Statuta Angliae: Nova statuta, in law French. [London: William de Machlinia, 1484].
Chancery 2° (261 x 180mm). Collation: A10 B-E8 a-z8 \\i \\j8 aa-nn8 oo8(5+6,-5+1 and 5+2) pp-qq6 (A1 blank, A1-E7r index, E7v-8 blank, a1 blank, a2-k5v statutes for Edward III, k6 blank, k7r-r6r statutes for Richard II, r6v blank, r7r-x6v statutes for Henry IV, x7 blank, x8r-\\i6r statutes for Henry V, \\i6v blank, \\i7r-kk2v statutes for Henry VI, kk3 blank, kk4r-qq5v statutes for Edward IV, qq6 blank). 370 leaves. 40 lines and headline. Type: 2:120G (headings, headlines, chapter numbers), 4:100B. Decorated by a contemporary English hand, possibly in Machlinia's shop: 6- to 10-line initials in blue or yellow with red penwork decoration opening the statutes of each reign, 2- to 4-line lombard initials in red. (Some unobtrusive light dampstaining, affecting upper margin in first quire, blue lightly washed.) Early 19th-century red straight-grained morocco gilt, side with roll-tooled border, spine compartments tooled with repeat horizontal rolls, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges, purple silk ribbon marker. Provenance: Thomas Leeds (contemporary inscription shaved) -- Louvain, and then Liège, Jesuit English College (early 17th-century inscription: Collegii Anglicani Louaniensis [altered to Leodii] Soctis J[esu]) -- one contemporary marginal annotation -- Beriah Botfield, acquired from Payne and Foss for £15 (P. & F. Acquisitions, p.84).
FIRST EDITION of the Acts of Parliament from 1 Edward III to 22 Edward IV. It was the largest production from the press of John Machlinia who, together with John Lettou, was England's first legal printer. Machlinia had each copy decorated in his shop, with a coloured initial highlighting the beginning of each reign in the volume (cf. Baker, 'The books of the common law', History of the Book in Britain, Hellinga and Trapp eds., pp.411-432, and plate 3.4, reproducing a page from the present copy).
Machlinia and Lettou adopted the unusual practice of using a larger type (here Caxton type 3:135G) to serve as a bold face for emphasis. In order to set it solid with their small text type, it was necessary to cast a small fount of the large type on a smaller body, excluding descenders, specifically for this purpose (cf. Partridge, 'The use of William Caxton's Type 3 by John Lettou and William de Machlinia in the printing of their Yearbook 35 Henry VI, c.1481-1482', British Library Journal, 9, 1983, pp. 56-65).
A FINE COPY; the Nova Statuta 'must be considered no mean acquisition to the library of the legal antiquary' (Dibdin, Spenceriana, IV, p.386).
Quire oo, originally planned as 8 leaves, was expanded to 12 by the insertion of a 6-leaf quire, with the first 2 blank leaves cut away (whose stubs remain in the Botfield copy) in order to correct an omission of text. HC 14993; CIBN S-388; Duff 378; STC 9264.