CHAUCER, Geoffrey (1340?-1400). The Workes ... newlie printed, with divers addicions, whiche were neuer in print before: with the siege and destruccion of the worthy citee of Thebes, compiled by Jhon Lidgate, monke of Berie. Edited by John Stow (1525?-1605). London: Jhon Kyngston for John Wight, 1561.
2° in 6's (323 x 206mm). Black letter in double column. Title within woodcut border, the top of which represents a king (probably Edward VI) in council, with Grafton's device supported by two cherubs below [McKerrow & Ferguson 67]. Full-page woodcut surround to the sectional title of 'The Caunterburie tales' on +1r, repeated for sectional title to 'The Romaunt of the Rose' on 2A1r, 22 woodcut illustrations to 'The Prologues,' and woodcut illustration at head of 'The knightes tale' on B1r. Large and small historiated and ornamental initials, and other woodcut ornaments. (Title creased and soiled at margins, sectional title to the Canterbury Tales with deep closed tear through lower half of the woodcut, A2 of 'Prologues' with one closed tear to 8 lines of text in first column and another closed tear at lower margin, F2 with small paper repair to margin and closed tear touching on text, other marginal repairs, first and last leaves rather soiled at margins, occasional spots and stains, 2U2 with paper fault affecting one word in bottom line of text recto and verso, light ink staining to 3S2r, end leaves slightly affected by damp.) Contemporary crimson morocco gilt by Rivière, covers with gilt fillet and roll tool border enclosing a central olive wreath and elaborate corner-pieces composed of scroll-work and spreading olive branches, the remaining field semé with cinquefoils, spine gilt in seven compartments with raised bands, directly lettered in two, the remainder with repeated olive leaf motif, gilt edges. Provenance: Occasional ink underlining; James Rea (faded signature on title); C.W. Dyson Perrins (bookplate, sold Sotheby's, 9 June, 1947, lot 767, to Foyle for £80).
FIFTH COLLECTED EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. THE 22 CUTS IN THE PROLOGUE ARE FROM THE BLOCKS USED BY CAXTON IN HIS SECOND EDITION (1483), while the cut of the knight heading the text of the Canterbury Tales is from the undated edition of the Workes [c. 1551]. In the second issue, the title has a large woodcut of Chaucer's arms dated 1550, and probably because the blocks were so worn and archaic, the preliminary leaves were printed without any illustrations. Grolier states that 'very few copies containing them appear to exist.' This is the edition which, in Bartlett's view, was 'probably used by Shakespeare' who drew the story of Troilus and Cressida from Chaucer rather than the Iliad. Bartlett 206; Grolier Langland to Wither 42 (describing this edition as the 'fourth'); Pforzheimer 176; STC 5075.