Thursday, June 27, 2013

Intriguing Initials and a Year Book of Henry IV and V

This new acquisition is a Year Book containing cases from the reigns of Henry IV (reigned 1399-1412) and Henry V (1413-1422) and was printed in London by Thomas Wight in 1605.  It has a lovely contemporary calf binding with the initials "EC" blind-stamped onto the upper and lower covers.   Could this volume be from the library of the great English common lawyer, Sir Edward Coke?  The title is included in A Catalogue of the Library of Sir Edward Coke (Yale, 1950), and it indicates the three copies listed remain at the Holkham Library in Norfolk, England (Holkham has been home to the Coke family since 1609).  Those copies are all of earlier Richard Tottell editions of this book.  Perhaps this is a fourth? Apparently there are books in the Coke collection stamped with his initials, so I am curious if the stamps on this volume matches the others!

Regardless of its provenance, the Wight edition is a beautiful example of early 17th century English printing.  The photo above features the initials on the upper cover (zoomed in), and more photos can be viewed on our Facebook page