University of Virginia Library

Search this document 

collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
Aldine Folios with Copies on Royal Paper
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 
collapse section 

collapse section 
collapse section 

Aldine Folios with Copies on Royal Paper

I know of the whereabouts of four royal-paper copies of the 1525 Galen, one
in the British Library (G7873, 409 × 260 mm), one in the Cambridge University
Library (K.1.1–5, 419 × 257 mm), one in the John Rylands University Library
of Manchester (1447, 403 × 277 mm) and one in the Bibliotheque Nationale de
France (Rés. T23.55, dimensions of binding 430 × 285 mm); three of the The-
mistius of 1534, one in the British Library (C.48.l.2, 421 × 273 mm), one in the


Page 92
library of St Catharine's College, Cambridge (C.I.2, 410 × 272 mm), and one in
the John Rylands University Library of Manchester (6950, 410 × 268 mm); and
one each of the Isocrates of 1534, in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Rés.
X.276, 404 × 265 mm), and of the Eustratius of 1536, the copy already men-
tioned in the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Austin, Texas (Uzielli
236, 425 × 270 mm). It is probable that further royal-paper copies of these edi-
tions exist in other collections, public and private. But there are also many other
surviving copies of these editions, with leaf dimensions which come within the
range of median or super-chancery paper. Only by a comparative examination
of the papers used can we be sure that these smaller copies are not heavily
trimmed versions of the royal-paper group. Unfortunately, I have only been able
to examine the copies located in Cambridge and London. I begin therefore with
the Themistius of 1534, leaving the 1525 Galen until later.

The two royal-paper copies of the Themistius that I have seen are printed al
most entirely on two papers, one watermarked with crossed arrows, surmounted
by a six-pointed star, the other with a bilateral anchor inscribed in a circle,
also surmounted by a six-pointed star, detached from the circle.[17] But the dis-
position of these two marks in each copy is not identical. In the London copy
there are two uninterrupted sequences (A-O and Q,-Y) of each of the two marks,
separated by a single gathering (P) whose papers have a third mark, a crossbow
inscribed in a circle, surmounted by a cross. In the Cambridge copy this third
mark does not appear, only the arrow and the anchor marks, but from gathering
N disposed differently from the London copy. Anyone who has examined the
paper used in different copies of Aldines of the period will be familiar with this
situation; it seems that from time to time the pile of paper placed on the table
for the pressman's use in the running off of a sheet could contain a mixture of
papers from the stocks in use for that edition, or present in what Paul Needham
has called the "blank-paper archive" of the printing-house.[18] The three water-
marks are large: the arrows and star mark measures 85 × 37 mm, the anchor
and star 83 × 47 mm, while the circle inscribing the crossbow is 48 mm in
diameter. As for the structure of the formes used in the manufacture of these
royal papers, while the average distance between chains is greater than 35 mm
(in the case of the arrows and the crossbow papers it approximates to 40 mm), the
distance between the chain to which the mark is attached and the two adjacent
chains is significantly less. This structure is different from that found in formes
used in the manufacture of Venetian super-chancery paper of the period, as we
shall see.


Page 93

In addition to these two royal-paper copies, I have examined five other copies
of the Themistius with leaf measurements which suggest that they were printed
on super-chancery paper.[19] In all these copies the paper is very opaque, making
watermark identification difficult; the predominant one seems to be a balance
inscribed in a circle, surmounted by two rings, one on top of the other—similar,
perhaps identical, to a mark found in paper much used in folio Aldine editions
of the period 1527–1528.[20] What can be clearly seen, however, thanks to the
format, is the structure of the forme on which the paper was made, with chains
disposed at more or less regular intervals of less than 35 mm for its entire width,
and with the watermark placed on one of these chains.[21] These differences in
forme structure make it easy to decide to which category to assign other copies
of this edition.

The press completed the printing of the Isocrates of 1534 only two months
after that of the Themistius. So it is no surprise to find, in the five copies I have
examined,[22] the same paper stock with balance watermark as that found in the
super-chancery copies of the Themistius, together with another paper water-
marked with a six-petalled flower, which regularly occurs in the final gatherings
of the edition, and occasionally in a few sheets of the early ones. Like the balance,
the six-petalled flower is a watermark which features in Aldine super-chancery
folios in the years 1527 and 1528.[23] The forme used in the fabrication of this
paper is similar in structure to that used to make the balance paper described
above, with chains regularly occurring at intervals of less than 35 mm, and with
the watermark centred on one of the chains.

In the six copies of the Eustratius which I have examined[24] there are two new
watermarks, an angel inscribed in a circle, with the countermark AI, and a bull's
head surmounted by a cinquefoil, also with a countermark, comprising the letter Z
and a second letter which I have not succeeded in identifying. The structure of


Page 94
the formes used in the fabrication of these two papers corresponds to that of the
balance mark described above.

The five-volume edition of Galen (1525) is one of the largest to have been
published by the Aldine press, second only in size to the five-volume Aristode
of 1495–1498, and, like that edition, presenting for the first time in a single
compass, and in the original language, all the works then known or believed to
be by their respective authors. The two royal-paper copies of the first volume
of the Galen which I have examined are printed on three papers. One, with the
watermark of a fleur-de-lys inscribed in a circle, was made on a pair of formes
whose structure corresponds to that used in the royal–paper copies of the The-
mistius, with intervals between chains varying from 35 mm to 40 mm, except
in the vicinity of the watermark, where the interval between the chain to which
the mark is attached and the adjacent chains is c.27 mm. But in the other two
papers, one with a cardinal's hat mark and the other with a mark which I was not
able to identify, the interval between the chains is less than 35 mm and more or
less constant, even in proximity to the watermark, as in contemporary Venetian
super-chancery paper. Obviously forme structure is not always a decisive element
in the identification of royal-paper copies.

But the Galen edition also contains another group of copies, clearly identifi-
able by paper evidence. In the first volume of these copies three main paper stocks
are used. The first two have no watermark, only a countermark, occurring, as is
normal in Venetian paper of the period, in the bottom outside corner of the sheet.
In one paper the countermark comprises the letter-forms ZM, in the other the
single letter-form Z. The twin formes on which these papers were made are easily
identifiable by having their countermarks in opposite corners. The third paper
is watermarked with a unilateral anchor inscribed in a circle, surmounted by a
ring, and accompanied by two countermarks, A and B, which occur in opposite
corners of the paper. Here too the twins are easily identifiable by the presence,
in the same half of the sheet as the watermark, of one or other of the counter-
marks. In all these papers the chains occur at regular intervals of less than 35
mm: indeed in the paper with the ZM countermark the interval is c.30 mm, with
a consequent increase in the number of chains. Only the evidence of an uncut
copy would establish with certainty the structure of the formes used in making
these papers. On the evidence of the six cut copies I have examined it seems that
the formes used to make the ZM paper had sixteen chains, on average 30.7 mm
apart. Even making no allowance for any distance between the outermost chain
and the edge of the forme, it is clear that sheets made on such formes would be
at least 460 mm wide. These figures suggest that this group of copies is printed,
not on super-chancery, but on median paper (345 × 515 mm). This suggestion is
supported both by the leaf dimensions of the copies known to me and by the size
of the typepage, which comprises 1+58+1 lines, in comparison with the 1 + 54 +
1 lines of the Themistius and of the other two editions discussed above.[25]


Page 95

In one of the median-paper copies of the Galen in the Gambridge University
Library (PET D.7.10) the binding has come away from the spine, making it pos-
sible to measure the entire inner margin of conjugate leaves (32.5 mm) and thus
to establish the space between the two pages of type in the forme (65 mm). Both
royal-paper copies of the edition which I have seen are tightly bound, making it
impossible to establish an exact figure for the inner margin of the pages, but mea-
surements with a thin metal ruler consistently yield a figure less than 32.5 mm.
It seems reasonable to suppose that the royal–paper copies were printed using
the same imposition of type as that used for the median-paper ones. With an
edition of the size of the Galen, comprising 744 edition sheets, it would have
needed a disproportionate effort to impose twice each of the 1488 formes, just
to print a small number of copies on royal paper. I have no doubt that the same
system was used to print all the copies of the other three editions discussed. As
we shall see, such was also the case with the two sorts of royal-paper copies of
Aldine octavos.

One result of this procedure for the folio editions in question was to produce
copies with very large margins. In the Austin Eustratius (figure 1) the upper
margin measures c.74 mm, the outer c.94 mm and the lower c.120 mm, giving a
white space approximately three times the size of the type page. The relation of
white to black is smaller in the Galen, the type page being larger than in the other
three editions (c.265 × 153 mm, compared to c.245 × 138 mm), but still notable,
at approximately two to one. In the smaller-paper copies of these editions, the
relationship is approximately one to one, giving the impression of a page full of
text. As a rule, large-paper copies are regarded as luxury copies, destined for
the bookshelves of the rich and powerful. But in the case of these four editions
there is another possibility. All contain rare Greek texts of great cultural weight,
destined to be read and consulted by scholars and academics for many decades;
in the university and college libraries of Cambridge no fewer than thirty copies
of these four editions survive. Perhaps the reason for the printing of royal-paper
copies of these editions was to provide copies with wide margins for the use of

As already noted, the module for the type page of the editions of Themistius,
Isocrates and Eustratius is 1 + 54 + 1 lines, all printed with the same Greek
fount. It was a module often used by Gian Francesco Torresani for the folio edi-
tions of Greek texts printed by the Aldine press from 1516 onwards, and constant
in the nine such editions published between the 1525 Galen and the Eustratius
of 1536. It may be that this group contains other examples of folio editions with
copies on royal paper.


Page 96

FIGURE 1. Eustratius of Nicea, Commentaria, 1536, HRHRC Uzielli 236, pp. 86v–87r.


Briquet, I, p. 361, comments that the crossed arrows mark is exclusively Italian, and
was used in the middle of the sixteenth century in the manufacture of large paper. I take the
terms bilateral and unilateral from Moᘁin (bilateral anchor marks have barbs on each side of
the fluke, unilateral marks only on the inside; for digital images of these two types see also Fahy
1999, plates VII–XII).


For example, in the forty-seven copies of the Cortegiano of 1528 whose paper I have
examined, only thirty of the sixty-one edition sheets have the same paper in every copy. For the
concept of "blank-paper archive" see Needham 2000, p. 4.


They are: BL 72.g.15, 308 × 201 mm; CUL M.2.37, 305 × 211 mm; CUL Cc.9.25,
311 × 204 mm; CUL R*.2.25, 306 × 211 mm; TCC N.5.37, 299 × 198 mm. I have note of
the dimensions of three other copies: BLaur D'Elci 700, 300 × 196 mm; BLaur 22.2.17, 298 ×
205 mm; UCLA *Z 233 A4T34, 305 × 215 mm; see Centi, p. 559; Ahmanson-Murphy,
pp. 193–194.


See Fahy 2001, pp. 272–273.


For super-chancery formes with a similar structure see Fahy 1999, plates I–VI. The
paper illustrated in these plates was used in the printing of the definitive edition of Ariosto's
Orlando furioso (Ferrara, 1532) and was purchased on Venetian territory, at Salò, near the
Toscolano area, a major centre of paper production for the Venetian printing industry. As will
be seen, such formes have no tranchefiles, the absence of which, in my experience, is a feature
of most Venetian super-chancery papers used in the Aldine press in this period.


They are: BL 72.g.19, 294 × 195 mm; BL 656.d.3, 313 × 205 mm; BL G8517, 307 ×
205 mm; CUL W.1.27, 301 × 195 mm; TCC N.5.41, 313 × 213 mm. I have note also of the
dimensions of three other copies: BLaur D'Elci 36, 310 × 208; BLaur 22.2.60, 310 × 215 mm;
UCLA, *Z 233 A4I85 1534, 308 × 198 mm (see Centi, p. 313; Ahmanson-Murphy, p. 194).


See Fahy 2001, pp. 279–280.


They are: BL C.19.d.24, 311 × 205 mm; BL 30.f.1, 309 × 204 mm; BL G7846, 316 ×
212 mm; CUL M.2.40l, 298 × 203 mm; CUL Cc.9.32, 308 × 200 mm; TCC N.5.45l, 292 ×
195 mm. I have note also of the dimensions of two other copies: BLaur D'Elci 33, 294 × 196 mm;
UCLA *Z 233 A4E92, 317 × 224 mm (see Centi, p. 234; Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 199–200).


Leaf dimensions of copies of Volume I known to me are BL.45.i.7,330 × 225 mm; CUL
N*.3.5, 337 × 233 mm; CUL PET.D.7.IO, 326 × 231 mm; CUL Path.a.72, 331 × 206 mm;
TCG Grylls.11.403, 329 × 217 mm; TGG N.5.20, 337 × 232 mm. The leaf dimensions of
Volume I of BLaur D'Elci 158–162 are 332 × 228 mm, and of UCLA Z* 233 A4G13, 339 ×
225 mm (see Centi, p. 250; Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 172–173). All of the editions discused,
together with almost all the other folio and quarto editions of Greek texts printed by the Aldine
press between 1504 and 1550, use the same type, measuring 89–90 mm for twenty lines; see
Ahmanson-Murphy, pp. 22–23, 25 (Gk3, second casting).


In this context it is worth noting that vellum copies are recorded of the Eustratius edi-
tion; see Renouard, p. 116; Hobson, p. 166, n. 477.