Herwologia anglica: hoc est, Clarissimorum et doctissimorum aliquot Anglorum qui floruerunt ab anno Cristi MD. usq’ad presentem annum MDCXX vivae effigies vitae et elogia.

Arnhem, Crispini Passaei and Jansonii, 1620.


FIRST EDITION. Folio. pp. (xx), 240 (ii), as usual without the leaf of Latin verses signed Guterius; ‘this leaf only appears in occasional copies,’ Hind. Roman letter, some Italic, woodcut initials, large historiated tail-pieces, title within engraved architectural border with emblematic figures and putti, map of England in roundel above, view of London and the Thames in cartouche below, 67 half-page engraved portraits, small monogram stamped to lower blank margin of title page. Engraved title trimmed to border and mounted, last leaf (table, often missing) mounted, occasional marginal thumb mark, very light marginal yellowing in places. A very good, clean copy with excellent, strong and clear impressions of the engravings, in mottled calf c. 1700, covers bordered with gilt dentelle rule, spine with raised bands gilt in compartments, rebacked and remounted, all edges red.

First edition of Henry Holland’s superb and important collection of portraits of notable personages of the Tudor period, accompanied by biographies and elegies of the portrayed and, in the case of writers such as More, lists of their works. They include the definitive representations of many of the major figures of the age including i.a. More, Lady Jane Grey, Cardinal Pole, Frobisher, Drake, Hawkins, Foxe, Latimer, Ridley and Cranmer. It was the natural continuation of his Baziliwlogia, a book of the Kings of England printed in 1618, now of the utmost rarity. The style of the portraits in the Herwologia is quite different, being mostly half lengths or busts in plain settings, instead of the decorated ovals or ovals in cartouches of the former.

Holland used as his model Verheiden’s ‘Praestantium aliquot Theologorum’, the Hague 1602, though the engravings in this series are far superior. They were the work of Willem and Magdalena van de Passe, except the title page which might have been by their father, Crispin. Hind was unable to identify the artist who made the drawings for the engravers, “but that it was not one of the Passe family seems the natural inference from the reference to an Englishman doing the work, in the verses signed S.R on p.viii”, though he thinks it also possible that “Willem and Magdalena may have come to London to confer with Henry Holland and make their own drawings from the originals he had chosen.”

While referring to illustrious men of earlier centuries, he limited his field to the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth. “In his preface Holland emphasizes the bias of his selection, which centers in the representation of reformers and opponents of the papacy. So Queen Mary is not accorded a place. In his Admonito ad Lectorem he even descends to polemics, referring with censure to two English writers of distinction (whom I have not been able to identify) one of whom vituperated Henry VIII and the other detracted from the virtue of Queen Elisabeth.”

Many of the portraits here are the earliest known, and many the only early portrait of the subject, making the work an invaluable historical source. The quality of the engraving is very fine. “In general one may praise the book as containing the most trustworthy series of English portraits published up to that time, even though one has to grant the honour and the expense of the publication to the Utrecht engraver Crispin Van De Passethe Elder and the Arhem publisher Janson.” Hind.

STC 13582. ESTC S119103. Lowndes III 1089 ‘this work contains the first regular series of English heads’ Hind II p. 145-158. Gibson 359, Sabin 32505. Alden 620/81.


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