Bartholomaeus Anglicus, c. 1496

(c. 1200–1272). De proprietatibus rerum.
Translated into English by John Trevisa.
[Westminster: Wynkyn de Worde, c. 1496]. (06103)

The first English edition of “the propritees of thynges” features a lengthy rhymed postscript that identifies William Caxton as the first printer of this title in Latin at Cologne, and states that this English edition was printed on paper made by John Tate of Hereford, the earliest English papermaker. This is the first book printed on paper manufactured in England.

Unlike Caxton’s Cologne edition, this edition is illustrated with woodcuts introducing each of the 19 books. The woodcut for Book Nine, treating the properties of time, the months, and the ecclesiastical calendar, shows the twelve months and the labors associated with them, proceeding counter-clockwise from January (just to the right of the bottom roundel). At the center are personifications of the warm (female) and cold (male) seasons. Bridwell Library’s copy was once owned by Robert Higgins (d. 1678), of Herefordshire, and John Barrymore (1882–1942), the Hollywood actor.

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Printing in England
Bartholomaeus Anglicus, c. 1496