FIRST ENGLISH EDITION OF DUTCH HISTORY UP TO THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY

A generall historie of the Netherlands: with the genealogie and memorable acts of the Earls of Holland, Zeeland and West-Friseland.

London, A. Islip and G. Eld, 1609.

£1,950

FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. (xxvi) 1415 (xviii). Roman letter, printed marginalia. Engraved title after Christoffel van Sichem II of an architectural frame flanked by musical, scientific and military instruments, a harbour scene beneath (Johnson p. 53), 57 elegant two-thirds page engraved portraits of princes and noble men and women by van Sichem in text, woodcut initials and headpieces. Lacking first blank, insignificant tear to upper inner margin of title not touching image, small tear to corner of one other leaf touching one letter of text, title and a few early leaves a little creased, occasional marginal spot or mark, generally a very good copy in contemporary English calf ruled in blind, joints split and neatly repaired, extremities a little scuffed, later red morocco gilt label. Contemporary manuscript ex libris of Edmund Grovine (or a Latinised form of Grove) in blank upper margin of title, John Allman’s mid-17th century autograph to verso of final blank, Robert Matthews’ autograph ‘April 5th 1753’ in central blank portion of title.

A variant state of the first edition of Grimeston’s translation of J. F. Le Petit’s Grande Chronique of 1601. Le Petit (1546- c. 1615) was a Belgian historian, primarily famous for the original version of the present work, his ‘Grande chronique anciennce et moderne de Hollande’, published in Dordrecht. The work is a comprehensive history of the Netherlands to the early 17th-century, and includes genealogies of the Counts of Holland and their families.

Volume I is for the most part a translation of Cornelius Aurelius’ ‘Divisie-Kroniek’. This chronicle, which covers the period from the beginning of the world to 1517, is then taken up by Le Petit in the second volume, who comments on important political, diplomatic and military events in the latter half of the 16th and early 17th centuries. Le Petit was born in Bethune, but subsequently moved to Aix after abjuring the Catholic faith, and eventually died in Holland.

Grimeston was a prolific translator, working from French as well as Dutch, producing ‘A general inuentorie of the history of France’ (1607) and ‘The estates, empires, & principallities of the world’ (1615). His work continues to be cited as an important source on contemporary affairs. The fine late-Renaissance portraits are by the Flemish Christoffel van Sichem the Elder, and include Queen Elizabeth and Robert Dudley.

STC 12375; Alden II, p. 80 “Section on the Netherlands’ 1608 peace negotiations outlines Dutch demands for trade & navigation in East & West Indies”; not in Lowndes (1627 ed. only).

L501

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