Three scarce complete sets of early nineteenth-century publications of influentialÂ Medieval and Early-ModernÂ Era chronicles, uniformly and finelyÂ bound.
Holinshed's Chronicles, also known as Holinsheds Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, is a collaborative work published in several volumes and two editions, the first in 1577, and the second in 1587. In 1548 Reginald Wolfe, a London printer, conceived the idea of creating a "Universal Cosmography of the whole world, and there with also certain particular histories of every known nation." He wanted the work to be printed in English and he wanted maps and illustrations in the book as well. Wolfe acquired many of John Leland's works and with these he constructed chronologies and drew maps that were up to date. When Wolfe realised he could not complete this project on his own, he hired Raphael Holinshed and William Harrison to assist him. Wolfe died with the work still uncompleted in 1573, and the project, changed to a work about just the British Isles, was run by a consortium of three members of the London stationers. They kept Raphael Holinshed who employed William Harrison, Richard Stanyhurst, Edmund Campion and John Hooker. In 1577 the work was published in two volumes after some censorship by the Privy Council of some of Stanyhurst's contribution on Ireland. Shakespeare used the revised second edition of the Chronicles (published in 1587) as the source for most of his history plays, the plot of Macbeth, and for portions of King Lear and Cymbeline.
Richard Grafton (c. 1511?1572), was King's Printer under Henry VIII and Edward VI. He was a member of the Grocers' Company and MP for Coventry elected 1562-63. On the accession of Edward VI, Grafton was appointed King's Printer and this gave him the sole right to print all Acts and Statutes. He had held the appointment for six years, when on the King's death, he printed a proclamation of the accession of Lady Jane Grey, in which he signed himself "Printer to the Queen." For this he was cast into prison by Mary I. John Cawood became Queen's Printer, and Grafton's career as a printer ended. In prison Grafton compiled an Abridgement of the Chronicles of England, which he published in 1563. To this he added in 1568 A Chronicle at Large.
Enguerrand de Monstrelet (c. 1400 ? 20 July 1453), French chronicler, belonged to a noble family of Picardy. In 1436 and later he held the office of lieutenant of the gavenier (i.e. receiver of the gave, a kind of church rate) at Cambrai, and he seems to have made this city his usual place of residence. He was for some time bailiff of the cathedral chapter and then provost of Cambrai. Little else is known about Monstrelet except that he was present, not at the capture of Joan of Arc, but at her subsequent interview with Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy. Continuing the work of Froissart, Monstrelet wrote a Chronique, which extends to two books and covers the period between 1400 and 1444, when, according to another chronicler, Mathieu d'Escouchy, he ceased to write. Monstrelet's own writings, dealing with the latter part of the Hundred Years' War, are valuable because they contain a large number of documents which are certainly, and reported speeches which are probably, authentic. This publication of Monstrelet's chronicles are the first English translation, translated by Thomas Johnes. 'Containing an account of the cruel civil wars between the houses of Orleans and Burgundy; of the possession of Paris and Normany by the English, their explusion thense, and of other memorable events that happened in the Kindom of France as well as in other countries. A history of fair example and of great profit to the French, beginning at the year MCCCC where that of Sir John Froissart finishes, and ending at the year MCCCCLXVII and continued by others to the year MDXVI'.
Holinshed contains facsimiles of the original 1586 titles and a handwritten 'list of Kings of Scotland from Holinshed's History' loosely inserted.
Grafton contains facsimiles of the original 1569 titles and a table to the rear 'declaring the reignes of euerie King of this Realme'.
Monstrelet has vignette titles and volume v is made up of 51 plates, one folding, collate complete.
Armorial bookplates of Coulthart of Coulthart and Collyn, 'Virtue non Verbis' to front pastedown of every volume.
Three sets uniformly boundÂ in decorative full diced calf. Externally very attractive with a lovely patina to the spines. There is some wear and rubbingÂ to theÂ extremities, occasioning slight loss to some of theÂ spine leather: very slight to the heads and tails of most volumes, and in the cases of volume II of the Holinshed and volume IÂ of the Grafton,Â more loss affecting the gilt lettering.There areÂ a fewÂ marks to the boards.Â Of the twenty-six joints, three are starting, fifteen are cracked and delicate, and four boardsÂ are held by the cords only. So in need of osome reinforcement at modest cost for this important set.Â Internally, they are all firmly bound. Generally bright and clean, with some instances of age-toning ranging mild to bad, occasional off-setting from the text, and some intermittentÂ scattered spotting and the odd severely spotted page. The Holinshed set has marks to page V of volume i, small spill burns to the gutters of some pages, a closed tear to page 3 of volume i, dusting and tide marks to volume ii, and an ink note to the verso of the front free-endpaper of volume i. Grafton has a few small dustmarks. Monstrelet has some instances of light foxing, and ink marks to page 2 of volume III. Some spotting to the bookplates. Overall: VERY GOOD.
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