Monday, July 30, 2012

Hoyle's "sixth" edition and progressive ornament damage

(updated 9/29/2012 with link to online edition of Maslen on Richardson)

Last month I was the successful auction bidder for an early Hoyle I'm quite excited about. The book is the "sixth" edition of the treatise on whist, published by Thomas Osborne, which I referred to as Whist.6 when I discussed it here. I have other copies of this work in Osborne collections (discussed here), but this copy was separately published.

Whist.6 title page
Whist 6 title page verso
with Hoyle autograph

What I like about the book is that it is in its original binding. Previously, I had written:
What did these Osborne's individual treatises actually look like as published? I've seen a very few of them in original bindings. They were sold in drab blue unprinted paper wrappers. They were stab sewn through four holes in the paper, rather than sewn through the folds. In nearly all cases, surviving individual treatises have been rebound some time in the past quarter millennium and the original appearance is lost.
My new copy, despite some minor paper repairs, is a rare survival of the original binding and confirms my earlier statement: the unprinted blue wrapper and the four-hole stab sewing. The sewing adds weight to my contention here, that one of my Osborne collections consists of separately sold treatises bound by the customer.

front wrapper
detail of stab sewing

The full imprint of the book is "Printed for T. Osborne, at Gray's Inn; J. Hildyard, at Hork; M. Bryson, at Newcaste [sic]; and J. Leake, at Bath. M DCC XLVI." The imprint does not reveal who printed it, nor is there a colophon identifying the printer. I was able to identify the printer through his use of woodblock ornaments such as the one appearing in Whist.6 on the first page of text below.

ornament from Whist 1746
The ornament provides a clue as to the printer. For a very small number of printers, there have been published studies their ornament usage:
  • Maslen, Keith., The Bowyer Ornament Stock. Oxford, Oxford Bibliographical Society, Bodleian Library, 1973
  • Maslen, Keith., Samuel Richardson of London Printer. A Study of his Printing Based on Ornament Use and Business Accounts. Dunedin: University of Otago, 2001. As of 9/28/2012, the book is freely available online.
  • Goulden, R. J., The Ornament Stock of Henry Woodfall, 1719-1747 : a preliminary inventory London : The Bibliographical Society, 1988.
This ornament appeared in none of the books, so a lot of tedious work was required. I looked at reproductions of lots (and lots) of 18th century books where the printer had been identified. After some time, I was able to find the same ornament in a contemporary work, Life's Progress Through the Passions: or, the Adventures of Natura. London: Printed by T. Gardner, and sold at his Printing-Office. 1748. The author has been identified as novelist Eliza Haywood. The form of imprint "printed by" rather than "printed for" identifies Thomas Gardner as the printer of the Haywood work and thus as the printer of Hoyle's Whist.6. 

Osborne used Gardner to print many of the early Hoyle's and the same headpiece often appeared at the beginning of the text. What is striking is that we can see damage to the ornament over time. See the examples below, perhaps enlarging them in a separate window. In 1745 and 1746, it appears to be in good condition. In Whist.7, the ornament is fine at the beginning of the book, but when it was reused on page 72, the beginnings of a vertical crack are visible to the left of center. By March 1748, the crack is more pronounced in the "eighth" edition of Hoyle's Games. It is difficult to tell from the reproduction from Haywood's Life's Progress if there is any worsening by April. In 1750 the crack appears to be slightly larger in the "tenth" edition of Hoyle's Games.

Backgammon 1745
Whist "seventh" edition page 1
Whist "seventh" edition page 72
Hoyle's Games "eighth" edition March 1748
Haywood, Life's Progress, April 1748
Hoyle's Games "tenth" edition 1750
One could expand this study by identifying and looking at all of Gardner's output during this time period. I can only imagine how much work Maslen and Goulden must have done to produce ornament inventories for the printers they studied.

I noted earlier that the "tenth" edition was a reissue of the "eighth" with the same setting of type. There appears to be more damage apparent in the 1750 "tenth" edition as compared with the 1748 "eighth."  Obviously this suggest that the pictured copy of the "tenth" was printed later than the copy of the "eight." Was there a single continue printing operation or multiple impressions from the same set of type?

1 comment:

  1. David,

    Frustratingly, though I have a copy of Haywood's Life's Progress—and thought I'd be able to send you a large, clean image of the ornament—the title-leaf has been reinforced with a sheet of paper pasted to the verso: covering up the ornament!

    I checked my copy of her Epistles for the Ladies too, but this one does not use the ornament at all.

    Sorry about that.


    BTW: I so know of a bookseller who has another copy of Life's Progress, but you wouldn't get much change out of $2K.

    BTW also: getting a copy in wrappers is a real coup. Well done.