[The Canterbury Tales].

Accession number: 
PML 674
Chaucer, Geoffrey, -1400.
[Westminster] : [William Caxton], [about 1476-1477]
[374] leaves ; 28 cm. (fol.)
Credit Line: 
Purchased with the Bennett collection, 1902.

Title and imprint from ISTC.
Printed in Caxton's Westminster type 2:135B.
Date based on paper stocks, see BMC XI 104.
Collation: [1-32⁸ 33¹⁰; 34-39⁸ 40⁶ 41-46⁸ 47⁶]: 374 leaves, leaves [1]/1, [33]/10, and [47]/6 blank.
Paper format: Chancery folio
Caxton's Canterbury Tales belongs to group b of the manuscript recension family (BMC).
PML copy leaf dimensions: 27.2 x 19.2 cm.
PML copy missing 5 leaves: leaves [1]/2 and [1]/7 (supplied in facsimile), as well as leaves [1]/1, [33]/10, and [47]/6 (blanks).
PML copy with leaves [18]/3.6 bound before [18]/4.5, and leaves [32]/4.5 reversed and bound before [32]/3.6 (i.e., leaf order: 5, 3, 6, 4).

Modern gilt-tooled full brown goatskin over boards (28.5 x 20.5 cm), sewn on 5 supports by Charlotte Ullman, 1963. Marbled paper pastedowns and fly leaves, with plain paper fly leaves; decorative endbands; edges stained yellow.

Hand decoration: Rubricated, red lombards, headlines identifying tale, and paragraph marks (wedge- and C-types); likely by rubricator associated with Caxton's shop. Annotations: Some contemporary marginal notations, predominatnly washed and illegible (slightly visible under UV); extensive inscription, slightly visible under UV (end of Sir Topas, leaf [33]/9v); "blisful martir" crossed out (Prologue, leaf [2]/7r), also all references to the pope; note at beginning of Miller's Tale, abraded (leaf [7]/8r); some underlining in text. Modern alpha-numeric quire signatures, mostly erased/washed.

15th-century inscription: "To my cosyn [?] John" (leaf [1]/6v); Thomas Blount, of Gillentor(?), gifted to: Jane Cornwallis, inscription: "Thus ys Jane Cornewaills Booke wyffe to Richarde Cornewaills Esquier, be the gyfte of Thom[a]s Blount of Gillentor" (tipped to rear endleaf 5 recto); Joshua Eddowes (1724-1811), bookseller of Shrewsbury; Thomas Fownes, armorial bookplate (front pastedown) and bibliographic note (tipped to rear endleaf 5 recto), purchased from Mr. Eddowes; Kenrick F. Saunders (1764-1853), armorial bookplate (front pastedown), through inheritance to: R.E. Saunders; his auction, Sotheby's, 18 June 1896, lot 1182, to Quaritch for £1800; Bernard Quaritch, cat. 175 (1897), no. 556; Richard Bennett (1849-1930), armorial bookplate (front endleaf 1 recto) and bibliographical notes: No. 302, 2/2/1900 and price code: waoy/-/- (pasted to rear endleaf 6 recto); Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), purchased with the Bennett collection, 1902.