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Marlow, Jeremiah

A book of cyphers or letters reverst. Being a work very pleasant & usefull as well for gentlemen as all sorts of artificers engravers painters carvers chacers embroiderers &c. Where you may find a cypher for any name whatsoever curiously compos’d after the newest mode.

London, printed for W. Rogers 1683.

Reference: 6580

Full Description

8vo. Engr title, (68) engr plates, numbered 1-56 and the rest unnumbered. 19th century full red morocco, gilt spine, blindstamped heraldic motto and initials of William Stirling (-Maxwell) on upper and lower covers, all edges gilt. Armorial bookplate of William Stirling on front pastedown endpaper, and his decorative booklabel, inscribed “Keir Arts of Design”, on rear pastedown endpaper. A good copy.

Sir William Stirling-Maxwell’s copy of the first and only edition of this late seventeenth century pattern book for cyphered initials, intended for use by engravers and other “artificers”. It provides decorative designs for initials in the style fashionable at the time, working through the entire alphabet, with twelve plates at the end offering more elaborate designs for the initials of members of the royal family and the nobility (with later pencil notes identifying some of the actual people on whose initials the designs were based, including the future Queen Anne and the Duke of Norfolk). Volumes of this kind would have been particularly useful to engravers of silverware, seal matrices, bookplates, and so on. Jeremiah Marlow himself owned a collection of intaglios, cameos, seals and carvings in amber which was offered at auction in 1724 (British Library, SC 393 (1)), suggesting that he was himself an engraver of gems and seals and that he died around that date. This particular copy made £62, a large price for that date, in the Stirling-Maxwell sale at Christie’s on 22 May 1958 (to Quaritch). Wing M 698.