Sturt’s Silver Penny

Some time ago (February and March 2015), I posted a couple of notes about ‘sombre’ bindings, one of the areas of interest here at ZHQ. The March post was mainly about the engraved, on silver plates, edition of a Common Prayer by John Sturt.

Sturt was apprenticed to White, himself a pupil of Loggan’s, was well known for his miniature work, “it was said that he could engrave the creed on a silver penny, a claim amply reinforced by his best-known works: engraved versions of the Book of Common Prayer and of Laurence Howell’s The Orthodox Communicant, published respectively by subscription in 1717 and 1721. The first of these books, executed on 188 silver plates adorned with borders and vignettes, had a frontispiece portrait of King George I, the lines for which were composed of the creed, the Lord’s prayer, the ten commandments, a prayer for the royal family, and Psalm 21, all inscribed in minute characters” (ODNB)

At the recent PBFA Cambridge book fair, we found an engraving of the Sturt Silver Penny for sale with James of Alastor Rare Books – – now happily ensconced inside the Common Prayer.

Sturt's Silver Penny

It is a remarkable piece of engraving, with the Lord’s Prayer in full within a circle with a diameter of 10mm. The engraving as a whole has a diameter of 50mm

Bulletin VIII

Bulletin VIII is now available – to view please click on the cover below. A short bulletin of ten items made up of membership cards and tickets, including a ticket to the coronation of George IV and a membership card of O’Connell’s Repeal Association.

We are hoping to have a new politics catalogue ready soon, as well as a cartes de visite catalogue

Bulletin VIII


Printed Handkerchiefs – Bulletin IV

The latest bulletin is now available – click on the cover below – it consists of fifty printed handkerchiefs, (well forty-nine and a bib), with a range of subjects covered.

Bulletin IV – Printed Handkerchiefs

Often quite large, these handkerchiefs record many of the major events of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, though they originated in the seventeenth century, with the earliest dated surviving plate printed handkerchief being John Adam’s map of England, produced by William Berry in 1685/6 (Schoeser, pg 4).

The advantages of a map printed on silk versus a map printed on paper are obvious, especially for a large city like London, where size would be an important issue. Travellers in London could also purchase handkerchiefs showing Hackney cab and coach fares (Schoeser, page 7).

Printed handkerchiefs also had a number of other roles. As well as being decorative and informative they were also educational, entertaining, often with children’s nursery rhymes and caricatures, satirical, political (there is a wonderful example commemorating Peterloo – alas not available here!) and also as souvenirs (Royalty being particularly popular).

Schoeser’s Printed Handkerchiefs, a booklet published to accompany an exhibition of handkerchiefs at the Museum of London in 1988, is an excellent short introduction to the subject.

The best collection of recent times was Christopher Lennox-Boyd’s, some of which was sold at Christies in March 2008, including a copy of the London map in the bulletin and the Peterloo handkerchief mentioned above

Bulletin II

In a desperate attempt to salvage something from the York book fair, we present Bulletin II, nine items, (all purchased at the fair), including a broadside on the treadmill (the original one in gaol and not the the modern one in the gym), a prescription signed by Guillotin (better, but incorrectly, known as the inventor of the Guillotine) and a warrant signed by George IV and Melbourne committing a patricidal vicar to a mental asylum

Bulletin II

New Feature – Bulletins!

Possibly too lazy to compile full catalogues, (which compared to many in the trade are only short lists anyway), here at ZHQ we have decided to embark on a new feature – which we have decided to call ‘Bulletins’.

These will be short lists, (yes, even shorter than the catalogues), of recent acquisitions and possibly some brief thematic lists (presuming we do actually acquire some books in the near future), which we hope will appear regularly and be of some interest to someone… With that in mind, behold the link to the first one!

Including food stamps, broadsides (one unrecorded), Shakespeare and Garibaldi and documents  organising Somerset with fears of Napoleonic invasion

Bulletin I

Bibliotheca Woogiana Book Plate

woogianaA recent addition to the biblio-ephemera collection here at ZHQ is the bookplate of Karl Christian Moritz Woog (1684-1760), who was a German evangelical Minister who apparently devoted himself to scientific work, and more importantly for us, ‘collected a handsome library’ (Muller – General German Biography). The library, wonderfully named Bibliothecae Woogianae, was sold at auction in Dresden in 1755, and as you would expect was largely theological in content, though there were works on history, philosophy, economics and medicine – it can be viewed here

Our example is unfortunately slightly cropped, losing the name of the designer and engraver, there is a better image here which shows both names. The bookplate was designed by Wernerin (probably Anna Maria Werner) and engraved by C.F. Boetius. It is, unfairly in my view, described by Hardy as “perhaps the most gloomy book-plate that it ever entered into the mind of man to conceive. A skeleton sits upon a coffin, or a coffin-shaped tomb, holding in his right hand a pair of scales and in his left a scythe; in the lighter balance of the scales is a scroll, bearing the inscription; ‘Dan v.25, Mene Tekel;’ in the background we see monuments, Lombardy poplars or cypress trees, and a distant landscape. This uninviting picture is contained in a frame, inscribed, in a medallion above, ‘E. Bibliotheca Woogiana’, and below, Nominor a libra: liberatus ne levis unquam Inveniar, praesta pondere, Christe, tuo‘ – a motto in which the owner makes a play upon the derivation of his name from wage, the German for a weight or balance, and asks the bestowal of divine weight on the day of soul-weighing” (W.J. Hardy, Book-Plates, 1893, pages 95-96)