11 - 13 July 2000
MAJOR, John (1469-1550). Historia mairoris Britanniae. Paris: Jodocus Badius Ascensius, April 1521.
4° in 8's (202 x 136mm). Title with woodcut device of the Ascensius printing-house, woodcut criblé initials. (Title rehinged, extended at lower margin, and presumably supplied from another copy, also soiled at margins, g5 with repaired marginal tears affecting shoulder note on verso, some browning to quire i.) Late 19th-century brown morocco by Cape, panelled in blind with gilt arabesque centre-piece and floral corner-pieces, spine gilt-lettered and decorated (a few light scuff marks, extremities lightly rubbed). Provenance: William Morris, Kelmscott House (booklabel, Peterson D10:1); Henry Yates Thompson (bookplate, inscribed '195 -- n.e.e, Quaritch c. 1901').
FIRST EDITION, THE MORRIS-YATES THOMPSON COPY. Although he was a native of Scotland, the greater part of John Major's 'History of Greater Britain, both England and Scotland,' was written in Paris, where he taught arts and scholastic philosophy after graduating from the university. Major (or 'Mair') returned to Scotland in 1518, to occupy the post of principal regent at the university of Glasgow, but the fact that his history was published by Ascensius is an indication of how close his links remained with Paris, and with the printer who had published his earlier works. Adams M-228; Renouard Ascensius III, p. 62; Shaaber M-31.
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