Item is a leaf from A Booke of Christian Prayers (commonly known as Queen Elizabeth's Prayer Book as it was reputedly designed for her private use), a collection of private devotions and prayers published by in London by Richard Day. The leaf (folio 115) contains part of a prayer and is illustrated with woodcut borders of memento mori (including gravediggers' shovels, skeletons, the aged and infirm, and bodies in tombs) and the Dance of Death.
Item is a continuous bifolium from a Biblia Latina printed in Venice by Franciscus Renner of Heilbronn. The bifolium contains chapters 30-35 of the Book of Ecclesiastics and features hand-painted majuscules and glossing in red and black ink.
Item is a leaf from a Biblia Latina printed by J. Sacon of Lyon for Anton Koberger of Nuremberg. Leaf contains verses 19:6-24:4 of the Book of Ecclesiastes and features a large woodcut of its translation from the original Hebrew to Greek. A partial transcription of the leaf reads:
Beginning with "Qui peccat": "He that sinneth against his own soul, shall repent... hast thou heard a word against thy neighbor? Let it die within thee... a wise man will hold his peace til he see opportunity: but a babbler, and a fool, will regard no time... a man wise in words shall make himself beloved: but the graces of fools shall be poured out... he that keepeth justice shall get the understanding thereof. The perfection of the fear of God is wisdom and understanding..."
Item is a Reformation-era theological pamphlet entitled "On the worship & veneration of the saints" by Kaspar Schatzgeyer (1463-1527), a Catholic Franciscan teacher and biblical scholar from Bavaria who strongly defended Catholic tradition while adopting a conciliatory approach to Martin Luther's reforms.
Item is a leaf from the second volume of Decretales Pape Gregorii... mit der Glosse des Bernardus Parmensis, printed by Peter Drach in Speyer, Germany in 1486. The Decretals of Pope Gregory IX were an important collection of medieval canon law, and in this edition were accompanied by commentary by the noted Italian canonist Bernard of Botone, also known as Bernard of Parma. The leaf contains general encyclicals (papal letters on doctrine) in the center of the page surrounded by related decretals (papal decrees relating to canon law).
Collection illustrates the early development of movable type printing in Europe. Collection consists of printed books including a book of hours and a collection of Chaucer's works, as well as leaves from Bibles, hagiographies, liturgical texts, and works of history, literature, canon law, and botany.
Item is folio 104, the recto titled "The lyfe of Saynt Cuthberd" (The life of Saint Cuthbert), and the verso titled "The annunciation of our lady." The verso features a small woodcut illustration of the Angel Gabriel greeting Mary at the Annunciation, which appears to have been deliberately obscured with ink, now faded. Saint Cuthbert was a 7th century Anglo-Saxon bishop and hermit from Northumbria.
Item is folio 125, the recto titled "The lyfe of Saynt Dunston" (The life of Saint Dunstan), the verso titled "The lyfe of Saint Aldelme" (The life of Saint Aldhelm) and featuring a woodcut illustration of Aldhelm in bishop's robes with a mitre, crozier, and book. The woodcut appears to have been deliberately obscured with ink, now faded, and the text has been expurgated with the word "pope" crossed out 4 times on the verso.
Saint Dunstan was a 10th century English bishop, and Saint Aldhelm a 7th century Anglo-Saxon bishop and scholar.
Item is folio 127, titled "The lyfe of Saynt Austyn" (The life of Saint Austin), although the recto also contains the end of "The lyfe of Saynt Dunston" (The life of Saint Dunstan). The leaf has been expurgated, with the word "pope" crossed out six times on the recto, and once on the verso.
Saint Austin, more commonly called Saint Augustine of Canterbury, is considered a founder of the English Church due to his missionary work in England in the 6th century, and was also the first Archbishop of Canterbury.
Item is folio 164, the recto titled "The tra[n]slacyon of Saynt Thomas of Ca[n]terbury" (The translation [or movement of the relics] of Saint Thomas of Canterbury), and the verso titled "The lyfe of Saynt Kenelme kynge & martyr" (The life of Saint Kenelm, king & martyr). The leaf is expurgated, with the title of the recto crossed out and the two columns of text on recto obscured with large x's.
Saint Thomas Becket was a 12th century Archbishop of Canterbury who was murdered after a dispute with King Henry II of England over the rights of the Church. He was canonized and his shrine at Canterbury was a major pilgrimage site until its suppression by Henry VIII. Saint Kenelm was a legendary murdered boy king of Mercia.
Item is folio 165, titled "The lyfe of Saynt Kenelme kynge & martyr" (The life of Saint Kenelm, king & martyr), although the verso also includes the introduction to The lyfe of Saynt Margarete (The life of Saint Margaret). The text is expurgated, with the word "pope" crossed out 5 times on the verso. Saint Kenelm was a legendary murdered boy king of Mercia, and Saint Margaret the Virgin was a legendary martyr.
File contains five leaves from Wynkyn de Worde's English edition of the Golden Legend (Legenda aurea), Jacobus de Voragine's popular collection of hagiographies, or the lives, deeds, and martyrdoms of the saints. De Worde was a famous early English printer and an apprentice and later successor to England's most famous printer, William Caxton. Most leaves relate to the lives of English saints. Some leaves are illustrated with woodcuts, and a number have been expurgated, with references to the pope, certain saints, and illustrations deliberately crossed out, likely reflecting changing attitudes to the papacy and the cult of saints during the English Reformation.
B2 verso. Features a historiated metalcut border of Saint John holding a poisoned cup with a dead man at his feet, from an apocryphal tale in which Saint John is challenged by Aristodemus, the pagan chief priest of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, to drink a cup of poison in order to prove his faith.
B2 verso. Features an overpainted metalcut of Saint John the Evangelist on the island of Patmos with a vision of the Virgin and Child in the sky. John has his gospel on his lap and is accompanied by an eagle, his evangelist symbol.
Item is an illuminated book of hours printed in Paris at the workshop of the brothers Gilles and Germaine Hardouyn, printers and illuminators who specialized in books of hours. The book is printed on octavo vellum leaves, with most of its 194 pages containing 23 lines of black letter text. Text pages are decorated with a variety of historiated and ornamental metalcut borders (depicting allegorical, biblical, or other religious scenes) and initials illuminated in gold on blue or red grounds. It also features 29 metalcuts overpainted to look like miniatures, including 12 large and 13 small illustrations, and 4 historiated borders. The book also features a 17th century French citron morocco binding, tooled in gilt to a panel design with drawer-handle and volute tools. Text is in Latin, with a colophon at the end in Middle French.
D7 recto. Features an overpainted metalcut of Augustus and the Tiburtine Sybil. The Roman emperor consults the prophetess, who reveals a celestial vision of the Virgin and Child, while a young man looks on. According to medieval legend, when Augustus consulted the Sibyl about whether he should accept apotheosis (recognition as a god after his death), she prophesied the coming of Christ and revealed a vision of the Virgin and Child on the site of the future Church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome.
C5 verso. Features an overpainted metalcut of the Expulsion from the Garden. Adam and Eve, covering themselves in shame, are expelled from the Garden of Eden by an angel with a sword, with God the Father and Christ above.
Item is leaf from the Kelmscott Press edition of Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend, which was itself based on Wynkyn de Worde's 1527 edition. The leaf consists of pages 497 and 498 of Volume II, covering the Life of Saint Aldhelm and the end of the Life of Saint Dunstan, with ornamental initials designed by William Morris.
William Morris was an influential English artist and designer, a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and a founder of the Arts and Craft movement. Morris founded the Kelmscott Press in 1891 and used traditional printing and paper design methods to make handmade books that were inspired by the medieval period.
Item is a leaf (folio 386) from the first illustrated edition of Hieronymus Bock's New Kreuterbuch von Underscheidt, Würckung und Namen der Kreuter, so in teutschen Landen wachsen (New plant book of differences, effects, and names of plants that grow in German lands), a herbal (a book describing the properties and uses of plants) printed in Strasbourg by Wendel Riehel. The leaf features a woodblock illustration designed by David Kandel of an apple tree with a serpent and Adam's skull and leg bone, referencing the Book of Genesis.
The Kreuterbuch is notable because Bock chose to classify the 700 plants he covered according to their observed characteristics, an innovation that anticipated modern botany, whereas earlier herbals had categorized plants according to Classical Greek systems.
Leaf (folio CVIIII) features woodcuts of martyrs (Policarpus, Praxedes, Felicitas, Ptolemy, and Aulus Gellius) and heretics (Montanus and Apelles) on the recto, and popes from 174 to 222 (Anicetus, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephyrinus, and Calixtus) on the verso.
Item is a leaf (folio XXXVII) from a missal, possibly printed by the Leipzig printer Konrad Kachelofen or his son-in-law Melchior Lotter. Leaf features a historiated initial and text in black and red. A missal is a liturgical text that contains instructions and texts required for celebrating Mass.
File contains two leaves from the Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles), commonly know as the Nuremberg Chronicle, an illustrated biblical and world history published by Hartmann Schedel. The book was printed in Nuremberg by Anton Koberger and illustrated with woodcuts by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff. The Liber Chronicarum is notable for being one of the first printed books to successfully integrate illustrations with text.
H7 verso. Overpainted metalcut of King David repenting. A kneeling David prays for forgiveness outside the walls of Jerusalem with two bodies at his feet, while an angel descends bearing a sword and arrow, symbols of war.
Item is a leaf from The Firste Volume of the Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Irelande by Raphael Holinshed, a comprehensive history of Britain which was printed in London by Henry Bynnemann for John Harrison. The leaf (pages 187-188) describes the reign of Ine (or Inas) of Wessex, "King of the Saxons," and features two woodcut illustrations, one depicting the king and the other the construction of the monastery of Glastonbury, which he commissioned.
Shakespeare used Holinshed's Chronicles as the source for more than a third of his plays, including Macbeth, King Lear, and Richard III.
Item is a leaf (folio XII) from the fifth edition of The Great Bible, published in London by Edward Whitchurch (Whytchurch), containing part of the Book of Psalms. The Great Bible was the first official edition of the Bible in English, and was authorized by Henry VIII during the English Reformation to be read aloud during church services.