London: Joseph Masters, 1850. Octavo (8 7/8 inches tall), contemporary gilt-paneled vellum, bookseller's ticket, early owner's blind-stamps. Slight bumping, minor soiling to vellum boards. A near-fine copy. Item #1328
THE PRINTED RITUAL BOOKS OF THE ENGLISH USES
Unique copy—printed on vellum and bound in vellum—of this important Anglican liturgical bibliography. Thought to have been printed and bound as the copy of record for the Church of England. The H.P. Kraus copy—with his bookseller’s ticket.
Liturgical printing in both Catholic and Anglican churches utilized vellum in addition to paper in emulation of the medieval manuscript tradition. "As early printed books were nothing more than a mechanical imitation of manuscripts, even in printed missals, vellum was often used for the canon of the Mass, since the pages devoted to this were subject to constant handling" (D.B. Updike). Printed by Joseph Masters at the height of the Oxford Movement interest in the history of the English Church, this volume lists approximately one thousand breviaries, missals, antiphons, and books of hours printed primarily in the sixteenth century. A brief Addenda, contributed by the Rev. T. Lathbury, was received too late for insertion into the chronology and is appended at the rear.
This copy bears the bookseller's ticket of H.P. Kraus, one of the great antiquarian booksellers of the last century, and includes a mimeographed catalogue description, on letterhead from Kraus's shop on East 46th Street in New York. "We have not been able to find a record of any other copy of this work printed on vellum. This copy may have been printed and bound as the copy of record for the Church of England." With a brief Preface explaining the preliminary nature of the chronology ("it is nothing but a first attempt") and concluding with a request for additional data: "Any information on these heads with which the compiler may be favoured shall be carefully preserved, with a view of turning it to a good account at future time." It is unsurprising that this rare bibliography should have a vellum issue and no other vellum copy has been recorded. A unique copy with a wonderful provenance. D.B. Updike, "Some Notes on Liturgical Printing," The Dolphin, no. 2 (1935), pp. 208-16. Besterman (Fourth edition) 3579; Halkett & Laing III 374.