Jacobus de Voragine: Legenda aurea sanctorum, sive Lombardica historia. [English]

The Golden Legend.   Translated by William Caxton.

Westminster: William Caxton, [between 20 Nov. 1483 and Mar. 1484]
Fol. [*4] a-z8 [et]8 [con]6 A-X8 aa-ff8 gg6 hh-ii8 kk6. [446] leaves. Foliated (with errors) “j”-“CCCC xliiij” from a1-kk6.
Woodcuts.
ISTC ij00148000; Goff J148 mixed with sheets of Goff J149; BMC XI 144 (IB. 55081, IB. 55112); Bod-inc J-068; DeR(C) 98.12, 99.6.

Shelf-mark: Sp Coll Hunterian Bg.1.1 (see main library entry for this item)
Note: Gatherings a-t and A-E exist in one setting only; the remaining gatherings are known in two different settings, representing two issues rather than two separate editions. Setting A: [*6] a-z8 [et]8 [con]6 A-V8 X6 Y2(2+1) aa-ff8 gg6 hh-ii8 kk6. Setting B: [*4] a-z8 [et]8 [con]6 A-X8 aa-ff8 gg6 hh-ii8 kk6. The Hunterian copy is setting B.
Note: Fifteen leaves (a1-4, a7-8, b1, b8, c1-2, ii2, kk1, kk4-6) have been made up from another, smaller copy (leaf size 356 x 259 mm) and have been re-margined at the foot of the leaf - except for ii2, at the top.
Variants: [*1r], col.1, line 2:  “... thys ...” not as BMC’s transcription for setting B “... this ...”;  kk5r, col.1, line 18:  “... artylces” not as BMC’s transcription for setting B “... artycles”.
Provenance: G. Garton (17th century): inscription “G. Garton” on [*1r] followed by a cropped and unread motto(?).
John Finch (fl. 1697), member of the family of the Earls of Winchilsea: owner of the fifteen sheets supplied from a smaller copy; cropped inscription on kk6v “This William Caxton was a Mercer of Londo[n] who brought printing to England out of Germany about the year of our lorde 1471 ... Scriptum per me Jo[...] finch filius Com[...] De Winchilsea fil[...] Thomae Ayres Ca[...] Anno Domini 1697”.
Thomas Ayres (17th century): see above.
James West (1703-1772), politician and antiquary: lot 1865 in 'Bibliotheca Westiana' (1773).
William Hunter (1718-1783), physician and anatomist: purchased by Hunter at the West sale for £12.15.0 according to the annotated copy of the West sale catalogue in University of Glasgow Library (shelfmark Mu31-a.9).
University of Glasgow: Hunterian bequest 1807; Hunterian Museum bookplate and book label on front pastedown, with former shelfmark “Y.5.18”
Binding: England, 17th/18th-century reversed calf;  covers have a centre panel formed by blind rolls with a separate ornament at each outer corner of the panel;  rebacked with red morocco in the 18th century;  two black leather title labels on spine, the remaining five spine compartments gold-tooled with a “Gothic window” design;  dark blue endpapers;  sprinkled red-edged leaves;  the two front flyleaves each have a watermark resembling three partially superimposed letter “V” shapes with flourishes;  the two rear flyleaves have a watermark of a fleur-de-lys within a shield surmounted by a crown and with the letters “W R” suspended below the shield (cf. Heawood 1816 for a similar mark) and a countermark of the letters “H P”.   Size:  387 x 270 mm.
Leaf size: 376 x 259 mm.
Annotations: Brief marginal annotations in a 16th-century hand on the life of St Loye (Eligius) on [et]4r and [et]5r; brief chronological references in a 17th-century hand to the Emperors Decius, Heraclius and Theodosius on D2v and D3v; the woodcuts of the martyrdom of St Thomas à Becket on n8r and on B4r are scored through in ink, as is the accompanying text regarding the saint’s life and translation; signatures r2, [con]4, gg4, which are omitted by the printer, are supplied in manuscript “rij’, “[con]iiij”, “ggiiij” in an early hand; numerous pen trials on kk6v repeating the final line of text “By me wylyam Caxton” (with the “x” of Caxton misread as a “y” or “i”); the fifteen leaves supplied from a smaller copy incorporate frequent distinctive “nota” marks in the form of a flower with a spiral stem.
Decoration: Initials supplied in red throughout;  those in the fifteen supplied leaves are of a dark brownish-purple colour.
Imperfections: Wanting [*2-4].

Censored illustration and text in Legenda Aurea