This paper discusses the authorship and audience of England’s first printed recipe book which is entirely dedicated to the practice of limning. A number of older sources show congruency with A Very Proper Treatise (1573), both in manuscript and print, and in the various languages it was transmitted. The contribution of the printer–publisher Richard Tottel is that of a compiler. I have identified three categories of public or audience: the intended audience (promoted by the book itself); circumstantial audience (the clients of the bookshop); and actual audience (owners that have been traced through material investigation of individual book copies and archival research). Among this audience, there is a strong correlation between heraldic and artistic interests, which matches the intention of the compiler, who created a book that reaches out to individuals with an interest in painting, writing, and heraldry.
Introduction: Positioning LimningDOI
This paper discusses the authorship and audience of England’s first printed recipe book which is entirely dedicated to the practice of limning. Richard Tottel printed the first edition of A Very Proper Treatise in 1573.1 It offers technical instructions on painting in books. The title A Very Proper Treatise describes the intention of the book, to “briefly sett forthe the arte of Limming” (Fig. 1).2 This objective is repeated in the abbreviated or running title at the top of each page: The Arte of Limming. The same title, The Arte of Limning, was used later, around the turn of the century by the portrait miniature painter Nicholas Hilliard.3 His manuscript, in the words of Mary Edmond, is "one of the most important documents in the history of English art”.4 Hilliard, followed by fellow limner Edward Norgate, referred to portrait miniature painting as “limning”.5 Richard Haydocke gave an explanation of the material quality and technique of limning: “limming [is] where the colours [pigments] are … mixed with gummers, but laied with a thicke body and substance: wherein much arte and neatnesse is required.”6 A Very Proper Treatise addresses the preparation of paper and pigment for painting in books, but also contains specific directions for portraiture and the rendering of flesh and hair.7 In fact, the book treats figurative elements in coats of arms. Considering the meanings used in the various written works that talk about limning, one can see that this term was charged with more than one meaning. Limning indicated the practice of book illuminations as well as portrait miniatures.
Specialist Artistic Knowledge and the Dynamics of its TransmissionDOI
A Very Proper Treatise promises in the title that it will (Fig. 1):
teacheth the order in drawing & tracing of letters, […] & the maner how to make sundry sises or grounds to laye siluer or golde uppon, […] & the waye to temper golde & siluer […] and diuerse kyndes of colours to write or to lime withall […] & howe to vernish yt when thou hast done.8
The various recipes describe the materials and methods for executing a limning—practical instructions that pertain to specialist knowledge.DOI
Specialist artistic knowledge, as with any area of learning restricted to a select group of practitioners, precludes widespread transmission of its precepts. It was something that originally belonged to the context of practitioners and professionals, often tied to a workshop and embedded in a network. The continuation and longevity of a professional enterprise benefitted by protecting its knowledge from competitors and preserving “secrets” within a hierarchical and often hereditary workshop system.9 A Very Proper Treatise was a significant contributor to wider dissemination.10DOI
Visual communication of artistic knowledge can be easily conveyed through demonstration, a viable technique to transmit knowledge. Not everything an artist does can be articulated through the spoken or written word. Demonstrations come in handy to communicate certain subtleties. A part of practical knowledge transmission can be categorised as “silent” or “tacit” knowledge, as determined by Michael Polanyi in his body of work. An example is facial recognition. Polanyi says:
we can know more than we can tell. This fact seems obvious enough; but it is not easy to say exactly what it means. Take an example. We know a person’s face, and can recognize it among a thousand, indeed among a million. Yet we usually cannot tell how we recognize a face we know. Most of this knowledge cannot be put into words.11
In addition to the oral and demonstrational mode of conveying information, a significant body of historical accounts are found in textual sources. Texts containing practical knowledge are mostly compilations. They are rarely the reflection of the authentic work of a single author, or practitioner. The copying of texts was a common early modern practice. Not only does the number of surviving copied manuscripts and printed books bear witness to this practice, it was also actively promoted as a didactic means.12DOI
This can be illustrated through an undated work by Giovanni Battista Volpato (1633–1706) Modo da tener nel dipingere.13 This seventeenth-century fictional dialogue has an educational function; two authors in particular are recommended: Giovanni Battista Armenini and Raffaello Borghini. Armenini (1525–1609), published De’ veri precetti della pittura (1587), a work expounding on the basics of the painting trade and iconography.14 Borghini (ca. 1540–1588) is known for his work Il riposo (1584), which teaches the basics of painting and sculpture.15 These two important sixteenth-century treatises are part of the canon of textual sources about practical knowledge. Volpato’s didactic dialogue indicates that an apprentice was encouraged to copy these two authors as part of the learning process in a seventeenth-century studio.16 Copying texts was considered to have a pedagogical value.DOI
The copying of texts in early modern England did not proceed according to today’s conventions. Michelle DiMeo points out that two seventeenth-century British Library recipe books from the Brockman family contain the same recipe to make cherry water.17 Granddaughter Elizabeth copied this recipe from the recipe book of her grandmother, Ann. What, by early modern standards would be considered the same, to our eyes, is still characterised by a lot of differences. Ann generally writes numbers with full words and she uses punctuation, while Elizabeth writes the numbers with numerals and uses almost no punctuation. Also, word order and word choice differ. Clearly copying involved a good amount of personal interpretation.DOI
Several recipes from A Very Proper Treatise can be found in other printed books and manuscripts. A copy of the recipe “to make letters of the colour of gould without gould” is encountered in MS Harley 1279, a heraldry manuscript from the British Library. MS Harley 1279 is presumably copied from A Very Proper Treatise.18 The Harley recipe is a foreshortening of the recipe in A Very Proper Treatise, by leaving out the advised work tools, such as a “brazen morter” and “a paynters stone”. It also simplifies technical vocabulary: glayre is being replaced, or explained, by “the whyte of egges” (Figs 2 and 3).
To get an idea of the complex patterns of dissemination, another example of the recipe for gold paint without gold will be briefly discussed. The practical knowledge of Alessio Piemontese was widely disseminated, and his work was published posthumously by Girolamo Ruscelli.19 One example of the recipe “to make gold painted letters without gold” appears in the Dutch De secreten van den eerweerdigen heere Alexis Piemontois (The Secrets of the Reverend Master Alexis of Piedmont): “Take one ounce of orpiment and one ounce of fine crystal. Break each specifically well, where after mingle it with the white of eggs and write with it.”20DOI
This Dutch version shows a remarkable degree of concord with that of MS Harley 1279. The complexity arises when we learn it was translated from French, but publications in the name of Piemontese appeared also in Latin, Italian, German, and English as well. Not all translations and editions are the same, as parts were omitted, and new material was added, which suggests little text fixity.21 In this regard, the publication A Very Proper Treatise appears more stable, as there are only minor, although significant, changes in the last edition, which will be discussed below.22DOI
The precise source of A Very Proper Treatise remains thus far unknown. Possibly different sources were used to compose the work. One of the sources with a common root of A Very Proper Treatise is a manuscript compiled in 1525 by a clerk and freeman of the Mercers of London, Robert Freelove.23 The full English title is The Art of Making the Gilded and Painted Letters which we see in old MSS, hereafter referred to as The Art of Making. The same manuscript was attributed the Latin title Artem illuminandi libros (The Art of Illuminating Books) and was described as Tractatu de decorandis & pingendis literis (Treatise About the Decorating and Painting of Letters).24 No trace of this physical manuscript can be found, however, the text is not lost. We know what was written in the manuscript through a series of copies made by Humfrey Wanley, Elizabeth Elstob, and George Ballard.25DOI
The compilation of Robert Freelove has forty-six recipes. A Very Proper Treatise contains forty-four recipes, of which thirteen have a significant textual overlap with The Art of Making. In order to demonstrate the textual overlap, I will compare the recipe on how to draw imagery (Figs 4 and 5). Where A Very Proper Treatise has “pencell of blacke lead, or with a cole made sharpe at the poynte”, The Art of Making uses the word “plummet”. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “plummet” was used to refer to “a stick of lead for writing, ruling lines”, so it may very well refer to the same writing device.26
In another recipe, The Art of Making mentions the word “books”, referring to a parchment surface, meanwhile A Very Proper Treatise uses “vellym, parchement or paper” instead.27 Likewise, The Art of Making advises the reader to soak azure in clean water multiple times, because “Mercers medle chalke therewith for to multiplie it for their profits”. This is echoed in Tottel’s warning “for the Potecaries minge chalke there with to multiplie it to there profit”.28 These instructions positions both works in their context. A Very Proper Treatise is a book made for an audience with artistic interests. Through the list of ingredients, it helps readers to put the recipes into practise by guiding them to the place where they can buy specific ingredients: the apothecary. As mentioned above, Robert Freelove was a Mercer’s freeman and clerk. In an autograph manuscript from the British Library, Sloane 3604, Freelove indicates himself as a mercer: “p me Robertum ffrelove mercerum London / ρωβερτοs ελεφθερη`oς”.29 His known manuscript production shows an interest in writing, calligraphy, drawing, copying artwork, and painting initials.30 Freelove might have turned to his own livery company for his equipment.31DOI
There is evidence in the structure and sequence of the recipes in A Very Proper Treatise that the entire work has a compilatory nature. The various discrepancies related to the audience are seen as a result of an editing process. This will be discussed below because they are clearly of a more “recent” date than certain features of the body of the text, and therefore attributed to the printer Richard Tottel. The body of the text contains structural features that may be related to older texts. “The waies howe to make sundry kindes of colours by tempering & mingling of colors together” contains a series of prescriptions that are presented as one block of text.32 There is no space left between the various colour combinations. Instead of announcing every colour with a title, the colour names and their purpose appear in the margin of the text. This approach matches that of The Art of Making in the part “here shall I tell the shortelye how to temper thie coloures” and “these be mynglyngs of goode worke”.33 Both sets of instructions have a tightly woven layout, without titles, subtitles, or blank spaces. There is no significant textual concordance between A Very Proper Treatise and The Art of Making in these recipes, only a visual and structural one.34DOI
Publishing, editing, and copying entailed personal interpretation. This is exactly what the compiler of A Very Proper Treatise did. The application value of the recipes is broader and more concrete, which makes the book more accessible for its users.35
Issues of AuthorshipDOI
The correspondence between recipe books, as illustrated above, shows that textual sources like A Very Proper Treatise are compilations that adopt material from different sources. Rather than searching for the actual “author” of a recipe book or the “inventor” of knowledge, certain viable contributions discuss the consumers or users of practical knowledge: hence, this article’s interest in the search for the non-specialist reader, which will follow below.DOI
However, first, a word on the anonymous authorship of A Very Proper Treatise. Only a very limited amount of in-depth scholarly research has been done on this subject.36 The central question tackled by most studies of an anonymously published source is the issue of authorship. In her book The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, Susan E. James hypothesises that Levina Teerlinc is the author of A Very Proper Treatise. James’s arguments arise from the anonymity of the work, Teerlinc’s network, and linguistic indications.37 James compares the anonymous authorship of A Very Proper Treatise to that of a topic very well known to her.38 Queen Catherine Parr’s first two works, titled Psalms or Prayers (1544) and Prayers or Meditations (1545), both appeared anonymously. However, Parr’s works appeared several decades earlier than A Very Proper Treatise. There is a difference in subject matter of the printed works: Parr published religiously inspired works, whereas A Very Proper Treatise is instructive literature for art practice. The different context may result in a different case of anonymity.DOI
Another context of an anonymously published work is that of the network. James highlights the connection between Levina Teerlinc and the printer of A Very Proper Treatise Richard Tottel (ca. 1528–1593), relying on Tottel’s father-in-law Richard Grafton, as both Teerlinc and Grafton were protégés of Queen Catherine Parr.39 However, this is not a direct connection between the proposed author Teerlinc and printer Tottel, but rather a secondary connection.DOI
Secondary connections must be handled with care. Another lineage between A Very Proper Treatise and Richard Tottel can be suggested. Provided that there is a textual reliance between A Very Proper Treatise and The Art of Making, one can start investigating if and how Richard Tottel and Robert Freelove were connected, or, how Tottel could have read Freelove’s source. Multiple secondary connections could be found between Robert Freelove and Richard Grafton. We know through letters to Thomas Cromwell from one of his diplomats, Stephen Vaughan, that both men knew Robert Freelove. Being a Mercer freeman and clerk, Freelove was part of Vaughan’s mercantile network.40 Personal contact between the three men is testified by a letter where it is stated that Freelove brings a globe to Cromwell, offered by Vaughan.41 Robert Freelove can be linked directly to Sir Thomas Cromwell. But also Richard Grafton is part of Cromwell’s direct network, as Grafton was Cromwell’s protégé.42 In this way, we can establish an indirect link between Grafton and Freelove.DOI
The printer Richard Tottel and printer–historian Richard Grafton are linked through a family tie and their business relationship. Tottel married within the printing trade, a common practice in the early modern period. In 1559, he married Joan, the daughter of Richard Grafton, who was seventeen years his junior.43 Tottel benefitted through this marriage from Grafton’s types and woodcuts. Later, Tottel printed one of Grafton’s historical works.44 There exists ample evidence that Tottel and Grafton belonged to the same network and that they maintained an ongoing relationship. Questions arise as to whether Grafton built relationships with other protégés of his patrons, such as Katheryn Parr or Thomas Cromwell. So far, no known source shows Grafton interacting with Teerlinc or Freelove.DOI
Richard Grafton is pivotal in this search for a network, but this is problematic because he is not the printer. In the Teerlinc hypothesis, Grafton would function as a mediator, introducing potential author and printer to one another, giving Teerlinc the opportunity to publish and be a “literate, articulate woman”.45 In the Freelove hypothesis, Grafton may have had access to Freelove’s work or his sources. Network studies proves a useful discipline; however, this type of research uncovers multiple potential networks, where it is hard to ascertain actual contact.DOI
The second argument James uses for understanding the identity of the author is linguistic indications, which may indicate a non-native speaker. James correctly saw that A Very Proper Treatise contains several examples where colours and colour names are indicated as “male”. For example the recipe “to temper redde leade” uses this grammatical gender: “Of this you shal make no false color, but of him selfe” (see Fig. 6).46 The use of grammatical gender could be an indication of the foreign roots of the writer.47 However, the following recipe “to temper blacke leade” uses the impersonal “it selfe” to refer to the colour (Fig. 6).48 The same book uses two genders to refer to colours: the masculine and the impersonal. When compared to Freelove’s work, one can see a similar tendency of referring to colours as masculine. Historical linguistics have since long described the phenomenon of “the loss of grammatical gender concord by Middle English”.49
The appearance of non-corresponding reflexive pronouns may be due to a problem in translation. The Latin words for colour and pigment, color and pigmentum, are both masculine nouns. The reflexive pronoun ipse is used to refer to both neutral and masculine words, “itself” and “himself”.50 In other words, the odd formulations may be a result of a translation from Latin.DOI
Robert Freelove translated alchemical, medical, and botanical works from Latin to English. A good example is Mellon MS 33 from the Beinecke collection at Yale. The manuscript contains seven texts, which are announced in the beginning as being “translatyd out of latyn into Englyshe” by “Robertus Freloue”.51 The catalogue reports the following texts: 1) An unidentified alchemical work; 2) Jean de Meung, Liber Lapidis mineralis, Book II only, translated into English by Robert Freelove, 1522; 3) The Practys of Lyghtes; 4) Roger Bacon or Johannes Sawtre, Radix mundi, translated into English by Robert Freelove, 1550; 5) Rudianus, Liber trium verborum, translated into English; 6) Khalid ibn Yazid, Liber secretorum philosophorum, translated into English, 1542; and 7) an unidentified alchemical work.52DOI
Latin has been often considered an authoritative language throughout European history. Ryan Szpiech discusses the status of Latin as connected to the Roman empire, as the language of learning and wisdom and as one of the three holy languages.53 Thomas Burman states that in medieval European Christianity, and especially in the Mediterranean world, there was a culture to translate into Latin.54 This tradition of using Latin is also common in recipe culture of art technology during the medieval period. The medieval corpus of technological instructions was predominantly a Latin one.55 By the sixteenth century, there was apparently a need to translate Latin text into vernacular. The Luther Bible is certainly a representative example of this need for vernacular Bibles, or texts in general. Elizabeth Eisenstein described this as the vernacular translation movement. Through translation, text became available to “readers who were unlearned in Latin”.56DOI
This is not a claim that Latin disappears, but that the scenario of translating Latin into vernacular seems to be a valid working hypothesis for art technological recipe books. Robert Freelove’s recipe collection is most likely a translation. A Latin title appears in the work Temperantia colorum alumnata, which groups together the last twenty-two of the forty-six recipes of The Art of Making. This is a strong indication that at least that part is translated from Latin. This same consideration can perhaps be made for the entire work, as a significant corpus of art technological appeared in Latin prior the vernacular translation movement and signs of translation can be found.57DOI
In this case, the anonymity does not indicate female authorship per se. The scope and method used in this article point towards a different conclusion. This article takes the pre-existing corpus of texts that were copied and translated into account, among other ways of handling texts. Various people interacted with individual copies of A Very Proper Treatise, a topic which this article will explore below. In what follows, the contribution of the printer–publisher will be examined.
Richard Tottel as a CompilerDOI
Richard Tottel is best known for his achievements as a printer–publisher and bookseller. Tottel was granted his first printing patent in 1554 during the reign of Edward VI, which was continued by both Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. He is mostly remembered for his capacity to understand the book market and adapt his products accordingly.58 Before Tottel’s law books appeared on the market, students and lawyers often had to deal with Latin and French documents. Tottel provided the market with accurate English translations and clear explanations.59DOI
The hypothesis sustained here is that the involvement of Richard Tottel goes beyond the mere printing of A Very Proper Treatise. He is considered the compiler and editor of the very first edition of the booklet. Evidence was drawn from the study of Tottel’s body of work, where unique working methods attributed to him can be identified in several different books. These include Thomas Tusser’s Hundreth good Pointes of Husbandry.60 The first of Tottel’s books about heraldry is Gerard Legh’s The Accedens of Armory (1562).61 His second is John Bossewell’s Workes of Armorie (1572).62 He is above all remembered for his long-lasting printing success Songes and Sonnets, also known as Tottel’s Miscellany.63 This anthology bears the signs of Tottel’s working methods and marketing strategies.64 By marketing strategy is intended a product-centred approach, where the printer studies the needs of the readers and adapts the product accordingly. In this regard, the title-page may be seen as a means of advertising.DOI
There are strong indications that Tottel is the originator of A Very Proper Treatise. Signs of editing are present in this work, as well as the marketing and business style identified here as Tottel’s. He subjected existing text(s) to a fierce editing process: introducing order, sequence, internal coherence, and friendly navigation tools. A few inconsistencies hint at an editor’s hand. Described below is a lapse in the editing process, a discrepancy between the body of the text and index that reveals a deliberate shift in the book’s intended audience.DOI
A Very Proper Treatise contains two indexes: an ingredients index and a recipe index. The recipe index is of interest to demonstrate the friendly navigation tools Tottel created. Meanwhile, the ingredient index is of interest to demonstrate a lapse in the editing process.DOI
The recipe index is described as “a table of suche things as be contained in this present booke”.65 It contains recipe titles and folio numbers and it is a useful tool for the reader to swiftly navigate through the work. In order to fulfil this scope, Tottel kept recipe titles relatively complex, meanwhile the corresponding titles in the recipe index were a simplification of the information. “To make a grounde or a syse to lay golde or silver upon” refers to “To make a dooble syse or bottome to laye or settle silver or goulde upon called an embossed ground”.66 “To make syses other maner of ways” refers to “To make a thinne sise or bottome to laye or settle silver or golde upon called a single grounde”. The different methods it refers to are not related to silver or to gold, but to the many different ingredients that can be used to prepare the preparatory layer: with heat, or without heat, with old parchment, or leftovers of new parchment, or with gummed water made with Arabic gum, regulating the thickness with old glair, green fig milk, spurge milk, wartweed, green saladine milk, garlic or onion juice, or the grease of snails.67 This large variety of ways of obtaining a preparatory layer for silver or gold is summarised by “other maner of ways”. This way the reader does not get lost in detail but can focus during a search for information. This is a sign of an editing process.
The ingredient index provides the names of the colours and the ingredients that one can acquire at the “Poticaries” or apothecary (Fig. 7). This list purports to be complete and representative of the ingredients used in the recipes. However, not all the ingredients on the list appear in the body of the text. Here it is contended that this disparity is a sign of editing. The ingredients that are not mentioned in the recipes, which include alabaster, cow milk, ewe milk, rue juice, red nettle juice, scraped cheese, and lye, have a purpose in art technology but not to the aspects of limning Tottel wished to include. Presumably, the recipes corresponding to the solitary ingredients disappeared during the editing process, whereas their references in the index remained.DOI
All these examples contain crucial indicators of Tottel’s working method and trademark, which can be summarised in three things: 1) he took into account the market and his public; 2) he assembled texts into publishable books; and 3) he made user-friendly volumes.68 All three aspects are applicable to A Very Proper Treatise.
Long before A Very Proper Treatise appeared in Tottel’s bookshop, he had been working with people who were interested in law, either professionally, scholarly, or educationally. Tottel adapted his texts to this audience. Students of law would be potentially interested in embellishing their texts, which is the target of A Very Proper Treatise. As mentioned above, copying texts was considered to have a pedagogical value, but it was also done for practical reasons, such as making a customised copy. There was also interest in embellishing printed texts, which will be discussed below.69 As mentioned above, the audience of this book is divided into three categories: 1) the intended, 2) the circumstantial, and 3) the actual audience.70DOI
The intended audience is the public whom the compiler had in mind while assembling the book. This audience is defined on the title-page and in the concluding words of the text itself. These two different places in the book show a variegated image of the intended audience. The title-page itself specifies two groups as its audience. The first is “all suche gentlemenne” (Fig. 1).71 The concept of a gentleman in the early modern period was characterised by variation and fluidity; it was not a legal categorisation.72 In various instances, the gentle birth, heraldic status, and economic situation of a person played a role in defining whether the person was a gentleman or not. Other ideas circulated about education and behaviour being the prime characteristics of a gentleman.73 The status of the coat of arms was a point of discussion, but A Very Proper Treatise promotes the interest and making of coats of arms in its title and also in the margins of the book. Some recipes are accompanied with extra instructions in the margin on how to use colours for heraldic purposes (Fig. 8).
The second category of intended audience in the title of A Very Proper Treatise includes “persones as doe delite in limming, painting or in tricking of armes in their right colors” (Fig. 1).74 In other words, a group of people with heraldic interest who limn for pleasure. At times, “pleasure” was a determining factor in the understanding of what a gentleman was.75DOI
The title-page gives yet another insight. This book belongs to a group of books named “the bookes of armes”. Words in titles are rarely chosen randomly. In fact, Tottel had, prior to the publication of A Very Proper Treatise, published two books about heraldry, mentioned above: Gerard Legh’s The Accedence of Armorie and John Bossewell’s Workes of Armorie. Together with A Very Proper Treatise, these are the only book titles Tottel ever published dealing with heraldry and armoury.76DOI
The gentleman with painterly and heraldic interests, and spare time, stands in contrast to the intended audience discussed at the conclusion of the recipes, being “paynters & scriveners”.77 The meaning of a painter will not be scrutinised, but some clarification on the role of a scribe is in order. According to Daybell, scriveners were “semi-professional letter-writers”, but the Oxford English Dictionary extends the function of a scrivener to the writing business in general.78 These indications at the conclusion of the text point towards a professional audience. Even though authors like Peacham, Norgate, and Castiglione have put gentlemen in relation to painting, it was never intended as a professional occupation.79 The intended audience of A Very Proper Treatise is not homogenous. It is argued here that this is due to an editing process.DOI
The point of interest addressed here is whether or not the book’s intended audience corresponds to the circumstantial audience – the customers of Tottel’s printing shop – or the actual audience, the various book owners of whom the ownership of the book could be confirmed through material and archival evidence.80DOI
Tottel’s business was located in “Fleetestreet” in London, at the “Sign of the Hande and the Starre”. This information can be retrieved from the colophon (Fig. 1), but it is also seen in Tottel’s printer’s device.81 The customers coming to his printing house were mainly students and practitioners of law, a topic brought up by Christopher Warner in his work about Songs and Sonnets.82 These students, for instance, might have showed interest in the embellishment of documents, for which A Very Proper Treatise offers suitable instructions. We also saw that Tottel had an audience interested in Songs and Sonnets, and that people had already bought “bookes of armes”, as mentioned earlier, meaning that he might have targeted those groups as well. Tottel knew his audience and adapted to his customers and the existing market. Tottel printed with a purpose.DOI
To prove this argument, the provenance and materiality of all the remaining copies of the treatise were investigated. It has been possible to trace thirty-seven surviving copies of A Very Proper Treatise, spread over six known editions.83 This corpus brought various names of people and interactions to light. In the table below, you see the statistics of the extant copies mapped out (Fig. 9).
However, much of the evidence of provenance, ownership, and use was neutralised during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, through actions such as washing, cropping, and rebinding. Comparison between the diverse types of audience and the actual users are based on the remaining user traces. Listed below are sixteenth- and seventeenth-century names culled from material and archival research.84 They correspond to only eight volumes. Some of them were passed on to heirs, of which few names could be traced. In this list, heirs are indicated after the arrow.
- William Neile (1560–1624) (1573, Bodleian Library)
- James Ussher (1581–1656) (1581, TCD)
- Phebe Challoner (?) (1581, TCD) → daughter Elizabeth, wife of Timothy Tyrrel
- William Le Neve (1592–1661) (1581, British Library)
- Robert(us) Thorne (?) (1581, Huntington Library)
- Elias Ashmole (1617–1692) (1583, Bodleian Library)
- John Aubrey (1626–1697) (1583, Bodleian Library)
- William Goodman (?) (1583, Bodleian Library)
- John Dyson (?) (1583, Bodleian Library)
- Andrew Astley (?–1633) (1588, Bodleian Library) → son Thomas Astley
- Jenny Myll (?) (1596, Cadbury Library Birmingham)
- Brian Twyne (1581–1644) (1605, Corpus Christi Oxford)
Unfortunately, most of these individuals can be excluded as Tottel’s direct customers. Archival research presents Brian Twyne as a potential customer with antiquarian interests, and a contemporary of A Very Proper Treatise when newly printed. A letter dated 1605 places him in London—the same year his copy of A Very Proper Treatise was printed.85 However, Twyne would have been a customer of Tottel’s follower for the publication of this treatise, Thomas Purfoot, who published A Very Proper Treatise from 1583 onwards.86DOI
Another potential customer of Thomas Purfoot was Jenny Myll, whose identity remains unknown. An inscription notes that she bought a fifth edition copy in the year it was printed: “Jeny Myll owe this booke / 1596”. Jenny Myll is probably the individual closest to the original setting of the book market. She embraces the function of circumstantial and actual audience. Regrettably, she was not a customer of Richard Tottel, nor could she have been the hypothetical reader he had in mind when editing A Very Proper Treatise. Myll’s copy shows minor painterly interactions. The title-page contains traces of paint. Two brown brushstrokes, traces of an oilier green paint, and a tiny dot of red paint on the title-page. It is unclear whether these painterly daubs were created by Jenny Myll, thus far the interactions remain of an unidentified consumer.87DOI
Among the recorded owners, there is only one known artist, John Aubrey (1626–1697), who shared heraldic interests with Elias Ashmole (1617–1692).88 Both users were born in the beginning of the seventeenth century. These individuals were not direct customers of Tottel.DOI
Another individual with heraldic interests is Robert Thorne.89 He expressed his ownership through the writing of his name and through the painting of his coat of arms on the title-page of a 1581 copy (Fig. 10). The coat of arms contains a chevron between three crescents.
A Very Proper Treatise shows interest in the painting and writing of letters. This interest is shared by William Neile, who signed his 1573 copy with a calligraphic inscription on the title-page. Neile has a very recognisable calligraphy, which is shared by his relatives. Both William and Mildred add a similar calligraphic embellishment to their names.90 What Brayman Hackel calls “sassy records of ownership” can be applied to the herald and genealogist William Le Neve as well.91 William Le Neve speaks in name of the book with his inscription: “Willym Le Neve me iure possidet” (William Le Neve is my legal owner). The precise identities of William Goodman and John Dyson could be verified through a bookplate and a signature respectively, but not much information in their interest has been found.DOI
Another female book owner in the list, Phebe Challoner, inherited an impressive book collection from her father, Luke Challoner, the Provost of Trinity College Dublin. This means that Phebe owned the first library nucleus of Trinity College Dublin.92 A material investigation of the collection brought several of her signatures to light.93 Phebe faithfully signed over the signature of her father. She would turn the “L” of Luke into a “P”, sometimes continuing to write her name over her fathers.94 Luke’s collection contains a fair amount of theology works. He signed, for instance, the title-page of the Master of Bezaes Sermons95 with his family name only. Phebe then added her first name before Luke’s family name (Fig. 11).
In the case of the volume containing A Very Proper Treatise, this pattern of Phebe overwriting her father’s signature cannot be confirmed. TCD volume EE.k.19 binds three books together:
- Gerard Legh, The Accedens of Armory, 1576 (TCD EE.k.19.N°.1.)
- John Bossewell, Workes of Armorie, 1572 (TCD EE.k.19.N°.2.)
- Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, 1581 (TCD EE.k.19.N°.3.)
It is the first book in this volume that contains Phebe’s maiden name, entirely written by herself (Fig. 12). In contrast with most other books in the original collection, this precise volume (which remained unchanged until today) appeared in the 1608 catalogue of James Ussher’s book collection. He had acquired several books in England in 1606 and brought them to Ireland, among which TCD EE.k.19.96 These facts precede the death of Luke Challoner in 1612 and James’ and Phebe’s marriage in 1615.97 This is a strong indication that James Ussher, the later archbishop of Armagh and Phebe’s husband to be, gave this volume as a token of friendship, or love perhaps, prior to their wedding.98
The TCD volume contains the most interactions in the first two books. The frontispiece was partially painted in yellow, indicating the heraldic or (gold) (Fig. 13). The other consistent interest is the copying of imagery.99 The coat of arms with “the virgin Marie, with her chylde, standing in the sonne” has been superimposed with a drawing grid (Fig. 14). This grid is numbered horizontally and vertically, mimicking a system used by artists to transpose an image to another surface, and allowing artists to scale the image up or down.100 The other technique to transfer images is through burnishing the paper with printers’ ink soaked in oil and pressing it onto another surface. This way the image is reproduced (Fig. 15).101 It is unknown whether these interactions with the volume were Phebe’s or James’s, or made by other users. The volume was bound together between 1581 and 1606, being merit of a previous owner.102 The precise selection of these three books together is not a coincidence, as it echoes the printer’s intention to see these three books as a united group. The title of A Very Proper Treatise says that it is “a worke very mete to be adioined to the bookes of armes” (Fig. 1).103
This article evaluated the audience of A Very Proper Treatise through the material investigation of all surviving copies and through archival research. Among the signatures, some strong claims of ownership appear, such as that of Jenny Myll and William Le Neve. Only one artist emerges from the group of identified owners: John Aubrey, and several individuals who can be seen as amateur artists, with heraldic and calligraphic interests. Three among the book owners are female. This actual audience coincides with the intended audience from the title-page of A Very Proper Treatise: “gentlemenne” and “persones as doe delite in limming, painting or in tricking of armes in their right colors”. The term “persones” includes both male and female readers. In addition, painters showed an interest, a category of intended audience met at the closing of A Very Proper Treatise. The printer Richard Tottel edited specialist knowledge as a marketable product for wider dissemination, while keeping a specific non-specialist audience in mind. And this printer's intention found its way to the public.
The author owes sincere thanks to the editors for their comments, to the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art for allowing me access to source material, and to the organisers of the conference “Hilliard, Oliver and the Miniature in Context”, for creating opportunities. Special thanks to Liam Benison, who has been my sounding board during the editing process of this article.
About the author
Annemie Leemans is Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Antwerp, and a researcher at Illuminare (KULeuven) and CITCEM (University of Porto).
A Very Proper Treatise was published six times between 1573 and 1605. The six editions appeared in 1573, 1581, 1583, 1588, 1596, and 1605. Only the first two were printed by Richard Tottel and the remaining editions were printed by Thomas Purfoot. Tottel uses several variants of his name for publishing: Richard Tottel, Tottill, Tottyl, Richardum Totell, Richardum Tottellum, etc.1
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise (London: Richard Tottill, 1573).2
For a recent biography, see Elizabeth Goldring, Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist (New Haven, CT: Published for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art by Yale University Press, 2019).3
Mary Edmond, “Hilliard, Nicholas (1547?–1619)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 3 January 2008, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13320, accessed 29 February 2020.4
Arthur F. Kinney, Linda Bradley Salamon, and John Pope-Hennessy (eds), Nicholas Hilliard’s Art of Limning: A New Edition of, A Treatise Concerning the Arte of Limning (Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1983); Edward Norgate, Miniatura or The Art of Limning, edited by Martin Hardie (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1919).5
Richard Haydocke discussed limning in his translation of Gian Paolo Lomazzo’s treatise. The quotation was taken from Victoria Button, Katherine Coombs, and Alan Derbyshire, “Limning, the Perfection of Painting: The Art of Painting Portrait Miniatures”, in Catharine MacLeod and Rab MacGibbon (eds), Elizabethan Treasures: Miniatures by Hilliard and Oliver (London: National Portrait Gallery Publications, 2019), 22.6
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 6r.7
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 1r.8
Jo Wheeler, Renaissance Secrets, Recipes & Formulas (London: V&A Publishing, 2009), 7 and 17.9
For examples of specialist knowledge in wider dissemination, see Mark Clarke, “Writing Recipes for Non-Specialists c.1300: The Anglo-Latin Secretum philosophorum, Glasgow MS Hunterian 110”, in Erma Hermens, Joyce Townsend, and Art Technological Source Research (Study group) (eds), Sources and Serendipity: Testimonies of Artists’ Practice (London: Archetype, 2009), 50–64; and Jeffrey M. Muller and Jim Murrell, “The Actual Audience, Purposes, and Uses of Norgate’s Treatises and their Derivatives”, in Edward Norgate, Miniatura, or, The Art of Limning, edited by Jeffrey M. Muller and Jim Murrell (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997), 14–20. Connected to this is the topic of the artist in his capacity as reader, see Heiko Damm, Michael Thimann, and Claus Zittel (eds), The Artist as Reader: On Education and Non-Education of Early Modern Artists. Intersections: Interdisciplinary Studies in Early Modern Culture 27 (Leiden: Brill, 2013). For early modern copying, see the recent special issue of Word & Image: Sietske Fransen and Katherine M. Reinhart (eds), “The Practice of Copying in Making Knowledge in Early Modern Europe”, Special issue, Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry 35, no. 3 (2019): 211–222. On dissemination issues of A Very Proper Treatise, see Mansfield Kirby Talley, “Repetition and Plagiarism”, in Mansfield Kirby Talley, Portrait Painting in England: Studies in the Technical Literature Before 1700 (London: The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 1981), 171–190. Talley notices that two books use recipes from A Very Proper Treatise. A recipe for varnish (“vernix”) and size are copied into the anonymous A Book of Drawing, Limning, Washing or Colouring of Maps and Prints, 1st edn (London: M. Simmons, 1652). Talley states that John Bate copied a recipe for varnish into what he identifies as Bate’s third edition of The Mysteries of Nature and Art, 4th edn (London: Thomas Harper, 1654). The textual interdependency between A Very Proper Treatise and The Mysteries of Nature and Art deserves more scholarly attention. His book treats on waterworks and hydraulic machinery, fireworks, various arts (drawing, limning, painting, engraving, metalwork, and glasswork) and medicine. Little is known about John Bate, but he may have been a gunner. For speculations on the identity of Bate, see S.A. Walton, “Bate, John (fl. 1626–1635)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 23 September 2004, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/53656, accessed 5 August 2020. Recipes from A Very Proper Treatise ended up in both manuscript and print.10
Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2009 ), 4.11
Ann Blair's research on intellectual history has focused on technological continuities, in particular when manuscripts were copied from printed books. The practical and the educational are just two of the many reasons why people copied books. See Ann Blair, “Reflections on Technological Continuities: Manuscripts Copied from Printed Books”, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 91, no. 1 (2015): 7–33.12
See Mary P. Merrifield, Medieval and Renaissance Treatises on the Arts of Painting: Original Texts with English Translations (New York: Dover Publications, 1999 ), 719–755.13
Giovanni Battista Armenini, De’ veri precetti della pittura (Ravenna: Francesco Tebaldini, 1587).14
Raffaello Borghini, Il riposo (Firenze: Giorgio Marescotti, 1584).15
On learning process of artists, see Damm, Thimann, and Zittel, The Artist as Reader.16
Michelle DiMeo, “Authorship and Medical Networks: Reading Attributions in Early Modern Manuscript Recipe Books”, in Michelle DiMeo and Sara Pennell (eds), Reading & Writing Recipe Books 1550–1800 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 25–46.17
There are still a lot of mysteries around MS Harley 1279. It is unclear when this manuscript was made, and it does not frequently appear in catalogues. I thank the staff of the British Library for their communications. In the catalogue of Manuscripts in the Harleian Collection, it is described as an “old paper book”. Rosamund Drusilla Harley noted that fols 62–64v contain recipes from A Very Proper Treatise. She points out that there is a connection to Peacham’s Graphice (1612). Whereas Jim Murrell situates it as “pre-1600”. See Humfrey Wanley, David Casley, William Hocker, and Charles Morton, Catalogue of the Harleian Manuscripts in the British Museum, Vol. 1 (London: George Eyre & Andrew Strahan, 1808), 645–646; R.D. Harley, “Literature on Technical Aspects of the Arts: Manuscripts in the British Museum”, Studies in Conservation 14, no. 1 (1969), 3–4; Jim Murrell, The Way Howe to Lymne: Tudor Miniatures Observed (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983).18
Alessio Piemontese is often seen as a pseudonym for Girolamo Ruscelli, however, there is clear evidence to assume that they are two separate persons. See Ad Stijnman, “A Short-Title Bibliography of the Secreti by Alessio Piemontese”, in Sigrid Eyb-Green, Joyce H. Townsend, Mark Clarke, Jilleen Nadolny, and Stefanos Kroustallis (eds), The Artist’s Process: Technology and Interpretation. Proceedings of the Fourth Symposium of the Art Technological Source Research Working Group (London: Archetype Publications, 2012), 32. For an examination of the entanglement of Piemontese and Ruscelli, see Annemie D.G. Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2020), 133–138.19
The translation was made by this author. Transcription of the recipe: “Om gout-verwinghe letteren sonder goudt te maken. Neemt een once orpiment / ende een once fijnen cristael / breeckt elck bysondert wel / daer na menghet onder een met het wit vanden eye / ende schryfter mede.” Alexis Piemontoir, De secreten van den eerweerdigen heere Alexis Piemontois (Antwerp: Christoffel Plantijn, 1561), fol. 105v.20
Leemans has discussed the transmission of practical knowledge as rhizomatic, borrowing Deleuze and Guattari's concept. Sources that borrow from each other could potentially also engage in metaphorical cross-pollination. For a graphic, see Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 85–111, especially 91.21
In general, none of these recipes can be regarded as stable or fixed texts during the early modern period, although their similar structural layout and wording in different editions of the same early modern book, such as A Very Proper Treatise, might give the appearance of text fixity where none exists.22
His autograph manuscript confirms his status in various places: London, British Library: MS Sloane 3604, fols 2r, 30v, 63v, 141r, 218v, 287r, 290v.23
The source stating that Robert Freelove’s manuscript was written in English comes from Thomas Tanner. Another author, Albrecht von Haller, reported that Freelove’s manuscript was bound to a herbal codex. See Thomas Tanner, Biblioteca Britannico-Hibernica (London: Gulielmus Bowyer, 1748), 297; and Albrecht von Haller, Biblioteca Botanica (Tiguri: Orell, Gessner, Fuesslu, et Socc., 1771), 668.24
These copies are preserved at the University of Glasgow as MS Hunter 330, at the Society of Antiquaries as MS SAL/MS/6, and at the Bodleian Library as MS Douce 392. Elstob titled the work To Make Such Coloured and Gilded Letters, as Are to Be Seen Frequently in Old MSS. Ballard extended the title: Directions How to Make Such Coloured and Gilded Letters, as Are to Be Seen Frequently in Old Manuscripts. See Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 176.25
“Plummet”, Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edn 20 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989). Continually updated at http://www.oed.com/.26
Glasgow, University of Glasgow, MS Hunter 330; and Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise.27
Glasgow, University of Glasgow, MS Hunter 330, 7–8; and Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fols 4r-v.28
London, British Library: MS Sloane 3604, fol. 141r. This manuscript contains multiple references to Freelove’s identity. His autograph manuscript confirms his status in various places: London, British Library: MS Sloane 3604, fols 2r, 30v, 63v, 141r, 218v, 287r, 290v. The current one is in Latin and Greek, which is a reference to his learned status.29
London, British Library: MS Sloane 3604.30
Freelove may or may not have been aware of any malpractice. He could have copied this from another source, with or without adaptations. He takes a position of an outsider in his writing of 1525. Two years later, at the closure of an apprenticeship with Robert Packington, he joins the Mercers as a freeman. I thank Anne F. Sutton for communications about this topic.31
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fols 8r-v.32
Glasgow, University of Glasgow, MS Hunter 330, 24–26.33
This argument is only valid where the various transcriptions of Robert Freelove’s work maintain these structural features of the layout, which is very plausible.34
Other than linguistic or practical considerations, there are conceptual notions inherent to both works which are worth discussing. Both works proclaim a notion of perfect knowledge, which will be explored in the chapter “The Secrecy Trope in Prescriptive Literature: A Literary Investigation” by Annemie D.G. Leemans in the series of Studies in the History of Knowledge from the Amsterdam University Press (publication forthcoming).35
Noteworthy are Mansfield Kirby Talley, Portrait Painting in England: Studies in the Technical Literature before 1700 (London: Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 1981); Susan E. James, The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 1485–1603: Women as Consumers, Patrons and Painters (Burlington: Ashgate, 2009), 287–333; and Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 183–210. I am indebted to the work of Susan E. James, as her work on Levina Teerlinc was an inducement to pursue research in this field, write my master thesis, and later my PhD thesis.36
Susan E. James, The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 293–297.37
James does not provide a precise reference, but she has written about this precise topic in Susan E. James, Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999).38
Susan E. James, The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 294.39
London, British Library: MS Cotton Galba B X, fol. 57; London, National Archives, State Papers: SP 1/76, fol. 10.40
London, National Archives, State Papers: SP 1/58, fol. 147.41
J.E. Sherwood, “A Variety of Response to the Henrician Reformation: Some Members of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of London”, Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 50, no. 4 (1981): 347–348.42
Anna Greening, “Tottel, Richard (b. in or before 1528, d. 1593)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 17 September 2015, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/27573, accessed 29 February 2020. For Richard Tottel’s biographical details, see H.J. Byrom, “Richard Tottell—His Life and Work”, The Library, no. 8 (1927–1928): 199–232. For further elaboration of the lacunae Byrom left, see Anna Greening, “A 16th-Century Stationer and His Business Connections: The Tottell Family Documents (1448–1719) at Stationers’ Hall”, in Arnold Hunt, Giles Mandelbrote, and Alison Shell (eds), The Book Trade & Its Customers, 1450–1900: Historical Essays for Robin Myers (Winchester: St. Paul’s Bibliographies, New Castle: Oak Knoll Press, 1997), 1–8.43
The precise title is A Chronicle at Large and Meere History of the Affayres of Englande and Kinges. Connections between Grafton and Tottel are discussed in Meraud Grant Ferguson, “Grafton, Richard (1506/7–1573)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Bibliography, 17 September 2015, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/11186, accessed 17 July 2020.44
James, The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 294.45
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fols 5v-6r.46
James, The Feminine Dynamic in English Art, 294.47
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 5v. This article focuses on examples using “himself” and “itself” as gendered words. In some occasions, “his” is used, but this was used both as masculine and neutral. More examples can be found in Figure 6.48
In 1997, Michael Newman was able to trace this back to Chaucer; Anne Curzan goes as far as Beowulf. Curzan discusses the work of Newman: Michael Newman, Epicene Pronouns: The Linguistics of a Prescriptive Problem (New York: Garland, 1997). See Anne Curzan, Gender Shifts in the History of English (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 59. I thank Professor Peter Petré of the University of Antwerp for his help on this topic.49
The same reasoning can be made for Italian: colore and pigmento are masculine, in which case the reflexive pronoun is se stesso.50
New Haven, Yale University Library, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Mellon MS 33, fol. 2r.51
Mellon MS 33, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, General Collection of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, https://pre1600ms.beinecke.library.yale.edu/docs/pre1600.mell033.htm, accessed 29 July 2020.52
Ryan Szpiech, “Latin as a Language of Authoritative Tradition”, in Ralph Hexter and David Townsend (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 64.53
Thomas Burman, “The Cultures and Dynamics of Translation into Medieval Latin”, in Ralph Hexter and David Townsend (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Latin Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 86–87.54
A scholar of reference in the domain of medieval and renaissance art treatises is Mary P. Merrifield, who transcribed several authentic treatises and translated them in English. The majority of Merrifield’s working materials are texts in Latin, with a few in Italian and French. The corpus of medieval recipe books for painters and illuminators published by Mark Clarke contains a language index; from roughly 400 manuscripts, 259 contain Latin. The second most used language is German: of these approximate 400 manuscripts, 70 contain German. The third place is taken by Italian: 48; followed by English: 43. Likewise, a consultation of Julius Schlosser’s Kunstliteratur (1924) reveals plenty of works in Latin. This last source was consulted in Italian: Julius Schlosser Magnino, La Letteratura artistica: manuale delle fonti della storia dell’ arte moderne (Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1996 ); Mary. P. Merrifield, Medieval and Renaissance Treatises on the Arts of Painting; and Mark Clarke, The Art of All Colours: Medieval Recipe Books for Painters and Illuminators (London: Archetype Publications, 2001), 1, 123–124.55
Eisenstein discusses this topic throughout her work. She also advocates that vernacular translations have anti-intellectual implications, a topic not sustained in this article. See Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early-Modern Europe, Volumes I and II (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 63; 360.56
Thomas Tanner stated that Freelove’s work was written in English but does report the work itself with a Latin title, such as Albrecht van Haller in his catalogue. Perhaps this is the recognition of the original title. See above. Tanner, Biblioteca Britannico-Hibernica, 297; and von Haller, Biblioteca Botanica, 668.57
Christopher A. Knott, “Richard Tottell”, in James Bracken and Joel Silver (eds), The British Library Book Trade, 1475–1700, Dictionary of Literary Biography, 170 (Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1996), 311.58
Paul A. Marquis, “Printing History and Editorial Design in the Elizabethan Version of Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes”, in Stephen Hamrick (ed.), Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes in Context (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013), 14.59
A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie is an instructional poem. The first edition of 1557 is a modest book of 26 pages and has a little elaborate title-page. It contains a small introduction, 100 points organised by month, a conclusion, and an anonymous sonnet. The third edition of 1570 counts 88 pages and comes with an elaborated frontispiece. It contains various introductory parts, an index, the 100 numbered points organised per month, an overview of the months, comparisons, and a sonnet attributed to Tusser. In the year 1573, the same year as the publishing of A Very Proper Treatise, the book was extended again to 500 points. This edition uses the same frontispiece as the 1570 edition. Details about the first edition: STC 24372; Thomas Tusser, A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie (London: Richard Tottel, 1557).60
The first edition: STC 15388; Gerard Legh, The Accedens of Armory (London: Richard Tottill, 1562).61
The first edition: STC 3393; John Bossewell, Workes of Armorie, Deuyded into Three Books, Entituled, the Concordes of Armorie, the Armorie of Honor, and of Coates and Creastes (London: Richardi Totelli, 1572).62
Songs and Sonnets, known as Tottel’s Miscellany, has a fascinating printing history. It is marked by translations, arrangements, and re-arrangements. The first edition appeared on 5 June of the year 1557. The second thoroughly revised edition appeared immediately after on 31 July, with a third one in the same year, and several other editions in the years that followed. The first edition's details are: STC13860; Henry Howard, Songes and Sonettes (London: Richardum Tottel, 1557). On the topic, see Jason Powell, “The Network Behind ‘Tottel’s’ Miscellany”, English Literary Renaissance 46, no. 2 (2016): 193–224; Stephen Hamrick (ed.), Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes in Context (London: Taylor & Francis Group, 2013); J. Christopher Warner, The Making and Marketing of Tottel’s Miscellany, 1557: Songs and Sonnets in the Summer of the Martyrs’ Fires (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013); and Paul A. Marquis (ed.), Richard Tottel’s Songes and Sonettes: The Elizabethan Version (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2007).63
For arrangements of Tottel’s Miscellany and adaptations for the audience, see especially the Chapters 1 and 3 of Warner, The Making and Marketing of Tottel’s Miscellany, 1557.64
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 12v.65
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fols 2r; 12v.66
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fols 2v; 12v.67
Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 183–210.68
Early modern books with hand-coloured initials by book owners are countless. A beautiful example is a copy of Tottel’s publication of Gerard Legh’s The Accedence of Armorie (1591), which is found at the Library of Congress in Washington (nDLC CR19.L5). This copy was signed by “Horace W. Smith”, presumably the writer. Another, earlier handwriting appears in the margins of the book, together with the colouring of the frontispiece, initials, and escutcheons. These practices are described in David Pearson, Provenance Research in Book History: A Handbook. The British Library Studies in the History of the Book (London: The British Library & Oak Knoll Press, 1998), 41–44; and Nigel Thorp, The Glory of the Page: Medieval & Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts from Glasgow University Library (London: H. Miller, 1987).69
Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 156–157. For the concept of circumstantial audience, this research is indebted to the work of Warner, who described the audience frequenting Tottel’s print shop: Warner, The Making and Marketing of Tottel’s Miscellany. For the concept of the actual audience, this research is indebted to the work of Jeffrey M. Muller and Jim Murrell. The concept used here is slightly adapted to the precise book of interest: the anonymously printed A Very Proper Treatise. Muller and Murrell discussed the actual audiences of Edward Norgate’s treatise Miniatura or The Art of Limning. The originally intended audience of this work was De Mayerne only, but eventually a larger audience got hold of his work. This is a valid reason for fragmenting the concept of the audience into intended audience and actual audience. See Muller and Murrell, “The Actual Audience, Purposes, and Uses of Norgate’s Treatises and their Derivatives”, 14–20. This article focuses on the material copies and archival research. Copying practices are not taken up in the current selection of the audience, even though it could be argued that they provide evidence of book consumption.70
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 1r.71
Keith Wrightson, English Society 1580–1680 (London: Routledge, 1982), 7.72
Steven Hindle, “Social Classes and the Social Order”, in Arthur F. Kinney and David W. Swain (eds), Tudor England: An Encyclopedia (New York: Garland Publishing, 2001), 655–656; Wendy Wall, The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), 56; and Wrightson, English Society 1580–1680, 4–8.73
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 1r.74
Bartholomaeus Anglicus, Batman upon Bartholome his booke De proprietatibus rerum (London: Thomas East, 1582), fol. 185 r.75
Both of the heraldry book titles know several editions.76
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 11v.77
James Daybell, The Material Letter in Early Modern England. Manuscript Letters and the Culture and Practices of Letter-Writing, 1512–1635 (London: Palgrave, 2012), 23 and 74; Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edn 20 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989). Continually updated at http://www.oed.com/.78
Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 168–170.79
Material evidence is understood as notes and annotations, and interactions of all kinds. William Sherman points out that not all writings in books qualify to be annotations (for instance, doodling). He refers to them as graffiti, in line with the work of Juliet Fleming. See William H. Sherman, Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). For the work of Fleming, see Juliet Fleming, Graffiti and the Writing Arts of Early Modern England (London: Reaktion, 2001). The notes which owners and users of A Very Proper Treatise made, comply to the observations of Sherman.80
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 1r; Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise (London: Richarde Tottill, 1581), fol. 1r.81
Warner, The Making and Marketing of Tottel’s Miscellany, 161.82
The sixth edition has a slight alteration in the title: A Proper Treatises. The STC number (17593) coincides with that of A Profitable Booke, because the printer Thomas Purfoote printed and sold these two book titles together. For this book title, light adjustments were made in the text, such as the omissions of the printed words in the margins. This measure, as a few others, have principally led to a different layout of the work. For the various editions, the individual copies, and the collation, see the Appendix in Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 251–279.83
Later book owners are disregarded in this article.84
Strickland Gibson, “Brian Twyne”, Oxoniensia 5 (1940): 95–96.85
Thomas Purfoot published the editions of 1583, 1588, 1596, and 1605.86
Tracing a female (miniature) painter would be of great interest. However, it would be necessary to find further evidence on Jenny Myll in order to draw this conclusion. The painterly daubs may or may not come from Jenny Myll. There is no information on whether Myll was her maiden name, in which case a marriage would have made her change her name. Jenny Myll (and variations of “Jeny”, “Jennifer”, and “Mill”) is a name that does not appear in The National Archives, or the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.87
John Aubrey is discussed as an artist in Ruth Scurr, John Aubrey: My Own Life (London: Chatto and Windus, 2015), 194.88
A potential connection between Robert Thorne and Elias Ashmole needs to be further explored, if at least Robert Thorne is a descendent of the Thorne’s, a trader’s family of Bristol. The Thorne family was befriended by John Dee and his son Arthur Dee. John Dee, in turn was a “cosin” and friend of William Aubrey, the great-grandfather of John Aubrey. A hypothetical network between the owners of A Very Proper Treatise would be interesting but is at this stage far from being confirmed. See Michael C.W. Hunter, John Aubrey and the Realm of Learning (London: Duckworth, 1975), 80, n. 8; and Anthony Powell, John Aubrey and His Friends (London: Hogarth Press, 1988).89
This embellishment is a series of organised curls, seen also in the initials of Robert Freelove. See Anonymous, The Art of Limming. A Reproduction of the 1573 Edition Newly Imprinted, edited by Society of Scribes and Illuminators (London: The Federation of British Craft Societies, 1979); and Jason Scott-Warren, “Reading Graffiti in the Early Modern Book”, Huntington Library Quarterly 73, no. 3 (2010), 367.90
Heidi Brayman Hackel, Reading Material in Early Modern England: Print, Gender, and Literacy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 158–159.91
Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 228–243.92
Six volumes with Phebe’s signature were found, of which five show some interaction with her father’s signature. Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 279–280.93
Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 279–280.94
STC 2025; Théodore de Bèze, Master Bezaes Sermons upon the Three First Chapters of the Canticle of Canticles (Oxford: Joseph Barnes, 1587).95
Dublin, TCD MS 793, fol. 184r contains the description of the three works in TCD EE.k.19 as being one volume.96
For the calculation of the wedding date of James Ussher and Phebe Challoner, see Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 232–233.97
The earliest sign of acquaintance or friendship goes back to at least 1601, where James borrowed a book from Phebe. See Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 236.98
For literature on practices of copying in art, see Maddalena Bellavitis (ed.), Making Copies in European Art 1400–1600: Shifting Tastes, Modes of Transmission, and Changing Contexts. Brill’s Studies in Intellectual History, Volume 286 (Leiden: Brill, 2018); and Christopher S. Wood, Forgery, Replica, Fiction: Temporalities of German Renaissance Art (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2008). The concept of imitation is discussed in Eric Jan Sluijter and Anton W.A. Boschloo (eds), Aemulatio: Imitation, Emulation and Invention in Netherlandish Art from 1500 to 1800: Essays in Honor of Eric Jan Sluijter (Zwolle: Waanders, 2011).99
For the use of heraldry as decoration, see Thomas Woodcock and John Martin Robinson, The Oxford Guide to Heraldry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).100
All stains in this volume rigorously coincide with imagery; Dublin, TCD, EE.k.19. See Leemans, Contextualizing Practical Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, 239–240.101
The last of the three books to be published was 1581, and the year in which James Ussher acquired the already bound together volume, was 1605.102
Anonymous, A Very Proper Treatise, fol. 1r.103
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- 30 September 2020
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- Annemie Leemans, "A Very Proper Treatise: Specialist Knowledge for a Non-Specialist Public", British Art Studies, Issue 17, https://doi.org/10.17658/issn.2058-5462/issue-17/aleemans