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Folio Archives 60: The Life of St. Edmund, King and Martyr - Limited Edition 2004

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Edited: Jun 3, 2018, 12:30am Top

The Life of St. Edmund, King and Martyr - Limited Edition 2004

This is another of the superb facsimile limited editions produced by the Folio Society.

The original was produced by the monk John Lydgate for King Henry VI to commemorate his stay in the Benedictine Abbey at Bury St.Edmunds in 1433. It is a translation from the Latin into Old English of the life of the patron saint of the abbey.

The story is a poem that recounts the life and martydom at the hands of Danish invaders in 870 of the East Anglian king. It is an elaborate narrative detailing the legendary reasons for King Edmund’s sainthood.

The manuscript is lavishly illustrated and gilded, with numerous gilt illuminated capitals. The facsimile reproduces the gilding beautifully. The original is housed in the British Library and consists of 119 parchment leaves. The photos below do not do justice to the magnificence of the reproduction.

The facsimile is bound in cream leather blocked on the spine and cover with a gilt design and red leather title label. It has been printed by Cambridge University Press on heavy Furisio paper which replicates the original parchment. There is a red marker ribbon, the endpapers are dark brown cloth.

The limitation is 1000 copies plus 10 hors commerce. Mine is number 453.

A separate commentary volume by A.S.G. Edwards introduces and explains the manuscript in the first 22 pages, then gives a word for word transcription of the Olde English while explaining any confusing terms in modern English. All the illustrations are also given captions. It is bound in dark green buckram blocked in gilt with title and a design.

Both books are housed in a dark green Solander box 28x19x7.5cm. which has a red leather title label on the spine.

Commentary volume

An index of the other illustrated reviews in the "Folio Archives" series can be viewed here.

Jun 3, 2018, 5:37am Top

Beautiful, highly desirable. Any idea what this might fetch in todays market?

Jun 3, 2018, 6:00am Top

>2 scratchpad:
First and Fine has a copy for £250.

Jun 3, 2018, 10:17am Top

Gorgeous binding!

Jun 3, 2018, 10:40am Top

>3 wcarter: Thanks for that - I’ll check it out. F&F do good quality but at a price. Having said that I expected the book to be somewhat more expensive but without any grounds whatever for doing so other than your extremely attractive pictures. Oh, dear....

Jun 3, 2018, 10:46am Top

>3 wcarter: Can’t find it. Must have gone already.

Jun 3, 2018, 10:50am Top

>3 wcarter: Correction, found it through google search - it didn’t show up on F&F search.

Jun 3, 2018, 10:53am Top

>3 wcarter: This is the silliest thing - It’s out of stock, that’s why it didn’t show on F&F search.

Jun 3, 2018, 11:08am Top

To pick a nit, the original was in middle rather than old English -- Lydgate was an admirer of Chaucer. So it should be more accessible to anyone who can read Chaucer, once you get past the decorative script.

Jun 3, 2018, 3:50pm Top

I bought a Fine copy on Abe in March for $275 (US) including shipping. A steal if you like facsimiles of illuminated manuscripts.

Jun 3, 2018, 6:47pm Top

I bought mine last year from First and Fine for £250. I find them reliable to deal with and fairly priced. This is a really lovely LE

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