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FENN, John. Edited by. Original Letters, Written during the Reigns of Henry VI. Edward IV. and Richard III [A MAGNIFICENT & SPLENDID BINDING BY THOMAS FRANCIS FORD]
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By various persons of rank or consequence ; containing many curious anecdotes, relative to that turbulent and bloody, but hithertodark, period of our history ; and elucidating, not only public matters of state, but likewise the private manners of the age. Divested in chronological order ; with notes, historical and explanatory ; and authenticated by engravings of autographs, paper marks, and seals. By John Fenn. Two volumes in one.
London: Printed for by G. G. J. and J. Robinson, in Pater- noster-Row, 1787-1789. Quarto. pp. xxxiii, , 301; , 341, , ; engraved vignette title-pp., 2 hand-colored frontispieces, 1 hand-colored plate, large folding genealogical table, 16 engraved plates of signatures. Bound by Thomas Francis Ford in 1945 with his initials in gilt on both covers and signed by him in ink on lower pastedown. Full tan morocco, borders elaborately tooled in gilt with green morocco onlays tooled with flowers, flames, stems, circles, stars and dots. At centre an elaborate rectangular inlay of bone (?) fretwork surrounded by a green morocco onlay elaborately decorated with gilt flowers and red and brown onlays; board edges and turn-ins gilt; marbled endpapers; green and gold endbands. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title in gilt on dark brown morocco label in the second, the remainder with onlays and gilt floral tooling. Edges stencilled in green, illustrating birds, animals and the letter ‘P’. A magnificent and spectacular binding.
Parallel medieval and modern texts. Illustrations: added title page, engraved, in each volume, hand- coloured engraved plates included coloured frontispiece in each volume, portraits of historical figures,also plates of signatures, watermarks and seals. Final leaf of ‘Corrections and Additions’ in volume 2. This work is the largest surviving English family correspondences of the fifteenth century. The first edition of the first four volumes of John Fenn’s impressive work, a collection of fifteenth century letters from the Paston family. Including the very scarce third and fourth volumes, published two years after the first two volumes. Editor John Fenn acquired these letters in the eighteenth century after he bought them from chemist Thomas Worth. They cover the correspondences of the Paston family between the years 1422 and 1509. The Paston family were Norfolk gentry with high connections. This Fenn editorial brought interest to the letters, which were otherwise relatively unknown. Fenn had the intention of producing a fifth volume which remained unfinished at his death, and was later published in 1823.Illustrated with an engraved title page to each volume, and with a hand-coloured frontispiece to volumes I, and II. With fourteen plates to the rear of volume II. This comprehensive set of letters is an important source for contemporary England during the reigns of Henry VI, Edward IV and Richard III, spanning a period of nearly 100 years. It provides a fascinating insight into the views of gentry at the time and into their every-day lives. Thomas Francis Ford was born May 9, 1891. He was educated at Bedford Modern School, then went on to London in 1908 to study architecture. There he worked three years with a firm of architects. From November 1912 he spent three years studying at the Royal Academy School of Architecture. An Anglican, he was a conscientious objector, thus he worked on a farm at Malden, Bedfordshire during World War I, afterwards gaining the highly prestigious Ashpital Prize for top marks in his final Royal Institute of British Architects examinations in 1919. Married in August, 1920, his wife Grace and he had two boys and one girl; the two sons now carry on the architectural firm he began in 1926. Mr. T. F. Ford was Head Air Raid Warden during World War II, and later became a gunnery officer in the Home Guard at Woolwich, London, at the same time being kept busy inspecting bombed churches. His hobby was bookbinding, at which he excelled, including the intricate gold tooling. He passed away, still active in his business, on January 11, 1971.
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