"EVERY HISTORY THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN SINCE HAS DERIVED ALL ITS LIGHT FROM THIS": FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE, OF BACON'S 1622 HENRY THE SEVENTH
BACON, Francis, Lord Verulam. The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seventh. London: Printed by W. Stansby for Matthew Lownes, and William Barret, 1622. Small folio (7-1/2 by 10-1/2 inches), 18th-century full speckled calf, elaborately gilt-decorated spine, marbled endpapers.
First edition, first issue, of Bacon's influential history, with elaborate woodcut title page and engraved frontispiece portrait of Henry VII by John Payne, very handsomely bound.
Written shortly after James I procured his release from the Tower of London, Bacon's Historie set a new standard for accuracy in regards to the life of James' royal ancestor. "None of the histories which had been written before conveyed any idea either of the distinctive character of [Henry VII] or the real business of his reign. Every history that has been written since has derived all its light from this, and followed its guidance in every question of importance; and the additional materials which come to light from time to time, and enable us to make many corrections in the history of the events, only serve to confirm and illustrate the truth of its interpretation of them" (DNB). Bacon's object in this Historie was to produce a history of England that would be "more fitting and permanent than the statue [of Elizabeth] which James was then contemplating… The only part that was ever completed… it has entitled Bacon to be ranked with those other English statesmen-historians, More and Clarendon" (Pforzheimer 32). Scarce first edition, first issue, with "souldiers" (3, line 12) and all seven errata uncorrected. STC 1159. Gibson 116a. Lowndes, 95. Read 403. Engraved bookplate, with later owner signature. Occasional ink marginalia.
Short marginal closed tear to frontispiece repaired on verso; title page trimmed a little close, just touching border. A few small marginal stains to generally clean text. Calf-gilt binding fine and quite handsome.