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    A Rare and Important Early English Chronicle

    John Harding. The Chronicle of John Hardyng, from the firste begynnyng of Englande, unto the Reigne of Kyng Edward the Fourth wher he made an end of his Chronicle. And from that tyme is added a continuacton of the storie in prose to this our tyme, now first imprinted, gathered out of diverse and sondery autours yt have write of the affaires of Englande. London: Richard Grafton, 1543. First edition. With all of the earliest readings before various revisions. Octavo. 238, [1, colophon], [1, blank], 159 leaves (does not have the three-leaf dedication after the title page). Bound in eighteenth-century full calf, boards double-ruled in gilt, spine tooled in gilt in compartments, burgundy gilt morocco lettering label, five raised bands, gilt board edges. Skillfully rebacked preserving the original spine, some wear to binding, text toned and brittle in places, with title-page, the following leaf, and a few other leaves in the text with some restoration and repair with some occasional loss. Some near contemporary ink marginal notes and signatures, with some worm damage in last few leaves. Still, a very good copy of this rare item. Housed in modern quarter brown morocco clamshell case. This title, which first appeared eighty years after Harding (1378-1465) death, was compiled by Richard Grafton from Harding's extant manuscripts. This was Grafton's first English chronicle - he would also edit Hall's Chronicles, Tottel's compilations, and eventually publish his own. STC 12766-12767.

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    Grafton also would somewhat enhance Harding's manuscript from time to time, for example when he described Richard III: "he was but of a small stature having but a deformed bodie, ye one shoulder was higher than the other, he had a shorte face and he did muse upon any thing standing, he would byte his upper lippe continually, wherby a mane might perceive his cruell nature within his wretched bodie..." Harding was a soldier (he fought in the battles of Agincourt and Harfleur) and historian who served various royal patrons, including Henry Percy (Hotspur). Harding was not above adjusting history in order to favor his employers; nor was he above a bit of forgery whenever it would suit him.

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    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    2nd Wednesday
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