STATHAM, Nicholas. Abridgement of cases, in Anglo-French of the law courts, [Rouen]: Guillaume Le Talleur, for Richard Pynson, [ca. 1488-90]. Chancery 2° (299 x 215mm.), 176 leaves (of 190, lacking c4.5, f1.8, h2.7, and q8; c4.5 and f1 supplied in contemporary manuscript), 50 lines and headline, shoulder notes, Type: 2:111G, 6:85G, 7:81B, 11-line initial space (first text leaf torn with some loss, ink stain on 2 leaves, occasional light soiling and staining, several marginal tears, a few repaired, last leaf stained on verso and with marginal sections replaced), half crimson morocco by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, g.e., red morocco bookplate of W. A. Foyle, Beeleigh Abbey; 3 leaves supplied in contemporary manuscript, marginal annotations; Robert Hatton (16th century signature; the earliest men of this name in the published admissions reocrds of the Inns of Court are one of Clynton, Cambs., admitted Gray's Inn, February 1602, and one of Long Ditton, Surrey, admitted Middle Temple, 12 November 1606, Bencher 1635); [?sale Sotheby's, 14 February 1928, lot 289, £27 to Quaritch).
THE RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST PRINTED ABRIDGEMENT OF CASE-LAWS, printed by the first printer at Rouen (Richard Pynson, d. 1530) is documented as a glover and bookbinder before he is known as a printer; the Statham is the earliest book in which his name occurs: 'per me Ricardum Pynson'. He dominated the market for printed law books from the 1490s, from his first ventures into legal publication with present Statham and Littleton's Tenores novelli, both of which he commissioned from Guillaume Le Talleur. The type, which appears to have been specially designed for printing Le Talleur's two books for Pynson, is closely related to one of the Type of the St. Alban's press (89B); both superficially resemble Veldener's type 4:89B (cf. N. Barker 'The St. Albans press: the first punch-cutter in England and the first native type-founder?', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, 8, 19179, 257-78).
Necessary to navigate through the extensive material of case-law, the abridgement contains cases decided in the Courts between the reign of Edward I and the end of that of Henry VI. RARE. In the past 25 years, only the Broxbourne copy has been offered at auction. HC(Add) 15092; BMC VIII, 390 (IB. 43928; C.11.c.12); CIBN S-375; Duff 374; STC 23238; Goff S-689.