SHEPHERD'S KALENDAR -- Here begynneth the kalender of shepardes. Newely augmented and corrected. [London: William Powell, 1556].
2° (245 x 176mm). Collation: A-N8. 100 leaves (of 104, lacking A1, M7 [supplied in 18th-century pen-and-ink facsimile] and N7-8), M8 misbound after N4. Printed in red and black. 24 large woodcuts and numerous smaller woodcuts, including woodcut borderpieces and ornaments. (M5,6,8 and N1-6 defective with loss supplied in 18th-century pen-and-ink facsimile, calendar leaves shaved, margins reinforced in first leaf, several corners renewed with slight loss, repaired tear in G8, stained, woodcut showing human anatomy somewhat censored). 18th-century panelled calf (rebacked preserving backstrip, rubbed). Provenance: Sara Baron (18th-century verse acrostic spelling her name on C6r, signed inscription on verso) -- J.B. (initials on first leaf) -- 18th-century notes on the edition on front flyleaf -- E. Van Dam (bookseller of Lewes, Sussex, description dated 4 December 1946, offering the volume for £100) -- William Foyle (bookplate; his sale Christie's London, 11 July 2000, lot 391).
A RARE EDITION of the Shepherd's Kalendar. As a compendium of useful advice, it is particularly rich on medical information, ranging from describing things both good and evil for different parts of the body, to recipes for treating particular ailments, such as the plague, to naming the bones in the human body, to giving rules for blood-letting. Other practical information contained within it is a perpetual calendar, woodcuts showing phases of the moon, description of the planets and astrology, proverbs, and folk wisdom. The soul is not neglected, and the tortures of hell are both described in words and illustrated by woodcuts. An explication of the Ten Commandments, Lord's Prayer and Creed, and individual meditations cater for one's spiritual needs. It is particularly well-illustrated. The majority of the woodcuts in the present copy are those first used by Vérard at Paris in his editions in French of the L'art de bien vivre (1492), Le Compost et Kalendrier des bergiers (1493) and his two English editions of the Kalendar.
All editions of the Shepherd's Kalendar are extremely rare. The first edition, printed by Vérard at Paris in 1503, is extant in three copies (two imperfect) and a small fragment, and subsequent editions, of which STC distinguishes 18, most often survive in unique copies. The present copy is no exception and may represent a distinct issue. The majority of its leaves (B2-C1, C3, C5-M4) are identical to an edition printed by William Powell in 1556 (STC 22412), but other leaves (A-B1, C2, C4), while nearly identical, are in a different type-setting, possibly that of T. Este, c. 1570 (STC 22415); yet other leaves (M5-N) appear to belong to an edition printed by Julian Notary c.1518 (STC 22410). The interrelationship of these three editions deserves closer study. They share the same collation and the same woodcuts (with additions), and they are found similarly mixed in a copy at the Huntington Library. On the earliest English editions of the Kalendar, see H. Oskar Sommer, The Kalendar of Shepherdes, the edition of Paris 1503 in photographic facsimile, a faithful reprint of R. Pynson's edition of London 1506. London: 1892. THIS IS THE ONLY COPY OF ANY ENGLISH EDITION SOLD AT AUCTION SINCE 1927. STC 22412-22415-22410.