BALE, John (1495-1563, Bishop of Ossory). Illustrium Maioris Britanniae scriptorum ... summarium. Ipswich: John Overton [but in fact, Wesel: Dierck van der Straten], 31st July 1548.
Chancery 4o (202 x 150 mm). Collation: A4 +4 +24 (title, dedication to King Edward VI, index and various poems and epigrams); A-Z Aa-Zz Aaa-Qqq4 (text, colophon and errata), Rrr-Sss4 (addenda, final leaf blank). Roman and italic types. Title-woodcut of the author presenting his work to the King, 3 other woodcut illustration including a portrait of John Wycliffe, woodcut historiated and ornamental initials. Ruled in Red. (Title repaired at extreme top edge and slightly soiled, final quire loosening.)
CONTEMPORARY PARISIAN BINDING FOR THOMAS WOTTON: gold-tooled fawn polished calf, the covers very finely decorated with curved and interlacing strapwork and open flower tools painted black, a pair of small hatched tools, Wotton's coat-of-arms stamped in silver or blind in the center of both sides, gilt edges, (rebacked, later endpapers). Cloth folding case. Provenance: Thomas Wotton (1521-87), by inheritance to -- George Edward Herbert, Earl of Carnarvon (sale Sotheby's, 8th April 1919, lot 89) -- Lt. Col. W.E. Moss, author of The English Grolier 1941-42 (sale Sotheby's, 2nd March 1937, lot 69) -- Major J.R. Abbey (bookplate, sale Sotheby's, 21st June 1965, lot 107).
FIRST EDITION of Bale's most important work, THE FIRST PRINTED BIBLIOGRAPHY OF BRITISH AUTHORS and the first complete national bibliography of any country. The compiler based his catalogue on a manuscript left by John Leland and expanded it while in religious exile in Germany. The arrangement is closely modelled on Trithemius (see lot 4). Bale was one of the most steadfast and outspoken of scholarly English reformers, and it should perhaps cause no great surprise that the faithful protestant, Thomas Wotton, one of England's greatest Renaissance bibliophiles, should have owned two copies of this important bibliography (the other is in the Bodleian Library: Astor D3, see Fine Bindings from Oxford Libraries no. 57 and pl. XVI). Both were bound by Wotton's Parisian shop C (as distinguished by Miriam Foot, see Henry Davis Gift I, chapter 11), which also executed bindings on at least two books for Jean Grolier (Austin 89 and 351).
AN IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION COPY. The Grolier Club owns Edward VI's dedication copy of this book, which was exhibited by Breslauer and Folter at the Club in 1981 (Bibliography, its history and development 15). The Wotton binding has been reproduced repeatedly: see G.D.Hobson, Thirty Bindings plate XIII, and English Bindings in the Library of J.R. Abbey 8. BBB Wittockiana 1.