[GLOVER, Robert]

Nobilitas Politica vel Civilis

London: Gulielmi Jaggard [William Jaggard]. 1608.

First edition. Folio in 4s. 333x222mm. pp. [8], 110, [2], 111-126, [2], 117 (i.e.127), 130-154, 156-166 (i.e. 155-156), 157-182, [2], 187-186 (i.e.183-4), 187-190. Collates complete notwithstanding the eccentric pagination. Three full page engravings and six further engravings, showing the ceremonial dress of the nobility as well as one image of Queen Elizabeth on the throne and another of her presiding over Parliament. Final leaf loosely inserted and also loosely inserted is a list of thirteen books on English heraldry with their prices. Although undated, no book on this list is later than 1679 and it would seem to date from the late seventeenth, or very early eighteenth century.
Bound in contemporary vellum, double gilt fillet on upper and lower cover. Gilt coat of arms of Paul Pétau in centre of both covers, spine with six raised bands, compartments tooled with gilt monogram "AEP". Second compartment with red morocco label lettered in gilt. Corners bumped and worn, covers slightly soiled in places. Internally very good with some foxing and soiling and some ink spots on the initial blank leaf. Two early leaves lightly frayed at the edges but otherwise a very good copy of a scarce book in a smart armorial binding and beautifully printed by William Jaggard who was to achieve immortality fifteen years later with the First Folio. Front pastedown has the armorial bookplate of Alexandre Pétau, the son of Paul, who inherited his father's library selling most of it but, it seems, keeping this important work on the rights, duties and privileges of the nobility. It is probable that he added the monograms to the spine as these seem to indicate his ownership.
Robert Glover (1543-1588), Somerset herald from 1570, is described by the ODNB as "the herald's heraldist". His work in compiling details of coats of arms was the basis of all English heraldry until the late twentieth century. He published nothing during his lifetime but left a vast collection of manuscripts. His biographies and genealogies of English kings and nobility became Nobilitas politica et civilis compiled and printed by Glover's nephew Thomas Milles. An English translation was published in 1610. Glover was always mindful of the French origins of many English aristocrats and so drew on French sources. It was, perhaps, this that appealed to the great scholar and bibliophile Paul Pétau (1568-1614) for whom this copy was so handsomely bound. Aside from printed books, Pétau had a collection of 1000 manuscripts. Alexandre sold these to Queen Christina of Sweden who later gave many to the Vatican. Other holdings of Pétau's books can be found in important French and Dutch libraries and this book with the stamp "Bib. Scriptorum, S.J. Londinii" on the front free endpaper probably came through Leuven where the London Jesuit Library has its origins.

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