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Title: Royal English Bookbindings
Author: Davenport, Cyril James Humphries, 1848-1941
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Royal English Bookbindings" ***

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[Illustration: Passionale, etc., MS., _circa_ 1100 A.D. Henry I.]


  _Of the Department of Printed Books, British Museum_





  I. Passionale, etc., MS., _circa_
  1100 A.D.                                   Henry I.      _Frontispiece_

  II. Penitential Psalms, etc., MS.,
  sixteenth century                           Henry VIII.               16

  Novum Testamentum Græce. Lutetiæ, 1550
  (gold centres)                              Queen Elizabeth           16

  III. Deloenus. Libellus de tribus
  Hierarchiis, etc., MS.                      Henry VIII.               18

  IV. [Greek: BASILIKON DÔRON.] Written
  for Prince Henry, by King James VI. of
  Scotland. MS                                James I.                  54

  V. Ortelius. Theatre of the World.
  London, 1606                                Do.                       58

  VI. New Testament, etc. London, 1643        Charles I.                66

  VII. Gil. [Greek: PARERGA], etc.
  Londini, 1632                               Do.                       68

  VIII. Order of the Coronation of George
  III. and Queen Charlotte. London, 1761      George III.               94


  Indentures between Henry VII. and John
  Islippe, Abbot of Westminster, concerning
  the foundation of the Chantrey, etc., MS.   Henry VII.                11

  Opus eximium de vera differentia Regiæ
  Potestatis et Ecclesiasticæ. Londini,
  1534                                        Henry VIII.               15

  Description of the Holy Land, in French.
  By Martin Brion. MS.                        Do.                       17

  Le Chappellet de Ihesus, MS., sixteenth
  century                                     Margaret Tudor,
                                              Queen of James IV.
                                              of Scotland               21

  Il Petrarcha. Venetia, 1544                 Queen Katharine Parr      23

  Prayers, etc. Malborow, 1538 (Doublure)     Edward VI.                29

  Queen Mary's Psalter, MS.                   Queen Mary                33

  Prayers, etc. London, 1574-1591             Queen Elizabeth           35

  Christian Meditations, in Latin, 1570       Do.                       37

  Parker. De antiqvitate Britannicæ
  Ecclesiæ. London, 1572                      Do.                       41

  Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio, per L.
  Danaeum. Genevae, 1583                      Do.                       45

  La Saincte Bible. Lyon, 1566                Do.                       47

  Gospels in Anglo-Saxon and English.
  London, 1571                                Do.                       49

  Trogi Pompeii Historiarum Philippicarum
  epitoma. Parisiis, 1581                     Do.                       53

  Livius. Romana Historia. Avreliæ
  Allobrogvm, 1609                            Henry Prince of Wales     61

  Collection of Miscellaneous Tracts in
  MS.                                         Do.                       63

  Dallington. Aphorismes, Civill and
  Militarie. London, 1613                     Charles Prince of Wales   67

  Common Prayer. London, 1662                 Charles II.               69

  A short View of the late Troubles in
  England, etc. Oxford, 1681                  Do.                       73

  Bible. Cambridge, 1674                      James II.                 75

  Euclide. Oxford, 1705                       Queen Anne                79

  Ælfric. An English-Saxon Homily on the
  Birthday of St. Gregory. London, 1709       Queen Anne                81

  Account of what passed in a Conference
  concerning the Succession to the Crown,
  MS.                                         George I.                 85

  Le Nouveau Testament. Amsterdam, 1718       George II.                87

  Chandler. A Vindication of the Defence
  of Christianity. London, 1728               Do.                       88

  Common Prayer. Cambridge, 1760              Queen Charlotte           90

  Portfolio containing the Royal Letter
  concerning the King's Library               George IV.                92

_The Coloured Plates are printed by Edmund Evans._



It is curious that twice in English history the royal libraries have been
given to the nation. The ancient royal collection, containing manuscripts
from the reign of Richard III., was added to by each sovereign in turn;
but it seems to have been brought into notice and taken special care of by
Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I. Out of his own private income,
this Prince added largely to the old collection, and purchased the
important libraries of Lord Lumley, of a Welshman named Maurice, and that
of Isaac Casaubon. On his death the library became the property of James
I., and after some other changes, both the old library and that of Prince
Henry were deposited at Ashburnham House, where in 1731 there was a fire
which damaged some of it. It was then removed to the old Dormitory at
Westminster, and in 1757 it was presented by George II. to the nation, and
was handed over to the Trustees of the Sloane and Cottonian Libraries, and
placed in Montagu House, then newly purchased as a National Museum. There
were at this time in the old royal library about 15,000 volumes
altogether, and very many of them were still in their ancient and
beautiful bindings.

George III., finding on his accession to the throne that there was no
royal library, very energetically set to work to form a new collection. He
chose his agents very carefully, and appointed Sir Frederick Barnard to be
his librarian. Sir Frederick travelled widely in search of books, and,
acting partly under the advice of Dr. Samuel Johnson, eventually brought
together perhaps the finest collection of books ever made by one man. On
the king's death the library contained upwards of 65,000 volumes, besides
more than 19,000 separate tracts and some manuscripts.

Generally speaking, the bindings in the "King's Library"--the name by
which George III.'s collection is now known in the British Museum--are
modern; but among them are a considerable number of old bindings in good
condition, and it is possible that those which were rebound were mostly in
a bad state. Unfortunately the crowned monogram of George III. is
generally impressed in a prominent place, even on such old bindings as
have been otherwise preserved intact; and although valuable as a record it
is often a great disfigurement. There is little doubt that George III.'s
intention was to create a new royal library to remain in the possession of
the kings themselves, but there seems to have been some idea that it would
eventually become national property, as Dr. Frederick Wendeborn, a German
preacher, well known at Court, wrote: "The King's Private Library ... can
boast very valuable and magnificent books, which, as it is said, will at
one time or another be joined to those of the British Museum." This
prediction was fulfilled in 1823, when George IV. presented it to the
nation, and the fine room now known as the King's Library in the British
Museum was built for its reception, the removal being completed in 1828.

William IV. does not seem to have been altogether pleased that the royal
libraries should have been twice given away, as he added a codicil to his
will in 1833, bequeathing to the Crown "all his additions to the libraries
in the several royal palaces," with an autograph confirmation dated from
Brighton, November 30, 1834, signed and sealed by himself, declaring "that
all the books, drawings, and plans collected in all the palaces shall for
ever continue heirlooms to the Crown, and on no pretence whatever to be
alienated from the Crown."

The royal library at Windsor now contains the greatest number of royal
bindings now existing in any one collection, except those at the British
Museum, but it possesses very few that belonged to Tudor sovereigns. From
the time of James I. it has a very fine collection.

Where I have not specifically mentioned otherwise, the books described in
the following pages are in the British Museum. They should be to the
English people especially interesting, for not only are they national
property, but any of them can be seen with little trouble, and a
considerable number are actually exhibited in the binding show-cases in
the King's Library, or in the Grenville Library.



The rulers of England and of France have, ever since the introduction of
printing into Europe, been great patrons of books, and moreover have by
their individual tastes, both literary and artistic, largely influenced
the styles of bookbinding prevalent during their reigns.

In England from the time of Henry VII. onwards, and in France from Louis
XII., a noble series of royal bookbindings exists at the present time, and
may be considered with justice to be typical of the best work done at the
different periods. Although there are a few great binders who do not
appear, as far as is at present known, to have worked for royalty, there
is no doubt that most of the great masters of this most fascinating art
were at some time or other privileged to work for the sovereign houses of
their time, if indeed they were not actually royal binders.

Before printing was introduced into England in the fifteenth century by
William Caxton, there is little or no record of any special collection of
books made by any English sovereign. It is possible no such collection
ever was made, but if it were, all trace and record of it is now lost.
Rich mediæval bindings of a decorative character, such as are not uncommon
in other countries, are unknown in England, and it is supposed that, for
the sake of the valuable metal and gems which were commonly used on such
bindings, they were destroyed under the early Tudor kings. At the same
time, it seems unlikely that Henry VIII. or Edward VI. would have pulled
to pieces any fine bindings, if they had already formed part of a royal

It is difficult in the case of antiquities, the full record of which is
not forthcoming, to be sure of statements which may be made concerning
them; but so many antiquaries and men of mark have already borne testimony
at all events to the probable truth of the legend that the coronation book
of Henry I. still exists, that I feel any record of English royal
bookbindings would be imperfect, not only without mention of it, but even
without a detailed description. I think, however, that without exception
every other book I shall describe or mention has upon it, or in it, some
absolute mark of royal ownership, but on the other hand they are all much
later. Indeed, as far as I know, no book of the twelfth century has any
mark of ownership upon it, although the makers' name does rarely occur.

The book in question (Plate I.) is quite small, measuring 7 × 4-1/2
inches. It is a manuscript on vellum of lessons from the four gospels in
Latin, written in the twelfth century; it also contains the whole of the
Gospel of St. John except a small portion missing, and some other MSS. The
binding is of thick wooden boards, covered probably with deer-skin. The
lower cover has a sunk panel, and bears a crucified figure of our Lord
cast in bronze, finely chased and formerly gilt. The corners are guarded
with bossed pieces of brass, stamped with a device of a fleur-de-lis
within a circle, and there is a clasp of leather and brass. The figure of
our Lord appears distinctly old, but the rest of the metal work has not
such evidence of antiquity, and it seems likely that it is much more
recent. Inside the book are several manuscript notes by various owners,
the most interesting of which is signed by John Ives, at "Yarmouth, St.
Luke's Day, 1772." He says this "appears to be the original book on which
our Kings and Queens took their coronation oaths before the Reformation."
In Powell's _Repertoire of Records_, 1631, at p. 123, he mentions "a
little booke with a crucifix" as being preserved in the chest of the
King's Remembrancer at the Exchequer.

Mr. Thomas Martin of Palgrave, owner of the book in the beginning of the
eighteenth century, at one time lent it to Mr. Thomas Madox, author of
the _History of the Exchequer_, and his opinion was that it was the book
formerly belonging to the Exchequer, mentioned by Powell, and which was
used to take the coronation oath upon by all our kings and queens till
Henry VIII.

It belonged afterwards to Mr. Thomas Astle, F.S.A., Keeper of the Records
in the Tower of London, who died in 1803, and whose library was purchased
by the Marquis of Buckingham and kept at Stowe in a beautiful Gothic room
specially built for it. In June 1849 the library became the property of
Lord Ashburnham, and from him it was purchased in 1883 by the Trustees of
the British Museum, excepting the Irish MSS., which went to Dublin. This
collection is now known as the Stowe Collection.

There is a drawing of this book by Mr. George Vertue, presented by him to
the Society of Antiquaries and still preserved in their library.

From the time of Henry I. until that of Edward IV. there is no trace of
any English royal bindings, and then only a small one. There is in the
library of Westminster Abbey a loose leather binding impressed with a
panel-stamp of the arms of Edward IV., crowned and supported by the two
white lions of the Earls of March, and, moreover, at the top the two
angels which are afterwards often found on the larger panel-stamps of a
similar kind used in the time of Henry VIII. No other binding exists
apparently that belonged to Edward IV., even if this one did, but in the
wardrobe accounts of his reign are found several notices of binding. One
reads, "for binding, gilding, and dressing" of books, but does not say
what the material is. It was probably leather, calf or goat, as gilding on
velvet does not seem to have then been thought of, although the material
itself was certainly used, as in another place it is stated that "velvet
vj yerdes cremysy figured" were delivered for the covering of the books of
our lord the king; and indeed it is curious if the "gilding" was applied
even to leather, as certainly no instances are known at so early a date of
English origin.

Actual instances of the use of velvet for bookbinding occur first among
the books of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., and the value, beauty, and
wonderful durability of it are likely enough to have attracted the notice
of royal and learned book lovers.

Henry VII. was the first of our kings whose literary tastes have left any
mark on our existing collections. He acquired a magnificent series of
volumes printed on vellum at Paris by Antoine Verard, a celebrated French
printer, besides other valuable books. This collection is now at the
British Museum almost complete, and it is rebound in velvet. It is likely
that the original binding was also velvet, but record of it is lost. There
is, however, one magnificent volume that fortunately was so splendid and
in so fine a condition that the ruthless rebinder has spared it. This is a
copy of the Indentures made between Henry VII. and John Islippe, Abbot of
Westminster, for the foundation of the chantrey. It is written on vellum,
and its counterpart is preserved in the Public Record Office.

It is covered in crimson velvet, edged with gold cord, and having tassels
of crimson silk and gold, the velvet projecting broadly over the edges. On
each side are centre and corner bosses of silver, gilt and enamelled. The
centre bosses bear the royal coat-of-arms wrought in high relief, with the
supporters used by the king--the red dragon of his ancestor Cadwallader,
and the white greyhound he used both by right of his wife through the
Nevills and his own maternal ancestors the Earls of Somerset. The corner
bosses bear the portcullis, the emblem of the castle of Beaufort in Anjou,
the residence of Catherine Swinford, and where Henry's maternal
grandfather was born. Each of these portcullises is borne upon a white and
green ground, the livery colours of the Tudors, and it has been used as a
royal badge from the time of Henry VII. until the present day.

The book is held together by bands of gold braid, and fastened by
beautiful clasps of richly-chased silver-gilt, with enamelled red roses.
Appended to the boards are five impressions of the Great Seal, each in a
silver box, with either a portcullis or a red rose upon it. The seals hang
by plaited cords of green and gold.

There are similar books of Henry VII.'s besides this one. A fine instance
was shown at the Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition of Binding in 1891.
It is a _Book of Penalties for non-performance of services in the Chapel
of Henry VII. at Westminster_, and is bound in red velvet, with tassels
and silver-gilt and enamelled bosses like those just described. It has
silver clasps, and four silver boxes containing the seals of the parties
to the indenture depend from the lower edge.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--_Indentures between Henry VII, and John Islippe,
Abbot of Westminster, concerning the foundation of the Chantrey, etc.,

On one book, probably once the property of Henry VII., which somehow
became separated from the rest, is found his coat-of-arms impressed on the
gilt edges--a curious and early instance of decorative edge-work. A
drawing of it was published in _Bibliographica_, vol. ii. p. 395. It is a
Sarum Missal, Rouen, 1497, and was given to Cardinal Pole probably by
Queen Mary, and eventually purchased by the British Museum.

Henry VIII. apparently thought much of his library and its proper
preservation and extension. He appointed John Leland, the antiquary, to be
his library keeper, and gave him a special commission under the Broad Seal
to travel and collect all kinds of antiquities and make records of them.
Leland acquired, under these powers, many valuable manuscripts from the
monasteries, then so ruthlessly being despoiled of their treasures; but,
unfortunately, he does not seem to have been able to preserve any of the
precious bindings in which many of them were doubtless encased.

There is a considerable amount of documentary evidence concerning the
binding of Henry VIII.'s books. Notices occur in the records of the "Privy
Purse Expenses" of payments for velvet and vellum; and these two materials
are again largely mentioned in the most interesting account now preserved
among the additional manuscripts at the British Museum of the royal
printer and binder, "Thomas Berthelett." This account, which is very full,
refers to work done during the years 1541-43; and although, so far, no
actual book has been identified as being one of those mentioned, yet the
bindings we still possess of Henry VIII.'s are so generally of the same
kind as those described that there seems little doubt that most, if not
all of them, were bound by Berthelet.

He mentions a Psalter "covered with crimosyn satyne," and we possess a
collection of tracts bound in this manner, with a delicate tracery of gold
cord, and on the edges is written in gold the words "REX IN ÆTERNUM VIVE
NEEZ." This is probably what Berthelet, in an entry a little further on,
calls "drawyng in gold on the transfile." There are several mentions of
books "gorgiously gilded on the leather," and also others where he says
books are bound "backe to backe" none of which seem to have survived, but
there are plenty of instances of the "white leather gilt," so often used.
"Purple velvet" was used to cover "ij Primers," which are now lost; but we
possess a splendid volume covered in this way with embroidery upon it, and
again he says he has bound books after the "Venecian fascion" and "Italian
fascion." Truly the Italian work of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth
centuries is extremely fine, and Berthelet may have seen some specimens of
it, and, admiring them, have endeavoured to imitate their peculiar and
beautiful gilded tooling.

To Berthelet must be conceded the honour of being the first English binder
to use gold stamped work on leather, and he does so with admirable effect.
Many of his bindings gilded on white leather, sometimes deer-skin,
sometimes vellum, are most charming; indeed, the taste for vellum has
never died out in England from Berthelet's time to the present day, when
we have William Morris's dainty volumes with their green ties. Berthelet's
books also generally had ties, but they are now all worn off.

A fine instance of this white leather and gold occurs on Sir Thomas
Elyot's _Image of Governance_, printed by Berthelet in 1541.

It bears the same design on each side. A panel, enclosed by an ornamental
fillet, contains a very graceful arrangement of curves forming a central
space in which are the words "Dieu et mon Droit"; and at each side of this
the royal initials contained in two semicircles left for them. At each of
the inner corners is a large set stamp, and the ground is dotted over with
small circles and the daisy--a badge used by the Tudors probably as a
compliment to their ancestress Margaret de Beaufort. On the edges are
painted in gold the words "REX IN ÆTERNUM VIVE."

Some of the same stamps are used on another book which is probably
Berthelet's work. It is a manuscript Latin commentary on the campaign of
the Emperor Charles V. against the French in 1544, addressed by Anthonius
de Musica to Henry VIII. It is bound in brown calf, and bears within a
broad outer fillet a panel containing in the centre the royal coat-of-arms
and initials enclosed in an inner rectangular panel; above and below this
are two rectangular cartouches, with titles of the king and various
initials which have not yet been interpreted. Flanking the long central
panel are medallions of Plato and Dido, favourite stamps afterwards with
English binders, but occurring here for the first time.

A design which was probably a favourite one of Berthelet's is found on a
copy of _Opus eximium de vera differentia Regiæ Potestatis et
Ecclesiasticæ_, printed by him in 1534 (Fig. 2). There is an instance of
the same binding in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The arms of the king,
with the supporters of the dragon and the greyhound, occupy the centre of
each board. This is enclosed in an oval ribbon bearing the words "Rex
Henricus VIII. Dieu et mon Droit," and the whole is surrounded by an
ornamental fillet with decorative corners. Above and below the shield are
crowned double roses and the initials K. H.

A collection of sixteenth-century tracts is covered with crimson satin,
and ornamented with an arabesque design outlined in gold cord. This is the
earliest English book remaining that is bound in satin, but no doubt many
more existed, as they are so often mentioned in accounts of the time. The
satin is always crimson, and, curiously enough, long afterwards under the
Stuarts the use of satin was revived, but of a white colour. This
collection of tracts was certainly enough bound for the king, as it has
the peculiarity of the motto painted on its edges in gold, "REX IN ÆTERNUM
VIVE NEEZ," which seems to have been a favourite form of decoration of
Berthelet's, so very likely this is one of his books.

Velvet, mentioned also by Berthelet, is used to cover a large Bible
printed at Zurich in 1543, but there does not appear very clearly any mark
by which it can be identified as his work. It is now of a tawny colour,
but was originally probably crimson, and on it is outlined an elaborate
design in gold cord. A broad outer border has an arabesque pattern
arranged diamond-wise, with large double roses at each corner. Within this
is a smaller rectangular border, enclosing a circle with the king's
initials bound together by a scroll, and above and below the circle a
repeating arabesque design. On the edges of this book are very elaborate
heraldic paintings.

A different kind of work altogether covers the splendid _Description de
toute la terre Sainte_, by Martin de Brion (Fig. 3), a beautiful
manuscript on vellum dedicated to Henry VIII., and full of illuminated
reference to him and his heraldic attributes.

It is bound in purple velvet and richly embroidered, and is the first of a
splendid series of embroidered books on velvet executed in England. The
design is simple, but it is carried out with such skill and taste that it
is altogether most effective. In the centre is the royal coat-of-arms, the
coats of France and England quarterly, as borne by our sovereigns from
Richard II. to Elizabeth, Edward III., who first used the French coat,
having originally borne it _semée de fleurs-de-lis_, but the number of
these having been reduced to three by Charles VI. of France, a
corresponding change was made in the English coat by his son-in-law

[Illustration: FIG. 2.--_Opus eximium de vera differentia Regiæ Potestatis
et Ecclesiasticæ. Londini, 1534. Henry VIII._]

The bearings on these coats are worked in gold thread on a couched
groundwork of silk of the proper colours. The coat is ensigned by a large
royal crown worked in gold thread, freely adorned with pearls on the
arches, the crosses, and the fleurs-de-lis, as also on the rim, which is
further ornamented with "jewels" of coloured silks. The blue Garter, with
its motto in gold, and the spaces between the words marked by small red
roses, surrounds the coat. The king's initial H.'s, originally worked in
seed pearls, but now only showing the threads, flank the central design,
and the corners are filled with raised Lancastrian roses of red silk,
appliqués, and finished with gold.

There is still another kind of binding used for one of the volumes in the
British Museum that was made for Henry VIII., and that is of gold. It is a
tiny copy of a metrical version of the penitential and other Psalms in
English by John Cheke, Clerk in Chancery, written on vellum early in the
sixteenth century (Plate II.) It has at the beginning a miniature portrait
of Henry VIII., and is bound in gold, worked in open-leaf tracery, with
remains of black enamel on many of the leaves and on the border
surrounding them. The panels of the back have each a small pattern cut
into the metal, and filled with a black enamel. At the top of each cover
is a small ring so that the volume could be attached to the girdle. It is
said to have been given by Queen Anne Boleyn when on the scaffold to one
of her maids of honour, and it now forms part of the Stowe Collection at
the British Museum.

A book curiously decorated and bound in calf for Henry VIII. is a Bible
printed at Antwerp in 1534, and in two volumes. These are large books
measuring 14-1/2 × 9 inches, and both of them have been restored at the
outer edges. The inner panel, rectangular with large corners, encloses on
each side sentences in French, above and below which are crowned double
roses and the initials H. A., probably standing for "Henry" and "Anna."
The sentence reads on one side, "AINSI QUE TOUS MEURENT PAR ADAM," and on
the other, "AUSSY TOUS SERONT VIVIFIES PAR CHRIST." The borders and
corners are very rich and decorative, and it is likely that the outer
ornamentation, although it is actually modern, has been carefully copied
from the original.

[Illustration: Penitential Psalms, etc., MS., sixteenth century. Gold
Binding. Henry VIII.]

[Illustration: Novum Testamentum Græce. Lutetiæ, 1550. Gold centres. Queen

A handsome binding in dark brown calf covers an "old royal" manuscript,
_Jul. Claud Iguini oratio ad Hen. VIII._, written probably about 1540. It
has blind and gold lines, and the design is an outer border with an
arabesque pattern stamped in gold, enclosing the royal coat-of-arms,
crowned, and enclosed within a Garter. Round this again are four Greek
words, "[Greek: PLIOS PANTAS ALIENÔN EXARKTON]," the meaning of which is
not clear. On the coat-of-arms it is notable that the three lions of
England are crowned. This peculiarity occurs sometimes in other books, but
I believe heraldically the lions should not be crowned, and this book is
the earliest instance I have met with in which they are so shown.

[Illustration: FIG. 3.--_Description of the Holy Land, in French. By
Martin Brion. MS. Henry VIII._]

_Galteri Deloeni Libellus de tribus Hierarchiis_, a manuscript dedicated
to Henry and probably bound by Thomas Berthelet, is one of his most
decorative bindings on a small book (Plate III.) The design is simple, a
rectangle and a diamond fillet interlaced, enclosing the royal
coat-of-arms crowned. In the two lower spaces below the shield are the
crucifixion and the serpent in the wilderness with their corresponding
texts, and the rest of the spaces are very fully filled with small stamps
of arabesques, double roses, single and double daisies, stars, and leaves.
The execution of the actual gilding is coarse, and the finish generally is
not as perfect as it might be, but the general effect is excellent.

One of the most interesting bindings of any that were made for Henry VIII.
is that which was, or is supposed to have been, worked for him by his
daughter Elizabeth. It is part of the old royal library in the British
Museum, and is written on vellum in the Princess's own most careful and
precise handwriting. It is a collection of prayers composed by Queen
Katharine Parr, and translated by Elizabeth into Latin, French, and
Italian, and dated "Hereford, December 20, 1545." The dedication is,
"Illustrissimo Henrico octavo, Anglie, Francie, Hiberniæq. regi, fidei
defensori." The volume is quite small, 5-3/4 inches by 4, and is covered
in red silk, with a gold thread in it, woven with a very large mesh, or
even possibly made by hand. In the centre of each board is a large
monogram worked in a thick cord of blue silk, through which runs a silver
thread. The monogram, like so many similar arrangements of letters, causes
much difference of opinion among the experts who endeavour to interpret
it. My solution is that it is composed of the letters "A. F. H. REX," the
meaning of which is "Anglie, Francie, Hiberniæque Rex," in accordance with
the words used by Elizabeth in her dedication, and the two H's, worked in
a thick red silk cord with a silver thread in it, which are above and
below the monogram, supply the needful name. I do not know that this
interpretation is by any one considered to be the right one, but it
appears to me at all events as plausible as any of the others I have
heard. At each corner is a heartsease of purple and gold and small green
leaves. This most curious and interesting binding is in many ways nearly
allied to that made for Queen Katharine Parr, which is now at the
Bodleian Library at Oxford, and which I shall presently describe. This
binding is also considered to be the work of the Princess Elizabeth, and I
think that the similarity in the peculiar groundwork, the identity of the
pansies in the corners, and the use of braid or very thick thread in each,
producing a maximum of effect with a minimum of labour, are all strong
reasons for believing that both volumes are the work of the same hand,
namely, that, of the Princess herself.

[Illustration: Deloenus. Libellus de tribus Hierarchiis, etc., MS. Henry

The Bodleian binding is in very fair condition, but the British Museum one
is, unfortunately, in a very dilapidated state. Luckily, however, it has
not been restored, so what is left can be safely examined and relied upon.

English royal bindings, of old date especially, now rarely come into the
open market, but in the latter part of last year a most interesting
specimen that belonged to Henry VIII. was purchased by the British Museum.
It is a manuscript on the science of geometry, written on paper and
dedicated to the king. It is bound in white leather, and has many signs
that it is the work of Thomas Berthelet. There is an outer border of blind
and gold lines, with solid arabesques at the outer corners, and stars in
the inner corners. The centre of each board bears a geometrical design of
triangles and lines filled in with stars and dots. In the upper part of
each board is a cartouche bearing the words "VIVAT REX," and at the lower
part a similar cartouche with the word "GEOMETRIA," followed by an
arabesque ornament. Written in gold on the white edges are the words "REX
IN ÆTERNUM VIVE NEEZ." There is no book of Berthelet's, except this one,
on which the decoration has any reference to the contents of the volume.
It is indeed probable that this is actually one of the first books in
which there has been any endeavour to make the outside decoration agree
with the subject-matter inside.

The word "Nez," or "Neez," which usually occurs after the "Rex in Æternum
Vive" so frequently painted on the edges of Henry VIII.'s books, has been
a puzzle for some time. Mr. E. L. Scott of the British Museum suggests
that it may stand for the first letters of the words "[Greek:
Nabouchodonosôr esaei zêthi]," as the king to whom the words are addressed
in the Book of Daniel is Nebuchadnezzar. This explanation I have already
given in _Bibliographica_, part viii.

In the sixteenth century in England a great many books were decorated in
what is called "blind," that is to say, without the use of gold-leaf, with
large panel-stamps. Two of these stamps bear the royal coat-of-arms, with
supporters ensigned with the crown. The larger of them has above the crown
a double rose and two angels bearing scrolls, and dependent from the
shield, by chains, are two portcullises. The smaller and inferior stamp
has, in the upper portion, representations of the sun and moon, with
usually the Cross of St. George and the arms of the City of London. The
first of these stamps may, I think, have been originally cut for the
king's own use; but the second is undoubtedly a trade stamp. The
signification of it probably is, that the binder who used it was a Freeman
of the City of London. I have given figures of these designs in the
_Queen_ of June 20, 1891, in illustration of a paper on early London
bookbindings. The stamp with the angels is often used in conjunction with
the stamps of Katharine of Arragon and Anne Boleyn, to be hereafter
described; and I mention it here because it is not at all uncommon, and is
very generally supposed to be actually royal, but, as far as I have been
able to ascertain, there is no instance of its use upon a book which is
known to have been so, and now it is generally considered to be only a
trade stamp. In judging stamps of this kind, it must not be forgotten that
they were cut in hard metal and only used on soft leather, so that they
would last a very long time indeed. Generally, some other evidence of the
ownership of the book should be adduced beyond a mere existence of a
single stamp.

For Katharine of Arragon a large panel-stamp was cut bearing her
coat-of-arms impaled with that of England, crowned, and having two angels
as supporters. An example of this occurs on a copy of _Whittington, De
octo partibus orationis_, London, 1521. On the other side of the book is
the large stamp of the king's arms already described. A similar stamp was
used with the substitution of the arms of Queen Anne Boleyn for those of
Queen Katharine. There is now no instance of the use of either of these
stamps on a royal book.

George Vertue, in his notes on the Fine Arts, says that small gold books
were given to Queen Anne Boleyn's maids of honour; and he describes one of
these little bindings which is, unfortunately, lost.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--_Le Chappellet de Ihesus, MS., sixteenth century.
Margaret Tudor._]

There is, however, one exquisite golden binding in existence which may be
something like the books mentioned, only this one is recorded as having
been given to the queen by one of the ladies of the Wyatt family. It is at
present the property of Lord Romney, who is himself a descendant of that
family, in whose possession it has always been since the sixteenth
century. It is a Book of Prayers, and measures 2-1/4 inches in length,
1-3/8 inch in breadth, and three-quarters of an inch in thickness. The
designs upon it are most delicate and beautiful arabesques, very nearly
resembling designs made by Hans Holbein for jewellery. These designs are
left in low relief, the groundwork being cut away to a slight degree and
filled with black enamel, so that the arabesques show in gold on a black
ground. The back is panelled and decorated in the same way, as also are
the clasps, of which there are two. There are rings at the two lower
edges, for the suspension of the book at the girdle. It resembles much the
little gold book described already as having belonged to Henry VIII.,
especially the back. It is figured and fully described in vol. xliv. of
_Archæologia_ at p. 260.

Another book which belonged to Anne Boleyn, and is said to have been with
her on the scaffold, is in the British Museum. It is a copy of the New
Testament in vellum, in English, printed at Antwerp in 1534 by Martin
Emperowre. It has, unfortunately, been rebound for Mr. Cracherode, but
still bears on its gilt and gauffred edges the words "_Anna Regina
Angliæ_" written in red.

Henry VIII. made a most unjust will, confirmed nevertheless by Parliament
and also acted up to by Edward VI., by virtue of which the succession to
the throne of England was settled upon the descendants of his younger
sister Mary, instead of those of his elder sister Margaret. The three
grand-daughters of the Princess Mary were the Ladies Jane, Katherine, and
Mary Grey. Lady Jane Grey, indeed, did come to the throne, as she was
crowned Queen of England on the death of Edward VI., but she enjoyed the
dignity but a short time, as nine days afterwards she was imprisoned in
the Tower, and on February 12, 1554, was beheaded, aged only seventeen
years. Her sisters both died prisoners. Edward VI., wishing to secure the
Protestant succession, had named Lady Jane Grey as his successor, but the
Roman Catholic influence was at the time strong enough to neutralise the
king's wishes, and the party of the Princess Mary prevailed for the
present, the succession eventually reverting to its proper channel, the
line of the Princess Margaret, who married James IV., King of Scotland.

One volume alone remains that bears upon its binding evidence of having
belonged to Margaret Tudor, and this is one of great beauty. It was
presented to the British Museum in 1864 by the Earl of Home, and is a
manuscript of prayers with miniatures of French work called _Le Chappellet
de Ihesus et de la Vierge Marie_ (Fig. 4). It belonged first to Anna, wife
of Ferdinand, King of the Romans in the sixteenth century. It is bound in
green velvet and has silver clasps and bosses, partly gilt. The clasps
have the letters "I.H.S." upon them, gilded, and the attachments of the
clasps to the volume have the letters ANNA on them, one letter on each,
gilded. These were evidently made for the first owner of the book. Then
when it became the property of Queen Margaret, she added her name,
MARGVERITE, on the sides in a very pretty manner, each letter, in silver,
forming the centre of a double or Tudor rose, gilded. The inner rose has
its petals smooth, and the outer one has its petals roughened, as are also
the little leaves between each petal.

[Illustration: FIG. 5.--_Il Petrarcha. Venetia, 1544. Queen Katharine

Henry VIII.'s younger sister Mary married first Louis XII. of France, and
afterwards Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, and there is one binding in
the British Museum, purchased in 1865, which belonged to her as Duchess of
Suffolk. It is an Herbal printed at Frankfort in 1535, and is bound in
dark calf, decorated with blind lines and gold stamped work. The broad
outer border has at first sight the appearance of a roll stamp, but it is
not actually so, the effect being produced by the successive impressions
of a long rectangular stamp having engraved upon it a pattern which, on
being repeated, gives the appearance of a continuous design. The design on
this stamp is original and simple, and has no "Italian" origin at all. The
inner panel has mitre-lines in blind at each of the angles, the points of
junction with the outer border being covered with a fleur-de-lis, and then
converging lines meet an inner rectangular line which encloses the royal
coat-of-arms of England, crowned, the two upper corner-spaces being
occupied by double roses, and the two lower by the portcullis badge and
chains, all impressed in gold. At the sides of the inner panel are the
initials "M. S.," presumably standing for "Mary Suffolk." The workmanship
of this curious volume is coarse and irregular, but there is a boldness
about it that is not without charm, and the design itself is well balanced
and effective.

Queen Katharine Parr has the reputation of having herself worked the cover
of a copy of Petrarch printed at Venice in 1544, and bound in purple
velvet (Fig. 5). It is embroidered in coloured silks and gold and silver
thread. The design is a large coat-of-arms, that of Katharine herself,
with many quarterings, the first being the coat of augmentation granted to
her by the king. The coat is surmounted by a royal crown, but the
supporters are those of the families of Fitzhugh and Parr; so the work was
probably done before Katharine was married to Lord Seymour, but after the
king's death. The work is somewhat faded, and the scroll-work in gold cord
at the corners is pulled out of place, no doubt the result of bad
re-covering, but altogether it is in excellent condition, and is a fine
specimen of royal workmanship. The Princess Elizabeth worked the cover of
_The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul_ for Queen Katharine. It is
said to have been worked when the Princess was only eleven years old, and
it is certainly possible as the workmanship is simple, indeed such as a
clever girl might easily do. It is braid work of gold and silver on a blue
silk ground. This ground is probably woven with a very large mesh, and is
similar to that used by the Princess on the little Book of Prayers she
worked for her father. The initials of the queen, "K. P.," occupy the
place of honour in the centre, and are enclosed in an elaborate interlaced
arrangement of lines and knots of braid, and in each corner, in high
relief, is a heartsease, Elizabeth's favourite flower. The volume is now
in the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

It is, moreover, an interesting proof of the learning of the Princess
Elizabeth, as she says it was translated by herself "out of Frenche ryme
into English prose, joyning the sentences together as well as the
capacitie of my symple witte and small lerning coulde extende themselves,"
and it is charmingly dedicated "To our most noble and vertuous quene
Katherin," to whom Elizabeth, "her humble daughter, wisheth perpetuall
felicitie and everlasting joye."



There are specimens of books bound for Edward VI. in the British Museum,
both before and after his accession to the throne. Most, if not all of
these, in leather, are probably the work of Thomas Berthelet, as they have
many points in common, and he continued the "King's printer servaunt," and
furnished him also with bindings.

The earliest of these is a manuscript by Petrus Olivarius, _In Trogum
Pompeium et in Epistolas familiares Ciceronis, Chorographica_, presented
by the author to Prince Edward in 1546, and it bears in the centre the
Prince of Wales' feathers within a flamed circle. A somewhat more
elaborate binding, with the royal coat-of-arms of England within a flamed
circle, occurs on another manuscript, a translation by William Thomas of a
book of travels, which is also dedicated to the king. A similar design to
this last book is found on the binding of _Xenophon, La Cyropédie_,
printed in Paris in 1547. It is covered in rich brown calf, and each panel
is ornamented with an interlacing fillet, coloured black, enclosing an
inner diamond, in the centre of which is the royal coat-of-arms, with "E.
R." and a double rose above and below. The spaces are filled with
arabesques, cornucopiæ, and small stars. The colouring of the fillets,
with black stain on calf, is a characteristic of Berthelet's work for
Edward VI. and Mary. This peculiarity does not occur, as far as I know, on
any of those he bound for Henry VIII., so it may be considered that the
black fillets, often interlaced in a masterly way, and frequently arranged
in semicircular forms, are evidence of the later work of this master of
his art. At the same time, many of the smaller stamps used on these later
volumes are found also on the earlier examples. But whereas in the
earlier style so-called "Italian" designs are used, it appears to me that
in his later and finer style Berthelet has given us a very noble series of
books decorated in an original and strikingly effective manner. The
contrast of the rich brown calf with the black of the fillets and the rich
gold of the stamped lines and designs is often beautiful. The finest
example of this style is to be found in the Museum copy of Cardinal
Bembo's _Historia Veneta_, printed at Venice in 1551. It is a large book
measuring 12 × 9 inches, and the single black fillet is most cleverly
interlaced with corners, circles, and semicircles, in such a manner as, in
fact, to form a triple border, in the centre of which is the royal
coat-of-arms, itself surrounded by a line of curves finished at the ends
with double roses and arabesques, and flanked at each side with the
crowned initials of the king. In a circle at the upper part of the board
is the motto "Dieu et mon droyt"; and in a corresponding circle at the
lower part is the date "MDLII." The spaces throughout are filled with
arabesques, cornucopiæ, double roses, and small stars. The back of the
book is curiously arranged so as to look like the front, so that it
appears to have no back at all.

_Gualteri Deloeni Commentarius in tres prima Capitula Geneseos_, etc., a
manuscript dedicated to Edward VI., is bound in a very delightful and
simple manner, and one which, for a small book, is nearly perfect in
taste. It is covered in rich brown calf, and ornamented with blind lines
and gold--a contrast which Berthelet uses, especially on small bindings.
The "blind" work in these cases appears to be purposely darkened, which
can easily be done by using the tools hot, or by the addition of a little
printer's ink. In the centre of this binding is the royal coat-of-arms
surmounted by a crowned double rose. This is flanked by two cornucopiæ; at
the sides of the shield itself are the king's initials, "E. R.," and under
each of them the daisy with stalk and leaves. The same cornucopia stamp is
used at each of the four inner corners, and each of the four outer corners
is ornamented with a conventional floral stamp.

King Edward VI. not only had his bindings stamped with his royal badges,
but the edges also sometimes came in for a share of attention, as on a
copy of _La Geografia di Claudio Ptolemeo_, printed at Venice in 1548. On
the front or fore-edge of the book is the royal coat-of-arms of England,
painted on a blue ground; on the upper edge is the coat-of-arms of France,
and on the lower the golden harp of Ireland. The side space on each of
these edges is filled up with a delicate arrangement of interlacing
strap-work in black, and further ornamented with fine gold scrolls and the
initials "E. S. R.," also in gold.

One of Edward's books, however, has actually the first instance in an
English book of a decorated "doublure," the name by which we understand
the inner side of the boards of a book.

Mr. Herbert Horne, in his most excellent work on the _Binding of Books_,
mentions, and gives a plate of, an instance of this kind of decoration
occurring on a copy of Petrarch, printed at Venice in 1532. It is an
arrangement of interlaced lines of silver with two figured stamps, and is
said to be the earliest European example. Edward VI.'s doublure (Fig. 6)
is not much later, as it was probably bound about 1547, and, like nearly
all doublures, it is in a wonderful state of preservation; in fact, it may
be said to be the only instance of a sixteenth-century painted book that
is at all in its original state, as the pigment used upon them is
extremely delicate, and chips off freely. The book, a small duodecimo, is
covered in crimson velvet, much worn, and is a collection of "certeine
prayers and godly meditacyons," printed at Malborow in 1538. The inner
side of each of the boards is covered with calf, and the design is
outlined in gold and filled in with colour. This colour is not quite like
oil-paint, but resembles closely the "enamel" colours which have of late
years been so well known. It has little penetrating quality, lying evenly
on the top of the leather, and dries with an even and polished surface.
The king's arms, crowned, occupy the centre of the board, the arms in the
correct heraldic colours and the crown of gold, silver, blue, and green.
The king's initials, stamped in gold, are on each side of the shield. A
rectangular border of green encloses the coat-of-arms, and at each of the
inner corners is a daisy in gold, and above and below the arms is a
semicircular projection from the green border, coloured blue.

[Illustration: FIG. 6.--_Prayers, etc. Malborow, 1538 (Doublure). Edward

There is yet another volume which for many years has been by the British
Museum authorities attributed to Edward VI., but Mr. W. Y. Fletcher, in
his splendid volume on the _English Bookbindings in the British Museum_,
considers it to be Elizabethan. There is no doubt that the volume in some
ways fits a description of one that was presented to that queen by the
University of Oxford at Woodstock in 1575, but I think the difference in
the dates of printing and presentation is a weak point in the argument.
The book was printed in 1544 at Zurich, and it certainly seems curious
that a book printed thirty-one years before should be offered as a present
to a reigning sovereign. So for the present I shall adhere to its former
description in the show-case in the King's Library, and describe it here
in its place as having been bound for Edward VI. It is covered in green
velvet, with a border parallel to the sides stamped in gold and bearing
VITÆ--APOC. 2" on one side, and on the other "FIDEM SERVAVI QVOD SVPEREST
REPOSITA EST MIHI CORONA JVSTITIÆ--2 TIM. 4." In the centre of each cover
is the royal coat-of-arms enclosed within a Garter, crowned, appliqué in
pieces of coloured silk and stamped in gold, beautifully designed and
beautifully executed, and the first instance of velvet or silk stamped in
gold that is known to me. On the gilt edges designs are stamped, or
"gauffred" as it is called, and painted. On the front edge the arms of the
University of Oxford. On the upper edge a crowned Tudor rose with the
initials E. R., and on the lower a portcullis with the same initials.
There are other instances where the similarity between the emblems and
initials of these two sovereigns, Edward VI. and Elizabeth, causes
considerable doubt as to which of them was actually the owner, and I think
that generally the date of the printing of such books must be considered
as some authority, although among the arguments for or against the
attribution of a binding to any particular owner, or author, it may be
said that the date of the printing of the book must generally be esteemed
at a small value.

A book which has some of the peculiarities of Berthelet's work upon it is
found in a copy of Bude's _Commentarii Linguæ Græcæ_, printed at Paris in
1548. It is covered in calf, and has a rectangular border running parallel
with the edges of the boards on each side. This border is coloured black,
but it has the uncommon addition of stamped arabesques in gold upon this
black. At the outer corners are arabesques in outline, and in the inner
corners double roses stamped in gold. In the centre a framework of two
interlaced squares, stained black, enclose the royal coat-of-arms and

The same workman who executed this binding also made one for Queen Mary,
which I shall describe further on.

At Windsor there is a fine little binding on a copy of _Strena Galteri
Deloeni: ex capite Geneseos quarto deprompta_, etc. It is bound in white
leather, and ornamented with the royal coat-of-arms in the centre, flanked
by the letters "E. R.," and surrounded by a scattered arrangement of
double roses, daisies, cornucopiæ, and stars, all enclosed in a small
decorated border. It is probably by Berthelet, and is in excellent
condition. In the British Museum there are instances of bindings in white
leather made for Henry VIII. and for Mary, but there is no instance of one
made for Edward VI., so that this Windsor binding is of considerable
interest apart from its beauty.

A copy of Herodotus' and Thucydides' works, bound together in one cover,
belonged most likely to Edward VI. It is part of the old royal library,
and is bound in brown calf, with a broad outer border of Italian character
enclosing the royal coat-of-arms, crowned, within a flamed circle. The
flamed circle first occurs, as may have been noted, on the volumes bound
for Edward when Prince of Wales, and it is afterwards used on several of
his later volumes, and also on many that were bound for Queen Mary. What
the meaning of this flamed circle is I have not been able to conjecture,
it may possibly only be intended for ornament. Berthelet, doubtless, liked
to use circles or parts of circles on his bindings, and in this taste he
was following the lead of much more ancient English binders, as the circle
is characteristic of the splendid blind stamped English work of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries.

Thomas Berthelet died, according to an entry in the Stationers' Company
Register, in 1556. So that it is just possible he bound books for Queen
Mary. But I think that Berthelet was quickly copied, and it is very easy
to copy the style or even the actual stamps of any binder; and if the
binding of Cardinal Bembo's _History of Venice_ be taken as a test example
of Berthelet's best work, which I think it fairly may be, it will be seen
that although Mary's bindings have some points of resemblance there are
also many wide differences. Berthelet avowedly acknowledged the beauty of
Italian originals, but I do not find that he actually copied any one of
them, and he, moreover, very soon left them behind. There is a certain
recrudescence of this Italian manner distinctly apparent in many of the
books bound for Queen Mary, and I imagine this to be the work, not of
Berthelet himself, but of one of his imitators or successors, or perhaps
one of his own workmen.

A good example of this Italian-English style is found on the binding of
the _Epitome omnium operum Divi Aurelii Augusti_, etc., printed at Cologne
in 1549. A very handsome broad border containing an elaborate arabesque is
parallel to the edges of the boards. This encloses an inner black fillet
interlaced with a diamond, in the middle of which is the royal
coat-of-arms within a flamed circle, and at each side, in the angles
formed by the intersection of the diamond points and the inner rectangular
lines, are the initials M. R. The spaces throughout are filled in with
arabesques, single roses, and circles.

A very similar design occurs on the binding of a manuscript poem by Myles
Haggard, addressed to the queen, and another on a copy of Bonner's
_Profitable Doctrine_, printed in London in 1555.

Entirely different in manner of decoration is the binding of the
_Commentary on the New Testament_, in Latin, by Aurelius Augustinus,
printed at Basle in 1542, and which came to the British Museum as part of
the old royal library. It is covered in white leather, and ornamented with
gold tooling of a very elaborate kind. A broad inner rectangular panel,
broken outwards at each side, contains a diamond, and the spaces in and
about these leading lines are filled with arabesques, royal arms, and
royal emblems, roses, fleurs-de-lis, and portcullises. Although the
general design of the original decoration of this book has doubtless been
preserved, it has been grievously tampered with, and no reliance can be
put on any of the small detail work now existing upon it--a most unlucky
circumstance, as it is unlike any other royal book in the general
arrangement of its ornamentation, and so of special interest.

So again different, but in a much less important manner, is the little
calf binding of a _Livre faisant mention de sept parolles que N. S.
Jesuchrist dit en l'arbre de la croix_, printed at Paris in 1545, and
bound for Queen Mary. It is decorated with blind and gold lines, and
dotted all about in the most reckless manner with M's and I's, meaning
doubtless Mary the First. In the centre of each cover there is a knot, the
same knot exactly as is used in the sculptures on our Houses of Parliament
to tie together the initials V. R. of our present Most Gracious Queen, and
surrounding the knot are four M's. The I's are down the edge of the boards
nearest to the back. The little book is of great interest, as it never
could have been in any way a State copy, but was most likely a favourite
book of the queen's, and so decorated with her initials only--leaving
heraldry for once out of the scheme.

The most splendid of the books that Queen Mary has left for us to admire
is a manuscript of Psalms and Hymns in Latin and French of very beautiful
workmanship, known as Queen Mary's Psalter. It came to the British Museum
with the old royal library. It is bound in crimson velvet and has gilt
clasps and corners, and on each side a large piece of embroidery appliqué.
This embroidery is much worn; it is on canvas, and some of it is actually
gone, but it seems to have been a conventional pomegranate, and this is
all the more likely as such a design would have been a probable one for
Queen Mary to use, as she had an excuse to do so by virtue of her mother's
right to the emblem of Arragon. The clasps are engraved with the dragon,
lion, portcullis, and fleur-de-lis, and in spite of the damage done to the
volume by time and wear, it is still a splendid specimen of magnificent
binding. By an inscription at the end of the volume we are informed that
it was rescued from the hands of some seamen who were preparing to carry
it abroad by "Baldwin Smith," who presented it to Queen Mary in 1553.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--_Queen Mary's Psalter, MS._]

A book of hours in illuminated manuscript is beautifully bound for Queen
Mary, and is finished in an unusually delicate manner. It is in calf, and
has blind and gold lines. An outer border has stamps within it at
intervals, in a similar style to one already described as having belonged
to Edward VI. In the centre of the book is a delicate stamp of the royal
coat-of-arms with the letters M. R.

At Stonyhurst College is preserved Queen Mary's own _Horæ in laudeum
Beatissimæ Virginis Marie_, Lugduni, 1558. It is covered in figured red
velvet projecting over the boards at the lower edges, and with small
tassels at each corner. On the lower cover is the crowned coat-of-arms in
silver, enamelled in the proper colours. Single ornamental letters
R.E.G.I.N.A. are arranged in couples in three lines round it. On the upper
board are the letters M.A.R.I.A., also in silver. The first two at the two
top corners, the R crowned in the middle, and the two last letters in the
two lower corners. The R in the centre is flanked by a double rose and the
pomegranate of Arragon, both in silver. There are two silver clasps of
ornamental pattern. It was shown at the Burlington Fine Arts Club
Exhibition on Bookbindings in 1891, and there is a fine plate of it in
their Illustrated Catalogue.

The bindings of Edward VI. and Mary, having as a chief ornament the
English coat-of-arms, nevertheless bear with them no supporters. Henry
VII. and Henry VIII., until 1528, used the same supporters, the dragon on
the dexter side and the white greyhound on the sinister; and when Henry
VIII. made a change and adopted the crowned lion as one of his supporters,
he omitted the greyhound and changed the side of the dragon, so that his
successors bore as their supporters a lion crowned on the dexter side and
the red dragon on the sinister, and so they occur on several Elizabethan

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--_Prayers, etc. London, 1574-1591. Queen

The bindings executed for Queen Elizabeth may be conveniently divided into
three classes--those bound in, or ornamented with, gold; those bound in
velvet or embroidered; and those bound in leather. In this order I shall
describe them. The gold, as far as I know it, is always enamelled, the
velvet is generally embroidered, and the leather is frequently inlaid with
other and differently coloured leathers. The peculiarity of sunken panels,
borrowed apparently through the early Italian bindings from Oriental
originals, is a remarkable speciality of Elizabethan work; as is also the
first use of large corner-stamps to any extent. There certainly are
instances of corner-stamps on Henry VIII. bindings, but they are rare;
whereas with Elizabeth and her immediate successors the use of such stamps
is very usual. The finest, as well as the most interesting, of the golden
books made for Elizabeth is one containing prayers and devotional pieces
by Lady Elizabeth Tyrwhitt, printed for Chris Barker, London, 1574. It
also contains the queen's prayers, a collection out of other works, and
part of an Almanack for 1583-91 (Fig. 8). In 1790 it belonged to the Rev.
Mr. Ashley, and it was presented to the British Museum in 1894 by Sir
Wollaston Franks. It measures 2-1/4 inches by 1-3/4. On each side is a
sunken panel, round which is a flat border containing texts from
Scripture, engraved and run in with black enamel. The upper cover of the
book has a representation in gold of the serpent in the wilderness and the
stricken Israelites. The serpent on the tree and others on the ground, and
the figures of the people, are all carved in very high relief, and
enamelled in colours; the flesh being represented by white. The serpents
are in blue. Round this design are the words "MAKE · THE · AFYRYE ·
MAYELOKE · VPONIT · AN · LYVE+." On the lower cover a similar panel
contains a representation of the judgment of Solomon, worked in a similar
way. Round this runs the legend, "THEN · THE · KYNG · ANSVERED · AN · SAYD
THEMOTHER · THEROF--1 K. 3 C+." The back is divided into four panels, each
of which has a delicate and graceful arabesque engraved and run in with
black enamel, as also have the two clasps. There are two rings at the top,
in order that the book might be worn at the girdle. There is no real
record as to who worked this enamel, but it is credited to George Heriot,
afterwards goldsmith and banker to James I., and founder of the George
Heriot Hospital at Edinburgh. It is in very good condition, and but little
of the enamel has chipped off. It is now preserved in the Gold Room at the
British Museum. It is the only one of Elizabeth's golden books that is
worked in high relief, and such work is undoubtedly of the greatest

For actual beauty of workmanship, it would be difficult to find any
specimen of finer execution than that which occurs on the binding of a
little volume of Christian meditations in Latin printed in 1570, and bound
in rose-coloured velvet, with clasps, centre-pieces, and corners all
bearing delicate champlevé enamel-work on gold (Fig. 9). The book is quite
a small one, measuring 5 × 3-1/4 inches, and the workmanship on the gold
is of corresponding delicacy. In the centre of each cover a thin diamond
of gold is fixed, the outline being broken in each case by a series of
small decorative curves. Each diamond is further ornamented with the Tudor
rose, ensigned with the royal crown, and flanked by the initials E. R. The
rose is red with small green leaves, the cup of the crown is blue, and the
initials are in black enamel. The whole of the vandyked edge of the
diamond is bordered with a thin line of blue enamel, and the remaining
spaces are filled up with small floral sprays having green leaves and red
and blue flowers. The corner-pieces are ornamented in a similar way with
set patterns of arabesques and flowers in red, blue, green, and yellow
enamels, as also are the clasps. These enamels are all what is called
translucent, and many of the colours are remarkable for their brilliancy
and beauty, as well as for the skill with which they are used. The
engraving of the gold plate, which is filled by these enamels, is also of
remarkable beauty. George Heriot again is credited with this work, with
perhaps some show of probability.

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--_Christian Meditations, in Latin, 1570. Queen

One more book in the British Museum has champlevé enamels upon it,
evidently by the same workman. It is a New Testament in Greek printed at
Paris in 1550. It is now bound in green velvet,--but this probably was the
original material in which it was covered,--and in the centre of each of
the boards is a diamond-shaped panel of gold, 2-3/4 inches in length and
2-1/4 in breadth (Plate II.) Judging from the analogy of the smaller book
just described, there probably were originally corners and clasps to this
book, but they are now gone. Each of the diamonds has originally borne
rich-coloured enamels, but by far the greater part of this has chipped
off, only small pieces remaining here and there in corners. On the upper
cover the diamond contains the royal coat-of-arms of England, surrounded
with floral sprays, roses, and flies. The diamond on the lower cover of
the book has a red rose, crowned, contained in a circular border, the
spaces within and without the circle being filled with similar sprays to
those upon the other side. Among them are acorns and flies again. The
delicate engraving on the gold of both these diamonds can be very well
studied, as the marks of the engraving are easily apparent.

Paul Heutzner visited England in 1598, and examined the royal library at
Whitehall. In his _Itinerarium_ he says: "The books were all bound in
velvet of different colours, chiefly red, with clasps of gold and silver,
some having pearls and precious stones set in their bindings." It is
rather curious he should have mentioned red, because, although there are
many books in velvet that were bound for Queen Elizabeth, the only one I
know of in red is the little volume described above, all the rest being in
green, black, or purple. Dibdin, in his _Bibliomania_, says that Princess
Elizabeth, when she was a prisoner at Woodstock in 1555, worked a cover of
a little book which is now in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. It now
contains a small copy of the Epistles of St. Paul printed by Barker in
1578, so that, if Dibdin is right in saying that Elizabeth worked it when
she was at Woodstock, it cannot have been worked for the book it now
covers. Certainly, the embroidered portion has been at some time or other
relaid in its present position, and considerable damage has resulted from
the operation. Inside is a note in Elizabeth's handwriting, in which she
says: "I walke manie times into the pleasant fieldes of the Holye
Scriptures, where I plucke up the goodlie green herbes of sentences by
pruning, eate them by reading, chawe them by musing, and laie them up at
length in the hie seat of memorie by gathering them together, so that
having tasted thy swetenes, I may the less perceave the bitterness of this
miserable life." The material is, or was, black velvet, but the pile is
entirely gone, except in a few protected corners. The design is outlined
in silver cord, and the raised portions are worked with silver guimp. An
outer border, with lettering, encloses in each case a central design. The
motto on the border of the upper cover reads, "CELUM PATRIA SCOPUS VITÆ X
P V S. CHRISTUS VIA, CHRISTO VIVE." That round the lower cover, "BEATUS
on the upper cover, is a ribbon arranged in a long oval bearing the words
"ELEVA COR SURSUM IBI UBI E. C. (_i.e._ est Christus)." The E and the C
are in larger type, and between them is a heart in raised work, through
which passes a stem, the lower end of which has two small leaves and the
top a flower. On the lower cover a similar ribbon bears the words "VICIT
OMNIA PERTINAX VIRTUS E. C." These two last letters, Dibdin says, means
"Elizabetha Captiva," in support of his theory that it was worked by her
at Woodstock. In the centre of the oval on this lower cover is an
eight-petalled flower with stem and two leaves. The record of this book is
remarkably clear. But, besides this, there is little doubt, judging it by
other work of Queen Elizabeth, that it was executed and probably designed
by herself. All the books credited to her with any show of probability are
worked in braid or thick cord, and the designs on each are of a simple

The most decorative of all the embroidered books worked for Queen
Elizabeth is now, unfortunately, in the worst condition of any of them. It
is a copy of Bishop Christopherson's _Historia Ecclesiastica_, Louvanii,
1569, divided into three volumes, each measuring about 6 inches by 3-1/2.
It is covered in green velvet, and each side is ornamented in the same
way. In the centre a long oval shield, appliqué, in silks of the proper
colour. The bearings, worked in gold thread, are enclosed in an oval of
pink satin studded with a row of small pearls. Surrounding this is a
decorative Elizabethan border worked in gold thread and pearls. The rest
of the board is closely covered with a rich design of arabesques and roses
in gold cord and guimp, the roses being "Tudor," with red silk centres and
pearl outer petals, and "York," worked entirely with small seed pearls.
The narrow outer border, formed by an interlacing ribbon outlined in gold
cord, has an inner row of seed pearls along its entire length; and many of
the spaces all over the side of the book have small single seed pearls in
them. The back is divided into five panels, bearing alternately white and
Tudor roses of the same kind of work as those on the sides of the book,
only on a larger scale. There have also been many supplementary pearls on
the back of the book. A large majority of the pearls are unfortunately now
missing, as is also a great part of the gold cord, so that the above
description is in fact a restoration. But every pearl and every piece of
cord that is wanting has left a distinct impression on the velvet.

One of the most celebrated of all embroidered books done in England was
executed for Queen Elizabeth. It is a large book measuring 10 inches by 7,
and is an account by Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury, _De
antiqvitate Britannicæ Ecclesiæ_, etc. It was privately printed by John
Day at Lambeth Palace in 1572 for the Archbishop, being the first book of
the kind issued in England. It is supposed to have been a presentation
copy to the queen. It is covered in deep green velvet. On both covers the
outer border is worked in gold, in a pattern resembling a wooden park
paling, and it is probable that each side is meant to represent a park,
thereby indicating the author's name of Parker. Within this paling on the
upper cover is a design of a large rose-tree with Tudor roses, and Yorkist
and Lancastrian roses, all growing upon it. Besides these flowers there
are heartsease, daisies, carnations, and others whose species is difficult
to determine. In the four corners of the "park" are four deer, their eyes
being indicated with little black beads, some gambolling, some feeding,
and on the groundwork are many grass-tufts of gold thread. The central
design on the under cover is not by any means so fine. It has several
plants scattered about it. There are two snakes brilliantly worked in gold
and silver cord and coloured silks, and five deer like those on the other
side. Originally there were red silk ribbons to tie the book together
at the front edges, but there is only a trace of them now left. The back
is divided into five panels, bearing alternately white and Tudor roses,
with leaves, stems, and buds. It is said that Archbishop Parker kept in
his own house "painters ... writers, and bookbinders," so it is very
likely that this book was bound under his own eyes. It is said that only
twenty copies of it were printed, and that no two were alike. It contains
the biographies of sixty-nine Archbishops, but not Parker's own. This
omission was afterwards supplied by the publication of a little satirical
tract, in 1574, entitled _Histriola, a little Storye of the Actes and Life
of Matthew, now Archbishop of Canterbury_. The two title-pages and the
leaf with the Archbishops' coats-of-arms are vellum, and the woodcuts,
borders, and arms throughout the volume are emblazoned in gold and
colours. It is now part of the old royal collection in the British Museum.

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--_Parker. De antiqvitate Britannicæ Ecclesiæ.
London, 1572. Queen Elizabeth._]

A small copy of the New Testament in Greek, printed at Leyden in 1576, is
covered in white ribbed silk, and embroidered in gold, for Queen
Elizabeth. Each board has the same pattern upon it; in the centre the
royal arms of England, ensigned with the crown, and surrounded by the
Garter, in both of which are inserted several seed pearls. This is
surrounded by an irregular border of thick gold cord, interlaced, in which
are leafy sprays of single and double roses. The arrangement of this
border is admirably designed. The colours of the arms, the Garter, and the
red roses are painted, probably in water-colours, on the silk itself--the
earliest specimen of such work that is known to me. From the delicacy of
the material on which the embroidery is done, and the high projection of
many of the threads, the book has evidently got into very bad condition at
a remote period; and it has been entrusted to some one to repair, who has
removed all the original binding and re-inlaid it on new boards, the
result being that he has increased the damage already existing.

A little book, _Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio, per Lambertum Danaeum_,
printed at Geneva in 1583, is covered in black velvet, and ornamented with
a very effective design, worked with broad gold cord (Fig. 11). An outer
arabesque border, having also flowers of silver guimp, encloses an inner
panel which has two white roses in the centre, and a red rose in each of
the inner corners. Each of these roses has a little green leaf at the
junction of the petals, and they are apparently outlined with silver
thread. It is, however, often difficult with old books to say for certain
whether a thread has been gold or silver, as the gold cord has a tendency
to wear white, and the silver cord often turns yellow. The contrast of
colour on this little book is very charming even now, and it must have
been particularly beautiful when it was first done. It has the remains of
ties at the front edges of red silk and gold cord.

There is another embroidered book belonging to the old royal collection in
the British Museum that seems to have been bound for Queen Elizabeth. It
is a copy of _The Common Places of Dr. Peter Martyr_, translated by
Anthonie Marten, printed in London in 1583, and dedicated to the queen. It
is covered in blue purple velvet, and ornamented with silver wire and
guimp. There is an outer border formed of double lines, made easily and
effectively by means of a spiral wire flattened down, giving the
appearance of small overlaid rings. This border encloses a series of
clusters, formed with stitches of silver guimp, arranged in a basket-work
pattern. In the centre is an ornament of diamond shape, outlined with the
same silver-wire edge and enclosing again the basket-work design, and the
four inner corners are filled up with quarter circles of the same work.
The book has been rebacked, and it is not in very good condition; but the
effect of the silver on the deep purple ground still has a very admirable
effect. The broad gilt edges are very handsomely and elaborately decorated
with gauffred work of Elizabethan character.

A Bible, printed in London in 1583, was embroidered and bound for Queen
Elizabeth, and presented to her in 1584, and is now in the Bodleian
Library at Oxford. It is a folio book, measuring almost 17 × 12 inches,
and is bound in crimson velvet. Upon each board is a very graceful design
of rose-branches, intertwined. There are four large roses and two smaller
ones, all embroidered in silver and gold braid and coloured threads, with
here and there a few small pearls. A narrow border runs round the edge,
embroidered in gold thread and coloured silk.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--_Orationis Dominicæ Explicatio, per L. Danaeum.
Genevae, 1583. Queen Elizabeth._]

A remarkable binding on calf, executed for Queen Elizabeth, is on a large
Bible printed at Lyons, measuring 16-1/2 inches by 11, each board being
double (Fig. 12). The upper board is pierced in several places, showing
underneath it a lower level covered with green calf, and decorated with
small stars and arabesques. The upper boards on both sides of the book are
elaborately stamped in gold and painted in enamel colours, and in each
case an oval, painted panel occupies the centre. The upper cover of the
book has in the central oval a charming sunk miniature portrait of
Elizabeth as a young woman, dressed in jewelled robes and head-dress, and
carrying a sword or sceptre. The portrait is enclosed in a very delicately
painted frame of jewelled goldsmith's work. This painting is unfortunately
damaged, especially in the face, and it seems to be executed in opaque
water-colours, varnished, on vellum. Immediately round the miniature, on
the leather, is a very elaborately painted and gilded oval ribbon with the
words "ELIZABETH DEI GRATIA ANG. FRAN. HIB. REGINA." The broad, irregular,
oval border itself has a design of interlacing fillets and floral emblems
of considerable beauty, winged horses and Cupids, all picked out in
colours. This very large stamp, measuring 9 inches in length, which is now
and then found on books other than royal, is the largest English stamp
known to me. There are cartouches left in the upper leather above and
below this central arrangement, and they are of a similar ornamentation
and colour, as are also the very handsome corners. The other side of the
book is similarly decorated, with the differences that the centre
painting, by the same hand, is the royal coat-of-arms of England in an
egg-shaped, oval form, surrounded by the Garter, within an Elizabethan
scroll. Over the crown is a canopy of green and red, and the supporters of
the lion and red dragon are in their proper places. Underneath the coat is
the motto "DIEU ET MON DROIT" on an ornamental panel, and the legend
lettered on the leather immediately surrounding the painting reads "POSUI
DEUM ADIVTOREM MEUM." On the lower cartouche on this side is the date of
the binding, "MDLXVIII." This binding, when new, must have been one of the
finest and most elaborately decorated of any of the leather bindings made
for an English sovereign. The back of the volume, nearly 5 inches in
width, is also very finely ornamented with an Elizabethan pattern outlined
in gold and coloured in keeping with the rest of the ornamental work. Its
present condition is unfortunate. The restorations, which have been
largely added, have, however, the merit of being at once apparent, as
little or no trouble has been in this case taken to reproduce the old
stamps. The gilt edges are beautifully gauffred, and are picked out here
and there with colour. The design is a complicated arabesque with masks,
and on the lower edge a curious design of an animal resembling a unicorn.

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--_La Saincte Bible. Lyon, 1566. Queen Elizabeth._]

One more beautiful book in the old royal collection that belonged to
Elizabeth has double boards. The outer edges on this instance are
interesting, as there is, in fact, an elongated head-band running along
their entire length and joining the edges of the two boards. It is covered
in very dark morocco, and decorated in blind and gold stamped work. In the
centre of each cover is a sunk oval medallion, on which is painted the
royal coat-of-arms of England, surrounded by the Garter; the two
supporters holding up the crown in their paws. Flanking the crown are the
letters E. R. The motto "DIEU ET MON DROIT" is on a red panel with a blue
border at the lower portion of the oval, and the groundwork of the whole
is silver. The medallion is enclosed in a richly designed broad border of
strap-work, enriched with dots and arabesques, all in gold. Towards the
upper and lower corners are four silver double roses with gold crowns. In
each corner is a quarter circle of vellum, pierced and richly gilded in a
pattern of strap-work and floral sprays. All the foregoing is enclosed in
a border of blind work, and an outer edging ornamented with a succession
of small set stamps. There are traces of green ribbons, both on the front
edges of the book and at the upper and lower edges. It is a copy of _Les
Qvatre Premiers Livres des Navigations et Peregrinations Orientales de N.
De Nicolay_, printed at Lyons in 1568, and probably bound at the same
time. The book is especially remarkable for its vellum corners, which are
actually inlaid; that is to say, a corresponding piece of morocco is cut
out and replaced by the vellum. This process, which, of course, adds
immensely to the power of a binder in decorating the outside of a book, is
one which, so far as I am aware, does not occur before on any English
binding. It is a fashion that was much followed in the next century both
by French and English binders. In the great majority of instances,
however, the added leather is not actually inlaid, but only scraped or cut
very thin, and superimposed. The remarkable manner in which the two last
books described are made up with double boards is worthy of special
notice, and has not, I think, ever been used since on any sumptuous
binding. The fashion is one, nevertheless, which was much used with great
effect on fine Italian bindings made towards the end of the fifteenth
century, and there are two books of this kind that belonged to Elizabeth,
and were bound for her in Italy after the "Italian fashion," now in the
British Museum. Vellum inlays for Queen Elizabeth occur in their finest
form on a presentation copy from Matthew Parker, Archbishop of Canterbury,
of _Hores Historiarvm, per Matthævm Westmonasteriensem Collecti_, etc.,
printed in London in 1570. It is probable that this volume was bound in
Archbishop Parker's own house. It is covered in calf, and the centre,
border, angles, and side-pieces are inlaid in white vellum, and richly
stamped in gold. The actual centre of the boards has the royal
coat-of-arms of England, with crown and Garter stamped in gold, enclosed
in a vellum oval of strap-work and arabesques, with the letters E. R. at
the sides. The inner parallelogram has large corners stamped in gold, and
is edged with a black fillet, the entire field on the calf being decorated
with a semée of triple dots. The book has two gilded clasps, and the edges
of the leaves are gilt, gauffred, and painted. A small panel on each of
the angle-pieces, which are otherwise ornamented with designs of military
trophies, drums, trumpets, shields, swords, and cuirasses, bears the
initials "J. D. P." These letters are supposed to mean John Day, Printer.
John Day printed books at Lambeth for Archbishop Parker; and these
corner-pieces do occur on books printed by him and bound in a very similar
way to the volume now described, so there is some show of probability in
the interpretation. A field covered with a succession of impressions from
the same stamp has no name in English, but in France it is known as a
"semée," its use having come into fashion in that country a little earlier
than the date of this book.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--_Gospels in Anglo-Saxon and English. London,
1571. Queen Elizabeth._]

A smaller example, with centre-piece and angle inlays only, in all other
ways exactly resembling the book just described, was printed in London,
1571 (Fig. 13). It is a copy of the Gospels printed by John Day, and is
the dedication copy, as is stated in a MS. note on the
title-page--"Presented to the Queen's own hands by Mr. Fox."

A copy, printed in London in 1575, of Grant's _Græcæ Linguæ Spicilegium_
is covered in brown calf, and was bound for the queen. It has large
corners stamped in gold from set stamps. In the centre it bears a fine
stamp of the royal coat-of-arms, crowned, and surrounded by the Garter,
and decorated with Elizabethan scrolls. The remainder of the groundwork is
covered with a semée of small roses. Among the old royal manuscripts is a
curious book, _Scholarum Etonensis ovatio de adventu Reginæ Elizabethæ_,
1563, covered in white vellum and stamped in gold. It bears in the centre
the royal coat-of-arms enclosed in an oval ornamented border, and has
large corner-pieces impressed from a set stamp, the field having a semée
of small stars. The work upon this binding is of a curiously unfinished
character, and it is probably the work of some unskilled local workman.
The gilt edges are gauffred in a floral design, with some white colour
here and there.

Anne Boleyn bore, as one of her many devices, a very decorative one of a
crowned falcon holding a sceptre, standing on a pedestal, out of which is
growing a rose-bush bearing white and red blossoms (Fig. 14). This badge
occurs first in an illuminated initial letter to her patent of the
Marquisate of Pembroke, and at her coronation, in a pageant at Whitehall,
an image of the falcon played a prominent part. The origin of it is not
very clear, but it may have been derived from the crest of Ormond, a white
falcon, which is placed under the head of the Earl of Wiltshire, Queen
Anne's father, on his tomb. It was in turn adopted by Queen Elizabeth, and
was exhibited on the occasion of her visit to Norwich, in 1578, as her own
badge; and it occurs also on the iron railing on her tomb in Henry VII.'s
chapel. The queen bore it on several of her simpler bindings impressed in
the centre of each board, with usually a small acorn spray at each corner.
There are several books ornamented like this in the library of Westminster
Abbey, and there are examples at Windsor. The British Museum possesses
few, the best example being a copy of Justinus' _Trogi Pompeii Historiarum
Philippicarum epitoma_, etc., printed at Paris in 1581. It originally had
two ties at the front edge. At Windsor a few bindings of Elizabeth's are
still preserved; among them, a copy of Paynell's _Conspiracie of Catiline_
is bound in white leather, and bears the royal arms within a decorative
border. It has large corners impressed by a set stamp, and has a semée of
small flowers. A copy of Spenser's _Faerie Queene_, printed in London in
1590, also in the Windsor Library, bears in the centre a crowned double
rose, in the centre of which is a portcullis, and E. B. at each side of
it. The crowned rose was a favourite design with Elizabethan bookbinders;
but unless there be corroborative evidence of royal possession, I do not
think that the existence of this stamp is of itself a sufficient proof of
such exalted ownership.

Mr. Andrew Tuer, in his admirable _History of the Horn-Book_, gives a
figure of one which was exhibited in the Tudor Exhibition in 1890, where
it was described as the _Horn-Book of Queen Elizabeth_. It is said to have
been given by the queen to Lord Chancellor Egerton of Tatton, and it has
been preserved in his family ever since. The letterpress is covered with a
sheet of talc, and the back and handle are ornamented with graceful silver
filigree work, that on the back being underlaid with red silk. Mr. Tuer
thinks that the type used on this _Horn-Book_ resembles some used by John
Day, the printer already mentioned; and if so, it is not altogether
unlikely that Archbishop Parker himself may have presented this beautiful
toy to the queen, as well as the more serious works in velvet and inlaid

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--_Centre stamp from Trogi Pompeii Historiarum
Philippicarum epitoma. Parisiis, 1581._]

Although Mary Queen of Scots was not directly one of the sovereigns of
England, yet she is so intimately connected with them, both by her
ancestry, her own history, and her descendants, that the few bindings
remaining that belonged to her may well be included among these I am now
describing. The bindings that were done for her when she was Dauphiness,
or Queen, of France, are, like the Scottish ones, of great rarity. These
French bindings are always bound in black, and very often have black
edges; and the only two bindings known to me that belonged to her when
Queen of Scotland are in such dark calf that it is almost black also. The
first and finest of these volumes is a copy of the _Black Acts_, printed
at Edinburgh, 1576. It is called _Black Acts_ from the character of the
type, and is a collection of the Acts and Constitutions of Scotland in
force during the reigns of the Jameses and Mary herself. The outer border
on each side of the book is impressed in gold, and consists of a broad
arabesque design. Within this border is a representation of the full
coat-of-arms of Scotland--a lion rampant, within a tressure flory
counter-flory. The tressure should be double, but in this instance it is
single. The lion and the tressure are coloured red. Dependent from the
shield is the collar and badge of the Order of St. Andrew. A royal helmet,
crowned, is placed above the shield, and has a handsome mantling, coloured
yellow. On the crown is the crest of Scotland--a crowned lion sejant,
holding in one paw a sceptre and in the other a sword. The lion is
coloured red. The ancient supporters of Scotland, two white unicorns, are
at each side of the shield; each bears a collar shaped like a coronet,
with a long chain. Two standards are supported behind the shield; one
bears the coat-of-arms of Scotland, and the other St. Andrew's Cross, both
being in their proper colours. Across the top of these standards is a
white scroll bearing the words "IN DEFENSE," and on similar scrolls just
above the heads of the unicorns are the words "MARIA REGINA." There are a
few thistles in outline scattered about. The workmanship of this piece of
decoration is unlike that on any other book I know. It is what is called
all "made up" by a series of impressions from small stamps, curves, and
lines, and in places it seems to be done by hand by means of some sort of
style drawn along on the leather, the mark being afterwards gilded. The
appearance, indeed, is that of a drawing in gold-outline on the leather.
The colour, which is freely used, is some sort of enamel, most of which
has now chipped off, but enough of it is left to show what it has been
originally. The book came to the Museum by gift from George IV. The edges
are gauffred, with a little colour upon them.

The other book that belonged to Mary Queen of Scots was, in 1882, in the
library of Sir James Gibson Craig. It is a folio copy of Paradin's
_Chronique de Savoye_, printed at Lyons in 1552, and in Edinburgh Castle
there is a list of treasures belonging to James VI., and "his hienes
deerest moder," dated 1578, in which this book is mentioned. It is bound
in dark calf, decorated in blind and gold. Each board has a broad border
in blind nearly resembling that on the _Black Acts_. In the centre of
each side is the royal coat-of-arms of Scotland in gold, crowned. Above,
below, and on each side of it is a crowned "M." The crowned "M" is also
impressed in gold at the outer corners of each board, and it is also in
each of the seven panels of the back.

[Illustration: [Greek: BASILIKON DÔRON]. M.S. Written for Prince Henry, by
King James VI. of Scotland.]

James VI. of Scotland, whatever may have been his faults, certainly had
the merit of knowing how to advise his son. In 1559 he wrote the curious
_Basilicon Doron_ for his "Dearest son Henry, the Prince." He writes as
for a Prince of Scotland, and about the Scottish people, and when it was
first issued there were many doubts as to its authorship. The original
manuscript of this work is now part of the old royal library in the
British Museum; and although a study of this most interesting manuscript
will amply repay anybody who cares to read it, it is as well specially
interesting because of the beautiful binding with which it is covered
(Plate IV.) We know from documents that in 1580 John Gibson had been
appointed binder to the King of Scotland, and that when he came to London
this office was granted to John and Abraham Bateman; and, although no
binding is certainly known to have been executed by either of these, I
think it very probable that the binding of the _Basilicon Doron_ may, for
the present at all events, be attributed to John Gibson. It is covered in
deep purple velvet, and the ornaments upon it are cut out in thin gold,
and finished with engraved work. The design on each board is the royal
coat-of-arms of Scotland, with supporters, crowned, and enclosed within
the collar of the Order of the Thistle, dependent from which is the badge
with St. Andrew. The supporters are the two unicorns standing upon a
ribbon, on which is the legend, "IN MY DEFENSE. GOD ME DEFEND." Above the
crown are two large letters, J. R. The corners and two clasps of the book
are made in the form of thistles, with leaves and scrolls. Unluckily much
of this gold work is gone, but in the figure I have restored it where
necessary. The decoration altogether has a most rich and beautiful effect,
and I know of no other book decorated in the same way. Indeed, books of
any sort bound for James when he was king of Scotland are of the greatest
rarity, and it is quite possible that this is the only existing specimen;
although when he came to England a very large quantity of books were bound
for him, the majority of which still remain.



Up to the present, as far as bookbinding is concerned, I have only
recorded one change in the royal coat of England, when Henry VIII., in
1528, altered his supporters, but on the accession of James I. to the
throne of England a much greater and more important change took place. Not
only was the shield of Scotland added, but also that of Ireland, which,
although Elizabeth seems to have used it sometimes, was never before
officially adopted. The harp of "Apollo Grian" has, equally with the
Scottish coat, remained an integral part of our royal shield ever since.
The coats of France and England were now quartered and placed in the first
and fourth quarters, the coat of Scotland in the second quarter, and the
coat of Ireland in the third. With minor changes and additions, this coat
remained the same until the reign of George III., who, in 1801, finally
omitted the coat of France. As to the supporters, James I. retained the
crowned lion of Henry VIII., and substituted one of his white unicorns for
the red dragon of Cadwallader; and these supporters remain unaltered to
the present day.

The fashion of stamping in gold on velvet, one example of which I have
already described as having been done for Edward VI. or Elizabeth, was
practised to a considerable extent for James I., and there are several
examples of it. James evidently thought much of the Tudor descent, by
virtue of which he held his English throne; and he used the Tudor emblems
freely. One large stamp was cut for him with the coat-of-arms just
described within a crowned Garter, all enclosed in an ornamental oval
border, in which are included the falcon badge of Queen Elizabeth, the
double rose, portcullis, and fleur-de-lis of the Tudors, and the plume of
the Prince of Wales. This stamp commonly occurs on leather bindings, but
it also occurs, used with great effect, stamped in gold or velvet. A very
charming specimen of this is on a copy of _Bogusz_, [Greek: DIASKEPSIS]
_Metaphysica_, printed on satin at Sedan, 1605, which is bound in crimson
velvet, and has two blue silk ties at the front edge. At each of the four
corners of the large stamp are four small decorative stamps. It is a
presentation copy to James I., and has an autograph of Henry Prince of
Wales inside the cover. In the Manuscript Department of the British
Museum, belonging also to the old royal library, is a small book bound in
dark green velvet, in the centre of which is stamped, in gold, the royal
coat-of-arms within an ornamental border, into which is introduced the
design of a thistle. An outer border of gold lines has decorative stamps
at each corner. The manuscript is about the introduction of Christianity
into England. These two designs, or amplifications of them, are the only
ones that I have met with on stamped velvet bindings done for James.

There are a considerable number of books still remaining that belonged to
James, bearing the royal coat-of-arms with supporters and initials, bound
in leather. They often bear upon them rich semées, which form of
ornamentation was used for James I. more than for any other sovereign. The
semées generally consist of small lions passant, thistles, tridents,
fleurs-de-lis, stars, or flowers. Books of this kind, with heavy
corner-pieces, are so widely known that detailed description of them is
hardly necessary; but there are modifications, some of which render the
bindings of greater interest. One of these is a calf binding on _Ortelius,
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum_, printed in London in 1606 (Plate V.) It measures
23 inches by 14, and when in its original state, was doubtless one of the
finest bindings done for James I. The full coat-of-arms, with small inlays
of red leather, is further coloured by hand, and is enclosed within a
rectangular border. Between this and the corner-pieces is a very elaborate
and graceful design of twining stems, leaves, and arabesques. The binding
has been largely repaired, but the new stamps have been accurately copied
from the old ones; and, except the outer border which is new, the design
upon it is probably in all material points the same as it was originally.

Another instance of a departure from King James's stereotyped pattern
occurs on Thevet's _Vies des hommes illustres_, printed at Paris, 1584.
The crowned coat-of-arms in the centre, with the initials J. R., have
inlays of red leather in the proper places, and the remainder of the board
is so closely and intricately, with an ornamental design of dotted
strap-work, interlaced with arabesques that no description can give much
idea of it. The volume measures 15-1/2 × 10-1/2 inches, and it is in
perfect condition. Some doubt has been thrown upon the nationality of this
most beautiful work, but Mr. Fletcher, in his splendid volume of _English
Bookbindings in the British Museum_, has included it in his list. So
perhaps in the future we may claim it as our own. There is one little
point about it which, I think, may be considered as a reason for thinking
it English work, and that is that the lions on the English coats are full
face. On all the French bindings I know that were done for English
sovereigns the lions are always shown side face.

A volume in the Manuscript Department of the British Museum, containing
English and Italian songs with music, is bound in dark blue morocco, with
unusually good corners, and the field adorned with large and beautiful
stars. Large stars used in the field also occur on a vellum binding of the
Abbot of Salisbury's _De Gratia et perve verantia Sanctorum_, printed in
London, 1618. It is without the usual corner-stamps, and is in a most
wonderful brilliant condition.

A little volume of King James's _Meditations on the Lord's Prayer_,
London, 1619, is covered in deep purple velvet, with silver centre-piece,
corners, and clasps. On the corners are engraved designs of the cross
patée, thistle, harp, and fleurs-de-lis, all crowned. The corner with the
crowned harp is, I believe, the first instance of this badge occurring on
a book. The clasps are in the form of portcullises. The centre oval
medallion has the royal coat-of-arms, Garter, and crown engraved upon it.

At the Burlington Fine Arts Club a fine specimen of binding for King James
I. was exhibited by Mr. James Toovey. It is bound in white vellum, stamped
in gold. In the centre are the royal arms, and it has large corner-stamps
of unusual design, containing a sun with rays and an eagle, the ground
being thickly covered with a semée of ermine spots. The border seems to be
imitated from one of the old rolls of sporting subjects, which are mostly
found on blind-tooled books at a much earlier period. It has squirrels,
birds, snails, dogs, and insects. At Windsor there are a good many
specimens of Jacobean bindings, all of them similar in character to one or
other of the British Museum specimens that I have described at length.

[Illustration: Ortelius. Theatre of the World. London, 1606. James I.]

Anne of Denmark, the queen of James I., does not appear to have possessed
many books. There are only two in the British Museum that belonged to her,
both of which are bound in vellum. The larger of the two, _Tansillo, Le
Lagrime di San Pietro_, Vinegia, 1606, has a gold-line border with small
floral corners, and in the centre the queen's paternal arms with many
quarterings, the most important of which are Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.
The coat is crowned, and above it are the letters "A. R."; and the queen's
own motto, "La mia grandezza viene dal eccelso," is contained on a ribbon
half enclosing the coat.

Prince Henry, the eldest son of James I., showed more taste for literary
matters than any of his predecessors, although he was much addicted to all
manly exercises. He not only took great interest in the books he already
found in his father's library, but he materially added to it by further
collections of his own. In 1609 he purchased the library of Lord Lumley,
who had been his tutor, and which was the finest then in England, except
that of Sir Robert Cotton. This library had originally belonged to Henry
Fitz-Alan, Earl of Arundel, Lord Lumley's father-in-law, and it had been
largely increased since his death. Prince Henry only possessed the library
for three years, as he died in 1612, but during this time he made many
important additions to it. Not many of the original bindings remain upon
the Earl of Arundel's books, and those that do are usually simple. There
is one specimen in the British Museum that is especially good; it bears a
"cameo" of a white horse, galloping, with an oak spray in his mouth, in an
oval medallion, and if there were many others like it, Prince Henry
destroyed much beautiful work when he had them rebound.

It must be supposed that the bindings of both Lord Arundel's and Lord
Lumley's collection were in a bad state when Prince Henry acquired them,
as they now are almost invariably in bindings that were made for him after
1610, when he was made Prince of Wales. On the Prince's death, his
library, which was then kept at St. James's, reverted to the king, and
served largely to augment the old royal library, which had not been very
carefully kept up to the present time, and which, even afterwards,
suffered various losses.

The majority of Prince Henry's rebindings are designed in a fashion which
has been very adversely criticised, but nevertheless they are not all
without interest. The commonest decoration found upon them consists of a
large royal coat-of-arms of England within a scroll border with thistles,
stamped in gold, having the label of the eldest son in silver. At the
corners are very large stamps, either crowned double roses, fleurs-de-lis,
lions rampant, all in gold, or the Prince of Wales' feathers in silver.
Books bearing this design are more frequently met with outside the large
royal collections than any others, as at one time or another many examples
have become separated from the rest. But there are other books bound for
the Prince the designs on which are often original and effective. Perhaps
the best of these is on a copy of Livy's _Romana Historia_, Avreliæ
Allobrogvm, 1609 (Fig. 15). In this instance the Prince of Wales' feathers
form the central design, impressed in silver and gold, and with the
initials H. P. at the sides of it, all enclosed in a border composed of a
dotted ribbon arranged in right angles and segments of circles, enriched
at the corners with ornamental arabesques. This design is particularly
pleasing, and it is likely that it was executed by the same binder who
bound the edition of Thevet's _Vies des hommes illustres_, described
above, for James I., the peculiar design of the dotted ribbon appearing in
both instances.

_Petrus de Crescentiis, De omnibus agriculturæ partibus_, Basileæ, 1548,
has the Prince of Wales' feathers in silver, with H. P. at the sides, and
on two upright labels the words "O et presidium | Dulce decus meum." It
has very heavy corner-stamps.

A little book of _Commentaries_ of Messer. Blaise de Monluc, Bordeaux,
1592, has a small Prince of Wales' feathers in the centre, and very pretty
angle-stamps of sprays of foliage, the feathers still being in silver.
_Rivault, Les Clemens d' Artillery_, Paris, 1608, is remarkably pretty. It
is a small book bound in olive morocco, and has a tiny Prince of Wales'
feathers in an oval in the centre, stamped in gold and silver, within a
broad border of sprays of foliage. There are large angle-pieces of the
same sprays, all enclosed in a border stamped in gold. A common design is
the coat-of-arms, with label within an ornamental border, ensigned with
a prince's crown, enclosed in a single line rectangle, at the corners of
which are small stamps of the Prince of Wales' feathers, crowned roses,
crowned fleurs-de-lis, and crowned thistles. There are several examples of
this design, both in the British Museum and at Windsor.

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--_Livius. Romana Historia. Avreliæ Allobrogvm,
1609. Henry, Prince of Wales._]

_Pandulphi Collenucii Pisaurensis Apologus cui titulus Agenoria_ and other
tracts in one collection was dedicated to Henry VIII., and originally his
property (Fig. 16). It afterwards belonged to Magdalen College, Oxford,
and they presented it to Prince Henry, for whom it was enclosed in a
magnificent cover of crimson velvet, thickly embroidered with an elaborate
design in gold and pearls. The edges of the cover project freely beyond
the boards of the book, and have a rich gold fringe. The Prince of Wales'
feathers, thickly worked in pearls, forms the centre of the design. The
coronet is of gold, and the motto is in gold letters on a blue silk
ground. The very beautiful broad border contains a rich arabesque design
with flowers thickly worked in seed pearls, and the inner angles have
sprays in gold and pearls. There are innumerable single pearls dotted
about. Both for beauty of design and richness of execution, this cover is
certainly one of the finest specimens of late embroidery work in England.
With the exception of a few pearls missing, and some gold braid about the
motto, it may be considered to be in a very fair condition.

Another crimson velvet book, _Becano Baculus Salcolbrigiensis_, Oppenheim,
1611, was bound for Prince Henry. It has the Prince of Wales' feathers in
the centre, impressed in gold and silver, with a simple gold line round
the edge. It is much faded, and the velvet is now more orange than
crimson, but it is interesting as being the only instance in the British
Museum of a stamped velvet book done for Prince Henry.

Prince Charles used two of the stamps which were first used by his brother
Henry--the large coat-of-arms, with silver label, and the Prince of Wales'
feathers. Each of these is usually flanked by the letters C. P., and the
Prince of Wales' feathers are always stamped in gold instead of silver. In
cases where Charles has used the coat-of-arms, the corners are filled with
a full arrangement of leaf sprays and arabesques. A fine example of this
style, bound in olive morocco, occurs on a binding of Dallington's
_Aphorismes, Civill and Militarie_, London, 1613, now in the British
Museum. An example of the Prince of Wales' feathers used alone on dark
blue morocco is in the library at Windsor. During the reign of Charles I.
several small, thin books were bound in vellum, stamped in gold (Plate
VII.). Some of them were done for him both as prince and as king. A very
good example covers a collection of Almanacks, dated 1624. In the centre
is an ornament composed of four Prince of Wales' feathers arranged as a
star, the corners are filled with large stamps, the remainder of the
boards are filled with semées of flaming hearts. This particular book was
probably a favourite one of the Prince's, as it contains his signature and
other writings.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--_Collection of Miscellaneous Tracts in MS. Henry
Prince of Wales._]

The styles of ornamentation used on large books for James I. were
generally followed by his son, but often the outer borders are of a
broader and more decorative kind. An instance of this is found on the dark
morocco binding of Raderus's _Theological Biography_, printed at Munich in
1628, a large book with a broad decorative border, corner-pieces,
coat-of-arms, and semée of thistles, roses, and fleurs-de-lis. A small
book with coat-of-arms in the centre, within the Garter, crowned, and
bearing on each cover the legend "TIBI SOLI O REX CHARISSIME," is in the
Manuscript Department of the British Museum, on a collection of treatises
presented to the king. There is a handsome border round the book, the
ground of which is covered with a semée of crosses, and the letters C. R.
are on either side of the coat-of-arms. The book has two silver clasps, on
one of which is engraved the Scottish crest, and on the other three
crowns. The panels joining the clasps to the book are engraved with
emblematic figures.

A copy of _Hippocratis et Galeni opera_, Paris, 1639, in several volumes,
bears in the centre of each board the full royal coat-of-arms and
supporters, enclosed in an octagonal border, within a rectangle, in the
inner corners of which is a handsome stamp of floral sprays, and at the
outer corners the crowned monogram of King Charles and his wife Henrietta
Maria. They are large books, measuring 17 × 11 inches.

A very decorative little book is covered in red velvet, with silver
mounts. It is a copy of the New Testament, printed in London, 1643. On
each side, in the centre, are medallion portraits of the king and his
queen, in pierced and repoussé silver, within ornamental borders. On the
panels of the clasps are engraved figures emblematic of the elements, and
on the corner clasps emblematic figures of Charity, Justice, Hope,
Fortitude, Prudence, Patience, Faith, and Temperance.

Although embroidered books were largely produced during the reign of
Charles I., not many of them were made for himself. One exists in the
British Museum, on a manuscript of Montenay's _Emblemes Chrestiens_, which
is written by Esther Inglis, who was a calligraphist of great repute from
the time of Queen Elizabeth to that of Prince Charles. She is said to have
been nurse to Prince Henry; and it is probable that she worked the binding
of the manuscript. It is covered in crimson satin, and embroidered in gold
and silver cord with a few pearls. In the centre is the Prince of Wales'
feathers enclosed in a laurel wreath, and round it a very handsome border,
with arabesques at the inner corners.

A copy of the Psalms, printed in London in 1643, is covered in white satin
and embroidered. It may have belonged to King Charles, and was purchased
by the British Museum in 1888. In the centre, in an oval medallion, is a
minute portrait of the king, wearing a crown with miniver cape and red
robe, with the jewel of the Garter flanked by the letters C. R. Enclosing
this is an arrangement of arabesques and flowers, worked respectively in
silver or gold guimp and coloured silks. There is no record with the book,
but it is quite possible that it was worked for the king. It is one of the
smallest embroidered books existing, measuring little more than 3 inches
by 2.

At Windsor there is a copy of the Book of Common Prayer, printed in 1638.
It is bound in blue velvet, and richly embroidered in silver guimp. In the
centre are the Prince of Wales' feathers, enclosed within a circular
Garter, and surmounted by a prince's coronet, with C. P. on either side of
it. Below are the rose and the thistle. A rich outer border of arabesques
encloses the central design. Her Majesty lent this book to the Burlington
Fine Arts Club in 1891. It was figured in the _Queen_ of August 15, in the
same year. There are several other bindings at Windsor that belonged to
Charles; among them a particularly charming specimen covers a copy of
_Ecphrasis Paraphraseos, G. Buchanani in Psalmos_, 1620. It is a small
book, and bears the Prince of Wales' feathers in the centre, within a
border of crosses, patée, and fleurs-de-lis, surrounded by the Garter. It
has large corner-stamps and a semée of fleurs-de-lis. The other bindings
made for Charles I. in the same library generally bear the royal
coat-of-arms and large corner-stamps, and dates often occur upon them.

[Illustration: New Testament, etc. London, 1643. Charles I.]

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--_Dallington. Aphorismes, Civill and Militarie.
London, 1613. Charles Prince of Wales._]

Charles himself certainly took very considerable interest in bookbinding,
and abundant evidence of this is found in the history of Nicholas
Ferrar's establishment at Little Gidding, in Huntingdonshire, the
beginning and ending of which was synchronous with Charles's reign. The
king visited Little Gidding more than once, and always evinced the
liveliest interest in its work, a very important part of which was
bookbinding. The most remarkable feature about these Little Gidding
bindings, which were the work of amateur hands, was the stamped work on
velvet, which actually reached its highest development under the auspices,
and probably by the hands, of some of the Collet family, nieces of
Nicholas Ferrar. They bound books for Charles and for both his sons; but,
unfortunately, no specimen of their finer stamped work done for either of
these princes is in the British Museum.

The copy of the _Harmony of the Four Gospels_, known as "[Greek:
MONOTESSARON]," which was given to Charles when Prince of Wales in 1640,
is now in the library of the Earl of Normanton. It measures 24-1/2 × 16
inches, and is bound in green velvet, stamped elaborately in gold. A
_Concordance of the Four Evangelists_, which was probably made for James,
Duke of York, about 1640, is now the property of the Marquis of Salisbury,
and is kept at Hatfield. It measures 20 × 14 inches, and is bound in
purple velvet. Among the small stamps upon it is one of a fleur-de-lis.

_The Whole Law of God, as it is delivered in the Five Books of Moses_, is
another Little Gidding harmony, which was probably made for Prince
Charles. It measures 29 × 20 inches, and is bound in purple velvet, and
decorated with gold stamp-work of a similar kind. It was probably made
about 1642, and now belongs to Captain Gaussen. The whole history of
Little Gidding is most interesting; and, from a binding point of view, its
existence during the reign of Charles I., and his kindly appreciation and
patronage of it in the midst of all his own troubles, will always mark his
reign as an important epoch in English bookbinding. Illustrations of many
of the Little Gidding bindings are given in _Bibliographica_, part vi.

No particular binding seems to have been made during the period of the
Commonwealth, at all events I have never been able to discover one in any
of our large libraries; but, to make up for this, during the reign of
Charles II. we have a profusion of royal bindings, many of which are of
considerable beauty. The appointment of Samuel Mearne as royal
bookbinder to Charles II. was in force from 1660 to 1683, and no doubt
long before this Mearne was well known as a fine binder. There is a good
deal of documentary evidence concerning Mearne, chiefly relating to
bindings of Bibles and Prayer Books bound for the royal chapels, and
others for the royal library at St. James's. He decorated his bindings in
three styles, easily distinguishable from each other. Books bound in the
first, or simplest, style are always covered with red morocco, and have a
rectangular panel of gold lines stamped on each side, having at the outer
corners fleurons, or the device of two C's, adossés, crowned, and partly
enclosed within two laurel sprays. This device occurs commonly on Mearne's
books. The backs of these volumes are often richly stamped with masses of
small floral designs, and the lettering is remarkably clear and good.
There are numbers of examples, both in our royal libraries and in the
hands of private owners. Although they cannot be called very ornamental,
they nevertheless are of excellent workmanship, and are always in good

[Illustration: Gil. [Greek: PARERGA], etc. Londini, 1632. Charles I.]

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--_Common Prayer. London, 1662. Charles II._]

The second division are bound in red or dark morocco, the boards being
decorated with what is known as the "Cottage" design, usually having the
crowned monogram in the centre, the remaining spaces being more or less
filled with masses of small stamped work. The fillets and many of the
flowers and ornaments are often picked out with black stain.

The third division are bound in red or black morocco, ornamented with
mosaic work of coloured leathers--red, yellow, green, and white. Many of
these books are so intricate in their design that they deserve special
mention; but it may be said, generally, that the leading motive upon them
is a modification or elaboration of the cottage design, so called because
its leading motive is in the shape of the gable of a cottage roof.

One of the earliest bindings done for Charles is a copy of the Bible and
Prayer Book, printed at Cambridge, 1660. It is a large book covered in red
morocco, and has a rectangular panel and border, with the royal
coat-of-arms in the centre, all richly decorated with small gold
stamp-work. The binding is not very characteristic of Mearne, although it
is often considered to be his work, and bears some of his stamps. Neither
the crowned monogram which is used upon it, nor the crowned dove bearing
an olive branch, is found on any other bindings by Mearne. The stamp of
the dove with the olive branch is of course symbolical of Charles's return
to the throne of his ancestors. The book may have been bound for special
presentation to Charles on his accession to the throne.

In the royal library at Windsor are several specimens of Charles II.
bindings. Among them are three copies of Charles I.'s _Eikon Basilike_.
One of them is bound in dark blue morocco, with large royal coat-of-arms
and supporters, crest and crown. Another in olive morocco is delicately
stamped with arabesques, and the crowned initials C. R.; it has two silver
clasps, with medallion portraits of Charles I. Another is bound in calf,
having in the centre of each board a decorative portrait medallion of
Charles I. in silver, within an ornamental border of figures and
arabesques, having also engraved silver corner-pieces on the two front

In the same library a copy of the Bible, 1660, and Taylor's _Rule of
Conscience_, 1676, are bound respectively in black and red morocco, and
are brilliant specimens of Samuel Mearne's work. The boards are covered
with many irregular small panels, each closely filled with small stamped
work. The Bible was lent to the Burlington Fine Arts Club in 1891, and is
figured both in their Catalogue and in Mr. Holmes's book of the
bookbindings at Windsor. A copy of the works of Charles I., 1662, now at
Windsor, is a beautiful example of Samuel Mearne's inlaid work. It is
bound in deep red morocco, with an inner panel marked with white leather.
In the centre is the royal coat, with supporters and crest; and the
remainder of the boards, especially the corners, are ornamented with
elaborate inlays of green and yellow leather, and richly stamped in gold.

The British Museum is also rich in Charles II. bindings. The Common
Prayer, printed in London in 1622, measuring 17-1/4 × 11-1/2 inches, was
bound for him in black morocco, elaborately inlaid, and stamped in gold
(Fig. 18). A broad, yellow, rectangular panel encloses at the present time
a stamp of the coat-of-arms of one of the Georges. This, of course, is a
subsequent addition, and it is impossible to say for certain whether there
was originally any stamp in the centre of the book or not; but probably
there was a crowned initial. The inner sides and corners of this panel are
ornamented with mosaics of white, red, and yellow leather, with gilded
sprays and small stamps. The outer edges of the panel have at the top
and bottom a cottage arrangement, filled in with small dotted scale
ornament, and further decorated with red mosaic inlays, having gold stamps
and sprays. A somewhat similar arrangement at the sides has scale patterns
and red mosaics, and the crowned initials of the king are impressed at the
roof angles. The gilt front edges of this volume are decorated with
paintings of incidents chosen from the life of Christ, executed under the
gold, and only visible when held in a certain position.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--_A short View of the late Troubles in England,
etc. Oxford, 1681. Charles II._]

A copy of the Book of Common Prayer, printed in London, 1669, is covered
in red morocco, and bears upon each board a modification of the roofed
pattern, stained black, and broken by curves at the upper and lower points
and at the sides. In the centre, the crowned C's are enclosed in a small
inner fillet, coloured black, and supplemented with very delicate
arabesque stamped work in gold. The inner angles of the roof and sides are
filled with scale patterns in dots. Above and below the centre-piece are
bold leaf sprays. The corners and spaces throughout are filled with very
close gold stamped arabesques, circles, and small flowers. It has an
elaborate outer border of an enlarged scaled pattern filled with small
stamps. The book is a very beautiful one, and is, in some ways, the finest
specimen of Mearne's work existing. It has frequently been figured. Under
the gilding on the front edges is a painting, having as its centre motive
the design of the crowned C's and the laurel branches already mentioned.
This method of painting under the gold, which appears to have been first
done by an artist of the name of Fletcher, is frequently found on Mearne's
bindings. The custom dropped into disuse after his time, until it was
revived by Edwards of Halifax about a hundred years later.

A copy of the Scottish Laws and Acts of James I., Edinburgh, 1661, is
covered in red morocco. It has in the centre a large irregular panel,
inlaid in black morocco, bearing the royal coat-of-arms, crowned, within
the Garter, and the initials C. II. R., the rest of the black panel being
thickly gilded with ornamental sprays. There are large angle-pieces of
yellow leather, richly stamped, and at the sides, upper, and lower edges
of each board are urns carrying large branching sprays, with flowers
inlaid in yellow and black leathers.

_A short View of the late Troubles in England_, Oxford, 1681 (Fig. 19),
is bound in red morocco, and ornamented all over the boards with small,
irregular panels, outlined by broad gold lines, and filled with mosaics of
black and yellow leather, all ornamented thickly with small gold
stamp-work. In the centre, on a black panel, are large ornamental
initials, "C. R.," crowned. Although this binding has many points in
common with Samuel Mearne's work, it is lacking in finish, and it is
probably the work of his son Charles, who afterwards succeeded him as
royal binder. A copy of Fox's _Book of Martyrs_, London, 1641, also bound
in Mearne's fashion, bears upon its front edges, under the gilding, a
portrait of the king in his coronation robes. It is figured in
_Bibliographica_, part viii., and is signed "Fletcher."

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--_Bible. Cambridge, 1674. James II._]

There are in the British Museum two large volumes of an English Atlas,
measuring 23 × 15 inches. The first of them bears the large ornamental
initials C. R. crowned. It has a modification of the cottage design,
arranged in an interlacing fillet of yellow leather, within which is a
symmetrical arrangement of irregular panels, inlaid with black and yellow
morocco, all richly edged and filled in with small gold stamped work,
picked out with silver. The second volume is ornamented in a similar
manner with inlays, but has not the outer border or the initials.

Although there are many of Mearne's bindings to be found in the large
private libraries throughout England, probably the finest is that which
belongs to the Earl of Crewe, at Crewe Hall. It covers a folio Book of
Common Prayer, 1662, and bears the cottage design, outlined in yellow
leather, with scale pattern. There are fine mosaics of red, yellow, and
green leathers in the corners of the inner panel, covered with close gold
stamp-work and floral sprays. The crowned C's are in the centre within an
ornamental border, and outside the yellow panel are red and green mosaics,
thickly covered with small gold work.

Mr. Almack, in his valuable _Bibliography of the King's Book_ or _Eikon
Basilike_, gives a plate of a binding that covers an edition of 1649, but
which was bound for Charles II. by Samuel Mearne. It bears the royal
coat-of-arms, with garter and crest, within a rectangular panel enriched
with small gold stamps. It is in red morocco. Several of the editions of
the _Eikon_ bear the initials C. R. upon their covers, with other emblems,
but it is most likely that these letters refer to the author rather than
to the owner.

Mr. E. H. Lawrence lent to the Burlington Fine Arts Club Exhibition of
Bookbindings an exquisite specimen of Samuel Mearne's work. It is a
collection of anthems, with music, bound in dark blue morocco. It is
elaborately stamped in gold, with a curved adaptation of the cottage
design, closely filled in with masses of small gold work along the inner
and outer edges. The crowned monogram, with laurel sprays, is in the
centre of each of the sides, and it has a rich double border of scale
patterns filled with gold stamped work.

In the library at Windsor are several bindings that were done for James
II., but they are generally of a simple kind, bearing heraldic devices in
the centre enclosed in rectangular panels of more or less elaboration. At
the British Museum are some Jacobean bindings of a more ornamental kind.
One of these, a Cambridge Bible of 1674, is bound in crimson velvet, and
has rich silk ties with bullion fringe (Fig. 20). It is heavily
embroidered in gold, silver, and coloured silks, and bears in the centre
the crowned initials "J. R." enclosed in a strap border intertwined with
rose sprays and other floral designs. In each of the corners is a cherub's
head with wings. There are two volumes, each measuring 18 × 12 inches.
Although, from the size of these books and the splendid colour, they are
undoubtedly of imposing appearance, neither the design nor the workmanship
can be considered of a high quality.

Belonging to the King's Library in the British Museum are two specimens,
almost exactly alike except for their size, which may, for the present, be
considered the finest that were done for James II. One of these is a
Common Prayer, printed at Oxford in 1681. It is bound in red morocco, and
has a black "cottage" fillet, broken at the angles and at each side. The
crowned monogram "J. R.," with laurel spray, occurs in several places on
the boards. The remaining spaces are closely filled with small gold
stamped work, similar to that used by Samuel Mearne. The book is an
unusually fat one, and bears upon its broad front edges, under the gold,
the most elaborate painting I have found in such a position. It has the
full coat-of-arms of England, with supporters, crown, and crest, enclosed
in an elaborate border of flowers, cherubs, and ribbons. This painting is
in remarkably fine condition, but, like all this class of work, the
appearance of it depends very largely upon the manner in which it is
displayed. The companion volume is a Bible of 1685. It is bound in an
almost identical way; but the painting on the edge, although brighter, is
not to be compared with it, either for size or excellence.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--_Euclide. Oxford, 1705. Queen Anne._]

A note at the beginning, signed _G. Sarum_, says that this was the book
which "lay before His Majesty above two years in the closet of his
chappell," and afterwards it was the property of the Archbishop of
Canterbury, and then of the Bishop himself.

At Windsor there is a small book bound for Mary of Modena in red morocco,
with the royal coats of England and Este, crowned, and enclosed within a
cordelière des veuves, the rest, with the field, being occupied with small
panels ornamented in the Mearne fashion.

At the British Museum is a copy of Walter's Poems, printed in 1668, that
was dedicated by him to the Duchess of York, with an autograph poem. It is
bound in black morocco, and bears the arms of England, with a label,
impaled with those of Este, with supporters, and surmounted with a
prince's coronet. Above and below the coat-of-arms are curves and
arabesques in dotted gold work, picked out with silver, all enclosed in a
rectangular border of a Mearne pattern.

The bindings of William and Mary are not remarkable in any way, except for
their peculiar arrangement of the quarterings of the royal coat. A fine
copy of _Veues des belles maisons de France_, bound in red morocco, has in
the centre a crowned shield within a Garter, the bearings being--first,
the coat of England; second, the coat of Scotland; third, the coat of
France; fourth, the coat of Ireland; over all the scutcheon of Nassau. In
each corner is a handsome crowned monogram, "W. M." The volume is at
Windsor. In the same library is a copy of the Statutes of the Order of the
Garter, bound in dark blue morocco, and bearing in the centre, within a
Mearne border, the royal coat-of-arms, crowned, with Garter. On the dexter
side is the Cross of St. George; on the sinister side, the coat of England
with the quarterings in their proper order.

In the British Museum are other bindings of William and Mary, but they are
also of small importance from a decorative point of view. They often bear
the crowned initials "W. R." enclosed in laurel sprays, and are ornamented
with lines and small sprays in gold, mostly after the Mearne fashion. A
copy of the _Memoirs of the Earl of Castlehaven_, London, 1681, has the
coat arranged in the following curious manner: first, England; second,
Scotland; third, Ireland; fourth, France, with scutcheon of Nassau over
all. It almost seemed as if William considered that the coat of France had
been borne long enough by English sovereigns, and it occupied the place of
honour until he deposed it from that proud position; but I believe it was
only upon his bookbindings that he took these liberties with the

[Illustration: FIG. 22.--_Ælfric. An English-Saxon Homily on the Birthday
of St. Gregory. London, 1709. Queen Anne._]

The finest of Queen Anne's bindings at Windsor is a copy of Flamsteed,
_Historia Coelestis_, 1712. It is bound in red morocco, and has in the
centre the full arms of England with supporters. The arms are quartered as
follows: first and fourth, England and Scotland impaled; second, France;
and third, Ireland; all within mitred panels, ornamented with small
arabesques and floral sprays at the angles and sides. In the same library
is also a binding with the monogram of William, Duke of Gloucester, son of
Queen Anne, with a prince's coronet enclosed in a triple-bordered panel,
with sprays and acorns.

In the British Museum the richest binding done for Queen Anne is on a copy
of the English _Euclide_, Oxford, 1705 (Fig. 21). It is a large book, and
the centre is occupied by a cottage design divided into four panels, each
of which is thickly filled with small gold stamped work. At the upper and
lower edges of the boards are the words "ANNA D. G.," under a royal crown,
upheld by two cherubs; above which is a scroll bearing the words "VIVAT
REGINA." The outer corners and the sides are filled with scale ornaments
and floral sprays of a branching character.

Another volume bound for Queen Anne, in the British Museum, is _An
English-Saxon Homily on the Birthday of St. Gregory_, by Ælfric,
Archbishop of Canterbury, London, 1709 (Fig. 22). It is covered in red
morocco, and stamped in gold with a cottage design, and bears the crowned
monogram "A. R.," with laurel sprays and other small stamps scattered
about. The designs on all these volumes of the later Stuart sovereigns
have no very distinctive character, and, except where they are frank
imitations of Mearne's work, they show little inventive power.

On the legislative union of England and Scotland in 1706, the first and
fourth quarters of the royal coat bore the coats of England and Scotland
impaled, the second quarter the coat of France, and the third that of
Ireland. It is important to remember this change, as the first quarter
continued to be used in the same way on Queen Anne's books and on those of
her successors until 1801.



On the succession to the English crown passing to the Hanoverian line,
another important change was made in the royal coat of England. George I.
substituted for the fourth quarter, which had been hitherto a repetition
of the first, the arms of his family, Brunswick, impaling Luneburg, and in
the base point the coat of Saxony, over all an escutcheon, charged with
the crown of Charlemagne, as a badge of the office of High Treasurer of
the Holy Roman Empire. George II. bore the same coat as did George III. up
to 1801, when, on the legislative union of Great Britain and Ireland, the
coat was officially altered to first and fourth England; second, Scotland;
third, Ireland, with over all an escutcheon, bearing the arms of the royal
dominions in Germany, ensigned with the electoral bonnet, which was again
changed to the Hanoverian royal crown when Hanover was elevated to the
rank of a kingdom in 1816. This last coat was used by George IV. and
William IV., and, without the Hanoverian escutcheon, it is the present
royal coat of England.

The bindings of George I. and George II. are generally much alike. There
are good specimens of each at Windsor. They are generally in red morocco,
with either coats-of-arms in the centre or monograms. At Windsor there is
one bound in vellum, it is a manuscript _Report on States of Traytors_,
1717, and bears the full royal coat in the centre, enclosed in rectangular
mitred borders, with delicate gold stamped work at the sides. In the
British Museum is a finely stamped _Account of Conference concerning the
Succession to the Crown_, 1719, very delicately and tastefully ornamented,
having the coat-of-arms in the centre, with crowned initials at the
corners, and delicate gold work of floral sprays and curves borrowed from
Le Gascon, a great French binder.

[Illustration: FIG. 23.--_Account of what passed in a Conference
concerning the Succession to the Crown, MS. George I._]

[Illustration: FIG. 24.--_Le Nouveau Testament. Amsterdam, 1718. George

There are several of George II. bindings at Windsor, made for him when he
was Prince of Wales. These generally bear the Prince of Wales' feathers as
a chief motive, and they often have broad borders, much of the
ornamentation of which contains stamps of crowns, sceptres, and birds,
which are attributed to Eliot and Chapman. There are other inlaid bindings
made for George II. which often have doublures. Some of these are figured
in Mr. Holmes's _Bookbindings at Windsor_. Bindings of a similar kind that
were made for Frederick Prince of Wales, and for his wife, the Princess
Augusta, are also preserved at Windsor. These have always heraldic
centres, and generally the broad Eliot and Chapman outer borders.

[Illustration: FIG. 25.--_Chandler. A Vindication of the Defence of
Christianity. London, 1728. George II._]

[Illustration: FIG. 26.--_Common Prayer. Cambridge, 1760. Queen

For George III., both when Prince of Wales and King, books were bound with
coloured inlays by Andreas Lande. There are specimens of his work both in
the British Museum and at Windsor, they are not in particularly good
taste. During the reign of George III. a remarkable English bookbinder
worked in London. This was Roger Payne; and, although he himself does not
seem to have bound any royal books, he strongly influenced many who did,
more particularly Kalthoeber, who bound many of the books in the King's
Library at the British Museum. Although these bindings are by no means so
good as their originals, they are a very great advance upon their
immediate predecessors; and a delicately worked and effective instance
covers a copy of the Gutenburg Bible now at the British Museum.

Another English binder of note, James Edwards of Halifax, also flourished
in the reign of George III. This binder has not, I think, received
sufficient appreciation, as he discovered an entirely new way of treating
vellum by which it was rendered transparent. He painted designs on the
under side of the vellum and bound his books with it, the result being
that, if the vellum is clean on the outside, the protected painting
underneath it is as fresh as when it was first done. A fine example of
this curious work is on a copy of a Prayer Book, printed at Cambridge,
1760, which belonged to Charlotte of Mecklenburg, queen of George III.
(Fig. 26). Her arms, in proper heraldic colours, are in the centre of the
upper cover, enclosed by a blue and gold border of Etruscan design. At the
lower edge is a miniature of a ruin in monotone, and at each side of the
coat and above it are ornamental scrolls, with conventional flowers,
birds, animals, and figures. On the lower cover is a central oval, with an
allegorical figure in monotone, enclosed in a similar border to that on
the upper cover, at each side of which are flowering trees in urns, birds,
etc., and in each panel of the back is also a decorative design.
Altogether this is the prettiest royal binding done at this period. It has
the crowned initials "C. R." painted in silver inside the upper cover, and
on the front edge, in an oval, is a painting of the Resurrection under the
gold. Between this and the edges, painted for James II., there were no
books adorned in this way for royal owners.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--_Portfolio containing the Royal Letter concerning
the King's Library. George IV._]

The bindings done for George IV., at Windsor, are generally bound in red
morocco, with heraldic centres and broad borders, sometimes inlaid with
coloured leathers. The borders are sometimes like those used by Eliot and
Chapman, and sometimes conventional patterns. A good example in the
British Museum is on the cover of the letter written to Lord Liverpool by
the king in 1823, concerning the gift of his father's library to the
nation. A copy of the Book of Common Prayer, which belonged to William
IV., and is now at Windsor, is bound in blue morocco. It bears in the
centre the star of the Order of the Garter, within a crowned Garter,
dependent from which is an anchor, and at the sides "G. R. III." There are
anchors in the corners, and a decorative outer border. The generality of
the books belonging to him have the usual heraldic centres, within borders
designed in more or less good taste. The king presented to the British
Museum, and signed with his own name, an _Inventory of the Crown Plate_,
1832. It is bound by William Clark, and bears in the centre the full royal
coat-of-arms, and has a handsome rectangular border of triple gold lines,
broken at each side by bold arabesque ornaments.


In the foregoing detailed descriptions I have included only the work of
English binders. There are, however, many books existing that have been
bound for English royal personages abroad. Instances of these occur
notably for Henry VIII., Elizabeth, James I., Henrietta Maria, Henrietta
Anna, Charles II., the Chevalier St. George, and Cardinal York. It will be
noticed that generally the ornamentation of English royal books is
heraldic, and that crowned initials are constantly used from the time of
Henry VIII. to William IV. To understand the royal coat-of-arms of England
it is necessary, at all events, to note the larger rearrangements of the
various quarterings, which on the Tudor bindings were simply France and
England, quarterly. The two great changes took place on the accession of
the Stuart line, when the coats of Scotland and England were introduced;
and on the accession of the Hanoverian line, when the family coat of the
Guelphs was introduced. There are several minor alterations and additions,
but these I have mentioned as they have occurred, and the only other
important change to remember is concerning the supporters. From the time
of Henry VII. until 1528 these were a dragon and a greyhound, and from
that time until Elizabeth they were a lion and a dragon. Since the time of
James I. they have been a lion and unicorn. Badges are constantly found on
Tudor and early Stuart bindings. They are the well-known ones of Tudor
origin--the double rose, portcullis, pomegranate, fleur-de-lis, and
falcon. The fleur-de-lis remains longest of these. The Prince of Wales'
feathers is commonly found on books from the time of Edward VI.

The styles of bindings used by these great royal houses have also
characteristics common to each of them. The bindings of the Tudor
period are most diversified in styles, and the majority of the leather
books are either bound by Thomas Berthelet, royal binder to Henry VIII.,
and his successors, or in his style. Under Elizabeth, the Italian fashion
of double boards, the upper of which is pierced, was used for very choice
work. Berthelet took his inspiration originally from Italian models, but
shortly developed a style of his own. Vellum was much used in connection
with gold stamped work, the first use of which in England is credited to
this binder.

[Illustration: Order of the Coronation of George III. and Queen Charlotte.
London, 1761. George III.]

The bindings of the early Stuart period may be considered remarkable for
the extensive use of what are called semées, successive and symmetrical
impressions from small stamps powdered over the sides of the book; and the
stamped velvet work done at Little Gidding is one of the glories of the
reign of Charles I.

Samuel Mearne was royal binder to Charles II., and many of his bindings
are of great beauty. His influence on English bookbinding remained for a
very long time, weakening gradually, until superseded by the newer style
introduced by Roger Payne.

In the time of George III. there was some improvement in royal bindings
due to the imitators of Roger Payne, another binder, whose influence was
strongly felt after his death. Eliot and Chapman, during the eighteenth
century, introduced the use of broad borders with small stamps, among
which are frequently found crowns and sceptres; and many of these are
found on royal bindings.

Names of many royal binders, from early times, are preserved in various
records, but there is considerable uncertainty about the work of most of
them; and, although many lists exist of books bound for certain kings by
certain workmen, very few of them have been identified. From the constant
appearance of personal badges of different kinds, it may be considered
likely that, especially among the earlier sovereigns, considerable
personal interest has been taken in the covering of their books. We even
find the livery colours of the Tudors--green and white--duly used on some
of their bindings; and the prevalence of red and blue, the livery colours
of the Hanoverian line, is common enough among the Georgian bindings.


Almack. A Bibliography of the King's Book. London, 1896.

Burlington Fine Arts Club. Catalogue of Bookbindings. 1891.

Edwards. Lives of the Founders of the British Museum. London, 1870.

Fletcher. English Bookbindings in the British Museum. London, 1895.

Holmes. Specimens of Bookbinding selected from the Royal Library, Windsor
Castle. London, 1893.

Horne. The Binding of Books. London, 1894.

Prideaux. An Historical Sketch of Bookbinding. London, 1893.

Tuer. History of the Horn-Book. London, 1896.

Willement. Regal Heraldry. London, 1821.

And various articles on Bookbinding in _Archæologia_, _Bibliographica_,
_The Gentleman's Magazine_, and _The Queen_ newspaper.

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

The original text includes Greek characters. For this text version these
letters have been replaced with transliterations.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Royal English Bookbindings" ***

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