Monday, February 13, 2012

Revisiting a Scottish Hoyle

(updated June 8, 2012 to correct errors relating to the text of the "twelfth" edition)

I previously discussed an undated Hoyle printed by Mundell and Son in Edinburgh. I noted that Julian Marshall thought the book was printed after the "twelfth" London edition (first advertised December 23, 1760), but before the "thirteenth" (December 13, 1763). Since I wrote that essay, I have documented changes to text of the whist treatise, and in light of that work, have reexamined the Scottish Hoyle. Perhaps I should have read Marshall more carefully. I now realize that Marshall is certainly correct.

As I noted earlier, the "twelfth" edition adds new chapters 17 and 18; "New Cases at Whist, never publish'd 'till 1760" and "New Laws at Whist." Chapter 22 contains the old laws. It also adds final pages 213-4, containing "two new cases at whist added since this book was printed off." Those cases are nowhere mentioned in the table of contents. The "thirteenth" moves the cases presented on pages 213-4 into chapter 17 adding "a case of curiosity, first publish'd 1763."

Scottish Hoyle contents
(click to enlarge)
The Edinburgh edition is textually identical to the "twelfth", but does update the table of contents, pictured at right, to include the new cases on the final leaf. Absent is the fourth case of "curiosity" from the "thirteenth" edition of 1763, confirming that the book was printed between 1760 and 1763.

The physical structure is worthy of discussion. The gatherings could not be more straightforward, A-S6. The format is more open to question. With the gatherings in sixes, it could be a 12o (twelve leaves to a sheet) or an 18o. Until recently ESTC recorded it as 12o, but I persuaded them to change it.

My arguments were: (1) The book is smaller than a typical 12o, suggesting more leaves per sheet. (2) The chain lines are vertical, rather than horizontal, as would be expected in a 12o. (3) The few watermarks I could find were located in the bottom gutter, rather than at the top of the page, as would be expected in a 12o. (4) Most importantly, in a copy of mine, deckles, the feather edge of handmade paper, are occasionally visible. As we shall see, the pattern and location of the deckles suggest an 18o format.

In the picture below, deckles are visible at the outer edge of leaf R6v (the back of sixth leaf in gathering R). Deckles are also visible at the bottom of that leaf as well as on the bottom of leaf S1r. 

Deckles on R6 and S1
(click to enlarge)

In the book overall, deckles are visible in all gatherings at the bottom of conjugate leaves 1 and 6. In some gatherings (L, O and R), the outer edge is deckled on leaves 4, 5 and 6. Note that the outer deckle appears every third gathering: L, skipping M and N, O, skipping P and Q, then R. The sheet must have been imposed as follows (modified from Savage, figure 62, page 354):

        { R4v  R3r  | S4v  S3r  | A4v  A3r
        { R5r* R2v* | S5r* S2v* | A5r* A2v*
        { R6v  R1r  | S6v  S1r  | A6v  A1r

What does all that mean? This is one side of a printed sheet, consisting of gatherings R, S, and A, totaling 18 leaves. Of course the other side would be printed as well. The dashed horizontal and vertical lines indicate cuts. The asterisks indicate pages that would be printed upside down—I don't know how to render that in HTML. I haven't indicated the folds, but you can imagine that the four-leaf pieces are folded first horizontally and then vertically, leaving the L1r in front and L6v in back. The two-leaf pieces are folded once vertically and inserted into the middle of the corresponding gathering. Get out a sheet of paper and try it!

Back to the deckles, which I indicate with squiggly lines. You'll see that the bottom of leaves 1 and 6, ones that are deckled in my copy, are in fact at the edge of the paper. Similarly, leaves 4, 5, and 6, which are deckeled in every third gathering, are at the left edge of the paper for one of the three gatherings.

Books will not generally show deckles—as part of binding, all edges can be trimmed, sometimes severely. I am fortunate to have a copy that shows the deckles and establishes conclusively that the book is an 18o. The deckle is continuous across leaves S1 and S6, indicating that the new cases S6 were not inserted later. It is also clear that the book was printed B-D on one sheet, then E-G , H-K (the letter J is not used), L-N, O-Q with the last-printed sheet consisting of R, S, and A. The table of contents is in gathering A, so that the new case and the change to the table of contents were all in the last-printed sheet.

  • Marshall, Julian, "Books on Gaming", Notes and Queries, 7th S. IX. February 22, 1890, p142.
  •  Savage, William. Dictionary of The Art of Printing. London: Longman, Brow, Green, and Longmans, 1841.

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