The Life and Reign of King Henry the EighthHERBERT OF CHERBURY, Edward, Lord
London: Printed by Andrew Clark. 1672.
4to. (290x180mm). pp. [vi], 639, [16, index]. Frontis. portrait of Henry VIII. Title page in black and red. Full calf, contemporary boards with double-lined border in blind. Rebacked, five raised bands, six compartments with gilt decoration, maroon label to second compartment with title and author in gilt. Some scuffing and wear to the boards with a loss at corners of lower cover. Wear to the head and foot of the spine. The contents are very good but with some foxing and a tear to the lower corner of leaf Kk2 (no loss of text). Front pastedown has the armorial bookplate of Sir Henry Beresford-Peirse, Bart. of Bedale, Yorkshire. Above it is the ownership inscription: "Henry Marwood, 1675", who may be Sir Henry Marwood, 2nd Bt. (c.1635-1725), of Little Busby, Stokesley, Yorkshire. A nice copy.
This Life of Henry VIII was commissioned by Charles I in the 1630s as he proceeded with controversial anti-Calvinist religious reforms in the face of Puritan opposition and suspicion that he was a closet Catholic. Lord Herbert of Cherbury's was, himself, committed to the eradication of religious conflict and in accepting the King’s invitation he probably felt that his book would provide a platform for the publication of his own views on religion and religious authority. This substantial work is therefore an important source, not just for the Stuart view of the most celebrated Tudor monarch, but also for that Anglican eirenicism which was a defining feature of the English church in the 1620s and 30s.