THE LIFE OF SAINT EDMUND, KING AND MARTYR

Limited edition, number 217 of 1,010 copies printed. Bound for the publisher by Smith Settle of Otley in full Nigerian goastskin with leather onlays over bevelled boards, blocked with a design by David Eccles. The spine with three raised bands, gilt decorated compartments and leather title label. All edges gilt. Handmade light-brown laid-paper endpapers from the Fabriano Mill, Italy. Red silk ribbon page marker bound in. The manuscript meticulously reproduced in full colour and printed on Furioso paper. With separate commentary/transcript volume, bound in publisher's original dark green cloth with titles and decoration in gilt to the upper board and spine. Both contained within the original custom fitted dark green cloth solander box with leather title label to the spine. A lovely fine copy, the binding square, firm and bright. The contents with a couple of inconsequential minor scratches to the fore-edge of the textblock are otherwise immaculate throughout. Both the commentary volume and solander box are in similarly fine condition.

A beautiful limited edition facsimile of this wonderfully illustrated early fifteenth-century manuscript documenting the lives of Saints Edmund and Fremund (manuscript MS Harley 2278 in the British Library). As the publisher's description relates of the manuscript's genesis and history: "On Christmas Eve 1433, the young King Henry VI arrived at the abbey Bury St. Edmunds, one of the largest religious foundations in fifteenth-century England. He remained there until Easter and at the end of his stay was admitted to the abbey's confraternity. To cement the abbey's relationship with the king, Abbot William Curteys conceived the idea of commemorating Henry's visit with a 'life' of the Anglo-Saxon king, St. Edmund, the patron saint of the abbey. The man charged with the task of translating the 'life' of St. Edmund was John Lydgate, a monk at the abbey and the preeminent poet of the fifteenth century. It is hard to overstate the importance of the resulting manuscript, both as a monument to the development of the English language, and for its illustrations - 120 images, forming narrative sequences integrated to form a coherent visual parallel to the text and with a careful fidelity to detail. The completed manuscript that was presented to the young king remained in his library until after his deposition, and although it left royal hands for a time, it reappears in the inventories of the library of Henry VIII. It is now in The British Library."

Stock code: 20281

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Published:

London: The Folio Society.
2004

Category

Literature
Non-fiction
Manuscripts
Bindings
Recent Acquisitions
Religion
Private Press / Fine Printing
History / Military
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