University of Virginia Library

The printer of the earliest known edition of Marlowe's Edward II, an octavo of 1594, is not named in either the imprint (on A1) or the colophon (on M3) of the book:

(A1) Imprinted at London for William Iones | dwelling neere Holbourne conduit, at the | signe of the Gunne. 1594.

(M3) Imprinted at London for William | Ihones, and are to be solde at his | shop, neere vnto Houlburne | Conduit. 1594.

The printer of the octavo has usually been assigned as Richard Bradock for the reason that the next known edition, a quarto of 1598 bearing Bradock's name in the imprint, has two ornaments in common with the 1594 octavo: the head-piece which appears above the head title on A2 of the 1594 octavo heads the title page (A2) of the 1598 quarto; and the diamond-shaped ornament appearing above the colophon on M3 of the 1594 octavo appears below the middle of the title page of the 1598 quarto.

Richard Bradock, however, was not the printer of the 1594 octavo of Edward II; for the ornaments which appear in the octavo, and in Bradock's quarto of 1598, belonged to Robert Robinson in 1594. In fact, it is doubtful that Richard Bradock printed anything in 1594. If the entries for Bradock in Morrison's Index to the STC and the Index to Arber's Transcript are complete, no extant book printed between 1593 and 1596 bears Bradock's name in the imprint; nor does any entry in the Stationers' Register during those years contain Bradock's name.[1] Robert Robinson, on the other hand, was reasonably active as a printer during these years and was using the ornaments which appear in the 1594 octavo of Edward II. In a Latin work printed by Robinson in 1594, Institutiones Linguae Graecae (STC 5403), appear all three of the ornaments which are present in the 1594 octavo of Edward II: the head-piece above the head title in Edward II appears on


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A8v of the Institutiones;[2] the diamond-shaped ornament above the colophon in Edward II appears no less than three times in the Institutiones;[3] and a circular ornament which appears on the title page of Edward II appears on A7 of the Institutiones.[4] Further, the initial M which appears at the beginning of the text on A2 of Edward II appears in a work[5] printed by Robinson in 1596.

There is evidence bearing on the question of how Robinson's ornaments passed to Richard Bradock and thus into Bradock's 1598 edition of Edward II. First, it is likely that Robinson went out of business as a printer in 1597 or early 1598; the last entry to him in the Stationers' Register is dated 2 May 1597 (Arber, III.84), and no extant book dated later than 1597 bears Robinson's name in the imprint (Morrison, Index). Second, in the "rough Memoranda of Sir John Lambe," written about 1635 and included in Arber's Transcript, Richard Bradock is said to have married the widow of Robert Robinson (Arber, III.702). Since Robinson's ornaments appear in Bradock's books of 1598,[6] it is a reasonable conjecture that Robert Robinson died in 1597 or early 1598 and that his widow was not without a husband for long.