Confessio amantis.

Accession number: 
PML 689
Gower, John, 1325?-1408.
Westminster : William Caxton, 2 September 14[8]3.
[9], 2-4, [12], xvii-CCxi, [1] leaves 31 cm. (fol.)
Credit Line: 
Purchased with the Bennett collection, 1902.

Title from introduction to the table (leaf 2r): This book is intituled confessio amantis / that is to saye in englysshe the confessyon of the lover maad and compyled by Johan Gower squyer borne in walys in the tyme of kyng richard the second...
Colophon (leaf C5v): Enprynted at Westmestre by me Willyam Caxton and fynysshed the ii day of Septembre the fyrst yere of the regne of Kyng Richard the thyrd / the yere of our lord a thousand /CCCC/lxxxxiii/.
Printed in Caxton's types 4:95B and 4:95(100)B*.
Collation: ⁸; 1⁸ b-z⁸ [et]⁸ A-B⁸ C⁶: 222 leaves, leaves i, viii, 1/1, and C6 blank.
Paper format: Median folio
Richard III became king in 1483, thus the printed date in the colophon '1493' must be erroneous.
PML copy leaf dimensions: 30.1 x 21 cm.
PML copy missing 4 leaves: i/viiii, 1/1, and C6 (blanks). Leaves ii/vii, iii/vi and iiii/v replaced by Quaritch in 1873 from 2 imperfect copies: wormhole patters match in bifolia ii.vii and but are not found in iv.v (which may be original with rest of work).

19th-century diced red calf with gilt armorial of Perkins and gilt-tooled doublures over boards (31.5 x 23 cm), sewn on 5 supports. Plain paper fly leaves; gilt edges.

Hand decoration: Rubricated, red lombards and paragraph marks (backwards-P type). Annotations: English notations throughout, probably 17th/18th-century, including a drawing of 3 figures (leaf m4v). Left side of first column did not print, corrected in manuscript (leaf u5v). Inscriptions: Wyllyam (leaf m6r), Thomas Simfourd (leaf o4r), "Ryght worshypefull master I hartely recommend me to you trustyng in god you are in good helth" (leaf p5r), Latin notes on Dionysius the tyrant (leaf z2r), note on Shakespeare's Pericles of Tyre (leaf A1v), Thomas Hanson (leaves A6r and C2r), "God save quene mayrye, 16th century (leaf A8r), "p[er] me Avery had a son" (leaf C5v). Note at colophon (leaf C5v) that Simon [i.e. John] Islip was first to bring a printing press to England and set it up at Westminster in the year 1474: copied from Francis Burges, "Some Observations on the Use and Original of the Noble Art and Mystery of Printing, Norwich, 1701," reprinted in The Harleian Miscellany, vol. III, London, 1809, p. 155.

Henry Perkins (1778-1855), armorial binding, bequeathed to Algernon Perkins (d. 1870); his sale, Gadsden, Ellis & Co., 3 June 1873, lot 429, to Quaritch for £245; Bernard Quaritch, General Catalogs of 1874, no. 18446, 1880, no. 12560, 1884 (355), no. 21844, and 1887 (vi), no. 37902, and Odd vol. misc. 10, no. 19; Richard Bennett (1849-1930), armorial bookplate (front pastedown), bibliographic notes, erased (first fly leaf verso), and price code rdw/-/- less [?] +com, title and table 6 leaves cleaning etc. and [?] wd/we/- r/a/e (second front fly leaf recto), purchased 22 April 1896 (perhaps Sotheby's, J. Tobin Bush sale?); Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), purchased with the Bennett collection, 1902.