(Southwark: Peter Treveris at ye expences of John Reynes, 1527, the 16th day of May).
RARE AND IMPORTANT. Only the third printing of one of the most important pieces of early English historical prose. Higden's POLYCRONICON, a world history from the Creation to 1360 A.D., was translated by Trevisa at the command of Thomas, Earl of Berkeley (d. 1361). The work draws on over 40 sources, and synthesizes a continuous diachronic and multicultural history, beginning with the Biblical account of the Creation and moving through the history of the Semitic, Hellenic, Roman, and medieval-European cultures. It served as a model for innumerable later histories, both universal and localized.
The POLYCRONICON was Caxton's most ambitious printing project. It is his longest book in terms of page count, and the second-longest in terms of word count (after the GOLDEN LEGEND of 20 November 1483). It is also Caxton's most ambitious work as an editor and a writer; for Caxton significantly revised the extant English translation of the POLYCRONICON, updating its terminology considerably; and he also authored an original history of England to serve as Book 8 of the text--a writing effort which stands as Caxton's greatest achievement as an author. This printing is only the third, after Caxton’s original in 1482, it is considered one of the best examples of Treveris' ability as a printer. Item #26375
VERY RARE. THE FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION OF THE POLYCRONICON and only the third issuance of the book after the Caxton printing of 1482 and the Wynken de Worde printing of 1495. With the exception of the woodcut of the musical notation on n5r, which first appeared in the printing of 1495 (and was the earliest printed musical notation in an English book), ALL THE WOODCUT ILLUSTRATIONS APPEAR HERE FOR THE FIRST TIME. Double column, black letter, zylographic title printed in red between two parts of a large woodcut block printed in red and black (Hodnett 2489, state 2), the upper portion featuring the royal arms, a portrait of Henry VIII, and the arms of London, the larger lower portion showing St. George, this block repeated in its undivided state on the verso of colophon, full page woodcut of a battle on z6v, 9 smaller woodcuts in the text (six blocks, some repeated), woodcut musical notation on n5r, many 10-line and smaller woodcut initials. John Reynes’ printer’s mark, colophon with hunting scenes. Folio (271x 191 mm), bound in correct 16th century style in full calf, the boards paneled in blind, the spine with tall raised bands blind ruled, compartments with central blind tool device but one which is gilt lettered, a.e.g. Fo. CCCxlvi. (aa8, bb-hh6, a-y8, z6, A-S8, T6, U, X8) A very handsome and complete copy of this rare and highly desirable book, interesting and early manuscript notations in two hands, one of which documented as 16th century, censor markings to Catholic references, particularly references to the Pope now faded and the print beneath now legible, faint and occasional evidence of old damp, some other minor occasional staining, a few minor paper repairs in margins or corners, not effecting text.