Higden, Ranulphus: Polycronicon.

Translated by Johannes de Trevisa.   Edited, with a continuation 1358-1460, by William Caxton.

[Westminster]:  William Caxton, [between 2 July and 8 Oct. 1482]
Fol.   a-b8 C4 1-288 χ2 29-488 494 508 52-558.  [21], I-CCCCxxviij, [1] leaves (a1, 1/1, 1/5, χ2, 55/8 i.e. ff. 1, 21, 25, 246, 450 blank).
ISTC ih00267000;  GW 12468;  Goff H267;  BMC XI 127 (IB. 55060);  Bod-inc H-121;  DeR(C) 49.14.

GIP number: H28
Shelf-mark: Sp Coll Hunterian Bv.2.9 (see main library entry for this item)
Note: Partial stub showing between leaves 29/2 and 29/3;  leaf 29/3 is of a lesser height than the rest (see Leaf size) and is also the only leaf in the quire to have rubrication – suggesting that this leaf derives from a different copy
Provenance: John Ratcliffe (1707-1776), book collector:  lot 1669 in Bibliotheca Ratcliffiana (1776).
William Hunter (1718-1783), physician and anatomist:  purchased by Hunter for £5.15.6 at the Ratcliffe sale according to the annotated British Library copy of the Ratcliffe sale catalogue (shelfmark 822.d.6).
University of Glasgow:  Hunterian bequest 1807;  Hunterian Museum bookplate on front pastedown, with former shelfmark “M.5.9”.
Binding: England, mid 18th-century gold-tooled red goatskin;  covers have a dentelle border formed by an outer saw-tooth roll and repeated impressions of an arched tool incorporating an insect (bee or wasp?) with a backward-looking bird perched on top of each arch;  the same border appears on the covers of three other English incunabula previously owned by Ratcliffe and now in the Hunterian Library:  (1) John Lydgate, The Life of Our Lady.  [Westminster]:  William Caxton, [1483] (shelfmark Bv.2.20, GIP number L42);  (2) Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury tales.  [London]:  Richard Pynson, [between June 1491 and 13 Nov. 1492] (shelfmark Bv.2.12, GIP number C33/2);  (3) Gossuin de Metz, Myrrour of the worlde.  [Westminster]:  William Caxton, [ca. 1489-90] (shelfmark Bv.2.30, GIP number G41);  gold-tooled spine;  dark blue pastedowns;  gilt-edged leaves.  See also Christie’s Wentworth sale (8 July, 1998), lot 5 (Le doctrinal de sapience, Westminster: Caxton, [after 7 May 1489]), for a binding with identically tooled covers.   Size:  291 x 205 mm. 
Leaf size: 275 x 196 mm - except for leaf 29/3 whose height is 270 mm.
Annotations: Copious marginal annotations in English in 16th and 17th-century hands; frequent nota marks; occasional manicules; royal genealogies on 40.2v and 41.1v.
Decoration: Leaf 29/3 is rubricated and includes a marginal annotation in red on its recto;  quire 37 rubricated;  calligraphic initial “H” supplied in black ink on 53/4v;  pen-and-ink drawing of a lion rampant on the recto of the blank leaf 1/1.
Imperfections: Wanting quire a8 and leaves b1-2, b7-8, 55/7, 55/8;  leaf 55/6 mutilated and wanting approximately half of its printed text.  The text of the missing leaves a2-8 and b1-2 (Prohemye and Table) is supplied in manuscript in an 18th-century hand on nine leaves inserted at the beginning of the book;  the partially missing text of leaf 55/6 is supplied in manuscript in the same hand on a piece of paper feathered-on to the mutilated leaf;  the opening lines of the text (but not Caxton’s Epilogue and colophon) of the recto of the missing leaf 55/7 are supplied in the same hand on the recto of a single leaf inserted at the end.

Manuscript proheme in Higden, Ranulphus: Polycronicon