[HERALDRY]. I: The Armes Crests Names […] of all the present Nobility of England. [with] II: The Armes Crests Names […] of all the present Nobility of Scotland. [and] III: The Armes Crests […] of all the present Nobility of Ireland.

[II-III: probably London, I: Norfolk & Marshall, London], [II-III: c.1688; I: 1688]


32mo. 3 vols. Illuminated mss, on paper and card, in black-brown ink. I: 98 x 74mm. ff. 86, numbered pp. 1-159, 11 blank + 9 unnumbered ll. (table of contents). Watermark: foolscap and P.G. 54 mounted ll. (trimmed at head) with 195 small engraved, hand-coloured coats of arms of the English peerage, 18 further small coats of arms, and 180 crests (on facing pages), 4 per page, all finely hand-drawn and hand-coloured, 35 corrective flaps, 110 spaces blank. Title a little dusty, fore-edge trimmed (affecting few letters and final table), slight toning, the odd ink mark. A very good copy in contemporary black shagreen, lacking clasps, blind ruled, marbled eps, a.e.g., gauffered, a bit scuffed. II: 99 x 62mm. 68 unnumbered ll., 37pp. blank, some on thick paper. Full-page royal arms, 160 1/4-page arms of Scottish peers and 143 crests, all finely drawn and hand-coloured, of which 72 with flaps (1 detached), plus 9 pasted-on and 63 blank spaces. Occasional slight toning or very minor, mainly marginal dust-soiling, the odd ink mark or smudge, traces of scribe’s pricking to large coronets, faint water stain at head of last 4 ll. An excellent copy in contemporary black shagreen, lacking clasps, marbled eps, a.e.g. (traces), spine and lower cover a little scuffed, couple of corners and head of spine a bit rubbed. III: 94 x 65mm. ff. 61 unnumbered ll., 8 blank, mostly on thick paper. Unidentified armorial watermark. 92 small arms and 60 crests of the Irish peerage, all finely hand-drawn and hand-coloured, 4 per page, 2 flaps, 200 spaces blank. Slight toning, the odd ink mark or smudge. A good copy in contemporary black shagreen, lacking clasps, marbled eps, a little scuffed or rubbed, one bifolium loose, tailband detaching, textblock a little shaken.  

Very good set comprising 3 exquisitely hand-drawn and hand-coloured ms. armorials of the English, Scottish and Irish nobility, with flaps, produced c.1688. The foolscap watermark was mostly used in England in the second half of the C17 (cf. Heawood on watermarks). The first, on the English nobility, includes 54 engraved leaves, mounted, most probably taken from the third edition (1688) of a very popular pack of engraved heraldic playing cards, with occasional traces of the (now trimmed) French suits, the explanatory card on cadency discarded. The overall structure and design of this pack was adapted, with minimal variation, from an exceedingly scarce 2-leaf plaquette, printed the same year, entitled ‘The armes (names and highest titles of honour) of all the present nobility of England’ (ESTC R230123) – only 2 copies extant, none in the US. It is attributed, in C18 ms in the Bodleian copy, to the London printers Norfolk & Marshall, and was sold by the bookseller Philip Lea. The other two remarkably similar mss may be the only surviving ‘indicia’ of companion plaquettes – unrecorded in ESTC – devoted to the Scottish and Irish nobility. The numerous shields are accompanied in each ms. by nearly as many matching crests, on facing pages. An early owner was a keen herald or genealogist, who added numerous flaps to provide alternative, updated or corrected versions. For instance, in the volume on the Scottish nobility, which has 72 flaps, the original arms of the Keith family are covered by a flap showing their escutcheon as Earls of Marischal (after c.1324); the phoenix crest of the Saintclares is shown with alternative representations (with different shape, size and colouring); and the coat of arms of Leslie, Lord Lindoris, is covered by a flap showing a quartered, ‘impaled’ version. He also left a few dozen blank crests for future additions. A very uncommon survivor.

I: Only Texas A&M copy of the printed pack of cards recorded in the US; only Guildhall Library and Bodleian copies in the UK. Not in ESTC.
Stock Number: L4010b Categories: , , , , ,