wilson," this being the name of the actor, which had 
slipped in in place of the character. More curious still 
is it to find another lapse in the same play, in Dog- 
berry's well-known scene with the watch, where nearly 
all his speeches to the end are headed, " Kemp," 
being the name of the actor who played the part. 
Still more singular — a unique instance too — this slip 
is found repeated in the three successive folios, and, 
which is even more singular, in Rowe's edition also.* 

♦ Were we to select a passage which would illustrate tlie 
difficulties of fixing a " canon " for Shakespeare, it would be the 
perplexing and much-tortured passage in the part of Henry V., 
where Dame Quickly describes the last moments of Falstaff, 
" And'a babbled of green fields." These, as is well known, are the 
words of Theobald, the second commentator, but they are univer- 
sally accepted and even quoted cis Shakespeare's, or as the nearest 
that could be got to Shakespeare. The original reading was the 
despair of all i " His nose was as sharp as a pen, and a table 0/ 
greenfields." The objection to Theobsild's view is that in the 
previous sentences had been described all that Falstaff did, signs 
of death, fumbhng with the sheets, playing with flowers, smiling^ 



296 THE BOOK FANCIER 

These thin, not inelegant little quarto plays, the 
shape in which the earhest plays were published, 
are inviting enough from their shape and printing, 
and it is not surprising that their owner should have 
had each dressed separately in a costly " jacket." 
A collection of such things has a curious effect ; 
it is de rigueur not to bind them together ; and 
thus we see some thousand of these thin-leaved 
veterans ranged on the shelves. Mr. Halliwell- 
Phillipps, the Shakespearian scholar, has, we believe, 
the finest known collection of the poetical drama, 
a different thing altogether from a dramatic collec- 
tion. The present writer has no indifferent col- 
lection, though without pretension ; as he has about 
a thousand plays printed before the year 1700. A gen- 
eration ago an " old play " could be got for " an old 
song ; " now the really old articles have disappeared, 
and rarely, if ever, come into the market. Rare old 
Elizabethan plays bring now from ten to twenty 
guineas, and one is not surprised that the owners of 
these elegant little tracts should be inclined to lay out 
a couple of guineas more in clothing them in citron- 
coloured or olive morocco. A well-known actor who 
died a few years ago, and had amused himself, as so 
many actors have done, with collecting old plays, 
had gathered a large number of rare curious ones. 
On his death, his heirs hurriedly took numbers to the 

&c. Then his looks are described, the physical signs of death, his 
" nose sharp as a pen " ; hence the doubtful words are likely to 
be either an expansion of the metaphor, or further descriptive of 
his looks. Pope declares that the words were a stage direction 
(a table of Greenfields), i.e., to be got ready for the actor, which 
seems specious. But the point in the passage which has been 
quoted, is that it is simply impossible, under our present light, 
to come to any decision whatever. It is a riddle which we must 
" give up," and give up for ever. There is no light, and we see 
not whence light can come. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 297 

nearest old bookseller's, and disposed of them for a 
few shillings a piece. Many of these I secured, but 
some of the most precious, such as Marlowe's " Rich 
Jew of Malta " or " Faustus," which bring now six 
or eight guineas, were then disposed of for three or 
four shillings. At this present moment, so scarce are 
old plays, the collector might search all the leading 
booksellers' stores without finding a score. Yet two 
or three years ago there was scarcely an auction with- 
out its department of " old plays." It is melan- 
choly, too, to note the waste of money, the sums ex- 
pended on the mere binding of these treasures, some 
thin attenuated little tract being enveloped, as it 
were, in a rich roquelaire or mantle of morocco and 
gold. It is often ludicrous to see some ill-bred " man- 
gy tract " of, say, ten leaves, " ill-kept, ill-fed, and as 
bad as bad can be," eked out with many blank pages 
of paper to add to the thickness, and the whole bound 
sumptuously in green morocco, joints, and " blind 
tooling," or otherwise, by Bedford, Charles, Lewis, or 
Riviere, and put into a cabinet under glass — too pre- 
cious to be read, but to be shown to friends as a 
triumph of " bibliopegistic skill." Alas ! at the sale 
the binding will count for little or nothing in the price 
fetched, though the cost will have been a couple of 
guineas or more. 

The English have certainly not been slack to do 
honour to their great poet, and contribute all that 
print and illustration are capable of. Of either 
Racine, Moliere, La Fontaine, in France there are 
few " editions of luxury." Cervantes owes his finest 
edition to an Englishman. Of Dante and Ariosto 
there are one or two pretentious editions. Goethe 
and Schiller can boast the same. But Shakespeare, 
during the course of two hundred and fifty years, has 



298 THE BOOK FANCIER 

been illustrated in a fashion so costly and abundant 
as to do honour to the enterprise and idolatry of 
his countrymen. The abimdance of fine editions on 
which the publishers' capital has been lavishly ex- 
pended in fine paper, print, rich illustrations, and 
editorial work, must be enormous. The present book- 
fancier has nearly all these fine testimonials on his 
shelves, and will now, an' the reader list, take them 
down, one by one, and display them. For the 
" general reader " — one who, often, is not general in 
his reading at all — is like enough never to have seen 
these things. 

It seems strange that from the year 1685 to 171 1, a 
period of nearly forty years, no edition of Shake- 
speare was called for. The old folios, well thumbed 
and worn, lay about the libraries of country-houses or 
on the recessed windows. James and William, and 
Anne and George, kings and queen, came and passed 
away. The glory of being the first editor — the first 
to issue Shakespeare in convenient size, with a set of 
handsome plates, one to every play — was Rowe the 
poet, whose work has been styled the fifth and sixth 
editions. These are grown scarce and dear. One 
may congratulate oneself now if he secures a maimed, 
" cropped " edition, such as mine is. Such was the 
favourite one of Charles Lamb. 

The four great folios were issued within a period of 
sixty years — and it is a thing of mark, and unique, 
that so many editions should have been issued in that 
size. It is curious that the third should not match 
with its fellows, being an inch or thereabouts taller 
and wider. In each of these the Droeshout plate 
does duty, but touched up, cut, and shaped to fit the 
desires of the publishers. So desirable is this small, 
old, poor, and stiff effigy, and so invariably wanting 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 299 

in all saleable copies that turn up, that ten guineas 
and more has often been given for an impression. 
This invariable want, like the " crumb flakes " be- 
tween the leaves, is evidence of popularity, for the 
portraits in the corresponding folios of Ben Jonson, 
and Beaumont and Fletcher, and Davenant are 
usually found in their place. 

It is remarkable that from this time it seemed de 
rigueur to issue Shakespeare with an abundance of 
illustrations : as though the poet was so suggestive 
and dramatic as to enforce this mode of setting out 
his beauties. Next followed Theobald ; and here is 
on the book-fancier's shelves a beautiful tempting 
copy, eight volumes bound in bright crimson morocco 
and gold, with quaint plates by Gravelot, animated, 
but very general. The editions of Theobald, large 
and small, were to be very numerous and spread over 
the century. There must have been seven or eight, 
and the editor made handsomely off his work, and was 
probably the only editor who did make profit thereby. 

But now with becoming courtesy let us introduce 
the stately, solemn quartos, a massive avoirdupois 
business, as Mr. Carlyle might say. Those six ponder- 
ous fellows in crimson morocco, with great golden 
stars and thick board-like paper, large, bright, and 
open type, these " grand old men " are Mr. Alexan- 
der Pope's work, and expansive reading enough. It 
may be noted en passant that there is a little discom- 
fort in reading from these large-type works. The eye 
does not seem to take in enough at a time : a couple 
of lines will detain it. This may seem mesquinerie, 
but it holds. The book-fancier recalls a pleasant 
remark of the late Mr. Dickens when showing him 
one of the placid black letters on a yellow ground, 
stretching to eight or ten feet in^length, and which was 



300 THE BOOK FANCIER 

stretched out on the floor. " W ," he said, " has 

to go down on his knees to correct the proofs." 
Pope's was succeeded by yet another fine set of 
quarto " armfulls " — Sir Thomas Hanmer's, issued 
by the literati of the University of Oxford, and which 
was also adorned with large etchings by Gravelot, 
then high in favour as an illustrator. But his dainty 
figures, bosquets, gardens, are all of Versailles, and 
are in the school of Lancret and Boucher. Nothing 
more amusingly un-English or un-Shakespearian 
could be conceived than those smirking and elegant 
ladies and gentlemen in the cocked hats and " sack 
backs " of Marly and Versailles performing their 
graceful antics. It is strange to think how cheerfully 
this mode of interpretation could be accepted by the 
public, though it seems almost intelligible when we 
had nearly at the same time the spectacle of Garrick 
playing " Othello " in a general officer's scarlet, and 
" Macbeth " in a court dress. 

Anticipating a little, we come to another magni- 
ficent series of quartos — Alderman Boydell's monu- 
mental " Shakespeare," perhaps the finest and most 
costly enterprise of the kind ever undertaken. His 
system was to give commissions to all the leading 
painters, including Sir Joshua Reynolds, at great 
prices, for subjects from the plays. These were en- 
graved by the leading engravers of the day, and in 
two sizes ; the first " atlas folio," a splendid volume 
of large engravings, that sell now for about ;£20. The 
next size was of a large and spacious quarto to suit 
the plays, printed in the finest style. This edition is 
difficult to procure perfect, the contemporary pur- 
chaser generally finding a plate or two wanting. The 
reason is that the plays were issued in parts, with the 
result that a stray plate is taken out, or lost, stolen, or 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 301 

strayed, with all loose prints a likely fate. " Grand 
Old Samuel," when issuing his edition in 1762, a 
disagreeable, calf-bound thing, cumbering the second- 
hand booksellers' shelves, little reckoned that it 
would one day come to such glory. 

Yet another grand quarto set is on the book- 
fancier's shelves, " Heath's," full of fine engravings 
by Smirke, then in fashion, and others ; beautiful as 
regards print and paper — highly " desirable " in 
every way. Coming to later days, there are the two 
large " atlas quartos," " Virtue's edition " of our 
time. These were proprietors of the Art Journal, and 
when they had issued innumerable plates engraved in 
line, after pictures by painters on Shakespearian 
subjects, they were duly collected, " taken off " on 
large paper, and put in at the proper places. Of 
course, there is a " hotch-potch " air about the whole 
from the different sizes and thicknesses, no single 
plate being originally intended for this function. 

• The last important venture on this great and dar- 
ing scale was that of Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps, carried 
out literally regardless of expense, — sixteen solid 
folio volumes represent this labour of Hercules, the 
editor's design being to collect " all that was know- 
able " of Shakespeare. It was issued by subscription 
in sixteen grand folios. It was issued at the price of 
sixty-five guineas the set — a great price for England 
— and only a hundred and fifty copies, it was en- 
gaged, were to be printed, and there was set out in 
the proposals a signed promise of the printer, who 
solemnly contracted not to print a single copy more, 
and even to return every one of the wasted or soiled 
sheets.* 

♦ It may be mentioned in this connection, that the neglect of 
this last point once led to a very serious embarrassment and 



302 THE BOOK FANCIER 

The amount of money represented by the 150 sub- 
scriptions was over £10,000. Mr. Halliwell-Phillipps 
proceeded manfully with his work, bringing out 
volume after volume until the whole was completed. 
Though stored with illustrations of all kinds — a folio 
is devoted to a full " life " — it is by no means an ar- 
tistic work, neither in printing, illustration, arrange- 
ment, or shape. The text is quite overpowered in 
the elaborate and learned notes. For mere reading 
it is an uncomfortable book — " heartless " Lamb 
would call it : more for the antiquaries. Now, 
however, it is difficult to procure, and sells at about 
the original price. 

One of the most wonderful Shakespearian monu- 
ments is now in progress, under the auspices of an 
American gentleman, Mr. Furniss, whose idea is to 
issue an edition of Shakespeare that shall contain 
almost everything that has been written on each pas- 
sage, or that can throw light on the history, acting, 
or interpretation of the plays. It may be conceived 
that this is a scheme that requires enormous room, 
and must, if ever completed, fill fifty or sixty thick 
volumes. It is a " variorum " edition on the largest 
scale. The editor is said to possess the finest collec- 
tion of Shakespeares known in the States, while his 
editions comprise everything in all languages. His 
four folios cost him £500. He exhibits the poet's 
glove — a doubtful relic — among his treasures. An- 

litigation, connected with the early happy years of the Queen and 
Prince Consort. The royal pair used to amuse themselves 
etching plates, and a number of the trial or " waste " copies 
thrown aside as useless were purchased by a man in Windsor, 
who offered them for sale and exhibited them in his windows. 
This led to some painful law proceedings, the Queen wishing to 
recover her property and also to crush libellous pamphleteering, 
now deservedly forgotten. 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 303 

other American has happily illustrated the extremest 
extent of the Shakespeare craze by writing a pamph- 
let in 1869, in which he spells the name Shakespeare 
in four thousand different ways ! 

Another editor, Charles Knight, engaged one of the 
most sympathetic of artists, William Harvey, who 
was full of fancy and poetry. It is impossible now 
to look at one of his designs without feeling a sense of 
being elevated above mere prose, while the illustra- 
tors of our day seem to draw us down far below the 
level of the authors they illustrate into the dull 
actualities of daily life. Now there is no suggestion ; 
everything is literal, the artist usually drawing from 
some members of his family. Harvey was at his best 
in this congenial office, and presents us his refined 
groupings, graceful figures, and thoughtful faces. 
There are scenes from town and country, and a 
number of charming vignettes and culs-de-lampe. All 
these adornments are disposed with singular grace 
to set off the page. The printing is of a tone and 
size that is not obtrusive, but makes part of the 
design, as it were, while the paper is fine and delicate. 
It is only when we contrast this edition with the 
coarse ones that followed, printed anyhow and every 
how, on thick paper from worn blocks, that we seem 
to be looking at two different works. All honour to 
the amiable, accomplished, and tasteful Charles 
Knight. 

Two other English artists have ventured to illus- 
trate Shakespeare, viz., Kenny Meadows and Sir 
John Gilbert. The first is an almost ludicrous per- 
formance, from the extraordinarily unintentional 
grotesquerie which always intruded into this artist's 
drawings, and made them recognisable at once. All 
his characters, the women notably, seem Londoners 



304 THE BOOK FANCIER 

of the suburbs, of the pattern described by Albert 
Smith. Sir John Gilbert's illustrations were supplied 
for the edition of a chess-player editor — Howard 
Staunton. This accomplished colourist imparted a 
certain flowing grace and richness of effect to his 
figures and costumes, always of a flamboyant sort. 
But there is no idea conveyed ; it is all historical 
and conventional. It would indeed be a most inter- 
esting speculation to consider how, and on what 
principle, should Shakespeare be illustrated. The 
answer would seem to be — the principle on which he 
should be acted. It is thought now, and surely 
erroneously, that rich glowing dresses, &c., nay, the 
ingeniously devising of newer pomps and shows, out 
of some fanciful hint let drop by the bard, must be 
the true mode. But this makes the poetry earthier 
and yet earthier. Treatment in the abstract — the 
central figures standing out — scenery accessories — 
" supers " all indistinct and far off, like shadowy 
figures on a tapestry — such would be the note. So 
with illustrations ; central figures full of thought, 
mind, beautiful in form, but with little regard to 
dress and show. 

It was on this principle that a spirited publisher, 
Bell — on many a stall we find " Bell's British Poets," 
or Bell's British something else — brought out his 
" Bell's Theatre," and " Bell's Shakespeare." The 
" Theatre," in over fifty pocket volumes, is a work 
such as we cannot conceive of now — a really pretiy 
series, each volume containing some four elegant 
copperplates, with figures of famous actors and 
actresses in character ; excellent likenesses on the 
whole, the scene spirited, and the whole engraved 
within an oval frame. The " Shakespeare " in 
twenty volumes, but on large paper, the plates, &c., 



SHAKESPEARE FOLIOS AND QUARTOS 305 

on fine paper, is a truly handsome work, desirable in 
every way, and worthy of him that buys as of him 
that sells A " large paper " " Bell's Theatre " and 
accompanying Shakespeare, bound, say, in his best 
chocolate livery by Calverley, such "a set" might be 
coveted by a fancier, and do honour to his shelves. 
It is well known that at the time of his death Gustave 
Dor6 engaged on what he hoped should be his most 
signal achievement — Shakespeare's plays illustrated 
throughout on the scale of his Bible. He had made, 
it is said, some progress in the work. But it seems 
certain the result would have been failure. No 
Frenchman seems to understand Shakespeare, and 
we should, to a certainty, have had put before us 
a series of melodramatic, if not violent scenes, con- 
ceived in the Porte St. Martin spirit. Hamlet, Mac- 
beth, and other heroes would have been shown as 
Frenchmen, just as like views of London by the 
same artist are unrecognisable, and seem bits of 
Paris. 

There are other illustrated Shakespeares of less pre- 
tension, but marked by much artistic merit. Such 
are the small editions of Whittingham and Tilt, full 
of spirited and expressive little woodcuts ; an edition 
issued by Scholey, remarkable for a curious series of 
woodcuts in a free and open style ; and a little known 
edition, with some graceful plates by Stothard and 
others of his school. These are in that refined and 
delicately finished if not sentimental manner, which is 
at least in a spirit of respect suited to the great poet. 
Of minor editions there is almost no end. In short, 
the lavish extent to which the great master has been 
illustrated may be conceived from a startling and 
daring act of Grangerism. A Mr. Wilson in 1824 
attracted attention by having devoted a portion of 
w 



3o6 THE BOOK FANCIER 

his life to the illustration of Shakespeare. He had 
set himself diligently to the work of stripping and 
spoliating every book of plates that were on the sub- 
ject, ruthlessly cutting out every plate from each 
illustrated edition, and incorporating them into his 
own, with a thousand processes of " insetting," 
" laying down ; " the result of which promiscuous 
slaughter was a collection of many thousands, which 
was thought so important that either he or another 
foolish person printed a list of the prints, " with a 
view," said the preface to the volume, " to furnish 
the collector with a catalogue from which he may 
select the more attainable materials for the illustration 
of our great bard," i.e., cut out and paste down every 
suitable print, maim and maul every Shakespearian 
volume. 

But a more elaborate tribute to Shakespeare is 
preserved in the library at Althorp. Lady Lucan, 
mother of the bibliophilist Lord Spencer, and Dr. 
Johnson's friend, devoted herself from the fiftieth to 
her sixty-sixth year to the duty of illustrating the his- 
torical plays with pencil and brush. With laborious 
care she copied portraits, arms, devices, illuminations, 
scenes representing towns and palaces, the result 
being five magnificent and richly decorated volumes, 
Boydell's edition being selected as the foundation to 
work on. These sumptuous tomes were " clothed " 
in green velvet with silver gilt edges. 

There are actually two wholly Shakespearian 
Ubraries existing ; one in England at Birmingham, 
the other in America, known as " the Barton," each 
devoted to the collection of editions of Shakespeare, 
books on Shakespeare, or books that deal indirectly 
with Shakespeare. A vast number of volumes are 
here collected ; in each some thousand works. 



If the courteous and sympathetic reader shall have 
attended me so far, he may have enjoyed a tranquil 
stroll through the prim, quaintly laid-out gardens 
and agreeable plaisaunces, where all the old conceits, 
trimmed yews, &c., of letters and bibliomaniac 
lore live and flourish. So do we read in the old 
dramatist — 

" That place that does contain 
My books, the best companions, is to me 
A glorious court, where nourly I converse 
With the old sages and philosophers." 

Or, as another enthusiast hath it, " A man loveth his 
books as a lover loves the portrait of his mistress ; 
and, like the lover, he loves to adorn that which he 
loves. He scrupulously takes care of the precious 
volume which has filled his heart with keen sensations 
of delight or sorrow, and clothes it in all the glories 
of gilded cloths and moroccos. His library is as res- 
plendent with golden laces as the toilet of a favourite ; 
and by their exterior appearance itself his books are 
worthy of the regards of consuls, as Virgil wished his 
own to be." For there may be plenty who love the 
garden, yet know nothing of the flowers and their 

307 



3o8 THE BOOK FANCIER 

botanical names ; and there have been many passion- 
ate collectors of fiddles who could not and did not care 
for playing. That there has ever been this interest 
in what is a mere book, its covers, associations, 
owners, &c., has been shown in the foregoing pages, 
where the abundance of goodwill may be accepted 
to supply other shortcomings. And so to bibliophile, 
biblionoste, and bipliopegist, and above all ta the 
" courteous general reader," I commend this little 
volume. 



INDEX 



Advertisements, should they 
be bound up with the 
volume, 179 
AUbone, dictionary of, 96 
" Arabian Nights, The " : their 
" scatological "' merits, 162 

" Babbled of green fields," 

speculation on, 295 
Ballads, halfpenny, collections 

of, 160 
" Barbou " volumes, 214 
Baskerville, 78 
Bastard, Comte de, his work 

the most costly illustrated 

work known, 218 
Bedford Missad described, 103 

, the modern binder, 115 

Bellows, his miniature French 

dictionary, 141 
Bell's Shakespeare, 304 
Bible, rapid printing of a, 146 

with " nicknames," 147 

the Penny Testament, 

enormous sale of, 147 

Bibhography, writers on, 92 

Binders' mistakes in lettering, 
128 

Binding, eccentricities con- 
nected with, 121 

, prices for, at Sunderland 

and Beckford sales, 105 

Blomefield's History of Nor- 
folk Grangerised, 175 

Boccaccio, exciting sale of the 
Roxburghe copy of, 236 

Bodoni of Parma, 217 



Bohn, Mr., his monster cata- 
logue, 249 

Book repairers, 20 

plates, 128 

worm insect, the, 252 

Bowyer, the printer, anecdote 
of, 58, n. 

Boydell's Shakespeare, 300 

Brandt on the foolishness of 
book buying, 2 

Brunet, originator of the craze 
for bindings, 102 

Bry, De, the mania described, 
198 

Cards, works upon, 151 

Catalogue, British Museum, 86 

, difficulties of making a, 

86 

Catalogues, interest of, 232 

" Cat and mouse " device, a 
note of merit, 166 

Catholicon, the, described, 30 

Caxton, number of copies 
known, prices, 68 et seq. 

Caxton's relative inferiority as 
a printer, 36 

" Chained Books," 82 

Charles I., 731 portraits of, in 
a Grangerised book, 172 

Charlotte, Queen, her pur- 
chases from the stalls, 5. 

Cheap books, 161 

marvels of typography, 

143-145 
Chippendale, rarity of his 
treatise, 155 



309 



310 



INDEX 



Cloth, first introduced in bind- 
ing, 132 

Clutterbuck, his " Granger- 
ised " History of Hertford- 
shire described, 170 

Cocker, his rare arithmetic, 164 

Codex, the, or Psalter, 28 

Coloured papers and inks, 
books with, 137 

" Corrections," heavy in- 
stances of, 64 

" Corrector's," or Perkins f oho, 
the story of, 280 

Coutts, Miss Burdett, pur- 
chaiser of the Daniel " First 
Foho," 271 

Cruikshank, the artist, his 
claims on Oliver Twist, 183 

" Cuttings," collectors of, 149 

Daniel, George, his " First 
FoHo " Shakespeare, 271 

Daniel sale, great prices at, 
for Shakespearian quartos, 
292 

Delphin Classics, the, 79 

Dickens, portraits of, 191 

Dodd, the actor, his collection 
of plays, 287 

Dore's Bible, 201 

Doyle, Richard, his particular 
merit described, 105 

Droeshout portrait, its rarity, 
278 

" Dummy " backs of books 
and their titles, 125 

Dutch, remarkable for their 
copperplate of cities, build- 
ings, &c., 214 

Elzevirs, the, and their publi- 
cations, 47 
" Errors," printers', 62 

" Facbti^," so called, 251 
2<'armer, Mr., the American, 

his canons for a collection, 

248 



" Farthing epic," the, 145 

" Fire of London, destroyed 
in," a recommendation, 162 

Fontaine, La, various editions 
of, 215 

Forgeries, Shakespearian, 279 

Forster, Mr. John, his collec- 
tion, 251 

his " Grangerised "copies 

of Granger, 169 

Fortsas', Count de, "bogus" 
sale, 224 

French artists, their failure 
in EngUsh illustrations, 204 

homogeneous treatment 

of their books in binding, 
paper, print, and type, 214 

Furniss, Mr., his edition of 
Shakespeare, 302 

" Galleries," illustrating pic- 
ture collections, 210 

" Gallery of Versailles," Le 
Brun's, 207 

Garrick, contributions to his 
history from a catalogue, 
267 

Germans, the, excellence of the 
early printers, 37 

Giant books, 142 

Gladstone, Mr., a " stall hunt- 
er," 8, n. 

Glasse, Mrs., her famous cook- 
ery book, 164 

" Grangerising," account of, 
168 

Dibdin's ridicule of, 169 

" Great Expectations," curious 
reasons for its scarcity, 179 

Grolier binding, rage for, 108 

Halliwell-Phillipps, Mr, O., 
his unique Droeshout im- 
pression, 278 

his editions of Shakes- 
peare described, 302 

Hamlet, Devonshire, story of 
the, 284 



INDEX 



311 



Harvey, Mr. F., his Granger- 
ised Boswell, 173 ; and his 
Grangerised Life of Dickens, 
187 

, W., his graceful wood- 
cuts for Shakespeare's plays, 

303 
Heber sale, 230 
, the collector, his sad end, 

230 
Heinsius on the library, 83 
Human skin, binding in, 122 

" Incunables " described, 32 
Index, the, 97 

Ireland, W. H., his forgeries, 
279 

" Jacke Wilson," the actor's 
name, introduced into text 
of first folio by mistake, 295 

Jarvis, Mr., Dickens' bibUo- 
graphical catalogue, 180 

Jenson, " the glory of his 
press," 44 

Kemble, J., suppression of his 

poems, 167 
Knight, C, charming edition 

of Shakespeare, 303 

Lamb, C, on books, 89 ; early 
editions of his works now 
sought, 156 

" Large paper " copies, 121 

Libri Library, 109 

Livy, miniature Elzevir, 51 

Locker Lampson, F., his col- 
lection described, 243 

Lucan, Lady, her illustrated 
Shakespeare at Althorp, 306 

Lucian on book-buying, 2 

Magliabecchi, his oddities, 2 
MaioU binding, 107 
Mazarin Bible, account of, 19 
Medals, sumptuous work on, 
212 



" Men of the Time," droll 
accident connected with, 
152 

" Midget " type, 139 

Miller, Joe, 165 

Moli^re, various editions of, 
217 

NuREMBURG CHRONICLE de- 
scribed, 194 

Payne-Collier, Mr., 280 
Payne, Roger, 112 
Perkins sale, 23 
Photogravure, an inferior 

method, 159 
Picart's Ceremonies described, 

206 
Pickwick, genuine state and 

requisite conditions of, 182 
Piranesi, his grand collection 

of etchings, 213 
Plantin printing-office de- 
scribed, 52 
Playbills, 161 

" Ploughing " and margin, 119 
Poole's Index, 96 
Portraits for Grangerised 

books, 171 
Presses, private, 250 
Printing, English, falling off 

in modem times, 202 

QuARiTCH, Mr., and his sys- 
tem, 14 
Quartos, reprints of, 282 
Quarto Shakespeares, compari- 
son of prices, 287 

Reader, the, 58 
" Register," the, 94 
Reprints, facsimile, 87 
Restorers of books, 76 
Richard, Jules, his idea for a 

collection, 118 
Robinson Crusoe, 166 
Roman type, its original 

model, 38 



312 



INDEX 



Rothschild, the late Baron F. 

de, account of, ii6 
Rowfant books, Mr. A. Lang's 

lines on, 243 
Roxburghe Club, 239 
Ruskin, pubUsher of his own 

works, 246 

Sacy, Silvestre de, his com- 
ment over his books, i 
Sales, famous, 232 
Schoolboy magazines, 161 
Scotch printers always emi- 
nent, 79 
" Setting " without MS., 65 
Shakespeare, why the first foUo 
so scarce, 255 ; " adultera- 
tions " in the copies, 256 ; 
early prices given, 256 ; 
King Charles I.'s copy, 259 ; 
splendidly illustrated in 
England, 297 
Shakespearian Ubraries in Eng- 
land and America, 306 
Shepherd, Mr. R. Heme, 
Dickens' bibhography, 181 
" Signatures," 95 
Single copy, editions of a, 163 
" Snuffy Davy," and his 

" find," 8 
Spencer, Lord, described, 226 
Spiras, De, their Livy de- 
scribed, 43 ; their PUny, 45 
Stalls, celebrated buyers from, 

4 

Stealer, the book, 84 

Sterne's Diary found in a 
plate-warmer, 158 ; typo- 
graphical oddities of, 138 



Stemhold and Hopkins, 164 
Stevens, the American dealer, 

on the decay of modem 

EngUsh printing, 203 
Sunderland sale, 234 
Suppressed books, collection 

of, 152 
Sutherland, forty years " Gran- 

gerising " one book, 172 
Syston Park sale, 5 

Tedder, Mr., his monograph 

on Baskerville, 77, n. 
, tract on librarianship, 

85 
Tennyson, early editions of his 

works, 155 
Theatres, works on, and their 

charm, 209 

" Uncut," 269 

Upcott's collection of errors of 
the first folio reprint, 277 

Veulum, printing on, 34 
Virgil, Aldine, genuine and 
spurious, 43 

Weller, Sam, origin of, 188 
Wellington, Duke of, anecdote 

of, 167 
Westreenen, Baron de, his 

collection of " Incunables," 

33 
Wilson, Mr., his " spoliating " 
Shakespeare, 305 

Zainer, one of his books 
described, 40 



LONDON AND NOKWICH PRESS, LIMITED, LONDON AND NORWICH 



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