HENRY VIII (1509-1547). Assertio septem sacramentorum aduersus Martin Lutherum. London: Richard Pynson, 12 July 1521.
4° (217 x 152mm). Collation: [a] b-t4 v2. Roman letter, 28 lines. Woodcut title border [McKerrow and Ferguson 8], 5 white-on-black woodcut historiated initials of 8 and 6 lines. (Several wormholes affecting lower border of title and lower blank margin of following leaf, single wormhole persisting at lower margin to end of quire o, t2 holed with partial loss to two words of text.) 19th-century calf, preserving the original blind-panelled calf covers by John Reynes, both covers containing the Royal arms and Tudor rose in a double panel divided by a floral roll, the order of the panels reversed on rear cover, gilt edges. Provenance: Henry Marshall (contemporary signature on title) -- R. Colbrand (signed bibliographical note at head of title, dated 1660, stating that he has seen a copy signed by Henry VIII in the Vatican library) -- J. Greene -- P. Thompson (early ownership signatures on title) -- Sylvester Lord Glenbervie (armorial bookplate) -- Beriah Botfield, acquired from Payne & Foss for £8-12-0 (P. & F. Acquisitions p. 48, with a note stating that the firm's commission of 7½ per cent was 12/-).
FIRST EDITION of a work marking 'a critical moment in the history of the English Reformation' (PMM). Henry VIII dedicated it to Leo X, and as one of the lasting ironies of history earned the title 'Defender of the Faith' as his reward. The two panels correspond to Oldham Blind Panels HE.26 and RO.21, and Weale Bookbindings in the South Kensington Museum R.106. The Royal arms are supported by a dragon and greyhound, with the sun and moon in the upper corners and shields of St. George and the City of London. The Tudor rose is surrounded by a ribbon bearing the legend 'hec rosa vertutis de celo missa sereno Eternii florens regia sceptra feret,' supported by two angels, with the pomegranate of Katharine of Aragon at the foot. On the front cover, the Royal arms surmount the rose, but on the rear cover this order is reversed, and the arms appear in the bottom panel. Hobson Blind-stamped panels in the English Book-Trade, pp. 32-34, discusses the history of these panels, speculating that they were first owned by Richard Pynson, and arguing that they were used for presentation copies of Henry VIII's book. This is born out by the earlier opinion of Payne & Foss who describe this copy as 'one of Henry VIII's presentation copies with the Arms of England on the sides.' Oldham is convinced that the binder of 'the eleven now known copies of the Assertio with these panels was Reynes, for four of them bear his signed roll.' Lowndes p. 1038; PMM 50; STC 13078.