Lot 943
  • 943

[Commelin, Jerome]

4,000 - 6,000 USD
8,125 USD
bidding is closed


  • [Commelin, Jerome]
  • Rerum Britannicarum id est Angliae, Scotiae, vicinarumque insularum ac regionum scriptores vetustiores ac praecipui. Heidelberg: [apud Hieronymum Commelinum] 1587
  • ink, paper, leather
Folio (12 3/4 x 7 3/4 in.; 324 x 196 mm). Printer's device on title, woodcut decorated initials. Manuscript inscription on the last page: "Jun: 19 1640. Imprimatur S. Wykes. Nicholas Bourne. This is entred/Hen: Walley." Early seventeenth-century calf with brass clasps, gilt arms of Sir Simonds d'Ewes on both panels, spine with gilt arms of Hugh, Duke of Westminster, on the lower compartment (added later); spine and joints restored. 


Sir Simonds d'Ewes (armorial binding) — Charles Jones (manuscript signature on title page "Carolus Jones") — Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster (crest on spine and bookplate). acquisition: Bernard Quaritch, 1977 


Adams C819

Catalogue Note

Sir Simonds d'Ewes' copy, with the Stationers' company's "deposit certificate" on the final leaf. 

First edition of the first book published by the great scholar Jerome Commelin (Hieronymus Commelinus). It compiles texts of Bede, Gildas, Froissart, William of Newburgh and Geoffrey of Monmouth.

This copy was part of the library of d'Ewes sold to Robert Harley in 1703 for £500, and the manuscripts passed with the Harleian Manuscripts to the British Library. Printed books from this library are rare especially with the original clasps.

On the verso of the last leaf, are the signatures of S. Wykes and Nicholas Bourne, wardens of the Stationers' Company and Henry W[h]alley, a clerk at the Company. The Company was a trade guild given a royal charter in 1557 to regulate the various professions associated with the publishing industry (printers, bookbinders, booksellers, publishers...) in England. The books were inscribed in the Stationers' Register to allow publishers to document their right to produce a particular printed work, and constituted an early form of copyright law.

D'Ewes probably projected to publish a new edition of the Rerum Britannicarum. The Stationers' Company was mostly used for manuscripts and these inscriptions are of the utmost rarity on printed books.