University of Virginia Library


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The Printer of the 1594 Octavo of Marlowe's Edward II
Robert Ford Welsh

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.



If the entry for Bradock in Morrison's Index is complete, Bradock's name appears in the imprint of one extant book dated 1581, two dated 1592, and one dated 1597. It is on 8 April 1598, however, that a book is first assigned to Bradock in the Stationers' Register (Arber, III.110); and no less than twelve extant books of 1598 bear Bradock's name in the imprint. A possible reason for this blossoming of Bradock's career in 1598 is given at the conclusion of this note.


This ornament also appears in a book printed by Robinson in 1591 (STC 3508). It appears twice in each of two books printed by Robinson, one of 1595 (STC 4098) and one of 1596 (STC 20635). The ornament appears three times in each of two books printed by Robinson in 1596 (STC 20634, 20636).


The ornament appears on the following pages of the Institutiones: Aa8v (also numbered 368), Cc1v (386), Ii1 (481). The ornament also appears in three other books printed by Robinson: STC 4098, printed in 1595; STC 18013, 18246, printed in 1596.


This circular ornament also appears in the following books printed by Robinson: STC 3508, printed in 1591; STC 362, 1098, 18246, printed in 1596.


An Alphabet of the Holy Proverbes of King Salomon (STC 362). The initial appears on F1v.


The diamond-shaped ornament appears not only in the 1598 quarto of Edward II, but in two other books printed by Bradock in 1598 (STC 4172, 24890). The circular ornament used by Robinson in the 1594 edition of Edward II and elsewhere appears in three books printed by Bradock in 1598 (STC 4172, 6819, 24890). Further, two of Robinson's devices included in McKerrow's Printers' and Publishers' Devices (Nos. 207, 280) appear in books printed by Bradock in 1598 (No. 207 in STC 1823, 21225; No. 280 in STC 12372). Of these two devices, and of a third, No. 202, McKerrow says "Probably passed to Richard Bradock in 1597-8."