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John Danter's Ornament Stock by J. A. Lavin
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John Danter's Ornament Stock
J. A. Lavin

This article has two main purposes: to reproduce those ornaments, factotums, and ornamental initials which John Danter used in the books he printed, and to provide a list of their occurrences. A number of books not previously assigned to Danter as printer have been identified by means of his ornaments, though there may well be other items printed by Danter which have escaped attention. The information presented here should aid in their ultimate identification, and should also prove useful as a partial history of the particular ornaments which were at one time in Danter's possession.

All the books known to have been printed by Danter in whole or in part have been examined, i.e., those listed by Morrison in his Index to the Printers, Publishers and Booksellers in the STC (1950); one or two others not there listed; and a handful later identified from their ornaments. Astonishing as it may seem, no other English printer working between 1475 and 1640 has previously been given this systematic scrutiny, or perhaps more accurately, no study of the entire ornament stock of any other Renaissance English printer has been published. Earlier articles on this subject either deal with several printers and are necessarily highly selective, such as Charles Sayle's "Initial Letters in Early English Printed Books," (Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, VII (1904), 15-47), or else the author is content to reproduce only a few of the ornaments owned by the printer under discussion.[1]


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Even the most recent article devoted to English printers' ornaments, "A London Ornament Stock: 1598-1683," by C. William Miller, SB, VII (1955), extremely useful and well illustrated as it is, is based on an examination of only a selection of the books produced by the printers with whom the study is concerned. Such surveys are incomplete, although it is true that, given our present knowledge of English printers' ornaments, the reproduction and location of even a single ornament may be regarded as a contribution to the subject. Inevitably, they are frustrating to the user, who cannot be reasonably sure that the particular ornament in which he is interested was not at some time the property of the printer with whose stock the article concerns itself. For a variety of reasons, certain ornaments were sometimes used extremely infrequently by the printer who owned them, appearing in perhaps only one or two books. Consequently, it is necessary to examine every book produced by the printer whose ornament stock is being surveyed, otherwise one may arrive at the erroneous conclusion after examining most, but not all, of his output, that certain ornaments were not in his stock.[2]

Even more frustrating, however, than incomplete surveys of ornament stocks are those essays which discuss and describe ornaments without illustrating them. For most purposes, and particularly for the central purpose of identification by comparison, such discussions are utterly useless, especially when one considers the minute differences which often distinguish seemingly identical blocks.[3] Sayle's lament of 1902 that "Little has yet been done" (p. 20), remains true sixty-five years later, as does his dictum in the same essay that "our first duty towards these initials is to reproduce them" (p. 37).

With this in mind, all the ornaments and ornamental initials appearing in books indubitably printed by Danter have been here reproduced, though his printers' flowers and type ornaments (which are cast, and therefore of no real value for purposes of identification)[4]


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are not reproduced. The five devices he employed may be seen in McKerrow's collection and are therefore not illustrated, though their occurrences are fully recorded. Since a record of the progressive deterioration of ornaments may also be useful in dating undated works,[5] every occurrence of each ornament is given, rather than merely listing their earliest and latest appearances in Danter's books.

There seems little point in reprinting here the biographical facts concerning Danter, which can be found either in the DNB or in the Dictionary of Printers 1557-1640. They are discussed at greater length in H. R. Hoppe, The Bad Quarto of 'Romeo and Juliet' (1948). However, one or two points debated by Hoppe may be commented on in the light of more recent knowledge and the evidence provided by Danter's ornaments.

We now know, for instance, the exact year and month of Danter's death, thanks to William E. Miller, "Printers and Stationers in the parish of St. Giles Cripplegate 1561-1640," SB, XIX (1966); the register of St. Giles records his burial as having taken place on 26 October 1599. This fact disproves both Hoppe's speculation that "Danter was dead by May of [1599]" (p. 36), and his earlier implication, based on Barley's 1598 edition of Breton's Solemn Passion of the Souls Loue (printed by Simon Stafford) that Danter was dead before 13 March 1598:

Similarily, [sic] we have observed that publishers of two of his [Danter's] books, Titus Andronicus and A Solemn Passion of the Soul's Love, appear to have acquired a de facto if not de jure property in the book after Danter's death (p. 13).
The last clause implies that Danter was dead by the time that Stafford's edition of Breton's book was printed, whereas it is now clear that he was alive for another eighteen months. Danter had originally printed A Solemn Passion of the Souls Loue for Barley in 1595,[6] while Stafford admitted that his edition for Barley was printed on a press which he


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had set up in Black Raven Alley on 14 January 1598, and which was raided by the Stationers two months later, on 13 March.[7] The recently-ascertained fact that Danter did not die until October 1599 immediately suggests that Stafford's edition was a piracy. The same question is raised by the printing in 1598 of two other items, Creede's edition of Henry Robert's Honours Conquest, which Danter had entered on 5 March 1593 but presumably never printed, and Millington's edition of the broadside ballad Luke Hutton's Lamentation, entered by Danter on 22 December 1595. The Stationers' Register does not record a transfer from Danter in either case.

An alternative, and likelier explanation, is that Danter was effectively put out of business in 1597 by the raid on his premises which was precipitated by his printing of the Jesus Psalter, "and other things without aucthoritie" (Greg and Boswell, Records, p. 56), and that the three items mentioned above, rather than being pirated, were in fact printed by arrangement with him. The raid, which occurred sometime between 9 February and 27 March 1597, resulted in the seizure of his two presses "and certen letters pica, and pica Roman, and other sorts of letters in fourmes and cases" which were taken to the Stationers' Hall. On 10 April the presses and letters were ordered to be made unserviceable for printing.[8] Whether or not Danter was also imprisoned, this destruction of his equipment probably marked the end of his career.

The connection between the destruction of Danter's two presses in April 1597 and the cessation of his printing would probably have been seen before now but for the fact that three books printed by Danter are dated 1597 (Chinon of England, Romeo and Juliet, Mihil Mum-chance); a fourth, in which he had a hand (The Arbour of Amorous Devices), is also dated 1597, and a fifth, with which he helped, has been erroneously dated 1598 (A Fig for Fortune).

Of the four items known to have been printed in whole or part by Danter in 1597, Christopher Middleton's Chinon of England had been entered on 20 January 1596 and was probably completed before the raid. Romeo and Juliet was not entered, but it is Hoppe's contention that Danter's printing of it was interrupted by the raid sometime during Lent. Breton's Arbour of Amorous Devices, "printed by R. Johnes," but in fact at least in part by Danter, had been entered as long ago as 7 January 1594, and may well have been printed in the early months of 1597.

The remaining item, Mihil Mumchance, was the last title Danter


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entered in the Stationers' Register, on 22 August 1597. Hoppe asserts that this book
contains a couple of ornaments that never appeared before in his productions, a circumstance which suggests that he had somehow acquired new printing material or had joined forces with some other printer, possibly with Simon Stafford or perhaps with Richard Jones, for we find Danter's device 295B appearing on the title-page and A2 of a book bearing Jones's imprint: Nicholas Breton's Arbor of Amorous Devices, 1597. And in the next year (1598), according to Greg, he printed Anthony Copley's Fig for Fortune for Jones (p. 33).
Except for the ornamental initial T4, which has been found in this work only, Mihil Mumchance contains no ornaments "that never appeared before in his productions." The presence of T4 is hardly sufficient evidence to argue that Danter "had somehow acquired new printing material," or to suggest that he had formed a new partnership. A glance at the list of occurrences will show that several Danter ornaments and initials are found used only once. Moreover, that a new partnership with Jones followed the raid cannot be deduced from 295B's appearance in Breton's Arbour of Amorous Devices (1597), since, as has been shown elsewhere, Danter had already assisted in the production of at least three other volumes bearing Jones's imprint, two in 1595 and one in 1596.[9] This last was Copley's Fig for Fortune. Greg's statement that it appeared in 1598 (The Library, IV, xxv (1944-45), 20), alluded to by Hoppe, is incorrect.

Lastly, there is no evidence that Danter "joined forces" with Simon Stafford following the Lent raid. Had he done so one would expect to find, between 1597 and 1599, not only new ornaments appearing in Danter's books, but also Danter ornaments in Stafford's books. Such is not the case. Hoppe correctly points out that "from 1599 onwards Stafford regularly used Danter's two devices, nos. 281 and 295" (p. 37), and he suggests that "an investigation of Stafford's early ornaments and initials might yield more information about the extent of his


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acquisition of Danter's stock, besides his devices" (p. 37, note 95). Such an investigation has shown that apart from the devices, Stafford also acquired Danter's ornaments 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18; his factotums, 4, 5, 7, and 9; and his ornamental initials C1, D1, F1, H1, I2, T3, T4, and V1, but that none of these appears in a Stafford book before 1599. One is tempted to conclude that the sale of Danter's stock occurred after his death in October 1599, and that Stafford books dated 1599 which contain Danter ornaments must have been printed during the last two months of that year.[10]

Thus the printing of Mihil Mumchance (1597), The Arbour of Amorous Devices (1597), and A Fig for Fortune (1596), cannot be made to support the conclusion that Danter had overcome the results of the Lent raid by joining forces with Richard Jones or Simon Stafford. Furthermore, it cannot be shown that any one of these works was printed by Danter at some time later than the raid, and Hoppe's assertion, that "From these activities we can infer that Danter did not then look on his situation as entirely hopeless" (p. 33), is seen to be groundless. The only book that appears at all likely to have been printed by Danter after April 1597 is Mihil Mumchance, because of its entry in the Stationers' Register on 22 August, but even that entry is no proof that it had not already been printed.[11]

A final matter bearing on the question of the date at which Danter ceased to print is the illicit printing of the Grammar and Accidence, in which Danter is alleged to have been involved. According to Hoppe:

Perhaps as early as August 1597 . . . Danter was engaged with Walter Venge in illicit printing of the Grammar and Accidence, the patent for which a few months earlier (6 April 1597) had been granted to John Battersby in succession to Francis Flower (p. 33).
This statement is based on allegations made by Thomas Pavier and Simon Stafford in depositions taken on 26 and 27 June 1598, three months after the Stationers' raid on Stafford (13 March 1598), and a year after they raided Danter for his printing of the Jesus Psalter. In the Stafford raid 4000 pirated copies of the Accidence were seized from


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the house next door, until recently tenanted by the Draper and publisher William Barley, but now occupied by Roger Pavier. As C. B. Judge has shown,[12] the Stationers' main concern in the raid on Stafford was not the pirated Accidences, but the larger question of the "custom of the City of London," by which a freeman of one company might engage in any other craft. Stafford, Barley, and apparently Roger Pavier also, were Drapers practicing the trade of Stationer, and the Star Chamber proceedings which followed the raid were apparently regarded by both companies as a test case.

Interrogatories were put to William Barley, Simon Stafford, and Thomas Pavier (apprentice to Roger Pavier, the occupant of Barley's former premises) following affidavits sworn to by Thomas Dawson (5 May 1598) in which they and Edward Venge were accused of printing and selling ten or eleven thousand Accidences in violation of John Battersby's patent. Edward Venge escaped questioning because he was absent in the country, probably selling some of the pirated books, but in their answers Barley, Thomas Pavier, and Stafford denied any part in the printing. Thomas Pavier and Stafford, moreover, asserted that the Accidences had been printed for Roger Pavier and Edward Venge by John Danter and Walter Venge. Since we are here concerned with (1) whether Danter pirated the Accidence, and (2) if so, during what period he committed the offence, it is worth examining the wording of Thomas Pavier's and Stafford's replies.

The apprentice admitted that:

he this ext dyd sythence the iiijth of August last past bynde styche & sell certen Accydences prynted by Walter Venge and John Daynter (Judge, p. 174)
and in his answer to the sixth interrogatory Stafford alleged that:
Iohn Daynter Stacyoner & Walter Venge free of the Company of Grocers dyd sythence the iiijth day of August last past imprynt dyvers bookes (howe many he cannot say) comonly called the Accidences or introduccons to Grammar contrary to the sd decree of this ho Corte & also contrary to her highnes lettres pattentes of pryveledge for prynting therof graunted to one Iohn Battersby vnder the great Seale of England, & that Roger Pavyor merchant & Edw Veng were (as this ext hard) contributary to the charg therof (Judge, p. 179).
In replying to the seventh question Stafford said that Dawson and Burby had found in Roger Pavier's house copies of the pirated book


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Wch had byn prynted contrary to the sd decree by the sd Iohn Daynter & Walter Venge, & wth their presse & lettres as this ext thincketh. To the charge of the pryntg of wch sd bookes the sd Roger Pavyor was contributary as this Ext allso verely thincketh (Judge, p. 180).

If Stafford's answer to the sixth interrogatory is to be believed, Danter in company with Walter Venge had printed Accidences in the period following 4 August 1597; but even if this were true, it would not invalidate the contention that the seizure of Danter's two presses in February or March 1597 marked, for all practical purposes, the end of his printing career. Indeed, Danter's complicity with Walter Venge in a piratical venture following the seizure of his two presses might be cited as evidence that he had in fact been put out of business, and that he was therefore driven to the expedient of joining Venge in his piracy. In this connection Stafford's phrase "wth their presse & lettres" (my italics) is perhaps significant, though the reliability of his evidence is undercut by his twice using the phrase "as this ext thincketh," and "as this ext hard."

There are some further considerations. Hoppe comments: "From some source, probably the Stationer's [sic] Company, the Court of Star Chamber had reason to suppose that the piracy had begun about this date (4 August)" (p. 35). However, the reason that the date 4 August 1597 figures so prominently both in the interrogatories and in the examinates' replies is that the Stationers had obtained an injunction on that date prohibiting Stafford from printing. Their action was taken following Stafford's successful appeal to the Archbishop of Canterbury for permission to use a press. This permission had been granted on the recommendation of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, who had certified that Stafford, though completing his apprenticeship with Christopher Barker, at that time a Draper, had nevertheless been apprenticed in the printing trade. For its bearing on the technical question of whether Stafford was in contempt of court through his violation of the injunction, the date was therefore of importance; he had in fact set up a press on 14 January 1598 in defiance of it. But the date is irrelevant as far as Danter's supposed piracy of the Accidence is concerned, and Hoppe misunderstood its significance; in fact, the Court of Star Chamber had absolutely no "reason to suppose that the piracy had begun about this date (4 August)."

It will be noticed that although the testimony of Thomas Pavier agrees with that of Stafford in naming Danter and Walter Venge as the piratical printers, the apprentice gives no indication of when the sheets


Page 29
were printed; he had merely bound, stitched, and sold them. It is therefore possible that the mention of 4 August in the recording of Stafford's answer to the sixth interrogatory has crept in from the formula of the interrogatory itself. The clerk's version of Stafford's answer to that interrogatory is the sole evidence that Danter was engaged in printing Accidences some time later than 4 August 1597.

It should also be remembered that Danter is not mentioned in the Stationers' original agreement to join in charges of suit with the parties privileged for the grammars and accidences against William Barley and Simon Stafford (Greg and Boswell, Records, p. 60); nor in the affidavits sworn to by Thomas Dawson in which Thomas Pavier, William Barley, and Edward Venge are accused of pirating Accidences; nor in the interrogatories which were to be put to Barley, Thomas Pavier, Edward Venge, and Stafford. Judge finds it difficult to account for Danter's absence from the court records of the case, which are almost complete, and is forced to conclude that "he was beyond reach of earthly punishment," and that "his death occurred sometime in 1598, very shortly after the conclusion of the Star Chamber case" (p. 137), which we now know to be incorrect.

Although the evidence is not sufficiently conclusive to demonstrate that Danter either was or was not engaged with Walter Venge in the pirating of the Accidence, or if he were, during which months of 1597 he was so occupied, enough has been said to show that the alleged piracy cannot be cited as proof that Danter continued to work a press of his own after the Lent raid of 1597.

There remains the question of whether that raid affected the printing of Romeo and Juliet Q1. In Hoppe's view (which has been generally accepted):[13] "there is considerable reason to suppose that Romeo and Juliet was going through the press at this time and that its completion was interrupted by the seizure of Danter's presses" (p. 32). The main points in his argument may be summarized as follows: (1) sigs. A-D are printed in a larger type than sigs. E-K, and have a different running-title; moreover, the types and ornaments of A-D are identifiable as Danter's, while those of E-K are not, though this second font looks like one belonging to Edward Allde (Hoppe, pp. 1-5).[14] Much later he concludes that (2) "the nature of this typographical


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division points to the composing of the type of the second part, sigs E-K, after the composition of sig D was completed and not simultaneously with sigs A-D" (pp. 41-42). (3) "The change of type after the printing of A-D indicates that the completion of the printing of the quarto as a continuous unit was in some way interrupted" (p. 41). (4) "the type for the second part was composed and the printing probably executed in a different printing house" (p. 41). (5) Conclusion: "the typographical evidence suggests most strongly that the printing of Romeo and Juliet was turned over to someone else when the book was less than half completed. It is natural to suppose that the occasion for this change was the raid on Danter's printing-house in Lent of 1596/7, and the reference on the title page to Lord Hunsdon's men points to the book's being in the press during that portion of Lent between 9 February and 17 March 1596/7" (pp. 45-46).

It may have been natural in 1948 to suppose that a change in font pointed to a raid by the Stationers, but Hoppe's supposition must be re-examined in the light of what we now know about setting by formes in quarto from cast-off copy. His first point is descriptive and is not debatable; the typographical division is obvious. The third point is an inference deriving from the first, and may be accepted with the exception of the word 'interrupted.' Point four is demonstrable. The second and fifth points, however, are arguable.

The evidence which Hoppe adduces to demonstrate that sheets E-K were composed and printed after A-D and not simultaneously, seems, upon examination, to indicate the opposite conclusion. He cites the signs of cast-off copy listed by McKerrow, Introduction to Bibliography, pp. 128 ff., and notes that those signs are not present in Romeo and Juliet. In particular:

The type of sigs. A-D ends quite neatly at the bottom of the last page of D, without apparent crowding or spacing of the type to make it end exactly at this point. If different printers or compositors set the parts up simultaneously from MS. copy, the chances of such perfect division between them are indeed slight (p. 42).
Gross irregularities of the kind described by McKerrow, or obvious crowding or spacing of the type are not, however, always present in books printed from cast-off copy. Robert K. Turner, "Printing Methods and Textual Problems in A Midsummer Night's Dream Q1" (SB, XV (1962), 33-35), has shown that that play was set by formes from cast-off copy, and that sheet A was the last to go through the press, even though it contains the preliminaries and the beginning of


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the text. Moreover, "In only two places (B2, 33 and H2, 35) does there seem to be any likelihood that the compositor juggled the lineation of the text in order to fit copy to a predetermined space" (p. 55). In Hoppe's terms, the compositor of MND Q1 achieved the impossible; after setting the last sheet of the play (H), he went back and contrived things so neatly in setting sheet A that there is no sign of discontinuity between sheet A and sheet B (the first to be machined). Only through an analysis of the running-titles and identification of recurrent types has the order of composition been determined.

On the other hand, it seems inconceivable that the Stationers' raid on Danter should have occurred at precisely the moment when all the sheets of the D gathering had been perfected, rather than, say, half-way through the composing or printing of one or other of the formes. If several pages of the D gathering had been printed with the large font and the remainder with the small, or if each forme displayed a different font, there would be prima facie evidence of disturbance of the printing process, but when, as Hoppe says, "The type of sigs A-D ends quite neatly at the bottom of the last page of D," we should surely suspect the use of cast-off copy for an ordinary shared printing job.[15] Otherwise, it would be necessary to assume that, in every instance where the typographical evidence clearly demonstrates shared printing, the original printing process had been interrupted in some way (if not always by a Stationers' raid) and that a second printer had been called in to complete the task.

While such raids were relatively infrequent, shared printing jobs were common, and Hoppe's conclusion must be rejected. In the first volume of A Bibliography of the English Printed Drama Greg notes a number of plays the printing of which was shared by two or more printers, and which display almost exactly those bibliographical features attributed by Hoppe to interrupted printing in the case of Romeo and Juliet. The 1611 Spanish Tragedy, for instance, printed by W. White, "was set up in two sections, A-G and H-M, which vary greatly in style. The RT differs as shown . . . There is no reason to suppose that White printed the second section." (p. 189). Again, in Q1 Richard III (1597), 'Printed by Valentine Sims,' "Sheets H-M are printed in a fresher fount of type than the rest (cf. RT). They were probably printed, not by Simmes, but by Peter Short, the type being the same as that used the next year in his edition of i Henry IV"


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(p. 230). An even more striking instance is Q1 of The Entertainment through London (1604), in which "Five different types are used in the RT, and divide the volume into sections as follows: A-B, C-D, E, F-H, I. . . . Presumably the five sections were the work of as many different presses. The first sheet appears from his initials and device on the title to have been printed by Thomas Creede; H appears from the ornaments used to have been printed by Humphrey Lownes; I was probably printed by Edward Allde. The printers of the other two sections . . . have not been identified" (p. 320). Similarly with Q1 When You See Me You Know Me (1605), "The types used in the RT divide the book into five sections: those of D-F and KL may be the same, but the variation of the form is significant. . . . The printer appears from the ornament used on the title to have been Humphrey Lownes, but it is, of course, doubtful whether the whole book came from his press" (p. 336). Finally, in Q1 Pericles (1609), "The sheets fall into two groups, AC-E and BF-I, printed in slightly different types, with different forms of the RT, the former having normally 37 lines to a page, the latter 35. . . . The printer appears from the ornaments used in sheet A to have been William White, but it is of course uncertain whether the whole was the work of one press" (p. 419). The third quarto of the same play "appears to have been printed . . . in two sections, A-C and D-I: the type seems to be slightly different and in the second the directions are preceded by a paragraph. The printer appears from his initials to have been Simon Stafford (STC), but it is of course uncertain whether the whole was the work of one press" (p. 420).

Presumably no one would argue that The Entertainment through London and When You See Me You Know Me were printed in five sections because each of four printers had in turn been raided by the Stationers, and had in turn handed on the unfinished job to be completed elsewhere, but in case these examples seem irrelevant it should be pointed out that Danter himself is known to have shared assignments other than Romeo & Juliet. An instance particularly relevant for present purposes is discussed in "The Printing of Greenes Groatsworth of Witte and Kind-Harts Dreame" (SB, XIX (1966), 196-197), by Sidney Thomas, who shows that the printing of the two books was shared by John Wolfe and John Danter, each printing an approximately equal section of both. The evidence for shared printing is of precisely the kind marshalled by Hoppe to demonstrate that "the printing of Romeo and Juliet was turned over to someone else when the book was less than half completed"; each book consists of two


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typographical divisions, identifiable by different fonts, different running-titles, and ornaments belonging to different printers. John Wolfe printed sheets A-C of Greenes Groatsworth of Witte and sheets A-D of Kind-Harts Dreame, but it is no more natural to posit raids on Wolfe which necessitated Danter finishing the two jobs than it is, in the case of the similar cleavage in Romeo and Juliet, "natural to suppose that the occasion for this change was the raid on Danter's printing-house in Lent of 1596/7" (Hoppe, p. 46).[16] And most of the evidence which Hoppe assembles to show (correctly) that A-D and E-K of Romeo and Juliet were composed in different printing houses can be used to support the contention that the two sections were probably printed simultaneously, not, as he argues, consecutively.

The difference in the wording of the running-titles between the two parts, he says, "argues the setting-up by a printer who was not aware of the wording that had been established for sigs A-D, a difference readily accounted for if the completion of the book was entrusted to another printing house" (pp. 42-43). If the printing was indeed interrupted by the Lent raid, and if the copy was not earlier cast-off for printing in two houses, when the unfinished job was handed to Allde he would need not only the manuscript, but most importantly, an indication of the point which the printing had reached. He would probably then make some attempt to match Danter's completed sheets typographically. The easiest way of accomplishing these ends would be to hand Allde one specimen of sheet D, or even the whole pile of completed sheets. Had this happened, the wording of the running-titles would probably have been made to correspond, and the other typographical differences between the two parts could have been avoided. On the other hand, simultaneous printing at once explains the discrepancies.

Of particular significance is Hoppe's evidence that "the type of sigs E-K was spread out in order to make it fill as many sheets as it otherwise would have occupied if the larger type of sigs A-D had been used" (p. 44). He argues that this was caused after the interruption of the printing, by Danter or Burby basing his calculations on the size of type used in sheets A-D, and concluding that six more sheets were required to complete the job. The smaller type Allde used necessitated 'spreading,' the introduction of spaces at the top and bottom of many pages,


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and of printers' ornaments across the page to take up the slack and "to assure receiving payment on the contracted number of sheets" (p. 45). Initial casting-off in Danter's shop for a shared and concurrent printing job might well produce this result, based on Danter's estimate of his own type size, but if the incomplete job were handed to Allde he would surely be asked to estimate the number of sheets required to set the remaining manuscript material, given the font he was going to use. 'Spreading' would then be less likely.

The strongest argument against Hoppe's explanation, however, is that it requires the positing of an unusual arrangement following on an unusual interruption of the normal printing procedure, whereas the alternative explanation accounts for the observable phenomena by assuming that a perfectly ordinary procedure was followed. Acceptance of the latter conclusion affects Hoppe's arguments about the date of printing. The title-page reference to Hunsdon's servants provides the limits of 22 July 1596 and 17 March 1596/7, the period during which Shakespeare's company was known by that name. In 1596/7 Lent began on 9 February and lasted until 27 March; since Danter was raided during Lent, Hoppe argues that Romeo and Juliet must have been in the press between 9 February and 17 March, when the company became the Chamberlain's Men. But if the printing of the quarto was not interrupted by the Lent raid, and if its bibliographical features can be explained in the manner outlined above, then the most that can be said is that it was probably in the press between 1 January and 17 March 1596/7. In fact, the title-page date of 1597 is no guarantee that it was not printed during the last weeks of 1596.

* * * * * * * *

The following list records each item in which the individual devices, ornaments, factotums, and ornamental initials belonging to John Danter appear. It does not record the number of times each ornament is used in any one book. For purposes of reference the four main kinds of ornament block have each been given a separate heading and series of identifying numbers, and the ornamental initials have been arranged in alphabetical order. It will be seen that Danter did not own a complete alphabet of initials, let alone a complete alphabet in one design, though A1, F1, and G2 seem to come from the same set, and some of the conventionalized foliage designs may belong to the same family.

The entry for each block is arranged thus: (1) an identifying number corresponding to that under the accompanying illustration. For the devices, which are not illustrated, the McKerrow number is


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given; (2) the measurement in millimetres, vertical measurement first. A tolerance of one millimetre should be allowed for paper shrinkage; (3) STC numbers of books in which the block was used, arranged chronologically, and by STC order within each year; (4) an explanatory comment where necessary, giving, for instance, information on earlier or later owners of the block if known. Square brackets enclosing and STC number indicate that the item has been here assigned to Danter on the evidence of the ornaments it contains, though his name does not appear in imprint or colophon. Some of these items were shared printing jobs, and their assignment to Danter does not necessarily mean that he was the only printer involved. For further comments on them, see 'Additions to the Danter canon.' The accompanying illustrations reproduce the blocks at approximately actual size.

Danter's ornaments had a lengthy history. The oldest (F1 and I1) had been in use for at least sixty years when they came into Danter's possession, having belonged at one time to Thomas Berthelet.[17] About a third of Danter's stock saw a further forty years of service in the hands of Simon Stafford and George and Elizabeth Purslowe. Another group of ornaments passed to Thomas Judson, and from him in turn to Harrison, Snowdon, and Okes. Their later history has been traced by C. William Miller, "A London Ornament Stock: 1598-1683," SB, VII (1955), 125-151, who guessed that some of the ornaments with which he was dealing had seen earlier use.[18] One of these, Danter's factotum no. 3, was still being used by Robert White as late as 1677 according to Miller's list.

Four blocks (ornament 4, G1, I1, Q1) which appear in Danter's books passed later through the hands of Robinson, Braddock, Haviland, and Beale. However, no. 4 and Q1 were used by Richard Robinson both before and after the occasions on which they crop up in Danter books, and no. 4 and G1 went with the rest of Robinson's stock to his successor Braddock rather than to one of the several printers who acquired Danter's materials. Robinson seems not to have used I1, but Braddock employed it from 1598 to 1606. It therefore seems likely that Robinson either lent these four ornaments to Danter, who later returned them, or that Robinson shared the printing of some items bearing Danter's name. STC 22678 (1592) displays only Q1 and ornament


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4, and despite the imprint may therefore be Robinson's presswork entirely.

Some collaboration between Danter and Robinson (pointed to by the ornaments) is not surprising, since Danter's apprenticeship had been completed under Robinson. Originally apprenticed to John Day in 1582 (Arber, II.114), his apprenticeship was transferred from the widowed Mistress Day "alias Stone" to Robinson on 15 April 1588 (Arber, II. 151), and on the completion of his term (30 September 1589) Robinson presented him to the stationers to be admitted a freeman (Arber, II.706). Hoppe surmises (p. 20) that the association had begun as early as 1585, and that Danter while still Day's apprentice helped Robinson pirate the ABC's, the patent for which belonged to his master. But whatever the case, Robinson may well have helped his ex-apprentice from time to time; in 1588 he had become the owner of one of the largest printing businesses in London by buying Henry Middleton's equipment, which included three presses (Arber, II. 706).


  • McKerrow
  • 149 A coarsely cut copy of the frame of this device; mentioned by McKerrow but not illustrated. See plates. 1592 12561 1593 [7675] Danter's ownership of the block in 1592 suggests that it was he who printed Fair Em the following year.
  • 262(b) 1594 1480 The device belonged to the bookseller Thomas Gubbin, for whom the book was printed.
  • 281 1592 13601 18377a 22678 24863 1593 18377b 18378a 1594 1487 16678 18379 22328 1595 3665 19775 1597 22322 Danter is the first recorded owner of this device; it later passed to Stafford and Purslowe.
  • 295(a) 1592 12223 12306 12789+ 22678 1593 [5123] [25122] 23356 1594 1487 12265 16678 [20867] 21321 22328 25781
  • 295(b) 1594 1480 18379 25781 1596 18369 1597 17866 22322 The device originally contained Danter's initials (the (a) state) which dropped out during the printing of the outer forme of sheet A, STC 25781. It was later owned by Stafford and the Purslowes; see "Additions to McKerrow's Devices," The Library, V, xxiii, 196-200.
  • 297 1592 12306 1594 12265 The device was owned by the bookseller Cuthbert Burby, for whom these books were printed.


  • 1 (8.5x76) 1592 12223 12306 1596 7503
  • 2 (9x53) 1592 12306
  • 3 (8x19) 1592 12223
  • 4 (19x63) 1592 13601 22678 Earlier used by Robinson in 1589 1579 25407, and later in 1594 5403, the


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    block was used by Braddock from 1598 17438 to 1606 795, and then by Haviland 1611 21738 and Beale 1619 7569. What seems to be the same block was later used by A. M[athews] in 1633 17715.
  • 5 (16.5x69) 1593 18960 22666 [25122] 1594 1480 18379 23356 1595 19545 1596 5737 ('by R. Iohnes') [14677] [21512] (other ornaments not Danter's) 1597 17916 Later used by Judson, Harrison, Snowdon, and Okes; see Miller no. 13, p. 142, and add Judson 1598 23278 1599 13502; N. Okes 1617 21594; n.p. 1628 6531; I.N. [John Norton] 1631 17478
  • 6 (8x46) 1594 12265
  • 7 (8x47) 1594 12265 Earlier used by John Day in 1582 2461; John Wolfe in 1588 12295; later in n.p. 1595 6225.
  • 8 (12x91.5) 1594 1480 1596 [18418] Later used by Harrison and Okes; see Miller no. 22, p. 142. A similar block was used by E. Allde; cf. 1607 17892
  • 9 (14x96.5) 1594 1480 1597 [1433] Later used by Okes; see Miller no. 27, p. 142; and add 1609 6500 1611 13783 1613 13310. A similar block was used by F. Kingston; cf. 1611 10806.
  • 10 (13x96) 1594 1480 1595 5124 1596 [1433] Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes.
  • 11 (13x93) 1594 1480 1595 5124 17748 1596 5737 ('by R. Iohnes') Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes
  • 12 (19x46) 1594 1480 18379 1595 3665 5000 5124 1596 [14677] 18369 Later used by Judson; see Miller, no. 17, p. 142, and add C. Legge 1616 12100; Printers to the University of Cambridge 1633 11199. Reproduced by H. R. Plomer as no. 122 in Printers' Ornaments.
  • 13 (18x45) 1593 [25122] 1595 3665 5000 Later used by Stafford, the Purslowes, and E. Griffin 1640 20561 21190a
  • 14 (55x50) 1593 18960 22666 [25122] 1594 1480 12265, 21321 23356 25781 1595 [14707] 19545 19775 1597 17916 Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes
  • 15 (32x29.5) 1592 24863 1593 [5123] 18960 22666 1594 16678 23356 1595 3665 Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes.
  • 16 (33x36) 1596 [14677] 18369 Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes
  • 17 (19x71) 1594 1480 18379 1595 3388 5124 [14707] 19775 [20366] 1596 18369 1597 17866 22322 Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes. A smaller but very similar block was used in turn by Tottel, Short, Windet, Stansby, R. Bishop; see "Three 'Owl' Blocks; 1590-1640," The Library, V, xxii, 143-147.
  • 18 (18x92) 1594 1480 1595 3388 19775 1596 18369 1597 22322 Later used by Stafford, the Purslowes, and R. Oulton. Nos. 17 and 18 are a pair often used together.


  • 1 (14.5x55) 1591 16654[19]
  • 2 (21x66) 1591 16654 1594 [12190] Later used, with inner rule removed, in 1633 12808 (Dublin, for the Society of Stationers).

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  • 3 (47x47) 1594 18379 1595 3388 5124 [14707] 19775 [20366] 1596 18369 1597 17866 Later used by Snowdon, Okes, and White; see Miller Fa 2, p. 143. There was at least one other block of almost identical design, but with a double outer rule; see E. Allde 1615 563; [Eliot's Court Press] 1629 24058; E. Purslowe 1633 12361 (Reproduced as Fig. 3 in Katharine F. Pantzer, "The Serpentine Progress of the STC Revision," PBSA, LXII (1968), 303).
  • 4 (46x46) 1596 18369 Earlier used by Thomas Scarlet in 1592 17083 1595 15562; later used by Stafford and G. Purslowe.
  • 5 (25x25) 1595 17748 19545 19775 Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes. Several printers had similar blocks.
  • 6 (18.5x18.5) 1591 16654 1592 12561 1594 [12190] Also in 1606 6514 ('by R. B.')
  • 7 (18.5x18.5) 1592 13601 18377 18377a 24863 1593 [5123] 18377b 18378 18378a 22666 1594 1480 18379 1595 3665 5000 18775 Later used by Stafford and G. Purslowe. Reproduced as Fig. 4 by Pantzer, p. 303.
  • 8 (18.5x18.5) 1592 [12245] 12789+ 13601 1593 22666 1595 3665 5000 19775 [20366] Later used by Judson, Harrison, Okes; see Miller, Fa 3, p. 143, and add 1609 6500 1612 6184
  • 9 (18.5x18.5) 1592 12306 13601 18377 22678 1593 22666 1594 18379 21321 1595 17748 19775 [20366] Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes.
  • 10 (14x14) 1592 12223 1593 18378 18378a 1594 [12190] Several other printers used apparently identical factotums, which were probably cast.


  • A1 (17x17) 1592 12306 24863
  • A2 (24x25) 1596 [14677] 1597 17866
  • B1 (25x25) 1596 [14677] 1597 17866 Later used by Okes; see Miller, B5, p. 144, and add 1609 6500 1611 13783
  • C1 (24x25) 1596 [14677] 1597 17866 Later used by Stafford in 1600 21291
  • D1 (24x25) 1596 [14677] 1597 17866 Later used by Stafford in 1609 17149
  • F1 (18x18) [1593] [5123] 1594 1480 20867 Earlier used by Berthelet in 1532 9472; later by Stafford in 1611 22235
  • G1 (27x29) 1594 1487 Earlier used by C. Barker in 1582 13672; later by Braddock in 1604 10650 and Beale in 1612 22395.
  • G2 (18x18) 1592 12223 12306 12789+ 18377 18377a 1593 18377b 18378 18378a [25122] 1594 16678
  • G3 (18.5x18.5) 1592 18377a
  • H1 (23x22) 1591 16654 1592 12789+ Earlier used by T. East in 1580 10881 1581 3170 1588 23895; Hoskins and Chettle in 1591 22656; later by Stafford and G. Purslowe.
  • I1 (26x26) 1952 12223 12306 24863 1594 [20867] Earlier used by Berthelet in at least four dozen books from 1534 868 to 1562 9396; H. Middleton 1574 11555 1580 3750; C. Barker 1582 13656; later by Braddock from 1598 12322 to 1606 18850
  • I2 (24x25) 1596 [14677] 1597 17866 Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes

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  • L1 (25x25.5) 1597 17866 Later used by Okes; see Miller, L4, p. 147
  • O1 (22x22) 1592 12306
  • Q1 (10x10) 1592 22678
  • T1 (32x32) 1592 12561 Several printers had similar and almost indistinguishable blocks, which must have been cast; cf. Miller, T1 and T4. That reproduced by Pantzer as Fig. 7 shows the same damage to the cross-bar; she thinks it belonged to Edward Allde 1599-1613 (p. 305).
  • T2 (26x26) 1597 17866 Later used by Judson; see Miller, T6, p. 150. Also in W. Stansby 1620 14764
  • T3 (24x25) 1596 [14677] 1597 17916 Later used by Stafford, 1599-1611
  • T4 (31x31) 1597 17916 Later used by Stafford and the Purslowes. Not to be confused with a very similar "Cain and Abel" block used by John Wolfe which lacks the building on the left, in e.g., 1587 12277. See H. R. Hoppe, "John Wolfe, Printer and Publisher," The Library, IV, xiv (1934), 275: "Found from 1585 to 1593. There is another block of this initial differing in details. The one illustrated passed to Windet; the other I have not been able to trace."
  • V1 (24x23) 1594 12265 Later used by Stafford and G. Purslowe. There was probably more than one such block; cf. T. Dawson 1597 15623; T. D. 1620 22837
  • W1 (22x22) 1592 12789+
  • W2 (19x16) 1594 1487
  • Y1 (18x18) 1595 5000 What seems to be the same block was earlier used by C. Barker in 1582 13672.

Additions to the Danter Canon

In his Index to the Printers, Publishers and Booksellers in the STC (1950), Morrison lists thirty-eight items known to have been printed by Danter. The nineteen additional titles which appear below were also printed in whole or in part by Danter, as is evidenced by the ornaments which they contain. This represents a 50% increase in the Danter canon, and is perhaps some indication of the enormous amount of work which remains to be done in identifying the printers of unsigned STC books. In Danter's case the general picture of him as a marginal jobbing printer is hardly altered by these additions, but similar large increases in the canons of other printers might appreciably alter our estimation of their importance.

The entries are arranged chronologically, by STC number and title within each year; the Danter ornaments which each contains are identified:

  • 1591 22656 Smith, Henry. The affinities of the faithfull. Hoskins and Chettle for Ling and Busby; Folger copy reads 'Hoskins and Danter for . . .'; H1, no other ornaments.
  • 1592 12245 Greene, Robert. Greenes Groats-worth of witte. [sigs. D1-F4] See Sidney Thomas, "The Printing of Greenes Groatsworth of Witte and Kind-Harts Dreame," SB, XIX (1966), 196-197. Factotum 8 only.
  • [1593] 5123 Chettle, Henry. Kind harts dreame. [sigs. E1-H2] See Sidney Thomas, op. cit. Device 295(a), ornament 15, factotum 7, F1. The N on E2v and R on F3 do not occur in signed Danter books.

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  • 1593 7675 A pleasant commodie of faire Em. "The printer was perhaps John Danter," Greg, Bibliography, I, 193. Copy of device 149 on title-page; no other ornaments.
  • 1593 25122 Watson, T. The tears of fancie. Entered to Danter 11 August. Device 295(a), ornaments 5, 13, 14, G2.
  • [1594] 10314 [Visitation articles] Peterborough. Ornaments 5, 15, factotum 8.
  • 1594 12190 Grassi, Giacomo di. G. di Grassi his true arte of defence. Although this book displays Danter's factotum no. 2 on the title-page and no. 6 passim, the many other ornaments are not his. It would be natural to suppose that the two blocks had passed out of his hands in 1592 or 1593 but for the fact that factotum 6 is used in 1606 6514, 'by R. B.' but probably by Stafford.
  • 1594 20867 Present remedies against the plague. Device 295(a), F1, I1.
  • 1595 3388 Borgetto, G. The deuils legend. Ornaments 17, 18, factotum 3.
  • 1595 14707 Johnson, Thomas, tr. Cornucopiœ, or diuers secrets. Entered to Danter 30 October 1594. Ornaments 14, 17, factotum 3.
  • 1595 20366 The first booke of Primaleon of Greece [tr. A.Munday] Device 277, ornament 17, factotums 3, 8, 9.
  • 1595 22885 Smythe, J. Instructions, obseruations, and orders mylitarie. 'by R. Johnes.' Danter probably printed the prelims only; ornament 17 appears on the title-page and sig. ¶, but the other ornaments are not his.
  • 1595 23379 Stubbes, P. The anatomie of abuses [4th ed.] 'by R. Johnes'. Ornament 17; the only other ornament is an initial R on sig. A2, not found in any signed Danter book, but the same as appears in 1597 3631 also on sig. A2 (see below).
  • 1596 1433 Barley, William. A new booke of tabliture. [Barley published this book, but there is no evidence, despite STC, that he was the author]. Ornaments 9 and 10; also contains a large headpiece not found in any signed Danter book.
  • 1596 5737 Copley, Anthony. A fig for fortune. 'by R. Iohnes'. See Greg. The Library, IV, xxv (1944-5), 20: "In 1598 [sic] Richard Jones entered a copy called A fig for fortune . . . and the same year appeared an edition ostensibly printed by him (but actually by Danter at his assignment)." No evidence for this statement is given. The ornaments on the title-page, and sigs. A4 and B are Danter's (5, 11), though the ornamental initial A on A4 and the V of the same alphabet on sig B. do not appear in any signed Danter book.
  • 1596 14567 Jesus psalter. Although STC queries [Douay?], Greg and Boswell, Records, p. 56, suggest that this is the edition printed surreptitiously by Danter. The common type-ornaments look like his, and the only ornament, an IHS block at the end, may be the same used by Stafford in 1600 21291 on the title-page.
  • 1596 14677 Johnson, Richard. The most famous history of the seauen champions of christendome. Entered to Danter 20 April. Ornaments 5, 12, 16, A2, B1, C1, D1, I2, T3; other ornaments used in the work are not found elsewhere in Danter's books, which suggests that the printing was shared.
  • 1596 18418 A booke of . . . Needleworks. Ornaments 8, unrecorded V (an old Berthelet block, used in 1540 9402)
  • 1597 3631 Breton, Nicholas, The arbour of amorous deuises. 'by R. Iohnes'. Device 295(b) on title-page and sig. A2. On the evidence of its appearance in this book McKerrow suggested that the block passed to Richard Jones at an unspecified date, though expressing doubts about it (Devices, pp. 115, 169). However, the ornament was used constantly by Danter from 1592 to 1597, and almost certainly passed directly to Stafford in 1599 with a third of Danter's ornament stock. Other than 295(b) and Jones's device 283 on the title-page the book contains only an ornamental initial R (sig. A2), the same appearing in 1595 23379 (see above).


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Page 44




See, for instance, E. R. McC. Dix, "The Ornaments used by John Franckton, Printer at Dublin," Transactions of the Bibliographical Society, VIII (1907), 221-227; "The Initial Letters and Factotums used by John Franckton, Printer in Dublin," The Library, IV, ii (1922), 43-48; H. R. Plomer, "The Eliot's Court Printing House, 1584-1674," The Library, IV, ii (1922), 175-184; "Eliot's Court Press: Decorative Blocks and Initials," The Library, IV, iii (1923), 194-209; Harry Farr, "Shakespeare's Printers and Publishers," The Library, IV, iii (1923), 225-260; R. B. McKerrow, "Edward Allde as a Typical Trade Printer," The Library, IV, x (1930), 121-162; H. R. Hoppe, "John Wolfe, Printer and Publisher," The Library, IV, xiv (1934), 241-288; C. William Miller, "Thomas Newcomb: A Restoration Printer's Ornament Stock," SB, III (1950), 155-170.


For example, an examination of 139 books printed by William Stansby 1607-38 revealed that a particular ornament appears in only four of them; see "Three 'Owl' Blocks: 1590-1640," The Library, V, xxii (1967), 144, note 3.


Two illustrated articles concerned with such differences are: W. A. Jackson, "Counterfeit Printing in Jacobean Times," The Library, IV, xv (1935), 364-376; William B. Todd, "Aldine Anchors, Initials, and the 'Counterfeit' Cicero," PBSA, LX (1966), 413-417.


This comment remains generally true, despite the recent work done through the identification of battered types, such as Hinman's on the First Folio, or published in articles such as R. K. Turner's "The Printing of A King and No King," SB, XVIII (1965), 255-261, or Berta Sturman's "A Date and a Printer for A Looking Glasse for London and England, Q4," SB, XXI (1968), 248-253.


See Dennis E. Rhodes, "The Quodlibeta of Petrus Joannes Olivi," PBSA, L (1956), 85-87; Lloyd E. Berry, "Giles Fletcher the Elder's Licia," The Library, V, xv (1960), 133-134; G. W. Williams, "The Printer and Date of Romeo and Juliet Q4," SB, XVIII (1965), 253-254.


Danter printed A Solemn Passion of the Souls Loue as an appendage to Marie Magdalens Loue, STC 3665, entered 24 July 1595 (Arber III.45), "to be sold by W. Barley." Danter later entered A Solemn Passion separately (20 September 1595), but seems never to have printed it separately.


Greg and Boswell, Records, p. 60.


Greg and Boswell, Records, p. 56.


See "Additions to McKerrow's Devices," The Library, V, xxiii (1968), 197. Other books claiming to be printed by Jones are known to have been printed for him; see W. C. Ferguson, The Library, V, xiii (1958), 201, and W. W. Greg, Some Aspects and Problems of London Publishing Between 1550 and 1650 (Oxford, 1956), p. 83: "But it was quite common at the time to speak of 'printing' a book when what was meant was getting it printed, or publishing it. Some stationers regularly used the term in this sense in their imprints, as John Walley (1546-82), Robert Crowley (1549-57), and Anthony Kitson (1550-65) earlier, and later Richard Jones (1565-1600). Jones, it is true, possessed a press, but it is not known whether any of his numerous books were printed on it."


It will be noticed that Stafford obtained almost a third of Danter's stock: 7 of 18 ornaments, 4 of 10 factotums, and 8 of 22 initials. Of the remainder, several went to Judson, and from him to Harrison, Snowdon, and Okes, while others went to R. Robinson, and later to Braddock and Beale. Those not yet traced elsewhere are ornaments 1, 2, 3, 6, 7; factotums 1, 2, 6, 10; initials A1, A2, G2, G3, O1, T1, W1, W2, Y1.


F. R. Johnson, "The First Edition of Gabriel Harvey's Foure Letters," The Library, V, xv (1935), 221, offers evidence that Danter's edition of Nashe's Strange News (1592, entered 12 January 1593) was printed prior to its entry.


Elizabethan Book-Pirates (Cambridge, Mass., 1934), chap. VI.


"His account of the quarto and his argument for a memorial reconstruction as copy for Q1 have been generally accepted" (G. W. Williams, 'Romeo and Juliet': A Critical Edition, Durham, Duke University Press (1964), p. xi).


Standish Henning, "The Printer of Romeo and Juliet, Q1," PBSA, LX (1966), 363-364, has recently shown that Allde was the second printer.


The evidence from type shortage suggests that sheets E-K were in fact set by formes; see G. W. Williams, "Setting by Formes in Quarto Printing," SB, XI (1958), 52-53.


Another shared printing job involving Danter is examined by M.W.S. Swan, "The Sweet Speech and Spenser's Axiochus," ELH, XI (1944), 164-165. Danter printed sheets A-C of Axiochus, sigs. ¶ and D being printed by John Charlewood. For further examples, see 'Additions to the Danter Canon' below.


Probably the oldest piece of decorative material he employed, however, was one of two wood-cut illustrations of a knight on horseback which occur in STC 7503 (1596); it seems to be the same block used on the title-page of STC 21008 by W. de Worde in 1528.


"It is also highly probable that something of the history of these decorations predates Judson's use of them" (p. 140).


It is unlikely that this item was printed earlier than 3 August 1591, the date on which the Hoskins, Danter, Chettle partnership was approved; see Greg and Boswell, Records, p. 38.