Lydgate, John: The Life of Our Lady.

[Westminster]:  William Caxton, [1483]
Fol.   [*]2 a-l8 m6.   [96] leaves, the last blank.
ISTC il00409000;  Goff L409 (incl. L410);  BMC XI 139;  Bod-inc L-204;  DeR(C) 71:5.

Sheets a2.7 and a3.6 are known in a different setting, all recovered as fragments of printer’s waste from bindings.   Proctor and Bühler believed they represented an otherwise unknown edition, but it seems more likely that they were rejected as faulty after printing, and have been replaced by reprinted sheets in the complete copies known (BMC).

Shelf-mark: Sp Coll Hunterian Bv.2.20 (see main library entry for this item)
Provenance: John Ratcliffe (1707-1776), book collector:  lot 1218 in 'Bibliotheca Ratcliffiana' (1776).
William Hunter (1718-1783), physician and anatomist:  purchased by Hunter for £4.4.0 at the Ratcliffe sale according to the annotated BL 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 “A.7.17”.
Binding: England, mid 18th-century gold-tooled red goatskin;  covers have a dentelle border formed by 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: Bv.2.9, Bv.2.12, Bv.2.30;  gold-tooled spine with two green leather labels;  dark blue pastedowns (free endpapers removed?);  gilt-edged leaves.  See also Christie’s Wentworth sale (8 July, 1998), lot 5 (The doctrinal of sapience, Westminster: Caxton, [after 7 May 1489]), for a binding with identically tooled covers.   Size:  269 x 195 mm.
Leaf size: 262 x 187 mm.  
Annotations: “Nota” marks in ink on g1r and an unread word in the margin;  note in pencil on front flyleaf “[...]100 G”.
Decoration: None.
Imperfections: Wanting the two unsigned preliminary leaves and the blank leaf m6;  De Ricci(C) 71:5 notes that the missing leaves were perhaps added to a copy in the Pierpoint Morgan Library (De Ricci(C) 71:1).

 

Colophon in Lydgate, John: The Life of Our Lady