Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Testament in "Englyshe"

The Newe Testament of our saviour Jesu Christe faythfully translated out of the Greke ... [Colophon: Imprynted at London by Rycharde Jugge, dwellynge in Paules churche yarde at the signe of the byble. Vvith the kynge his mooste gratious lycence, and privilege, forbyddynge all other men to print or cause to be printed, this, or any other Testament in Englyshe, [1552]]

This is the final page of the New Testament in English, edited from the Tyndale version and printed by the London-based printer and bookseller Richard Judge or Jugge (d. 1577), who had his workshop in St Paul’s churchyard. The text is a colophon giving Judge’s details and it refers to the licence he was given by King Edward VI (whose portrait appears on the title page) to print the New Testament in English. Above the colophon, Judge’s printer’s device is prominently displayed: in the medallion is a pelican feeding her children by pecking her chest (a well-known symbol of Christ), flanked by two women representing prudence and justice.

The publication itself is characterised by the use of large woodcuts and decorated initials. The Angus Library has two copies, but both have suffered damage over time. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A leading female book collector

The early nineteenth century was a period of feverish book collecting among the well-to-do in Britain and the rest of Europe. One important collection of books in England was that of a lady called Frances Richardson Currer of Eshton Hall in Yorkshire.
Thomas Dibdin, Earl Spencer’s librarian at Althorpe, thought she was the most important female book collector in Europe – not that there would have been that many! She also owned a substantial art collection and was a generous patron of local institutions.
The core of the collection at Eshton was formed by the botanical and historical books of Frances’ great-grandfather, the physician and botanist Richard Richardson (1663–1741). A catalogue made in the life-time of Frances Currer reveals her interest in works on religion. She never married and after her death in 1861, her library (consisting of an estimated 20,000 volumes) was sold by her heirs. The main sale, at Sotheby’s on 30 July 1862, raised about £6000. At a second sale, in 1916, more than £3700 was made. As a consequence, Currer’s books can be found all over the world, including one here at the Angus Library.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the nature of the Angus, it is a history of the Reformation written by Daniel Gerdes (mentioned in the 1833-catalogue of Currer's collection), published in the Dutch town of Groningen in 1744.

The reason we can be reasonably certain that this was Frances Currer’s copy of Gerdes’ work is that it has her bookplate pasted in at the front of the volumes (Franks 7624). The college at Regent's Park did not immediately buy the work when it was up for sale but, according to the note on the bookplate, was entered into the collection a few years later.
Which contemporary female author from Yorkshire used some of Frances Currer’s name as part of a pseudonym?

A catalogue of the library collected by Miss Richardson Currer, at Eshton Hall by C.J. Stewart. London: printed for private circulation only, MDCCCXXXIII [1833], p. 63
Franks bequest: a catalogue of British and American book plates bequested to the Trustees of the British Museum by Sir Augustus Wollaston Franks (1903)
Colin Lee, ‘Currer, Frances Mary Richardson (1785–1861)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/6951, accessed 31 May 2012]